Thinking Creatively About Forces and Counterforces

Thinking Creatively About Forces and Counterforces
June 18, 2020 Digital Intensity
By Gideon Malherbe, VCI Founding Partner
Reflecting on our Scenario Planning virtual workshops over the past few months, here are some new developments worth including in your planning.
Forecasting models are now in deep trouble. Forces and counterforces which were driven by logic, are now being driven by emotions, ideologies, desires and desperation. These intangibles are pushing the progression of CV-19 into a new direction. This leads to a new set of Scenarios that fragment the linear pathways that were so eloquently depicted in various mathematical models. We have a potential Guacamole Scenario characterized by confusion, chaos and despair. Under this Scenario, the economy is paralyzed by frequent starts and stops with all the bad outcomes.
The original scientific plan behind lockdowns did work to keep healthcare structures within capacity constraints in China, Europe and North America. But we don’t know yet about the developing economies in the Southern Hemisphere and Southeast Asia. It’s increasingly probable that governments worldwide won’t be successful with any extended lockdowns. People can’t do it.
The first round of economic models evaluating lockdown periods have resulted in an alphabet soup of predictions about a pathway to normal. We have a V-curve, U-curve, W-curve, L -curve and the worst of the worst, the I-curve, where the bottom is just unknowable. Governments’ financial support efforts are all set primarily to avoid the I-curve and drag the various economies closer to a V-curve recovery.
A V-curve rebound, something that’s mathematically near-impossible, actually does seem possible because people can’t help themselves. The first gap they get, they’re eating out, shopping in malls and traveling. Golf courses are 120% full.
So, there’s no reason to cast hope aside. It’s possible that the post CV-19 world will not be as bad as the Guacamole Scenario depicts. Firstly, because of the indomitable American culture of individual can-do entrepreneurialism; and secondly, because opportunities are endless worldwide to redefine traditionally accepted business and social practices thus far challenged by the pandemic.
The very fact that we have not overcome COVID-19 as intended, could in all probability lead to a renewed age of abundance – an abundance of ideas and solutions that will now make their way to the forefront of our global economy.
Creatively thinking hard about the direction of forces and counterforces and how they may play out is the valuable activity of creating future Scenarios. And this is how we help companies shape their future.
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