By Itai Green
We are in the midst of a fascinating period. The most interesting thing is what will be in the day after. It’s going to be a process. There isn’t going to be a point in which we know that we are “after.” The process looks different in every country and the duration of the process will also be different.
The world of four weeks ago became distant history, when the world of after the crisis will be totally different.
In the last weeks, and those before, we are experiencing a fundamental change in every field of life. We are experiencing it beginning with the youth who don’t go to the educational frameworks anymore and until the third generation that are successfully overcoming psychological barriers regarding all that has to do with using technology.
Technology has a significant effect on our lives now and on the way in which those will look in the day after the COVID-19.
In the personal aspect, the internet, the computers, the cellular, smart television screens and iPads allow us work, education, culture, consumption and continuous communication. More and more online, more self-service and less face-to-face, when the latter is carried out only in situations of no choice.
The measure of those who study remotely will intensify. Not only the measure of the formal study hours but also that of the non-formal education. This does not mean that there will not be frontal classes but rather those will lean on the remote study and the online more and more, in content transfer and practice as one. Many more will turn to scientific and realistic professions willing to turn the world into a better place, among others aiming to allow fast and effective identification and coping with pandemics exactly like there is coping with cyber threats. The world will even have to increase the supervision on developments of biological weapons and this is in order to prevent health crises that malicious factors may plan, maybe even inspired by the current crisis.
The degree of hygiene of public spaces will be a critical element. Event venues, airports, planes, hotels, cultural halls, educational institutions, office spaces, malls will be able to return to relative normal in the day after only if they get a standards association stamp as COVID-19 FREE. Whoever doesn’t get that standards association stamp- will remain only online or will disappear. Just as there is a security guard at the entrance of a public place, the stamp will be needed as stated. Who will grant the stamp? Who will supervise that the owner of the stamp is eligible to it and is standing by it over time? To whom it’ll be reported when violations are made? Who will stand at the entrance of the building and perform tests? Will it be a governmental body? A private body? Where will it start? We’re dealing with an issue of great importance to business continuity. There is none like it even it has cost by its side. The cost is negligible compared to the positive impact on the renewed moving of the wheels of economy.
Israel is going to be a pioneer in this field. In general, it is wise of the Israeli leadership to internalize that as long as they act faster and more correctly, other countries will learn from Israel and the international status will get stronger. The way to do this is brainstorming, Hackathons, open-mindedness. This is the time to think outside of the box. Want an example – performing COVID-19 tests in three days to all residents of Eilat and turning Eilat into a COVID-19 Free zone to which anybody who presents a stamp that they passed the test successfully, can arrive. It is not allowed to say that “it’s not possible.” We have to look for creative solutions and even take calculated risks. Such initiatives will drive the economy. It will save lives. It would be Israel’s catalyst for tourism – for domestic tourism, and if planned correctly, for international tourism as well. Another challenge – the manner in which the education system will return to operate, at the very least for the children in kindergarten until those in third grade. Without that – it would no longer be possible for the market to return to reasonable function. And again – the answer “it’s not possible” is not acceptable. It is possible and we have to find solutions to the challenges. Exactly because of that Israel is a start-up nation and not another country in the globe.
What will be the psychological consequences of the period? Which technological tools will be developed to diagnose and treat in a quick and effective manner?
Corporations that are measuring the efficiency of work from home in these days are discovering that work efficiency, as long as the worker is provided with the necessary means – did not decrease and in part of the cases it even increased and they want to keep it that way. It would require adjustments in operating systems of the companies, in work habits and even in the work space design (more space for conference rooms, less shared work space, more personal offices). These changes will even affect the manner of the management of the decentralized human resource, job profiles and candidate profiles. The method recruitment will also have to be updated. Jobs that allow work from home, even only in 60 to 80 percent of the time, will turn into excruciatingly high wanted jobs because they allow a more balanced life. Employers will take great interest in staffing those jobs since their accompanied costs – are lower and the production is high.
More work from home means less cars on the streets (less traffic), less leasing cars, less gasoline expenses, reduced payments on car insurance (pay per use), there are entire industries (cars, insurance, finance, garages, related services and more) that are leaning on the leasing world. This is expected to change. Not only the car insurance world will change, there will be an effect on the financial world as well. We will see new insurance products that are relevant for times of crisis, to the individual and to organizations, more digital banking. In order for that to happen – the finance corporations will have to change and channel.
In the day after, it’s estimated that office spaces and retail spaces will be smaller. We will see more equipment warehouses, clothing warehouses and less commercial spaces like malls. In addition, we are expected to see a rise of new technologies in the retail field, for instance robotics and the use of drones and skitters for the purpose of deliveries. Yielding real estate owners will have to prepare for the day after and find different models than those they were used to. Corporate boards will have to allow fast alterations of land use and countries will have to update their outline plans. The needs will be different therefore the plans need to be updated. Physical retail will prefer to receive payments through a digital purse and not through a credit cards, bills, checks and coins.
In general, the worlds of operation and production – will be more efficient. We will see less “mediators” and agents between manufacturer (including food growers) and costumer. The agents that will remain – will be satisfied with lower fees. We will see robotics and remote control. More efficient deliveries that will be modified according to the customer’s demands and sometimes even charge a premium payment in order for the service to be provided in the most convenient manner to the customer. We will see more warehouses. Less commercial spaces.
Corporations learned in the last weeks that technology biased organizations are more flexible in dealing with cases of crisis like COVID-19. The lesson is clear – the rate of technology and digitalization in the business world will significantly increase. The board directors will demand that of the corporate management and will be involved in the process. Most of the developments will lean on the cooperation with external partners to organize such as academia, other companies and start-ups (Corporate Open Innovation). The measure of corporate reliance on technology and innovation also as the extent of open- mindedness of the organization’s management and its workers and the rates of the assimilation of an open innovation – will be measured by analysts, regulators and the stock market will be an indication of more advanced companies in relation to others. The models of executive compensation will change and encourage a strategical long-term vision at the expense of quarterly profit and loss.
If it’s possible to say one positive thing about the current crisis, it’s that it showed us that all the same things that organizations rejected claiming that they are complicated or expensive – are possible, relatively simple, and even profitable. The combination of start-up technology in corporates would have lasted even months more than that. And suddenly, during the month of March, the pace of assimilation has accelerated and was completed in a couple of days. We are expected to continue seeing the rise of the digital transformation trend as a result of this crisis. The crisis is a golden opportunity for corporates and start-ups as one.
One of the important elements in exiting this crisis is the extent of governmental involvement in the economical aspect. Governments that will not act quickly and significantly, will have to deal with significant economic crises and major economical gaps. Fixing and healing the situation- will cost those same governments more and more as long as they delay providing proper solutions.
There are a lot of practices in the world from which it’s possible to learn. This is the time to activate research factors to conduct a comparative research regarding what is done in the world in all that relates to what was detailed in this article and after studying the data, only then – to make decisions. Only if significant planning is performed regarding “the day after” – we will succeed to minimize the psychological damage, to minimize the economic damage, and lastly even maybe learn, rise and grow as a result of this crisis.
About the Author
Itai Green is the founder and CEO of Innovate Israel. He is one of the dominant leaders of Israel’s corporate open innovation. Itai is recognised as a leading player in Israel’s startup ecosystem and is at the forefront of launching its growth at a rapid pace. Itai leads innovation processes by connecting global corporations with the Israeli startup community to create advanced technological solutions; focusing on IT, consumer products, pharma, finance, travel, e-commerce, retail, banking, insurance, energy, construction tech and IoT. Itai is a member in several startup advisory boards. In the past, Itai was head of business development and Innovation at Amadeus IT Group in Israel, amongst other prominent positions at Elbit, CEO at Maxtech Technologies, VP Business Development at Techtium and the co-founder of JerusalemOnline. Itai is the founder of the ITTS community (Israel Travel Tech Startups). ITTS houses 350 Israeli traveltech entrepreneurs and strengthens the internal collaboration between startups, as well as increases the level of engagement between startups, multinationals and investors. Itai has also created the IITS community (Israel Insurance Tech Startups) for the Insurance start-up sector.