State of my Industry: 80+ Influencers on Where Business is Heading [INFOGRAPHIC]

March 25, 2014


This post is part of a series in which LinkedIn Influencers analyze the state and future of their industry. Read all the posts here.

Not every industry lives under the same sky. In print media or retail, there are whole websites dedicated to adding up layoff announcements. Meanwhile, mobile development or advanced manufacturing are so hungry for talent, you can get a 5-figure bonus just for referring a new hire. Some industries wither and with them the entire cities they built; others you've never heard of became multibillion-dollar activities in a matter of years.

We asked our Influencers – top CEOs, analysts and other thought leaders in all realms of business – to describe the state of their industry, what the present looks like and what the future holds. Their assessments varied from urgent pleas to fervent odes, but they all agreed on one thing: no industry today looks the way it did a decade ago and none will look the same a decade from now. The only constant, as the saying goes, is change.

Technology is the great disruptor. It has, for instance, transformed America's energy outlook. Ten years ago, SunEdison founder Jigar Shah had to bang on doors to convince anyone to install solar panels. Now technological progress has helped solar make economic sense – and Jigar Shah make his point. And \"how wrong we were\" about peak oil, writes BP Capital chairman and CEO T. Boone Pickens. \"With stunning technological advances – chiefly the combination of fracking and horizontal drilling – we now have more energy reserves that any other nation on earth. (...) If you want to blame that industry for anything, blame it for creating too many jobs.\" (To debate environmental as well as economic consequences, please refer to T. Boone's post.) Jobs abound too in global security and aerospace, according to Marillyn Hewson, chair and CEO of Lockheed Martin. \"Mach 6 aircraft that could fly from New York to Tokyo in 90 minutes; lasers straight out of science fiction that could defend our cities; space capsules that will one day take us to asteroids, back to the moon, and to Mars.\" That's what her industry is working on.

Of course, technology isn't all flying cars and cheap energy. It's also had a profound, sometimes painful impact on business models. \"For the average retailer, this disruption looks threatening. Retailers are born and raised to hold a reverence for their physical store,\" Bill McComb, former CEO of Fifth