I was at the recent Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) conference, a gathering of over 1,300 Chamber people from across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
The organization offers continuing training to Chamber executives and serves as the governing body for Chamber of Commerce Best Practices.
The Horizon Initiative was the big topic of discussion. In 2014 ACCE launched the Horizon Initiative Task Force to tap into the collective Chamber wisdom and other sources to predict what our lives might be like in 2025. The goal was not to tell Chambers what they would do or be in 2025, but to identify influences and how they might shape chambers, their regions and their business community.
Following are eight key influences that will affect our world.
1. The Nature of Belonging and Gathering: There will be a revolution in who and how. Recognizing the difference between "joining" and "Associating". Millennials and Next Gens will continue to shape the "meeting" world with virtual meetings, cloud gatherings, and electronic mass gatherings. Events will be judged by what value it brings and attendance does not equal network. Members become clients and value must keep those clients.
2. Communications & Technology: Mass customization and complete connectivity will be the rule not the exception. Technology will not differentiate success but human support of technology and the efficiencies generated will. The value of mass information will decline while the value of filtering and analysis will rise with the advent of feedback loops to judge immediate impact.
3. Scarcity & Abundance: On the edge of abundant wonders, discoveries and technology, we encounter challenges of shortages in water, energy, talent, land, connectivity and leadership. Swings in availability, demand and value will open doors and squash opportunity.
4. Global Impacts: The world will come to your door every day. Non-U.S. markets will rock with opportunity and strong communities matter to global companies. Members will depend on Chamber's awareness and relationships creating investment opportunities.
5. Population Shift: Millennials not boomers will become workplace majority. Non-whites will become the majority population and community perception, brand and reality will be affected by population mix.
6. Political and Social Fragmentation: Intensifying separation in political and social environments globally will complicate ability to reach consensus. Community leaders through Chambers must act as the catalyst for resolving conflict and utilizing collective impact modeling to arrive at solutions. Stronger decisions will be made locally minimizing higher levels of government in local decisions allowing them to make worldly decisions.
7. Resource Alignment: Tying the money to the mission will anchor the hunt for revenue. Community investors will fund Chambers as fundable catalysts in a sometimes gridlocked environment as long as mission is targeted. Donors will want progress, not engagement.
8. Catalytic Leadership: Leadership matters more in a diverse and distracted world. Expectations of leadership will rise and consequences of poor or misdirected leadership will be swift and severe. Catalytic leaders crave and create change, rather than help people cope with it.
The influences described here are real and they will affect you as business leaders and us as a community. Government, business leaders and citizens have to address these factors and the Chamber's goal must be to assist businesses and civic entities to thrive in a world shaped by these oncoming pressures and opportunities.