Decoding Tomorrow:
Futurism and Foresights Today

Foresights and ideas that expand minds and inspire a change of heart.

COVID-19 is Testing Our Humanity - Both Lives and Livelihoods

10 Apr 2020

COVID-19 presents a challenge to humanity on a global and individual level. I am sure you are anxious about the lives and health of those you love, as well as the resilience and future-proofing of your livelihood. You may have changed behaviours such as how you greet loved ones and strangers. You may have made difficult decisions such as postponing family events or pulling your children out of school ahead of the curve. You may have sat down at the dinner table after the kids have gone to bed and cancelled holidays, cut lifestyle expenditure, and worried about future school fees, or how homeschooling might affect your kids' futures. You may have had conversations with your elders about not being able to visit them in the home, or even reprimanding them for not taking social distancing seriously enough. I know I have.

You might be freaking out about the deposit you paid pre-COVID on your first home that you had saved for years, and seeing house values and share markets tumble during this exponential crisis. Lives and livelihoods are being affected - everywhere. Our own humanity and empathy with our fellow wo/man is being tested. Landlords and tenants. Husbands, wives, and lifelong partners. Vendors and clients. Employers and staff. Philanthropists and benefactors. We are all connected. 

Geord Sörman and Futurist Anders Sörman-Nilsson

Many of us are feeling disheartened at the moment. That's the truth. Last week my parents, in their late 60s, filed for voluntary administration for their 104-year-old, 3rd generation family business - Georg Sörman Est 1916 - as it couldn't withstand the future shock pulse created by COVID-19's viral spread. Many of you have heard me speak about this men's haberdasher - Stockholm's oldest equipper of its gentlemen - whose eponymous neon-sign has lit up Stockholm's night sky since the time of the first world war - even prior to the Spanish Flu. The economic shock wave was too much to handle, and sadly my parents are not the only entrepreneurs and business owners whose livelihoods will be affected by the recession we are heading into globally. From a personal perspective (see my reflections and epilogue here), our personal silver-lining is that my parents' health is still intact and we hope that their forced retirement means they can spend more quality time (post-quarantine) with their children and grandchildren. Lives and livelihoods are being disrupted. 

Futurist Anders Sörman-Nilsson

What is heartening is to remind ourselves that there will be a post-COVID-world. While we may or may not find a cure, humanity will adapt to this and future superbugs. We are living through a harsh reality right now - a modern form of Darwinism - but we will emerge on the other side. How you handle the short term and long term challenges of the virus will determine how future-ready you are. What is for certain is that the post-COVID-world will not be business as usual. It will not be a return to December 2019, but rather it will be a fundamentally re-shaped place (which we'll designate a future webinar to - stay tuned). 

Futurists are not in the prediction game. We are in the preparation game, and on a personal level, I feel privileged and deeply purposeful in the midst of this crisis. My purpose is to spread 'avant-garde ideas that expand minds and inspire a change of heart' and I am doing my best to live this purpose each day. I want to give you what I can at the moment. You might have been hearing more from us recently than in the last few years, and I hope we are providing you with some signal in the noise - we aim to not be flooding you with information, but rather to inspire, coach, and mentor you through transformation. Ironically, my foresight business - Thinque - and our client deliveries, pre-COVID-19- have been over-indexing in analogue eg. run scenario planning sessions in a physical space for boards and leadership teams, fly into Geneva for a global keynote presentation, or sit in a media or corporate tv studio to disseminate ideas. Even as a spokesperson for digital transformation, the 'human touch' was the way to transmit the science fiction narrative of the future. That has all changed. It is both heartening and a little unsettling to innovate your business model in the midst of the most disruptive economy in 100 years. I know what you are facing. At the same time, technology is what is now socially connecting us while we are physically distancing. Imagine the current crisis without Zoom, Whatsapp, Facetime, smartphones, and Netflix. Technology is teleporting us globally, near and far, at a time when we are prevented from exercising the 'human touch'.

We are all pivoting, changing, and responding together as we face this health and economic crisis. No one is immune to either. Humanity will conquer this threat by the application of the best of human and artificial intelligence. If I can help you on a personal or business level in a time of need, please let me know and email me personally. Each week I am setting aside time in my calendar for complimentary strategic support sessions over a virtual coffee - it is the least I can do to help you. We also have a regular cadence of strategy webinars which you can also access free of charge. You can access our most recent Corona Scenario Planning webinar video here. 

We all have something to give during this disruptive time. Let us all put our humanity and individual and collective superpowers to good use and do whatever you/we can to help those in need. We have all been asked to step up and answer the call. This is not the moment to disconnect, but rather to reconnect. There is creativity within quarantine - so let us use this time together and become anti-fragile through the exchange and application of ideas that expand minds and inspire a change of heart. 

Futurist Anders Sörman-Nilsson Coronavirus Covid19

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