Business Insight from an Astronaut’s Point of View

According to astronauts, the moment when they look back at Earth from the great black sea, is when they realize just how connected we all are.  In essence, how life has meaning. That meaning is each other, humanity, our fragility, and our expansiveness.

4A’s Strat Fest is an annual meeting of the curious brains that are known as “strategists” and “planners” by trade.  This year’s content centered around the world’s current momentum toward the 4th industrial revolution, which is described by thought leaders as the time when mankind is “restructuring ourselves in terms of life, our relationship to the planet, our relationship to work [through algorithms and other technology].”

One presenter further described this gravitational shift, where meaning will transcend our everyday vernacular. “We’ve moved from a commodity-to-product-to service-to-experience-to-transformation to a meaning economy.” Because of this change, we anticipate that several fundamental topics will infuse our business choices:

  • Consumers will care about the why and the what. How is your company doing business? It isn’t just about what you’re producing, but the impact it has on the collective. Also, as we enter a period where information is no longer the source of truth, but rather face-to-face experiences, interactions will be the truth consumers seek.
  • Investors, too, will seek longer-term impact, valuing companies, like Bcorps, that act with dual bottom line goals in mind—growth and overall wellbeing. This may lead rise to a future where we will see more strategic positioning along the lines of the Harry’s Global positioning. Harry’s, for instance, works to serve as a vehicle for cultural transformation for masculinity through brandless funding content, events, and initiatives on the topic.
  • Employees will also seek meaning in work. As workloads ease with automation, employees will seek greater meaning in what they do—the essence of work may change entirely. Cultures defined by the work you do or the job you have may struggle, but communities that provide meaning to human lifeforms will provide support.

AI currently “solves problems like a toddler,” as Kendra Clarke from Sparks & Honey described. Effectively, AI only knows what it knows and, therefore, overlooks what it means to be human, what emotions are present and what the true sense of the “meaning of life” is. We are roughly 90% similar —  the differences are only the 5% on either side of the bell curve, Eliza Esquivel pointed out. Much of the emerging algorithm culture emphasizes the collective differences over shared, collective experiences.

So, next time you look at the moon, let it remind you to take a cue from Eliza Hamilton and Lin Manuel to put ourselves ” back in the narrative.” We are shaping the future of business — and the world. Are you putting human emotion and meaning at the center of your business?

Marsha Lindsay presented research by McKinsey to highlight the value of this change in business. Effectively, budgets should be allocated so that about 60% drives towards emotional benefits, and 40% for short-term activations. In doing so, a company is establishing meaning that can increase operating profit up to 11.1%.

One way to ensure this is to truly become fluent in emotional drivers. Initiate a study on what drives people in a given context. If you are only looking at behavioral data while this 4th industrial revolution is emerging, your data set will be behind.  Mindsight, our emotional testing tool, can help with this. Our research has identified nine emotional states that drive the human experience—and a study can revel which emotions are most critical to the life moment your business cares about. Learn more about it here and make sure you don’t get left behind!