I am writing this on Tuesday 28th April in NSW.  Today the NSW government announced I can visit a friend from this Friday.  Woolworths is starting to print catalogs again.  Qld and WA have also announced a rollback of some restrictions. But we have no cure and we have no antivirus.  Many people will still get sick and of those, some will die.  

This got me thinking where in the world is the safest place to live with Covid-19.  Now I picked major countries that have reasonable health systems and believable reporting of cases.  (I have still included China) I also took a point in time which was yesterday afternoon with the assumption enough has happened so far to start concluding. There are many holes in this analysis as we know Australia per capita has tested more than any other country.

Australia is the lucky country and our borders are surrounded by sea but interesting enough if you live in Singapore so far you have the least chance of dying and Japan is the place least likely to get the virus thus far.  So how does Australia fare 3rd in deaths just ahead of China in reported deaths per capita.  In diagnosed cases we are 4th with China coming in 1st then Japan and S. Korea. Interestingly given the harsher restrictions in NZ they come in 5th for both deaths and cases.  Somewhere we certainly don’t want to be right now is Spain.

CountryCasesDeathsPopulation (millions) Cases %Deaths %
S Korea1072824251.3

So what of the future. Most of you have not lost your jobs yet and our biggest threat at this point is the effect it will have on our economies being pushed into recession. Interestingly the word ‘crisis” in Japanese and Chinese is written with two symbols.  Those two symbols are danger and opportunity.  I think we all understand the danger so let’s focus on the opportunities.

For the last few weeks we have been talking about how you can use your time to be productive and not to hold back on your spending if nothing has changed in your job.

The University of Pennsylvania has Published 10 ways of creating opportunity in times of Crisis which I have summarised: 

  1. Change your mental model: Instead of viewing the present situation as a short-term necessary evil that we should try to leave behind as soon as possible and return to a comfortable pre-crisis past, we should ask how to use the current situation to speed up long-overdue changes. Consider universities, for example. Many schools have been tinkering around the edges with online learning for several years. While some progress was made with massive open online courses the dominant pedagogical model remained unchanged. 
  2. Step up your digital transformation and invest in infrastructure: The shutting down of the physical world and the shift to the digital world is transforming not just universities but also organizations in other fields. Think about what is happening at retail stores, museums, orchestras, and theaters. All these require a strong digital infrastructure. The fact that brick-and-mortar channels are closed compels organizations to speed up their digital transformation.
  3. Identify new business opportunities generated by the crisis: One way to spot new opportunities is to creatively address people’s fears, uncertainties, and lack of trust. For example, a company seeing an opportunity even as it deals with the crisis is Zoom, the conferencing platform, which allows users to add a “virtual background” while they work at home.
  4. Reexamine your talent strategy: Many companies have on their staff non-productive employees who do not have the competencies needed to succeed in the 21st century
  5. Identify areas of opportunity through an idealized design process: Crises often offer opportunities at very reduced prices to acquire companies that may be in trouble or talent that has been laid off. 
  6. Switch from a shareholder-focused organization to a stakeholder-focused one: Companies have been speaking for a long time about the importance of focusing on their customers. While this trend has been visible long before the coronavirus crisis arrived, it will intensify and become a necessity as a result of the crisis. 
  7. Speed up the switch to a network orchestrator model: You cannot succeed by competing company-against-company. You must focus on network-against-network competition and leverage your networks.  Many companies these days send messages about COVID-19 to customers with whom they have done business. Would it not be better for such companies to encourage their customers to share experiences, problems, and solutions with one another, rather than flooding their customers with coronavirus emails and social media posts?
  8. Assure your organization’s agility, adaptability, and resilience by enhancing its culture and reinventing its architecture: Assuring that the organization is agile, adaptable, and resilient means we must re-examine the organizational architecture. This includes organizational culture as well as competencies, performance measures, incentives, and reward systems as well as infrastructure, processes, technology, and facilities.
  9. Re-examine your business model and operations. Challenge your revenue model to identify opportunities for increased efficiency and profitable growth: Traditionally, companies have tried to save on costs by firing or laying off people. Companies tend to do things that were important in the past, but then times change and there is no need for them, but they continue anyway. There is a huge opportunity for cost savings by re-examining, and if needed reinventing, all aspects of operations, business models, and revenue models. 
  10. Innovate and adopt an adaptive experimentation approach: We must innovate in everything we do, not only in our products but also with respect to areas such as organizational architecture. This can only be achieved through continuous experimentation. Everyone should be thinking about how things can be done differently and better. 

This really made a lot of sense to me.  Read the full article yourself