COVID-19 has become a catalyst for change, accelerating the next decade of innovation.
More than 90% of US business leaders believe that COVID-19 will fundamentally change the way they do business over the next five years, according to McKinsey’s recent survey of over 200 organisations1. And while the majority see it as incredibly challenging, they also agree it will provide opportunities for growth.
In this way, COVID-19 has created a burning platform across every sector – an unanticipated ‘disruptive dilemma’ trigger point, as Subculture co-founder Michael Maness would define it. His research uncovered a Universal Arc pattern that repeats across businesses, institutions and even societies - from a ’divergent idea’ through growth, and then eventually into stagnation, decline and demise2.
Digital disruption accelerated the momentum of movement through this arc over the past few decades. But according to Maness, “with COVID-19, we’re seeing that arc become a rollercoaster. It’s moving fast, and you have to prepare to ride it3.”
The initial impact of COVID-19 has proved to be a test case for this framework. We saw businesses hold true to their purpose, with leaders focusing efforts on both employee and customer experience. They empowered their teams to seek out innovative ways to get products and services to market safely, and solve for shifting customer needs.
In some cases, the restrictive nature of containment policies necessitated the removal of legal or regulatory barriers to keep essential services running. For many businesses, COVID-19 became a catalyst to embrace new technologies and rethink flexibility and convenience for clients and employees alike. Others began to rethink traditional business models and look for new ways to diversify their revenue streams, while also lowering costs.