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Fun predictions in 2024

2024 trends

Here’s what we predict for 2024… what about you? 

Published 5 January 2024 in 2024 trends • 15 min read

What can we expect to see over the coming year? IMD professors offer their expert predictions, and we invite you to join in.

We asked some of our best experts to cast their bets on the events that might unfold over the course of 2024 – in the full knowledge that anything can happen and often does. Will they be proved wonderfully right, or dreadfully wrong?

We’d like to know what you think, too. Take part in our survey responding yes/no to the statements below and if you get them all correct, we’ll reward your spectacular clairvoyance at the end of the year with a 12-month gift subscription to I by IMD. Winners will be notified by 10 January 2025.

"Prominent companies will order their employees to return to the office full-time, or almost full-time"

Robert Hooijberg

YES. Two reasons will drive this movement: one positive and one negative. The positive reason is that being in the office facilitates informal interactions in addition to the more formal ones. It’s these informal interactions that are key to collaboration, innovation, dedication, and building a cohesive culture. This doesn’t mean people have to be in the office five days a week, but a significant portion of the week. The negative reason is that some people have abused the opportunities of flexible working to contribute less or even hold more than one job. This is where the misbehavior of the few sadly punishes the many.

"There will be a banking crisis in China"

Arturo Bris

YES. With the Chinese economy’s disappointing recovery post-pandemic, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) reduced
the reserve requirement for commercial banks twice during 2023 (that’s six times since 2021!) to help increase their
interest margins. At the same time, private-sector debt and banking leverage have both increased significantly, two
advanced indicators of a potential banking crisis. Chinese banks’ solvency ratios are artificially subsidized by the
PBoC, so it is likely that a shock to the real economy (real estate crash, disappointing growth figures) will trigger a
house-of-cards bank run that will make the Credit Suisse fall insignificant by comparison. And, unlike Credit Suisse and
the SNB, the PBoC would be unable to bail out institutions that are individually more than five times
bigger.

The prosecutions of Donald Trump are intensifying partisan rancor over his campaign to retake the White House

"US President Joe Biden will be re-elected"

David Bach

YES, but barely, and after the most divisive US presidential campaign in history. Biden will win the popular vote easily, but the electoral college, which determines the outcome of the election, will be decided by fewer than 400,000 voters across five or six states. An improving economy, Trump’s various criminal trials, and fear of autocracy will ultimately help the almost 82-year-old squeak through. Trump and his supporters will cry foul, but the institutions will hold.

"Bitcoin will break its all-time high (US$ 69,045)"

JoséParra-Moyano

YES. The next Bitcoin halving (the moment at which the reward given to the miners for every mined block halves) will occur around April 2024. When this happens, only
3.125 (instead of 6.25) Bitcoins will be rewarded to a miner mining a new block. This will significantly reduce the speed at which the supply of Bitcoin increases… if the demand keeps growing at the same pace, the price should increase. But as any consultant would say: “Don’t consider this to be financial advice.”

"AI regulation will significantly progress"

Michael Wade

NO. Few, if any, of the major powers will enact legislation on responsible AI or AI safety in 2024. Their attention will be elsewhere, such as on elections (US, UK, India) or competitiveness of economic growth (European and developing economies). Indeed, there will be more of a legislative focus on pursuing AI expansion than regulation in 2024. However, AI’s dominance in the public discourse will outshine all individual human achievements this year. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if AI itself were crowned ‘Time’s Person of the Year’ for 2024. If so, this will be only the third time that a non-human receives this honor, after the personal computer in 1982 and planet Earth in 1988.
Bitcoin
“If the demand of Bitcoin keeps growing at the same pace, the price should increase.”
- José Parra-Moyano

"Apple and Microsoft will triumph"

Michael Wade

YES. By the end of 2024, Microsoft will have double the market cap of Google. Apple will likewise shine this year, whereas fellow digital giants Meta, Google, and Tesla will all struggle. Microsoft’s Azure server infrastructure is going to benefit from increased storage, application, and computing requirements, and it has a first-mover advantage via CoPilot and its partnership with OpenAI. I foresee it leveraging CoPilot to further dominate the automation and collaboration space. Apple has an obvious advantage in that it controls the full B2C stack – hardware (smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers), operating system (Apple OS), application marketplace (AppStore), apps, payments, and consumer data. This vertical integration puts it in a great position to create value through GenAI, and I expect a product release announcement in Q1 that leverages its powerful platform position.

"COP29 will tighten the language around phasing out fossil fuels"

Julia Binder

NO. The challenging compromise reached at COP28 in Dubai indicates that significant shifts in positions are improbable within just a year. Moreover, the next host country, Azerbaijan, a member of the OPEC + states, is economically reliant on fossil fuels, with oil and gas production constituting nearly half of its GDP and over 92.5% of its export revenue. Azerbaijan advocates for a “transitional approach” towards moving away from fossil fuels, openly favoring a gradual shift rather than an immediate phase-out. On a positive note, there is potential for some countries, particularly in the EU, to take more ambitious steps in the coming year to phase out fossil fuels. This could involve actions such as ending fossil fuel subsidies. Additionally, COP16 on Biodiversity in Colombia is expected to yield tangible results and advance resource mobilization for the Global Biodiversity

"Chinese car manufacturers will lead electric vehicle sales"

Howard Yu

YES. The Chinese EV market, vast and growing, is projected to sell 8.77 million EV units per year by 2028. Europe is trailing behind, with projections to sell only. China holds an additional advantage: they have control over key EV components, including producing 75% of the world’s lithium-ion batteries. That’s a reason why German car companies are expanding their manufacturing bases in China to access key technologies. All of this makes it plausible that Chinese manufacturers could sell more EVs than their European and American counterparts combined in 2024.

Carmakers have witnessed the meteoric rise of newer players like BYD and Xpeng as the industry pivots towards new capabilities such as chipset design, battery manufacturing, and software

"The UK’s Labour Party will campaign on a pledge of deeper EU integration"

Simon J Evenett

YES. Labour leader Keir Starmer has made it clear that he prioritizes rebuilding economic, security, and foreign policy ties with the EU. Starmer backs talks on a veterinary agreement mooted by the European Commission which would reduce border checks on animals and food. But there are limits to how far Starmer will go. Rejoining the Single Market won’t make it into Labour’s election manifesto. What makes this politically viable is the widespread perception that Brexit has been poorly handled by the Conservative government and the mounting evidence that small businesses in the UK are being squeezed out of EU markets because of red tape.

"Psychedelics will become a leadership development tool" 

Alyson Meister

NO. 2024 will see a growing interest and research in this area, but widespread adoption as a leadership tool is likely to be more gradual, awaiting legal changes, scientific validation, and shifts in corporate culture. The legal status of psychedelics poses a significant barrier to their mainstream adoption, and this is unlikely to drastically change this year. However, there’s a growing interest and investment in their therapeutic potential, especially given recent breakthroughs intreating mental health disorders such as PTSD and depression. Informally, more people are interested in their use for general self-development and well-being, which will spill over into the leadership development realm in the future. The acceptance of psychedelics in the business community, the availability of robust research proving their efficacy in enhancing cognitive and emotional skills, and overarching policy and education to regulate their safe use, and prevent misuse, are critical.

"The S&P 500 will reach a new record high"

Salvatore Cantale

YES. The S&P 500 reached its peak on 3 January 2022. At the time of writing (3 January 2024), exactly two years after that event, the S&P 500 is at 4,742,26 – or some 1% less than two years ago. Although 2024 will be a tricky year (the presidential elections in the US and the difficult situation in the Middle East are elements that might play a role in the performance of the stock market), on the other side, the potential of AI and the effects of the so-long expected reduction in interest rates make me believe that the 4,742,26 barrier will be passed and the S&P 500 will reach a new record high. I doubt, however, that 2024 will be such a strong year as it was 2023. In 2023, in fact, the S&P 500 rose about 24%, and most Wall Street analysts believe that in 2024 the Index will have a high one-digit increase.

Switzerland face a tricky path en route to the knockouts stage as the Nati will face Scotland, Hungary, and the three-time European champions Germany

"Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) will become the monetary news of 2024"

Arturo Bris

YES. It is very likely that the SEC will authorize ETFs in Bitcoin and other decentralized/unregulated cryptocurrencies. While pushing the prices of these tokens up, they will not replace traditional fiat currencies. However, CBDCs, which have been piloted in several countries including China, Switzerland, and Australia, will be the center of attention in the crypto space and will trigger a good array of media and academic articles, interest by executives, and be the center of new banking products. In the absence of a good theory on how fiat currencies will live together with CBDCs, they will be a key topic of research by financial and monetary economists in 2024.

"Switzerland will win the UEFA Euro 2024 tournament"

Stefan Michel

NO. The Swiss national men’s football team (German: Schweizer Fussballnationalmannschaft, or “Nati”, Italian: Nazionale di calcio della Svizzera, French: Équipe nationale suisse de football, Romansh: Squadra naziunala da ballape da la Svizra) will play in Group 1 against Germany, Scotland, and Hungary. The odds of Switzerland winning the tournament are currently at 1:5 to 1:8, with the odds of reaching the quarterfinals at just over 1:4. The Nati is trending positive: it did not qualify in 2012, advanced to “Best of 16” in 2016, and reached the quarterfinals in 2021. I predict that Switzerland will not win the tournament but will play the last game around 29 June to 2 July, when the Round of 16 is scheduled. It is not impossible that lost Swiss players have already booked their family vacation starting on 3 July. More importantly, will Marco Odermatt win the Ski Alpine World Cup again? This matters for three reasons: One, skiing is part of our identity. Two, if Odermatt wins, Austria can only be second. And three, Switzerland is all about productivity. We always prefer a job well done by one man in two minutes to overpaying 11 men for 1.5 hours.

Tie-breaker question: How many goals will the Swiss football team score overall in Euro 2024?

Authors

Robert Hooijberg

Professor of Organizational Behaviour at IMD

Robert Hooijberg is Professor of Organizational Behavior at IMD. His areas of special interest are leadership, negotiations, team building, digital transformation, and organizational culture. Before joining IMD in September 2000, Professor Hooijberg taught at Rutgers University in their MBA and Executive MBA programs in New Jersey, Singapore, and Beijing. He is Program Director of the Breakthrough Program for Senior Executives and the Negotiating for Value Creation course.

Arturo Bris

Arturo Bris

Professor of Finance at IMD

Arturo Bris is Professor of Finance at IMD. Since January 2014, he has led the world-renowned IMD World Competitiveness Center. At IMD, Bris directs the Boards and Risks, Strategic Finance, and Navigating Fintech Innovation and Disruption programs. He also previously directed the flagship Advanced Strategic Management program between 2009 and 2013.

David Bach

David Bach

Professor of Strategy and Political Economy, and Dean of Innovation and Programs. IMD

An expert in strategy and political economy, David Bach is Professor of Strategy and Political Economy, Rio Tinto Chair in Stakeholder Engagement, and Dean of Innovation and Programs. He will assume the Presidency of IMD on 1 September 2024. He is also the Program Director of IMD’s Shaping the Business Environment for Sustainability program. Through his award-winning teaching and writing, Bach helps managers and senior executives develop a strategic lens for the nexus of business and politics.

José Parra-Moyano

José Parra Moyano

Professor of Digital Strategy

José Parra Moyano is Professor of Digital Strategy. He focuses on the management and economics of data and privacy and how firms can create sustainable value in the digital economy. An award-winning teacher, he also founded his own successful startup, was appointed to the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community of young people driving change, and was named on the Forbes ‘30 under 30’ list of outstanding young entrepreneurs in Switzerland. At IMD, he teaches in a variety of programs, such as the MBA and Strategic Finance programs, on the topic of AI, strategy, and Innovation.

Michael Wade - IMD Professor

Michael R. Wade

Professor of Innovation and Strategy at IMD

Michael R Wade holds the TONOMUS Chair in Digital Business Transformation and is Director of IMD’s Global Center for Digital Business Transformation. He directs a number of open programs such as Leading Digital Business Transformation, Digital Transformation for Boards, Leading Digital Execution, and the Digital Transformation Sprint. He has written ten books, hundreds of articles, and hosts a popular management podcast. In 2021, he was inducted into the Swiss Digital Shapers Hall of Fame.

Julia Binder

Julia Binder

Professor of Sustainable innovation and Business Transformation at IMD

Julia Binder, Professor of Sustainable Innovation and Business Transformation, is a renowned thought leader recognized on the 2022 Thinkers50 Radar list for her work at the intersection of sustainability and innovation. As Director of IMD’s Center for Sustainable and Inclusive Business, Binder is dedicated to leveraging IMD’s diverse expertise on sustainability topics to guide business leaders in discovering innovative solutions to contemporary challenges. At IMD, Binder serves as Program Director for Creating Value in the Circular Economy and teaches in key open programs including the Advanced Management Program (AMP), Transition to Business Leadership (TBL), TransformTech (TT), and Leading Sustainable Business Transformation (LSBT). She is involved in the school’s EMBA and MBA programs, and contributes to IMD’s custom programs, crafting transformative learning journeys for clients globally.

Howard Yu - IMD Professor

Howard H. Yu

LEGO® Chair Professor of Management and Innovation at IMD

Howard Yu, hailing from Hong Kong, holds the title of LEGO® Professor of Management and Innovation at IMD. He leads the Center for Future Readiness, founded in 2020 with support from the LEGO Brand Group, to guide companies through strategic transformation. Recognized globally for his expertise, he was honored in 2023 with the Thinkers50 Strategy Award, recognizing his substantial contributions to management strategy and future readiness. At IMD, Howard directs the Strategy for Future Readiness and Business Growth Strategies programs.

Simon Evenett

Simon J. Evenett

Professor of International Trade and Economic Development at the University of St. Gallen

Simon J. Evenett is currently a Professor of Economics at the University of St. Gallen and on 1 August 2024 will join the Faculty at IMD. He is also  Co-Chair of the WEF’s Global Council on Trade & Investment and the Founder of the St. Gallen Endowment for Prosperity Through Trade, home of two of the leading independent monitors of how governments shape international business.

Alyson Meister - IMD Professor

Alyson Meister

Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at IMD

Alyson Meister is Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior and Director of the Future Leaders program at IMD Business School. Specializing in the development of globally oriented, adaptive, and inclusive organizations, she has worked with executives, teams, and organizations from professional services to industrial goods and technology. She also serves as co-chair of One Mind at Work’s Scientific Advisory Committee, with a focus on advancing mental health in the workplace. Follow her on Twitter: @alymeister.

Salvatore Cantale - IMD Professor

Salvatore Cantale

Professor of Finance at IMD

Salvatore Cantale is Professor of Finance at IMD. His major research and consulting interests are in value creation, valuation, and the way in which corporations structure liabilities and choose financing options. Additionally, he is interested in the relation between finance and leadership, and in the leadership role of the finance function. He directs the Finance for Boards, Business Finance, and the Strategic Finance programs as well as the Driving Sustainability from the Boardroom program and the newly designed Bank Governance program.

 

Stefan Michel

Stefan Michel

Professor of Marketing and Strategy, IMD

Professor Stefan Michel‘s primary research interests are AI’s impact on strategy, pricing, and customer-centricity. He wrote 13 books, numerous award-winning articles and ranks among the top 40 bestselling case-study authors worldwide by The Case Centre. He is the Program Director of IMD’s Strategic Thinking program. This new 8-week online program with 1-1 coaching helps you to become a better strategist while working on a concrete strategic initiative for your organization. 

 

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