Insights Report: Futureproofing your Business

Are you ready for a rapidly changing future? An intriguing discussion on accelerated trends, risks & resilience and how business can pivot and prepare. Expert panel discusses trends, risks, and opportunities. The recent report on the 10 megatrends shaping our future released by Dubai Future Foundation was the guiding document used for this discussion.


  • Patrick Noack, Executive Director, Future, Foresight & Imagination, Dubai Future Foundation
  • Patrick Joseph Samaha, Co-Founder & CEO Omada
  • Kundan S Shekhawat, Founder and CEO Ascent Business Technology Inc
  • Frederic Paquay, Head of Growth Cedar Rose
  • Moderator Hala Bou Alwan LLB, LLM, ELLM, CEO & Founder, Hala Bou Alwan Consultancy

Key Insights

 What are the major types of future risks? How ready are we in dealing with them?

  • New risks and exposures are constantly emerging with the growth of digital technology. With the proliferation of devices, data, health, and cybersecurity risks have come to the forefront. The impending quantum sphere poses a significant threat, and we must take steps to prepare ourselves for it. Failing to act now will leave us scrambling for solutions in the future.
  • The repercussions of climate change and its effects on ecosystems are long-lasting, requiring significant amounts of time for recovery and restoration.
  • Insufficient scrutiny towards the positioning and utilization of technology as a supplement to our lifestyles has resulted in a surge of mental health concerns. The ramifications are not just limited to social spheres, but we predict a whopping financial loss of USD 6tn by 2030.
  • Our main obstacle lies in being adequately prepared. Numerous enterprises lack comprehensive knowledge about numerous developments and are incapable of comprehending their complete extent.
  • The media is failing to effectively educate and inform the public with new knowledge and awareness.
  • Organizations need more support from governments to develop greater risk aversion.
  • At times, panic can serve as a catalyst to generate enough commotion both inside and outside, leading to gaining knowledge and getting ready.

Would you elaborate on ESG and how it’s influencing the future as a major trend?

  • Taking early action towards sustainable strategies is crucial for organizations if they want to secure their future.
  • Local businesses in the region cannot ignore the impact of global regulations such as ESG parameters and anti-money laundering policies. Even if they believe they are unaffected, pressure from their international headquarters, business partners, and supply chains will force compliance. Risk management demands adherence to these global reporting regimes, making ESG and AML compliance unavoidable for all companies operating in the area.
  • Encouraging a broader perspective, ESG requires businesses to consider more than just financial gains as they operate.
  • Encouraging a transition to a mindset focused on the future becomes possible.
  • Companies are provided with guidelines to take up responsibility for future generations through their stewardship.
  • Encouraging innovation and enhancing efficiencies are some further benefits.
  • Adopting the principle of ‘reflexivity’ can assist businesses in simultaneously strategizing for the long term and staying attuned to present-day survival needs. This allows leaders to maintain a finger on the pulse of the industry.
  • In order to truly comprehend their impact, businesses must broaden their perspective beyond just shareholders and consider the various stakeholders they affect.

 The DFF report highlights the significant impact of climate change. Do companies have sufficient preparedness and awareness towards it?

  • A rise in the green economy has sprung up due to concerns over the environment and climate. Such businesses have arisen from various obstacles that needed to be addressed and will continue to emerge in the upcoming years.
  • In order to remain viable in the future, businesses should focus on implementing innovative changes to their products and services, rather than relying on outdated retrofit techniques.
  • Insufficient knowledge prevails and companies should take the initiative to educate themselves instead of relying on the media for accurate information.
  • Expect new rules and stricter law enforcement ahead.

What comprises resilience, and what steps can you take to achieve it?

  • To successfully weather unpredictable events and shifts, one must possess resilience, akin to possessing a strong immune system to fend off viruses. The cultivation of this attribute through effective governance and design is crucial, as it enables organizations to promptly bounce back from adverse circumstances. Ultimately, resilience is the capacity to both react and recuperate within an expedited timeframe.
  • Industries in the United States are subject to the regulations established by the National Emergency Crisis Management Authority. National emergency plans involve critical services that are essential to the entire country. Organization components like ESG, continuity management, crisis management, business quantity management, and disaster recovery must be considered principles in risk management.
  • The implementation of ‘operational resilience’ is fresh news in the United Kingdom. Financial services urge that your operational model should be intrinsically robust and not solely reactive to crises. The ability to endure the test of time and unpredictability is key.
  • The design phase of organizational operations must take into account unforeseeable circumstances that can only be managed through proper planning and implementation of internal controls.
  • In the wake of the pandemic, the significance of resilience and crisis management has elevated significantly. The stakeholder and governance perspectives have made it even more essential.

Can you explain the concept of crisis management?

  • A well-prepared response plan is crucial during moments of crisis. The management of business quantity must be equipped with emergency protocols to effectively handle such situations.
  • Data has become the fifth element among the four widely acknowledged pillars of operational risk in various sectors. A company’s data holds utmost importance and hence, the crisis management protocol must incorporate strategies to combat all these risks. As an integral part of the protocol, incident managers, active responders, and the people team must be well-defined.
  • The effectiveness of emergency protocols is uncertain as their ability to function during a crisis remains untested. Does the existence of stress tests to ensure their reliability even exist? Are there digital models utilizing AI technology which can accurately predict their outcomes?
  • To maintain business continuity, it is crucial to have a thorough comprehension of upcoming trends. Global occurrences have a ripple effect on regional enterprises. Anticipating significant trends that could potentially impede, frustrate or jeopardize business models must be taken into consideration.
  • To steer clear of potential legal issues, you may have to relocate to a different region or modify your business operations to comply with the latest regulations.


What do you think of the potential threats posed by the combination of artificial intelligence and big data?

  • Utilizing artificial intelligence can revolutionize businesses, providing enhanced resilience through rapid identification of patterns and trends.
  • In today’s ever-evolving international business landscape, making data-driven decisions can lead to boosted efficiency and profitability, while also providing the resilience and competitiveness necessary to navigate the constant uncertainties. Therefore, embracing digital transformation and utilizing these technologies must be a priority for businesses seeking to succeed in this environment.

What is the process of bringing the understanding of the future into the present, and how can a business transition towards that future?

  • Transformation and innovation culture must be adopted.
  • Transformation isn’t just a simple reset; it’s a gradual adaptation towards a more progressive change. It involves acquiring knowledge, raising consciousness, having the bravery to face uncertainties and being flexible in various situations.
  • Embrace the change and gain knowledge of cutting-edge technology such as AI in order to enhance your business, without being intimidated by it.
  • In order for the changes to be effectively integrated, it is necessary for the business leaders to exhibit exemplar behaviour, gain knowledge, and implement the changes for themselves.
  • To effectively handle a crisis, having adequate access to informed data is crucial. This would provide invaluable insights into the root cause of the issue and expedite the formulation of an appropriate response strategy.
  • 1) Accept the changes brought on by the digital age. 2) Formulate a separate digital plan to supplement your overall business plan. 3) Allocate resources towards skilled individuals capable of utilizing modern technology. 4) Prioritize the satisfaction of your customers.

Adopt new technological advancements, consistently review, and refine these practices, and educate your team.

Can you share tips how leaders can make their business futureproof?

  • 1) Having the ability to perceive potential trends and differentiate them from irrelevant information is crucial for organizations. 2) Following that, can you adequately equip yourself for the upcoming changes? 3) Will you be able to address any risks and adapt quickly to ensure smooth business operations? If you can successfully accomplish all three tasks, then you’re on track to be better prepared for the future.
  • Being reactive and proactive is crucial in managing risk and identifying opportunities. Predicting the future is impossible, thus, it’s important to have a balanced approach towards dealing with uncertainties.
  • Maintain flexibility and quick adaptability as a whole organization.
  • To enhance organizational resilience, it is advisable to foster greater collaboration and knowledge-sharing among different sectors and the public sphere. Such partnerships not only facilitate learning from others but also pave the way for effective problem solving.