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Beyond COVID-19

Three steps to emerge stronger

In March 2020, amid the COVID-19 outbreak, we identified 3 stages countries have been moving through: Explosive, Managing, and Controlled. 

Over a dozen countries have since moved along the path to resolution and are attempting to get back to business as usual with education and workplaces restarting. Many more large economies may have a handle on the initial crisis response and infection rates over the coming weeks.

For leaders across organisations and governments, it is important to delegate crisis management and business continuity to the crisis response teams as the senior leadership invests more time in preparing for the New Normal.

In this publication, we present three steps to designing a plan to emerge stronger:

  1. Identify the permanent shifts impacting your field
  2. Imagine your geographies in "Controlled" state
  3. Initiate: Fit for Growth in the New Normal
What this means for Singapore

Given Singapore’s role as a financial center and high dependency on global trade, thinking about the New Normal is key for local businesses - as well as foreign businesses headquartered in the Island State.

How and when other economies come back online and start trading again is a key factor in the national response. For a country so deeply connected with the world economy, envisioning the permanent shifts in future business models and the impact on trade partners and allies, is crucial.

Singapore’s dependence on the global systems may be offset by its high degree of digitisation, quality education system, and prior investments in innovation and knowledge – all likely to be cornerstones of the new normal.

The path to resolution: Recap

In March we analysed how countries follow a somewhat predictable trajectory towards resolving Covid-19. They moved from “Explosive” to "Managing" and then to "Controlled", albeit with some back and forth.

Only China had controlled the outbreak then. Six countries were in the "Managing" stage. Around 75% of the world's population lived in countries in the "Explosive" phase of the pandemic.

Each country follows a somewhat predictable path towards resolving the spread of the virus.

Covid-19 Maturity Analysis Concept

COVID-19 Maturity Analysis concept

New infection rate: New cases as a % of total cases; indicates how fast the disease is spreading. As the disease spreads we expect the growth rate to start high and decline over time.

Stage of development: Ratio of resolved (recovered or deceased) cases over total cases. Countries, at some point, converge towards 100% on this metric. “Stage of development” metric is an important number as the disease takes several days to develop, several more to diagnose, and weeks to recover.

What happened since then?

As we track the developments of the past few weeks and overlay the number of infections, we see how each country evolves through the stages of development.

The jury is still out in some countries on the "Explosive" stage. 

However, the situation is now stable for more than a dozen countries both in developed and emerging markets.

Where are we today?

Singapore has been pivoting in and out of the ‘Managing’ phase but with overall low fatality numbers. 

Many countries are getting back to business as usual with schools and workplaces resuming. But, they are doing it carefully, with precautions and ready to dial things back if necessary

For those of us still stuck at home, it may feel endless but the world is moving through this crisis at speed.

Covid-19 Maturity Analysis

Pivot to the new normal

Over the coming weeks, many more economies should have progressed further towards a "Controlled" state.

Now, we know more about the virus. Crisis response teams are in place in most large organisations. Treatments, vaccines, rapid test kits are expected to be available at some point.

Business and government leaders need to keep their eye on the crisis response - empowering their teams, learning lessons from others, applying best practices.  However, they should now invest much of their time and energy thinking about the post-crisis world.

Business and government leaders must now invest their time designing for the new normal and delegate crisis management to their teams.

Three steps to designing your new normal

Each country, business, and institution that emerges from this crisis will face a different kind of re-emergence. There is a lot of ambiguity over how economies will restart, but that must not deter you from designing your plans today.

The key question is: when the time comes to rebuild our worlds, what bold, wise, creative decisions will you have made for yourself and your organisation?

Identify Ideate Initiate

Take a position on the most profound structural shifts in your geographies and sectors, and their impact on your organisation and ambitions.

Potential permanent dislocations to consider include how the mass adoption of virtual work arrangement will transform commercial real estate and mass transportation. 

It will also cause demand for digital infrastructure, capacity and cybersecurity to spike, generating profound sources of new data and analysis across sectors. 

Subsequently, countries will have to rethink their approach to data protection, taxation, and even constitutional issues.

Imagine: what bold, wise decisions would you want to have taken in anticipation of the new normal?

Would you have considered any of these:

  • Restructure your portfolio of initiatives, projects, and investments
  • Consider partnerships and inorganic (eg. M&A) growth options
  • Invest in digital capabilities 
  • Reorganise your leadership team and hire key talent
  • Train and upskill your workforce
  • Take the long view with your employees, customers and stakeholders
  • Anticipate the shift to data

Establish a "Fit for Growth in the New Normal" programme to deliver on those decisions. Radically reassess your priorities, organisation, assets, projects, policies, cost base, projections, policies, culture. In the full publication, we share how you can use our strategic framework deployed for a time of economic uncertainty to navigate this stage and emerge stronger.

  • Shift to an Agile strategy
  • Double down on differentiating post-crisis capabilities
  • Sustain without sacrificing the recovery
  • Pivot to the new normal
  • Accelerate cultural revolution

We don't have to be exhaustive or accurate about these permanent shifts in order to design a plan. The changes are so profound that we only need to be directionally right in order to start planning today.

Considerations for your business

Government Financial Institutions Corporates
Crisis response & management
  • Intervention design
  • Contact tracing, encryption & privacy
  • Healthcare infrastructure
  • Program management
  • Policy & aid transmission
  • Restructuring
  • M&A
  • NPL and Collections
  • Talent & organisation
  • Risk modelling
  • Strategy
  • Route to market optimisation
  • Supply chain stabilisation
  • Capital & financial structuring

Contact us

Michael McGauran

Michael McGauran

Partner, Strategy&, PwC Singapore

Tel: +65 9838 9432

Winston Nesfield

Winston Nesfield

Strategy Consulting Leader, South East Asia Consulting, PwC Singapore

Tel: +65 9159 1425

Edward Clayton

Edward Clayton

Deals Partner, Capital Projects & Infrastructure, PwC Malaysia

Tel: +60 (3) 2173 1866

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