Pandemic Accelerated Transition into the Digital Age
How business, cultural and social norms shifted forever around the globe.
By now we have spent a great deal of time attempting to process the COVID19 situation. To start off, the reality of every individual, organization, institution, community and nation is impacted by the circumstance and situation we are in. One of the direct impacts of COVID19 is the shift to online consuming, learning, processing, and interpersonal relations.
Zoom out - realize that this - the COVID Pandemic has been a fundamental SHIFT in our human history - socially, culturally, economically, and at every level. Things will never be the same.
With this Pandemic, we have also experienced the rapid adjustment of our Social and Cultural norms. Through a micro(zoomed in) lens it may seem small, almost as if we are just biding our time for this to blow over and be done. The reality is that things will never go back to the way they were before the pandemic and global lockdowns. Too many people have experienced what it is like to do everyday tasks from a remote location: work, teach, meet, do business, learn, study, speak to family - and everything in between. This fundamental shift in how, when and why we move and come together will have lasting effects- both in the immediate and far off future. Businesses, institutions, governments, communities and Individuals have all had to pivot. Various parts of our daily practices, processes and actions - which have worked before, and might have even been areas of strength, now have been exposed to new levels of extreme risk, reward, and change. The goal of digitizing these experiences is to create value in this new space.
Fundamental Digitization of the economy
Governments and health authorities across the globe have been mandating and strictly regulating our physical interactions, group gatherings, attending public places and accessing local businesses. This iron fisted approach to closing down the economy, was aimed at maintaining public safety. What could not be avoided, were the impacts and implications of these decisions. It highlighted a new emphasis on the #digital parts of our economies and encouraged societies to #rise. Businesses were forced to ramp up online customer service, customer engagements and customer acquisitions. For example: restaurants adapted to provide roadside pickup or delivery options, with unfortunately some, having to fully close their doors. Schools were either closed for the semester, shifted to an online education format, or pushed to delay making a decision, with inevitably choosing a combination of an early year finish and online learning. In our households, Social Media and communication platforms - Zoom, Facetime, Whatsapp, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, etc* have given way to a new level of connecting- an experience that has only increased our demand for more of it! #OnlineRetail continued to pick up, and in the aggricultural sector online grocery shopping - whether order for storeside pickup, home/ curbside pickup or a combination - the grocery sector has experienced a shift in the consumer behaviour. As of March 2020 *~9% of Canadians are shopping online for food (for the first time) compared to 1.5% of all food sales conducted online prior to the Pandemic & COVID19. Additionally, according to a Dalhousie reseasrch study only ~24% of Canadians feel comfortable with grocery shopping. *https://www.thetelegram.com/business/local-business/sylvain-charlebois-covid-19-will-change-the-food-industry-forever-429913/ Across the globe, governments, policy makers, industry and community leaders faced a novel high risk/high reward situation. It is a defining moment in time; everyone has been tested, and the response, both initially and during the time afterwards has varied. Each nation, taking different stances on how strict they operate their country. Each business like each individual has had to find ways to meet and continue outside of the physical constraints - and into the digital world.
Big Tech, Industries and Nations rooted in the Digital Economy made $Billions$
Over the course of March and April 2020 Zoom was seeing 200+, and 300+ million daily meeting participants. Compared to 90,000 in December 2019 - - Zoom CEO Eric Yuan on Blog *https://www.businessofapps.com/data/zoom-statistics/*
At a time when change, demands for transparency, shift in policy, environmental stewardship and civil rights are happening more broadly and in a more connected and televised way - the strain on everyone to shift into a digital realm is real. It is here, and the stakes are higher than ever. The Digital Age is the era of opportunity, connectivity and speed - we are able to think something, pause to look it up- and to take action, while at the same time experiencing the reality of how much noise, fragmented and misinformation there is widely available.The uncertainty felt by many around the world is underscored by the stark contrast of what was normal pre-Covid. Boundaries with individuals, institutions and government became more concrete. Now, without the physical ties and traditional ways of doing things, we are all in situations where our priorities and boundary conditions have been challenged, dismantled and are now having to reset.
"The big game often appears when the hunter has given up the hunt for the day." ~ Igbo Proverb
This is the most stressful, and yet the greatest 12 months to take action, possibly ever. Not for any one individual. For us. As a whole people. Each nation. Each Community. Each Industry (the notion and traditional definition of industries has during this time, also been highlighted as being outdated*). All parties involved are under pressure. Stress. A consistent dwelling in unknown and uncomfortable situations. If we zoom out, these months in lockdown, the time with restrictions, and navigating tension - it is part of the hunt. On this journey of life we cannot control anything but our actions. We were only months into 2020, on the heels of CIVIL Rights, International trade, and national/political tensions- then BOOM - The Pandemic. Only 6 months into the year, we had the choice to resign. We could have thrown in the towel, and hoped to stay afloat until things settle down. But, we can strapped in, acknowledged that the Pandemic has set the first steps, and we moved forward into this Digital Economy with Intention. Nations.
Businesses and Institutions.
Individuals and Families.
We each have a part to play.