Perspectives From A Labor Economist And Epidemiologist

I had the pleasure of participating in a panel discussion on day two of the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California (WCIRB) annual conference. Bill Mudge CEO of the WCIRB moderated a discussion that looked forward and somewhat over the horizon. We focused on the future of working labor, medical science, and the long term or latent issues from COVID-19. Our dialog explored the opportunities that COVID-19 and economic recession have unlocked, and the accelerated trends that were already emerging. Joining the discussion were Dr. Sylvia Allegretto PhD., the labor economist and co-chair of the center for wage and employment dynamics at the university of California. Also joining us was Jacek Skarbinski, MD Physician and Research Scientist with Kaiser Permanente.

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Emerging Signals On The Future Of Work

While the world continues to navigate the challenges of a global pandemic, discussion of a post-pandemic future is ramping. The future of work is a dominant piece of that post-pandemic discussion. There are still more questions than answers, but the signals are flying. Three recent articles focused on distinct pieces of this future: Performance, Identity Economy, and Making a Hybrid Work model. The article on performance highlights the pandemic as catalyst and accelerant. The need to rethink how we view performance was clear pre-pandemic – but mostly not acted upon. The events of the last 15 months may be driving action.

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Guarding Against Future Crises In Business

In the early days of 2021, there is still an uneasy feeling involved in any search for a silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, it may be that this will always remain the case. And yet, without disregarding or minimizing the tragedy that the pandemic has inflicted all across the globe, there are certain potential positives coming to light.

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Post Corona: From Crisis To Opportunity

“I begin with two theses. First, the pandemic’s most enduring impact will be as an accelerant. While it will initiate some changes and alter the direction of some trends, the pandemic’s primary effect has been to accelerate dynamics already present in society.” – Scott Galloway

That is a quote from a book I just finished. Scott Galloway is a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, where he teaches brand strategy and digital marketing to second-year MBA students. In his new book, he looks at the world post corona. The book titled “Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity” has been added to my Book library. He points to remarkable things that have happened since the virus reared its ugly head, like: It took Apple 42 years to reach $1 trillion in value, and 20 weeks to accelerate from $1 trillion to $2 trillion (March to August 2020), and we registered a decade of ecommerce growth in eight weeks. Additionally, Tesla became not only the most valuable car company in the world, but more valuable than Toyota, Volkswagen, Daimler, and Honda combined.

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Life After Coronavirus

In this brief video, several experts talk about life after the global pandemic. Adil Najam, Dean, Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, and his colleagues set out to answer this question: what will our post-COVID-19 world look like? I tackled that question early in the pandemic by looking at Applying History to our current day. Mr. Najam interviewed leading thinkers on 101 distinct topics and produced a video series which you can find Here.

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Bill Gates Looks At Life After COVID-19

Back in April and May, there was a lot of crystal ball gazing going on. Will COVID-19 change our world forever? This Post, among others I wrote in the early days of the pandemic, explored the various ways the world may change. In the post, I reflected on a key warning sign: most predictions of a post-crisis world have historically been wrong. I pointed to an Article authored by Rob Walker, where he stresses that thoughtful speculation about the future helps us cope with the present and identify potential challenges and opportunities. He adds however that history tells us that most predictions will be wrong. In looking back at predictions post 9/11 and the great recession, Mr. Walker provides supporting evidence for this statement.

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What Will The Future Home Look Like Post-Pandemic?

The Innovation Wheel and the Home

When I talk about this emerging era of great invention advancing the various areas of our well-being, I always include changes to the home. The home has remained quite static since great inventions of the second revolution (running water, sanitation, heating, air conditioning, etc.) established our modern-day home. For the first time since that period, the home is likely to see another shift. This was true prior to the pandemic, as the visual I use to describe this part of the innovation story describes.

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The Future Of Jobs

Data gathered by LinkedIn, Coursera and the World Economic Forum was captured in a Future of Jobs Report recently published by The World Economic forum (WEF). A good summary is provided by senior writer Kate Whiting in her recent Article on the WEF website. Report content is showing up in varied places, with key findings like those below widely shared:

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The Next Generation Of Farming

As we Rethink Humanity, we appreciate that the next decade represents what is likely the fastest, deepest, most consequential disruption in history. By 2030, much of what we know could be completely reimagined. Something as basic as food and farming could look quite different, as the possibilities cover a wide spectrum. In the short term, we find different ways to farm, optimizing yield and improving our environment. In the long term, we likely witness the complete transformation of farming.

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COVID-19: The Great Reset

I just finished another very good book and added it to my Book Library. COVID-19: The Great Reset was authored by Klaus Schwab and Thierry Malleret. Professor Klaus Schwab is the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. He has argued that a company must serve not only shareholders but all stakeholders to achieve long-term growth and prosperity. To promote the stakeholder concept (something gaining considerable traction today), he founded the World Economic Forum. Thierry is the co-founder and main author of the Monthly Barometer, a succinct predictive analysis exclusively provided to private investors and some of today’s most influential opinion and decision-makers.

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Dealing With Loneliness And Isolation

At a Milken Institute Health Summit in 2017, I participated in a panel discussion that focused on effective methods for healthier aging on a vast scale. One of the key discussion points was how Loneliness and Isolation were a leading cause of death among the elderly. Here in 2020, that concern has been amplified by the pandemic. During that panel discussion, I mentioned the use of companion robots to deal with this growing crisis. As society continues to age, the problem of isolation and loneliness grows more acute.

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The Pandemic Is Impacting Multiple Domains

As we have seen over the last several months. COVID-19 is impacting multiple domains. I had explored the Possible Implications across these domains in a post earlier this year. The visual below reflects some of that work (click to enlarge). Now months later, we see indications of potential paths or responses.

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A Glimpse Into Your Views On Catalysts For Change

As I mentioned in a recent Post, the global pandemic has altered how we think about our world. However, one thing is constant if not amplified by it: society needs to act if we hope to shape a future that advances human development. The rapid pace of innovation – riding on antiquated institutions – required our attention pre-pandemic. In a post-pandemic world, both of those factors are amplified. The inadequacies of our institutions are more visible now than ever; and innovation that may have unfolded over years is realized in months.

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Revisiting The Catalysts Of Change

Seems like an eternity has past since I first launched this Poll on the catalysts that drive human action. As I mentioned back then, one of our Lessons from History was the presence of catalysts that drove actions that ultimately shaped our future. The major catalysts of the second revolution were astounding levels of innovation, World War One, The Great Depression, World War Two, and the eventual democratization of innovation. The question I asked in the poll was: What catalysts force stakeholder actions that ultimately shape our emerging future?

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The Future Of The Office And Changing Work For The Better

Can we ever go back to the way things were? That’s the question Manon DeFelice asks in a recent Article that explores the return to the office. The article provides some interesting insights. For instance, about 62% of Americans say they have worked from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent Gallup Poll. A majority (59%) of those individuals say that remote work would be welcome post-pandemic. One of the concerns often stated about remote work is the impact on productivity. Well, Ms. DeFelice shares results from a YouGov Survey that found 54% of professionals ages 18-74 felt that working from home has had a positive impact on their productivity.

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Tectonic Shifts Expected As Digital Expands

Prognosticators continue to point to massive shifts in the aftermath of COVID-19. In this recent Article, author Bhaskar Majumdar explores an aggressive convergence of the physical and digital worlds. Pointing to the domains that have already converged – education and entertainment – Mr. Majumdar sees this phenomenon overwhelming all aspects of our lives. In the near future, he sees it impacting banking, medicine, trade, shopping, dining and sports. As we come to terms with social distancing in a post-COVID world, some level of change is inevitable.

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COVID-19 Is Not Slowing Artificial Intelligence Down

A recent Report on artificial intelligence (AI) suggests that COVID-19 is not likely to slow the path of AI. Per the report: nearly three-quarters of businesses now consider AI critical to their success, as it continues to grow in importance across companies of various sizes and industries, according to a new report. Appen Limited’s 2020 State of AI Report indicates that two-thirds of respondents do not expect any negative impact from the COVID-19 pandemic on their AI strategies.

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What History Tells Us About Deglobalization

In looking at a Post Pandemic Society, I took a Journey to the 1920s and 1930s to understand what history might tell us about our emerging future. I have been amazed at the eerie similarities between our present day and that period a century ago (see visual below). If anyone is interested in exploring the cycles of history, I highly recommend the book The Fourth Turning. In the meantime, this recent Article explores a similar comparison to that time in history with a focus on deglobalization. Per the article:

“The post-pandemic world economy seems likely to be a far less globalized economy, with political leaders and the public rejecting openness in a manner unlike anything seen since the tariff wars and competitive devaluations of the 1930s.”

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The Augmented Age: An Accelerated Path

In a post from the summer of 2019, I explored the notion of an Augmented Age: a future where our natural human capabilities are radically augmented in three ways: Computational systems will help us think. Robotic systems will help us make. And a digital nervous system will connect us to the world far beyond what our natural nervous system can offer. Fast-forward to a world altered by COVID-19: Are we on an accelerated path to augmentation and automation? This recent Forbes Article takes an interesting look at the question from the perspective of lights out factories.

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The Personalized Health Ecosystem

A recent article on the Future of Medicine explores the emerging Wellness Ecosystem and the impact that COVID-19 is likely to have on its path. The key message from the article and associated video below is that Connected Health has a greater opportunity for realization. The pandemic has proven that virtual ways of working and telemedicine can work. The video examines the role of artificial intelligence, 5G, Sensors, and data in the progression towards a personalized health ecosystem.

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