We, as humans, are resilient by nature, having survival instincts embedded in our very existence. Today, humanity is going through a phase, wherein the operating system of the world economy and society is being rebooted by the Novel Coronavirus — a “biological malware”. Historically, pandemics have been known to be natural evolutionary phenomena. The “Black Death” of the 14th century claimed nearly 200 million lives, and is regarded as the deadliest pandemic in recorded history. So, what makes the 2020 crisis extraordinary?
The past 75 years have probably been part of the most “progressive phase” in human history — world order that was driven by principles of coexistence and humanity. The suspicion around the origin of the current virus and that it could have been used as a “biological weapon” (if proven) can shift the global narrative from peace to conflict.
Secondly, since the beginning of the 21st century, digitization has gained momentum through the combined interactive value of physical, biological, and digital innovations. COVID-19 has only accelerated the digitization process through “compulsive adoption” of technology, collaborative workflows, and diffusion of ecosystems.
Thirdly, the principles of a digital economy driven by knowledge and automation have been evolving rapidly, with billions of minds competing to deliver cost-effective services, irrespective of their geographical location and nationality — thereby nurturing new sources of value creation and employability. Altering the fabric of the global village, COVID-19 have forced economies across the globe to prioritize protective and territorial marketplaces.
Technology, economy, and security implications encompass a 3D view of the extraordinary character of the 2020 crisis, as it’s destined to create a new set of socioeconomic models and instruments of power play.
Restoration of normalcy would bring along new features and practices, setting the tone for a new world order, driven by principles of knowledge capital and digital technology. Digitalization lies at the core of our future, and it is already knocking at the door, leaving one without any choice but to upskill. Looking into the growing performance of digital companies and economies at this point in time, it’s quite obvious that “digital is real. Development models, sovereignty, and security systems would rely far more on the available digital infrastructure, data platforms, and scalability of technology adoption. On the flip side, the growing digital divide will be leaving behind billions of people in a severe state of poverty and digital colonization.
Protecting human assets and essential commodities while realigning future strategies with current scenarios is the need of the hour. And to make this happen, the priority must be to conserve energy and resources, and foster self-sustainable economies, having adequate production and manufacturing capacities to meet local demand and supply.
Business would be amongst the hardest hit as it resides at the heart of the economy. Ironically, it’s the business community that will have to eventually bear the responsibility of making up for the losses to the economy. Further lies a fundamental contradiction — on the one hand digitalisation would push business processes towards globalization and collaboration, and on the other hand, public policies would be driven by protective and self-reliant models.
Being resilient and sustaining through the COVID-19 crisis isn’t good enough. Resilience has to be complemented by transformation of business processes, value proposition, business models, and market development strategies.