INTHEBLACK July 2020 - Page 24



F E AT U R E
// T H E P O S T- PA N D E M I C W O R L D
0 2.
IT’S WHAT YOU DO,
NOT WHERE YOU DO IT
For many people, the current commute to
work involves a short walk from one room
of the home to another.
A survey from Gartner HR reveals that
88 per cent of organisations across the globe
have encouraged or required employees
to work from home during the crisis.
Gartner research also shows that 74 per cent
intend to shift some employees to remote
work permanently.
However, futurist Chris Riddell, who
is based in Melbourne and Los Angeles, says
that people will still choose to work from
offices next year because “humans
crave connections”.
“Work is a thing that we do, not a
place that we will go to as time goes on,”
he says. “The networking and incidental
conversations that occur in a workplace are
so important, and just can’t be replicated in
a scheduled teleconference call.”
Riddell says workplace design will change
to accommodate new ways of working.
“Office spaces may become smaller as
more people will choose to work from home
when it suits them,” he says. “Trends like
hot-desking will disappear. It’s a cost-saving
rationalisation measure done by a lot of
corporates, but it’s never really made a lot
of sense, especially as office space will get
smaller, and there will be restrictions on
sharing equipment to reduce the risk of
spreading the virus.”
Will workers spend less time in an office?
“Absolutely,” says Riddell. “The pandemic
has stress-tested our businesses to the
absolute max when it comes to technology.
It’s been tough for many, but they’ve
discovered that remote working does work.”
28 ITB July 2020
03.
CYBERSECURITY
TA K E S C E N T R E S TA G E
The Australian Competition and Consumer
Commission’s Scamwatch website has
received more than 2000 COVID-19related scam reports, with over A$700,000 in
reported losses since March. Common scams
include phishing for personal information,
online shopping and superannuation scams.
Sydney-based futurist Shara Evans says
remote-working conditions have left many
businesses vulnerable to cybercrime, but that
cybersecurity measures required tightening
even before the pandemic.
“Even without COVID-19, there are a lot
of practices I see businesses engaging in that
are quite alarming,” she says. “Information
that can be used for identity theft is still
being sent through unencrypted email,
for example. Cybersecurity training for
employees has been missing in action for
too long, and it will have to change.”
Data from the Office of the Australian
Information Commissioner shows that
human error accounted for 39 per cent of
data breaches across all legal, accounting
and management services in 2019.
“Cybersecurity may have taken a back
seat as companies scrambled to keep things
going, but that will change,” Evans says.
Security measures such as the establishment
of chief information security officer roles,
rolling out security awareness programs
and the implementation of cyber incident
response plans are likely to become more
widely adopted.
“Cybersecurity will be a greater focus a year
from now, because it has to be,” Evans says.
04.
06.
A NEW ERA OF HYPERC O L L A B O R AT I O N
Responses to the pandemic have required
a collaborative effort. Apple and Google
teamed up to create COVID-19 contact
tracing technology in April this year,
and leaders across Europe announced an
international alliance in May with the aim
of raising billions of pounds to help find
a vaccine and treatments for the virus.
Leonhard says “hyper-collaboration” will
become the new normal in 2021.
“Collaboration will shape new business
models,” he says. “For example, hotels and
restaurants are already teaming up, rather
than competing, to attract bookings and
to share marketing expenses.
“Business will no longer be as
Darwinistic, because now we need to
invent together.”
Hervey says businesses will need to
build new mechanisms for collaboration,
and says inspiration is likely to come for
the scientific community.
“The speed at which science is moving
in terms of understanding, tracking and
building antivirals is the fastest in history,
because there are incredible mechanisms
for collaboration. The scientific
community has spent decades practising
collaboration, and those practices and
norms of behaviour are now really
coming into their own.
“I think what’s going to be interesting
for business is to see where they can
start building similar mechanisms for
collaboration, for whenever the next
crisis hits.”
A D A P TA B I L I T Y B E AT S
EFFICIENCY
05.
A M U LT I P O L A R F U T U R E
F O R AS I A
Home to the world’s second-largest
economy, China is the most dominant
power in Asia. However, that may change
in the post-COVID world, according to
Dr Parag Khanna.
Khanna is founder and managing partner
of FutureMap, a data and scenario-based
strategic advisory firm based in Singapore,
and author of The Future Is Asian:
Commerce, Conflict, and Culture in the
21st Century.
He says the impact of COVID-19
may facilitate the emergence of a truly
multipolar Asia, where power is not
dominated by one country, but distributed
among many.
“If there is one silver lining from the
pandemic, it is the geopolitical outcome,
which is that there will be a greater balance
of power and the non-dominance of any
one power – in Asia, in particular, and in
Eurasia in general,” he says.
The rush towards greater business efficiency
has been picking up steam since the 1980s,
but Hervey predicts that adaptability will
become more prized.
“What we’ve discovered during the
pandemic is that if you’re super-efficient
with distributed global supply chains and
just-in-time manufacturing, and you have
pared your HR costs down to the bone, and
trimmed any fat in your business, when a
crisis like this hits, you’re in big trouble.”
Hervey says the businesses that will
survive – and eventually thrive – are those
that have prioritised adaptability.
“We live in a world now where we’re
going to get these black swan events,” he
says. “We’re going to put in place measures
and procedures to account for this, and they
might be the opposite of efficiency.”
Hervey explains that this is not to
say adaptability will come at the expense
of efficiency.
“It’s just a different way of structuring the
business,” he explains. “The argument for
adaptability has to be made from the top,
because when you’ve got businesses that
have prioritised efficiency for so long, you’re
going to get push-back. I think we’re just
going to see adaptability being talked about
in more boardrooms as more of a strategic
priority, and companies will be more willing
to accept extra costs in order to build
[adaptability] into their business model.”
“ C O L L A B O R AT I O N W I L L
SHAPE NEW BUSINESS
MODELS... BUSINESSES
W I L L N O L O N G E R B E AS
DARWINISTIC, BECAUSE
WE NOW NEED TO
I N V E N T T O G E T H E R .”
GERD LEONHARD,
THE FUTURES AGENCY
07.
E M PAT H Y T R U M P S E G O
Decisive leadership has helped shape the
more successful responses to the pandemic.
Leaders such as Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen,
Germany’s Angela Merkel and New
Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern have been singled
out as models of effective management
under pressure.
Is it a mere coincidence that they are
all women?
“I think it’s dangerous to typecast female
leadership into a particular style,” Hervey
says. “My hope is not that female or male
leadership comes up looking better or worse
at the end of this crisis. My hope is that
styles of leadership come out looking better
after this crisis.
“Certainly, the ego-led style of leadership
has been an absolute disaster,” he says. “It’s
not going to emerge looking very good.
“Empathetic leadership, or leadership that
is willing to change its mind – if those styles
of leadership suddenly look better in the
wake of this crisis, then I’ll be delighted.”
intheblack.com July 2020 29

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