These are strange and uncertain times. And, the key question that has been top of mind for most leaders in government and in business is what the post-COVID19 economy will look like. Slowly, but surely a new reality will emerge.
Let’s be clear. Without a coronavirus vaccine, life and business will not return to pre-COVID times any time soon. And, as the global economy struggles to recover, collectively we are facing a most brutal recession in living memory.
Certain sectors of the economy have already been devastated and may well emerge much smaller. The travel and tourism sector is particularly hard hit, with repercussions for actors throughout the value-chain – from airlines to hotels and cruise lines, venues and events, airports and air navigation services, and the various OEMs and suppliers to the industry.
Ironically, what environmental activists and policymakers have been calling for over the last decade – a more sustainable and environmentally-responsible path to economic growth – nature has delivered, and in dramatic fashion.
We Are at An Inflection Point
But more significantly, the current crisis is shining a light on an inflection point that has been hiding in plain sight for some time. And that is that the pandemic is accelerating the changes digitalization had already been bringing about.
Online collaboration and e-commerce platforms have seen spectacular growth. And as in-person interaction will prove to be difficult, remote and virtual services will gain wider acceptance, which in turn will accelerate the emerging and enabling technologies in the fields of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR), robotics and autonomous vehicles, quantum computing and artificial intelligence (AI), block chain, industrial IoT, and 5G wireless communications that will bring this about.
This will reshape the way in which we work, how we learn, keep in touch, and shop for essentials. The longer the pre-recovery phase will last, the more new technologies, and indeed new behaviours, will become manifest. This has significant implications for markets and for business.
The concept of an inflection point – a moment in time when the fundamentals of business are about to change irrevocably – was made famous by former-CEO of Intel Andy Grove in his book Only the Paranoid Survive.
This change can either mean an opportunity to rise to new heights or signal the beginning of the end for a business.
It is therefore a time to reflect on your business fundamentals.
The nine questions you should be asking to help guide you through inflection points:
- Do we have a clearly defined and understood purpose that will guide us through uncertain times?
- How engaged is the workforce around the purpose? What about our customers, partners and suppliers?
- How diverse are our perspectives in thinking about the future?
- How exposed are we to the future that is unfolding today? What leading indicators have we identified?
- How resilient and prepared are we for a future that will emerge? Is our organization agile enough to take on new opportunities?
- What are our blind spots, and do we have a means to identify them? Are our assumptions still valid?
- How connected are we to the edge of the organization, so that we can better read the market?
- What is it about doing business with us that customers love? And, that customers hate?
- Are we getting the candid feedback we need to make informed decisions?