The Corona crisis has taken us on an escalator trip down Maslow’s pyramid of needs. The very self-actualisation that used to be of great concern for most modern people now seems irrelevant in a closed-down world. So is the next step, esteem. Who cares about how successful you are when thousands of people are being killed daily by a virus?

We land on the middle layer: love and belonging. We have missed that for a long time, haven’t we? In our quest for success and individuality, we have forgotten that we all need to belong to a community. The funny thing is that the crisis has actually brought love and belonging back to us. We are in this together. For the first time in as long as I can remember, the entire planet has the same agenda. Eight billion people struggle to fight the same disease, and for a moment humanity is united.

As we take the next step down the pyramid, we find safety, which we – not least young people – have taken for granted, but the corona virus is teaching us differently. Safety can only be created if we all contribute.

Finally, at the bottom is physiological needs, such as food, drink and medicine. Billions of people now fear that the crisis will prevent them from covering these basic needs. The crisis has turned our value system upside-down.

We will get through, and we may forget; humans have a short memory. But I don’t think we will this time. I believe the world we create when the Covid-19 disaster is over will be a new and better world. Our old values from the 20th century have been measured and found wanting. We no longer want growth at any cost. The crisis revealed blue sky over formerly polluted cities, Venetians experienced clear water and even fish in their once dirty canals, and we have felt the joy of belonging to communities we thought didn’t matter. We have also learnt to use social media in new and constructive ways and discovered the flaws in our supply chains.

Have this new scenario in mind when you prepare what to do when the Covid-19 pandemic is over.

Nils Elmark is a consulting futurist and the founder of Incepcion, a London-based consultancy that helps organisations develop new and braver dreams.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Scan Magazine.

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