A decade from now, how will we view the COVID-19 pandemic? Will we look back and actually understand what happened, why it happened and how it all transpired? Will new conspiracy theories surface? How will we use hindsight as a way to rethink the present predicament that we’ve been forced to contend with in our daily lives?
Until the future materialises and hidden truths are finally revealed, we simply won’t know how to view the present. The future–a seemingly unknown reality–is nothing but a domino effect of the present, where one decision, one event and even one mistake has a way or rippling through time and space in an unimaginable continuum of cause and effect.
Periods of extreme adversity spur innovation in industry and behavioural changes. In 1941, when Pearl Harbour happened, the U.S. artillery was 75% horse drawn. And yet by the end of the war, the US had entered the atomic age. The use of nuclear energy for creative–as opposed to destructive purposes–sparked a period of innovation and growth in the global economy that lasted for decades.
Is COVID the catalyst that spurs us to tackle critical issues that we ignored over the course of the boom period that predated it? Governments and businesses all over the world are rethinking healthcare, education and housing–the three essential services where demand has not dampened, but only accelerated. As a result of global border closures and citywide lockdowns, our residences morphed into a makeshift office and educational facility. It has forced us to rethink the idea of ‘home’ as we push forward and redesign our residences to suit our new daily needs.
When we first heard that there would be a vaccine, did we think it would happen this fast given all the red tape that exists within bureaucratic systems? In just over a year, our generation has witnessed the rapid development of a global vaccination program at a speed that few thought was feasibly possible. Work-from-home is the new normal and by the looks of things, we’re not going to be heading back to the old normal anytime soon–if ever.
In 2030, we may be living, working, studying and playing in a radically new earth. Our lives could potentially be better, healthier and cheaper. Our lives will undoubtedly be more digital, virtual and data-centric as our identities co-exist in two interconnected realities–one virtual, the other physical. Many of the technologies are not new, but so much potential remained untapped until the crisis forced us to mobilise our resources, band together and work together in a never-before-seen modality of human existence.
Innovative businesses will now come to the fore in a bigger way than ever before. The ones that come up with new solutions that allow them to solve both societal as well as economic problems will be the businesses that envision–and ultimately create–a new earth.