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Adapting to a New Normal

This article was originally published on Network for Business Sustainability, NBS on August 17, 2020

Photo by Jep Gambardella from Pexels

2500 years ago, a Greek philosopher wrote that the only constant in life is change. Lately, changes seem to be gathering speed.

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended individuals and companies. Fake news is now an industry disrupting the way citizens consume information. Climate change, often framed as a burden for future generations, is finally being recognized as a present threat.

How can businesses prepare for and adapt to a changing, uncertain and complex environment? NBS is identifying how business can cope ­– and even thrive — amidst disruption.

Manage during COVID-19

Sparked by the pandemic, experts identify best practices for businesses during crises. They look for ways to find a better “new normal” after COVID-19.

What Business Professors Are Saying about COVID-19

Business school professors from 53 schools around the world identify 6 priorities for companies in the COVID-19 era.

May 11, 2020

Build Business Resilience to Crises

COVID-19 shows the importance of business resilience, both “passive” and “active.” These capabilities enable companies to meet present and future crises.

Aug 5, 2020

How Businesses Can Help Society Navigate COVID-19

Are you a dating app, fast fashion business, or car company? Every business can help address society’s needs during the COVID-19 crisis.

Apr 3, 2020

Prepare for the Future

NBS research can help you plan, shift your organization, and think about issues in new ways. We offer deep dives into:

Strategic Planning

This guide identifies four ways of preparing for the future, from forecasting to transformative scenario planning. The right choice depends on your organization’s ability to shape the future, and on how much uncertainty you face.

Long-Term Thinking

Here’s how — and why — to get your organization looking beyond the next quarterly report and tackling longer-term challenges.

Executive Report: Strategic Planning

Planning for the future is essential to leadership. So how can businesses engage in strategic planning to create a shared vision for a sustainable future?

Jun 23, 2015

Long-Term Thinking in a Short-Term World

This report provides a three-step process to balance short and long-term actions, cases, common obstacles to long-term action, and ways to overcome them.

Feb 24, 2015

Focus on the System

Many issues can’t be solved or managed by one company alone. That’s because they’re affected by different stakeholders, government policy, and much more. These are variously called “grand challenges,” “systems” issues, and “wicked” problems.

How can you address them? NBS resources tackle this question in multiple ways.

The podcast series “Leading Positive Change in a Time of Disruption,” explores different ways of thinking about transitions. Experts from academia and practice discuss specific topics from digital disruption to employee transitions.

Podcast Series: Leading Positive Change in a Time of Disruption

Change is inescapable. Carbon policies and renewable energy are reshaping energy systems. Electric and autonomous vehicles could change transportation. These disruptions offer opportunities. Disrupted systems are primed to be re-envisioned and rebuilt. Why not rebuild in a way that promotes healthy communities and ecosystems?

Read More →

“Systems thinking” is perhaps the best general strategy for analyzing these big issues. Explore systems thinking with an overview from researcher John Sterman and continue with features From Tima’s Desk .

Making Systems Thinking More Than a Slogan

Dr. John Sterman, a world leader in the field of system dynamics, identifies how businesses can incorporate systems thinking.

Read More →

Nov 5, 2013

Because collaboration is so important, NBS offers guidance on how to work with different partners: communities, NGOs, citizens, government, and even competitors

Engage Your Community Stakeholders: A Guide for Businesses

A systematic approach to community stakeholder engagement can bring genuine business benefits. This introduction guide will give you strategic input.

Executive Report: Sustainability through Partnerships

Sustainability is a global problem with no single solution. Collaborative partnerships may be the key to tackling sustainability challenges going forward.

Dec 2, 2013

Business Briefing: Civic Dialogues on Sustainability

Solving sustainability challenges requires engaging society. This briefing identifies how both business and society can benefit from civic dialogue.

Mar 10, 2014

Executive Report: Environmental Policy

Environmental policymakers face critical and complex questions. This report is designed to help decision-makers develop and advise on environmental policy.

Dec 16, 2011

Guide: Collaborating with Competitors to Advance Sustainability

This guide enables managers to make the case for a competitor collaboration to colleagues or leaders, and determine satisfaction with current projects.

Sep 1, 2016

Climate Change — Ground Zero for Change

Climate change is a disruption that’s already here. Canada and other countries are seeing increased storms, flooding, drought, and forest fires.

These weather changes have real business impacts. They can translate into office closures and absent employees, increased or unpredictable energy costs, disrupted construction or logistics and unavailable resources or raw materials.

Through a multi-year project, NBS has identified identify how organizations can respond to climate change in a way that makes business sense.

There are some steps every organization can take, from understanding vulnerabilities to seeking data for decisions.

Leaders in different sectors are already responding. NBS case studies showcase those leading efforts for companies in the travel, transportation, utilities, insurance, and retail sectors.

We’re in This Together

How is your company managing the #New Normal? Share your ideas and experiences. Comment below or write to info@nbs.net.

We wrote this article in 2017, before COVID. We’ve updated it now, with information on the change affecting everyone’s lives.

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