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.
As we peer into the Looking Glass, we know that uncertainty is staring back. Our exponential world and all its building blocks and scenarios has created this looking glass phenomenon – something I explored in this Leadership Course back in 2017. COVID-19 underscores this uncertainty, serving as both an accelerant and an obstacle. A good example is explored in this Article on automation. Will the pandemic serve as an automation accelerant, as businesses replace laid off employees via automation? Or is it an obstacle to the capital investment required to enable automation?
In a recent Post Gerd Leonhard explores the great transformation catalyzed by COVID-19. He uses this quote from Milton Friedman to focus on the need to think differently.
“Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable”
While the immediate focus of our global health crisis remains on the present, as we approach the other side, many will focus on a post-pandemic future. Painting pictures of possible futures was already critical in this time of rapid change; the pandemic elevates the urgency. I have been sharing the perspectives of many global thinkers in the interest of providing foresight to those who will need it when the focus shifts. A virtual session focused on a post-pandemic society is being planned, and I will likely participate. In discussing that possibility, I was presented with this Article.
COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on China’s economy. Jenna Ross at Visual Capitalist describes how the effects on their economy could foreshadow what the rest of the world can expect. While China turns the corner on the health side of the story, the economic side is telling its story. This Article via the World Economic Forum uses visualization to tell this economic story. Countries in the early stages of the outbreak should take notice.
The COVID-19 crisis is fast-moving with information bombarding us in real-time. On this Monday morning, as we awake to more isolation and rising numbers, there is much to consider. In this Article, the author focuses on three economic scenarios: Easter: an optimistic scenario (25% likely) where isolation leads to a slow return to normal by late April; Summer: the main scenario (55%) where improvements begin in mid-summer; and Winter: the pessimistic scenario (20%) where impact lasts into the winter. Given the expansion of isolation through April in the U.S., the optimistic scenario is all but eliminated from consideration.
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’m struggling with the term disruption and its effectiveness in driving urgency. Most definitions describe a radical change in an industry or business strategy, and most involve the introduction of a new product or service that creates a new market. My struggle is not with this decades old view of disruption, but its application in the context of our exponential world. The word disruption is viewed through a traditional lens. I end up in debates about the validity of a disruptive scenario as viewed through this lens, versus the massive implications of these future scenarios viewed through an exponential lens. The ensuing dialog focuses on:
- Coming up with disruptive innovation before our competitors do
- Embracing protectionist behavior to block a disruptor
- I’m not worried, regulatory hurdles in my industry block the impact of disruptors
- I’m safe, my industry is very stable