Article - Lets keep experimenting


Let’s keep experimenting after the Covid19 crisis

Posted by Pierre-Yves Rahari on 8 July 2020

We have experienced changes of considerable magnitude during the Covid19 crisis. Experimenting is one of the salient change experiences we have observed in the Wealth & Asset Management industry in the past few months. Will experimenting perdure as a strong feature of the industry culture after the crisis?

When the crisis hit, all our systems, organisations, countries, no matter how resilient they were or appeared to be, went into lockdown and isolation. We saw our way-of-lives unravelling before our eyes and our organisations disrupted on a scale rarely experienced before. For our industry, the good news is that most firms had well-designed and properly tested BCP plans, which were called into action from day one. The not-so-good news is that no one had predicted the scale and magnitude of the crisis, so we have had to make up for the shortfall of our BCP plans by experimenting new solutions at individual and collective level.

For example, as offices closed and all industry participants started working from home overnight, we have had to learn to reach out, connect and work with each other online; to maintain meaningful connections; and to work as virtual teams, from the isolation of our own homes. To support the new virtual offices, we have had to adopt new systems and processes, and explore new ways of operating our businesses. In doing so, we have had to learn (or enhance) new skills, ranging from digital fluency to interpersonal agility, notwithstanding learning to integrate our work challenges with our domestic priorities at a pace and scale not seen before.

There are many more examples of experimentation we could quote from our observations during the crisis. And we have yet to catalogue examples of Covid-related experimentation in areas such as for product development and compliance regulation. But that is the remarkable thing. All these experiences have been undertaken in an industry that is generally keen on following a blueprint; managing risks methodically; running projects to plan and budget; and generating results on the dot. Instead, during this crisis, the industry has shown an ability to explore unchartered solutions; to experiment a trial-and-error approach; to share and discuss not-so-perfect outcomes; to collaborate towards mutually beneficial outcomes; and to tolerate the uncertainty and imperfection, in other words, the vulnerability inherent to any model of experimentation.

That is good news, because as we prepare to return to the office, there is still uncertainty on the definite outcome of the health crisis, and more fundamentally, there is great uncertainty on the shape of the post-Covid economic, societal and geopolitical situation. In this context, the industry will be well served by having honed their experimentation skills when devising tactical and strategic plans for the months to come. We anticipate that experimenting will perdure as a strong feature of the industry culture after the crisis.