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This is revolution not evolution

Nick Baker Chief Research Officer 17/04/2020

Post COVID-19: The future is about renewal and adapting

There’s no Che Guevara or Daniel Cohn Bendit in sight, just a microscopic parasite, much smaller than bacteria – a virus…or Miley Cyrus in the East End of London.

Predominantly, viruses have a reputation for being the cause of contagion. Widespread events of disease and death have no doubt bolstered such a reputation. The 2014 outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, and the 2009 H1N1/swine flu pandemic (a widespread global outbreak) likely come to mind. And now COVID-19, the Coronavirus.

The future is about renewal and adapting to the paradigm-shifting changes that are already unfolding.

What’s different about COVID-19 is that it has – unlike those other examples – been the epicentre of systemic change. That’s change that can alter entire systems, including business systems. It’s about effects or events that have a much more foundational impact – paradigm transforming changes.

While many businesses may not survive or not in the shape they were before, every survivor will need to adapt. No-one is exempt from this revolution.

The future is about renewal and adapting to the paradigm-shifting changes that are already unfolding. That demands a systemic approach from businesses addressing the challenge of an uncertain but fundamentally altered post-COVID-19 world.

The essence of a systemic approach is to begin to understand market shifts and opportunities and threats that will arise beyond the obvious. This is about big and small, understanding the macro-level issues and impacts, but more importantly the micro-level ones.

Research and insight are crucial components of the toolkit businesses need to develop and deliver on a system answer to the current systemic change and, for example, recognise and leverage their digital capabilities to capitalize on the disruption.

Systemic thinking is about understanding how things work together. Just as a single point of infection could cascade and take down an entire healthcare system without serious intervention, altering consumer behaviours can change business models, value propositions or competitive advantage and create market opportunity.

Five ideas for you to think about:

  • Can you anticipate the systemic changes being driven by COVID-19 and the events and opportunities that will change in your business and your market?
  • Think joined-up, insight eco-systems, focus on how things work together as this is even more important right now. It’s about the whole, but small shift are the root of big changes in times of paradigm shift.
  • Focus where you have the highest levels of certainty and predictability on your markets and value propositions, e.g. regulatory environment, digital, consumer behaviour, competitive reactions.
  • Ignore small, or micro-level changes at your peril. Keep your eyes on big and small at this time.
  • Whatever the decisions to be made, research insight and evidence should play an important role in ensuring you make better decisions.

As an immediate resource Savanta’s daily tracker, with 1,000+ UK respondents every day, will keep you informed on how the UK population are reacting to the COVID-19 crisis. The tracker covers 5 key areas: concern & impact, home & work, out-of-home & retail, news sources and approval ratings.

As well as our daily tracker, Savanta is running weekly coronavirus surveys in the UK, US and other regions as well as a bi-weekly survey for UK & US businesses. Both brands and businesses can ask their target audience a range of bespoke questions to dig deeper into the key topics each week.

We will be updating our coronavirus tracker daily and weekly as this unprecedented pandemic unfolds. Please get in touch for more information.

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