Since 1995 the Internet population has grown from 18 million to 3 billion and the existence of a World Wide Web has fundamentally changed business and entrepreneurship in the process.
Looking ahead, Hamilton predicts that the following ten trends will be as big and disruptive in the next five years as the Internet has been in the past 20:
1. A world of resources. Crowdsourcing, crowdfunding and outsourcing means that businesses now have access to all the money, talent and information that they need to succeed. It will be key for entrepreneurs and business leaders to recognise this potential, while acknowledging and retaining existing talent within their organisations.
2. A different ‘smart’. Competitive advantage in the last 100 years has progressed from ‘book smart’ to ‘street smart’ to ‘silicon smart.’ Silicon smart means that companies can and will use data and artificial intelli-gence to better understand their customers and deliver a personalised service at scale.
3. A common language. The launch of instantaneous voice translation through Google Translate, Skype and other platforms offer an instant way to communicate across the world. SMEs who previously only saw a need to focus on a local market and market feedback now need to think globally.
4. The Internet of Things (IoT). It is predicted that the IoT, which allows data to be automatically transferred over a network without human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction, will be 10 times bigger than the Internet of People. This creates a new dimension for identity man-agement and consumer privacy.
5. Just press print. 3D printing will democratise production in the same way that the Internet democratised expression. 3D printing will influ-ence how brands design and create their products, the global speed of delivery and price of physical products.
6. Everything in flow. An exponential growth in the speed of data flow will transform the online world. Consumers will change the way that they read websites, watch videos and experience virtual worlds online, and businesses need to adapt to these changes in order to keep up.
7. Rise of the machines. Intelligent machines are not only becoming connected, but also mobile. This is resulting in robots and machines taking over more and more roles that until now depended on humans.
8. A merger. The trend towards humanised machines is merging with the trend that is digitised humans. DNA science is progressing rapidly and is leading to digitisation of human biology.
9. The new free world. In the same way that entrepreneurs rewrote the rules in each time they discovered a new free world in the past, entre-preneurs are seeing space and the oceans as the next frontier and the free world.
10. World Wide Wealth. World wide wealth is the concept that collectively we can create and contribute more than when competing with each other. It is easier to do this now and more essential than it ever has been before.
Michelle Clarke, Global Partnerships Manager at Entrepreneurs Institute