Co-Founder & CEO of corporate venture-builder FoundersLane, a serial entrepreneur building business up to IPOs and author of ”Fightback”.
It’s hard to imagine the pandemic without digital technologies. In the West, how would we have made it through lockdown, both in a business and social sense, without Zoom calls, community support, WhatsApp, Slack, the latest Netflix docuseries and more?
These business tools, sources of entertainment and ways to stay socially connected have kept our lives together in the face of an unthinkable change. But while it is encouraging to see how technology has helped us deal with this unprecedented challenge, there is a massive delta between our technological possibilities and what we made of them to cope with this crisis. This gap is the result of inertia, of inefficiencies in the ways we orchestrate progress, and it is a factor in the human tragedies that are unfolding now.
To fight back against our current crises — including climate change and crumbling health care systems — we have to look deeply at what got us into this position in the first place, learn the lessons from the pandemic and reshape our organizations around sustained, impactful technological innovation at scale.
Where We Are Today
Covid-19 has shown clearly that ruthlessly efficient global collaboration, agility and innovation are critical when facing large-scale crises. Scientific efforts to develop a vaccine, gargantuan logistical work to ensure vital supply lines remained intact and the mass production of protective equipment have shown what widespread collaboration can achieve.
Before this, though, the early days of the pandemic were fraught with uncertainty. Western nations were unprepared, and the costs have been dear. The scrambling, due to a lack of preparedness, was compounded by innovation inertia. Western nations, particularly in Europe, which still accounts for approximately one-fourth of