Studying the impact of innovation on business and society

COVID-19 Gives Rise to the Novel Economy – Not Yet a New Normal

When COVID-19 started to shut down the world and rock humanity to its core, the world was left without a defense mechanism or a playbook. Suddenly, everything was thrust into disarray with organizations and leaders alike scrambling to respond, to find stability, and ensure business continuity.

In my research at Salesforce, I focused on how customers (and employees) were evolving as a result of pandemic disruption and how businesses could use these real-time insights to guide organizational and digital transformation in three phases. I don’t refer to this as the new normal or the next normal. For the next 18-24 months, we’re in an interim normal, a state of transition and uncertainty. We can’t go back to the way things were without great consequence. And, we cannot move forward with conviction as we’ve no experience operating in a global pandemic of this magnitude. We are learning, unlearning, and inventing as we go.

While there’s an inherent drive to return to normal, quickly, we cannot allow ourselves do so for our own good and our own prospects just because it’s familiar, convenient, or because we fear the unknown. Many aspects of normal were part of the deeply systemic problems across every facet of society. There’s not only room for improvement, there’s need for reinvention and invention.

If we follow the teachings of Stoic philosophy, we realize that we have more power than we might think. While we cannot control world events or disruptions, we can control how we respond and what we do next.

Right now, everyone is trying to figure it out in their own way. But the key is to not react for the sake of reacting. Doing so will only push us closer to yesterday’s normal rather than establishing tomorrow’s standards for excellence. This is a time for pause and an opportunity for a great reset that unlocks new possibilities..

It’s all setting the stage for what’s next, a postnormal state of whatever we define as an aspirational, ideal, and superior world that we work together to enliven. I call this state and path forward the “Novel Economy,” as it represents the three phases to stay survive, stay alive, and thrive in this new and unusual epoch.

In this episode of DisrupTV, I joined long-time friends and colleagues Vala Afshar and Ray Wang to discuss the #NovelEconomy and what’s next. I also share what it means to be the new Global Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce!

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