This Analysis by the Conference Board underscores how the trajectory of COVID-19 and the economic response over the next few months are uncertain. They developed three scenarios for the course of the US economy for the remainder of 2020. Focusing on future scenarios was already a critical imperative given the pace of change; the current pandemic just underscores the point. The analysis authors from the Conference Board are: Bart van Ark, Executive Vice President & Chief Economist, and Erik Lundh, Senior Economist. Here is an executive summary from the report:
I had the pleasure of discussing the future of education recently with Nick Burnett, Co-Founder of LearnTech Lab. Their mission is focused on a topic that I find critical to the future of society. From their website:
OUR MISSION IS TO CONNECT THE IDEAS, PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES WITH THE SCHOOLS WHO ARE REIMAGINING THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION.
They describe the challenge this way: education is entering a period of exponential change where there is a great need for learners, teachers and leaders to learn, unlearn and relearn faster than ever before. Traditional approaches to learning and teaching are no longer sufficient in the new era. Technology and Learning combined stand to have the boldest impact on deepening and accelerating learning, teaching and leading in schools. We invite you to come and join us on the journey.
Here is a video of our discussion.
In 2018 I shared a video that I use in presentations titled The Great Reset. The video features economist Tyler Cowen as he describes our current trajectory and the possibility of a great reset. He has talked about strong indicators that this great reset is already underway – and that was before the world began to envision A Post Pandemic Society. Mr. Cowen thinks about these indicators as canaries in the coal mine. As he describes it, miners used to take canaries with them to provide an alarm when levels of toxic gases were too high. The birds were much more susceptible to the gases and would show signs of distress – or even die – before the miners were in grave danger.
Although it’s now popular to ask how life will change after the Coronavirus pandemic, truth is we were already on a path towards massive change. Nationalism was already a growing movement, immigration was already a hot button issue, the world was already moving towards a Post-World War Two order, the negative impact of globalization on jobs in developed countries already had leaders promising to bring manufacturing back, while automation promised a jobless era of localization. The pandemic serves as an accelerant in some instances – and an obstacle in others. But let prognosticators be warned; past predictions of life after pandemics have not Gone Well.
UPDATED 3:00 March 19th: one of my Blog readers pointed me to this article titled Whatever the virus kills, it won’t be globalism. Since I am a big believer that Predictions are a fools errand, this walk through the bold post-pandemic predictions of our past is instructive. This point of view says that sounding the alarm on the death of globalization may be a bit premature.
There are many questions that require answers as we look towards a new normal post the current pandemic. One such question centers on supply chains and the globalization phenomenon of the past three decades. Multiple forces were already threatening the globalist agenda. From the rise of populism and associated tariff wars, to the advancement of automation and other innovations, the move towards localization seems inevitable.
I’ve talked about the Catalysts of a different era. These horrific events of our past were catalysts towards a better future. This horrific event – the Corona Virus – will shine a light on education, health, work, and other aspects of our well-being, while exposing underlying weaknesses. Responding as a global community to these types of events is hard. I’ve asked the question about the catalysts of our future in a recent Poll – please participate and add your thoughts.
Last year I was introduced to the Future Today Institute Tech Trends Report. The free report provided a great view into 315 different trends. The 2020 Version was just released, tracking 406 strategic technology trends. As their website describes, a broad view of these trends is the best way to see around corners and spot emerging disruption. Amy Webb and her team provide one of the best reports of its kind. The link above provides access and the download page provides the following additional highlights: