This morning, I was reading a weekly newsletter from Knowledge@Wharton which is the Wharton School’s online business analysis journal. The topic was innovation and change during the pandemic and focused on an annual study on innovation that students at the Joseph H. Lauder Institute for Management & International Studies perform. Historically, the students did field work by travelling around the world to gather their information. Because of the pandemic, they had to rely on phone and video interviews to paint the picture that they would normally see in person.
The study results are not surprising. Beyond the horror of the death and despair wrought by the pandemic, the students saw even deeper inequality gaps which raised questions about how governments will respond and invest. On the bright side, people, companies and societies have shown an amazing resilience and the ability to pivot to address these changes and find new ways, mostly using technology, to improve. Personally, my family has renewed old friendships through video happy hours. We also do a lot more shopping online, which provides more time for other more enjoyable endeavors. Many of us find that flexibility to work from home frees up more time that would have been spent in traffic and makes us more productive and happier. Who can say whether these changes are transitory or here to stay? However, it is interesting to think back a year ago when we were wondering how our lives were changing, and not for the better.
The article ends with “Nelson Mandela, a man who was well-acquainted with hardship and adversity, said, ‘It always seems impossible until it is done.’” I believe that we have lived out this sentiment during the pandemic and it leaves me optimistic about what we can accomplish in the future when we put our minds to it.
This week’s selection is:
Three Hours in Paris by Cara Black
According to Maureen Corrigan at The Washington Post, “Three Hours in Paris isn’t just any old formulaic “Get out!” tale. It’s mystery master Cara Black’s first stand-alone novel, a spy story set during World War II in Occupied Paris. The premise is that an American female sharpshooter is parachuted into France to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Of course, she fails. Using wits alone, she must evade the Gestapo and make it back across the English Channel. Chances of success? Slim to none. Chances that you’ll be able to put Black’s thriller down once you’ve picked it up? Also slim to none.”