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Reinvention key to staying afloat past pandemic era

By Jotham Gichuhi | May 26th 2020

Former US President Barack Obama in 2014 counselled the world on the need to shelve narrow-minded differences to prepare for possible global pandemics.

From the look of things, many countries and entrepreneurs took this as a political statement, possibly to gain political mileage.

Government organs, corporates, and individuals may not have fully figured out how well they would survive in the event of a total lockdown, especially in the developing economies such as Kenya.

Governments, for example, have not by way of research profiled the basic needs that ordinary citizens expect subsidies on in the event of a pandemic.

Modern risk management and disaster preparedness is not a one-person show; it requires a rigorous approach to determine, profile, and enter into multi-sectoral partnerships.

In the current scenario, the government may consider providing an infrastructure for the hospitals to corroborate patients’ travel history as a way of cushioning medics from asymptomatic patients.

My argument hinges on the fact that the government has the muscle to deploy a platform that interrogates the citizens’ “big data” while taking into account the need for privacy.

The infrastructure used for tracking criminals augmented with data collected from the Huduma Namba exercise and from telcos could also come in handy.

State entities, corporates, and individuals may need to reassess their networks as a way of developing a seamless approach to disaster management.

Human resource practitioners should map key employee needs to valuable-seamless partnerships to support the human capital in the event of a disruption.

Future disruptions may not be in the form of biological warfare; they may come in the form of total global telco-connectivities downtime.

Telco interconnectivity has become a driver for globalisation, but a silent risk that can hold the world to ransom.

What would be a company’s recourse should international trade through internet-driven supply-chain infrastructures experience an extended period of interruption?

My point is, don’t just learn from Covid-19 and stop there; ensure that you think of the unthinkable as a way of broadening your risk horizon.

The boards and CEOs should task all business units to present innovative turnaround solutions and map them to their performance score-cards; otherwise, prepare for the worst.

We have learned from the current situation that as people become more hygiene-aware, even hospitals have to rethink their product mix.

For the last two months, the medical bills in many homes have reduced as a result of sanitisation and proper hand-washing practices.

While this position is a reprieve to parents and caregivers, I don’t know what it means to hospitals when their clientele reduces their hospital visits!

As such, I recommend that corporate boardrooms embark on discussions on possible shelf-life of their product portfolio, mapping them to possible future adverse eventualities.

The Covid-19 season has made the need for turnaround innovation a reality, calling all and sundry to stop viewing their current stream of income as “unstoppable.”

The easiest way to explain the above is by looking at my upcountry home. I invite individuals and corporates to consider reorganising their workflows and budgets to get rid of non-core activities.

Why retain a huge office rental space when Covid has demonstrated that a big chunk of your workforce could be more productive at home?  

The writer is a business turnaround strategies expert   

Covid 19 Time Series


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