At the start of 2019, I Articulated three macro-level forces that I believed would set the stage for a very disruptive decade ahead. They were: Acceleration, Convergence, and a Burst of Possibilities. Here we are during a pandemic, and all three are alive and well. The one that stands out is acceleration. There are many examples of acceleration driven by COVID-19 that demonstrate what we can accomplish when driven by a Catalyst. Innovation windows have collapsed considerably, and we are witnessing accelerated adoption of scenarios that although inevitable, were slowed by societal resistance. For example, the embrace of digital learning has accelerated, and while many employers resisted the move to remote work due to fears of productivity loss, those fears have proven unfounded.
Perhaps nothing captures this acceleration phenomenon better than the visual below on ecommerce penetration. They say a picture paints a thousand words and this one is striking. Ten years of growth in three months is consistent with the thoughts of some who believe we will have advanced ten years due to the virus. It is said in some circles that this decade will likely be viewed as the most disruptive decade in human history – and that was before the virus. The burst of possibilities I referenced just moved up several years, and for leaders everywhere, those possibilities are endless.