The Challenge of Change

By Ennio Vita-Finzi

Our world as we know it has been turned upside down – businesses and restaurants are shut down and we are told to stay indoors and avoid the most basic human experience of hugging our loved ones. Most challenging is the fact that we could unknowingly be carriers of a deadly infection and therefore become potential murderers.

How we react and fight back against this threat could well transform us into something greater than we can imagine and many businesses are an example of how to adjust and face this challenge.

Stepping up

Thousands of Canadian manufacturers whose assembly lines are temporarily inactive are stepping up to help defeat the deadly COVID-19 virus. They are offering their ingenuity, creativity, equipment and machinery to devise new and quicker ways to make essential products like masks, gloves, protective gowns, testing equipment, ventilators and the many other essential products needed to combat the virus. These companies are readjusting and converting their assembly lines to manufacture products they had never thought of before.

Inspiring creativity

More than 5,000 Canadian companies have come forward to retool their production and make new products. A clothing designer that a few weeks ago produced high-end fashions is now creating practical medical gowns. Another that made automotive air bags is using the same material to create protective clothing for front-line personnel. A group of university students is perfecting a face-mask design that will be mass-produced on 3D printers. Distilleries around the world are now producing hand-sanitizers and one is even distributing them free to shelters and hospitals. A hockey-equipment producer and a major aircraft engine manufacturer are now making ventilators and surgical masks.

There is no denying it – every business is facing major economic challenges, every individual’s daily life has changed forever and every routine thing anyone has ever done will be different in the future. On-line purchases will change our visits to the supermarket and downtown window spree. Doctors will routinely examine patients over the phone or on Skype. Many of our meals and treats will be home-delivered and going to a restaurant will be a very special occasion. We will view new museum exhibits on our TV or computer screen and going on a cruise or into a crowded movie theater will not be as appealing for some time to come.

Lessons learned

• Seniors: this pandemic has reminded us to be more appreciative and caring of our elders.

• Families: “togetherness” will have taught us to work better as a team and to discover insights and talents in our family members that were not evident before.

• Professionals: will have created better processes that will help to prevent future contagions.

• Governments; will hopefully have learned to better handle political differences for the benefit of their voters in general and improve crisis management skills.

• Environment: less pollution and cleaner air due to fewer cars on our roads, and reduced industrial emissions due to temporary shut-down will prove to us that we can manage our environment better.

While Machiavelli wrote that “there is nothing more difficult than experiencing a new order of things” there is equally nothing more rewarding and encouraging than to establish a NEW order of things. Let us remember what we will have learned during these few challenging months – and not take life for granted.

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