Navigating 2024 Business Trends with a Local Perspective
home // page // Navigating 2024 Business Trends with a Local Perspective

Navigating 2024 Business Trends with a Local Perspective

Interview with South African Business Entrepreneur, Tebogo Mogashoa

Tebogo, as we approach 2024, the global economic downturn is anticipated to persist. What key areas do you believe businesses should focus on amidst this challenging environment?

Amid South Africa’s complex challenges, I believe businesses can be a catalyst for positive change. Prioritizing job creation through community projects, collaborating on crime prevention, and implementing resilient economic strategies like diversification are pivotal. Engaging in social impact initiatives and fostering collaborative economic solutions with stakeholders align with the imperative to address issues like electricity shortages, enhance infrastructure, and align education with employer needs. Personally, I am passionate about accelerating the green transition and advocating for a more progressive and efficient tax system to underpin robust economic growth. Through these intentional efforts, I envision businesses contributing significantly to societal well-being and crafting a more resilient and sustainable economic future for South Africa.

You mention the significance of soft skills in 2024. How do you see the balance between technical automation and the human touch evolving, and why should organizations invest in developing soft skills?

As we tread the delicate line between automation and the human touch, it’s crucial to break away from rigid binary thinking. We need to move beyond the usual black-and-white scenarios and appreciate the nuanced value that both elements bring to the table. It’s not just about pitting one against the other but recognizing the unique strengths each possesses. Organizations should invest in soft skills, fostering a seamless blend of technology and the distinctly human qualities that define our interactions. It’s in this delicate dance that we find the true essence of effective collaboration and innovation.

The skills shortage has been a recurring theme. How do you envision changes in hiring practices and the emphasis on specific experiences impacting the industry, especially in the context of disruptive technologies like generative AI?

Addressing the persistent skills shortage in South Africa demands a dynamic shift in our approach. It’s not just about veering away from binary perspectives; it’s about redefining the very criteria that shape our hiring practices. Instead of solely prioritizing traditional qualifications, we should pivot towards valuing diverse experiences and skill sets. This is particularly crucial in the context of disruptive technologies like generative AI, where conventional qualifications may not fully capture the evolving landscape. A more nuanced strategy that emphasizes both experiential learning and targeted upskilling initiatives is the need of the hour. By doing so, we not only bridge the existing skills gap but also foster an environment where adaptability and innovation thrive.

Sustainable business practices are gaining momentum. Can you elaborate on the driving forces behind this trend, and how can companies align their strategies with both customer demand and environmental responsibility?

The surge in sustainable business practices is propelled by a dual force of heightened customer demand and an urgent commitment to environmental responsibility. It transcends a simplistic binary mindset that pits profit against sustainability. To align their strategies effectively, companies should recognize that embracing green solutions not only meets the expectations of environmentally conscious consumers but also yields tangible benefits for their bottom line. By intertwining customer preferences with a genuine dedication to environmental well-being, businesses can not only thrive in a changing market but also play a vital role in fostering a sustainable future.

Personalization-at-scale is highlighted as a trend for 2024. How can companies, irrespective of size, leverage personalized solutions to strengthen relationships with customers?

We need personalization-at-scale, whether large or small, companies can adopt personalized approaches to build stronger relationships with customers. The focus should be on understanding individual preferences and tailoring solutions accordingly.

The Data Economy is emphasized as a valuable business asset. How do you see companies evolving in their approach to data, and what opportunities lie in monetizing data for driving new business avenues?

Companies will streamline operations through strategic data management. Monetizing data itself opens new business opportunities, as seen with companies like John Deere selling data for insights. This trend, once accessible only to larger corporations, is now democratized for smaller businesses in diverse sectors.

The concept of the Customer Experience Revolution is intriguing. How can businesses ensure every interaction with customers leaves a positive impression, and why is this becoming a critical aspect of business strategies?

The Customer Experience Revolution emphasizes holistic interactions. It involves personalized marketing, on-time delivery, and efficient problem resolution. We will see more companies appointing Chief Experience Officers to ensure these principles are seamlessly integrated into all business strategies, moving away from traditional binary models.

Remote and distributed work is expected to remain a significant trend. How can businesses not only adapt to but thrive in a landscape where remote and hybrid work arrangements persist?

Remote and hybrid work arrangements have become a lasting fixture in the professional landscape. It’s no longer merely about adapting to survive the pandemic but embracing flexibility as a core value. Businesses must cultivate the capacity to collaborate with geographically dispersed teams and attract talent on a global scale. This evolving paradigm necessitates a shift in focus towards making the return to the office a compelling proposition and enhancing overall employee engagement. Mastering the art of creating a work environment that is both flexible and appealing is the new norm, marking a fundamental transformation in how companies approach the dynamics of work.

Diversity and inclusivity are emphasized in the context of AI-driven decision-making. How do you see businesses addressing unconscious biases, and why is it more crucial than ever in the age of AI?

Businesses need to continue to actively address unconscious biases in hiring, training, and performance management. A diverse and inclusive workforce is crucial and we are seeing increasing reliance on machines for decision-making, ensuring unbiased and fair outcomes. The trends seem to be going forward that there will be more machine selections before human bias is allowed to creep in.

Lastly, resilience is highlighted as a key trend in 2024. How can organizations build resilience to navigate uncertainties, and what lessons can be learned from companies that have thrived in turbulent times?

Absolutely, adapting to the paradigm of uncertainty is crucial for organizations seeking resilience. Learning from successful strategies employed during turbulent times is key. While the future remains unpredictable, acknowledging the discomfort and questioning the traditional capitalistic approach is an essential step. The global concerns regarding climate crises, loss of biodiversity, and impacts on life call for innovative solutions and a new navigation approach.

Proceeding with caution is necessary, but it should not hinder the collective effort to create a better society, foster sustainable businesses, and contribute to the well-being of the planet. Embracing change, exploring new ways of doing things, and innovating for a positive impact are imperative in the pursuit of a more sustainable and resilient future.