Bye Bye 2020 and Thanks for all the Lessons!

  • Science came to the fore: the incredible speed with which testing and then subsequently vaccines became possible is a huge testament to the scientists able to make these breakthroughs. Hopefully, these breakthroughs will help us remember that we need to listen to scientists when they have compelling evidence of threats (and solutions).
  • Less pollution, more conservation: during the lockdowns early in the year, nature grew wild, animals foraged more freely and air pollution dropped. Economies quickly picked up the slack again but … hopefully the memory of this time might encourage us to work harder to reduce our impact on the planet.
  • Less consumerism?: 2020 brought a global shock to consumer purchasing — out with travel, out with eating out, less spending overall, more saving, and all in on essentials for the new reality such as digital video conferencing of home gym equipment. Some of these purchasing decisions will flow back the other way, but after a shock like this perhaps there is a chance we’ll realize that we don’t necessarily need all those pairs of shoes or fancy suits (not the suit trousers anyway!).
  • Re-thinking work?: I feel incredibly lucky that the work I do can be done remotely from almost anywhere in the world. This was not true for many people and it’s been an extremely difficult year as a result. With luck some of the transformations during the year will make it easier for more roles to “go remote” and we’ll get better at it as a society. This still won’t apply to all people, but by doing this hopefully, we can take the pressure off our commutes and travel as well as getting creative on how to properly support people in roles that do in-person presence.
  • Less travel and more local exploration: I can’t hide from the fact that I love travel and sorely missed it during this lockdown year. I suspect I got to fly more than most and even that felt limited. No doubt it will take a long time for global travel to recover. One of the big upsides has been discovering in-country and internal travel more. I got so much more familiar with Barcelona when I was there during lockdown and after spending a month in Prague I feel like I know the city much better than I did before. Now, all we need is the bars, restaurants, and museums back, perhaps the total number of airmiles will go down but enjoyment will go up.
  • Ensure better safety nets for those caught out by such major shifts
  • Chase growth a little less and try to ensure we’re prepared for more unexpected scenarios
  • Double down on science to understand more of the building blocks we’ll need to solve future crises
  • Don’t lose the spirit of collaboration we’ve learned in the last 9–12 months, being more connected is the basis for reacting quickly when something new does go wrong

Recovering ex-CEO. Thoughts are my own and don't represent my employer.

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