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Can we use the Coronavirus crisis as a catalyst for change?

As the Coronavirus outbreak continues to spread globally, families, businesses and governments are trying to respond in unprecedented ways. Many companies expect that business will not return to normal for the coming months. So how do we prepare for that? Can we use this corona crisis as a catalyst for innovation and drive organizations to invest in design collaboration?

Joe Barkai started the webinar on Design Collaboration in the Age of a Pandemic, jointly organized by the Industrial Internet Consortium and the IOT Solutions World Congress, wondering whether organizations will remember the lessons of Covid-19 and whether they will be able to do what they need to do. Any glance at History reveals that global crisis and disasters have set the stage for change, but also that opportunities can be missed. Unfortunately, man is the only animal that trips twice over the same stone.

So, what should we do? The industry analyst made it clear that “we have to act now and not wait till the end of the crisis”. In fact, companies will have to re-examine all previous assumptions because the post-pandemic globalization will slow down. “Regionalism is the new Globalism”, he said. Also, because the pace of automation is growing faster, because “everything and everyone is connected” and because “remote is the new norm”. Telework has benefits on the environment as it reduces energy consumption and traffic, but we need to be aware of security breaches and ensure that data is managed correctly.

In this sense, as companies deal with more data, new data, and complex data, Barkai stressed the need to make sense of it. Indeed, the strategy adviser, blogger and published author enhanced that only 16% of executives are confident in the accuracy of data used to make business decisions, according to a 2016 KPMG & Forrester Research Study. In this context when data is not trusted, it is not used, so it becomes sterile. Moreover, it might be only utilized to justify opinions and undermine the ability to collaborate.

Accordingly, “successful companies will be those that not just weather the storm but are able to change.” That is certainly easily said than done, but still. Companies need to plan efficiency and resilience even under uncertainty. Resilience comes from balancing vitality and stability. Efficiency comes from “organizing data from multiple sources, using evidence-base analysis and simulation to evaluate scenarios, automating everything that can be automated and updating all assumptions, models and practices”, which implies that operations should be “data-driven” and that “all value chain participants should have ubiquitous access”, said the expert.

Yet new policies to be adopted have also new risks. Despite that, insisted Barkai, “we have to respond. We are forced to make the change”, as now we have to work from home. “This crisis is an opportunity to improve. Never let a good crisis go to waste”, he concluded.

The problem is that people is not afraid of change itself, as William Bridges puts in the book Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change, but of all they may lose in the process. Yet this is another matter.

By Anna Solana

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Pedro Mier

Pedro Mier holds a degree in Telecommunications Engineer ing from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, MBA from ESADE and PADE from IESE. He is currently President of AMETIC (Association of Electronics, Information Technology and Telecommunications Companies of Spain), Shareholder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of TRYO Aerospace & Electronics, Board Member of the Premo Group and Committee of CTTC. member of Space Angels Network and Member of the Sc ientific Advisory