We are not going back to the ‘normal’ we had before, however much certain industries or businesses may want to. Beyond the immediate and perhaps long-term health implications of the virus, lie the certainty of a deep recession or depression, shifting industry structures and hugely impacted human behaviours and expectations. The assumptions we were operating on in a pre-COVID-19 world were already straining at the seams, with sustainability, changing consumer wants, uncertain global norms all demanding change, not to mention the friction from advanced technologies with legacy business, political and economic systems.
Some of the changes underway will be turbocharged by the pandemic, some possibly reversed and whole new dimensions of risk, change and uncertainty introduced.
Uncertainty is at present our only reliable indicator; for many this is profoundly uncomfortable, but it does allow us – or even compel us – to reexamine how we do things and even what it is that we do.
In the post-COVID world, notions of resiliency will change and likely become more systemic. If history teaches us one thing it is that crises – both economic and social – are inflection points from which new ideas, new companies and new industries emerge.
This crisis will be no different yet the tools, mindset and opportunities to build new services and industries are now more widely spread than perhaps any time in history. Industries from banking to manufacturing and construction to law are likely to see lasting shifts in how business is conducted as well as more deep-seated to what it means to be a professional in such an industry. Depending on the industry, we could see an acceleration of existing trends, a prolonged pause, or even a full reversal. At times we could see all three concurrently.
As Yogi Berra once said “The future ain’t what it used to be”.
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