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Tue 17 Mar 2020 09:16 AM

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Arabian Business Podcast: Coronavirus - enter the age of minimalism?

Futurist and author John Sanei believes that new innovations will likely emerge from the coronavirus 'Black Swan' of 2020

Arabian Business Podcast: Coronavirus - enter the age of minimalism?

Sanei, a South African national, has written several books focused on innovation and planning for the future. His latest book – entitled ‘Foresight’ – revolves around how to ‘future proof’ businesses and individuals in times of disruption.

A trend of ‘minimalism’ may emerge as a result of the widespread economic impact of the current coronavirus epidemic, according to futurist, business consultant and author John Sanei.

Sanei, a South African national, has written several books focused on innovation and planning for the future. His latest book – entitled ‘Foresight’ – revolves around how to ‘future proof’ businesses and individuals in times of disruption.

In the latest episode of the Arabian Business podcast, Sanei said that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic represents a classic example of an enormously disruptive ‘Black Swan’ event that could not have been adequately prepared for by most businesses.

“We’ve had a few of these over the last few decades,” he said. “In 2001 we had 9/11. Then we had the 2008 [financial] crisis, and now we have this. I don’t think anybody can prepare. These things come from left field.”

“Most business aren’t prepared, because most human beings aren’t,” he added. “This is just unseen by anybody. You’d have to be a psychic or some sort of spiritual guru to be able to tell this was going to happen.”

Changing consumers, new opportunities

During the podcast, Sanei said that he believes the widespread economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the changes it has caused in the day-to-day lives of people around the world will lead to long-term changes among consumers.

“We’ve had a whole lot of luxuries around flying, buying fast fashion all the time and consuming excessive amounts of fish, meat and chicken,” he added. “We’ve been very luxurious in our celebration of capitalism.”

“I think a minimalism trend will come out of it [the pandemic]. A need for less,” he added. “We don’t actually need to be so gluttonous and so needy of recognition. We’ll see a stabilisation of greed and excess.”

Additionally, Sanei said that he believes that a variety of new innovative firms and idea will emerge in the wake of the pandemic, in a similar fashion to the way Airbnb and Uber were created and gained prominence in the wake of the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

“There are things that are going to come out of this,” he added. “We just have to make sure we’re healthy and safe until those things pop up.”

Over the course of the podcast, Sanei also discusses how business models are changing in the face of emerging technologies, as well the importance of leadership in times of crisis, the current state of business education and MBA programmes.

Launched in March 2020, the Arabian Business podcast – which airs every Tuesday – delves into a wide range of topics drawn from the headlines. Previous episodes have explored the science and medical response to Covid-19 as well as the ups and downs of Dubai’s real estate segment.

Arabian Business digital magazine: read the latest edition online