I’m taking Tim Ferris’ suggestion to do “Past Year Reviews” instead of making New Year’s Resolutions. Although, the process does, and should, lead to some plans for the new year. Looking at my last business year shows me some open doors for the next year. And points out opportunities for most social entrepreneurs. Here are a few of the conversations that I’ve been having with my community that has prompted me to think about what might be ahead:
- Payment gateway innovation that resolves the issue of high client fees
- Zero-Waste Manufacturing and entire industrial parks set up for carbon-neutral operation
- Technology that solves regulatory issues that will save healthcare professionals time, penalties, and provide a pathway to new income
- Preparation of GDPR and similar regulations spreading like wildfire prompting a new occupation and professional organization
- An infrastructure investment vehicle that becomes a credible intermediary. Helping to get past some of the stall-out places in a negotiation with a foreign government
- Clarification and communication when shipping issues threaten to postpone or kill an agreement
- Renewable energy, microgrids, and hydrogen consulting – all topics of hot discussion and introductions to experts/consultants requested and completed
These are just a few topics that have crossed my desk this year.
Now, let’s talk about the 5 reasons that I feel create an opportunity for innovators and social entrepreneurs in 2023.
The Southwest Airlines meltdown we experienced in late 2022 was, according to a member of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, due to an antiquated scheduling system and their flight route model. Also in December of 2022, British Airways suffered its own meltdown. Due to an IT outage impacting its flight planning system. In May of 2022, someone in CitiBank of London accidentally sold a large amount of stock connected to Nordic markets. That accident resulted in a 6% drop in the Danish Index which caused a similar cascade effect across Europe and piled up reported potential costs to the corporation of around 50 million. This happened just after the corporation spent a reported $1 billion upgrading its risk management and data systems after it was assessed a hefty regulatory fine relating to problems in those exact areas.
In late December 2022, the City of Buffalo in New York saw over 51 inches of snow in a matter of a few days that took at least 39 lives and shut down normal life and operations during the worst blizzard in their history. There’s a university study planned to review what failed or needs changing that caused so many lives lost and how the city can prepare itself for future potentially tragic disasters. Along with almost every city government department, the local utility companies will be examined, as well. There’s only so much human beings can do when we are dependent on technology to help us run our city, transportation, finance, and other systems. If the tech is not kept updated, or utilized properly, or there’s no “in case of failure” plan, then bad things can and often will happen.
It’s been well-reported that many tech giants around the globe have suffered big financial losses in 2022. What I’m reading is that this has a lot to do with post-pandemic economic anxiety from those who hold the purse strings around the globe. This, I believe, is a situation that will find its way forward eventually. But, how do any of these situations open doors for you? Well, these are all types of critical situations that require
a) creative and forward-thinking prevention methods,
b) comprehensive crisis management,
c) customized technology built for scaling, and
d) ongoing risk management expertise that advises on tech and equipment upgrades consistent with growth because we all know the bigger you get, the bigger the problems.
Along with that, disaster plans need to be in place that includes catastrophic challenges. And even the plans themselves should be updated annually. It can’t really be a surprise to anyone right now that climate issues are real and therefore require some serious thought by every business, nonprofit, and government because the trickledown impact is numbing in every aspect. Technology and consistent innovation in tech will play a vital role in all of these scenarios. You just need to figure out if you fit and if you do, how.
2. Currency Exchanges and Payment Gateways:
As the conduct of global business grows rapidly, currency situations and payment gateway problems create an open opportunity for those of you in related spaces to innovate solutions and work with proper authorities to implement those solutions. As simple as it may seem, in our work here at Frontrunners Development over the last 6 months, we’ve had tremendous challenges in trying to get staff in Africa paid and have actually been told by a partner in Nigeria how problematic it is getting currency converted. Payment gateways in some countries are just non-existent and service platforms charge a high fee. It impacts everything from global education opportunities to charitable contributions, and employment situations, among other things. This is a huge gap that requires some real innovation and collaboration with the right types.
3. Supply Chains and ESG Regulations:
We’ve seen the problems over the last few years brought on by the pandemic. Port congestion and related downline issues are projected to persist in 2023. Raging conflict and unrest in the global community not only unhinges peace but takes down economies in a widespread fashion. In January 2023, the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (LkSG) came into effect, requiring German companies to review supply chains for human rights violations and meet compliance measures to ensure protocols are well-managed. There are plenty of details and criteria that you can check out at the link just shared, but, just know that this will have an impact that will spread beyond Germany. There will be a gap here where expertise in human rights compliance, risk management, and supply chain monitoring could be useful.
Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) as reported from the Traxtech blog: Dec. 1, 2022 “According to Supply Chain Management Review, 70% of supply chain executives have experienced or plan to experience increased revenue due to ESG initiatives within the next three years. Zero Waste, reducing carbon footprints, and basic greening and climate concerns all play into the supply chain mix of challenges. If your work involves any related spaces, you’ll have several pathways in which to innovate solutions or new business directions. Pay attention to investment publications in the space. That should give you a hint at where you might want to focus.
The Federal Supplier Climate Risks and Resilience Rule is a Biden Administration proposed rule to improve efficiency and reduce financial risks from climate change. It creates a new standard for carbon reporting for major Federal suppliers. Through this action, the United States would become the first national government to strengthen its supply chain by requiring major suppliers to set Paris Agreement-aligned emissions reduction goals. The standard applies to major Federal contractors. Click the WhiteHouse.gov fact sheet (linked at the beginning of this paragraph for details.)
The rule was proposed at COP27 in November of 2022. Public input is requested before the appropriate agencies create the official rule. If you see an opportunity in this for you to create an impact, you might set up a Google Alert to follow the news on this.
It was a painful year for bitcoin and the market persists into 2023 as some crypto brokerages struggle with angered users. Literally, today, as I’m writing this post, I’m reading that FTX founder pleaded not guilty to federal charges for “allegedly” defrauding customers and investors related to the failure of his crypto entity. Also today, I’m reading that federal regularly agencies are warning banks to use extreme caution noting recent failures in the space.
Back in May of 2022, Emily Stewart posted an article on Vox.com about crypto that started with this subtitle as a rather thought-provoking statement: “Crypto is a solution in search of a problem — or problems.” Lots of good points are made in her piece, but, ultimately, she says, and I believe her, crypto isn’t dead. It’s having some serious problems right now, but those problems represent one big gap. Where there’s a gap, there’s opportunity. If you are an innovative supporter of crypto, now would be the time to start thinking about how to stabilize or reinvent the space or consult with individuals who could use support in moving forward.
5. Hydrogen Energy:
Hydrogen has become the new “darling” of the energy sector. The conversion work of hydrogen has an enormous impact and profit potential, but, I feel I’m preaching to the choir. Solar is still an important resource and investments are reflecting that significance, but, hydrogen is gaining. Those of you in renewables should be leaning in and keeping in touch with the influencers in this space, attending conferences, and watching for opportunities where consulting, project development, and collaboration with universities, governments, corporations (looking for location-based experts), industrial complexes, and major NGOs might surface.
Just a last bonus word here about data security: From a September 2020 posting on Gartner.com, here’s a predictive header: “By 2023, 65% of the world’s population will have its personal data covered under modern privacy regulations, up from 10% in 2020, according to Gartner, Inc.” We know there has been a rise in the adoption of GDPR regulations over the last couple of years, but whether or not the services market around GDPR will meet its anticipated extreme growth prediction this year is still unknown.
From what I’m reading, the regulations keep getting tampered with, revised, updated, and so forth. Still, that means there is a tremendous opportunity for innovation – in almost every operational space you can think of regarding business – technology, policy-making, compliance, risk management, lobbying, analytics, IT services, HR/training, consumer education, and so on. And, in every industry. Lots of open doors for you.
I’m not an expert on any of this – my conclusions are based on what I’ve been reading and hearing. But, the bottom line seems clear that there will be an abundance of solution-providing going on in 2023. Will you be part of it?
If you’re an independent business developer or a business consultant/coach or a professional with an organized global network looking for a partnership or interested in adding business development to your menu of client offerings, we should talk. (Contact button below.)
Happy New Year Frontrunners!
President, Frontrunners Development, Inc.
Global Business Developer for Frontrunner Partnerships (UN SDG #17)