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Finding Your Future In The New Normal

"It is human to yearn back the normal we had before the pandemic. We have been challenged in so many ways: socially, financially,...

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Finding Your Future In The New Normal
The future can happen suddenly or unravel slowly.

“It is human to yearn back the normal we had before the pandemic. We have been challenged in so many ways: socially, financially, logistically, and even mentally,” begins Dr Toseef Din, CEO, MP Shah Hospital, the keynote speaker at The Year Ahead forum of CIO East Africa’s summits in 2021. “All of this has happened rapidly, abruptly and this ride has been very choppy and bumpy.

The world, its mother and her children all agree that 2020 also served to reshape how we interact with technology, especially in healthcare, education and e-commerce. That human behaviour has changed dramatically as have our environments, lives, and livelihood. So, where to go from here? Dr Toseef says “innovation.” She observes a quote by Dr Albert Szent that “innovation is seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” And innovation does not relate entirely to technology as it is often believed.

“At MP Shah, we have not said technology is necessary for innovation. We managed to innovate our own face shields, for example, made pedal sinks for hand sanitisation; make a box that is able to sterilise one the most precious commodities of 2020 – the N95 mask. But yes, we have also made changes using technology.”

We will have to live in the new normal for what is expected to be a long time. Reopening is about trying to find ways to get people back out, not retuning to what once was. We need to be able to weigh risks and benefits as well as how we handle uncertainty. The effect of COVID-19 has been spectacular across the board, to say the least.

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Remote working is no longer a new thing to many as is education thanks to online classes, courses and training.in fact, pre-COVID-19, did organisations really think about business continuity and planning? Now, processes and thinking are changing. Businesses don’t just need to change, but also “change the way they change,” points out Dr Tossef.

To evolve, some things will need to shift such as
– customer engagement with the customer at the core of all your plans from end to end,
– communication,
– adaptability – which she thinks should be everyone’s job description and is more crucial than technical know-how, customer-centric business models and even communication -,
– innovation,
– active use of digital platforms to accelerate the use of tech,
– engaging stakeholders and collaborating with them,
– resilience – whether learnt or a personality trait, as well as creating resilient systems
– forecasting by being proactive instead of reactive.

The role of leadership here shifts into how to navigate into the future not just internally in the business, but externally in the industry. “If there is one thing this pandemic has taught us, it is that leadership matters. And with our fates linked to decidedly uncertain futures, it may even matter more, now.” No one can really predict what the world will be like post-COVID-19. But what is known is that there will be a rise of contactless business. An interesting dynamic that Dr Toseef highlights is “the rollback of digitalisation,” where nations will seek to self-actualise especially with strategic goods. This should be fascinating to watch as innovation continues.

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