We’ve always lived in interesting times, but mid 2010, there are some fascinating questions exercising people with the brains the size of planets in working out the best strategic response. What do you think will happen?
- Will putting up a pay wall around the Times newspapers work? Can generic news content, laced with a few star columnists, persuade people to pay up? Will a cross-subscription model using Sky and other parts of News Corp. be used to entice people to sign-up? Many industry watchers credibility depends on the outcome happening in the way they have predicated. Most think it will fail, but has Murdoch again had a visionary moment linked to his strong business sense?
- Has the airline industry fractured into different operating models? Short haul= low cost, long haul=full service, or can a long haul, low cost operator work? Will we see a different split of airline offerings; leisure either only low cost economy or private jet luxury, and business full service with all the extras? Many airlines are playing with these offerings already and, with further consolidation happening, more experimentation will happen. How will things change with the Middle East airlines operating the largest hubs in the world (they already are the largest purchasers of new jets), and what will the increasing environmental considerations do to air travel and its already shaky economic model?
- Are book, music and video stores finished? Are we seeing the last 10 years of the physical product, be it a book, CD or DVD? Can your local store transition into something new, which not only offers a purchasing point but can also offer a compelling customer experience connected to that purchase, which cannot be replicated on-line?
- How will BP emerge from its Gulf catastrophe? Certainly weaker, but temporarily or more permanently? Can it survive? What will be the long-term impact on deep-water exploration? Does it change the peak oil calculation? How will UK pension funds be affected?
- The demographic time bomb. We all know the economic challenges of this shift in the UK population, with an unaffordable pay-as-you-go national pension scheme; but what about the business opportunities? These retiring baby boomers have disposable income, are asset rich and very discerning consumers. What will they do with this economic (and political?) leverage.
These issues might not directly affect you, but if you had to pose the five biggest strategic issues for your own organisation, what would they be? How coherently could you frame the questions and how insightfully could you answer them?