We keep our ear to the ground for the interesting stats, insights and discussion points you need to feel in the know.

1. One never-ending sale

A close up of a smart phone held up by a man, showing the inside of a sports clothing shop - sale prices hover above sale items

The holiday shopping season, from a global perspective, starts with Singles Day; a Chinese holiday celebrated on November 11. We then move through the US holiday of Thanksgiving – on November 23 this year – followed by the lead-up to Christmas and New Year’s Eve for many countries worldwide. Punctuating these holidays are the shopping event days themselves, with Black Friday falling on November 24, followed by Cyber Monday November 27. Fast forward to after Christmas and stores throw open their doors once again for more sales to clear unsold seasonal stock. Chinese New Year typically marks the end of this frantic shopping spree, that spans multiple continents over three months. With such pressure to generate a large percentage of their revenue at this time of year and consumers struggling with their own financial pressures, how can retailers combat sales fatigue and stand out from the crowd? Kristina Rogers, EY Global Consumer Leader, shares three strategies.

Is the era of never-ending sales here? Despite economic challenges, our interest sales may be over  

2. A question of trust 

Close up of a luminous and colourful chip

“Disruptive technology and specifically AI, is everywhere although for many, causing angst” writes Mike Lee, EY Global Leader, Wealth and Asset Management. But we’ve been here before. Think back to when the internet started; on one hand there were those who embraced it and started surfing the web —while others were scared that someone was going to be able to steal their data when they went online. It was a similar story when mobile payments were launched and the cloud too. But today, it remains much the same. AI continues to dominate conversations both inside and outside the boardroom. Yet, despite the fact AI has been around for a long time, there’s a lot of hesitation out there in the business community when it comes to generative AI. “The truth is disruptive technology is a fact of life and it’s not going away. In the last five years, things have moved faster than they did in the prior 20. People say new tech is going to take away jobs, and yes, it will — but new jobs will be created, jobs that hopefully will be more meaningful and enjoyable” says Mike. So, how do you avoid creating the anxiety that technology has caused many people to experience in the past? Mike shares his thoughts… 

Don’t be anxious: The machines aren’t taking over (right?) 

3. High cyber risk won’t stop adoption of emerging tech  

Close up of someone typing on a laptop with black keys. The laptop is lit up in bright colours.

Emerging technologies like generative AI, digital twins and Web3, as we all know, are rapidly evolving and transforming the workplace. But while more than three quarters agree that cybersecurity training for the various new technologies is important, about half reported that ultimately, high cyber risk will not stop them from adopting emerging technology. So, how can we strike a balance? One way is to upskill. Human error is the leading cause of cyber breaches, according to our recent study. And that’s why upskilling is the best talent strategy to prepare for future cyber threats. Also – since an organization can’t put the genie back in the bottle and stop employees from experimenting with emerging tech, CISOs and CIOs need to update cyber training without hindering newfound productivity or innovation. This is an opportunity for the security and IT teams that are often behind the scenes to step out from the back office and collaborate with the rest of the enterprise in a way that helps everyone.

Four ways to embrace emerging technology with a cybersecurity mindset

4. Generative AI is shaking up the business world  

A young man and woman operating a tablet, in a dimly lit office - abstract bright yellow data surrounds them

The ability of generative artificial intelligence (AI) to convert user input into valuable deliverables is big business. Think custom code, data analysis and drafts of reports, for example. In fact, Forrester estimates spending on AI software will reach US$64 billion by 2025, even during a turbulent time when digital transformation is converging with labor market, economic and geopolitical uncertainty. But no single tool or solution can address the myriad of changes, challenges and potential opportunities facing the modern workforce. The race for talent is on; as organizations refine their approaches to flexibility in how and where work gets done, they also need to upskill, reskill, attract and retain the right people.  It’s not a question of when AI will affect how business is done, in any industry, but rather how prepared are organizations to maximize the technology for their clients and their employees, while keeping people at the center.

How artificial intelligence can augment a people-centered workforce

5. Education, education, education

The view of a classroom from the back row. A class of 20 children is being taught by a male teacher.

The first step towards meaningful change in anything is education – and this certainly applies to sustainability. A recent EY report found that while social media plays a significant role in educating younger generations about sustainability, they trust teachers and schools more for this information. With this in mind, corporations and NGOs should collaborate with schools to equip them with the tools to provide vital context, to the raft of social media information younger generations are exposed to. A practical example of this is the EY Future Skills Workshops. Collaborating with EY, Code.org and Microsoft, these have been established to help educate young people on sustainability topics not commonly taught in schools. Programmes like this help empower educators and students, so that they can critically evaluate information they encounter on social media. How else can business leaders and corporations play their part in delivering truly effective sustainability education, both inside and outside the classroom? Julie Teigland, EY EMEIA Area Managing Partner, shares five strategies. 

Why corporations, governments, NGOs and educators must all help deliver sustainability education

If you do one thing: 

As Mike Lee suggests, ask yourself: “What can I do differently today to embrace and learn about new technologies?”

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