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Explore 2040’s weekly Ideas and Innovations newsletters below or via our archive … and visit our strategic and operations thought leadership reports and posts here.

2040’s Ideas + Innovations Newsletter  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

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2040’s

Ideas and Innovations Newsletter

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Is Your Organization Ready to Comply with Privacy Protections?

Issue 84, December 1, 2022

A wise man once told us when thinking about a significant life event, “We can be prepared, but we’ll never be ready.” So, it may be a stretch to connect mortality with privacy laws, but we would argue that most organizations are neither prepared nor ready to deal with the privacy changes at the state level in the United States and countrywide in many countries around the globe.

And here we are, several weeks away from the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), a follow-on to the California Privacy Protection Act of 2018, parts of the Colorado Privacy Protection Act, Virginia Privacy Law and others taking effect January 1, 2023. If you are a globally focused organization, what many describe as international, the Digital Services Act (entering into force February 2023) and the Digital Markets Act (parts in force November 2022 and fully by May 2023) covering the entire European Union are going to significantly impact your organization.

Additionally, other countries like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom and Australia have or will soon have individual digital privacy protection laws modeled after the European Union. Each is a landmark shift in how any organization connects with its stakeholders online and collects their data.

We raised several red flags last summer (2022) encouraging introspection, analysis and consideration of changes in strategy and tactics by revealing what inference data is and how it is defined by the new laws, calling attention for being forewarned and forearmed in how data management and collection is going to change, and over two issues ( Privacy Regulation Update: The Doors Are Locking on User Data and Breaking News: New Privacy Updates), discussing the legislative updates in detail.

If you haven’t yet mastered the knowledge and awareness you need, now is the time. At this time of year, we tend to get distracted by the holidays and often become nostalgic looking backwards on the year that has nearly passed. We would caution looking backwards or being distracted will come with unintended consequences impacting what you and your organization seek to achieve in 2023.

Continue to Read the Full Article>

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What Does It Mean to Practice Gratitude?

Issue 83, Nov 23, 2022

We’ve been thinking about gratitude, and not just because it’s the season. Every era has its set of challenges and disasters, and each ensuing decade we think it’s getting worse. But we would argue that perception is based on the human condition that we are risk averse and generally content to live in a safe and secure bubble, professionally and personally. That’s not an indictment, it’s just the way we are wired.

So, on the surface, it looks like the world falling apart in front of us: mass killings, the never-ending war in Ukraine, a crypto-financial meltdown (that actually may be a good thing), cyberbullying and misinformation, global warming, an ongoing, divisive political stand-off, and you name what else. Yet, this is where gratitude comes in. We are resilient. We never give up. We transform our businesses. We pivot. We help strangers. We continue to have children. We course correct. We prevail.

Put into context, at 2040 we encourage our clients to practice gratitude, coming from a place of mindfulness and awareness. What does that mean? Active listeningThinking outside of oneself and instead in the minds of customers and clients. Collaboration. Facing conscious bias and uncovering unconscious biasGiving stakeholders a voiceTransparency and authenticityConfident humilityHonesty. Thanking people. Even handwriting personal notes!

These attributes are not cliches. Learn how to practice gratitude>

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Back to Basics

Issue 82, Nov 17, 2022

How often have we been reminded to get back to basics?  We live in an overprogrammed, overcommunicated, overstimulated world. Recently several cultural threads caught our attention, and when combined, remind us of how the basics in art and culture can have a positive effect on ourselves, our workplace, the organizational community, and society writ large in counterpoint to high-tech. Although we have been seduced to worship technology over the past few decades, there is much to be said for balancing science with the humanities.

Take Five Senses

We often write, including in our book The Truth About Transformation, about the power stimuli have on our subconscious mind, which in turn influences how our conscious mind feels, how we act, communicate, and respond. External sensory stimuli that we touch, see, smell, taste or hear can immediately take us back to the past and evoke the emotions of those moments in time. They can warm our hearts, make us hungry, clear our minds to thinking about a problem or challenge, initiate our creativity and cause us to feel the necessity to reciprocate.

We often forget, overlook or are too busy to take a momentary pause to consider how we are being sensorially influenced and why.

  • Sight: Does a stark white room make us feel comfortable … or does our active imagination immediately cause us to look around to see if we are in a straitjacket?
  • Communication: When write a note to ourselves do we notice our day-to-day vocabulary has suffered when a word or phrase we are seeking is only remembered by the acronym or emoji we use in text?
  • Sound: Do we recognize how we are suddenly in a good mood or become melancholy when we hear a certain song or type of music?
  • Overload: Do we feel a necessity or compulsion to engage with the hundreds of impersonal (acting as personalized) emails we get in a day?

So here goes with a few provocative ideas that can improve the outlooks and aspirations of your workforce. And these ideas are quite simply going back to the future with small moments of beauty.

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What’s Holding You Back?

Issue 81, Nov 10, 2022

An important part of 2040’s practice with our clients is to use an open mind in applying intelligence and solutions from one sector to another. The concept of systems thinking is to look at the world holistically and find the intersections of new ideas and trends that paint a larger picture of an organizational landscape.

By habit, we often become so focused on the day-to-day and keeping our nose to the grindstone that we don’t notice what’s around us. At 2040, we stress the importance of looking outside-in, a reverse perspective from being mired in the day-to-day hot mess of our lives trapped in our own version of reality that typically reflects institutional/legacy knowledge.

Taking the outside-in approach opens the window to consider how others perceive an organization and its offerings, which may be significantly different than what those inside the organization might believe.

Looking at the world holistically is an outside-in perspective and integral to systems thinking. The world and organizations operate on several types of systems. In our book, The Truth About Transformation, we explain how systems thinking clarifies the interdependent systems of the Macro (world, region, country, locality), Meso (the organization), and the Micro (individual workers, customers and stakeholders). We offer examples and advice on how to operate informed by a larger picture, which is so valuable to change, transformation, leadership, and management.

So, when we learned about a new study by Western Governors University of students returning to complete their education, we quickly saw the parallels between their barriers to continuing education with the barriers to personal and professional growth in organizations. The nine barriers identified by the study are often overlooked by management, with the unfortunate outcome of repressing change, transformation, and success. We cover more about the challenge of barriers and how to and overcome them in our book, The Truth About TransformationExplore a free preview on Amazon.

And if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, you can download the Kindle version of the book for free as part of your subscription.

The barriers and ways to overcome them may sound very familiar, both personally and to teams, which leads us to believe that the barriers to success are pretty much universal although understanding them is often situational or worse, we are completely unaware of them.

Continue to the full article and see what barriers may be holding you back>

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A Modern Fable About Social Media

Issue 80, Nov 3, 2022

Over the past 18 years, social media has become a way for organizations to market their products and services. It has also enabled society at large to remove physical borders to connect, express their thoughts and opinions, and share the events of their day-to-day lives. Social media offers efficiency and immediacy in a highly-connected world. Before the internet, connecting took time — whether in person, writing letters, telegrams or via the antiquated rotary phone. Today, a post, tweet or the like can be seen by many at the same time, removing the need to interact with each individual separately. A positive by-product of the efficiency of social media is the ability to engage with many when we are time-pressed and victims of overcommunication.

When social started, the shift was radical to many but was also quickly adopted and embraced like a shiny new toy — that quickly became addictive. Mass participation on one or many social platforms opened a Pandora’s Box of opportunity for advertisers and marketers wanting to be where their customers were, exploring new ways to raise awareness for their brands and products and feeling compelled to be perceived as current.

Read the full article>

Explore the Truth about Transformation

The Truth about Transformation is a playbook to help you navigate all the landmines hidden in a turbulent marketplace. Use it with your teams to deconstruct your business model and principles, and to anticipate the future, not catch up to it. And call us to work with you to dive into what’s working and not, and help you stay on track to be relevant, valuable, and viable for your stakeholders, customers, partners, and workforce alike.

Get the Book>

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The Shape of Things to Come

Issue 79: Oct 27, 2022

As we contemplate the end of another year, now is a good time to revisit the opportunities and shortfalls of technology.  And to clear up some popular theories that may be losing ground. As we have said many times, technology is no panacea or silver bullet, it is simply a tool to augment our intelligence, make our solutions smarter and help us measure what matters in a way that matters. Remember, machines and applications have no goals and no agendas. They have no values or ethics. They are task-based operating on the programming we input and the function we have established. The bigger they get, the more hidden are their failures. There is a fundamental distinction between thinking and knowing. And most critically, they are programmed and coded by human beings with all their strengths and inherent biases and therefore, are and can be as faulty and error prone as we are.

That said, there are some new technology threads in the popular conversation that have caught the imagination and attention of forward-thinking leaders and their organizations.  We’ve curated three big ideas that we think are worth paying attention to with a few predictions of our own of what these technologies can do for us.

Read the full article>

Explore the Truth about Transformation

The Truth about Transformation is a playbook to help you navigate all the landmines hidden in a turbulent marketplace. Use it with your teams to deconstruct your business model and principles, and to anticipate the future, not catch up to it. And call us to work with you to dive into what’s working and not, and help you stay on track to be relevant, valuable, and viable for your stakeholders, customers, partners, and workforce alike.

Get the Book>

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Uncertainty and Disruption

Issue 78, Oct 20, 2022

You know something’s happening, but you don’t know what it is. Your competition is edging ahead. Your stakeholders are ambivalent. Your workforce is listless. Your management team is exhausted. Nothing that worked before is working now.

You’re not alone. High performance in disruptive markets puts everyone to the test and on edge. Old strategies don’t work because conditions have changed. Managing a remote workforce with traditional management tactics doesn’t work because they’re irrelevant.

Where do you go for guidance? We wrote a book for all organizations, large and small, who are in transition. The anchor to change is motivating and managing people – the individuals who will fulfill your transformation. They are the good news … and the bad news. Without them, your goals are out of reach; with them, you can move forward with purpose.

Yes, but. We know what propels and prevents success. If you haven’t considered these essential issues and how they influence your future, you will fail.

Shapeshifting culture, population, and diversity

Generational dynamics

Active listening

Emerging technologies

Reengineering the business, you are in

Agility and resilience

Measuring what matters

And these are just a few selected issues. The Truth About Transformation is a playbook to help you navigate all the landmines hidden in a turbulent marketplace. Use it with your teams to deconstruct your business model and principles, and to anticipate the future, not catch up to it. And call us to work with you to dive into what’s working and not, and help you stay on track to be relevant, valuable, and viable for your stakeholders, customers, partners, and workforce alike.

Our organizational playbook, The Truth About Transformation, explores these issues … plus more!

Get the Book>

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Too Much Choice Makes Brand Loyalty an Endangered Species

Issue 77, Oct 13, 2022

There’s a sea change taking place in social media and streaming platforms which should be a red flag for organizations that offer memberships, subscriptions or use devices that seek to deliver continuous value via consumer consumption, leading to rich sources of recurring revenue.

Members Only

Membership and subscription have become all the rage over the past five years across many businesses. The continual drips of monthly or yearly revenue over time resulting from memberships and subscriptions acts as a steady flow of income. This income is predictable and feeds into solid forecasts. Recurring revenue is the new white in winter. When organizations offer products that result in a one-off, single purchase, revenue is less predictable and comes with high expenses associated with repetitive customer acquisition.

In terms of devices, most are sold at an initial loss for the promise of future recurring revenue. Owners invest in devices knowing they can use them to seek out new content. Whether it’s membership, subscription or an individual’s investment in a device, the relationship between an individual and an organization stems from the individual’s loyalty to the partnership plus the need to justify the money they invested.

An individual’s loyalty to an organization’s membership or subscription offerings is being challenged. What was once a relationship based on dedicated loyalty is now considered a simple transactional relationship to purchase a commodity. We submit that loyalty is being replaced by intention. In an unforgiving cancel culture, organizations will need to engage with their stakeholders differently.

Loyalty vs Intention

First a word about loyalty.

Continue Reading>

Leaders, managers, and employees face an existential challenge when it comes to transforming a business and its model. Resistance to change and not taking risks is the intuitive norm, and therefore increases drag or completely prohibits change. This is a level of resistance that results in roadblocks that even technology cannot overcome. Our organizational playbook, The Truth About Transformation, explores these issues … plus more!

Get the Book>

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Systems Thinking Powers Actionable Solutions in Three Easy Steps

The Past Is No Playbook for the Future

Issue 76: Oct 6, 2022

If by chance you have been asleep for the past three decades, you may have missed the success of a systems thinking strategic model. Everyone who understands climate change realizes that we (all of us, sentient and non) live in a closed-loop, interconnected system. That understanding is based on the ability to look at life holistically, connecting the parts to the whole and recognizing that every action causes ripple effects throughout the system. We’ve just seen one possible interconnected outcome of global warming with hurricane Ian slamming into Florida – and there was plenty of warning.

What does this have to do with running and operating an organization? Everything! Our organizational constructs mimic the natural order, and one major misstep throws the system off balance. How do we know? We are finding that organizations when they are in trouble seek to assess their traditional models (governance, board, policies, bylaws, charters, management) to guide them in the development of a new strategy. But evolution of an actionable plan is not possible without understanding how all the parts across the interdependent systems connect. The internal system is important of course but fixing an internal system without an understanding of the external system and how the external system influences some or all an organization’s parts – not the least of which is understanding if the market environment has changed — comes with a cost now and in the future.

Continue Reading>

Leaders, managers, and employees face an existential challenge when it comes to transforming a business and its model. Resistance to change and not taking risks is the intuitive norm, and therefore increases drag or completely prohibits change. This is a level of resistance that results in roadblocks that even technology cannot overcome. Our organizational playbook, The Truth About Transformation, explores these issues … plus more!

Get the Book>

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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, is now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Apple Books. Enjoy a short preview.ard and upward from the 2040 Team

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