10 CEOs Make Predictions For The Future Of Business In 2016

From more transparency to more streaming video and honesty in marketing, 10 leaders tell us what they think the next year has in store.

2016 is already being called the a “year of change.” So what changes are on the horizon? We got some insights from 10 leaders and here’s what they predict for 2016.


1. More Female Founders

–Sallie Krawcheck, CEO of Ellevest

More women are finding an entrepreneurial spirit, with many doing it later in life, says Sallie Krawcheck, CEO of Ellevest, investment resource provider for women.

“[There is] a growing recognition that it’s not just one or two or three female entrepreneurs who can be successful, as in the old days of one-seat-at-the-table-for-a-woman in corporate America,” she told LinkedIn. “Instead, there is room for the pie to grow and for us lift each other up.”


2. A Focus On Corporate Transparency

–Avinoam Nowogrodski, CEO of Clarizen

Controversies at companies like Volkswagen are driving big companies to rethink transparency, says Avinoam Nowogrodski, CEO of project management software provider Clarizen.

“More enterprises will embrace a ‘sense and respond’ leadership style rather than ‘command and control,’” he says. “The emergence of in-context collaboration will power this workplace transparency, as knowledge shifts from specific individuals to being shared among all employees.”


3. Tech Companies Will Drive The Economy

— Sheeroy Desai, CEO and co-founder of Gild

While some analysts are predicting 2016 will be a dud when it comes to the economy, Sheeroy Desai, CEO and co-founder of hiring software provider Gild, feels bullish.

“In 2016, we will see the U.S. economy continue to expand and grow stronger,” he says. “In particular, we’ll see that the tech economy will pick up steam and more ‘unicorns’ emerge, along with hearing more talk about a tech bubble. There will also be more exits in tech through increased merger and acquisition activity and more IPOs.”


4. An Increased Emphasis On Innovation

— Dan Lee, director of NextDesk

Innovation is changing the business landscape at warp speed, and Dan Lee, director of smart desk manufacturer NextDesk, says companies must shift the way they operate if they are to survive. “What used to be called ‘transformation’ is now more like transmutation,” he says. “Companies that were able to prosper by moving at a deliberate and slow pace will be extinct within as little as five years. Those companies that stay on the cutting edge of innovation will direct where we are going.”

5. Live Video Takes Hold

–Gwen Jimmere, CEO Naturalicious


YouTube is a great marketing tool, but in 2016 more business owners will connect with customers using live video platforms like Periscope and Meerkat, says Gwen Jimmere, CEO of natural hair care product manufacturer Naturalicious. “Small businesses have hopped on the bandwagon,” she says. “But big brands aren’t doing it yet, and they’re missing a huge opportunity to convert sales. Periscope is one of our main social media tools; it helps us make sales and build real, solid relationships with customers who become like friends.”

6. Better Mobile Content

— Juliet Daum, Executive Director, Communication & Marketing, University of Virginia Darden School of Business

Mobile technology is taking over, and it will dominate in 2016, says Juliet Daum, Executive Director, Communication & Marketing, University of Virginia Darden School of Business.


“We use smartphones, tablets, and wearable gadgets to get things done, to seek and share information, and to explore new ideas and places–often while on the go,” she told Forbes. “The brands that thrive in 2016 will be those that excel at capturing customers’ attention and trust by delivering the right content, in the right dose, at the right moment, informed by the right data.”

7. Marketing Will Embrace Honesty

–Anne Pritz, CMO for Sbarro

Gone are the days of creative liberties; transparency in brand marketing is paramount, says Anne Pritz, CMO for fast food restaurant Sbarro. “Consumers expect–no demand–honesty in all marketing efforts and believe in brands that ‘tell it like it is,’” she told Forbes. “So stick to the facts and seamlessly integrate these facts into your advertising. Communicate openly and make it extremely easy for guests to have a two-way conversation with you in real time.”


8. More Tech That “Talks”

–Nihal Parthasarathi, CEO and cofounder of CourseHorse

Automated feedback technologies and services will become more important in 2016, says Nihal Parthasarathi, CEO and co-founder of the learning opportunity website CourseHorse. “From medical devices that connect to your phone and alert you when to take your pills, to mobile apps that remind you when you need to stock up on essentials, to health and wellness apps that help you form new habits, we are going to see a huge wave of consumer-adoption technologies that help us shoulder the burden of personal responsibility,” he says.

9. A Growing Demand For Gigs

–Jeff Shane, CEO of reference checking company Allison & Taylor


More people will be looking for short or part-time stints instead of full-time jobs, says Jeff Shane, CEO of reference checking company Allison & Taylor.

“Professionals are increasingly choosing freelance jobs in order to gain more control over their lives, have flexibility, and be their own boss,” he says. “The rise of this trend is attributed to many factors, including increased access to technology, the impact of the recession, and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act that has imposed new costs on employers. The ‘gig economy’ has allowed employers to hire on-demand, lower cost talent and has given rise to entrepreneurial entities such as Uber.”

10. More Diversification

–Jennefer Witter, CEO of The Boreland Group


Terrorism, the presidential election, and the federal government’s interest rate hike are combining to make 2016 a year of uncertainty, says Jennefer Witter, CEO of the public relations firm The Boreland Group. “CEOs are going to be looking for additional streams of revenue,” she says. “They will be opening new divisions and offering new services–something to bring in additional money outside of their primary area of business, so if there is a temporary dip in the economy or their industry sector, the additional money will help provide a cushion.”

Related: What’s The Future Of Innovation?