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What We're Following Today March 31, 2020

Being Nimble In Emergencies

The Coronavirus like so many other emergencies and crises will create new opportunities for growth and learning for humans around the globe. We are all itching to get back to life as we remember it, but this period of self distancing has the opportunity to provide us all with great growth.

Humans are biological organisms, and we are always at risk for “death”. Coronavirus won’t be the last time we run up against a virus, bacteria or other agent that wants to read havoc with us. But it is the first instance of a major pandemic happening in a 7 billion person + earth that allows for fairly fluid travel in and out of countries. What will happen when the next one hits?

Well, this crisis will help to inform that answer. It’s an awful way to learn, but times like these are largely black swans and catch us unprepared even when we have “plans” for what to do when a pandemic hits. No matter how well you “plan” for something like this, you are not likely to control something of this scale efficiently, but in the future we will likely be able to deal with this type of situation “better.” Today I wanted to share some of the things that we can take from this experience, even in its early days, that can help us see ways that we as humans adapt and mobilize in order to serve our fellow man or allow for some sort of business contingency while disruption is all around.

New London Homeless Hospitality Center Helping Convert Empty Nursing Center Into Makeshift Area for Isolation

My uncle shared this story in New London about the city working with the community to create a temporary place where people who may be infected to self isolate. That is generally meant for people who would not have another option to self isolate (i.e., those who are homeless, or don’t have a place to isolate in solitude). They found a facility that was up for sale and took out a temporary lease where the Homeless Center was able to help organize how to get the facility up and running and staffed to help those in the community who need it.

But let’s ask a couple of questions, how do we allow local municipalities and community groups to “act” quickly like this? What qualities in a local government allow for people to think of a new idea and turn that idea around quickly? How can we leverage those who work so closely in disadvantaged communities to staff and run these effectively in times of crisis? What buildings should we identify in a community as a potential emergency resource for things like makeshift hospitals and what is the minimum amount of care we need to provide to make sure that making them active in an emergency is possible at a moment’s notice. How do we help people like the owner of this building to reward them for putting people ahead of profit? Celebrate those that step up “in any way”.

The Javits center in New York City is also taking initiative to restructure in a way to create some new space where healthcare can be provided if the need arises. Is it perfect? No, but its creative and a great way to use a space that would otherwise be vacant while in shut down mode. PLUS, working in the events business as we do, we know the skills that those who come in and set up these convention facilities have to quickly get large spaces with complex requirements up and running. My wife’s event, the National Hardware Show is over 600,000 square feet and is set up in about a week and torn down in 3 days or so - think about that, 2500 booths set up with their electric, internet, and more in such quick fashion - creative use of spaces the community can set up quickly as needed.

Technological Speed of Change for Digital Human Interaction

We have all seen the rapid increase of adoption of digital meeting tools or communication methods. In my grandmother’s dementia facility, they have created a new program to set up 15 minute increments to visit patients inside their facility via FaceTime and a roaming iPad. Heather McGowan writes about this technological speed of advancement that is coming based on our community needs in a self isolation world.

Platforms like Zoom, FaceTime, etc. have all become common terms in today’s homes. The way we learn will change as more tools become standard in tomorrow’s classrooms. There are many examples she describes in her article below.

Small Businesses - 9 Ways Some Are Adapting

The US Chamber talks through 9 mini-case studies where businesses are adapting in order to meet a different business environment head on. Clever restaurant one I saw was an ad agency that created a small site where people could buy gift certificates to be used in the future in order to help keep some of these businesses afloat while their business might be shuddered. There’s a consulting company that is revamping its offering to focus on virtual team building exercises. Other good examples are present in this post from nearly 2 weeks ago. I am sure there are countless other good ideas that businesses are out there doing (including adapting services to be relevant to a new economy).

SOME Companies Changing Their Manufacturing To Support Healthcare Workers


Under Armour





United Technologies


And countless others are stepping in to manufacture needed items like ventilators, masks, sanitizers, and other supplies. All you have to do is look in the news and you'll see so many businesses adjusting their manufacturing in order to meet changing demands and at the same time you will also see good hearted people volunteering and organizing to bond together to fight the outbreak together.

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