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Ideas + Innovations is a series of thought leadership articles designed to help organizations navigate the complex, evolving changes in our digital marketplace. The 2040 team has worked with brands of all sizes in a range of industries, and our insights fuel these articles with opinionated, actionable and often provocative content.

The series touches on everything from emerging industry paradigm shifts and consumer behavioral trends to new business models, leadership skills and workplace culture issues.  Our intention is to be active and interactive, raising questions and debate over what it takes for businesses to thrive in a post-pandemic world with an emphasis on transitions and transformations organizations must make to remain competitive.

We invite you to join the conversation and contribute your opinions and experiences.  2040 believes in the power and strength of community, and the more we know and share, the stronger our businesses will be in responding to the demands of our dynamic marketplaces. We look forward to featuring your participation in future articles. Sign up to keep  in touch with us.


Beth Bush Stansel, Senior Partner, Strategy and Kevin Novak, CEO, 2040 Digital

An Executive Playbook for the Critical Path to Establishing Deep and Meaningful First-Party Data

Issue 7: June 17, 2021

Each week, we take an in-depth look at strategic, organizational, and operational challenges facing business leaders, with insights on emerging best practices.  Today, we dive into innovations in the critical path to establishing and transforming first-party customer data and a data-driven culture, as third-party cookies are phased out and pixel-blocking becomes widespread.

One of the biggest challenges for marketers, membership directors, subscription managers and organizations in general is the ability to reach and engage current and prospective customers and members while maintaining compliance with a growing list of country and state regulations, not to mention adapting to today’s technology-driven changing landscape.

High Performance Executive Leadership in the Workplace

Issue 6: June 10,, 2021

Welcome to the 2040 Thought Leadership Series created to spark innovation and critical thinking about today’s business environment. As we adapt to the evolving post-pandemic mindset, the opportunity is to learn from the past months of pandemic-crisis thinking, adapting to new behaviors and marketplace realities … and leaving behind what doesn’t work any longer.

Much of the past 19 months has been focused on tactical adaptations for business continuity and little time was spent on strategic thinking and plans that recognized where tactical adaptations led to new opportunities and alternative ways of conducting business, even managing operations. Some tactics have been successful, others may have failed, but in the end, we learned a lot and have an improved grasp of what may be needed to strategically transform in today’s dynamic and ever-changing marketplace.

Today’s leadership challenges are made even more complex by existing and emerging external pressures. Leadership is under pressure to balance providing stakeholders with a stable, profitable, fair, empathetic and innovative workplace. Just consider a few of today’s societal and consumer-driven issues that have emerged for both workers and leaders:

  • The pandemic and staying healthy in the workplace.
  • Information and identification security for remote or hybrid work arrangements.
  • The move of tangible services to online-everything.
  • Increased investment in automation and digital transformation that could change. business models and employee job descriptions and organizational structures.
  • The post-pandemic economic recovery: Who benefits and who is left behind.
  • Inclusivity, diversity, and sustainability.

Agility is the New Nimble

Issue 5: June 3,, 2021

Every generation a new business operating principle bubbles up into the professional organizational arena.  Resilience has been updated with Agility (yes, we know it sounds like being Nimble, but it’s a lot more nuanced).  Agility is a mainstay in the tech community – particularly with software development. Here’s a basic definition: “Business agility refers to rapid, continuous, and systematic evolutionary adaptation and entrepreneurial innovation directed at gaining and maintaining competitive advantage.” Simply stated, Agile management is methodical, systems thinking approach to preparing for the future.

The Next-Gen is Changing Up the Workplace

Issue 4: May 27, 2021

Welcome to 2040’s high-level Thought Leadership Series exploring key issues and trends facing organizations post-pandemic … and beyond. Millennials and Gen Z make up around half of today’s global workforce and they bring a different mindset to any business table, plus they are establishing new laws of organizational loyalty. Covid has made more and more people, across generations rethink what really matters.

The consequence of this self-assessment is potentially a career change.  Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University, predicts, “The great resignation is coming.” He adds, “Many workers are considering a job change as pandemic restrictions ease and companies call employees back to the office. In the past year, Klotz says there’s been an accumulation of stalled resignations, realizations about work-life balance and new passion projects — all incentives for workers to exit the 9-to-5 office grind.”

Events Need to be Transformed

Issue 3: May 20, 2021

Welcome to 2040’s thought leadership series, with insights on the changing digital marketplace. We have relied on live events for decades to bring our stakeholders together, strengthen our communities, extend our networks, build our brands and drive revenues by connecting buyers with sellers. The pandemic turned a tired model on its head. Why do we say tired? Because many organizations have depended on staging annual meetings, conferences and conventions the same way, year after year … without an effective strategy to make events increasingly relevant to more individuals.

Organizations think they are responding to attendees’ set expectations of a dependable, wide-ranging and exciting experience. But honestly, events compete with many instantly accessible offerings from media, education and entertainment platforms. It’s also fatiguing for some attendees who are faced with endless educational offerings, networking and social opportunities and aisles of sponsor/exhibitor booths, that when aggregated, look like an overwhelming and exhausting sea of sameness.

In fact, 2040 research reveals that on average, 12% of any organization’s members attend a physical conference or convention. By transforming your event to a hybrid model, an organization has an opportunity to double or perhaps even triple the percentage of members that register and attend the event. As a result, there is greater member engagement, and the organization delivers its value proposition even more deeply to the 88% who typically do not attend.

Bluntly speaking, traditional events fall short of recognizing how digital and technology have created alternative ways to achieve learning and networking goals. Covid has caused individuals to reassess and question their formerly over-committed and over-scheduled days. Now individuals are re-evaluating how to gain what they really need and are seeking experiences that really matter.pward from the 2040 Team

Membership Drives Your Growth

Issue 2: May 12, 2021

Welcome to 2040’s thought leadership series on how to build businesses and organizations that thrive in a post-pandemic marketplace. Amazon is credited with kick-starting a massive change in consumer behavior…and expectations.  The public conversation and market trends reflect these systemic shifts: quick delivery, free shipping and returns, the digital marketplace platform, a trusted source for search and most importantly, a relationship based on membership and the personal or professional rewards that relationships deliver.

Remember, a relationship (not a transaction) creates ongoing relevant value that leads to customer, subscriber and member loyalty and retention. The Harvard Business Review report, “The Truth About Customer Experience” reveals that organizations that design systems to connect touchpoints and the cumulative experience had a 20 – 30% increase in results to include higher revenue, long term retention and positive word of mouth.  Each is incredibly important for sustaining and growing revenue while reducing expense.upward from the 2040 Team

Lessons Learned from the Pandemic

Issue 1: May 4, 2021

For business leaders, the pandemic has propelled many levels of professional and personal reflection. On a professional level, we’ve heard ad nauseum about how Covid revealed inherent organizational vulnerabilities, accelerated emerging technologies, caused a shift in consumer behavior and powered business pivots and new operating models. On a personal level, the pandemic changed many of our lives in indelible ways.  On both fronts, we have been reminded that we are optimistic and resilient as problem solvers and our ability to work around and work through the challenges at hand.

When we at 2040 work with clients, our post-pandemic imperative is to help them recognize what business practices they need to leave behind that are no longer relevant.

We also help them use pragmatism in leveraging the changes they have had to make to build out businesses that can thrive in a digital marketplace.ward and upward from the 2040 Team

The Truth about Transformation

Book Preview Excerpt

Organizations, whether private companies, non-profits, charities or governments seek to transform to take advantage of new opportunities, including technological advances. Often, technology is the major driver of change that results in transformation. As a result, the organization often fails to achieve its objective and goal to truly transform. You see, technology remains an enabler, not a silver bullet. True transformative change requires understanding of the human factors at play, human conscious and subconscious behaviors, how humans inter-relate and how society itself and all of its members are changing.

Our workforces are changing, the expertise we need is becoming harder to acquire and roles are shifting. In addition, before and because of Covid in 2020, the world around us is becoming very different, a new reality is taking hold, one that will fundamentally change who we are, how we work and yes, how we seek to ensure organizations transform for today and for the future.

The Truth about Transformation, a new book by Kevin Novak, will soon become available. Enjoy a short preview.ard and upward from the 2040 Team

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