I am increasingly being asked to advise and comment on scenarios and response strategies in relation to Covid-19 and its possible implications in the short, medium, and longer term for individuals, society, government, and business. My advice is that clients need to be thinking about three separate time horizons:
- The next three to six months – how do we deal with the immediate impacts on and protection of our staff, travel and events, our supply chains, operating locations, demand for our products and services, cash flow, pricing, marketing, and brand reputation.
- The next twelve months – how do we revisit every aspect of our business and operating model – encompassing all of the above – if the virus and resulting economic impacts might continue to effect us over the coming year.
- The next one to three years – how might we change the shape of our business, location footprint, sourcing, routes to market, product and service offerings, staffing models, and use of technology if the knock on effects have a more dramatic impact on our markets and the economy more widely.
As mentioned in a previous article on the topic of Responding to the Coronavirus Disruption, scenarios can be a powerful tool for exploring how the key factors might play out and in determining alternate response strategies. To be useful, such scenarios need to go beyond narrow considerations about our immediate market and look more broadly, considering the dynamics of Covid-19 and a range of economic, business, and societal factors including issues such as:
- The dynamics of Covid-19 – speed and extent of its spread, potential for secondary and subsequent infection waves, infection and mortality rates, emerge of reliable tests, vaccines, and cures
- Economics – alternative scenarios and impact on GDP, supply chains, global markets, travel, financial markets, country stability, consumer behaviour, interest rates, availability of finance, insurance costs, company failures, and levels of corporate and individual debt
- Business responses – cost cutting, headcount, recruitment, physical location footprint, pursuit of new markets, development of new products and services – where are the growth opportunities with Covid-19, innovation, investment, and overall confidence
- Societal impacts – food chain security, capacity and resilience of health services, transport systems, policing, security, and public order, general wellbeing and mental health, environmental outcomes, education, and political stability.
To help understand the multifaceted nature of Covid-19, I have found the Coronavirus Tech Handbook to be an incredibly valuable resource. Initiated by The London College of Political Technologists at Newspeak House, this crowdsourced resource is aimed primarily at technologists building things related to the Coronavirus outbreak.
However, I find the resource is far more generally applicable covering topics such as datasets and international visualisations, diagnostic tools, the emerging research infrastructure, national dashboards, countering misinformation, prediction markets and forecasting, communities, models, remote working and online conferencing resources, technical tools, graphics, public service announcements, practical projects, and project ideas.
This excellent resource is being updated continuously and growing in content and value.
Rohit Talwar is the CEO of Fast Future Research, a global research and consulting company that specializes in identifying future growth industries and helps governments and global companies to explore and respond to the sectors, ideas, trends and forces shaping the next five to 20 years.