How to not let this good crisis go to waste

Paul

by Paul van Schie

Over the course of history crises have been catalysts for change. Black swan events, such as economic recessions, alter the course of history.

Indeed, if Nassim Nicholas Taleb, famous author of the bestselling book The Black Swan, is chronically irritated, it is by the “naïve empiricists”—who think that our tomorrows are likely to be pretty much like our yesterdays.

Although Taleb convincingly states that the Corona Virus is not a black swan, this pandemic is a global crisis. And inevitably, as it is with every crisis, this one will cause significant change.

Predicting the direction of this change in every area of life has been a hot topic of discussion over the past months.

One of the most predominant questions in the area of purpose, is how the predicted economic backlash of the outbreak will influence sustainable buying behaviour and organisational strategy.

With hospital beds freeing up and governments softening their regulations on social distancing, the Corona outbreak seems to have passed it’s tipping point. At the same time, we’re starting to see the first signs of (societal) change and the first data on it’s direction is being gathered.

Winston Churchill famously said “Never let a good crisis go to waste”. Read on for some insights into how to follow his advice and embrace change to make positive impact.

On crises and innovation

What is it about crises that breeds so much innovation? This Harvard Business article identifies four key shifts that occur during a crisis that foster the conditions for new thinking and doing. Understanding these can help learning leaders seize the opportunity to drive useful change.

Spoiler alert: purpose is one of them!

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New research suggests at least a short term increase in sustainable buying behaviour

This article by Kearney summarises their survey of 1,000 consumers’ attitudes toward [buying] environmental products. There’s some good news!

“In terms of how COVID-19 is impacting consumer attitudes:
48 percent of respondents said the pandemic had made them more concerned about the environment.
55 percent of respondents told us that as a result of their COVID-19 experiences they were “… more likely to purchase environmentally friendly products.” ”

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Why your people hold the key to crisis outcomes

In 2019, PWC researched 4500+ crises at 2,000 companies and used the data to reverse-engineer a successful crisis response.

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Five ways a sustainability strategy provides clarity in a time of crisis

Companies with robust sustainability programs are more likely to perform well during a downturn.

This article covers five ways that companies can rely on their sustainability strategies to provide clarity during this crisis and give them an edge during the recovery phase:

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Companies will have to get creative to advance sustainability amid crisis

Before COVID-19, people all over the world had been more focused than ever before on the issue of sustainability. But will pandemic lead to more or less sustainable buying behaviour? This article provides 5 strategies to keep sustainable buying behaviour an attractive option for consumers.

“This dichotomy in consumer motivation — between caring about a cause but also about functional features and price — makes pursuing a sustainability agenda complicated. “

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