Operating Models for the Future of Consumption

A Report by the World Economic Forum’s System Initiative on
Shaping the Future of Consumption prepared in collaboration with Accenture


The Fourth Industrial Revolution is transforming entire systems of production,
distribution and consumption, providing opportunities for value creation through
game-changing technologies and challenges to ensure inclusivity. To ensure
success in the midst of digital disruption, there will be a premium placed on
innovation, a willingness of organizations to disrupt themselves, a quest for active
collaboration and a commitment to advance inclusive growth strategies.
In the context of this seismic change, the World Economic Forum System Initiative
on Shaping the Future of Consumption envisions a future where technology is firmly
embedded in people’s lives, making their daily experiences simpler, highly personal
and more enjoyable as well as imbued with trust and harmonious with nature.
It takes a holistic view by addressing the question, “How can technological
disruption drive enhanced models of consumption with sustainable benefits for
business and society?”
Introduced in June 2016, this System Initiative features a portfolio of projects
designed to create forward-looking scenarios with corresponding roadmaps as
the consumption landscape rapidly evolves. Its inaugural project, Shaping the
Future of Retail, deepened the understanding of how the world of retail, the largest
private employer in the world, will continue to evolve over the next decade, fuelled
by hyperconnected consumers and a multitude of technology-enabled business
models. In 2017, the Operating Models of the Future project explored how
organizations must transform to support innovative business models and integrate
disruptive technologies and data analytics into the DNA of their businesses to
realize benefits across the enterprise.
The Forum is pleased to present this insight report developed in partnership with
Accenture to global leaders as they manage disruption on multiple fronts. Extensive
qualitative and quantitative research was conducted to understand the current
environment and develop a vision of the future. The future-oriented insights along
with the commensurate challenges in the report can be applied to a broad range
of businesses that are preparing to navigate the uncharted waters of the Fourth
Industrial Revolution. It is important to highlight that the transformation of operating
models will impact employees by altering roles, requiring new skills and changing
how work is done. To mitigate employment risk, the private and public sectors have
the opportunity to leverage the perspectives in this report and proactively advance
workforce transition strategies to meet the demands of the digital age while also
ensuring economic equality.
It is only through collective effort that a pathway to realizing a prosperous future
with substantial benefits for both business and society can gain momentum. On
behalf of the Forum’s Future of Consumption System Initiative team, our profound
appreciation and gratitude are extended to all parties that played a key role in the
development of this insight report: the Accenture team led by Oliver Wright, the
project Steering Committee and all participants who contributed via interviews and

Fuente: WEF

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