What are the different challenges industries are facing? Who will be the winners and losers looking at the shift from crisis mode to new normal?
Rachel – There are a lot of winners and losers but there are two industries in particular that are…both winners and losers. Healthcare… we know how [the pandemic] has been overloading the healthcare system causing massive strain, budgeting issues, etc… but at the same time as being a massive disaster it’s also triggered a huge amount of innovation around digital health, in particular. I heard the Head of CVS Health speak last week and he was talking about how there has been more innovation in digital health in the past 2 months then there was in the last 50 years which is a tremendous statistic.
The other industry that fits into this category is grocery and e-grocery. I think it’s obvious to all of us that people are now grocery shopping online more than ever, even people who resisted before. The paradox there is that it has been kind of a disaster as an experience for a lot of people in terms of unreliability, not being able to have things delivered when you want them, etc.
Alain – I do think it’s important to think about how there are losers across the board, even those companies thrust into hyper growth. On the surface that might look like [they are at an] advantage but, [growing so fast] often triggers some very impulsive decisions that aren’t necessarily healthy for the long-term health of the company.
For me [the winners] are really those companies who are willing to be courageous and invest in more offensive strategies, the ones that are willing to invest in innovation, R&D, and growth at this time. That is a brave decision and it makes me think about a great HBR article from a few years ago in the recession, where they pointed out that companies that invest in both offensive and defensive tactics in the midst of crisis are significantly more likely to outperform their competitors.
Alex – One of the big changes when we talk about the way the world was to the way the world is now is [the] big change from being more efficient, which was a core tenant for a lot of businesses in operational approaches, in product design, and even in strategic road mapping and thinking, to being more resilient and looking at larger ways of trying to improve. Not just in operational flow but in product mindset and product development and design and you are seeing that a lot in how companies are dealing with things like logistics and ways of working and I would say that absolutely, healthcare and grocery are beneficiaries… to changes in both physical infrastructure but also in technology infrastructure and logistics.
There is a lot of opportunity not just in terms of connecting route to market for product development, manufacturing, and consumer logistics, but also in helping people communicate better. A lot of the things that you are seeing around mutual aid networks, things that are coming out of the Black Lives Matter protests, and the way that people are sharing communications, sharing information, making it more transparent, but also more real time. This also starts to belie a new approach to how people are communicating effectively and not just efficiently.
Otto – Building on the ideas from Rachel and Alex…the platforms are going to become bigger, and we’ll move more and more into platform economics. I think one of the challenges that this poses to the more traditional players or to the players that don’t have these huge tech platforms, is the idea that it will become increasingly difficult for these businesses to compete or create value propositions if this infrastructure (in terms of supply chain, distribution marketing) is outdated.
It’s not enough for companies to have the best or the most purpose driven brand and user experience if you are not able to deliver that experience or product or service to customers to their preferred (and probably now more remote) locations. And so, what it really becomes about is… having a very up to-date infrastructure and having the right ecosystem players and partnerships, etc.
User experience or brand, in the traditional way that companies have been thinking about it, will no longer be a differentiator.