How Will Coronavirus Change The World?

how will coronavirus change the world
The events which are unfolding across the world mean that post coronavirus, the world will never be the same again. Is this a good or a bad thing?

At a superficial level we have shown that if we stop driving, taking planes and in some cases manufacturing, we can actually reduce the number of toxic emissions in the air. It still leaves us with a whole load of problems to solve but it demonstrates that it CAN be done.

The coronavirus is affecting just about everyone on the planet, it is a major disruption. So will things return to normal after this?

The answer is most definitely not, but why? Well a number of things have been observed such as:

  • People being more caring towards those around them (mostly)
  • The mood of the people is playing a big part – do they want more restrictions or are they happy with what governments are doing
  • Some companies have shown that it is possible to be incredibly flexible
  • There are vast untapped resources of knowledge and expertise in our communities
  • Forced remote working can have huge benefits
  • The media can have a huge effect on the people

By and large, there have been plentiful supplies of food despite panic buying and some holdups in the supply chain. When it became obvious that there WAS enough to go round, we (in the UK at least) became British once more and queued peacefully.

Some questioned what the government and the police were doing but by and large, the people gave them a smack over the head!

So collectively we entered survival mode, realising that we had to get on in order to survive. Ignoring neighbours and panic buying food was not going to work long term.

So many of us would like to be able to work from home more (if not permanently). Just think if online shopping was cheaper and easier, we could create more leisure time for ourselves. What our UK government described as non-essential shopping would probably form the bulk of our shopping in the future.

Well, that is people taken care of but what about businesses? All businesses are in trouble right now but it should be survival of the fittest. Let us not subsidise poor businesses. For instance, airlines that treat customers badly and have poor service offerings might find themselves at the mercy of those who treat people better.

In the case of our own domestic supermarkets, those that took action early to adapt and look after vulnerable people will have a much-enhanced reputation when all this is over.

I have heard it said that the coronavirus spells the end of globalisation. I do not believe that this is so. The current globalisation is ‘globalisation of greed’, making profits anywhere and exploiting countries and their populations.

It is impossible for any country to be self-sufficient in everything so we will all have to ‘play nicely’ and there will be ‘globalisation of cooperation’ with know-how (rather than toilet rolls) being valued as a commodity.

Many businesses will be able to carry on, maybe with changes to their products and services. After all, we still require food and clothing. But the major shock to our world will also present opportunities for those that are ready and looking for them.

Nobody knows for sure where these sectors are but think of the following:

  • If people were happier to be at home, what sort of leisure activities would they favour?
  • Social distancing might mean that we don’t want to get too close but it might also force a drastic change in public transport systems
  • Companies would mainly be identified by groups of people and their values, not by buildings and equipment
  • There could be a huge demand upon the internet
  • If knowledge is a global currency will be tempted to travel more for work? If so, how can we reduce this?

Try asking yourself what has changed in your life and also look at the world from the point of view of a consumer. What would you like to see or not like to see?

Innovating On A Budget

innovating on a budgetThe current recession is a problem so we need to be innovating on a  budget. It is hurting businesses of all sizes in all sectors. Innovation can help you to cut costs, improve margins, retain customers, acquire new customers, gain market share and  ultimately to survive. But when you are cutting costs and squeezing resources in all areas how can you find the people, time and money for innovation? Since experiments are not guaranteed to succeed it can look wasteful to fund large innovation projects.

Here are five tips to help you innovate on a budget:

  • Tell people that you want their ideas. Tell your staff, tell your customers and tell your suppliers that you want ideas that will help streamline the business, improve service, cut costs or delight customers. Tell everyone! If you do not have an effective suggestions scheme then set one up. Listen to all suggestions with an open mind and evaluate them constructively.
  • Allocate a budget for innovation. You do not get innovation for free. You must allocate time, people and money but you do not have to be extravagant. The most important thing is to give people some time and space to generate, evaluate, select and test Ideas. Google famously gives all employees one a day a week for this sort of activity. You do not have to be quite so generous – maybe one afternoon a month will work for you. However you do it you allow people to have ideas and experiment.
  • Move quickly. Once you have selected a promising idea move rapidly to building a model that you can show to people. This might be built in Lego, it might be a series of sketches or a role play. Once you show it to selected customers or other stakeholders you can quickly get useful feedback and of course funding.
  • Kill the losers. Set standards for innovations – e.g. Can we make money at this? Is there a real need? Can we make it work? Can we win with this? If the answers are negative then be prepared to cancel the project and move onto something else. Resources are limited and should only be devoted to potential winners. Be ruthless!
  • Pinch other people’s ideas, we call this ‘creative swiping’. A low cost way to innovate is to copy ideas from other industries or other places and to try them in your business. What are they doing in other countries to solve this kind of problem? What can you use that is new to you but has been proved elsewhere?

Make innovation a priority and add it to people’s objectives. You have to make the current model work better and at the same time find ways to replace it with something better. Continuous innovation is demanding but rewarding, and is the best way to survive.