The Fourth Industrial Revolution is creating enterprise opportunities at a staggering rate. The impact of technology on global business has opened the door to business model innovation, redistribution of talent, new forms of stakeholder management and massive market expansion. Concurrently, these changes are having their own effect on the structures of firms and entire industries. During the past decade, as technological convergence has moved progressively forward, rapidly rising companies have astonished the global public with their ability to expand and scale at a pace that was previously unknown. From this phenomenon, the term “hypergrowth” was coined.
As a constituent phenomenon of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, hypergrowth has become part of the new normal. The 1990s and 2000s saw the rapid rise of internet giants, but as software and computing technology have supportively reinforced the progress in other domains, we are now seeing data analytics, machine learning and platform opportunities that are only the beginning as entire industries undergo transformation. Hypergrowth is a result of this ongoing process, the disruptive technologies and the new business models they make possible, and the opportunities to scale for global markets or markets that were heretofore unreachable or non-existent.
Hypergrowth is a relatively new phenomenon and it makes sense that it should be popularized in the public sphere by start-ups showcasing their new technologies, platforms and business models. Nevertheless, hypergrowth does not belong solely to the new kids on the block. As a consequence of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the foundations for hypergrowth opportunities are available to businesses of every region and industry as well as to industry disruptors and industry stalwarts. Not only are young firms finding themselves with massive multibillion dollar valuations within four to five years of their founding but also firms that are over 100 years old are poised to create staggering revenues with new technologies and business models.
Industry-watchers have traditionally considered growth rates as key indicators of ultimate enterprise success. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has added layers of complexity to this indicator as more and more companies rise so rapidly and attain stratospheric valuations. In addition, many companies are finding it hard to take advantage of the new opportunities, disruptive competition and technological pace of change. Companies are curious as to how the future landscape of enterprise will evolve and how to provide value for themselves and their stakeholders. In this future landscape, hypergrowth and innovation seem to go hand in hand.
Mastering Hypergrowth is an initiative of the World Economic Forum and its Partner and Member communities. In the past nine months, nearly 200 companies offered their words, data, knowledge, experiences, assistance, time and more to contribute to this project. We would like to express our gratitude for their contributions and acknowledge their input, without which this project would not have been possible. Contributing companies issued from all continents and nearly all industries with which the World Economic Forum works. In addition to the many firms from Silicon Valley that provided their time and input, we also sought to understand hypergrowth from a global and cross-industry perspective and received invaluable data from firms around the world.
This “report” is not simply a report. As the Forum itself has transitioned to a paperless organization, we have sought a “digital first” strategy for all the project outputs. This project will be disseminated in its original content via the Forum’s official website and blog. In addition, related content from the Forum’s digital platform will be included. For convenience, a summary report that aggregates the digital content will be available in PDF format by the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2016 in June.
The Mastering Hypergrowth project showcases the challenges, solutions and many exciting examples of how hypergrowth companies think, operate and manage both internal and external variables. One of our key findings in this project is that hypergrowth companies have truly different priorities in comparison with more sustainably growing firms. In hypergrowth, a different set of priorities sets the management team apart. Many companies face similar challenges, but it is approach and delivery of solutions that matter. Hypergrowth firms excel not only in managing the approach and delivery but also in learning from what they’ve done. This project will share many of these learnings with recognition of their relevance to the Forum’s business, political, academic and civil stakeholders.
The World Economic Forum has conducted the Mastering Hypergrowth project in collaboration with EY. As a Strategic Partner of the Forum, EY has contributed its resources and expertise to this project. We also jointly want to express our gratitude to the guidance provided by the Global Growth Companies advisory board and Forum Member Advisers.
World Economic Forum
Head of Business Engagement
Chair, Global Accounts Committee & Global Vice Chair, Markets
World Economic Forum
Thomas D. Philbeck
Global Leadership Fellow
Director, seconded to the Forum