Project Leaders Sound Off: 2022’s Global Megatrends—Part 221 Apr 2022
Image by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash
Previously I shared a number of videos developed for PMI’s Global Megatrends 2022 report. The videos provide valuable perspectives on three societal trends that are shaping our world as project professionals and changemakers. In today’s post, I’d like to highlight the videos and interviews developed around the three economic/business trends highlighted in the report: digital disruption, economic shifts and labor shortages.
Featured in the videos are project professionals and thought leaders who share their real-world views on these issues. We hope they add to your understanding of these global megatrends and their potential impact on our profession and our world.
Digital disruption is hardly new; organizations have been dealing with it in one form or another for years. But the adoption of digital technologies increased dramatically during the COVID-19 crisis, aiding companies in their efforts to recast their operational and go-to-market strategies. Project professionals continue to be on the front lines of these efforts, helping organizations steer through the disruption and developing the mature transformation strategies needed for long-term success.
Commenting on this issue is Ade McCormack, an independent industry consultant focused on disruption readiness. Ade views digital disruption through a historical lens. We’re transitioning, he says, from the industrial era where workers were “cogs in a wheel” to the digital era where workers are “cognitive athletes” and where education and training are key. Project professionals will have a huge role to play in this world as more work becomes project-based and running a business increasingly involves managing a portfolio of projects and experimental business models.
Nishita Baliarsingh, co-founder and CEO of Nexus Power, an India-based start-up, believes that the next 10 years will be the technology disruption decade with technology playing an ever-increasing role across industries and business functions. We’re sowing the seeds of this transformation now, she says, and must also prepare to manage related issues around cybersecurity, data integrity and electronic waste.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted supply chain risks across regions and industries and caused some leaders to question the value of globalization. And while globalization seems to have recovered from these COVID-related setbacks, we may see a long-term decrease in cross-border people flows—according to Marcos Lopez Rego, professor at IAG Business School – Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) and Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV) and a senior researcher at the Brazilian Navy Research Institute.
To compensate, Marcos says, organizations will need to re-build local capabilities and deploy promising new technologies like 3-D printing and robotics. Project professionals will be critical to these efforts, he says, as projects grow in strategic importance and as knowledge- and service-oriented industries also “deglobalize.”
COVID-19 didn’t just set off a worldwide health crisis and worries about globalization. It also roiled global labor markets. Millions of people lost their jobs, and millions more proactively quit work in search of new and better positions. Women, who shoulder a disproportionate share of caregiving responsibilities, have been particularly hard hit. As a result, labor shortages are affecting many industries worldwide, adding to the challenge of delivering projects on time and on budget and placing a premium on skilled project professionals.
For perspective on these issues, we turned to Susan Coleman, a U.S-based organizational development consultant with more than 30 years of experience empowering women through negotiations. Now is the time to rethink work, according to Susan, because many people are simply burnt out. Work in her view is more than about making money. It’s about having a voice in reshaping our world. For too long, she says, women’s voices have been muffled, and it’s time they claim their full value in the workplace. In her experience, organizations that get the gender issue right for women get it right for men too. And organizations that change their culture to be more diverse and inclusive are realizing the benefits.
Changing culture, however, needs to start with the individual, according to Innocentia Mahlangu, a senior engineer and project professional at Hatch in South Africa. Innocentia works in a heavily male-dominated industry where workplace inequities are common. This has made it difficult for organizations to not only recruit but to retain talented women, who often face unconscious bias, inequitable hiring and promotion practices, pay inequities and lack of mentorship. Organizations, she says, must strive not only for diversity but true inclusion, which requires rewiring our thinking at the individual level.
I hope you find these videos thought provoking, and I welcome your feedback on these trends or any other issue affecting our profession.
Read Part 1 of our Global Megatrends series.