Project Leaders Sound Off: 2022’s Global Megatrends—Part 119 Apr 2022
Image by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash
Have you had a chance yet to dig into the Global Megatrends 2022 report on PMI.org? If not, I’d encourage you to do so. The report examines six global forces that are reshaping business and society today and are having a growing impact on project professionals and changemakers.
An important part of the report is the video interviews we conducted with project professionals who offer important perspectives on the six megatrends. Like a “color commentator” on a sports broadcast, these thought leaders help “dimensionalize” the trends—adding context and depth and drawing out the real-world implications of each issue.
I hope these perspectives will inspire you to take a deeper dive into the Global Megatrends report and to share your own perspective and experiences with these issues. Here are three of the megatrends that are shaping our society today.
The Climate Crisis
We’ll begin with what is perhaps the most “mega” of the megatrends—the climate crisis. There’s little doubt that climate change today poses an existential threat to humankind. And all sectors of society—governments, businesses, civil society and we as consumers—need to help address the issue.
Our video interview on the climate crisis is with Nishita Baliarsingh, co-founder and CEO of Nexus Power, an India-based start-up that’s developing a biodegradable electric vehicle battery from agricultural waste. In keeping with her company’s focus, Nishita emphasizes the importance of thinking about sustainability in terms of the entire life cycle of a product. We need to commit not just to developing “greener” products, she says, but to creating an “industrial ecology” with zero waste. And project professionals have an important role to play in that process.
I describe the population shifts underway around the world as a sort of demographic vise—declining fertility rates on the one hand and an aging workforce on the other. This will require a radical readjustment—to create a more age-diverse workforce that accommodates a growing cadre of working seniors and that recruits and retains more young people.
Commenting on this issue is Takeshi Hayama, a technology strategist at NTT DATA Corp. and vice president of the PMI Japan Chapter. Aging, of course, is a long-standing issue in Japan. In response, Takeshi reports, Japan is marshaling digital technology to revamp how people live and work and launching more products to serve single-person households. Project professionals are on the front lines of both efforts. Takeshi also notes one other promising development: Companies, he says, are increasing compensation to acquire and retain key talent.
Civic, Civil and Equality Movements
The drive for greater equality has gathered momentum in recent years—despite the impact of the global pandemic. Project professionals must be attuned and responsive to an organization’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives. And the response must go beyond professing noble intentions to focus on real action and substantive results, including creating a culture where diversity of thought and experience is valued and supported.
Commenting on this issue are two thought leaders who have devoted much of their careers to DE&I work. Innocentia Mahlangu is a senior engineer and project manager for the Project Delivery Group at Hatch in South Africa and the founder of SHEngineers, a nonprofit virtual membership network for women in engineering. Julissa Mateo is the founder of a community for women in tech in the Dominican Republic and a PMI Future 50 honoree.
Innocentia believes strongly that successful DE&I initiatives need to start at the top of an organization with senior leaders taking ownership, exercising oversight and providing support for the effort. But project professionals, in her view, play a critical role in driving DE&I at an operational level. They must have high levels of emotional intelligence, she says, to assemble and lead diverse teams and to encourage others to build a culture of inclusion that yields true business value.
Julissa shares Innocentia’s view that project professionals can be instrumental in bringing diversity to an organization. Project professionals, she says, have a unique opportunity to change organizations for the better—by connecting stakeholders across the company and by bringing on new team members from diverse backgrounds and with different points of view.
In my next post, I take a look at business megatrends around digital disruption, global economic shifts and the growing labor shortage.