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Seven key actions business can take to mitigate the effects of COVID-19

At PwC’s Global Crisis Centre, we deal with crises every day. But as the COVID-19 outbreak has worsened, the volume of calls fielded by our teams has noticeably increased. By the end of February, the phones were ringing off the hook. Business leaders are concerned, and rightly so, for the welfare of their people and their organizations.

No crisis is an isolated, neatly contained incident, and the COVID-19 outbreak is exceptional by any standards. It comes with extreme scope and levels of uncertainty. It’s a situation that is well beyond the experience of most business leaders — the median tenure of a CEO is five years, and the last epidemic that approached anything near this scale was the SARS outbreak in 2003. SARS infected more than 8,000 people and lasted nine months. In much less time than that, COVID-19 has already infected more than ten times as many people,

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Caveat emptor, CEO


Management studies are a valuable source of insight for business leaders. But as many more studies are conducted and academics feel increasing pressure to publish, business leaders need to be cautious about the rigor and validity of the findings that they adopt and put to work. A short list of questions can help them choose wisely.

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It’s time to stop calling every firm that uses technology a tech company

Online cycling-class provider Peloton isn’t a tech company. Nor are ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft, work-space provider WeWork, online fashion stylist Stitch Fix, meal delivery service Blue Apron, or content creator and curator Netflix, to name just a few that have been given that moniker.

The overuse of tech as the modifier du jour recalls the Internet-bubble age. In the late 1990s, companies that weren’t centered on clicks or whose online-oriented business was founded in vain added .com to their names to get Wall Street cred and attract venture capital. Now, it seems, tech is — or wants to be — a similarly magic word.

The overuse of tech as the modifier du jour recalls the Internet-bubble age.

To be sure, digital technology is an enabler, maybe the most powerful one since electric power. Technology’s capabilities have grown to the degree that it has not only become essential to doing

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Four different ways of knowing

The transition to a new decade often brings idealized images of the road ahead, for both companies and industries — and, of course, for the ways in which they should be led. However, as we have entered a 2020 with turbulence in politics, the climate, and markets, we have been offered something equally, if not more, valuable on which to focus: The concept of how we know what we know, and how that knowledge affects the leadership decisions we make.

The academic word for the study of ways of knowing is epistemology. You may have encountered the subject in grad school and then not thought much about it again. If yours was a Western education, perhaps culminating in an MBA, you traversed an instructional path bound by certain assumptions about what is true and what is not — along with acceptable methods for justifying your beliefs. This tradition, particularly

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The dangers of “workism”

After basketball legend Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in January, ABC’s Good Morning America played a clip from an interview in which he had discussed his life after retiring from the sport. In it, he said how important it is to recognize the “difference between doing what you do versus understanding that that is not who you are.”

That’s a crucial lesson for people in all professions. Separating our sense of identity from our job helps us not just to better ourselves, but also to build stronger businesses and be better managers and colleagues.

Unfortunately, in the United States and many advanced economies around much of the world, work is perceived “as not only providing an income, but giving social legitimacy to our lives,” Tom Fryers, professor of public mental health at the University of Leicester, wrote in a paper published by the journal Clinical Practice & Epidemiology

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How Japan is creating opportunity for medtech

In nursing homes throughout Japan, an interactive, therapeutic robot is helping provide care to elderly residents. The robot’s name is Paro, and it looks like a baby harp seal, complete with fur, soulful eyes, and even whiskers. The technology inside Paro, which costs about US$3,800, is relatively simple: five sensors that pick up on touch, light, sound, heat, and posture. From that input, Paro recognizes people and their environment, and an AI component helps the device adapt to the preferences of its user. If you stroke Paro, it coos back at you, and it can learn over time to repeat the behaviors that led you to stroke it.

The idea of getting healthcare from a robot may seem to be the stuff of science fiction, but Paro is effective in calming elderly people with dementia and other cognitive disorders. A recent study found that loneliness rates decreased in a test

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