Post-pandemic success will be determined by what you do now, not what you do post-pandemic.
No one ever thought that starting in this new decade, our booming economy and flourishing job market would be placed on “pause” due to a worldwide outbreak of a virus, yet here we are.
2020 has been an interesting year to say the least, but there are obvious similarities between the COVID-19 pandemic and digital disruption. One in specific that I’ve noticed is the application of my Both/And Principle versus the traditional Either/Or mindset.
Prior to COVID-19, when new digital technology emerged, the prevailing mindset was that the old technology is obsolete and the new technology is far superior. Yet, the “out with the old and in with the new” mindset can be quite detrimental to small and large businesses, and here’s why.
With Amazon dominating the retail shopping market since its inception, we were certain that we would see the end of big box stores as Sears and Boston Store fell hard. That wound has been salted during a pandemic, with individuals now needing to shop online for nearly everything without an alternative.
However, even during this lockdown, businesses must innovate, so why can’t every single retailer join the ranks of Amazon in eCommerce? Several stores transitioned to curbside pickup and likewise, as we transition to a post-pandemic phase, those same physical retailers both big and small should implement my Both/And Principle and continue offering curbside pickup to those still skittish about shopping in-person.
Just this week, Uber reported that their business is down by more than 50% and because of this, they used Zoom to layoff nearly 3,500 customer support roles, and drivers on the platform are struggling as well.
Yet, while UberEats offers delivery of food similar to GrubHub, why can’t they expand into the dozens of other curbside pickup opportunities out there, whether it’s your groceries or something from a local pet store. Considering going forward, stores may continue to offer in-person and curbside pickup as mentioned above, Uber, Lyft and the like could permanently expand into the market.
That’s another ideal illustration of my Both/And Principle already in practice with UberEats. One option does not have to be an all-encompassing entity that you make your entire business about; you can employ both and expand rather than lay off thousands and “erase” the past, a middle ground that contributes to the real convenience of the post-pandemic world.
As mentioned earlier, many see new technology and the new way of doing things as putting the old out in the cold permanently, leaving it to be forgotten about when thinking “how could the old possibly be useful in a time when we have new, convenient and even cost-effective ways of doing things?” Movie theaters were decommissioned seemingly overnight when the Coronavirus made landfall here in the United States, but with the abundance of streaming services, many merely adapted by binging their favorite shows without giving it thought.
But in this case, the old and the new both have functional strengths; you just have to look a little closer, and thanks to a global pandemic, the “old ways” may be some industry’s savior. Attending a movie prior to COVID-19 involved going to a theater, sitting in a recliner with some popcorn and watching a new release. Yet how does a movie theater company innovate when not a soul is allowed in?
The answer: drive-in movie theaters. It’s easy to stay socially distant when you only have to leave your car to potentially use the restroom. This once-forgotten business model is in talks of making a comeback, in some ways rivaling streaming services as the pervading fact is that human beings need some type of social stimulation, even if it is at a distance. You would be able to go to the movies with friends, physically see them, and never have to be close enough to violate social distancing rules. Post-pandemic, it is likely that many will still enjoy sitting on their tailgate to watch their next movie.
My Both/And Principle in business holds true both during this pandemic and after it. When we face a paradigm shift, it’s detrimental to completely discard the life we had before it, as shutting down the “old” limits innovation as much as being resistant to the “new.” In your life and in your organization, what integration of the old and new—using the Both/And principle—can you think of to improve overall function, products and services?
Daniel Burrus is considered one of the world’s leading futurists on global trends and innovation. The New York Times has referred to him as one of the top three business gurus in the highest demand as a speaker. He is a strategic advisor to executives from Fortune 500 companies, helping them to accelerate innovation and results by develop game-changing strategies based on his proven methodologies for capitalizing on technology innovations and their future impact. His client list includes companies such as Microsoft, GE, American Express, Google, Deloitte, Procter & Gamble, Honda, and IBM. He is the author of seven books, including The New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller Flash Foresight, and his latest book The Anticipatory Organization. He is a featured writer with millions of monthly readers on the topics of innovation, change and the future and has appeared in Harvard Business Review, Wired, CNBC, and Huffington Post to name a few. He has been the featured subject of several PBS television specials and has appeared on programs such as CNN, Fox Business, and Bloomberg, and is quoted in a variety of publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Fortune, and Forbes. He has founded six businesses, four of which were national leaders in the United States in the first year. He is the CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients profit from technological, social and business forces that are converging to create enormous, untapped opportunities. In 1983 he became the first and only futurist to accurately identify the twenty technologies that would become the driving force of business and economic change for decades to come. He also linked exponential computing advances to economic value creation. His specialties are technology-driven trends, strategic innovation, strategic advising and planning, business keynote presentations.