How has the crisis affected your market?
The consulting industry suffered because it is not an essential expenditure. In a context where it is necessary to manage operational emergencies, such as store closings, our clients had less of a need to imagine the future, and more a need to concentrate on the present.
However, we quickly noticed that our clients expressed a real need to visualize the post-crisis world, imagine different scenarios for emerging from the crisis, and consider possible post-crisis conditions of the world. Therefore, we quickly regained a good level of business activity because we can provide consulting and support assignments on managing the “world after” to executives.
Because we rely on a community of experts, rather than full-time employees, we can find the right experts at the right time that will be able to provide the right answers to exceptional situations. Now, instead of helping them simply imagine the future, we help them imagine the future in a world that is even more unstable.
Would you say we will try to go back to normal as quickly as possible or do you think we will need to rethink the world post-Covid-19?
It’s impossible to say; multiple scenarios and situations are possible after the crisis. A return to normal is possible. We can even imagine an “enhanced” return to normal after the crisis. For example, before the crisis we had begun to focus more on environmental issues. Maybe, after the crisis, the pendulum will swing even farther towards concentrating on the present, on satisfying short-term needs, the pleasures of consumption, and urgent investments.
We could also imagine that sanitary concerns that have emerged from this crisis will merge with environmental and social responsibility issues that will give birth to a new world. What is certain is that all of that will happen in stages.
In France, we are entering the “deconfinement” stage. People wear masks, we wait in line to enter stores, people are more cautious, there is social distancing, new buying behavior. Is this another transition period or is this the “world after”?
We help our clients think about the different scenarios rather than endorsing one.
What has the crisis changed for you or what have you learned personally?
I was familiar with remote working before but I practice it much more now. I am currently in my family’s home in the South of France.
What I’ve learned is that we can stay very connected to the world, we can actively participate and reflect on what is going on in the world without necessarily being there physically. I discovered that one can maintain social and intellectual activities while working deep in the countryside.
It’s possible that a lot of people like me are making a long-term decision to spend more time close to Nature, to spend less time in offices and to create a new way of working that is just as productive but less attached to a physical work space.
In addition, I may continue to perform certain acts of social distancing. Human contact happens differently now, more in the gaze and in words than in physical contact.