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‘Techtonic States’ BDO’s 2026 Strategic Planning Framework

Report | Jan 26, 2024

BDO report tectonic states - 'Techtonic States' BDO's 2026 Strategic Planning Framework

Image: BDO Digital

BDO Digital published a new report called 'Techtonic States - How Technology Will Make Or Break Business Success' to help scenario plan for the future

The report was based on scenario planning and opinion research with 500 business leaders and is a thought leadership framework to help businesses, especially those in the mid-market sector, with strategic planning amidst a world filled with uncertainty.  BDO envisions that by 2026 there will be four distinct outcomes or 'worlds' that CEOs and leaders must grasp and mitigate to remain resilient in the years to come and the role that technology plays in shaping business success in all scenarios.  A major finding is that technology, particularly AI, is seen as a critical enabler for business strategy. 81% of leaders say their organization will only survive with significant technological innovation, and every $1 of additional tech investment could boost revenue by over $18.

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The analysis identifies two critical axes shaping future scenarios: technological progress (ranging from human to AI-dominated tech) and market conditions/business models (varying from collaboration to fragmentation).  These axes lead to four potential business worlds: World Accelerated, World Sustained, World Fragmented, and World Divided, each with unique characteristics and implications for businesses.

What is the Techtonic States Framework?

This framework is primarily designed for business leaders, strategists, and planners, particularly in the mid-market sector. It serves as a guide to understanding how different technological and market conditions could shape the business environment.  The Techtonic States framework presents four distinct scenarios for the future of business, each rooted in the interplay of technology progress and market conditions. These are:

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  1. World Accelerated: A future where AI and technology drive rapid productivity and industry transformation, underpinned by collaboration and aligned business networks.
  2. World Sustained: Characterized by human-centric technology with gradual evolution and variable productivity gains.
  3. World Fragmented: Envisions deeply fragmented markets and supply chains, with a focus on human-driven technology.
  4. World Divided: Depicts an East-West geopolitical divide, with AI-dominated technology and fragmented markets.

Strategic Planning with the Techtonic States

  • By considering each of the four scenarios (scenario analysis), companies can develop flexible strategies that prepare them for a range of potential futures. This foresight is crucial in a world where technological and market dynamics are increasingly unpredictable.
  • The framework emphasizes the critical role of technology, especially AI, in business strategy. It encourages businesses to invest in technology not just as a tool, but as a core component of their growth strategy.
  • With technology at the forefront, the framework also highlights the importance of ethical considerations and cybersecurity in the digital age. Companies are encouraged to integrate these aspects into their strategic planning.

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  • The Techtonic States framework stresses the importance of aligning organizational culture with technology. Businesses are urged to foster a culture that embraces change, and invest in upskilling their workforce to leverage technological advancements effectively.
  • Each scenario presents unique risks and opportunities. By understanding these, businesses can develop more robust risk management strategies, enhancing their resilience no matter what the future holds.


By understanding and preparing for these four potential worlds, companies can strive to make more informed decisions, stay agile, and maintain a competitive edge while they try to get some sleep at night.

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