This Easter break, for the first time ever, I spent two weeks of vacation at home. Not something I would ever have planned, tending to always want to visit different places and experience new things, but this year was we traded Sri Lanka for a stay-cation and it was a revelation. Staying at home was surprisingly enjoyable, involving a series of ordinary tasks that punctuated the day; like Thoreau’s retreat to Walden, there were lessons in self-reliance and simplicity. There is an excellent article in The Conversation, on “What Walden can tell us about social distancing”, well worth reading.

We discovered, ‘the newness that was in every stale thing, when we looked at is as children’. Like the memorable white-washing the fence scene from the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, I found that once one child had a paintbrush in hand, the others wanted one, and so we all painted. As Mark Twain said, “work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.”

Now that I return to work, I find I am both glad and grateful that I have work to return to and hopefully we can make it feel like play.

Having also had time to absorb and assimilate information from multiple sources on the upshot of the crisis, I have arrived at two conclusions: everything is going digital and going green.

That is what we are placing our bets on.

Whether it is the IMF or the European Union, the rhetoric is that stimulus funding will have a green flavour to it. In an insightful piece, run by Time, “5 Lessons From Coronavirus That Will Help Us Tackle Climate Change”, Christina Figueres points out that we have learned transferable lessons; that global challenges know no borders, they require systemic changes to address them, there have been strong displays of solidarity and altruism and responses are best based on science.

Notwithstanding the displays of altruism, the US-China Covid spat is not to be discounted, given the historical pattern that depression leads to protectionism. The seeds for this were there even before the crisis.

The crash-course in digital has revealed its benefits and will accelerate our appetite to embrace the benefits of remote monitoring and pretty much remote everything. Global manufacturing supply chains will look to become more resilient and decentralised. Consumer goods production companies are doing well, Big Tech will do well and water will continue to be necessary, to sustain economic activity and general well-being. It is hyper-local and the underlying macro drivers remain unchanged. Overall, we will embrace new technology and innovation at a faster rate, in some cases to save money and in others to help safeguard public health and sustain industrial activity.

One of the areas where BlueTech is innovating is that we are leaning into virtual events and on-line roundtables. At BlueTech Forum: Connect, June 4th, we will hear from panels of technology leaders and water thought leader Seth Siegel who will share insights from his book “Troubled Water” on what is wrong with the water we drink, and what we can do about it.

They say that people are like tea-bags; “you don’t know how strong they are until you put them into hot water.” I am looking forward to seeing what we can brew up in the months ahead.

Author: Paul O’Callaghan, CEO, BlueTech Research

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