Thinking Big by Casey Jones, CAPP

We often drive a lot during the holiday season to visit friends and family up north. If I’m not concentrating on fending off the 18-wheeler that seems to enjoy my lane more than his, these drives give me time to think. I spend at least some of the seven-hour trip reflecting on the passing year and gearing up for the next by setting my New Year’s resolutions. This year I went for working out more and of course, cutting out as many sugary treats as possible. iStock_000062256442_Large

As resolutions go, Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors came up with a big one for the coming year. Posted recently on a LinkedIn series about big ideas that will shape 2016, Barra offered that the coming year will be transformative in the way people get to and from their destinations. She identified three key areas for change and committed to leading the auto industry through the transformation. As parking professionals, it’s worth paying attention to what the world’s auto makers are focusing on this year and years to come. Barra’s key areas and the future focus for GM are: 1) shared mobility, 2) autonomous vehicles, and 3) alternative propulsion.

For marketing expert Michael Spencer, the most interesting topic for 2016 is the millennial generation. According to Spencer, understanding this age cohort is critical to successfully providing consumer goods and services. Because Millennials are the largest age cohort, they are first digital natives, they are omni-social and connected, they have less money to spend, they are encumbered by debt, and their values and preferences are different than other generations. In response, Spencer suggests having a good brand and optimizing it on social media; creating campaigns that relate to social good; having a “soul for sustainability;” and most interestingly, he suggests marketing your vulnerability since Millennials value quality and transparency.

It’s hard not to think of the future in any way without considering the impact of technology on our industry, our society, and perhaps even our very essence as humans. Ian Bremmer, president at Eurasia Group writes, “Almost everybody who talks about the rise of technology today focuses on automation and how it’s eliminating jobs quicker than they can be replaced; very few people focus on how technology is changing us, our identity, how we organize our lives. and coexist with one another. Nature vs. nurture has now become a triangle of nature vs. nurture vs. technology, and we know very little about how this third corner will shape us, in 2016 and beyond.”

Only time will tell if our resolutions or future predictions come true but it will be an exciting year by any measure. Think big.