PwC just announced a new strategy, The New Equation. At the heart of the strategy is a simple idea: that our societies and our clients need trust and sustained outcomes in combination with one another more than they ever have. This blog post addresses the trust side of that premise and the next one will be about sustained outcomes.

Trust has been around as an idea and a key aspect of business for a long time; the accounting profession was built on the creation of trust. So, why does PwC need a new strategy, one half of which emphasizes the…

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
Open, locks,
Whoever knocks!

(Macbeth: IV.i 10–11; 18–19; 44–47)

As a child I loved Macbeth. It was the one play by Shakespeare that had enough in it to keep me entertained as a child. The witch’s scene from which this set of quotes was taken is the part that I found particularly entrancing. Not only was it visually and verbally engaging it also set the scene for…

ADAPT is even more relevant in the COVID-19 world

In 2017 our team identified a set of urgent challenges the world was confronting and captured our findings in the framework called ADAPT (Asymmetry, Disruption, Age, Polarization, and Trust). Since then we have seen the framework evolve and be applied at many different levels of analysis: for nations, industries, organizations and individuals.

As some of you know we have been working on the gritty issues the world is dealing with for the last year or so. And, you have patiently read some of the associated material. We have just published the article which I believe best captures the core ideas and sense of urgency we feel about the topic. It is the piece of work I am most proud of writing in years. I hope you find it provokes ideas for you like working on it has for me.

You can access the article here:

Reinventing Britain by leveraging what makes it Great

As I described in my previous blog posts, the set of urgent global issues that PwC framed under the acronym ADAPT — asymmetry, disruption, age, populism and trust — will present serious challenges for nations and their education systems. The picture painted by those challenges can seem dark, but it also contains opportunities, for those who can see them and can understand the benefits of a new role the world needs them to play. …

A lot of my writing recently has been dedicated to the lack of quality of leadership in the world. People from all walks of life continue to wonder if we have the leaders we need to help us through these very challenging times. Is it that the ability to nurture and identify leaders suddenly disappeared, that people are being much more demanding than before, or have the demands on leaders changed?

Because of the extreme issues organizations, cities and countries are facing (we identify them under the acronym ADAPT) leaders need to exhibit a completely different set of capabilities.


As we become more affluent the birth rate slows and people live longer. The net result is that we are getting older. However, the aging process has two quite distinct modes. Most of what we used to call the developed world is in a stage where a large swath of people are entering retirement age, while most of the developing world has a massive proportion of its population about to enter the workforce. For example, Japan has a median age of 47.3 and Germany 47.1 , while Niger and Uganda have median ages of 15.4 and 15.8, respectively (The World…

In my last blog post I outlined the impact of Asymmetry on our education system going forward. This is the second post in the ADAPT for Education series, and will focus on the effects of Disruption. Disruption entails the dramatic shift in business models and employment arising from the adoption of new technologies. There is a high degree of interest in this topic arising from issues around the future of work and its implications for skills development and loss of work. This post will address this challenge as it relates to what it means for the design of educational institutions…

Photo courtesy: T20 Argentina.

I first presented my approach to reshaping education during the T20 Inception Workshop in Argentina. Our involvement with the T20 is based on our belief in the need to realign business, economies, and society. Understanding how we can better educate for the future is one of the fundamental elements of the path we suggest to design a world that is more equitable for all.

The world has become significantly wealthier over the last few decades which has both elevated millions of people out of poverty and created people with obscene levels of wealth. However, in the same time period, those…

During my visit to the Sberbank Corporate University campus in Russia, I was asked to share more on PwC’s work in the area of purpose with respect to organizations and society.

Here is the video with my answers covering:

  • The concept of Common purpose
  • The relationship between organizational purpose and an organization’s business model
  • The role of management in driving purpose
  • How purpose connects to strategy and culture
The video was recorded in June 2017 at the Sberbank Corporate University Campus in Moscow, Russia.

You can learn more by reading my strategy+business article authored with Colm Kelly: Common Purpose: Realigning Business, Economies, and Society.

Blair Sheppard

Global Leader for Strategy & Leadership @PwC, Dean Emeritus of @DukeFuqua, founder & former CEO of @DukeCE. Educator, grandpa, Blue Devil. Views are my own.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store