The shock is over. The damage is real. Now, a critical new phase begins.
Business leaders around the world, having taken stock of today’s COVID-19 reality, are starting the process of rebuilding their companies, and their industries, even as the threat of the virus continues. They are clear-eyed, determined, and even a little bit optimistic. Yet like everyone else, they’re deeply concerned about what the future holds. Even when the pandemic recedes, it will have changed their industries significantly.
For almost 25 years, we at Fast Company have been dedicated to sharing stories of how creative-minded leaders have innovated their way through crises big and small—how, despite great obstacles, forward-thinking individuals and teams have not just survived, but thrived. The economic repercussions of this global pandemic are without precedent. But we are confident that learning from others’ experiences, even the failures, represents the best way forward. In fact, it may be the only way.
In a new, ongoing series called The Shape of Tomorrow, we present dispatches from the front lines of business—sharing the first-person perspectives of CEOs, designers, engineers, marketers, and others who are, as we write this, redefining what healthcare, travel, retail, advertising, architecture, hiring, and more will look like in the months, years, and even decades to come.
In many ways, the new normal will be better than what came before. Healthcare, so long tied to a doctor’s physical location, is finally moving online in ways that should have happened years ago. The restaurant industry, though devastated by social distancing measures, is united in finding new ways to reach customers. Travel leaders are moving quickly to appeal to people closer to home and make trust and safety synonymous with their brands.
All we’ve asked these insiders for is their honesty—about the challenges they’re facing, the fears that keep them up at night, and the successes they’ve experienced along the way. We hope that these conversations help you navigate the new terrain. They are certainly guiding us.
More from Fast Company’s Shape of Tomorrow series: