Looking Back To Look Forward

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After a Year of the Pandemic – What’s Changed?

A year ago today, England started moving into lockdown mode v1. On March 16 2020, Boris Johnson said, “Now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact and travel.” Ten days later we were in full lockdown. Today, as I sit in London in lockdown v3, it doesn’t feel like we’re really in a different state of lockdown. Each country has had its own journey in and out of various forms of restrictions. And, to the extent we’re still talking about lockdowns and ramping up restrictions in some countries (Italy most recently), we’re clearly far from out of the woods.

To gauge where we are, I wanted to check out how we might update two fast polls that I posted on Twitter a year ago exactly. To what extent has our attitude changed?

Specifically, in the first poll, I asked:

How will Coronavirus Covid-19 most change your own habits?

There are just four possible answers (limitation of Twitter polls) and you can only pick one.

So, how did you vote compared to those that answered a year ago? Do you agree with the scores from a year ago (see below)?

See the original tweet here.

Personally, I would have to say that my personal hygiene hasn’t improved that much, messaging and emails are down. However, if my film (series) consumption has moved up a bit, internet usage is certainly far higher and I’ve also read a lot more (50 books last year). What about you? (I invite you to put your thoughts into the comments below).

On which area will the Covid-19 Coronavirus have the most lasting effect?

My second poll looks at where the pandemic will have the longest lasting impact. Again, without looking at the answers below, what do you think today?

Here were the results a year ago (716 votes):

See the original Twitter poll here

At an estimated -10% GDP in the UK in 2020 and around -6% in the EU and US, I’d be inclined to say that the crowd was right in identifying the impact to business. How sprightly will we bounce again? I doubt in a Chinese rebound (knowing that GDP was reported to be up 2.3% in 2020). As for politics, however, I foresee a heavy impact, specifically in the democratically run countries. I have to believe a majority of political parties in power during the pandemic will get (if they haven’t already gotten) slammed for their handling of the pandemic, no matter how hard they tried. For now, on the positive side, it seems that New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern has achieved a clean bill of political health. But for the outgoing Merkel to Macron, Johnson and Trump, the leaders have been ripe for torrid criticism. With the way that the mainstream media have operated along with the huge impact/role of the big tech companies through the pandemic, one has to believe that there will be significant long-term effects on politics. In a recent post where I explored how much we will be willing to forego our privacy and freedoms for state protection, I talked about how we may well see an upsurge in new media sites. If the French V République won’t get upended, I suspect we will see enduring effects, not least in how the massive increases in debt are handled.

Impacts on business

Meanwhile, in light of the lightning speed with which the Covid-19 vaccinations were created, the pharmaceutical industry has enabled a step-change in how to do large-scale vaccines in the future. In terms of rolling them out in each country, however, there are clearly some winners and losers among the different administrations…. So, who’s to know the lessons learned, yet? Meanwhile, it feels early to gauge if/how our social habits will be materially impacted. We will return to handshaking and hugging as in the past? How much of our work will remain remote?

For business leaders and entrepreneurs, the road ahead is going to be tricky. Has the vaunted acceleration in “digital transformation” converted into the hoped-for results? I have been writing many articles that are getting published on other sites on this topic (you can find them here). For me, I am laser-focused on two things: keeping in touch with my own North and looking at how to proactively manage my energies.

What about you?

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