COVID-19 has caused an immense shock – economically, psychologically and politically.
The economic toll is already being felt, and most economists believe it will get a lot worse with few families immune to the impact on wages, pensions and savings.
Then there is the psychological shock. In just six months, many of us have reset how we shop, work and interact with each other.
I suspect there will be more of a lag before the full impact of this immense change is seen.
Then what? Well if history tells us anything, it's that the political impact will be substantial. Following the financial crisis of 2008, we saw sharp increases in political polarisation and the rise of populist movements on both the left and right across both Europe and the U.S.
But… before we run to the hills, maybe there is another way of looking at things?
Yes, jobs will be lost, and companies disappear but having lived through at least five recessions, I know new industries will rise, and new jobs will be created, and yes, that's painful.
But companies will restructure, transform and reinvent themselves. So as we come out of this crisis, we need to focus on a strategy that gets people back to work in jobs that are sustainable and in industries/sectors we want to grow.
And perhaps some of those changes in work and travel may have an upside? More flexible working has helped a lot of people with little evidence of a drop in productivity. Maybe those acres of city office spaces can become hybrid centres of work, homes and learning? Flexible and remote working won't happen across every sector, but when it does, it can create benefits for both employer and employee.
And in politics? We have had years of negativity and polarisation. The pendulum is long overdue to swing in another direction.
So far, the immediate focus has rightly been on dealing and containing COVID-19. But if I were a canny CEO or politician I would now start to look at the wave of change that is yet to come and position to shape and navigate it successfully.
COVID-19 has been a tragedy but also wake up call. If thought through, what comes next could be positively transformational both for business and for us as individuals. I think that's worth thinking about and importantly, make happen.
If we just go back to the way things were before the pandemic, there is a risk that we will get a repetition of what happened in the decade after the financial crisis of 2008. I am talking about long years of painfully slow, anaemic growth, an abysmally poor productivity record, stagnant or falling living standards, and endless political conflicts over the distribution of a pie that refused to grow.