In 2020, we are living through significant trauma on a societal level and the greatest crisis of our generation — a global and widespread pandemic, with no end date in sight.

Many still think that life will return to normal in the coming months, or in the years to come.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, for some, life, as we knew it until early 2020, might be gone forever.

This moment is the acceleration of hundreds of trends or weak signals that for many years were perceived by the few and now perhaps are becoming the new normal.

Digitalisation

The digital acceleration in organisations, new work models, new forms of organisation and creation have been impacted. There is no way back. What some companies and even government agencies have been trying to implement a digital shift for years, the past 20 days have shown how it will be going forward. Schools and universities are already operating online, with an army of teams doing miracles. Hospitals and doctors have already understood the value and the need for telemedicine. The increasing efficiency in meetings that were once endless, now become impractical if they are maintained as they were before.

Leadership

Naturally, new leaders will emerge. It is still too early to say who they will be, but they will inevitably happen. Most leaders today, whether in senior management positions in companies or governments, have never planned for such a dire scenario. This pandemic shows that the leadership that has brought us here will not be able to take us in another direction.

Some leaders are still inert and have not accepted what is happening. Others have understood and started to look inside themselves, on how they can be better leaders in totally different environments than we have operated in the last hundreds of years. The leadership style going forward will be similar to the relations between parents and children. Children tend to copy the behaviour of their parents in their growth phase. The example will lead. The leadership style will be decisive at this time.

Reinvention

The only constant in the coming years will be reinvention. Reinventing our careers, our companies, our relationships and even our daily lives. Utopian ideas like universal basic income start to make sense. Flexible working models will surpass the 9 to 5 industrial mindset. In these uncertain times, it is imperative these experiments need to be done. They will teach us and others what the new way forward is.

Communities

Because we are social beings, we humans are already missing our daily routine. This change will speed up the approach of communities, not only physical but virtual. We have never been so far, but so close to each other.

This moment is the time to connect with those around you. Global, fast-paced life, super-connected inside planes, is unlikely to return anytime soon.

Generosity

The spirit of generosity will dictate our actions; it is no longer about me, my space, or what is up to me. But something more prominent because we are all connected.

Together and aligned, we will always be more potent.Generosity is already happening in communities and neighbourhoods where young people offer the elderly help to buy something at the pharmacy, supermarket or any other need. We didn’t have time for that before, remember ?!

Collaboration

In 2019, for the first time, we surpassed 50% of the planet connected to the internet. That’s right; another half is missing. This crisis has shown us, in addition to this pandemic, how truly we are one planet. A new generation began to understand that we are part of only one world. These imaginary lines that divide countries and regions no longer make sense. Collaboration is more important, we are faster and more efficient if we work together.

Perhaps our borders are closed, but our capacity for interaction only increases each year. We need to unite and connect this global brain not only in solving this pandemic but in building a better planet.

Abundance

An abundant world is indeed emerging, and it is up to us earthlings to know how to use all the resources that are already available to us to solve the most complex problems of our society.

Innovation

The buzz in recent years has been innovation. The good news is that it will be the most essential of the skills moving forward. Knowing how to facilitate and bring an alternative point of view to the reality experienced will be crucial to overcoming this challenge of humanity.

It is time to experiment, to put some old ideas on paper and start planning how to find ways to execute them. Now, considering the context is different, your opinion has already changed.

It’s time to unite the collective power in favour of something bigger, it’s time to think about how we impact nature, and we don’t even notice it. She’s giving us change if we don’t take care of her.

It is a moment of unity and expansion of our consciences. It will no longer be like saving your job, job or company. It is time for us together to build something that makes sense for the collective.

It is the emergence of new digital citizenship. More conscious, wiser and empowered with tools to solve the most complex challenges.

Welcome to the 21st century

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Ricardo Ruffo

Ricardo Ruffo is a born entrepreneur, educator, speaker and explorer. As a writer by passion Ricardo daydreams on how the world is changing fast and how it could be.

Ruffo is the founder and global CEO of Echos, an independent innovation lab driven by design and its business units: School of Design Thinking, helping to shape the next generation of innovators in 3 countries, Echos – Innovation Projects and Echos – Ventures. As an entrepreneur, he has impacted more than 35.000 students worldwide and led innovation projects for Google, Abbott, Faber-Castell and many more.

Specialist in innovation and design thinking, with extensions in renowned schools like MIT and Berkeley in the United States. Also expert in Social Innovation at the School of Visual Arts and Design Thinking at HPI – dSchool, in Germany.

Naturally curious, love gets ideas flying off the paper. He always tries to see things from different angles to enact better futures. In his free time, spend exploring uninhabited places around the world surfing.

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