The chaos of the 2020s has pushed leaders to act quickly and decisively. It has accelerated innovation and forced organizations to transform in ways that didn’t previously seem possible. And those that didn’t adapt have now fallen behind.

In 2023, rapid response is the new baseline. Uncertainty is expected and complexity is compounding. As threats materialize on multiple fronts, organizations must reduce the time from insight to action. Business leaders need precise intelligence to dodge obstacles as they appear—and obstacles will be legion.

As disruption drives change on virtually every front, leaders have to keep their heads up.

To prepare, executives must try to predict the future. Is a global recession around the corner? Will easing pandemic restrictions affect hybrid work? Will extreme weather events continue to wreak widespread havoc? Will geopolitical conflicts cool—or will battles move to entirely new fronts? How and where threats appear, as well as where they overlap, will have far-reaching implications for global businesses.

For example, it’s unclear how long the war in Ukraine will continue to disrupt supply chains, talent pools, and business operations. But as organizations grapple with the consequences, they must also navigate increasing cost pressures caused by inflation. In October 2022, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast that global inflation would peak at 9.5% in the third quarter of 2022—and some economists fear that price surges could have staying power.

At the same time, companies are striving to achieve aggressive sustainability targets that require collaboration across aisles and ecosystems. In 2022, global CEOs named sustainability as the top challenge their organizations are expected to face over the next two to three years—rising from sixth place in 2021. Plus, purpose-driven consumers, who prioritize products and brands that align with their values, now represent the largest shopper segment (44%).

Purpose-driven consumers now represent the largest shopper segment.

As disruption drives change on virtually every front, leaders have to keep their heads up. They must respond to threats strategically and pick their battles wisely. To help executives set the right priorities, the IBM Institute for Business Value has identified five key trends that we believe will influence the business landscape in 2023—and the top opportunities that can help organizations forge ahead in the face of volatility.

Download the report to see what trends topped the list—and how your business can prepare for what’s ahead.

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Originally published 14 December 2022