As 2020 begins its journey from memory to history, I wonder how our experiences in this gruesome year will shape the future. We’ve seen maybe 10 years of social innovation in the last 10 months, but how will this accelerated innovation change the way we spend our days? What will come back What’s gone forever What can 2020 teach us about the future?
To work from home
For jobs where working from home is an option, the future is clear. The big question is what percentage of the time do former clerks have to spend in the office? The effects of as much as 10% of previous daily commuters working from home part of the week are profound. The larger the number, the greater the impact on the service economy supporting their commuting and needs outside the home. I don’t see this as an either-or scenario. We will continue to see a change in the work environment. We should prepare for the economic impact.
On a related topic, I don’t know anyone who has a complete business travel plan. Scott Kirby, United Airlines CEO, does not believe that air traffic will be “normal” again by 2024. That sounds right. But the new normal may include far fewer business travelers. Customers can now have a quick personal video chat. Let’s say business travel is reduced by 25% in the future. What economic impact will that have?
Warner Bros. will release its entire 2021 movie series on HBO Max the same day they hit theaters. Other theatrical distributors have made their films available online for $ 19.95 within weeks of their theatrical release (or earlier). Cable cutting speeds up. People have had the time to learn new ways to consume media. TikTok and YouTube are experiencing exceptional growth. People have an abundance of options. Production values are increasing at a remarkable rate. There is more to see and more ways to see than ever before. The media landscape has evolved and is not going back.
We shop differently now. Will we return to brick and mortar retail? Yes. Will it be the same No. Will we continue to shop online at an unprecedented level? Yes. E-Commerce, T-Commerce, Social Selling and all their variants are the clear beneficiaries of our suffering in 2020. The magic of “pushing a button and it shows up in a day or two” is not going away. Roadside delivery may be temporary, but orders for groceries, staples, hard goods, CPG, and even soft goods will remain. If your business (supply chain, inventory management, and sales) is not aligned and optimized for data-driven sales, advertising, marketing, and PR, you need to move up.
Very few doctors would agree to telemedicine visits in January 2020. Even fewer would correspond via unsecured e-mail. At best, you can call your doctor, and most of the time, the result of that call is a visit to the doctor’s office. Now almost every doctor offers telemedicine visits, accepts online co-pays, electronically transfers prescriptions to your pharmacy, and we are seeing the use of medical monitoring apps grow exponentially. The healthcare system is being digitalized seriously. And more importantly, big tech comes into play. Amazon Pharmacy is up and running. Apple Fitness and Apple Health are becoming increasingly important in Cupertino. Thanks to Big Tech and Big Medicine, we are facing a health and wellness development. Hopefully this will be accompanied by better patient outcomes. We will see.