In our “Fast Track Innovation: 1-3 Year Perspective on the New Reality” Master Class, Kes Sampanthar and Ali Geramian share trends that have defined 2020 and how innovators should respond. 

During the call, the pair explore:  

  • Major shifts in consumer behavior, 
  • Business themes that will shape the next one to three years of work,  
  • What trends are likely to last and what pre-pandemic behaviors are likely to return. 

Kes Sampanthar and Ali Geramian are Managing Directors at KPMG LLP. Three themes discussed in the call follow. Watch the full video above for more. 

Digital First, Digital Now 

With many companies switching over to remote work, digital transformation has been accelerated. Sampanthar said, “Two years worth of digital transformation has occurred in the last 12 months.

In fact, Sampanthar said that organizations are shifting their operating model and focusing on providing their employees with new virtual capabilities. “We see this critical technology infrastructure that’s going to be required, and the right tech stack has to be in place to make it all work, including the cloud,” he said. 

Outside of empowering work from home, Sampanthar noted companies that open digital-first experiences to customers have gained market share. As an example, he pointed to the growth of Shopify, a Canadian business focused on ecommerce. 

New Reality Workforce 

“Companies [have to]…configure new workforce models with the right combination of physical spaces, technology, and [flexibility],” Sampanthar said. After lockdown, he predicted that more employees will expect to be able to live and work from anywhere. Companies that provide those opportunities will be able to appeal more to prospective talent.

However, physical interactions, he said, will continue to have value. Companies must also devise plans, Sampanthar said to get their businesses up and running after lockdown ends. That includes balancing the needs of frontline workers and “knowledge workers” who can be remote. 

Remapping Supply Chains 

At the start of the pandemic, consumers noticed shocks to the supply chain in the form of shortages at the grocery store. While toilet paper and hand sanitizer have come back in stock, Geramian said that companies will have to adapt their supply chains to account for economic shifts and consumers relocating to new areas.  

“Our belief is that the businesses are going to have to create more agile and resilient models to flex…as we navigate potential mismatches between supply and demand through this COVID wave, and the various COVID waves that we’re seeing play out,” Geramian said. “We also believe the crisis is going to bring back a focus for boosting…local manufacturing for critical industries.”

To highlight the importance of supply chain, Geramian pointed to the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine. With Pfizer’s vaccine requiring temperatures well below zero, supply chains need to change to provide the right conditions for distributing the vaccine.