By Lincoln DePradine
The future of work and learning can “significantly change’’ as a result of the Coron
avirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to American financier and author Leo M. Tilman.
Tilman, addressing a recent online seminar on risk intelligence, non-profit governance and “Response for Outriding COVID 19’’, said social norms are likely to be impacted by pandemic outbreak.
“You will potentially have profound change in social norms,’’ said Tilman, president and CEO of Tilman & Company, a global strategic advisory firm.
The seminar, the fourth in a series on business continuity and growth, is being organized by Magate Wildhorse Ltd., which is headed by Meegan Scott as principal consultant.
COVID-19, is “an unprecedented health and economic crisis’’, in which “many organizations have been able to pivot and are reaping big returns’’; however, “some struggle’’ and “many will die’’, said Scott.
“Caribbean Diaspora businesses and community organizations cannot wait and see. They must act now in order to survive, thrive, and contribute to the economic recovery of host and home countries,’’ she said.
“We must move with great urgency and unity in growing our capacities to outride COVID-19, or even thrive by building and leveraging risk intelligence.’’
The Coronavirus, which has killed thousands in Canada and other countries worldwide, has forced governments to issue stay-at-home and physical and social distancing guidelines. Many businesses have ceased operations and schools have closed.
“People may be working more from home permanently going forward. People may be learning more from home permanently. This would have profound impact on organizations, on real estate, on productivity and all sorts of other things,’’ said Tilman, a leading authority on strategy, risk intelligence and finance. He’s author of the 2019 book, “Agility: How to Navigate the Unknown and Seize Opportunity in a World of Disruption’’.
Reasons exist to believe that, coming out of pandemic, there will be a rise in nationalism and populism that will affect “global trade and international affairs’’, said Tilman.
As well, there’s the potential for “profound change’’ in how we behave towards one another, and trends relating to artificial intelligence and robotics may be accelerated, with their use for “as many human jobs as possible,” he said.
Tilman was one several presenters, residing in North America, Europe and Jamaica, who contributed to the seminar. He was joined by Jamaica-based Theo Chambers, founder and owner of Access Jamaica.com, a marketing and distribution company; and Tannisha Scarlett, director of Life Media Productions Ltd., which assists Jamaicans involved the agriculture and agribusiness.
Other presenters included Philip Bedward, chairman and managing director of Pathways Data, whose work includes business development management and the harnessing of human resources information for planning and development; Andrew Sharpe, CEO of Authentic Caribbean Foundation Inc. (ACF) based in Massachusetts; and London-based management consultant Rudi Page, co-founder of SHEMOIST Haircare System.
Bedward identified shortcomings with governance and vision “of what we can do and must do’’ among community organizations and called for more collaboration, saying “there are some serious gaps that we need to look at’’.
The idea of greater collaboration was echoed by Sharpe, who uses ACF in an attempt to “empower, assist and mobilize’’ disabled children of Caribbean descent living in Massachusetts.
“I just want us to continue to collaborate; not just talking but doing,’’ said Sharpe.
Page said although there is “resilience’’ among Caribbean people in London, England, the impact of COVID-19 has been “painful’’ on the community and “it’s going to be tough’’ going forward.”
Chambers, a past president of the Hanover Chamber of Commerce and a former director with the Small Business Administration in Jamaica, said COVID-19 has stalled activities in every sector of the society.
“Jamaica is a ghost town,’’ he said. “Everything is shutdown at six o’clock in Jamaica.’’
However, Chambers said he expects Jamaica will be “getting back to the new normal within the next week or two’’.
Some businesses in the hotel and tourism sectors have suffered irreparable damage from the closure of operations due to COVID-19, said Chambers.
“A good 10 to 20 per cent of industries would not be able to come back the way they used to be before. Many of them are looking to sell outright and they do not want to come back into the industry,’’ he said.