Thinkers360 COVID-19 business implications and recommendations are member-sourced insights and advice from our opt-in B2B thought leader and influencer community with 15M+ followers combined.
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We asked a selection of our Thinkers360 global thought leaders and influencers on COVID-19 about their recommendations for business and technology executives in 2020. Here’s what they told us…
What are your predictions for COVID-19 in terms of business and technology implications and recommendations for executives over the next year?
COVID-19 has caused enormous pain and suffering for so many that I cannot offer any suggestions for the future without first acknowledging that debt that we have to all essential workers, from the healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic to those who work in grocery stores, transportation, utilities, public works, education, agriculture, and critical manufacturing.
COVID’s impact will be far reaching in many ways that we have yet to fully understand. However, there are two long term repercussions of COVID-19 that are almost always thought of as having only a negative impact; it’s impact on small business and employment. In both of these cases I see something counter-intuitive happening.
While there is no doubt that millions of small businesses will be wiped out by the economic impact of the pandemic, I am seeing a flurry of activity in ideas for new business models from the ranks of those professionals who either lost their jobs in a corporate setting or who’ve had to shut down their own small business. Four things are coming together as a sort of perfect storm to cause that:
First, these individuals have little in the way of long-term prospects for re-employment and are uber-motivated to do something fast.
Second, the ability to start a new company has never been as incredibly easy from the standpoint of cheap or free technology infrastructure. You can create all of the underpinnings and user experience of a newco in weeks for next to nothing.
Third, it’s precisely because of the incredible rise in unemployment that relatively inexpensive or free labor is now readily available on spec with the promise of future earnings. This and the second point above make it possible to throw together a start up with record resources in record time.
Fourth, the Federal government, through the SBA’s PPP and EIDL programs, has committed close to $2 Trillion for small business. What’s critical about this is that the requirements for these programs are written in such a way that they effectively provide a bridge for crossing the chasm to build entirely new business models, since the funding is not predicated on the viability of the current business. It’s effectively venture money from the government.
The result of these four forces will create an unprecedented opportunity for small business innovation and experimentation the likes of which we have never seen. That may come across as idealistic thinking while we are still in the midst of a crisis. However, that may also be exactly what we will need to find our way out of it.
– Tom Koulopoulos, Chairman, Delphi Group (Editors Note: For more from Tom, please see the “Thinkers360 Thought Leadership Series“)
COVID 19 arrived, accelerated and in many cases, imposed a new way of working. There was no time for adaptation, there was no training. There was a need, and that was enough. In the “New Normal” post COVID19, we will revisit the business structures to have more agile models, more comprehensive and assertive technologies. Results-based management will come to replace management by control.
– Carina Peixoto, HR Influencer at IN3 Consultoria
The “New Normal” will force businesses to pivot their model of operations and culture.
COVID-19 has led to consumers forming new habits & developing new interests, staying and working from home is more intense than few months back. It is imperative for executives to start investing time
and human resources to analyze and anticipate how they will pivot their model of operations to serve their clients better as they develop new habits. That is putting your client’s new habits at the forefront of any product creative process and seeking new ways and skills to keep your teams virtually engaged and committed to the vision.
– Javnyuy Joybert, Lead Trainer, Consultant & CEO at COSDEF Group Social Innovation Enterprise
I predict that in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, procurement will not only (finally) embrace the value of strategic supplier relationships, we will improve our methodology for selecting which companies to partner with. Companies that actively invested in supplier partnerships before the pandemic have been able to weather the storm and even benefit from their suppliers’ understanding of disrupted markets. It is not always the largest spend suppliers that are the most important partners, but rather the ones that hold the most value for the operation. The methodology for selecting these suppliers may be more difficult, but the ROI will be far higher.
– Kelly Barner, Owner, Managing Director and Buyers Meeting Point, LLC
Disruption has just jumped to a new level of intensity and scale, and I think that we are going to see a lot of changes in how business run themselves and the scope of services that they offer. I do think many business that can’t adapt are going to fail and disappear. Covid-19 will be seen as an opportunity by some business and they will make changes that will significantly differentiate theme and also distance them from their completion. There will never be a better opportunity to make the changes that you have dreamed of, that you have wanted to make but were not sure if now is the time, well now is the time and those that are bold will be the ones that shape their futures.
– Gordon Tredgold, CEO, Leadership Principles, Ltd.
Breathing and talking are recognized as the biggest culprits to spreading COVID-19. High volume interaction points involving human’s mouths will quickly be replaced by safer digital interactions between real humans. Businesses will invest in enhancing digital interactions to make them warmer and more inviting.
The value of space and distance increases. Speed, digital communications and precision weapons have diminished the safety value of space and distance over time, but COVID-19 alters that trend as space and distance equates to safety.
– Kevin Benedict, Partner, Futurist at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)
COVID-19 took everything we forecast for Workforce 2030 and compacted it into a few days. Business recovery will require greater reliance on technology, humanization of work, and a distributed workforce. To get there, organizations will need to reinvent (not just redesign) the workplace, embrace digital communication, reskill and upskill workers, and upgrade leadership skills. We’ve talked about those things for years but many executives and business leaders failed to accept the urgency. Change is no longer a bullet on a to-do list but a strategic imperative.
The misconception and paradox of COVID-19 is that massive unemployment didn’t relieve talent shortages but exacerbated them. While millions more people are seeking jobs, the skill sets required to do much of the work is now more advanced than ever. Even many pre-pandemic low-tech jobs now require basic digital literacy skills. On the employer-side, the inadequacy of current recruitment and hiring processes and HR technology infrastructure is being laid bare. Screening top talent and identifying skilled workers amongst millions of applicants will be like shoveling out of a blizzard with a teaspoon. Organization will need to invest quickly in HR technology for recruitment, talent management, and elearning.
– Ira Wolfe, Chief Googlization Officer, President at Success Performance Solutions
Leveraging intelligent solutions platforms (with embedded intelligence, cognitive automation and augmented analytics) is the next big shift in the procurement space that we will see over the next year. Supply chain, sourcing, supply risk management, procurement, were key words during COVID-19. It’s time for organizations to start taking advantage of the intelligent procurement’s tools to access real-time prescriptive guidance with the ability to do what-if analysis. Executives should focus on how to augment employees instead of replacing them by using tools that can carry out strategic operations and perform sophisticated tasks with ease. It is crucial that buyers are freed up to identify new opportunities, reexamine category strategies, and redesign both their products and their supply chains.
– Amenallah Reghimi, Vice President of Product Management at JAGGAER
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