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The empowered consumer is a trend that has been changing the marketplace for years. As consumers have a louder voice, more access to information and a larger array of options than ever before, the relationship between businesses and customers is changing and the balance of power tipping in favour of the customer. COVID accelerated this to a new level altogether.

Among the most significant and lasting changes created by COVID last year was the sudden shift to remote work. Return to offices this year have been varied, and where we will collectively end up in our work life in years to come is proving difficult to predict.

The classrooms of history have been deep in a process of change for decades, but this year has accelerated that transformation more than ever. With the classrooms of the future rapidly becoming those of today, the old idiom has again been proved true: necessity really is the mother of invention.

Whatever the circumstance, one thing we can be sure of is that the future is coming. No matter the success of the standards and systems of the past, disruption is inevitable. Incidentally, it is in crises that the future often arrives. Think back to some of the biggest technological innovations of the past and you will find yourself in the greatest wars and struggles of history.

COVID is no different. The past few months have seen the future that we knew was awaiting us arrive far ahead of schedule bringing with it the innovations and solutions that we were promised in a decade.

A number of years ago, a team of researchers conducted a fascinating and somewhat callous experiment in an effort to understand the process of conditioned behaviour.

As part of the experiment, scientists placed five monkeys in a room with a staircase in the centre and a bunch of bananas hanging at the top of the staircase. Whenever one of the monkeys would try to climb the steps to reach a banana, the scientists would use a hose to spray the other four monkeys with ice-cold water — much to their irritation.