Anticipating a New Normal of ‘Low Touch’

The Board of Innovation says aloud what is on everyone’s minds, and attempted to ascertain what the new normal would look like in a report about a future Low Touch Economy. The 35 page report gives an insightful view on how we need to adapt our interactions and lifestyle due to tighter travel and hygiene restrictions.

But it is their look into how different industries are impacted and the opportunities that arise in the mid- to long-term, which is particularly interesting.

Consider these following observations:

  1. There is even more anxiousness and depression. More people will feel isolated and this becomes more intense for those who lose their jobs. There is anticipation of a tremendous need for remote therapy and coaching, and maybe even online social games, with and some regions already seeing a rise in demand for animal companions.
  2. Damaged trust in people and products. People and organisations will expect formal proof of hygiene and health status. For example, food delivery in China shows the real-time body temp of the delivery person. Packaging may have to be redesigned.
  3. Extended travel restrictions, and even some self-imposed travel restrictions because of risk of border closure. These are very uncertain times. Local tourism will flourish.
  4. Optimised work from home set ups, with special equipment, machines and advanced video/audio set ups. It’s a change in lifestyle, for sure. Policies and insurance will adapt.
  5. Many organisations are operating in survival mode. Legal battles will scale up in numbers and lawyers who are shifting to a digital way of work, may look for tools to automate legal work.
  6. Remote reskilling and training will see a peak, as many will be forced to rethink their careers in the industries they are currently in.
  7. Regular retail will evolve, with advanced supply chain optimisations ie. Various shops bundling deliveries to same locale.
  8. Limited contact with older generation. Day-to-day activities will be redesigned, along with ceremonies like weddings.
  9. Work and private life merge. This would tend to happen when video streaming work collragues from the comfort of home.
  10. Certified immune consumers. Until this segment of consumers emerge, it may have to be solo dining booths all the way, or human-free interactions with robot waiters.

Moving forward

Gartner’s study of Fortune 1000 companies after the 2008 financial crisis, revealed that these companies’ acceleration was due to investing in new growth options instead of just cutting costs.

In conclusion if you are a business, mitigating the biggest risks is crucial, from a health, safety, operational as well as profit and loss point of view. But, whilst taking these defensive measures, businesses also must prepare for the next phase. Fast and decisive movers will win, the report concluded and tapped into the example of cosmetics company, Lin Qingxuan.

Due to the pandemic it was forced to close 40-percent of its stores, but took the opportunity to redeploy over 100 beauty advisors as online influencers who leveraged digital tools to re-engage customers virtually and drive online sales.