The Day After VaccinationBy Byron Amores | Mon, 12/07/2020 - 09:00
Twelve months ago, and from a city almost unknown to the West, the world was told that a new virus of unknown origin had been detected, the effects and symptoms of which could not be treated with known means.
Quickly, it went from tens of sick people to hundreds. There were already thousands within a couple of days, and the number has surpassed 61 million to date.
The origin of this virus is still unknown. Different hypotheses have been put forward since the citizen ate the bat soup in the city's market, including the well-known conspiracy theories that maintain the virus was created with a specific purpose.
Now, all of this is history. From that date on, the world changed and will never be the same again. What does this mean for the world of business?
Like all processes of change, there are intrepid people whose aversion to risk is low and they took advantage of the opportunity to create business models that did not even exist. Others, a little more cautious, accelerated their strategy to jump on the famous boat of digital transformation following the example of innovative companies that were already setting the trend. Finally, there are those whose structure could not withstand the onslaught of the pandemic or who, for fear of the unknown, failed to make the changes necessary to move forward and are in agony as they wait to return to a new normalcy. In either case, people and organizations are waiting for the vaccine to arrive.
Even though there is already talk of vaccine options with a high percentage of validity, we know that we will continue to live through different times for a few more months. These months will follow a pattern of uncertainty and instability and, therefore, some of the consequences we have already seen will continue to deepen. The big question is whether the business world is ready for "the day after" the vaccine is available to everyone.
What does it mean to be ready?
In the pre-pandemic era (PA), society and the economy seemed to be moving ever faster in search of greater and better opportunities to achieve their ultimate goal: higher profitability. Although some organizations accompanied this financial goal with a purpose, in difficult times, profitability could take priority. This situation where "cash is king" was causing a systemic erosion of the social economic gap. In recent years in Davos, Switzerland, world leaders established an agreement to work on the main challenges facing humanity. However, the strength of the economy was still advancing to the point that the goals established as part of the agreements were being delayed.
The world has been given an obligatory rest in the wake of the massive contagion. This moment has served to let us slow down, take a breath and reassess the human perspective that had been neglected.
Now comes the post-pandemic (PP) era. While many paradigms have been broken and many companies accelerated their digital transformation process, teleworking is a reality. Spending time with family and appreciating the simple things are at the top of our agendas. It is also clear that the socioeconomic gap has eroded even more.
In these circumstances, the question of whether organizations are ready for the day after becomes relevant. Overall, and economically speaking, the pandemic left a few winners and a lot of losers. In the face of this, it is worth asking: What are organizations going to do differently in the new context?
Although the desire for economic progress does not have to diminish, it is not enough to put together a real strategy for social development and commit to it. Although in the PA era this might sound antagonistic, in the PP, the answer is that this must be an opportunity. With a world population that tallies 7.7 billion, where only 0.7 percent of the population concentrates 45.9 percent of the wealth, there is a great opportunity for the base of the pyramid to improve its income and therefore improve the economy.
This is not about a redistribution of wealth to pass money from the rich to the poor. It is about ensuring that the less privileged segments actually have the opportunity to generate more wealth and that all segments are sustainably engaged with a planet that has limited resources. Imagine the strength of the economy and the benefit in taxes, business opportunities and quality of life that the world would have if the 3.5 billion people who today have less than US$10,000 in wealth could move to the next level.
Let's imagine a society where the quality of life of the population is ensured by a decent health system, an adequate social security system and a fair retirement program. Let us visualize an improvement in the educational system that raises the cultural level of our societies, that allows us to have new generations that are better prepared, more educated and with better tools to govern and be governed. Let us long for a society where there is equal opportunity and recognition, regardless of gender, background or creed.
As we think about all this potential, and considering this juncture that has sensitized us to the simple, the easy, and what should be a priority, we must ask ourselves again: Are we ready for the day after the vaccine and to create a PP era that benefits all?