PR – Aftershocks and Opportunities 1 – Scenarios for a Post-Pandemic Future

An opportunity for fresh perspectives.

While the world grapples with the current unfolding crisis, 25 leading futurists and future thinkers share their vision about what our post-pandemic world may look like, from a few months’ time through to 2035. Providing individuals, leaders, and organisations with foresight, insight, visionary thinking, and navigational guidance on what lies ahead, this book helps us plan and prepare as we shape our lives so we can collectively build a fairer, genuinely inclusive, and more sustainable future for all.

A timely, forward-thinking, and ultimately optimistic book that will challenge, provoke, and reassure.

THE ESSENTIAL DETAILS

Editors: Rohit Talwar, Steve Wells, Alexandra Whittington

Categories: Future, Society, Economy

ISBN-10: 978-1-8381955-0-2

ISBN-13: 978-1-9999311-7-9

ASIN: B089B7MQRH

Publication date: June 2020

Publisher: Fast Future Publishing

Aftershocks and Opportunities – Scenarios for a Post-Pandemic Future suggests how the world might look and function in the future, exploring topics such as:

●     Holding a bi-annual ‘quarantine month’ drill to prepare for next pandemic

●     Reskilling society to survive and thrive in a post-pandemic world

●     Having a digital replica of yourself to help control the spread of the next virus

●     Considering whether indebted and fragile countries might merge or be ‘adopted’ by richer nations.

A timely, forward looking, and optimistic new book launches worldwide on Tuesday June 2, 2020. Aftershocks and Opportunities – Scenarios for a Post-Pandemic Future explores topics such as what it would be like to have a bi-annual ‘quarantine month’, what would happen if the social security contract between generations breaks down, how to reinvent government and business, and how to put people and planet at the heart of the recovery agenda. The book explores critical ideas shaping our future, including:

·      The positive outcomes from the pandemic. What is there to look forward to?

·      End of an era – what we’re likely to lose forever as a result of the pandemic?

·      Winners and losers. Who might benefit most in the long-term?

·      The environmental and sustainability impacts of the pandemic

·      The workplace of the future

·      What are the choices that might take us closer to dystopia or utopia?

Aftershocks and Opportunities – Scenarios for a Post-Pandemic Future has been created in less than10 weeks to explore 28 possible scenarios and development paths for the post-pandemic future. This provocative book is a fast-track response to the need for future perspectives, which can take the public debate beyond current issues, such as lockdown policies and getting children back into education, to think about what happens next.

Aftershocks and Opportunities – Scenarios for a Post-Pandemic Future is a collaboration between 25 respected future thinkers from around the globe, who draw on their expertise and insight with the goal of providing individuals, leaders, and organisations with a vision of what kind of world we might be facing – from a few months’ time through to 2035. The verdict is largely optimistic. Indeed, many contributors see the pandemic as a once in a generation opportunity for positive change. They outline the potential to reset our values, tap into the possibilities created by exponentially advancing technologies and green new deal initiatives, and so lead to a fairer, more progressive, transparent, and sustainable society.

The book has been initiated and edited in less than ten weeks by global futurists Rohit Talwar, Steve Wells, and Alexandra Whittington from research and insights business Fast Future. The book features contributions from experts as far and wide as the United Kingdom, Australia, Malaysia, Canada, the United States, and South Africa. Fast Future received 115 contributions in total and a second book is planned for release in September 2021.

ENDS

Editors notes

Fast Future is a research, insights, consulting, and executive education business. The company specializes in the use of foresight applied to explore the future of humanity, government and governance, the economy, business, key sectors, and exponentially advancing fields of science and technology. The company has a particular interest in the impacts of developments such as artificial intelligence, robotics, exponential technologies, and disruptive thinking. Through its work, Fast Future explores how these emerging ideas and developments might impact life, society, nations, the planet, the future of work, and the creation of the trillion-dollar sectors of the future.

Through speeches, webinars, studies, and books Fast Future explores, experiments with, and creates powerful future ideas and scenarios. The intention is to deliver critical insights to the individuals, governments, businesses, and agencies that want to consider and create a better future. Fast Future’s books and newsletter provide insightful and thought provoking content and profile the latest thinking of established and emerging futurists, foresight researchers, and future thinkers from around the world.

Fast Future’s goal is to make those ideas accessible to the widest possible audience in the shortest possible time. Fast Future has a particular focus on ensuring these advances are harnessed to unleash individual potential and enable a very human future. Fast Future’s books are designed to provide rapid insights into the emerging future with a collection of short, hard-hitting articles. These explore different trends, developments, forces, and ideas shaping the future and how we can respond in a manner that best serves humanity.

For further information please contact:

Fast Future
+44 7531 625233
sam@bigbangpr.co.uk
fastfuture.com

Why are US firm buying up towns? Could AI resolve geopolitical conflicts? How might Crypto transform financial markets?

New book Aftershocks and Opportunities 2: Navigating the Next Horizon bursts with provocative ideas, disruptive shifts, hope, dystopian visions, and inspirational possibilities. It explores what opportunities arise from the pandemic, and what might drive the post-pandemic future of society, business, education, health, insurance, and travel.

An agenda setting, thought provoking, challenging, and inspiring book – Aftershocks and Opportunities 2: Navigating the Next Horizon – launches on Tuesday 28 September. The book features 37 world-class futurists, analysts, subject matter experts, and strategists from 16 countries on five continents who explore the shifts, issues, risks, and opportunities that could shape our post-pandemic world, including:

·      The crypto economy and a single global currency

·      Geopolitical shifts and China-US relations

·      Post-pandemic retirement, health, and education

·      Regenerating Africa and the Caribbean

·      Technological advances and zero waste solutions for food sovereignty

·      Global opportunities and risks

·      Deep dives on agenda setting and disruptive technologies

·      The new normal for national security, lifestyles, and societal cohesion.

Throughout 40 chapters of outlooks, scenarios, and fiction future by authors from as far and wide as the UK, USA, Argentina, Australia, Egypt, Greenland, Kenya, and the UAE, the book explores critical ‘future defining’ themes. The goal is to give individuals, leaders, decision makers, and organisations a broad scan of the horizon and scenarios for key future factors shaping our world over the next five to ten years and beyond

In the book, the 37 future thinkers share their expertise and insights on key topics including exponential advances in science and technology, societal change, medical breakthroughs, economic volatility, and shifts in geopolitical power. Each chapter challenges the reader to think about how these developments might these play out, and the impact they could have on our lives, our communities, our organisations, and our nations.

Many contributors highlight the pandemic as a once in a generation opportunity for positive change; outlining the potential to reset our values, tap into the possibilities created by exponentially advancing technologies and address the deep economic, social, and political impacts of the pandemic. They highlight practical ways in which these possibilities can be harnessed to find a fairer, more progressive, transparent, and sustainable society.

Aftershocks and Opportunities 2: Navigating the Next Horizon covers seven core themes: economics and business; the global operating environment, regional and national futures; society and lifestyles; sectoral futures, innovation and technology, and future frameworks. A wide variety of ideas, scenarios, and possible future paths are discussed in a broad mix of topics that include food sovereignty, travel, insurance, and urban mobility through to leadership skills, physical wellbeing, education, and retirement.

Initiated and edited by global futurists Rohit Talwar, Steve Wells, and Alexandra Whittington from the foresight consultancy Fast Future, the book offers concise, insightful, and action enabling ideas in chapters such as:

·      Envisaging the Accelerated Future of the Crypto Economy

·      Post-Traumatic Growth: How Might Business Change for the Better

·      National Security in the New Normal

·      Generational Games: Age Cohort Reactions to the Pandemic

·      How Digital Ecosystems Might Shape the Post-Pandemic Recovery

Editor of Aftershocks and Opportunities 2: Navigating the Next Horizon and CEO of Fast Future, Rohit Talwar explains: “The world has run out of adjectives to describe the shockwaves caused by the pandemic and the damage it has done to lives, societies, businesses, economies, and entire nations. From overwhelmed health systems, rising unemployment, and chronic mental health problems through to failed businesses, devasted economies, and a fraying civic infrastructure, the consequences surround us and could leave a lasting legacy. However, in the midst of this continuing global pandemic, we are also witnessing a level of innovation and positive change that most have never experienced in our lifetimes.

“What we are seeing are new ideas, innovations, and behaviours, born from necessity, that are laying down positive foundations to help us transition through and beyond the next horizon. We hope our book will provide provocations that will help ensure our response to the pandemic lays a path to a positive future. Our ambition is to provide individuals, leaders, decisions makers, governments, and organisations with foresight, insight, visionary thinking, and navigational guidance on what lies ahead so we can collectively build a fairer, genuinely inclusive, and more sustainable future for all.”

Aftershocks and Opportunities 2: Navigating New Horizons is available on Amazon. The paperback version costs £12.95 / €14.95 / USD$15.95 and the eBook can be bought for US$9.99 (With a special launch price of US$0.99 for Tuesday September 28 only).

For more information on Fast Future please visit www.fastfuture.com

For further media information contact Sam Jones – sam@bigbangpr.co.uk (+44 07531 625233) or Paula Hunter paula@bigbangpr.co.uk (+44 07739 989915) at Big Bang PR.

ENDS

Editors notes

Fast Future specialises in delivering keynote speeches, research, insights, consulting, and executive education to businesses, NGOs, and governments. The company offers proven expertise in the use of foresight to explore the future of humanity, government and governance, the economy, business, emerging sectors, and exponentially advancing fields of science and technology. Fast Future has a particular interest in the impacts of developments such as disruptive thinking, new economic models, geopolitical shifts, the crypto economy, artificial intelligence, and exponential science and technology. Through its work, Fast Future explores how these emerging ideas and developments might impact the planet, life, society, nations, the future of work, and the creation of the trillion-dollar sectors of the future.

For further information please contact:

Fast Future
+44 7531 625233
sam@bigbangpr.co.uk
fastfuture.com

Author PR Sheet – Aftershocks and Opportunities 2: Navigating the Next Horizon

Bursting with provocative ideas, hope, dystopian possibilities, and inspiration.

In this follow up book, 37 future thinking authors share new perspectives on how the pandemic could shape our futures. With contributors from across the globe, the book explores a range of different emerging ideas, shifts, and scenarios on the horizon, from the rise and impact of the crypto economy to sustainable food production. The book explores critical ‘future defining’ themes including exponential science and technology, societal change, medical breakthroughs, economic volatility, and geopolitical power shifts. How might these play out, and what impact could they have on our lives?

Essential reading for anyone shaping political, economic, or business decisions, this book will help individuals plan for a sustainable future and increase their resilience against future risks.

Release date: 28 September 2021

Editors: Rohit Talwar, Steve Wells and Alexandra Whittington

Categories: Future, Society, Economy, Science and Technology

Print ISBN: 978-1-8381955-0-2

eBook ISBN: 978-1-9999311-7-9

Publisher: Fast Future Publishing

“Rohit Talwar is a revelation He is easily one of the most thought provoking authors I have read.” Cliff Moyce, DataArt.

“As a gifted global thought leader, Rohit Talwar, is THE futurist to watch for the 21st century.” Carole Copeland Thomas, TEDx Speaker and thought leader.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND EDITOR

ROHIT TALWAR

Global futurist, foresight researcher, award-winning keynote speaker, writer, editor, and the CEO of Fast Future, Rohit Talwar became captivated by what the future might hold following the historic moon landing, which took place when he was eight years old.

Today, Rohit advises leaders in global businesses, government, and NGOs around the world on how to anticipate and respond to disruptive change, such as the growth of China, accelerating progress in artificial intelligence, and the evolution of the crypto economy.

He established Fast Future Publishing in 2015 and has published six books exploring the emerging future. He has also written two books with other publishers and contributed chapters to numerous books.

AUTHOR Q&A

How did you become a futurist?

The first moon landing hooked me on big dreams and wild ideas like colonising other planets. From school onwards, I got really interested in learning about the future and what Watts Wacker called ‘what happens after what happens next’. At school I was fascinated by new and emerging technologies and then went into artificial intelligence research, followed by management consultancy after university.

I was constantly asking why organisations were doing what they do and what their assumptions were about the future. Most were just projecting out from the recent past, but some were using very creative tools and approaches to explore the emerging future. I fell in love with this field called foresight and future studies and learned the difference between flimsy predictions and powerful futures insights and scenarios. I then took a range of courses and did a lot of personal learning on how to do robust and high quality futures work.

You have distanced yourself from those who claim to predict the future, why is that and how does your approach differ?

My view is that there is little value in making predictions which are by definition right or wrong. I think we can add a lot more value in helping people explore a range of possible scenarios in order to enable them to make better decisions today, prepare for a range of future possibilities and opportunities, and increase their resilience against emerging and potential risks.

Predictions sit at the circus act end of foresight. You are asking people to take risky decisions based on a single point perspective of how things might play out – largely derived from current trends. Good foresight is more about taking a broader view of what might drive change in societal, business, and governmental systems and structures over the next 12 months to 20 years+. This encompasses the major forces, megatrends, emerging ideas, weak signals of possible changes, wild cards / black swans, and possibilities shaping the emerging future.

Did your work identify the potential for a pandemic or the scale of the impact it has had globally?

I have been talking for over two decades about the growing risks of major disruptions, these include epidemics which could evolve rapidly into pandemics.

I encourage clients in business and government to take the potential for such major disruptions seriously, to develop scenarios for how they could play out, and to evaluate the impacts they might have. This approach means that you have contingency plans in place for major disruptions – whether they result from a pandemic, wide scale flooding, or a bioweapons attack. The countries and organisations that responded best to the pandemic, and had the lowest infection and mortality rates, had pretty much all previously adopted a futures thinking approach and had such plans in place.

Why is foresight an increasingly important skill?

Because governments, businesses, society, and individuals need to be better prepared for the future. There are fundamental shifts on the horizon that we need to learn about, understand, and prepare for. These could create immense opportunities or disrupt our world in the most unpleasant ways and we need to be ready for all eventualities. These shifts range from the rise of artificial intelligence, driverless vehicles, and the crypto economy through to massive medical advances, economic volatility, and the transformation of every industry through exponential advances in science and technology.

What three inventions, technologies, or events do you think will have the biggest impact upon our lives over the next five years?

The rise of the crypto economy, and Decentralised Finance in particular, which could decimate the traditional consumer finance sector – offering the potential for interest rates of 100% or more and capital appreciation of 1,000 – 10,000%+ on your investments.

Artificial intelligence (AI) permeating and transforming every aspect of our lives from work and education through to dating and leisure. Imagine having Wolfgang Puck create personalised meals for you – while also doing it for 1,000 other people in parallel. What if your personal AI could take the stress out of dating apps, finding the perfect match for you, choosing the ideal first meeting in collaboration with the other person’s AI, and even giving you advice on what to say during the date itself.

Dangerous and escalating climate change impacts through increasingly severe flooding, forest fires, and droughts. This could render massive parts of the planet unlivable and drive mass migration.

You co-wrote, edited and self-published Aftershocks and Opportunities 1 – Scenarios for a Post-Pandemic Future in less than ten weeks. How was that possible?

When the pandemic first struck, I realised that, after the initial shock, people’s attention would gradually turn to thinking about what a post-pandemic world might look like. I knew that futurists and future thinkers were well positions to provide insightful and thought-provoking perspectives on the possibilities, and a book was the ideal vehicle to do that. So I reached out to my networks around the world and asked them to take part in the project. The response was overwhelming, and I received three times as many chapter submissions as expected. The turnaround times were very short for each stage, but I had an incredible response from contributors, my team, and partners for PR, copy editing, and book printing. It was a lot of work, but I am immensely proud of the results.

Are you working on any additional books?

Fast Future Publishing’s next book is 50:50: Scenarios for the Next 50 Years. In it, 50 authors from around the world have shared scenarios about what different aspects of our lives could look like over the next five decades – covering everything from relationships, lifestyles, and travel through to technology, work, and spirituality in the workplace.

EXCERPT FROM THE INTRODUCTION

AFTERSHOCKS AND OPPORTUNITIES 2: NAVIGATING THE NEXT HORIZON

How can we navigate a sustainable path through the many possibilities, opportunities, and risks that could emerge in our post-pandemic future?

An Incomplete Past and an Uncertain Futures

The world has run out of adjectives to describe the shockwaves caused by the pandemic and the damage it has done to lives, societies, businesses, economies, and entire nations. From overwhelmed health systems, rising unemployment, and chronic mental health problems through to failed businesses, devastated economies, and a fraying civic infrastructure, the consequences surround us and will leave a lasting legacy. However, in the midst of this continuing global pandemic, we are also witnessing a level of innovation and positive change that most have never experienced in our lifetimes.

Setting aside the rhetoric of building back better, the new normal, and the great reset, what we are seeing is ideas born from necessity laying down positive foundations to help us transition through and beyond the next horizon. In healthcare, we have seen medical practices transition rapidly to telephone and video based appointments, often with higher levels of patient satisfaction and lower risk for medical practitioners. In the pharmaceutical sector, accelerated approaches to vaccine development have been much heralded and are now impacting a broader array of drug development programs.

In education, while some have struggled, many schools, colleges, and universities have made a successful transition to online learning and seen higher levels of student performance as they take on greater responsibility for self managed learning. Wherever we look, from management consultancy and government services through to restaurants and the retail sector, we see examples of transformations that are likely to last long beyond the point where we could see the virus being managed in a similar manner to flu and the common cold. Perhaps the most—and in some ways least—surprising development has been the accelerated penetration and adoption of information technology applications— ranging from video conferencing to chatbots—to hopefully enhance the employee experience and customer service.

Technological advances have also driven a rise in digital literacy both in the now distributed workplace and in wider society. However, not all technology developments have been positive. Many lost their jobs as a result of automation programs accelerated by the pandemic. Slow moving businesses that failed to adapt to a digital world have seem themselves being overtaken by faster, more digitally centric, and agile competitors. Governments with poor and under-invested technology infrastructures have also struggled to keep pace with the requirements of virtual service delivery.

Navigating the Next Horizon — Enter the Futurists

So where do we go from here? For many, 2019 seems like a period in the far distant past, where a lot of the incomplete challenges, projects, and priorities have been parked or overtaken by a new and rapidly moving agenda – born out of a fast changing present reality and an uncertain future. Navigating this landscape is posing new questions to individuals, organizations, and leaders in every sector. Clearly, no one has the perfect answer for exactly what our different possible futures might look like for individuals, communities, business sectors, nations, and regions across the world. However, futurists and future thinkers have something to offer here.

Futures researchers and practitioners bring a set of tools and perspectives that allow us to consider the driving forces, megatrends, trends, new developments, ideas, possibilities, weak signals of change, wild cards, and black swan events that could shape the future. They use a range of approaches to explore how these future factors may play out and interact with each other, and they allow us to explore the resulting scenarios that could emerge over time.

So, to help us explore the range of possibilities and scenarios that could emerge across the globe over the next decade and beyond, we have brought together 36 futurists and future thinkers from around the world to share their thoughts on what’s next. This truly incredible array of contributions is presented here in Aftershocks and Opportunities 2—Navigating the Next Horizon. This book is designed to be a companion volume to the first Aftershocks and Opportunities book published in June 2020. That book also set out to explore the emerging future as seen from the midst of the first wave of the pandemic. The ideas and scenarios presented there are as valid today as they were then.

ENDS

Editors notes

Fast Future is a research, insights, consulting, and executive education business. The company specializes in the use of foresight applied to explore the future of humanity, government and governance, the economy, business, key sectors, and exponentially advancing fields of science and technology. The company has a particular interest in the impacts of developments such as artificial intelligence, robotics, exponential technologies, and disruptive thinking. Through its work, Fast Future explores how these emerging ideas and developments might impact life, society, nations, the planet, the future of work, and the creation of the trillion-dollar sectors of the future.

Through speeches, webinars, studies, and books Fast Future explores, experiments with, and creates powerful future ideas and scenarios. The intention is to deliver critical insights to the individuals, governments, businesses, and agencies that want to consider and create a better future. Fast Future’s books and newsletter provide insightful and thought provoking content and profile the latest thinking of established and emerging futurists, foresight researchers, and future thinkers from around the world.

Fast Future’s goal is to make those ideas accessible to the widest possible audience in the shortest possible time. Fast Future has a particular focus on ensuring these advances are harnessed to unleash individual potential and enable a very human future. Fast Future’s books are designed to provide rapid insights into the emerging future with a collection of short, hard-hitting articles. These explore different trends, developments, forces, and ideas shaping the future and how we can respond in a manner that best serves humanity.

For further information please contact:

Fast Future
+44 7531 625233
sam@bigbangpr.co.uk
fastfuture.com

PR – Aftershocks and Opportunities 2: Navigating the Next Horizon

Advance Information Sheet

Aftershocks and Opportunities 2: Navigating the Next Horizon is a provocative, challenging, and inspiring book in which 37 world-class futurists, analysts, subject matter experts, and strategists explore the issues and opportunities that could arise in our post-pandemic world in a range 40 fiction and non-fiction chapters.

Authors from as far and wide as the UK, USA, Argentina, Australia, Egypt, Greenland, Kenya, and the UAE explore critical ‘future defining’ themes including exponential advances in science and technology, societal change, medical breakthroughs, economic volatility, and shifts in geopolitical power. How might these play out, and what impact could they have on our lives?

A wide variety of ideas, scenarios, and possible future paths are covered in a broad mix of topics that range from food sovereignty, retirement, the rise of the crypto economy, China-US relations, and leadership skills, through to physical wellbeing, education, insurance, and urban mobility. Essential reading for anyone shaping political, economic, or business decisions, this book will help individuals plan for a sustainable future and increase their resilience against future risks.

THE ESSENTIAL DETAILS

Category: Future

ISBN: Print: 978-1-8381955-0-2 / EeBook: 978-1-9999311-7-9

Format and Release Date: Paperback and eBook – 28 September 2021

Available on: Amazon

Price:

Paperback: £12.95 / €14.95 / USD$15.95

eBook: £7.95 / €8.95 / USD$9.95

Book title: Aftershocks and Opportunities 2: Navigating the Next Horizon

By Author: Rohit Talwar and 36 contributors

Editors: Rohit Talwar, Steve Wells and Alexandra Whittington

Website: www.fastfuture.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/fastfuture

 

About Aftershocks and Opportunities 2: Navigating the Next Horizon

Author and global futurist, Rohit Talwar, has brought together 37 futurists and future thinkers to explore a range of emerging ideas, scenarios, and shifts on the horizon, from the rise and impact of the crypto economy to sustainable food production. In total, it covers 40 topics including the reinvention of travel and residency, national security in the new normal, generational reactions to the pandemic, how digital eco-systems could shape the recovery, and the future of countries and regions such as Greece, the Caribbean, and Africa.

About the author

Global futurist, foresight researcher, award-winning keynote speaker, writer, editor, and CEO of Fast Future, Rohit Talwar became captivated by what the future might hold following the historic moon landing when he was just eight years old.

Today, Rohit advises leaders in global businesses, governments, and NGOs around the world on how to anticipate and respond to disruptive changes such as the growth of China, accelerating progress in artificial intelligence, and the evolution of the crypto economy.

He established Fast Future Publishing in 2015 and has published six books exploring the future. He has also written two books with other publishers.

Testimonials about Rohit Talwar

“Rohit works on the brink of thought leadership, challenging his audiences to look beyond their comfort zones and the result is an often exciting glimpse of the potential future – where human, economic, societal, and technological futures meet. A must-see for anyone involved in strategic leadership, technology, or planning.” Claire Priestly, Director of IT, City London University

Your keynote was absolutely outstanding, I’ve never seen a reaction like that from an audience, and we’ve had some great speakers at our events, like Simon Woodroffe, Gerald Ratner, and Richard Reed from Innocent Smoothies. You received an extraordinary response from delegates, with many saying it was the best they’d ever seen. Dan Coleman, Event Director, Future Travel Experience

“Rohit Talwar is a revelation He is easily one of the most thought-provoking authors I have read.” Cliff Moyce, DataArt

“As a gifted global thought leader, Rohit Talwar, is THE futurist to watch for the 21st century.” Carole Copeland Thomas, TEDx Speaker and thought leader.

ENDS

Editors notes

Fast Future is a research, insights, consulting, and executive education business. The company specializes in the use of foresight applied to explore the future of humanity, government and governance, the economy, business, key sectors, and exponentially advancing fields of science and technology. The company has a particular interest in the impacts of developments such as artificial intelligence, robotics, exponential technologies, and disruptive thinking. Through its work, Fast Future explores how these emerging ideas and developments might impact life, society, nations, the planet, the future of work, and the creation of the trillion-dollar sectors of the future.

Through speeches, webinars, studies, and books Fast Future explores, experiments with, and creates powerful future ideas and scenarios. The intention is to deliver critical insights to the individuals, governments, businesses, and agencies that want to consider and create a better future. Fast Future’s books and newsletter provide insightful and thought provoking content and profile the latest thinking of established and emerging futurists, foresight researchers, and future thinkers from around the world.

Fast Future’s goal is to make those ideas accessible to the widest possible audience in the shortest possible time. Fast Future has a particular focus on ensuring these advances are harnessed to unleash individual potential and enable a very human future. Fast Future’s books are designed to provide rapid insights into the emerging future with a collection of short, hard-hitting articles. These explore different trends, developments, forces, and ideas shaping the future and how we can respond in a manner that best serves humanity.

For further information please contact:

Fast Future
+44 7531 625233
sam@bigbangpr.co.uk
fastfuture.com

Drivers of Economic Recovery

The economic recovery has been a central topic for our latest book Aftershocks and Opportunities – Scenarios for a Post-Pandemic Future (published June 1st), the associated Launch Summit, and our regular Sunday evening webinars. What’s clear is that the picture could differ significantly from nation to nation. Across the book chapters and webinars, there has been a lot of discussion about the overall shape and nature of the economic recovery, the underlying factors that could play the most significant influencing role for different countries, and the scenarios that could result. Here we provide a short overview of each of these elements.

Shape of the recovery – The decline in GDP has been predicted to reach up to 6% globally, with a fall of up to 40% in the worst hit nations, and contractions of 10-30% in the more developed economies. Many government leaders around the world have argued passionately that the bounceback will be just as strong – with a V shaped recovery curve. Others suggest that the period at the bottom of the curve could last longer – giving rise to a U shaped recovery curve.

Some are suggesting that the downturn could be longer and deeper – turning into an elongated U or L shaped curve – the latter apparently having no recovery path for the foreseeable future. The most common view is that many countries could be looking at an initial bounceback, followed by a decline, and then potentially a series rises and declines until there is eventually enough commitment, momentum, and government support to sustain the rise back out – giving a potential W, WW, or WWW shaped recovery.

Baseline scenarios – The opening chapter of the book examines four possible scenarios for how these factors could come together and how different economies could evolve as a result in the next 2–3 years. The four scenarios could play out globally and at national level – with different countries being in each scenario at the same time:

  • The Long Goodbye (poorly contained pandemic, deep and prolonged downturn)
  • The VIP Economy (poorly contained pandemic, vibrant economic rebound)
  • Safe but Hungry (eradication of the pandemic, deep and prolonged downturn)
  • Inclusive Abundance (eradication of the pandemic, vibrant economic rebound)

 

The critical underlying forces identified as having the most relevance in determining the possible paths to recovery include:

Consumer spending – In the relatively near term as the lockdown lifts, we will get a sense of the scale of the spending recovery and how long it might last. What’s critical here is that while many have had their incomes savaged, across different countries somewhere between 30-70% of people haven’t had their incomes affected at all and their behaviour will be key. Many will be tempted in by retailers offering deep discounting in summer sales to make up for lost revenues in the lockdown. If the resulting initial burst of activity is followed by sustained consumer spending, this could drive business confidence and accelerate the path out of the downturn. However, any signs of nervousness could spread rapidly and have a dampening effect.

Employment – The extent to which furloughed jobs are reinstated or turn into redundancies is critical here – alongside the return to employment of those made redundant during lockdown. In April, the International Labor Organization estimated that lost working hours worldwide equated to 305 million jobs and warned that up to half the global workforces was at risk. There are also concerns that, in many countries, these losses seem to be disproportionately impacting women, minorities, and those on the lowest incomes.

The picture varies worldwide, for example, having lost over 40 million jobs to COVID-19, the US is experiencing signs of hope, with 2.5 million new jobs being added in May 2020. In the UK, around 8.7 million are furloughed and up to 2 million of these jobs are considered at risk, alongside hundreds of thousands of self-employed workers and small firm owners whose businesses may not return.

Savings rates – The level of uncertainty over jobs and incomes and the extent to which that drives people to save are both being monitored closely. Savings levels have indeed risen in several places. Many governments and central banks have looked at the idea of negative interest rates as a way of positively discouraging savings and influencing citizens to spend instead. This drives associated concerns over the potential for inflation and people being left with no financial security blanket.

Business recovery – Close attention is being paid to how the most affected businesses bounce back and whether this drives job creation or further redundancies. Some countries are anticipating up to 40% failure rates as firms discover that they are no longer viable – particularly with social distancing rules in effect. Major firms from airlines to oil companies and financial services are already starting to announce worldwide job cuts – which could further dampen consumer spending.

Sectors such as hospitality, entertainment, travel, aviation, and tourism are seen as particularly vulnerable. The question here is what the impact might be of government stimulus investments and private investment in new science and technology growth sectors – and how quickly they might come through. The risk is one of a skills mismatch between those losing their jobs and the new opportunities emerging.

Business budgets – The level of business spending and investment as we come out of lockdown will be central – as it is in every economic downturn. The recovery is very reliant on optimistic businesses that are willing to commit to investments, maintain operating budgets, and continue hiring. The risk is that lower expense budgets and delayed investments in both 2020 and 2021 will have deep knock on effects across the economy. A natural reaction for firms seeing declining order books is to put a brake on their own spending – which then ripples through their own supply chains. A key factor here will also be the access to capital and in particular bank lending. Any reluctance to lend could have a very clear and rapid dampening effect on economic recovery.

Automation – A trend towards business automation and adoption of artificial intelligence was already underway prior to the pandemic. The lockdown has seen an acceleration, with a particular focus on deploying physical robots, the use of robotic process automation of many administrative tasks, and generally removing human involvement in service roles – driving the growth on contactless and paperless processes in everything from airports to retail. Such developments could improve efficiency and profitability, create new specialist roles for those devloping and deploying the solutions, but potentially drive higher unemployment due to job displacement.

Retraining – Major job opportunities are emerging in new sectors. These require people to be retrained into the required skills – the speed at which this can happen will be crucial. There are clear questions over who funds such training – with many areguing that for governments, the short term retraining costs would be greatly outweighed by the long term savings on unemployment benefits and the inflow of new incomes taxes.

Government spending and action – Perhaps the single biggest factor of all will be how governments choose to steer the recovery and handle the costs of the health and economic emergency. From unemployment benefits and healthcare to education and infrastructure – the pressure will be on governments to spend and invest heavily to drive economic activity, build business and consumer confidence, and encourage banks to lend more readily. Hence, some governments may look to spend their way out of the downturn.

A government spending led recovery could see major investment in physical and digital (e.g. broadband) infrastructure, business support, R&D programmes, green growth initiatives, and training and education at every level. This could extend to heath and care systems, and enhanced preparedness in resilience and contingency preparation for future health and environmental shocks. Funding this will require some mix of debt, quantitative easing / the printing of money, and public-private finance initiatives. All of this would be predicated on the hope that growth will deliver the necessary tax revenues to pay the interest bill and start chipping away at the levels of accumulated debt.

Concerns will grow over nations with the most precarious of economies and the long term social, economic, and environmental cost of any deals they might sign with those willing to bail them out. Of course, some may decide that the markets must take care of themselves and focus instead on austerity measures designed to reduce the scale of debt and associated interest payments. The extent to which the wealthiest nations and donors might collaborate to support those in most need will have a crucial bearing on the extent to which a truly sustainable global recovery can be affected.

 

Image credits:
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Image 2: Fast Futuer Publishign
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Press Release New Study: Safety, Trust, and Innovation Critical to Air Transport Sector Revival

Passenger safety, trust building, digital transformation, automation, and customer experience lead strategic priorities for airlines, airports, and partners amid COVID-19 disruption

As they plan their journey out of the pandemic, airlines, airports, and other air transport industry stakeholders are emphasising total safety and trust building as central to their recovery strategies. From an investment standpoint, they will prioritise digital transformation, automation, sustainability, innovation, and customer experience following the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report jointly undertaken and released today by Fast Future, Future Travel Experience (FTE), and the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX).

The COVID-19 Air Transport Near Term Impacts and Scenarios report, which is the first instalment of the four-part Air Transport 2035 series, explores how air transport industry stakeholders expect the COVID-19 crisis to impact passenger volumes and investment strategies. It also highlights four possible scenarios for how the industry might emerge from the pandemic.

A global survey conducted as part of the report found that over the next two years 68.4% of respondents expect investment in digital transformation to increase; 60.3% expect investment in automation and the deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to rise; and 54.2% expect spending to increase on sustainability and environmental initiatives. More than half (53.5%) expect investment in innovation to increase during the same period, and 48.5% expect to see an upturn in customer experience and service spending, with less than a quarter (22.9%) expecting investment in this area to fall.

At the other end of the scale, three-quarters (75.5%) of survey respondents expect investment in aircraft orders to decrease over the next two years, while 55.3% expect to see a decrease in terminal design and construction spend.

Air transport facing two to three-year recovery period

During a webinar on April 23rd, which included the unveiling of the initial survey results, a live poll of the 900-plus attendees found that 44% of respondents expect it to take up to two years for the air transport industry to return to 2019 levels of business, and a further 36% expect it to take three years. Only 6% expect the industry to recover to 2019 levels within 12 months.

Another live poll during the webinar found that 39% of respondents expect the public to feel comfortable flying again once new procedures are introduced to protect passengers. 32% expect consumer confidence to return once a COVID-19 vaccine is disseminated; 11% expect people will only fly if they have to; and 10% expect World Health Organization (WHO) advice to dictate when people will feel comfortable flying again.

Rohit Talwar, CEO, Fast Future, and lead author of the report said: ”The findings highlight that the industry is experiencing and anticipating devastating impacts on flight volumes, passenger numbers, and revenues. The sector’s recovery is dependent on government policy, health factors, passenger confidence, the nature of the economic recovery, and the extent of collaboration between industry players. We developed four scenarios exploring the interaction of these latter two driving forces and tested them on the webinar attendees.

‘Survival of the Safest’ (Deep Recession / Fragmented Industry Response) was ranked the most likely by 32% of respondents. This was followed by ‘Love in Cold Climate’ (Deep Recession / Co-ordinated Industry Response) with 30% of the votes and a further 20% selected ‘Hope and Glory’ (Robust and Integrated Economic Recovery / Fragmented Industry Response). The scenario considered least likely and selected by just 18% was the most optimistic one of ‘Sealed and Secure’ (Robust and Integrated Economic Recovery / Co-ordinated Industry Response).”

Daniel Coleman, Founder & CEO, Future Travel Experience, commented: “There is no doubt that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt for some time to come and it is more important than ever that airports, airlines, and their partners take steps now to prepare for the new reality. Prioritising health and safety efforts is a given, but all stakeholders must also commit to delivering a contactless, queueless, and fully sanitised end-to-end travel experience that is as automated as possible. Some radical new approaches, and collaboration between all parties, are essential to achieve this vision and support the survival of the air transport industry.”

Joe Leader, CEO, Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and International Flight Services Association (IFSA), added: “Over 75% of survey respondents still believe in five key areas where airline and airport spending will grow or remain the same despite the COVID-19 headwinds. The winners during this challenging time include digital transformation, automation, sustainability, innovation, and customer experience and service. That’s positive news for APEX and IFSA member airlines and suppliers.”

Download the full report

The COVID-19 Air Transport Near Term Impacts and Scenarios report can now be downloaded via the Fast Future website. As part of the study partners’ commitment to the sector in these difficult times, airlines, airports, and government aviation agencies can download the report for free, simply email aviation@fastfuture.com with a formal organizational email.

For all others it costs just $50 . All four reports can also be pre-ordered at a discounted rate. Visit the Fast Future website for full details:

https://fastfuture.com/product-category/ebooks/

Two further surveys are currently being undertaken as part of the continuing study:

The Aviation Impacts of COVID-19 – Innovation and Digital Transformation

The Future of Air Transport of 2035

ENDS

Notes:

  • Total number of survey respondents: 269 respondents in 47 countries.
  • Respondent groups: The four largest groups of respondents were from the categories of airline (19%); airport (17%); industry consultant, analyst, service provider (16%); and information technology and communications supplier (14%). The remaining 34% of responses came from other players across the air transport ecosystem.
  • Date of survey: 17th March to 17th April, 2020.

About Fast Future

Fast Future is a research, insights, consulting, and executive education business that specialises in the use of foresight applied to explore the future of key sectors such as Air Transport. Through speeches, webinars, studies, and books, Fast Future explores, experiments with, and creates powerful future ideas and scenarios. The goal is to deliver critical insights to the individuals and businesses that want to consider and create a better future. Fast Future’s books and newsletter provide insightful and thought provoking content and profile the latest thinking of established and emerging futurists, foresight researchers, and future thinkers from around the world. Fast Future’s forthcoming book ‘Aftershocks and Opportunities: Scenarios for a Pot-Pandemic Future’ will be published on June 1st, 2020. To learn more, visit: www.fastfuture.com

About Future Travel Experience (FTE)

Established in 2006, Future Travel Experience is an online media, events, and industry change leader in the air transport sector. As a part of the APEX family, FTE is dedicated to enhancing the end-to-end passenger experience and business performance of all air transport industry stakeholders. FTE hosts acclaimed conferences and expos around the world – FTE Global, FTE APEX Asia EXPO, FTE EMEA, and FTE Ancillary – as well as virtual events and webinars. Through its website, weekly e-newsletter, and think tank projects, as well as the FTE Innovation & Startup Hub, FTE is an important industry reference for all things relating to innovation, customer experience, and business performance. To learn more, visit: www.futuretravelexperience.com

About the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX)

The Airline Passenger Experience Association is the only non-profit membership trade organisation comprised of the world’s leading airlines, industry suppliers, major media groups, and related aviation industry leaders. APEX is dedicated to elevating the passenger experience for more than 80% of global passengers, while driving industry initiatives and desired regulations. The association offers members a wide range of opportunities to excel in the airline passenger experience industry by keeping them current with the latest industry news, trends, and developments and by helping them develop relationships with clients and colleagues from around the world.

Rohit Talwar

CEO

Fast Future

rohit@fastfuture.com

Mob +44 (0)7973 405145

www.fastfuture.com

Government and Society on The Brink

By Rohit Talwar

The current crisis has surfaced a number of critical fragilities at the individual, societal, national, and international level. These have either been well understood but patchily addressed in the past, or are issues to which some or all are genuinely blindsided. Here are ten of those key issues that we think will have to be part of the recovery agenda at national and global level.

Individual Financial Security – The crisis has highlighted that some people literally do not have enough savings to see them through the next month, week, or day. Whilst for many, there was a vague acknowledgement of this as we went about our daily lives, it didn’t truly seep into our consciousness or influence our behavior. Now, the massive expansion of people using foodbanks, coupled with the sight of mass population feeding programmes in developing countries, has highlighted the scale of the problem and how far we have to go to resolve it – if that is seen as a priority.

Making real impact on these first two UN Sustainable Development Goals of ‘No Poverty’ and ‘Zero Hunger’ implies achieving a level of long term individual sustainability. Governments will come under intense pressure to rethink social policy and to assess the suitability of welfare payments against broader questions of how long an individual or family can last with the money on offer. As a result, the debate about the need for some form of universal basic incomes and services will inevitably rise in volume and intensity.

Health Access – The poor state of people’s finances has left many with little or no ability to pay for care and limited access to emergency public provision. The funding of, and access to, healthcare for all could become an issue on which governments rise and fall.

Health and Elder Care Systems – The crisis has highlighted multiple issues around the level of provision, health and care worker salaries, resourcing levels, personal protective equipment, testing, logistics and distribution, managerial preparedness, resilience, and emergency planning. Every system globally will need to rethink its strategies, funding models, structures, early warning systems, and crisis protocols for a world where the awareness of the range of impending health risks has been heightened.

Personal Physical Safety – There has been a clear, and in some cases massive, rise in reported cases of domestic abuse, calls to helplines, and the unseen suffering of those not in a position to call out. Once the recovery starts, non-interventionist governments in particular are going to be challenged to determine the priority placed on such matters. The resulting choices will have far reaching implications for funding of support services from social services and policing through to healthcare and education.

Mental Health – The number of cases of stress and other mental health conditions has seen a continuous rise in the last few years. The cost to society across multiple dimensions from healthcare to business interruption had already been estimated in the trillions of dollars. The loss of jobs, businesses, and freedoms amongst the old and young alike are reported to be driving up the volume and severity of stress and other mental health issues across society. For governments, there will be issues around the extent to which they want to intervene, ensuring access, the capacity to serve growing demand, and the funding of such services.

National Preparedness – The crisis has put a spotlight on the huge differences in the level of preparedness and capacity for rapid action in different nations around the world. Some had well tested procedures to mobilise travel restrictions, mass testing, tracing, and quarantine measures. They also had systems and policy options in place to be able to carry out a diverse range of measures from calling up reservist health workers and making direct payments to the population, through to mobilising volunteers and communities at scale. Others seemed, and still appear to be, incapable or leaden footed in their actions. This will raise the debate about the need for national mechanisms for horizon scanning and foresight, risk assessment, anticipatory contingency and disaster planning, and resilient resourcing to enable rapid scale up in emergencies.

Funding – Most nations have looked to debt and the printing of money / quantitative easing to fund their way through the emergency medical and economic response programmes they have had to implement. The question is how, or if, these bills will be paid. The general trend over the last two decades or more has been to drive down taxes in the hope that greater wealth in the economy will raise everyone’s living standards. The crisis has highlighted that this isn’t really working anywhere near as well as policy makers might have hoped in many countries across the globe.

The crisis has been expensive, the cost of recovery is as yet unknown as we face the prospect of prolonged national recessions or even a global depression. Nations my be forced to reverse taxation policy as they look to corporations, higher earners, and the wealthy to provide more of the funding to restart economies currently stuck in reverse gear. The alternative could be massive cuts in public services and government spending and prolonged periods of austerity – with all the social consequences such measures bring.

Global Institutions – The World Health Organization has come under severe criticism from some quarters and been seen by others as an essential resource and partner in navigating the crisis. The United Nations and global financial institutions such as the World Bank have been visible, but the question is how impactful they have been. The remit and ‘rules of engagement’ for these institutions are set by their member and donor states. The key questions now are whether those rules are the right ones and whether these global organizations are truly fit for purpose when it comes to global crisis where co-ordinated solutions are required? If the answer is at least a partial no, then how do we go about modernizing or replacing them, who will fund them, and how can we ensure greater effectiveness than the existing entities they are replacing?

Weak and Failing Nations – There is growing concern that the crisis will cause chaos in nations already on the brink of collapse such as Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen. Some estimates suggest that these and other under resourced and over stretched nations could see three million or more deaths from the pandemic. The question is how such nations can map a path to the future – do they effectively seek protection from other states, merge into larger entities, or become the testbed for radical new models of post-conflict, post-crisis government and governance?

Co-ordination of Global Power – Many would argue that in the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2008, the worst case scenario of total economic collapse was avoided through the co-ordinated efforts of the wealthiest nations in the G7 and G20 groupings. However, this time round, they have been noticeable by their absence and their inability to even issue joint communiques over how they are coming together to tackle what is a truly global problem. Without the wealth, resources, and mobilization capabilities of these nations acting together, the crisis could stretch out far longer than the 12-24 month window that many are predicting.

The crisis is raising fundamental questions at every level and creating ‘once in a lifetime’ challenges for those in power. Many are still wrestling with the challenges of containment and exit strategies and have little bandwidth for broader medium term considerations. Others are beginning to understand that the crisis represents both a turning point and a time for fundamental reflection about the goals for human life, society, nations, and the globe that we want to enable on the other side of the pandemic. Fortunately. We have the SDGs as a start point for that reflection – the question will be how big our appetite is to use this opportunity to drive fundamental changes in our destiny.

 

 

Image: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/earth-peace-together-symbol-1207231/

The Economic and Social Footprint of Coronavirus, Part 3 – Exploring National and Societal Futures

By Rohit Talwar, Steve Wells, and Alexandra Whittington

 

The COVID-19 virus is now truly global – having spread to 210 countries and territories around the world. While some countries such as Spain have started to ease lockdown conditions, others are extending theirs or refusing to commit to an exit strategy. Globally, concerns are mounting over the depth of social impact, unemployment for some countries is rising to levels higher than in the Great Depression, dire warnings are being issued on the global economic outlook, and here in the UK, the government’s Office for Budget Responsibility is warning that the economy could shrink by 35% by June. In the midst of this unending stream of bleak news, countries are also having to think about the mechanics of recovery and how they can balance attending to an immense agenda of short term priorities with the need to ensure a path to a sustainable and viable medium to long term future.

In this third and final article in our series, we examine five critical areas in which robust, bold, and innovative thinking will be required to map a path forward on these challenges.

 

I. Country Viability – Prior to the pandemic, many countries were already in economic and social intensive care. Some nations will inevitably be pushed to or over the brink by a combination of the health and social costs of dealing with the situation coupled with the bill for economic support to businesses, individuals, and financial markets. This is being further exacerbated by the loss of tax revenues, declining foreign earnings, the level of business failures, and the growth in long term unemployment. Richer nations may coalesce around institutions such as the World Bank, IMF, and OECD to try and effect bail outs for some badly effected countries. However, for some, there may be no viable future as independent nations. Tough choices may be required about whether they seek to merge or effectively be taken over by others with better governance, operational capacity, infrastructure, and resources.

 

II. The Social Fabric – Governments will need to think hard about the goals for society in a post pandemic world and the actions required to get there. Across the globe society is feeling the impacts in different ways. Some people are clearly finding new levels of inner peace and purpose with a calmer, less disrupted pattern to daily life. However, for others we see a rise in problems such as mental health issues and domestic violence. The generational divide could become a critical focus of policy making. Could the lockdown exit strategies further reinforce tensions, with the young and healthy being given preference over the old, the infirm, and those with complex health conditions? Will some countries opt to drive down retirement age to help accelerate this process and seek innovative new solutions for how to fulfil their pensions responsibilities going forward? Finally, some may also look to accelerate advances in the field of human augmentation to effectively engineer more resilient and disease resistant humans.

Health and care systems will also need to be reimagined, drawing on the lessons of the pandemic. In the short term, once the crisis starts to subside, an already frazzled health sector will be hit with a wave of pent up demand from those whose consultations, diagnostic tests, and treatments had been put on hold. The new design will need to think about how to engineer in greater flexibility, how to mobilize testing for future diseases, and how to drive the population to use data, science, and technology to improve self-care.

Education systems may also never be the same again. Those who adapted well to electronic delivery and were able to continue delivering lessons and enabling learning in the digital realm could emerge with far richer models that blend the physical and digital more effectively. This will be greatly enabled by the rapid improvement in digital literacy for many teachers and parents. However, for those less well resourced, the process of catching up on missed months of learning could create major challenges. These could have adverse knock on effects for public examinations for some time to come. This could indeed deepen educational divides in and between countries.

 

III. Incomes and Unemployment – Despite the media noise, in practice no country has implemented an unconditional basic income (UBI). Instead a complex mix of temporary payments, minimum incomes, payment of furloughed workers, loans, and a variety of other mechanisms have been implemented. The issue of what to do next is put into sharp focus by the steep rise in unemployment, coupled with the potential for further job losses through business failures and automation. At present the debate continues to rage over whether a UBI is politically and socially desirable, how it can be funded, whether it makes sense to pay to it to those who don’t need it, and the potential impact on people’s willingness to work. With a prolonged recession or depression in the cards for many nations and indeed the entire planet, the need to think about UBI and other alternatives is already on the agenda and will be rising up it fast.

 

IV. The Business Ecosystem – Governments will need to plan for a range of scenarios around business failure and the resulting employment impacts. Many of the clear potential winners and losers at the sectoral level have been discussed elsewhere. The challenge is understanding the possible scenarios for that middle ground of businesses that have effectively been put on hold for now – in sectors ranging from hotels and aviation to luxury goods, entertainment, and dining. As yet, the number of clear business failures has been relatively limited. However, the longer the lockdowns continue, the more the viability of some or many of these firms is called into question.

Furthermore, even when the recovery starts, business revenues may not return to pre-crisis levels for many – particularly given increased unemployment and uncertainty on the part of those still in jobs. Hence, government planning has to prepare for several possibilities – starting with an immediate wave of business closures once lockdowns end. This will likely be followed by a second wave of failures as spending levels become clearer in the months after lockdown and the starts ups that look the least promising in the new post COVID-19 order fail to secure follow on funding. These could then drive further successive waves of closures and the impacts ripple through supply chains.

Of course, these failures need to be set against the potential for job creation by those who see the opportunity to start new ventures. Downturns provide an environment where investment capital may be cheaper and a range of government incentives may be on offer to start a business. The issue will be around the potential skills mismatch between the needs of these new ventures and those of the people losing their jobs in failing and shrinking businesses.

The drastic hit to revenues that many businesses are taking now will inevitably impact their targets and budgets for the current financial year. A poor current financial year will in turn drive spending budgets for the following financial year. Hence, the knock-on impacts for business spending will again hit firms further down the value chain. The pain will be unevenly spread – for example we can expect to see higher levels of investment in process automation and artificial intelligence as firms seek to increase their ability to continue operating irrespective of potential future pandemic impacts on their workforce.

 

V. National Economic Development Plans – The last few years have seen many developed and developing nations alike from the Middle East and Africa through to Asia and Latin America laying out bold visions for the future. These range in scope from 2025 to 2050 and many contain blueprints for the type of society, economy, and industry sectors they want to evolve. The crisis has put a lot of that thinking on hold. However, the same bold thinking and imagination will be required to map a slightly different path to the future – and to potentially accelerate ideas that were previously considered a decade or more away.

We believe these plans now need to address three separate timeframes and their associated challenges:

The next two years – This is about the recovery plan, building resilience, and reducing exposure to future shocks. In a world of disrupted supply chains, the old logic of industry specialization and import reliance may come under challenge. Hence many nations may look to become more self-sufficient and build up their own capabilities across the entire gamut of products and services they might previously have sourced from overseas. This means building small footprint factories using the latest technologies and looking to accelerate techniques such as 3D printing on an industrial scale.

This will also be a period of accelerated capacity building, developing domestic skills across the board for both the public and private sector. Competition for the best talent globally will also increase as nations seek to build local expertise centres in areas ranging from rapid construction and vertical farming to synthetic biology and new materials. New partnerships will be required with IP owners and expertise centres around the world. At the same time, many manufacturers may be looking to contract their geographic footprint and may be happy to enter into such IP focused arrangements which reduce their reliance on having to manufacture in uncertain times.

The next three to five years – Here the focus should be on building from the foundations laid in the previous two years. Turning the R&D investments and capacity building into viable businesses that create local jobs and drive the economy. Done well, this will allow greater focus on investment in the R&D that will drive the next decade of growth, initiating deep transformation of lifelong education systems, and developing new civil society infrastructure and governance mechanisms. Whilst the actions may not start for two or more years, planning for them and laying the foundations needs to start alongside the near-term recovery actions.

The next six to ten years or more – This is the period in which many of the most promising ideas in science and technology could bring about transformative developments. From Hyperloop transport systems and driverless vehicles to truly artificially intelligent systems and engineering more robust and disease resistant humans – the possibilities are immense and mind blowing. These developments do not move at a linear pace and some nations are keen to make them happen on a faster timescale. Hence, in the next two years, nations need to be driving the R&D that will allow for the capability development in the following few years that in turn will drive the commercialization of these fields in the six to ten year frame – or earlier.

Many may think their plate is already full with just navigating the day to day of the current crisis. However, with crisis comes the opportunity to pursue a bold and innovative rethinking of the core mechanisms across society, the economy, and government. Now may well be the best time to start that thinking.

 

This article was published in FutureScapes. To subscribe, click here.

How can I bring the future in my organization?

To find out more about key developments, ideas, tools, and approaches to help you and your organization navigate a fast changing future, why not attend one of the 20 leadership focused events taking place over seven days during Fast Future’s London Futures Week 2020.

 

Image: https://pixabay.com/images/id-3788209/ by Uki_71

Global Perspectives on the World After COVID-19 Webinar April 9th, 2020 Report and Follow Ups

This was the first in a series of Fast Future webinars on the theme of Aftershocks and Opportunities – Scenarios for a Post-Pandemic Future, hosted in partnership with IORMA. Over 800 people registered for the event with 490 signing in.

 

Aftershock and Opportunities

The context for the webinars is that the world is grappling with the twin challenges of tackling the unfolding COVID-19 crisis and trying to prepare for an uncertain future on the other side of it. In this unprecedented situation, a growing number of politicians and business leaders are beginning to acknowledge the advice of future thinkers, futurists, and scenario planners on how important it is to also be thinking about the next horizon and beyond.

A forward thinking approach can help ensure that the decisions we make today don’t lay the foundation for a new set of problems over the horizon. Equally, understanding the types of future that might emerge post-crisis can help us plan and prepare for those possibilities as we reshape our current strategies. Finally, such future insights might help us spot, train for, and adapt to the new opportunities, challenges, and risks that could arise as a post-pandemic world unfolds.

 

Global Perspectives on the World After COVID-19

In this opening seminar, futurists and scenario thinkers from around the globe highlighted possible scenarios of how things could evolve over the next two to five years. They went on to explore the possible regional differences in both the potential impacts and opportunities that could emerge. Key topics explored included:

  • The Economy– How might the global economy and regional markets be reshaped?
  • The Operating Environment– Are we looking at a complete reboot of the system or more gradual change?
  • Consequences – Who might the biggest beneficiaries and victims be?
  • Society – How might values and behaviours evolve?
  • Action – What should leaders, politicians, and individuals be doing now to prepare themselves for such an uncertain future?
The key outputs from the session are summarized here for those who want to follow up:
  1. Video– you can see the video of the webinar here.
  2. Next Event– You can find the details for the next event on April 16th here.
  3. Survey– You can take the survey on The Social and Economic Impacts of the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic here.
  4. Jerome Glenn’s Literature Review – The list of resources that Jerry and his team have been reviewing for the American Red Cross can be found here.
  5. Pero Micic’s Scenarios – You can find the link to Pero’s paper here.
  6. Rohit’s Articles – You can find my related articles here:
  1. Social Media Groups– we have set up groups exploring Post-Pandemic Futures – Scenarios and Projections for our World After COVID-19 on both LinkedIn and Facebook:
    https://www.linkedin.com/groups/13841900/
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/825138974664277/
  2. Forthcoming Book– We will be publishing Aftershocks and Opportunities – Futurists Envision our Post-Pandemic Future on June 1st, 2020. The closing date for submission of 1,000 word chapters is April 19th, 2020. Full details are available here.
Panel Members
Puruesh Chaudhary – Member of the World Economic Forum Network of Global Future Councils, Pakistan
puruesh@gmail.com
karachifutures.com

Jerome Glenn – Executive Director and CEO – The Millennium Project, USA
jerome.glenn@millennium-project.org
millennium-project.org

Tanja Hichert – Scenario Planner – Hichert and Associates, South Africa
Tanja@hichert.co.za
www.hichert.co.za

Pero Micic – CEO – FutureManagementGroup AG, Germany
pero@micic.com
futuremanagementgroup.com/de/

 

We will post updates on future events. If you are interested in being a panellist on a future event, please contact us.

Rohit Talwar
CEO
Fast Future
rohit@fastfuture.com
Mob +44 (0)7973 405145
www.fastfuture.com
LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/rohit-talwar-futurist-keynote-speaker/
Twitter: @fastfuture
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/RohitKTalwar

 

The Futurist Perspective – Ten Key Messages on Navigating a Crisis

By Rohit Talwar, Alexandra Whittington, and Steve Wells
How can we draw on the work of futurists and foresight professionals to enhance our responses to the current crisis and increase resilience against future shocks?

Within the futurist community there is much hand wringing and frustration at the extent to which leaders, decision makers, and policy advisors have ignored past advice and countless preparedness studies for governments, businesses, and civil society. Since the 1960’s the stock in trade of much futurist work has been to advise on both the range of risks on the horizon and also, more importantly, the response strategies to mitigate the impacts and after-effects. From health pandemics and extreme weather events through to infrastructure shocks and financial fault lines – there has been no shortage of foresight and preparedness advice.

So, what lessons can we learn from the past and apply to both our current pandemic responses and our future scenarios? Here are ten messages that we believe need to be factored in by governments, businesses, and civil society:

1. Genuinely Global Response Mechanisms – Futurists have long since argued the centrality of co-ordinated international action to address many of our biggest global issues – as articulated well in the Millennium Project’s 15 Global Challenges. For example, recovery from the global financial crisis is attributed in part to well co-ordinated international action. In contrast, the failure to make the desired progress on climate change is blamed on weaknesses in the global policy and response mechanisms currently in place. COVID-19 has focused attention on the fact that, until this largely “aircraft borne” disease has truly been brought under control everywhere, it remains a risk for all. The solutions for these global health, humanitarian, and economic crises will required co-ordinated and consistently executed action across the planet. From testing and treatment through to economic recovery, nations will need to work together to address the current challenges and ensure more robust future anticipatory and response mechanisms.

2. Develop Scenarios for a Range of Shocks – The current COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of developing scenarios for a range of possible types of shock from health emergencies to weather disasters, terror incidents, and infrastructure breakdown. Not every risk can be covered but the broad types of underlying impact can be addressed to help inform preparedness strategies and plans. These risk / shock scenarios should either include or drive a subsequent set of scenarios which focus on the possible social and economic impacts and aftermath. Thinking the unthinkable on a regular basis should become part of the training of every leader and manager and embedded in the governance processes of every organisation – public and private.

3. Strategies, Plans, and Testing: Focus on Broad Categories of Impact  A follow action is to develop strategies and plans and test them against a range of the underlying scenarios. The aim is to highlight where response mechanisms are robust and identify key points of weakness or omission. The testing needs to start with an intellectual “red teaming” exercise to assess robustness, followed a practical one involving all the agencies and resources to see what happens when strategies and plans meet reality.

We cannot plan for every possible event, but we can prepare for the types of impact – be that a health crisis that impacts the whole country or an accidental or deliberate failure that disables critical transport, communications, or utilities infrastructures. So, for example, we don’t need to know all the possible causes to plan for situations where large numbers of businesses are unable to operate with the resultant impacts on the workforce.

Knowing that such events might happen allows governments to think through and put in place the responses mechanisms, such as the ability to make payments to every business and individual. For example, it would allow alternative models of guaranteed basic income and service provision to be evaluated and delivery mechanisms to be established in advance of their need. These may never be needed but having them ready and tested means they can be mobilised rapidly.Much of what is being rushed through in the midst of the crisis today around the world would fall under this category.

4. Assume Emergency Powers Will be Required – Many governments are rushing through emergency powers to allow them to maintain public order and address the crisis. The speed of implementation leaves little time for the normal mechanisms of scrutiny by politicians, civil society organizations, the media, and the public. A more forward-looking approach would be to draft, debate, and agree such measures in advance of any emergency and then simply enact the already approved measures during the crisis. Clearly, not every eventuality can be covered – but most can.

5. Resilience Through Distributed Capability and Resources – The current crisis has highlighted the challenges of trying to do everything centrally in the middle of a crisis – from COVID-19 testing through to distribution of personal protective equipment. Countless preparedness exercises have highlighted the importance of having people and physical resources distributed across the nation to ensure action can be enabled quickly. At the simplest level this means ensuring medical facilities have sufficient stocks of equipment to last them three months or more and everyone involved already knows exactly what to do in the absence of central guidance.

6. Enable Self Organizing Systems and Networks – The current crisis has highlighted the innovative power and impact of self-organizing systems. These range from the recruitment and mobilization of hundreds and thousands of volunteers and new cross-sectoral collaborations through to solution hackathons and global data and computing capability sharing initiatives. Again, we cannot predict the exact nature of a crisis, but we can expect that self-organizing systems will be an essential part of the solution. The speed with which such initiatives can get going can be accelerated by putting in place such enabling mechanisms in advance to support network convenors and co-ordinators.

7. Mobilize at the Earliest Warning Signals – The current crisis has highlighted huge differences in the approaches taken by different governments. Interestingly, those with some of the most sophisticated horizon scanning and risk planning mechanisms such as Singapore were able to act quickly and comprehensively. Key actions taken by such countries included closing transit borders with affected regions, implementing rapid and widespread testing and contact tracing, resourcing medical facilities, ordering additional medical supplies and equipment, and contacting retired and reservist personnel to alert them that they might be needed.

Across every broad category of risk from health to the environment, there are equivalent measures that can be taken early and pre-emptively. Whilst there is a cost involved in maintaining higher stock levels, it is significantly lower than that now being experienced by those who are trying to resource such requirements at the same time as everyone else and in a more chaotic and uncoordinated way. The cost in human terms of unnecessary exposure is incalculable.

8. Explain the Underlying Science, Models, Assumptions, and Plans – People crave information. Authoritative government communications can help dispel misinformation and rumour and enable organizations and individuals to plan. For example, some governments have been exceptionally clear about which models they are using, the assumptions, they are making, how long they expect things to last, and the response mechanisms they are putting in place. Of course, there are caveats because no one knows for sure how long a particular crisis might last.

Hence, it is crucially important to clarify whether you are anticipating a two-week disruption or a six month one. This helps businesses to plan more effectively and enables firms and individuals to assess the potential financial impacts and act accordingly. People are far more willing to forgive timeline changes from a government that communicates clearly than one that has obfuscated, presented mixed messages, and hedged its bets. Official, comprehensive, and regularly updated websites are critical to ensuring people are drawing from a single source of government information and advice.

9. Minimize the Crisis Agenda – The actions outlined above all help ensure better forward planning, greater resilience, and a faster speed of response. Critically, they allow governments to build public confidence and support by allowing rapid and co-ordinated action. They also minimize the range of crisis specific actions and decisions that need to be made at speed. This in turn reduces the risk of poorly thought through, uncoordinated, and badly communicated crisis response measures.

10. Learning and After Action Review – However well governments address the actions outlined above, not everything will work perfectly, unexpected and unpredictable issues will still arise, and previously tested systems will fail in unanticipated ways. Hence, a willingness to acknowledge, share, and learn from these issues and mistakes is essential both to refine current response strategies and to the updating of plans for future emergencies. Once the crisis has passed, a more rigorous “after action review” is vital – taking inputs from across society. This can only help improve future strategies, plans, and overall resilience.

The crisis has highlighted the flawed nature of some nations’ crisis response strategies and resilience plans. This need not be the case. Not every crisis can be anticipated, but the impacts of most can be prepared for with well-constructed scenarios, robust strategies, and regularly tested and well-resourced plans. There have never been more people around the world involved in foresight, future studies, risk anticipation, horizon scanning, scenario planning, and other forms of futurist activity. Now, might be quite a good time to start listening to what they have to say.

 

Questions:

  • What use does your organization make of scenario planning and horizon scanning to prepare for possible future shocks, crises, and dramatic economic disruptions?
  • How robust are your business strategies and disaster preparedness plans against the range of scenarios that might play out at the global, national, and market level?
  • How open is your organization to hearing difficult messages and considering previously unthinkable scenarios that could overturn your current assumptions and business plans?
  • How often do you undertake horizon scanning and scenario thinking exercises – how do the feed into strategy development and operational planning?
  • How do you go about training managers and leaders to think about the future and factor in possible developments that are not on their current radar? 
  • How well prepared do you feel to share the level of uncertainty we are experiencing with your teams?
  • Do you have the skills and organizational support to cope with the additional responsibility on you as a leader?

This article was published in FutureScapes. To subscribe, click here.

 

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