Pandemic redraws the map

Economic growth

SHARE THIS STORY

 

Companies have entered a new landscape where the coronavirus has accelerated major paradigm shifts, as I discuss in my latest analysis for ICIS Chemical Business.

2020 is proving to be one of those years when time seems to speed up. The pandemic has been the catalyst for a range of paradigm shifts, which are accelerating the world’s move into the New Normal. As I noted here in June (ICB 28 June), “companies only have two choices – they can either cross their fingers and hope, or they can start thinking ‘out of the box’ about how they will compete in today’s New Normal”.

Of course, all change is uncomfortable. But in reality, these are exciting times. CEOs have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to back their judgement and create the basis for major revenue and profit growth over the next decades.

The move into New Normal is not about gaining an extra few points of market share via the introduction of a clever new product or application. It instead creates the opportunity to completely change the basis of competition.  Simply summarising the key paradigm changes  highlights the nature of the opportunity:

■ Energy abundance means that ‘cost-advantaged feedstock’ is no longer critical for success, freeing companies to focus on the opportunities created by changing demand patterns
■ The key opportunity is to gain first-mover advantage by evolving from yesterday’s product focus to tomorrow’s solution orientation, based on deep techno-commercial capability
■ Reshoring is already offering the perfect opportunity to pilot the new skills that will be essential for success, given the fragility of existing supply changes during the pandemic
■ Advanced manufacturing will be key to future success, as digital, continuous and biotech-enabled technology will create a safer, greener, cheaper and more flexible footprint
■ And these paradigm shifts will also enable rapid moves towards a more circular economy, based on new business models that prioritise local rather than global operations

Of course, we all know that dangers lurk all around us for the unwary. The paradigm shifts mean that we are transitioning between the legacy of the past and the opportunities of the future. We therefore cannot ignore the risks created by continuing oil price volatility, geopolitics or even domestic politics such as
Brexit.

But as well as looking over our shoulder, we have to look forward and start to understand the nature of the transformation now underway. Unless, of course, we want to risk being caught in the middle.

All change is uncomfortable, but we also all know it is inevitable. Instead of looking backwards, we now need to develop the leadership skills that will enable us to develop and implement the new business models that will drive our future success.

Please click here to read the full article (no registration necessary)

PREVIOUS POST

What will happen if President Trump loses the election?

04/10/2020

I spent from September 2015 onwards, during the last US Presidential election, t...

Learn more
NEXT POST

Chemicals in the eye of the storm as UK heads for a WTO Brexit on 1 January

18/10/2020

On Friday, the UK premier confirmed what many of us have expected for a long tim...

Learn more
More posts
Smallpox was the first vaccination to change the world – now we have a new opportunity to improve our lives
03/04/2021

Chart 1: Increased life expectancy led to a dramatic increase in GDP/capita The pandemic has reminde...

Read
COP 26 set to accelerate development of the 15-minute city
28/03/2021

One of the good things to happen in the pandemic over the past year is that ‘cooking has becom...

Read
China’s dual circulation policy aims to reduce debt reliance
14/03/2021

Every now and then, people wake up to the fact that debt is only good news when it adds to growth. O...

Read
UK set to take hard line on EU trade under David Frost
21/02/2021

The Brexit debate has always been about politics, not economics.  So it was no surprise that Decemb...

Read
EU focuses on a sustainable and circular plastics system
31/01/2021

“The challenges posed by plastics are to a large extent due to the fact that our production and co...

Read
Businesses face “biggest imposition of red tape in 50 years” as Brexit begins
03/01/2021

Most companies had closed when the new EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) was finally annou...

Read
Your A to Z Guide to the reality of Brexit after 31 December
29/11/2020

(Picture credit Shutterstock) A.  Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty set out the rules for leaving ...

Read
Chemistry & the Economy webinar on Thursday
10/11/2020

Please join me for the next ACS Chemicals & Economy webinar on Thursday, at 2pm Eastern Standard...

Read

Market Intelligence

ICIS provides market intelligence that help businesses in the energy, petrochemical and fertilizer industries.

Learn more

Analytics

Across the globe, ICIS consultants provide detailed analysis and forecasting for the petrochemical, energy and fertilizer markets.

Learn more

Specialist Services

Find out more about how our specialist consulting services, events, conferences and training courses can help your teams.

Learn more

ICIS Insight

From our news service to our thought-leadership content, ICIS experts bring you the latest news and insight, when you need it.

Learn more