More vulnerable, less predictable vulnerable, less predictable

It is already difficult to assess what the timeline of ‘The After’ could be: for the moment there is no clear timeframe on which the Covid-19 could be predicted as cleared, and the magnitude and impact of the economic crisis is also hard to assess. But the more the crisis lingers on, the less likely it is that everything returns to normal as it was before. Daily life is unlikely to be the same, and neither will the economic conditions as long as states have to provide protection measures (restricting activities and movements inside and across countries, etc).

We are all now aware of the extreme fragility of our societies, our civilizations and quite simply, our lives. We are vulnerable.

This vulnerability translates to the business world as well: firms operating in more than one country and offering several areas of activity have no greater protection than monoliners or domestic firms. The shock, even though the epidemic was predictable, will reinforce the need to better predict the future, or at least to plan for a range of scenarios that even just a few weeks ago were unthinkable.

Five-year plans will be a thing of the past. Plans will now cover 18-months at most, although long-term thinking will still be required, along with a clear and shared vision of the corporate purpose of each company.
Companies will need to transform themselves to offer a business model able to adapt rapidly or withstand any further pandemic shocks.
Large and high-cost projects running over several years will be paused for some time, in favor of a more flexible transformation of the company. This will allow it to adapt to handle this type of crisis, which is certain to return and could be even more deadly.
The transformations underway virtually everywhere will be ramped up and adapted to simplify businesses and provide them with greater security to confront the new dangers. Innovation and new ideas will be enhanced to transform businesses and also to create asense of pride, hope and attractiveness.
The search for data and predictive models such as artificial intelligence will be strengthened in businesses, along with an increased demand for prediction from executives. Stress tests will be analyzed in depth and involve new risks that were unthinkable barely a month ago.
Businesses will now have to simulate a greater number of risk scenarios and increase their resilience. The search for real-time data will increase.

Businesses will have to provide greater meaning for their employees, partners and clients. This requirement for meaning, which was already an important factor before the crisis, will become key. The hunt for talent will intensify; however, it will not be focused on issues such as remuneration, but on the social usefulness of the business. Some of our staff will be seeking greater meaning in their lives.
CSR and ESG functions will become essential, overseen and strengthened by the highest level of corporate management.