The Emerging Shape of Opportunity

Never before has the world been more connected, engaged and visible. The COVID-19 Pandemic has shined a light on the modern workforce; Those that embrace technology as a daily catalyst to achieve business objectives, and those that work in kinetic industries where technology is less prevalent. For many years, we have been researching the “surface” of the modern business, and with employees now working from home the “surface” has expanded exponentially. With every device connected, and every student, teacher, employee, researcher and entrepreneur now sharing the same experience of the home office, society has grown highly dependent upon the devices and the software that sit between our lives and our paycheck. And while many in our profession focus on the inherent risks, of which are many, and we know this well, in this equation lies opportunity.

14 Dec 2020
Now that we have an entire world working in this way, what can be learned? Have we entered a new age of opportunity to extrapolate value from this model?

As data scientists, we believe so.

1.    Insights.

If you haven’t spent time in SEO tools, you may want to. The volume of search data has exploded in 2020, and the data is telling us more about societies wants and needs. And, they are shifting. Take for example, search terms around “indoor plants”, “home office”, etc.  New markets are beginning, and businesses are being built to serve the demand of the new human experience of 2020. But what can this tell us? We believe it can tell us much about people. And that represents an opportunity to truly understand the new economy, and the new opportunities that lie ahead.

2.    Talent.

One of the primary segments negatively impacted by COVID-19 is the Gig Economy.  Many displaced workers have struggled to adapt, needing to replace income generated by in-person services to now, digital services. We believe this trend will continue and will create an entire new category of economic potential, via gig work online for specialized skills. And while marketplaces like Fivvr and Upwork have traditionally been the go-to sources for sourcing specific talents, we are seeing new platforms evolve such as paid newsletter platforms where experts in a given niche can amass a large following, and eventually monetize their information. E-Learning platforms have exploded, and online education is becoming the new standard for all levels of academia and self-study.  

3.    People-centric economy.

Through the convergence of these conditions, and the application of AI, 5G and other advances, the potential to acquire, hire or engage has never been more immediate, more digital and more targeted. We believe this evolution will beget an entirely new model where companies must compete aggressively for the talents and services of individuals. With options abound for making a living, people have more opportunity than ever to showcase their talents, and their terms globally. This means that organizations are going to need to expand their models of talent engagement through creative incentives and methods.

4.    Sourcing.

Data is now ubiquitous, yet the world is still attempting to create meaning from the deluge. As we become more proficient as a society at making meaning of data, we will find more use for it. For example, let’s say you wanted to identify an exact type of talent or solution for a specific task or problem. How would you go about that today? My guess is that you would use google to search, find key websites highlighting individual talents (LinkedIn, etc.), specific websites for products (B2C Amazon), and other websites highlighting capabilities (Forrester, IDC, etc.) for B2B technology.  And while these are the primary approaches businesses and consumers rely upon today, we believe new formats will be born that will serve both the provider and acquirer’s interests by shifting the dynamics of supply and demand. Not knowing exactly WHO the top 5 talents in X region for X given need will be a thing of the past. Real-time intelligence about who, what, why and how will become a constant, and the demand for talents and technology will skyrocket. Social proof will become context, but real-time proof and delivery will become more pervasive and in-demand than ever before. Contracting will change and the “pay-by-the -task” economy will evolve very rapidly in this new reality. This will require traditional companies to further justify their value and evolve, as options become more tactile in real-time. Welcome to the on-demand world we can see beginning to take shape in 2020.