The Next Normal After COVID-19: The Big Divergence

Christian von Reventlow
Apr 28, 2020

What I call "The Big Divergence" is the diverging paths among business, finance, technology, government, and our way of living and working. This blog series explores 25 key aspects of The Big Divergence, starting with what customers—both individuals and businesses—are longing for.Now is the time—the opportunity—for those who can step up to give guidance to people, businesses, society and government. It is the time for those who can explain what a good next normal should look like, and how we get there. This is the time for all of us to engage as leaders, to identify, test, learn, and implement paths. Now is also your time to engage with the questions asked in this article, to set early leadership in building your action plan, and to join and co-lead conversations on these ideas.

Divergence in Business

  • There will be a rebirth of safe leaders, trust capital and market presence. 100-year-old businesses may be reborn.
  • Slow-fast innovation will grow. Businesses will need some deep and slow understanding of needs, and be able to build solutions quickly.
  • SEE: Service for Everything Else will evolve. Some service providers will pick up what is non-core for others.
  • Digital Glocalization will spread. Hardware and human services will be sourced globally and locally, at the same time.
  • Businesses will exploit the novel tension of Balkanization versus Counter-Balkanization.

Divergence in Finance

  • Companies with strong balance sheets will use their position to aggressively grow.
  • Some businesses will suffocate from “Monte”—what ancient Florentines called debts due to a crisis.
  • Some market leaders will be fueled by excessive cash, and will be looking for outsized returns.
  • Government finances will thrive as never before by selling their cheaply acquired assets at real value.
  • The golden age of M&A will emerge, triggered by Monte fire-sales and government selling the assets mentioned above.

Divergence in Our Way of Living & Working

  • Humans will long for truth and clarity after the cacophony of conflicting messages during crisis.
  • There will be a shift from generosity to individualism. People may move toward "my tribe" vs. the open-ended community.
  • Work/life will shift toward life, caused by reduced control of people working from home.
  • A new boom of luxury will emerge. People will spend more as the fragility of life gets realized by many.
  • Psychosocial stress will increase as escaping from command and control becomes more difficult.

Divergence in Technology

  • Alpha leaders will become digital. Management command/control will be reinvented in a home-working world.
  • A 2nd reality—a parallel digital life—will extend the physical world while promising a safe escape.
  • Personal intelligence will become mainstream, combining AI with user experience as personalized service.
  • Robotics will become prevalent outside of manufacturing as AI extends its physical representation into the real world.
  • Infrastructure will be re-invented beyond connectivity to a supra-repository of strategic technologies.

Divergence in Government

  • There will be a public desire for authority, along with reduced relevance of spontaneous cooperative free agency.
  • Subsidy will take the place of taxation for critical technologies such as digital bio/pharma or surveillance.
  • There will be a cut back on regulation, such as privacy laws, medical approvals, or charging operators for licenses.
  • Interconnectedness will challenge sovereignty, with transnational entities moving to active roles.
  • We will revisit the roles of government – making laws, war, police, education, and control of asset use.

My Call to Action

Please respond to this article with your views. Reach out by email to be interviewed in an article, podcast or video. Take exemplary leadership by building your action plan and sharing it with others, and co-lead the planning, discussion and actions by joining our group.Christian von +49 170 45 999 77Cell +1 201 259 5973christian.vonreventlow@vonreventlow.comChristian von Reventlow is a guest speaker on innovation for Singularity University. He is focused on transforming organizations' cultures, core processes, and governance to create value through innovation. He wins Board support for the mission, operates outside-in starting with customer value and drives enterprise-wide deployment of the latest digital technologies such as AI, AR, IoT, digital twins, and edge computing. Christian believes positive global impact can get created by applying technology with humans and the planet in mind. His career spans two and a half decades of management- and officer-level assignments at global technology companies including TELSTRA, Deutsche Telekom, Intel and (Nokia/Microsoft), creating multiple startups. His leadership profile is marked by a collaborative approach at the executive level and a dedication to managed personal accountability at the operating level. Christian has a Doctor of Electrical Engineering degree from the Technical University Berlin, and a Master of Physics degree from Ruhruniversitaet Bochum.