Anticipatory Minds don't Ask about the New Normal, they Forge the Next Normal

Daniel Burrus
March 24, 2021

Daniel Burrus

One of the World's Leading Technology Forecasters and Business Strategists
Anticipatory Minds don't Ask about the New Normal, they Forge the Next Normal

From virtual museum tours to five-star curbside pickup of a steak and lobster dinner, some tremendously innovative ideas emerged out of the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. With the help of application development, ordinarily in-person business operations quickly pivoted during March 2020 to combat the tremendous loss they were facing as the world shut down in response to COVID-19 While some companies are moving into the New Normal, or Next Normal as some prefer, just as many companies are are hoping to return to their pre-pandemic status quo.

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However, the reality is that our world is forever changed. The pre-coronavirus world is not where we are heading, and I'm aware that scares many in all walks of life and all generations. Yet it shouldn't! The post-pandemic new normal is whatever we make it, and the innovative Apps and more that have emerged can and will aid in business growth if you continue to apply them.

Disruptions And Change Are Inevitable

The coronavirus pandemic itself is very similar to my teachings on digital disruption: a shift in the status quo was always heading our way, coronavirus was just more immediate and absolutely impossible to ignore.

To compare the changes from COVID-19 to something all of us are familiar with, the shift from personal computers to mobile devices is a great example. Transitioning from a world where the only way to access the Internet is from a stationary computer to one where the Internet, your music, and even television is in your front pocket is representative of linear change - we aren't going back to a world with just desktop computers.

The same can be said for the post-pandemic new normal. Everything from business processes to consumer behavior will forever be altered, even in the smallest ways. Because of this, it is important to implement my Anticipatory Organization Model, which places an importance on identifying and differentiating between Hard Trends and Soft Trends in order to pre-solve problems before they occur.

The New Normal Is A Both/And World

Can you imagine what our world would be like if we completely disregarded every innovation once something comparable to it emerged? We would likely reinvent those disregarded innovations as something new; theoretically they would never go away. Just look at the resurgence in popularity of music on vinyl, even in our tremendously digital world.

There is a place for everything, both old and new, in business. I refer to this as my Both/And Principle. The aforementioned example between desktop computers and mobile devices is a real-time embodiment of this principle, and believe it or not, applications and innovations implemented by businesses during COVID-19 fall in this category as well!

Take for example a small restaurant that pivoted to curbside pickup upon the global shutdown, in order to continue to operate. Its regular patrons were likely ecstatic that they could still get dinner from said restaurant, even though they'd have to bring it home instead of enjoying it at the restaurant. Perhaps the restaurant also made a "COVID-19-friendly menu," which features easily deliverable menu items at a discount to bring to their valued customers.

If they are making enough to get by and then some with this innovative business process never before considered, imagine when they can open their doors to a full house of in-person customers yet again. Why would they want it to stop? A world of Both/And business processes is a world of diverse streams of income.

Some Unique Innovating

I spoke with many organization leaders in a multitude of industries during the worst of the pandemic, and it was unbelievable how many were completely out of ideas before even trying to find an innovative solution or strategy to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Digital technology coupled with innovative, entrepreneurial ideas were key to staying open while staying safe, and they will still be critical in the post-pandemic new normal when finding your own new normal in your industry.

Some out-of-the-box examples that emerged as a result of the global lockdown included:

  1. Hotels Offering Day Rates To Remote Workers - Can't work from home without distractions? Red Roof Hotels actually converted their unused rooms to office space for virtual workers.
  2. Grocery Stores Becoming Warehouses - Instead of cumbersome social distancing in a big store, Kroger and other grocers converted their stores to employee-only, using Apps on their websites to offer online ordering only, keeping employees safe as they organize your order without customers walking around.
  3. Stores Offer Their Own Online Store - Despite Amazon becoming a veritable superpower, many small brick-and-mortar stores with their own inventory resorted to building their own online marketplaces. They then employed out-of-work Uber or Lyft drivers to ship local, or customers could pick up curbside.

Your COVID-19 Innovations Are Anticipatory

You read that right: the digital and physical innovations you implemented to pivot during the coronavirus pandemic are actually you using my Anticipatory Organization Model in and of itself!

Your business has now been through one of the worst economic obstacles in history, keeping and refining those innovations is a unique way to leverage the Soft Trend of "maybe this type of thing could all happen again."

You have pandemic proofed your business!

Even as we move beyond COVID-19 and years from now look back on 2020 as one of the most formidable opponents of humankind, do not squander the opportunity to not only stay ahead of the game in the event this level of disruption occurs again, but be significant in what you have to offer.

Daniel Burrus

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