Blogger’s Park: 2020 shouldn’t be cancelled

The pandemic has proven that our demands and necessities are not as sacrosanct and indispensable as we imagined

By Sajan Raj Kurup

Many of us wrote ‘Vision 2020’ for brands and companies. However, we hardly imagined that 2020 would be what it turned out to be. The year locked us in and canceled perhaps most of the plans in human history. By far the most Darwinian year of our lives should by no means be canceled. Aside from the collective fear and insecurity we felt, there is a rich repository of business intelligence.

We are a country of 42.5 million SMEs that account for a staggering 95% of all industrial assets. On a very rudimentary level, for most SME entrepreneurs, nine months of this financial year were like nine long rounds in a boxing lane, in which they dueled a fuzzy, unclear opponent. As we would have seen in many popular martial arts films (ironically, most of them Chinese in origin), nothing is more important than going back to basics and using the basics sparingly when defeating an obscure opponent. As of 2020, there are valuable business insights that will dissipate over many years. Here’s something to start with: Today the recovery we saw was a simple rhythmic three-step routine – redefining what matters; re-decide what is required; and redeploy what is needed.

Redefine what matters

After the pandemic, for most of us, the whole world had shrunk to a few square meters of an apartment overnight. It didn’t matter how big our offices were. Redefining the workspace became key to maintaining focus. Many of us would agree that by creating a WFH protocol we realized a lot of things that we were otherwise conditioned to, which didn’t really matter. The desk size we envied didn’t matter. The cubicles and cubicles that we were so possessive of didn’t matter. The business attire we were looking forward to did not matter. What mattered was that we had access to our machines and information. And that our business camaraderie and culture were strong enough to stay coordinated even in the inevitable absence of the other.

Think about what is required

The pandemic has proven that our demands and necessities are not as sacrosanct and indispensable as we imagined. The perks that always looked so sought after were suddenly no longer so important. The face-to-face meetings for which we often flew miles were not necessary. We could be anywhere at the push of a button, including everyone who is actually needed for the meeting – not just those we could afford to fly. Even intercity trips, which so often cost valuable hours in traffic, we found that this wasn’t necessary. The list goes on. The travel desk requirements have been replaced with wireless routers.

Redeploy what is needed

Adaptation and dedication were the most important things we learned throughout 2020. Adaptation meant redeploying our skills, our people and our resources. If I look at my own marketing communications and content industry, main studios have been trained into digital studios. Art directors were just as great at designing digital creatives. Account management was also adept at providing social content buckets. Training, collaboration and retraining were key. We learned to make films with only 10% viewers on set. and have learned to build strong relationships on our virtual office platform.

Above all, 2020 was a clear call to stay centered, stay agile and stay anchored in the fundamentals of business wisdom. In all of this, the most striking thing is the need to be there for each other through thick and thin. To save jobs, to educate yourself and to be empathetic.

The author is the founder and chairman of Creativeland Asia

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