July  2020     Edition 151
Plato, Darwin and Covid 19

Necessity is the driving force and adaptation is the strategy.

Over the last few months

, we’ve been inundated with expressions like “The New Normal”, “Back to Normal” and comparisons the 1918 H1N1 pandemic, or the Great Depression or the Great Recession, or the hardships of WWII, or even the bubonic plague of 1346.   One can make a good case that there is no “normal”, but just a particular state at a particular time.   Things have changed, they have changed before, and they will continue to change.

Two quotes come to mind that I think are very relevant to the Covid 19 crises that the entire world is facing.


, was Greek philosopher who lived about 2,300 years ago, a student of Socrates and teacher of Aristotle (don’t you remember this from high school?).  Anyway, the translation and interpretation of a piece he wrote produced the quote, “Necessity is the mother of invention”.    Expanding on that, there is no greater necessity than survival.  Over and over again, when humankind, or a country, or a business or an individual’s survival is at stake, massive innovation occurs.  Not always successful, but huge advances are often made.  

Today, with the Covid 19 pandemic, business are re-inventing themselves

, vaccine and therapeutic treatments are being created at unheard of speeds, employers and employees are using remote tele-working strategies that months ago were feared or certainly suspect, tele-health went from a fledging alternative to an exploding business.   On-line purchasing was already a rocket and became nuclear powered overnight.   Zoom zoomed.  

Headscratchers’ necessity

resulted in converting our in-person workshops to Virtual Instructor-Led workshops. It was on our to-do list for over seven years, but it took Necessity to make it happen.

Overtime, Covid 19 will be beat

, we won’t have to be apart, and much of life will return to the way it was, but not all of it.  Consequences of the Covid 19 social distancing, economic hardships, and hygiene will remain. 

If you’re a business and now realize that half of your employees can work remotely, are you going to renew that lease on that business office space that you really don’t need?   Are you going to have to lose a good employee just because they move across the country or the world?   Are businesses going to all go back spending thousands of dollars on travel for remote meetings when many of them can be conducted online at a fraction of the cost?  As an individual, are you going to continue to pay that enormous rent to live near your employer when you don’t have to go into the office? Are you going to reduce buying items online and go back to driving to the stores?  Are out of state college students all going to live on campus again?  Are you ever going to not have hand sanitizer or extra toilet paper?

We are headed to a new era,

not fully defined or understood yet. 

Which brings us to another quote, from Charles Darwin

during the mid 1800’s.  Darwin was a naturalist biologist.  His still famous, Origin of the Species outlined the theory of evolution, with subsequent interpretations of “survival of the fittest”, and “adapt or perish”.   Humans have sociologically matured to the point that we often help those less fit, although we have a long way to go with this.  Nevertheless, with Covid 19, the world is evolving into a new era.   We must adapt, change our ways, change our views, change our strategy.  Not all will be successful.   Perhaps Covid 19 is a wake up call on how we must be vigilant and prepared to adapt quickly, not only for the next pandemic, or for the apparent inevitable crises such as global warming, a comet strike, never ending geo-economic-political issues, but for smaller changes such as those related to our customers, our employees, our competition, our technology. 

The Takeaway
Throughout history, while there are lots of bumps, missteps, and setbacks, humans have adapted, and these survival events have generally resulting in a more favorable landscape … but we must work for it as adaptation isn’t easy.  

Necessity is the driving force and adaptation is the strategy

.   This isn’t a “new normal” and not a gradual change but a step to a different “normal”, until the next event causes another change to another “normal”.   

When you have a moment, critically think about some of the changes that have occurred and will remain once Covid-19 is beat.  What is your business and personal strategy to adapt to these changes?

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