The New Logic of Competition

Master the New Logic of Competition

Winning the ’20s

Business leaders used to be able to plan and predict. They knew what industry they were in and who their rivals were. But now they find themselves in a world of blurring industry boundaries, shrinking product and company lifespans, disruptive technologies, and economic and geopolitical uncertainty. To succeed in the 2020s, traditional competitive strategy won’t always help. The game of business competition is moving to a new arena, calling on companies to compete in entirely new ways.

Multiple Trends Will Define Business Competition in the ’20s

Learning for Competitive Advantage

The combination of business ecosystems, big data, machine learning, and automated decision making is accelerating the rate at which companies can learn. By combining people and technology in new ways, companies can avoid the “average trap” and gain a competitive advantage by learning faster than their rivals about customers’ changing needs.


Competing on the Rate of Learning

Algorithms learn in milliseconds. Humans grasp trends that unfold over decades. Companies can develop winning competitive strategies by combining human and machine intelligence operating on radically different timescales.


A Bad Time to Be Average

In an age of declining growth, being average is not good enough. Exceptional companies set unreasonable expectations and go beyond just satisfying their customers.

The Resilience Imperative

The business environment in the coming decade will continue to be uncontrollable and unpredictable. Economic, technological, and political uncertainty will be the norm. How can business leaders create robust competitive strategies in such conditions? By looking to biology for lessons on resilience and adaptation. Biological systems avoid becoming victims of change by relying on six characteristics:

Tap the Potential of New Technologies


The Big Leap Toward AI at Scale

Companies are encountering the “AI paradox”: it is deceptively easy to launch projects with AI but fiendishly hard to reach scale.

The Ecosystem Era

The ability to build, manage, and collaborate in complex business ecosystems will be a major source of competitive advantage in the decade ahead.


83% of digital ecosystems involve partners from more than three industries.

Sources: Factiva; BCG analysis.


The most successful digital ecosystems have about 40 partners.

Sources: Factiva; BCG analysis.


The Emerging Art of Ecosystem Management

Many companies are building or joining collaborative networks. The challenge is how to effectively set up and manage these ecosystems and use them strategically to maximize value—and gain a competitive edge.


Winning the ’20s

How should leaders prepare their companies to thrive in the new decade?

Industry Spotlights

No industry is immune to the forces that are transforming business and society. Companies of all kinds are figuring out how to adapt to a new logic of business competition, create opportunity from uncertainty, and prepare to thrive in the 2020s amid yet more change.


The Traditional Model of Competition Has Changed

BCG managing director and senior partner Ryoji Kimura explains how increasing complexity is upending traditional models of business competition.

Winning the '20s