19 People around the World Share How They Prepare for a Post-COVID-19 World

Since its founding in 2015, impactmania always turns to the people who drive cultural, social, and economic impact. We now need their inspiration more than ever. We asked 19 impact makers how they are preparing for the new realities of a post-COVID-19 world.

Shari Swan is a third time entrepreneur, founder and investor, and committed advocate of female founders and the start-up eco system. She is a global expert on consumer insights, brand strategy, innovation and design, and has a passion for transforming data into actionable and highly relevant, creative business opportunities for corporations with the support of co-creation and expert online communities. Shari is an acknowledged global speaker on insight, innovation, co-creation and consumer behavior, and it’s impact on the future of business and society. Aside from whispering into the ears of global senior executives at UEFA, Liberty Global, Royal Bank of Canada, News UK, O2 and others, Shari and her partner own and operate an award winning, boutique manor house in France; Manoir du Moulin.

May 25, 2020

Paksy Plackis-Cheng in Berlin emailed with Shari Swan in France.

What is your advice for preparing for post-COVID-19?

The Coronavirus pandemic will be remembered as a world re-ordering event. Economists and futurists alike are predicting it will be as seismic as the Great Depression and the 2008 global financial crisis. It will accelerate social and economic changes and technological advances that would otherwise have taken years to materialize. Every economic shock leaves a legacy. The deadly Coronavirus will be no different.

COVID-19 has created a state of contradiction for humans. On one hand, we’re enjoying the time-out, a moment of reflection, our families and reuniting in more meaningful ways. On the other, we find ourselves panicked, unable to relax, worried, depressed and fraught with fear and anxiety. The tension between these two conflicting realities has created confusion, frustration, and restlessness for most.

Recognize that we are in a period of great reflection as a society and this tipping point is remodeling human values and businesses strategies and that this state of flux will be with us for an extended period of time-possibly years. Change is afoot and the Coronavirus pandemic has given a much-needed pause for reflection to prepare for this. Use this time wisely to reflect on your life, your reason for being, your values, your family, friends, your business, and the planet. We now need to close the gap and lead our lives and business with purpose to protect the planet and address the growing divide between the haves-and-have-nots. Embrace this change and participate in creating a new world order.

How is this crisis changing you? 

Eight years ago, my partner and I left city life with our small children to live a rural existence with the hopes of creating a reduced sustainable footprint and a healthier lifestyle. We transformed our research and innovation consultancy into an online global digital community and closed our office doors for good in 2016. While there have been plenty of challenges in settling into our small town life, establishing an international digital workforce and capturing the hearts and minds of global companies to do business with us, the Coronavirus has further reinforced our decision.

This pandemic has brought to light the fact that there are alternative ways to live and do business and that happiness and lifestyle choices greatly affect productivity, creativity, and commitment. We will continue to champion and support the amazing maverick minds that are shaping their professional passions around their lifestyles and working from home or within small collaboratives. We will continue to support local business and products, reduce our travel, share our sustainable values with our children, and adopt progressive technologies that support our lifestyle and business goals. In fact, this crisis has given me the confidence to finally accept that our choices have been good ones. It is feasible to step off the conveyer belt of life and work, to pause, reflect and reset to build the universe you really want.

What will our story be post-COVID-19?

My ultimate dream would be that that humans become more considered with how they live their lives. That we become a less wasteful, healthier, kinder, collaborative, and a more socially responsible society.

COVID-19 is the first pandemic in history whereby technology and social media are being used on a massive scale to keep people safe, productive and connected while being physically apart. Access for all is a human right and will become vital for the future of telemedicine, digital education, and working from home.

I’d like to see companies and governments step-up and truly live a purpose driven strategy that places people and the planet alongside of profit goals. It’s a time to lean in, be generous, listen, be conscientious, and cement trust by taking positive action. We all need to be authentic, respectable, empathic, honest, and to move forward with pace to address the inefficiencies and inequalities of the world we’ve created the past decades. I hope that COVID-19 will be a springboard for an improved planet, one which will be led by disrupted levels of consumption as consumers redefine their lifestyles, buying behaviors and corporate loyalties.

impactmania’s past interviews and programs have been featured in international media, a number of universities, the UN, US Consulates, and have been cited by Harvard Business School, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, and Duke University Press. impactmania’s Women of Impact program was awarded the U.S. Embassy Public Diplomacy grant (2019).