Cooperation and collaboration to prevent risks

Marco Venturelli8 September 2023
Cooperation and collaboration to prevent risks

As we say Covid pandemic may be the watershed between an old way of running business and a new one: sharing information, collaboration, co-operation became words more frequently used in the AC world.

Sharing information rapidly and quickly among countries, institutions, citizen was vital during the AC times: as nicely summarized by Yuval Harari in an article written in 2020: “First and foremost, in order to defeat the virus we need to share information globally. That’s the big advantage of humans over viruses. A coronavirus in China and a coronavirus in the US cannot swap tips about how to infect humans. But China can teach the US many valuable lessons about coronavirus and how to deal with it. What an Italian doctor discovers in Milan in the early morning might well save lives in Tehran by evening. (…) Countries should be willing to share information openly and humbly seek advice, and should be able to trust the data and the insights they receive.

In terms of collaboration, he wrote: “We also need a global effort to produce and distribute medical equipment, most notably testing kits and respiratory machines. Instead of every country trying to do it locally and hoarding whatever equipment it can get, a co-ordinated global effort could greatly accelerate production and make sure life-saving equipment is distributed more fairly. Just as countries nationalise key industries during a war, the human war against coronavirus may require us to “humanise” the crucial production lines. A rich country with few coronavirus cases should be willing to send precious equipment to a poorer country with many cases, trusting that if and when it subsequently needs help, other countries will come to its assistance.  We might consider a similar global effort to pool medical personnel.

Harari continued: “Global co-operation is vitally needed on the economic front too. Given the global nature of the economy and of supply chains, if each government does its own thing in complete disregard of the others, the result will be chaos and a deepening crisis. We need a global plan of action, and we need it fast.  Another requirement is reaching a global agreement on travel. Suspending all international travel for months will cause tremendous hardships, and hamper the war against coronavirus. Countries need to co-operate in order to allow at least a trickle of essential travellers to continue crossing borders: scientists, doctors, journalists, politicians, businesspeople”.

The approach that allowed to face a huge humanity problem was very different from the approach normally taken in business where intellectual property prevent full information sharing, share-holders interest limit collaboration and anti trust laws prevent cooperation. However the experience made during COIVD has influenced

The COVID-19 pandemic has indeed forced businesses to adapt and change their approaches in order to survive and thrive in unprecedented circumstances. While there is often a tension between sharing information, collaboration, and cooperation, and protecting shareholders’ interests, the pandemic has shown that there are situations where these approaches can align and even benefit shareholder interests in the long run. Here are some potential lasting impacts of this experience on the business world:

  1. Remote Work and Flexibility: The pandemic highlighted the feasibility of remote work and flexible work arrangements. Many businesses were forced to quickly adopt remote work practices, and this experience has shown that employees can be productive while working remotely. This could lead to more flexible work arrangements in the future, which can enhance employee satisfaction and reduce operational costs for businesses.
  2. Digital Transformation: The pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital technologies across various industries. Businesses had to quickly pivot to online platforms for sales, communication, and collaboration. The investments made in digital transformation are likely to continue, improving operational efficiency and customer engagement.
  3. Supply Chain Resilience: The disruption in global supply chains during the pandemic exposed vulnerabilities in many companies’ supply chain strategies. Businesses are now more likely to diversify suppliers, adopt “just-in-case” inventory strategies, and invest in technologies that provide better visibility and control over their supply chains.
  4. Health and Safety Focus: Companies have become more attuned to employee health and safety. Enhanced health and safety measures are likely to remain in place to ensure business continuity and protect the workforce.
  5. Collaborative Partnerships: The pandemic led to instances of collaboration between companies that might have been competitors before. For instance, some pharmaceutical companies collaborated to develop vaccines. This experience could encourage more cross-industry collaborations and partnerships in the future.
  6. Agility and Adaptability: Businesses have learned the importance of agility and adaptability in the face of rapid changes. The ability to pivot quickly to new business models, markets, or products can become a competitive advantage.
  7. Hybrid Business Models: Some businesses found success in offering both physical and digital services. This hybrid approach could become a long-term strategy to reach a wider customer base and provide more convenient options.
  8. Virtual Events and Networking: The pandemic led to a surge in virtual events, webinars, and online networking. Even as in-person events return, virtual components may remain to extend reach and reduce costs.
  9. Emphasis on Employee Well-Being: The pandemic highlighted the need for supporting employee well-being, not just for productivity but also for overall company resilience. Businesses may continue to invest in employee wellness programs and mental health support.
  10. Risk Management and Contingency Planning: The experience of the pandemic underscored the importance of robust risk management and contingency planning. Businesses are likely to incorporate these practices into their long-term strategies to mitigate future uncertainties.

It’s important to note that the lasting impact of these changes will vary depending on the industry, company size, and other factors. While the pandemic brought about many challenges, it also accelerated certain positive shifts in the business world that are likely to leave a lasting imprint on how companies operate in the future.