• CEOforesight

Business strategy and corona

External analysis can be the difference between the life and death of the business.

So, what can we learn from the past about the potential impact of Corona at the present time? There were three influenza pandemics in the 20th century: 1918, 1957 and 1969. All 3 were characterised by the extremely rapid spread of the virus. In the UK, the 1918 pandemic was characterised by 3 waves which each lasted around 10-15 weeks. In contrast the 1957 pandemic had a single 15-week wave. The 1968-69 influenza pandemic also manifested itself in a different way, with a small first wave in March 1969 with a much bigger wave hitting in the subsequent mid-winter.

Unsurprisingly death rates also varied considerably. It’s thought the 1918 pandemic caused 201,000, 1957 18,000 and 1969 46,000 excess deaths in England and Wales. But the past could be a very inaccurate guide to the future. The virus is different, and the world and the UK have changed dramatically over the past century.

Most obviously the size of the population has increased and a whole host of social and technological changes have occurred. This means that the economic and business impact has to be undertaken very carefully, identifying the lessons from the past which may or may not be relevant today.

There’s a lesson here for business. Whether a business is looking at economic, technological, demographic or other megatrends, it needs help understanding how to apply the lessons from the past to the future. Ignoring external influences on strategy, or simply extrapolating the past into the future, both risk the death of the business.

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