In 1971, John Lennon wrote Imagine, it’s a song about his utopian vision for the world; the preceding x month has, despite the restrictions, resulted in some utopian-like impacts, for example, improved air quality and improved connectivity between isolated people supported by personal online conferencing. The net effect of the significant lifestyle changes made by everyone to defeat COVID-19 means there is an opportunity for both people and companies to rethink or re-imagine how we live based on actual experience rather than imagination.
So, what actual experiences do I imagine will have the greatest impact in the upcoming, post-COVID-19 months and years. Here are my top 3:
Healthcare and health education, I imagine with a high degree of confidence that heath related funding will be increased globally. The funding will be targeted within both operational and research domains. From a commercial standpoint, governments will now understand that the impact of increased, sustained on-going healthcare investment is significantly less than the financial measures required to mitigate the impact of actual healthcare emergencies. I am not suggesting that greater investment in healthcare would have prevented the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s apparent that an increased level of funding is required to predict, prevent, or prepare for the next pandemic. This has been the subject of many TED Talks,(I invite you to listen to Stephen Petranek’s TED Talk in 2014 “8 ways the world could suddenly end: Stephen Petranek at TEDxMidwest”)
Personal information awareness, I am confident that most people will have heightened sensitivity to personal data and personal freedom. To defeat COVID-19 most people have had to think, if not act, on requests to release sensitive personal data and restrict their personal movements; in some countries, the release of personal data is mandatory and personal restrictions are enforced with mandatory penalties. The effect will be that citizens will now “Give A Damn” about who is using their data and who knows where they are. ‘Smart’ customer-centric companies will recognise the change in consumer attitude without legislation or consumer surveys and respond proactively. COVID-19 is the catalyst that will result in a groundswell of citizens having what is termed a GAS moment, they will Give A S*** (I’ll suggest ‘damn’ ?).
Finally, working practices will change, I am certain that companies will review the cost of expensive real estate adapt to support remote working and hot-desking where possible. The realisation that ‘Work is a thing you Do not a place you Go’ will drive significant change. The move towards homeworking will have an environmental impact which supports Corporate and Social Responsibility obligations. It will have a personal impact on employees who are able to more easily manage work/life balance without long commutes. Finally, there will be an impact on employee satisfaction, especially for those ‘non-essential’ workers that have to return to ‘non-essential’ offices to do ‘non-essential’ jobs, they will question the need for a daily commute and seek companies that have embraced the new post-COVID-19 paradigm.
I have imagined what the future might look like, what is your vision of the future, post-COVID-19?
Based on the results of a recent YouGov poll (Apr-2020) commissioned by the Royal Society of Arts, in which only 9% of participants wanted life to return to ‘normal’, one thing is certain, Business-As-Usual will be unusual for a while as societies adapt to a new ‘usual’.
I believe parts of Mr. Lennon’s utopian vision can help in forming the new ‘usual’. If you are one of the 9%, Mr. Lennon has this for you:
You, you may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine lyrics © Lenono Music,
Downtown Music Publishing,
Lenono Music C/o Downtown Dmp Songs