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It’s time to talk about recovery

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Words by Leanne Kemp, Queensland Chief Entrepreneur

It’s time to talk about recovery.

Think back to the start of 2020 – holidays, day trips to the beach, cruise ships, friends over for dinner, the daily commute to the office. Flash forward and even though it might seem like this year has lasted a decade already, we are still not even halfway through!

And yet we have adapted because humans are adaptable creatures. The “new normal” has been established: working remotely, home schooling, staying in our homes. We’ve pivoted our quotidian behaviours and yes, there’s been a few teething issues and grumbles, but in Australia (and New Zealand), we have nailed it!

I’m usually traversing the globe weekly. Being grounded, literally, for two months has meant I’ve had more time on my hands with which to connect and support our hardiest minds at a time where businesses are most fragile. But believe it or not, I’ve had little change to how I work and my company operates: Zoom calls, digital learning platforms, adjustable and flexible times to work considering our offices are in multiple time-zones around the world. Perhaps I’ve always been working in what was once seen as an extreme third dimension of reality.

And whilst we have responded to COVID well, now is the time to turn our focus to recovery.

Make no mistake, it is tough times out there. Hope is not enough to weather this. It will require a willingness to unlearn, a consciousness to invent and a commitment to trim the fat and keep the muscle.

Great founders and startups aren’t seeking permission or waiting to be asked. They’re tapping into their imaginations along with their experience as inspired entrepreneurs, innovators and managers to generate bold unconventional responses. As I’ve said, it’s all about how to pivot, persevere and pirouette. One day, this time may be remembered in the hallways of urban myths as the genesis of incredible scientific breakthroughs, unconventional leaders and new economic engines were formed.

Despite what experts may tell us, I don’t think the recovery will be V-shaped, W-shaped, L-shaped, or even a slow uptick ✔️.

There is a third dimension (a Z-axis) which tells us about the structure of the economy which will drive a truly re-enlivened, robust and regenerative economic response.

Most of the current conversations, the economic graphs and projected financial plans ignore this third dimensionality of recovery.

Consider also that few industries and societies will be left unchanged. When the iPhone first put the internet in our pockets, perhaps we underestimated the rise of smartphone technology. A decade since that first device came onto the market and now it is an indispensable piece of core personal infrastructure. What impact will COVID have on digital infrastructure, secured supply chains, personal hygiene and how society interacts both now and decades from now?

Remember: we aren’t skipping a beat or two here, we’re changing the whole record.

The recovery, like coronavirus itself, will be another novel challenge.

My view is that we are in a huge long-term experiment right now, toying with new behaviours. We might like what we find, we might return to all our old ways, or we might find that new third dimension.

An unexpected problem must be met with unexpected efforts. The question remains when the ball bounces, how will it bounce?

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