McKinsey Quarterly

McKinsey Quarterly 2017 Number 2: Overview and full issue

This issue of the Quarterly, available here as a PDF download, connects the dots among global trends, offers advice for CEOs on how to become more successful leaders, and explores digital reinvention.
Download the full issue of McKinsey Quarterly 2017 Number 2 (PDF–4.85MB).

Last summer, the leaders of McKinsey’s Strategy and Corporate Finance Practice invited me to a provocative event. It was a two-day session with 25 diverse thinkers from inside and outside the firm, aimed at stimulating debate on where the world was headed. My colleagues put us to work: A week or so before the workshop, we were asked to download an app that enabled us to learn about 75 major trends at work in the global economy, and were assigned a few to explore in depth. When we arrived, McKinsey senior partner Erik Roth, who helps lead the firm’s global innovation work and who coauthored the 2015 blockbuster McKinsey Quarterly article “The eight essentials of innovation,” broke us into small groups and put us through a fast-paced process of “colliding” these 75 trends to produce creative syntheses of market-shaping forces. We combined and recombined ideas well into the second day, producing, in the end, several extremely rough strategic maps for navigating the world of tomorrow.

One of those maps ultimately became a foundation for this issue’s cover story, “The global forces inspiring a new narrative of progress.” The authors, Ezra Greenberg, Martin Hirt, and Sven Smit, have tried to connect the dots among trends big and small and to distill some larger themes—global growth shifts, the acceleration of industry disruption, and the need for a new societal deal—that help make sense of them all. As you will see, the authors believe that today’s leaders need to rethink where and how they compete, and also to cooperate in crafting a variety of new arrangements that help individuals cope with disruptive technological change.

That narrative of intensifying competition, as well as the growing need for cooperation, goes hand in hand with taking a long-term perspective, which you will find covered in another article in this issue, “Measuring the economic impact of short-termism.” McKinsey research suggests that companies able to resist the forces of short-termism will invest more, exhibit better financial performance, and create more jobs. This finding—like Ezra, Martin, and Sven’s view that today’s uncertainty could give rise to new forms of progress—is encouraging.

Several other articles also speak to the forces reshaping our strategic context. GE vice chairman John Rice describes some of his company’s responses to the changing nature of globalization. A package of articles looks at accelerating disruption in the insurance industry, the G&A function, and the banking sector, with Piyush Gupta, the CEO of DBS bank, providing an inside view of his company’s digital reinvention. Finally, “Are you prepared for a corporate crisis?” proposes a framework for companies confronting external shocks—expect surprises, say the authors, and you’ll be better able to deal with them. That principle holds for the forces reshaping today’s business environment, too; we hope this issue helps you prepare for them.

Download the full issue of McKinsey Quarterly 2017 Number 2 (PDF–4.85MB).

Related Articles