Welcome to Creating the Next Normal, your guide to understanding change and influencing uncertainty as the future unfolds, from Faculty of Change.
In this edition…
A spirit of reopening grips society—but so does the spectre of a second wave.
We’re entering a new kind of critical period, where excitement at returning to normal oscillates with an uneasy dread about the road ahead.
As what used to take years to change shifts by the day, the ability to maintain awareness, make strategic decisions and act adaptively is more vital than ever.
Quick hits below, full report in PDF
More themes and signals of change, thought-starting implication questions, plus our best advice on what to do next. All in a handy PDF deck: print it, share it, steal it—use it! Or check out quick-hit versions of some of what’s inside below.
There’s No Place but Home
PROTECTING A PRIVATE REFUGE—AND A PLACE FOR PUBLIC LIFE
From: Home is my special place
To: Home is the only place
The importance of home has never been greater. As we isolate from the dangers of the public, home’s boundaries mark the limits of our control over our environment and safety.
At the same time, the division of spaces within the home has dissolved. Now daycares, boardrooms, concert halls and isolation spaces, our homes have become multiple places, and often public ones—leading to new needs to protect, enhance and remake them.
Expect demand for home improvement and home products and services to increase as people look to improve their home’s new aspects. Activities that used to take place in public will join more traditional in-home offerings, as long as those entering the home can prove they’ll preserve the safety of the space.
Car Culture Rebooted
DRIVING TAKES A U-TURN ON THE ROAD TO OBSOLESCENCE
From: Point A to Point B
Mere months ago we were enamoured by the rise of self-driving cars and the end of gas-powered ones. Ridesharing, inner-city living and the Walk Score put the focus on mobility without the investment. The right to drive as a teenage rite of passage was over.
Now the car, with its promise of individual power, freedom and control, is back. From drive-through testing to contactless delivery, driving has become the best way to safely navigate a threatening world.
As at the dawn of the Interstate, cars act as portable homes outside the home, as vessels of adventure and exploration. With fuel prices lower and air travel uncertain, travel by road becomes its own destination.
Expect those called back to work in an office to find a small slice of safety in avoiding mass transit with their car. Road-tripping, car camping, and exploring your own city will have a renaissance, as will novel in-car and RV products offering convenience, comfort and self-contained travel.
A Missing Ingredient
IMPROVISATION REPLACES SELECTION AS SUPPLY CHAINS TURN TO RAPID FAB
From: Seasonal merchandising
To: Hyper-moment availability
The age of overwhelming choice and seasonal promotion is vanishing. Empty aisles from the pandemic’s early weeks have morphed into subtler deprivation. Displays that once sported impressive piles of goods now look half-empty, while shipping and restocking delays have spread.
As supply chains, struggling to reorient, find key ingredients in short supply, rapid fabrication and repurposing are filling some gaps.
Expect more national governments to clear the way for the Shenzhen model, with fleets of manufacturers rapidly retooling to knock-off whatever’s in demand.
On the consumer side, consistent branding and availability will pivot to the virtues of making do with what’s available, affordable and yet, in a new way, impressive.