Opportunities out of Challenges

Nobody expected this pandemic, and it has hit us hard. At first, it was thought that the novel coronavirus is comparable to the flu, but research has shown that it could lead to lasting lung damage and even attack the central nervous system (CNS). Measures to counter the spread range from Sweden’s compliance-based system to Italy’s total lockdownUnemployment in the United States has risen to 22 million, in Germany studies on the economic impact of the pandemic claim that the economic damage to Germany could be between 7.2-20.6% of GDP.

I hope and strongly believe that humanity will come out of this crisis stronger and that these six lessons will be part of our lessons learned from this pandemic.

Realize the real value of things

I believe that as a global society, we have drifted towards decadence for a long time now. We have forgotten the importance of certain essential items, values, and people, and focused our attention on insignificant things. iPhones, brand name clothing, Gucci bags, cars, you name it.

I hope that we will realize the importance of all those items that we had forgotten but that are essential to our survival and well-being. I hope we will realize the importance of clean air, access to parks and travel, freshwater, and seeing our loved ones.

Realize which professions are essential

Social media influencers, socialites, singers, actors, etc. dominated our attention and earned the big bucks. CEOs were seen as pillars of our society and bankers as role models that we needed to aspire to.

However, I hope that after this crisis we realize which professions truly are carrying the burden of our civilization: the city workers that come to pick up our trash, the cashiers and supermarket workers that ensure we have access to groceries and other essential goods, the truckers that keep our supply with these essential goods alive, and last but not least the unsung heroes of our society: the medical workers.

Strengthening of supply chains

Cutting edge super delicate supply chains, just-in-time manufacturing, complex supply chains taking manufactured goods from several different countries, assembling the goods in another country, and shipping the assembled product to a third country have dominated our global economy for many years now. This globalization has brought down manufacturing costs and maximized profit margins. However, such a delicate and complex system spread over several countries is very susceptible to disturbances, even tiny ones. So, a hick-up in a faraway country can significantly impact the delivery of goods at home.

I hope that companies realize the benefits of shortening supply chains and bringing production closer to home. This would not only result in stronger supply chains but would also strengthen local economies and make them more resistant to break down in a future crisis.

Digitization of education

Education, especially higher education, is ripe for a digital revolution. My Alma Mater, the Technical University of Munich, has started to adopt digital education solutions even before I attended my first semester there. It is beyond me how universities and other educational institutions have not already pivoted to a mostly online format. Professors would hold each class only once and record it. They could use the rest of the time to focus on research. Students could take their time to study the material in as much depth as they wanted and prepare their questions if any arose. This could lead to a much better understanding of the subject and in-depth questions.

I hope that institutions of education realize the value that digitizing their classes will have and use this crisis as an opportunity to accelerate this process.

Modernization of businesses

Many small businesses, at least here in Germany, struggle much harder during this crisis than they would need to because they have utterly ignored the benefits of the Information Age and refused to use the internet as a tool to grow their business. Now they are discovering the benefits of having a presence online and on social media, and how this can cushion their fall.

I hope that businesses realize that an anti-technology attitude is detrimental and that they will embrace the new possibilities brought to us by advancements in science and technology.

Reform of government structures

Last but not least, I hope that societies realize that government is not a separate entity outside of society, but is a form of self-organization of said society and that governments need to play a more active role in detection & prevention of future crisis as well as helping out the economy in these times.

What lessons do you hope that we will learn from this pandemic? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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