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CAPA Live Jan-2021 - "Irreversible" changes in a COVID-19 world

Analysis

The global COVID-19 pandemic has irreversibly changed the world in more ways than anyone could have imagined. The way we communicate, the way we travel and even the way we do business, will forever be altered - at least in some ways.

Previewing CAPA Live Jan-2021 and the ‘Mega-Trends’ that will shape the post-COVID world, we asked Informa CEO, Stephen Carter, to share some of his insights into what could be the ‘Irreversibles for Business’ - the things could change irreversibly for business and industry as a result of this challenging year of COVID-19.

These were some of his thoughts, having led the company through the gruelling months of COVID-19.

Informa CEO Stephen Carter on the "Irreversibles" from 2020

1. Shortening the chain of command

"What have been my learnings? From an operational perspective, the shortening of the chain of command has a real long-term implication for the way businesses operate. Some of that is the ‘crisis effect’ - that when you're in a crisis, you can't work up and down through layers. There isn’t the time.

"You don't ask somebody to ask somebody to do a piece of work, to review it, to then bring it up to you, to then reflect on a decision. You go directly to the person who's got the knowledge. The shortening of the chain of command - the speed of response - that's a permanent change."

2. Data capture and how it adds value to customers

"The importance of data is a permanent change. Not just data capture and the accuracy of that data capture, but then what you do with that data, to provide value to the customers that you're serving."

3. Physical vs virtual working

"The mix of physical and virtual working will change. At Informa, we've had 11,000 colleagues working virtually and working well for nearly nine months. That is definitely a permanent change. I don't think there will be no commercial real estate, but we’re one of many businesses that will be reducing our commercial real estate.

"I think you then have to get into classification of work activities, because whilst virtual working is pretty good, the technology is pretty good, I'd still rather be in Sydney seeing you face-to-face and spending time with the team, particularly when you're doing creative work, development work, meeting new customers, collaborative work. I'm not sure virtual is as good for that, but for transactional activity, for checking activity, it is pretty good. So I think that work methodology and work classification is never going to go back to where it was."

4. Work life balance

"From a human level, I hope there will be helpful changes.

"Technology allows you not to sacrifice your life in order to prosecute your professional passion. You can make it work slightly more in tandem. And that might be about practicalities like taking children to school, or it might be about spending time with an aging relative, or it might be more generally the sense that “it's just more practically useful for me to be able to work this way for this period."

"It might change commuter patterns, and change that slightly industrial view of everyone getting up at 5:00 AM and commuting at the same time and creating the same rush and the same crowd. I think maybe this new environment will allow more humanity into the workplace in a more individualistic way.

"And that's got to be good!"

What to look out for in January at CAPA Live

The global COVID-19 pandemic has irreversibly changed the world in more ways than anyone could have imagined. The way we communicate, the way we travel and even the way we do business, will forever be altered - at least in some ways.

In 2020, the world was forced to lock down and isolate as the virus took hold. Practices like ‘work from home’ were introduced on a wide scale and in a large majority, proven to be successful. Virtual communication took hold and was embraced by a world desperately seeking to stay connected.

Events and summits are being beamed into millions of homes and offices around the world, allowing for continued knowledge sharing, training and networking, overcoming restrictions on physical gatherings and border closures.

Even things like the structure of communities is significantly different to a pre-COVID-19 world. People are leaving big cities for regional areas as work requirements are no longer tightly tied to large populated centres. Social distancing practices have impacted travel processes. Technology has also led to improved communication practises.

These global trends are having a dramatic impact on travel and aviation.

This is a theme which will be explored at length during CAPA Live, January 2021. As we look ahead to a year where the world is still grappling with a global pandemic, we must understand the changing consumer psychology and its impact on aviation.

CAPA Live, January 2021