Transforming for Economic Recovery
COVID-19 has brought about a range of challenges that have tested collective and individual resilience, agility and, indeed, innovation. Reyana Nacerodien and Su Aziz ask thought leaders how they innovated to transform for economic recovery. This article was first published in In Focus issue 8 magazine.
Dr Andrew L. Fanning
Data and Analysis lead
Doughnut Economics Action Lab (DEAL)
Area of expertise: Doughnut economics
The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis with unprecedented economic and social impacts, which are being felt disproportionately by age, race, gender, wealth, in the global North and the global South. At the same time, all crises offer an opportunity to chart a new path. We at DEAL are seeing some cities and nations in the global South choose to use Doughnut Economics as a tool for framing their recovery plans – from Cali and Costa Rica to Barbados and Malaysia. Others have expressed interest in Bangladesh, India, Zambia, and more.
Director of Fintech
Bank of England
Area of expertise: Fintech
We couldn’t have anticipated the challenges COVID would bring when we identified our fintech priorities. But now they look more relevant than ever as innovation and fintech helps the economy respond, and then recover, from the shock of COVID. The Bank can play a supportive role in helping fintech and innovators drive the recovery. Naturally, central bank digital currency (CBDC) is a focus, but we also consider that other payment options also offer significant potential, including ‘bank to bank’ payments. We’ll continue to explore the pros and cons of CBDC, and fully support Her Majesty’s Treasury’s Payments Landscape Review. Innovation will be essential to our economic recovery. But if innovation isn’t responsible, risks will quickly emerge and its benefits will not endure.
Area of expertise: Economics
The pandemic and its economic consequences have made it perfectly clear that we cannot predict what the next economic crisis will look like – neither when it comes to what will trigger it nor what type of monetary policy response it may need. This means that innovation and new thinking will be required in monetary policy for us to be able to continue to fulfil our task of maintaining price stability in Sweden. We therefore need to constantly adapt to a changing world and improve our analysis so that we can achieve the inflation target and contribute to healthy economic development otherwise.
Partner and Architect
Area of expertise: Architecture, design and production
We’re constantly looking at ways of innovating and finding new ways to use our skills to diversify into a wider scope in entertainment architecture. The Vertical Theatre was one way of helping the economic recovery of the entertainment industry. By offering this new kind of space that’s more pandemic friendly, while creating a new kind of venue that’s temporary and pop up. Thus, offering something new to cities that maybe don’t have performance venues or to offer something to cities that want to expand their culture offering when performance is allowed again. The audience sensibility might prefer this open-air environment for their comfort level. We’ve been exploring the new worlds of augmented as well as extended reality technologies and how they can be layered into future live experiences while being one of the current methods for events to happen. Along with looking and creating new immersive experiences that in the future will expand the offering to the live entertainment world. All these things help with not only the wider picture of economic recovery and reigniting of content for an audience, but also help our company find new avenues of exploration. We’ve also been looking at new ways of approaching our work in more sustainable ways. This will help in the long term to make the industry less wasteful and ultimately economically more viable.
Area of expertise: Food waste
COVID-19 shifted our operation significantly since most of the food industry and businesses that become our partners as well as source of food surplus had to close or reduce their production. We tweaked our daily operation to become a weekly food aid distribution and developed a new strict SOP especially during food distribution in the field. We also found that many disadvantaged groups become much more food insecure since they’re the ones who are impacted the most during these hard times. We changed our food redistribution method to a food donation method, where we work with a broad range of donors from companies, individuals and local businesses, to be able to provide most-needed food aids to the most vulnerable communities. Slower operation during COVID-19 has however provided us the time to implement ideas that were previously put on hold. We rolled out a new business line that turns unsold ugly produce into healthy and delicious products that generate profit to fund our operation. We also hold gleaning trips, where we rescue edible fruits and vegetables being left on the farmers’ fields and sell it with much more affordable price to the communities.
Professor, University of Bologna
Director, Wireless Communications Laboratory (WiLab)
Area of expertise: Telecommunications and research
We’re collaborating with relevant stakeholders to improve the way we can predict massive gatherings of people. Moreover, WiLab has established in Bologna a Joint Innovation Centre with Huawei, dedicated to the intelligent IoT for 6G. Its scope is, among others, to study those technology improvements that can push the industry towards more efficient production processes, fostering economy.
Hyundai Motor Company
Area of expertise: Mobility
As with all industries across the globe, the automotive industry has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our showrooms, factories and offices were temporarily shut down for a period to adhere to the government guidelines, and it has in some part, contributed to lower vehicle sales and less new models being launched in 2020. The pandemic also raised question marks about the impact of future mobility such as autonomous and electric vehicles as well as shared mobility. While extensive work is continuing to be undertaken in rolling out autonomous vehicles and shared mobility in the future, the way it functions and how it serves will differ accordingly to people’s behaviours to health and safety, following the pandemic.
Head of Cabinet of Commissioner for Agriculture
European Commission (EC)
Area of expertise: EU and foreign policy
In the post-pandemic period, we need to ensure green recovery in line with the Farm to Fork (F2F) Strategy to stimulate economic recovery. It sets ambitious targets for farmers to be achieved within the next nine growing seasons. To step up efforts, the EC, will further invest around EUR9 billion into research and innovation to agriculture, food, bioeconomy and environment for 2021 – 2027. EU programmes for the post-2020 period will promote the establishment of an environment enabling farmers to take up and deploy new technologies. The EC, under its financial instrument EAFRD as well as CAP (policy) will further support investment and innovative projects on technological developments and digitalisation. Also, under the forthcoming Horizon Europe, a portfolio of instruments will be available in the field of digitalisation and data technologies in agriculture.
Main photo by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.