This blog first appeared as
By: Steve Wunker
Pandemic prediction has fast become a cottage industry, but ridiculous forecasts abound. Leaving aside predictions about how the coronavirus crisis will medically progress and ultimately resolve, assertions about how business will respond can range from well-grounded to unhinged. Unfortunately, the press often doesn’t distinguish between the two, treating all future-gazing as credible.
It isn’t. As someone whose career is staked on predicting how industries will evolve, I couldn’t survive for long without having clear criteria about how and why business change actually happens. Here’s what these lessons mean for how business will alter in response to COVID-19.
such as a W-shaped recovery, gradual emergence of effective treatment, and broadening immunity due to either widespread exposure or safe but not entirely effective vaccines. Solid forecasts would look at how businesses might react, and what company incentives would be, under each context, realizing that different parts of a country or the world may be experiencing scenarios at distinct times.
2. Understanding of how behavior change happens: Humans almost never change their preferences overnight – even in these times. Rather there are clear principles governing how behavior change actually happens. Use them!
3. Addressing fundamental economic drivers: Few businesses wish to transform their customer experience for COVID only to change back after the coronavirus crisis passes. These moves are hard to make, and they create all kinds of financial and operational risk. However, some changes play into a longer-term roadmap of how a firm seeks to evolve, and they become integral to of an enterprise. For instance, moving from in-person to virtual sales representatives could significantly lower costs, and enabling more self-service could reduce expenses as well. Propositions that offer a long-term payout are far more likely to take root compared to those which are for pandemic times only.
4. Displaying insight into sustained motivation: My seventh-grader’s fondness for virtual learning isn’t driven by the presence of COVID, but rather largely by the perennial existence of middle school anxieties. Our appreciation of Zoom calls with aging parents stems from a long-term desire for close connection. If predictions grasp which motivations will sustain after the threat of the virus passes, they are far better grounded than those framed around the current context.
Forecasting the future is always a hazardous endeavor, but – as in any dangerous sport – there are key watch-outs for failure and leading indicators for success. Spotting those in business predictions about the coronavirus will put you in far better position to thrive during our inherently uncertain future.
Click for a series of working papers on managing an organization through the coronavirus crisis.
This section will not be visible in live published website. Below are your current settings:
Current Number Of Columns are = 3
Expand Posts Area =
Gap/Space Between Posts = 10px
Blog Post Style = card
Use of custom card colors instead of default colors =
Blog Post Card Background Color = current color
Blog Post Card Shadow Color = current color
Blog Post Card Border Color = current color
Publish the website and visit your blog page to see the results