Last year as part of the Growth Track program at Deloitte, we invited a number of thought leaders to share with us their view on the world in 2020. Although the speakers were experts in a variety of domains such as technology, social media, economics, life sciences and data analytics, they shared some of the same insights. Those insights covered the obvious and increasing importance of data, analytics and social networks. But also the impact of bio & nano validation and new emerging business and organization models that have to cope with increasing uncertainty and change. Although I had a fairly good understanding of the impact of technology on the way we live and work, it became crystal clear to me that it is the combination of all of those areas that makes it that the tipping point of the future is TODAY.

The tipping point is a concept that describes the moment that a previously unnoticed development has rooted so deep that it suddenly explodes with an overwhelming power. In mathematical terms it can be best explained through a pattern of exponential growth. If you double your results during each period, your performance is times 1000 by period 10 (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024 …).

Exponential growth is counter intuitive as we typically frame series of events on a linear scale : for example 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10. As exponential growth models are difficult to understand we typically we project linear growth in business. This is obviously not correct, as many happenings by nature have an exponential growth component. Moreover, our exposure to exponential growth is increasing as we further move in the hyper connected world. It works out two ways: In a positive sense, exponential network effects are one of the main drivers behind the success of ecommerce and social networking. On the down side , the same network effects are causing more and more black swans of unexpected and unforeseen risks. Our increasing exposure to exponential growth factors makes the search for resilient organizations and business models more relevant than ever ..