We’re showing what we’re made of! In times of crisis it can be hard to see the positive aspects. Many people can become listless and irrational. Patterns of behaviour quickly shift and new trends emerge. But the fact is that crises throughout history have also pushed society to develop inventive solutions. Adversity forces people to make brave decisions, find smarter paths forward, and form new partnerships. Crisis has quite simply been a catalyst for innovation and development. Entrepreneurship and collaboration allow us to achieve things that we never dreamed were possible.
We have singled out four major behavioural changes arising from the coronavirus crisis that we’ve observed taking place in the world right now. Together we always find a way!
As the situation evolves and presents new challenges, it’s not always enough to be flexible and innovative. Knowledge and experience can be the weak link for making those essential changes to how we live. When lives are at risk, the motivation to learn becomes much greater. We see this in schools where the coronavirus crisis has demanded a steep implementation of digital solutions. A process that would have otherwise taken several years is happening almost overnight. People in their 90s are ordering food online for the first time, flight attendants are getting a crash course in hands-on medical treatment, and dentists are being compelled to learn how to produce 3D-printed protective equipment through Youtube tutorials. In parallel with schools closing and the threat to our knowledge-building system feeling more imminent than ever, we also see how learning is accelerating in other industries.
When demand shifts radically among industries, unexpected collaborations emerge. On the one hand, an understaffed operation under pressure, on the other, people who suddenly find themselves without work for the foreseeable future. Increasing the production of life-saving equipment and replenishing the numbers of healthcare workers is the clear priority.
Perhaps it sounds like an obvious solution, to just bring in the unemployed workers. But it’s not that simple. It involves agreements, policies, laws, confidentiality, and negotiations that need to be reviewed and adjusted within a very short time frame. Nevertheless, it can be done. A truck manufacturer is lending its staff to a medtech company, flight attendants are being retrained to assist the healthcare sector, and in India we can now see new relationships between the state and non-governmental bodies that have never worked before. And all this is happening because it must happen. In other words, it’s a case of unexpected partnerships motivated by crisis.
Another trend that has emerged in response to today’s challenges has been to reassess how existing services and processes can be adapted following a market upheaval. Hotels and arenas are being used as temporary hospitals, textile and phone manufacturers are converting production lines to produce face masks, and perfume companies and breweries are helping meet the high demand for hand sanitiser. Circular systems that have become sought after recently and which focus on a more flexible and interchangeable use of existing resources are suddenly in effect. And it is likely that these innovative processes will continue long after this immediate crisis is a distant memory.
OPENING UP AND SHARING
The generosity of others has never been more apparent. Google and Microsoft are offering free software, culture and entertainment are being streamed free of charge, and libraries are delivering books to the homes of those in risk groups. In difficult times, the need to interact, share thoughts, and express ourselves is greater than ever. Most people know that our greatest triumphs are born in our darkest times. The need for meeting places and culture is more pressing than ever, while at the same time the risk of contagion is limiting the possibilities. This has led to many operators opening up their services and sharing them digitally. And in the midst of chaos, hashtags are being created and people are organising themselves to find new ways to access culture and togetherness.