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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What Behavior Changes Will Stick?


In a recent Forbes Article authored by Stephen Wunker, he uses the principles of innovation adoption to test the stickiness of behavioral changes driven by COVID-19. He applies six tests of a new behavior to see what will last. He states that not all six factors need to be met for a behavior change to persist, but the mutually reinforcing nature of the factors create a stronger impact as more get involved. He applies this framework to assess potential commercial change for the Life Science industry.

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30 Top Experts Describe The Things That Will Change Forever


This recent Article describes those things that will change forever according to 30 top experts. Before I dive into that, a significant word of caution. In an Article authored by Rob Walker, he states that most post-pandemic predictions will be totally wrong. While he stresses that thoughtful speculation about the future helps us cope with the present and identify potential challenges and opportunities, 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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Global Economic Recovery


A general theme throughout my posts on COVID-19 is that many of the cracks that the pandemic has exposed were already there. This theme is described eloquently by Economist Tyler Cowen in his work on The Great Reset. He uses a metaphor of canaries in coal mines to describe the warning signals that represent greater and broader stress. In the past week, I’ve seen multiple references to dead canaries knee deep in coal mines.  In a recent New York Times Article authored by Neil Irwin he echoes this sentiment:

“But one lesson of these episodes of economic tumult is that those surprising ripple effects tend to result from longstanding unaddressed frailties. Crises have a way of bringing to the fore issues that are easy to ignore in good times.”

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Does COVID-19 Change Your View of Innovation?


Prior to the pandemic taking over all our cycles, I was focused on assessing how society would react to several emerging scenarios. Using polls, I asked questions about connecting our brains to the Internet, reuniting with a deceased loved one, or attending a hologram concert of a deceased artist. I was suprised by the high percentage of respodents that were against these emerging scenarios. Please participate in those Polls, as I am still interested in your thoughts. More importantly, I have to wonder what COVID-19 does to future responses to these questions. For example, delivery robots were seen as a joke, fad, or nuisance in some places pre-pandemic. According to this Article by Roberto Baldwin, it may be finding a way into public consciousness as an important tool to combat the spread of coronavirus. Delivery robots helped deliver food and medicine in Wuhan China during the coronavirus-related quarantine.

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COVID-19 As An Accelerant


The rapid emergence of new scenarios that once seemed like science fiction serve as a testament to the Acceleration that the world is experiencing in this exponential era. COVID-19 introduces another variable, one that serves both as an accelerant and an obstacle. There are many examples of the virus serving as an accelerant – many of which I have written about over the last several weeks.

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How Long Until The Economic New Normal?


There are many conflicting views emerging on the timing of an economic new normal. Regardless of the source, all of it at some level is speculation. There is too much uncertainty to do prediction justice. That doesn’t mean that talented prognosticators can’t take a shot. This great Article from MIT Sloan Management Review is a must read. Author Alec Levenson argues that it will be a long time until an economic new normal. Some of his rationale is summarized below:

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We Must Think Critically And Differently


It was late 2013 and I was thinking about the transformation that digital would eventually drive. In a Series of Posts on transformation, I laid out my early thinking about forcing functions and related enablers. One of those enablers was Thinking Differently. In this Article authored by Jeff Haden, he describes the viewpoints of best-selling author Simon Sinek:

“These are not unprecedented times. There are many cases — lists of cases — where change, or something unexpected, has put many companies out of business, and made other companies come out stronger and reinvent themselves. The invention of the Internet put many, many companies out of business. The ones who could not reinvent themselves for the Internet age but rather doubled down on the old way they did business.”

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How Might The World Respond?


As I mentioned in yesterday’s Post, rehearsing the future has never been more important. In that post, I focused on the implications of COVID-19 across a broad set of categories. In a complex and uncertain world, to sense and respond is critical to managing towards constructive outcomes. In this case, to sense is to have a view of potential impact. Responding – in all its various forms – shapes the future. How might the world respond to a pandemic that threatens to reshape that world? This slideshow capture the full sense-and-respond exercise.  As is the case with a See-Rehearse-Adapt philosophy, this exercise is never done. Here in this slideshow are the possible implications and potential responses. Let’s connect a few dots.

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Rehearsing Possible Post COVID-19 Futures


In my post yesterday, I mentioned that post-pandemic perspectives are emerging for every domain. These signals help us evaluate  what world emerges after the crisis. I referenced using an implication and response framework to rehearse this emerging future. In looking at future scenarios, I have found this Rehearsing to be very instructive. When I speak of rehearsing, I am talking about understanding possible futures. Rehearsing allows us to analyze the implications of scenarios and their potential paths. The figure below demonstrates an exercise focused on assessing the implications of the autonomous vehicle scenario. Rehearsing allows us to look at the breadth and depth of a scenario – and in most cases, the implications are broader and deeper than we realize.

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More Thought Leaders Weigh In On A Post Pandemic Future


As I’ve said in an earlier post, predicting life after pandemics has been a fools errand. Futurist Amy Webb described it this way: “Any time a new change is foisted upon us, very quickly there is a bias to thinking that the new present is the future. That is almost universally never the case.” Many Futurists and other thought leaders are providing their thoughts on what this post-pandemic world might look like. In an article focused on The Unexpected Consequences of the Pandemic, author Bryan Walsh says that we know COVID-19 will fundamentally alter the world, but those changes may not be the ones you expect.

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A Post Pandemic Society


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.

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