Four Macro Trends That Will Affect Your Organization In 2012

Level 4

What’s in store for your organization in 2012?

Volatility, multiplicity, versatility and mobility. At least that’s what Gartner’s analysts say is coming in 2012.


In chemistry, volatility is the measure of the tendency of a substance to vaporize. What a great analogy for today’s business culture. In society, it means all the variables that can be changed by external forces.

In brief, your organization will be subject to rapid or unexpected change. We will continue to see global and national financial volatility. Both public and private deep-seated institutions and organizations will face volatility. Traditional business relationships will confront ongoing change created by outside forces.

The pace of disruptive technology and the continued adoption of mobile and cloud-based technology by individuals will create unexpected forces. Customers will become increasingly frustrated with organizations that have not kept up with the pace of change. This customer frustration will create less loyalty and more finicky decision making.

Some organizations will be caught off balance as their organizational narcissism becomes a relic of old economic beliefs. Business as usual becomes outdated. Savvy, nimble organizations will cease seize the opportunity to experiment and innovate during the midst of volatility. They will find emergent solutions that work for their customers.

Things are coming at us faster and with less predictability. Things may not fit as you expected or imagined. We have to learn to embrace uncertainty.


Volatility requires multiplicity.

Multiplicity is an array or a large variety. Multiplicity in organizations requires a range of approaches instead of business as usual. It requires an organization to be agile and nimble to test a variety of hypotheses.

Multiplicity in action in organizations today includes migration to the cloud and mobile application architecture choices. Customers have a variety of mobile apps that are ubiquitous and manageable as well as provide a rich user experience. They expect the same type of experience from organizations offerings.


Multiplicity requires versatility.

Traditional, old school business philosophy is to handle one business approach alone. There is only one way to do things. Today, the trend is to juggle a variety of approaches together and be more versatile.

Versatility requires employees who act as contextual strategist. Contextual strategists manage and operate with a firm understanding of the strategic context for his or her actions.

Contextual strategists embrace uncertainty. They place smaller bets as they experiment and monitor actions. They do not let past experience determine their future action.

They constantly ask, “What decisions do I make that would be improved with other perspectives? What decisions do others make that would be improved with my perspective?”


Versatility is enhanced by mobility.

Mobility is one of the top three priorities of CIOs surveyed by Gartner. Many organizational leaders feel like they are chasing the horse that left the barn. Employees are bringing their own devices to work for work-arounds of outdated systems. App delivery is user friendly and ubiquitous.

Creating a mobile strategy should be top priority for every organization before customers become disenfranchised with outdated systems.

Mobile solutions are dominant everywhere. They can be found in ingestible sensors, on prescription bottle glow caps, in smart meters of course personal mobile devices.

Why have so many organizations been slow to adapt to mobility? Which of these four trends will be the most difficult for organizations to embrace?

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  1. Jay S. Daughtry says:

    Insightful piece, Jeff. I want to know more about contextual strategists. Any additional reading I can do? Certainly, mobility is getting a lot of attention. Versatility is the one that should be more of a priority for organizations. People want to see organizations that can adapt and customize experiences, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.

    1. Jeff Hurt says:


      Thanks for reading and furthering the discussion. The only thing that I know is written specifically about Contextual Strategist is a paper by Gartner but it’s not for public consumption. I think the term and philosophy is fairly new.

      I agree that we need more people that can easily shift between big picture strategic thinking and the details. We’ll have to wait and see if the thoughts behind a Contextual Strategist catches on.

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