After Corona (Covid-19) there will rarely be anything as it was. The understanding of the fragility of our global economy, the huge digital divide, our ability to collaborate, and much more is changing right now faster than ever before. And there is no reason to go back.
We are experiencing an amazing transformation and shift, realizing what our various societies are capable of under pressure. What the most powerful people in the world failed to achieve in the past 10+ years, managed a 0.3 µ small virus — Global Digitization within 3 months.
Massive digitization amplification
That very amplification in connectedness, however, is exposing a widening gap between digitally empowered people and the still massive digital illiteracy. Digital Interaction is a skill. That skill is composed of fast cognitive recognition, heightened content differentiation, a digital body language, multi-language communication, the ability to cut loose from old needs that for every exchange one needs to physically see each other, the mechanical capabilities to see, write and communicate, understanding the power of asynchronous communication and so much more. We learned to walk, read, write, speak, hear, and now we extend all these skills into the digital world that is no less real than our physical world. Once it is experienced over a timeframe of 6 months will not go back.
Profound changes in production
Another gap is widening to a degree that most people cannot even comprehend the consequences. Our combined economy lost trillions of dollars almost overnight due to the lack of production continuation. Companies with a very high degree of automation could continue to have their robots and autonomous machines run and produce, and they are doing extremely well right now. Those that require armies of workers have all of a sudden multiple challenges all at the same time: They only produce in a very limited capacity or not at all. Plus, they have to send people home by the thousands. And, they are opening doors for the competition to come in with more automated companies. As a consequence of the sheer survival of the business and also ability to support our society with products, we will be experiencing a massive push to increase the degree of automation as quickly as possible to nearly 100%. What was thought to be Artificial Intelligence, that takes away jobs is now a very different reason. Some companies will not even survive this pandemic – but a next pandemic may increase the closing of businesses and jobs by order of magnitude. Once the pandemic is over this effort will actually just begin.
We have been working under huge pressure to modify our Deep innovation Design program so that a nine-month program can be run as a crash course in six weeks. In order to train as many scientists as possible to move from experimentation to a methodical ideation process we needed to move from in-person training to digital – but moreover from 25 people classrooms to online classrooms with some hundred attendees if necessary. Every top educator would say it is crazy and cannot work. But we don’t even have an option right now, other than making it work. Innovation is seen all over right now. The degree of ingenuity hasn’t been that high for decades. New types of virus testers pop in almost every industrialized nation. We see all kinds of innovative solutions, which only needs a bit more coordination and information flow. And all this will not stop after the pandemic is over.
Will we go back to be dirty ad sloppy after the pandemic is over? Sure, some will, but the majority most likely will keep the positive habit of more careful hygiene.
Keeping relationships online
Will we go back to always meet people face to face for everything we want to discuss. Of course not. We appreciate the learning that a quick video call is for both parties quicker and more efficient. For sure we will remain to be social and want to meet people in person – at least the first connection. But we don’t need to meet for every little detail.
Will we go back to shop for everything by going from shop to shop? Most certainly not. Of course, we will still go shopping, having the experience and the fun doing so but there will be an increased percentage of shopping online compared to the past.
Will we go back to endless considerations, pilot projects and eventually still not upgrade? Only the very weak companies will. Those who realized how much faster we are doing things right now, will keep the pace – and if it is only to not let the competition take over. My old mantra: “Speed is more important than perfection”.
About ten years ago home offices have been seen as a large part of a companies way of workplaces. Why did it not work out? Nobody did actually try it for a more extended period of time. Now we do. We get quickly used to do it even full time. We cat regularly with the team, exchange notes via WhatsApp or email. Meetings are much shorter and also if they are still mega long – everybody can work while some others ramble on. The only short interruption” can you still hear me”. :)
The list gets longer every day. One thing is for sure: It is a sad and for many people terrible reason how we needed to learn all that. But we did learn and we learned extremely quickly. Not only about ourselves or your needs but about our capability to adapt and our relationship to leadership in everybody’s home country.