The room was buzzing with ideas, when inspiring “opportuneurs” met in Oslo on June 5th. The Opportunity Panel Oslo was about to turn global risks into opportunities. The participants were eager to share their insights and experiences with us and the other panelists. There was a can-do attitude and great confidence that concrete opportunities would be crafted.
In November 2015, we asked 6.500 business leaders around the world to evaluate the 15 opportunities we had identified. Overall, the respondents in Europe were the least positive. Respondents in China and India were more confident that the opportunities would be put into practice and bring their countries closer to a more sustainable future.
Humans are risk-averse by nature – we need a push to go for new opportunities. A panelist at the Oslo Global Opportunity Panel suggested that business leaders in Europe might be less enthusiastic to pursue new opportunities because businesses in Europe have more to lose. On top of that, high uncertainty still exists among many European businesses – it may not be the right time for business to pursue new opportunities.
What then will make business pursue opportunities, which will bring the world on a more sustainable path? At the panel in Oslo there was a preference for opportunities holding potential for business. By the end of the workshop, the panelists voted for the most promising opportunity among those identified and developed during the process.
Two opportunities were clear favorites – both providing benefits for society and being actionable: The most preferred opportunity of the day was the development of an integrated transport system to address the risk of accelerating transport emissions. Cars should not be owned but transport is booked like a service. An integrated transport system could combine different modes of transportation – i.e. busses, (driverless) cars, bikes – in one system, which could be used by private customers and businesses alike to move goods and people from A to B.
The runner up opportunity of the day was the introduction of protein-rich plant-based meat replacements to human diets. The good example of this opportunity already exists. The American company BeyondMeat produces chicken, beef and burger alternatives out of plant-based protein.
Our survey has shown that European business leaders seem to be hesitant to invest in new opportunities. However, at the panel in Oslo we saw that there are opportunities out there that support sustainable development and a business case. We can identify them, if we just stick our heads together like the panelists did in Oslo.
Oslo panelist Serine Jonassen (@SerineJ): “Opportunity leadership is transforming sustainability to profitability”.