We are still in the midst of what has been an extremely trying 12 months for the UK both socially and economically. Every day we hear of a new risks or a new strain that may “wash up on our shores” potentially delaying our return to normality. As the situation continues to unfold, we looked at whether our reaction to COVID-19 has actually provided some positive outcomes for the business world.
A period of change
The saying “necessity is the mother of invention” has never been more prevalent than in the last 12 months, and the speed at which organisations have transformed to operate successfully within the ‘new normal’ is staggering. Plans and the potential for changes to our working lives that would normally take months, if not years, of strategy and adaptation, were forced upon us overnight.
There is no doubt that tough times still lie ahead, but we’ve seen what can be achieved when distractions are taken away and transformation is prioritised. This pandemic has caused a watershed moment for many and accelerated business adaptations that may not have come to fruition for years.
Many businesses have acknowledged that the change was needed, they reacted fast and crucially provided their customers with new avenues and methods of interaction to keep a semblance of normality while bolstering their business’ resilience.
The collaborative effort
There have been a number of high profile examples of businesses rapidly repurposing to support the COVID-19 response. A prime example of this is Dyson stepping in to help with the increased need for ventilators for the NHS, impressively making the move from concept to manufacturing in matter of weeks. In a similar vein, DHL have stated that many of their employees, keen to do their part, were working around the clock delivering PPE supplies to hospitals. AstraZeneca’s work in producing an effective vaccine in a matter of months has been astounding. During this time, it is clear that many business have prioritised the health and safety of the nation and a speedy end to the pandemic over the rapid monetisation their efforts, choosing to work towards ‘the greater good’.
The transformative effort
Transformation at this scale and pace has been unprecedented in our history. Data from McKinsey & Company on consumer interactions with businesses and brands demonstrated that digital interactions have nearly doubled globally. This development suggests that businesses have been able to successfully adapt their business models for the digital sphere, transforming and boosting their resilience during this time. This ability to acclimate their business to new landscapes will undoubtedly provide a strong foundation for future success.
Many organisations have had to make seismic efforts to ensure their online and digital presence was able to handle traffic increases, both in the B2C and B2B space. According to Consultancy UK, digital transformation has been accelerated by 7 years over the past 12 months – these numbers are both astonishing and exciting for British businesses.
So what is the beacon of hope?
It is clear that entrepreneurial spirit is rife within the UK! Although there are still challenging days ahead, we have seen many wonderful examples of collaboration and adaptation and this progress shows no sign of slowing down. These trends undoubtedly pave the way for the UK to secure its position as a global hub for innovation and development.
Insights from Jack Hankey, Sophie Pullen, Joshua Perry & Matthew Davidson