By Nilay Mehrotra, founder and CEO at Kindly (YC W22).
We have moved past the year 2021 and are two months away from stepping into the year 2023. Let’s face it, the past two years sent shivers down our spine and reminded us of every apocalypse movie ever made. Humanity found itself struggling to make ends meet. The world came to a standstill while we pondered over the many aspects of life that make us who we are as people—personally and professionally. The economy took a major hit, markets crashed and countries struggled to keep up their reserves. The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted almost all major sectors like never before. According to a recent McKinsey & Company report, inflation tops the list of perceived economic hazards across the globe.
To design a sustainable plan of action, we need to know what the extent of the Covid-19 crisis has been. Let’s take a look at the elements that were the most affected.
The rapidly changing business environment and set expectations are pushing owners to engage in high-risk operations. The Covid-19 outbreak has affected a major chunk of the financial hubs on a global scale. Abrupt changes in the macroeconomic indicators due to news that surrounded the pandemic have also had an impact on all countries. It has triggered a risk quantum—causing a market crisis, mounting pressure of losses on investors and transitory termination of businesses that did not stand the test of time.
At this time, business leaders need to focus on innovation more than ever. We’re already seeing things happening in minutes that would usually take hours to get done, such as grocery deliveries. We need to develop new innovative strategies to make healthcare more accessible at home as it is definitely the future of economic growth and is an investment more than a cost.
Income, Unemployment And Everything In Between
Despite the efforts of governments to hold down the fort and support firms by introducing job retention schemes, millions from the working class were left to fend for themselves. Self-employed individuals saw their income sources collapse. It was during this time that several governments supported expenses to ensure no one fell through the cracks.
Businesses have now started optimizing their workforce. Though this is a difficult decision to make, operational costs and economic risk factors are forcing entrepreneurs to take some harsh steps. Developing a strategy to be better equipped for such situations seems like the next big task at hand. While countries acted swiftly to provide unprecedented support to keep households running, and companies afloat and jobs protected, business leaders need to bring empathy into the workplace and come up with ways to keep up productivity. Remote jobs may be the new norm, and companies need to trust employees with their responsibilities to put an end to micromanagement.
Covid-19 exposed the fault lines of public healthcare systems worldwide. It can be considered a window of opportunity to chalk out healthcare reforms that are long overdue. Countries that were unable to contain the effects of the virus saw their hospitals being massively overburdened. This includes those that had some of the most robust and advanced healthcare systems. We’ve now realized the importance of projection-based healthcare capacity augmentation to handle another pandemic outbreak when the population is vulnerable. Many start-ups have already started launching one-of-a-kind solutions to prepare for any other crisis that may befall us.
To give you perspective, BluSemi, a health tech startup from India, recently launched the EYVA which is a small and handheld device that can monitor six different vitals. This includes heart rate, glucose level, oxygen level, and blood pressure minus the invasive procedures. EYVA gathers data when you hold it with both hands, which will then be available on the BluSemi app. EYVA was one of the best health tech devices seen during the pandemic. This could be the beginning of an innovative approach to healthcare reform. It’s time we begin thinking boldly about the future of our healthcare systems.
Tech adoption is the way forward. Surveys have found that businesses have adopted digital technologies that could stay around for a long time to come. Digitization has been “accelerated by a shocking seven years,” to say the least, according to a survey by McKinsey. Whether it was a temporary or permanent solution, companies stepped up to equip their employees with necessities.
Staying competitive is at the core of every business. It has been easier for small businesses to implement the latest technologies into their day-to-day business while big companies find it difficult to implement them as quickly given the time needed to test them and ensure that they give the desired output.
Most executives recognize the strategic importance of technology. They also understand that standing the test of time means evolving, experimenting and innovating at a faster pace. It looks like online platforms are here for the long haul, while traditional businesses may have to take a backseat citing consumer behavior that has switched to offerings with a reflection of hygiene sensitivity.
Geopolitical Conflicts And Environmental Sustainability
Geopolitical conflicts have put the 17 sustainable development goals of the United Nations in jeopardy. One study found that the combined crisis pushed an additional 88 million people into extreme poverty. Further, it is estimated that 11 million metric tons of plastics have entered the world’s water bodies. Companies in the market with more stringent environmental policies are predicted to have a long-term competitive advantage.
Humanity has never witnessed the interdependence of our health, finances, governance and the very fabric of society. Companies must focus on growth and scalability. To do this, answer three questions: Does your organization have the ability to make decisions using data and analytics? Are you able to create learning platforms that support learning at scale? Is your company building an organizational culture that fosters empathy and value creation with other stakeholders?
We can’t let this pass by us and should know that we will always push through regardless of the challenges that lie ahead.