We are in a state of transition. No one really knows what the future will hold. But there are many pushes and pulls that are happening as we collectively navigate the storms.

For years everyone has pushed for reducing energy emissions, today with a lockdown in several parts of the world the skies are clear. Delhi, till recently the most polluted city in the world has an Aqi of 28! If this continues the pandemic would have done the world a whole lot of good in an unexpected way.

On the flip side, supply chains have broken down all across the world. There are materials shortages, equipment shortages, break downs in food delivery and this is just the tip of the iceberg if this continues for much longer.

With operations teams are working overtime on business continuity issues, HR and IT are struggling to cope with the challenges of working from home. Marketing departments are wondering what to advertise since production has stalled. Sustainability and social responsibility departments on the other hand need to quickly turn and re-evaluate new strategies given the scale and magnitude of emerging needs and disruptions.

There will certainly be a downturn and there will be many strategies adopted to cope and recover. The big question we need to be asking is, “What will the new world look like and can we together create a better tomorrow?”

We create what we think. And this is perhaps as good a time as any to learn from the past and create a better world by designing it in a better way. But to do that, we need to dig deep into the questions that perhaps have no answers for now but may emerge in the coming months.

Here are some important questions that need to be answered:

  1. There are vast gaps in quality healthcare. Neither public private partnerships nor insurance are emerging as viable solutions in a public health crisis. How can we build resilient health infrastructures?
  2. With educations and work moving online, how will the poor cope with the digital needs of the new economy?
  3. The digital divide will deepen with economic fragility. How can this be bridged?
  4. What are the skills needed for the digital world? How will these be delivered? How will existing skills projects transform with the need to do online skill transfer?
  5. Collection of Bio medical waste will emerge as a huge challenge. What will be the skills, systems and processes to address this?
  6. Will supply chains, in a bid to building resilience now become more local? What will this mean for the emerging economies that are the production hubs of today? 
  7. In the past decade trust in institutions, companies and government collapsed. Can we build a new economy based on trust?
  8. Can we build safety nets for the poor, the marginalized? Should we have a Universal Basic Income?
  9. How will travel change? How will retail change?
  10. How will AR and VR help build experiences?
  11. How can we live in harmony with nature? Can the corporate bail out also be linked to SDG commitments?
  12. How will millennials invest in the future? How will others? How will portfolios transform?
  13. How will consumption transform?