Madrid, 2 June, 2020 – Mass distrust, industrial patriotism, and a purpose-driven economy will be some of the differentiating characteristics of the post–Covid-19 world, as concluded in a webinar hosted by the global innovation firm Opinno that featured the participation of the mayor of Madrid and CEOs of major international companies.
The post–Covid-19 world presents significant challenges to citizens, society, companies, institutions, and politicians. Panelists highlighted that this crisis offers society an opportunity to minimize differences and find common ground. They all agreed that we must learn from this experience and move forward, which will happen through two unavoidable and unalterable processes: sustainability and digitalization.
“This crisis affords us an opportunity as a society,” affirmed Madrid Mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida, “to get back to basics and come together to fight and together come out on the other side, minimize differences, and find common ground. Society is going to demand high-mindedness and the ability to find common ground from politicians.” According to Martínez-Almeida, “the pandemic has devastated big cities, and in the end our strengths have been our weaknesses. However, the problem isn’t with cities, but with internalizing that we have to learn from the experience, move forward, take advantage of new opportunities, and all of this is achieved through two unalterable processes: sustainability and digitalization.”
Three New Trends
Tommaso Canonici, Founding Partner and Managing Director for Opinno Europe, emphasized that “the companies that are successful in the long term will not be those that best manage this crisis, but the ones that adapt and know how to take advantage of opportunities.” Canonici cited three new trends from Opinno’s RESTART report. The first is mass distrust, “which forces a reinvention of the way we communicate, a brand’s reputation, and technologies like blockchain which will be a genuine revolution.” The second is industrial patriotism, which results in local production and consumption habits. “Everything points to a reindustrialization of Spain and Europe, and for this we will need the commitment of the public and private sectors.” The third is a purpose-driven economy, “where commitment, mission, and values will be key to the competitiveness of companies.” Opinnio recommends a 360º redesign of client, employee, supplier, and stockholder experience; investing in presence across all available channels; reinventing communication and digital sales; and transforming the organization.
Sustainability and Digitalization
The webinar also highlighted that the future demands humility, closeness, empathy, leadership, transparency, and confidence generation. Likewise, several of the panelists pointed out that certain trends have accelerated––particularly digitalization. “In terms of where we buy, what we buy, and how we pay, security in the entire flow of the transaction is key.” The choice of where people buy is relevant, “and establishments must offer an experience that is simpler, easier, and more integrated, bringing in players that were traditionally separate.” Another key trend is financial inclusion, which “demands the collaboration of society, businesses, and the government.” The financial industry will play a crucial role in the economic recovery.
Leadership and Human Capital
Finally, Antonio Núñez, Senior Partner at Parangon Partners and co-author of El líder ante la innovación, emphasized that this crisis is showing us the best and the worst of leadership, and that it will bring us better leaders who are more committed, prepared, experienced in crisis, receptive, and values-driven. For Núñez, direction requires leadership that is strong, integrating, capable of motivating, inspiring, and uniting people. Having a strategic vision in the medium-long term but being willing to revise it in the short term is a must, as are flexibility and change management. “A CEO,” he said, “must be competitive, efficient, resilient, and very results-oriented when managing a crisis. They must be a leader who is collaborative, innovative, creative, digitally transformative, a great communicator, and capable of balancing work with their personal and home life.” Núñez concluded by asserting that “a competitive environment is near, where those who succeed will not only be those who find opportunities, but also those who are very close to their clients and who take care of their people and talent. My advice is to surround yourself with the best team possible, dedicate time to your people, and think about the team you’re going to need in the future.”