Strategy, management and communication are becoming more complicated as the environment in which firms must operate continues to change for better and for worse—and in hard-to-predict ways. Who could have foreseen the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Arab Spring, or the rise of China’s ICBC to become the world’s largest bank? Understanding issues that are bigger than business, and that will shape the global economy in the future, is key not only to seizing new opportunities for growth but also to managing risk.
In this article, The Economist Intelligence Unit outlines both the cyclical forces dictating global trading conditions in the here and now, and the looming structural changes for which business must prepare. Each side of this coin, which we will address in turn, presents opportunities, constraints and threats. US monetary “tapering”, the recovery phase of Europe’s debt crisis, globalisation, politicised social media and the increasingly nuanced dynamics of China’s economic development are all issues that businesses must understand.
A brave new world
As director of the Global Forecasting Team, Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Robert Ward oversees the EIU‘s global forecast and in cooperation with country specialists, also analyses key global economic trends. Previously, he was the Unit‘s chief automotive analyst and a senior member of the Asia team with special responsibility for Japan and the Koreas.
In his role as global news editor, Jake Statham oversees the Economist Intelligence Unit’s daily coverage of political and economic events around the world. He also writes on the global economy and contribute sections on Asia and Japan to The EIU's monthly global economic forecast. He has been with the company since 2002, and until 2012 was based in Hong Kong where he covered Asian and international news, primarily for the EIU's ViewsWire service.