2020: A year to 
remember

With the end of the year approaching, leaders from across BAE Systems Applied Intelligence set out their reflections on the past 12 months
2020: A Year to Remember icon
 
None of us will forget 2020. Rewind to New Year’s Eve 2019 – few would believe what was in store for us.
 
There’s no doubt that it’s been a year of challenges and change, trials and tribulations. And for far too many a time of grief and sorrow.
 
While historians and scholars will long analyse the turbulence and upheaval of recent months, we have sat down with a selection of leaders from across BAE Systems Applied Intelligence to hear their thoughts on the past 12 months. Here’s their take on the year gone by…
 
 

Holly Armitage, Principal Strategist and Management Consultancies Association Rising Star Award Winner 2020


How to summarise 2020 without clickbait clichés and just preaching to the choir? It’s a tricky one.
 
This year has emphasised for me how important my mantra of asking ‘what are you not doing’ when setting strategic priorities. For me, the most effective way to transform is to be obsessively focused on doing the simple things that matter most to your organisation and client, to the very best of your abilities. Prove your way to complexity and never ever underestimate the importance of the unglamorous foundation activities that allow you to reap the benefits in the longer term.
 
So for 2021, what are you not doing?
 
 

Hannah Green, Lead Data Scientist


There is only one word I can really use to describe this year: tough.
 
Anything I write about industry or technology would seem a bit like I was brushing things under the carpet. But then talking about COVID-19 seems like jumping on the bandwagon. So I thought I would summarise what I have learnt from this year:
  • We are lucky to work in the industry that we do               
  • Being kind is important
  • As a company, as teams, and as individuals – we are resilient
  • Everyone has different challenges – at work and at home
 
Ultimately, I personally am ready for this year to be over – bring on 2021, and the challenge of learning from this year without letting it hold us back. I haven’t really celebrated New Year’s Eve in a long time – you bet I will this year.
 
 

Alex Richards, Head of Data and Digital


Contradictions iconFor me, 2020 has been a mass of contradictions. A year that has been relentlessly eventful with huge upheavals in the way we live, work and engage, yet strangely stable as many of us work from our homes with little opportunity or incentive to travel and a far smaller immediate social network.
 
We have experienced an explosion of digital engagement, reconnecting us with colleagues, friends and family around the world for whom a face to face interaction was previously impractical, yet a greater focus on our local communities as we try to restrict travel and exposure to large crowds.
 
We have a greater insight into our colleagues’ home lives and appreciation of others personal challenges, yet an increase in isolation through the loss of casual, spontaneous, face to face conversations at our place of work. Similarly, we have less time commuting but in many cases not really gained much time for ourselves in the blurring of work and home life.
 
2020 has been a milestone that has dominated strategic planning for the last decade but it has shown the only thing you can really plan for is the unexpected and the need for agility and resilience. It is easy to look back and bid ‘good riddance’, but like all transformative events it will be the changes we choose to stick with, and the things we allow to return to how they were, that will really tell the story.
 
I, for one, look forward to a good break and period of reflection over Christmas whilst I prepare myself for whatever 2021 will bring!
 
 

Andy Lethbridge, Head of Central Government Consulting


Well, who saw 2020 coming?
 
In February and early March there were ripples that turned into a tsunami of accelerated change. It wasn’t so much a digital transformation, as a revolution borne of necessity. All those boring fundamentals that slip to the bottom of the priority list because they are dull had to be resolved otherwise people simply couldn’t work. Decisions that would take weeks, months or in some cases years, because ‘it doesn’t really matter if we don’t do it’, were made in days. We really did see a new way of doing things and long may it continue – let’s not go back to that old normal, it wasn’t helpful – it was just lazy.
 
In May, I stepped into maelstrom of a project and have witnessed the very best and the very worst of the industry in which we operate.  As above, decisions and delivery needed to be accelerated, highlighting a tension between thought and action. This seeming lack of recognition of the context was disappointing, but it has taught me a very valuable lesson – in times of crisis, quality over quantity is ALWAYS better.
 
How people have come together though, and really buy in to a mission that is so critical, has humbled me. Trend wise, though, it is all about the data. Understanding the lifecycle of every facet of data, how it flows through a system of systems and how to derive the greatest value from it – that’s where it is at.
 
 

Rahul Harlalka, Director, Transport


Challenges iconI read somewhere that ‘2020 isn’t cancelled, but is rather the most important year of them all.' So true.
 
It’s been a year of surprises which no one, not a single one of us asked for. But when I look back, other than adding ‘the new normal’ and ‘social distancing’ to my everyday dictionary, what we all have achieved against the odds of some unimaginable lifestyle changes is simply amazing.
 
I think a moment of genuine change has struck us all. Only a few months back I was discussing with my clients how to help them transform their business and ways of working. The transport sector has, of course, been widely hit by the pandemic.
 
While this meant lower revenues, it also offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to pause and think of new ways of do things. Most have adapted to a brand new way of working, one that is more digital and more collaborative, and as a result are now using technology to put passengers at the centre of everything. COVID-19, in this way at least, has proved to be a catalyst of change.
 
But I cannot wait for 2021 to arrive – onward and upward. 
 
 

Dennis Toomey, Global Director, Counter Fraud Analytics and Insurance Solutions


2020 has been a crazy year and my heart goes out to all the people who have been negatively impacted by this unique time in history. The pandemic and economic crisis clearly showed what a connected world we are and that we are all in this together. All corners of the earth have been affected, one way or another, but what stands out most amongst all this negativity is all the good that has also happened:
  • A 103-year-old grandma beat COVID-19 and celebrated with a Bud Light
  • Wearing sweatpants and tees became acceptable fashion choices all day, every day
  • Many rushed to adopt and foster pets in need amid the pandemic
  • We learned that homeschooling is hard and finally recognised teachers for the heroes that they are
  • Health care workers and essential workers. Also heroes
  • We realised how much we love and need sports and its ability to unite us
  • Fewer cars on the road means less carbon and nitrogen in the atmosphere, at least for the time being
 
The list could go on much longer, the point is we have to look for the good in bad situations.
 
From an Insurance Fraud perspective, we were already on a record pace for change and digital transformation but the pandemic and economic downturn accelerated that pace even more than anyone could imagine.  The impact has not been realised yet – if history is to be the best predictor of the future, we should see a significant spike in fraud in 2021 and early 2022.
 
With that knowledge there are many opportunities to be creative and collaborative to help our clients and industry defend against those that lack morals and are criminally minded.  I am excited for the future, we have accelerated the evolutionary process of counter fraud technology and are in a better position now more than any other time in history to bring solutions, processes and thought leadership to the industry to help with efficiencies and defend against these fraudsters.
 
 

Victoria Knight, Strategic Campaigns Director National Security


Teams icon2020 has been about ensuring that we have done everything we can to enable our people to stay safe, connected and well. Transformation that could have taken years as part of an enterprise wide programme happened overnight in light of the COVID-19 national lockdown.  I very proud of the way our teams and clients responded and adapted to working remotely, whilst others continued to commute into client site to support mission critical work.
 
A key focus has been our approach to employee wellbeing, diversity and inclusion, where micro breaks, virtual quizzes, photography competitions, online meditation and virtual morning HIT workouts have become the new norm.  2020 has seen us make some significant steps towards building a better more inclusive workplace that respects and encourages people to be themselves.
 
 

Ravi Gogna, Senior Solutions Consultant


I don’t really know how to summarise 2020. In one respect, it’s been an annus mirabilis for technology – could you have imagined, even five years ago, ordering half the planet to stay home and that some people, companies and industries could just keep going? In another respect, 2020 has shown how non-digital industries are still absolutely essential and that technology isn’t the silver bullet – some activities (like food distribution) need people to turn up and physically get it done.
 
However, I think the thing that’s going to leave the deepest impression is the complete shift in how we talk about mental health, diversity and inclusion. The Black Lives Matter protests started a set of conversations which haven’t really stopped.
 
Coupled with a renewed focus on maintaining good mental health, I have come away from this year feeling like we are having more of the difficult conversations that we need and that the question ‘how are you?’ is no longer cursory and polite, but sincere and caring. In amongst all of the difficulties of this year, that feels like an important silver lining doesn’t it?
 
 

Adrian Nish, Head of Cyber Technical Services


Ransomware iconThe cyber security landscape in 2020 saw many interesting evolutions in threat activity, as well as emerging trends. Most notable amongst these was the surge in ransom and extortion attacks targeting enterprise networks globally. This sort of technique (of encrypting files and demanding a ransom) is not necessarily new, but several factors have made it particularly potent in 2020.
 
First is the realisation amongst criminals that stealing data and extorting businesses with threats of ‘leaking’ can be an effective way to get paid. Second is the proliferation of specialist and often freely available tools for penetrating into enterprise networks. These capabilities have outpaced improvements in defences over recent years, tipping the advantage in favour of attackers.
 
Finally, cyber insurance has created an incentive for firms to just pay and claim against their policy. Insurers are similarly incentivised, as the ransom amount (even several £million) is often lower than the potential clean-up, restoration costs, and fines/litigation.
 
BAE Systems’ Threat Intelligence team tracked this evolution through 2020 and identified around 15 highly active groups, over 1,000 victims, a growth in attacks of around 260%, and estimated loss of at least £150m to criminals. Unfortunately, we see little which will reverse this trend in the short term.
 
The success these groups are having is encouraging other criminals to follow suit, and nothing suggests a magic solution will appear to fix enterprise network defence. We expect policymakers to place a greater focus on the legality of making ransom payments, potentially outlawing them in the way that has been done to counter terrorist financing in the past.
 
 

Julian Cracknell, Managing Director


No one will ever forget 2020. But while the pandemic will no doubt continue for some time to come, we must also recognise that the world keeps turning. Globally, there are many differences between organisations and their missions. But we have seen a lot of similarities in how organisations have adapted to COVID-19, in terms of both ways of working and technologies being used.
 
We’ve seen this accelerate many existing digital transformation programmes across the world but much comes down to organisations understanding their business and cyber risks, vs the benefits that modern technologies can bring. And it’s about balance. Balance so that organisations can move from a risk averse to a risk managed culture.
 
Personally, I don’t see organisations moving back to how they worked back in March – we’ll see some shift back as the pandemic eventually subsides, but organisations have proven they can adopt different and more modern ways of working and can continue many of their business functions or mission efficiently. 
 
We’ve also seen that organisations are wanting to bring in a lot more innovation and agility. They want to rapidly evaluate and exploit new technologies from start-ups and universities, avoiding long procurement cycles, and get benefit out to users quickly.
 
The challenge many organisations find with innovation is how you ‘bottle’ what you can achieve in times of national crisis. We passionately believe that this is possible. By fusing an innovative culture, domain knowledge and desire to make a difference, there’s no stopping us. Roll on 2021 and beyond!
 
 

Enda Shirley, Compliance Product Management Lead


Pandemic iconThe financial crime sector is used to dealing with and planning around the unexpected, the Panama papers of 2016 are a good example, as are the FinCEN file revelations released earlier this year. Then 2020 came along and shattered previous expectations.
 
The vast majority of our market are in a strategic review phase. They must understand what regulatory compliance looks like for their customer whose behaviours have now changed irreversibly, with far more cash based operations having to shift online and now being available for analysis and review. There is no reverse gear.
 
2020 has been about reacting to these strategic changes with our existing clients and remaining forward facing in terms of delivering new value adding product features, as per previous years. What felt like an overnight shift to remote working and some fantastic collaboration, communication (while not “on mute”) and adaptability meant we managed two major product deliveries and also kicked off a significant project, to enable the cloud native delivery of our technology. So in that regard, it’s be a strangely positive year in what can otherwise only be described as well, a tad claustrophobic!
 
I’m looking forward to what 2021 brings as we’ve aligned for success but I am of course also, from a global pandemic perspective, looking forward to what 2020 leaves behind.
 
 

Jo Massey, Account Director, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office


For me, 2020 has been the year of reinforcing that what people need, whatever their circumstances, is meaningful communication and connection.
 
In the FCDO account this has helped us rise to a number of unusual challenges, from mass and sudden home-working to handling the challenges of the merger between FCO and DFID. Having to negotiate a complex contract extension while supporting our client with the creation of a new government department – during a pandemic – was not something we could have foreseen. In the event, we found that honesty, integrity and a focus on the quality of the individuals we provide were what we needed to secure our foothold for the coming year, to the satisfaction of all.
 
Meanwhile, as raw and difficult topics like racial inequality and mental health have led to uncomfortable debate in the media, we have embraced these for open discussion within both our own account and with our client community. As we establish our work life at a distance from one another, we have found new inspiration and togetherness in discussing significant things.
 
 

Orsolya Patterson, Lead Business Analyst, Defence


Transformation iconAt the end of last year I wrote about how 2020 is likely to be the year when the Royal Navy’s transformation really takes off. I still strongly believe that it would have happened no matter what but, as we know, 2020 turned out to be a year like no other.
 
I would like to highlight the notion of how organisations, previously reluctant to move to remote working, were forced to adapt to it practically overnight. As a consultant, I have been more than used to working remotely for years but whenever I am on a Defence project I always revert to a lot of office based delivery, mostly to mirror my clients’ culture and working pattern.
 
It was incredible to watch how the entire Royal Navy’s headquarters buildings were shut down overnight and then the following Monday morning everyone just dusted off their headsets and moved to digital platforms.
 
There were teething problems, of course, including what my esteemed colleague Mivy James cautions against – the creation of ‘a digital twin of the office environment’. Turning all meetings to calls resulted in being on your headset for eight hours which left us exhausted (while many of us trying to home-school as well). But soon everything normalised, and with the output of the headquarters as high as ever, its transformation concludes shortly. I am very proud that I could be on this journey with my team and looking forward to what is most likely a hybrid working environment in 2021.
 
 

Dr. Mary Haigh, Director of Cyber Propositions 


2020 has been the year of opening out the conversation on cyber power and identifying what good might look like.
 
There have been some significant speeches during the year which will kick off a much more public debate to help shape the UK’s approach to cyber power. The debate remains difficult amongst the global community. However, a common ground may be found around how to tackle cyber-crime, giving a foundation to build further discussions upon.
 
Last month, the Prime Minister announced a partnership between GCHQ and the Ministry of Defence to jointly conduct cyber operations.  A very clear signal that cyber operations will be used not just by intelligence agencies but also in military operations.  We are all going to have to up our game in cyber defences; as a digitally advanced economy it will hurt us a lot more than some of adversaries if we get hit. People in glass houses…
 
 

Lorna Rea, New Business Development Manager


Think icon2020 for me has been about taking time to think. Thinking about what we need to do differently, such as allowing silence on virtual calls to generate debate. I’ve learnt that without busy schedules and packed weekends we can all start breathe again and bond as a family. I’ve taken time to consider that each person has a different story. COVID-19 has been difficult for everyone but often in very different ways.
 
This year has not been without some positives. I’ve connected with my clients and colleagues on a personal level more than ever before. We have loved sharing human stories. I’ve checked in on neighbours, which I’ve not done before. We’ve taken time as an Account Team to talk about the issues that really bother us, such as how we treat race and how we can encourage better inclusion, which has been both inspiring and awakening.
 
Finally, I’ve taken time out for myself. Time to check in on myself, to see how I’m coping. Sometimes, the answer is good and other times not, and I know I need to start taking more walks or switch off my laptop in the evening. I welcome the move back towards normality that 2021 will inevitably bring but I truly hope the lessons learnt in 2020 will not be forgotten. #staysafe #staykind
 
 

Sam Neath, Employee Resource Group Framework Lead


Well, what a strange year we have had! But it’s certainly been an interesting one for diversity and inclusion, with positives and negatives having come out of the pandemic.
 
With many more working from home and having to adjust their working patterns to care for family members, we have had our eyes opened to different, more inclusive working practices. Previously, employees weren’t necessarily able to work remotely, but now we’ve been forced to – and importantly business has survived! This is a welcome change for many, who have been crying out for more flexibility.
 
However, many individuals have really struggled with this new normal. Lack of face-to-face contact has affected the mental health of many of us, as well as impacting working relationships. Many marginalised communities have also struggled with the limited contact with friends, reduced access to healthcare services and perhaps been locked down with unsupportive family or housemates.
 
The important lesson to take away from all this is that we’re all different. For some, working from home is perfect for their lifestyle and makes life much easier, whereas others need to be in the office to maintain good mental health and productivity. As a business, we should ensure our future working practices are agile enough to enable people to work in whatever way suits them best.
 
 

Annabel Snaith, Account Director, Home Affairs


Trust iconThis time last year I had high hopes for the world in 2020. I’m sort of laughing/crying about that now. But as I look back and sift for things we might carry forwards to 2021 two positive themes emerge: trust and teams.
 
Trusting in the process, trusting in government advice, trusting that everyone is doing their best. As a career-long consultant it’s incredible to me that the overnight shift to working from home has smashed right through the previous trust barrier – held by both clients and employers – about whether remote-working was effective. Now everyone has grown to trust it, it looks like it’s here to stay. We also saw an increased reliance on what we and our clients already knew; relationships which already existed and an emphasis on known and trusted partners and answers.
 
Teams is my other theme because I believe we have never valued the various teams we belong to more. Perhaps because everyone from the postman to IT support have all played a role in keeping my world revolving this year, but also because now that many of our interactions are reduced to the simple connections of conversation, such dialogue is much more human and real. I’ve noticed that within our company and with our clients; 2020 brought out the team-player in all of us.
 
 

Charles Newhouse, Global Consulting Director


A lot of column inches have been written this year about the pandemic forcing the world's largest social experiment into remote working. For a good many firms, the experience has been largely positive; discovering that most employees can work remotely responsibly and productively. Whilst there are recognised downsides to extended remote working, most firms are planning to adopt a much more flexible working model in the future.
 
However, many companies are likely to be in for a surprise in the form of FOMO (fear of missing out.) It will not take many to drift back to the office before you reach an inflection point and suddenly find most people back in the office. Firms will have to take cultural change seriously if they want to use the pandemic to catalyse a genuinely different permanent future style of working. With vaccines just around the corner, the window of opportunity to start planning and delivering your cultural change programme is rapidly closing.  
 
When it comes to transformation, many firms had been recently content to take a wait and see approach to digital, pausing until there is a pressing need to transform. However, the events of 2020 mean that many have both received a stimulus but also learned that taking an agile and iterative approach to business change can deliver effective results quickly. This is likely to embolden many organisations to embrace technology change and experiment with new digital business models faster in the future.
 
But don't mistake modernisation for transformation. I believe that the pandemic has inspired a huge wave of digital innovation that we will see arriving in the form of completely novel services 12-18 months from now. This will be focused on delivering new digital first experiences, enabling and enhancing customer and delivering colleague intimacy at a distance. If you're not laser focused on seeking this new wave out, and fundamentally challenging how you engage, build intimacy and enrich the ways in which you collaborate, you may actually miss the real transformation opportunity.
 
 

Mivy James, Head of Consulting for National Security


Communication iconThere’s not a single person who hasn’t had their world turned upside down in some way by the pandemic and our original thoughts about what the year might hold for us have surely proven to be completely wrong.
 
I fully recognise that I’ve been one of the lucky ones so far, with family keeping in good health, having space to set up as a good home office and remaining fully occupied at work. But back in March I did have a little panic – how on earth does a Head of Consulting operate without access to client sites where clients and our teams are based?
 
It turned out that everyone else was concerned with the same thing and suddenly one of my interest areas in recent years – digital collaboration – became a really hot topic. The fear of suddenly finding myself scrambling around to stay useful and occupied was a false alarm – I’ve been busier than ever, despite no longer having to contend with a daily commute.
 
2020 turned into the year of virtual conferences, digital transformation everywhere and dramatic changes to ways of working that we all recognise will be enduring. But when it’s safe to do so, I very much look forward to meeting people in person again, although that won’t be every day, and I even relish the prospect of some quiet time on the train.
 
 

Paul Spedding, Head of Pre-Sales, Defence


2020 has been a year in which MoD Strategic Command has stepped up a gear, moving from consideration of what the future will look like to the development of strategic plans as to how to embrace it and seek superiority within it. We, in Applied Intelligence Defence, have broken through in establishing a profile within Strategic Command, through our thoughtful discussion forums, Client Conversations and innovative and collaborative behaviours, which have aided and supported MoD in its thinking and will continue to do so.
 
2021 will be an exciting year. MoD intended spend in our core capability areas is on a scale we might have hardly dared to imagine. We will see fundamental shifts in focus, changes in how industry works with MoD and how capability is delivered. It is up to us across our organisation to stand up and deliver on our responsibility to lead the capture of this digital and cyber business. To be the tip of the BAE Systems spear.
 
 

Anna Whitmore, Principle Consultant


Cyber Power iconGrowing up my nickname was ‘Pollyanna’ – just like in the book and film, I was always unrealistically positive in every situation. Today, even if I were to dig deep to my inner, younger Pollyanna, it is impossible to be blindly optimistic about 2020. So instead of trying to find silver linings I thought I would instead focus on what I have learnt this year.
 
We are resilient and we are innovative. I am grateful to work in an industry that can carry on almost as normal in large parts thanks to technology, and I absolutely recognise that this is not possible everywhere. Human hands are required to conduct a surgery, teach our children and stack the shelves of supermarkets, and we most definitely would not function without these key workers and technology will not solve these problems.
 
However, one area where I really believe technology has impacted the ways of working for the better, is in law enforcement. Traditionally characterised by the need to be there in person, many areas of policing which are able to work remotely have done so thanks to rapid rollout of improved technology. It has proved just how quickly we can change when forced to do so – who would have believed it if we were to rewind 365 days!
 
 

Mark Rayner, Head of Consulting Financial Services


There’s no doubt that 2020 has been an incredibly challenging year, both professionally and personally. 
The rapid shift to remote working demonstrated just how quickly organisations can transform when they have to, creating new opportunities in terms of work/life balance and enabling people who find it hard to make themselves heard in a face to face setting.
 
Throughout this time, our teams have demonstrated the very best of our industry, adapting to new ways of working, solving problems creatively and continuing to support clients who were battling to keep the lights on.
 
However, rapid change often brings new risks and it’s clear that we need to be creative in making space for the human connections that we used to take for granted. This is an area that will be key in 2021 if we’re to ensure the new ways of working are sustainable and bring long term benefit for all.
 
 

Chris Poole, Head of Pre-Sales, Government


Disruptive Acceleration icon2020 for me has been the year of disruptive acceleration. We have talked about business disruptors such as cloud, 5G and so on for a while. But nothing has disrupted how our clients and we operate more than a global pandemic.
 
With my optimistic outlook on life, it has had some positive consequences in how organisations have reacted to it. Firstly, it has really accelerated customer digital transformation and change programmes – with organisations doing things in months they would typically have done in years. It has changed what normal is – with less time commuting, and more time at home to relax and spend time with the family.
 
And finally, with great flexibility comes great responsibility – those organisations who embrace high levels of trust between employees and employers will, in my view, always do better.
 
 

Sandy Boxall, Director of Defence Digital Transformation


In this column last year I foolishly quipped that after our successes on the Navy’s Project Nelson that 2020 should be the best yet. How little I knew! Technology and delivery wise it certainly was, even if everything else went to hell in a handbasket.
 
I’m immensely proud of our team for a conversion to full digital delivery in lockdown with barely a break in stride. Across the UK and in all sectors, a lot of people have worked incredibly hard in very challenging circumstances to keep things on track and that needs to be recognised and, indeed, celebrated.
 
Looking back we were so naive last year, with no idea what was about to hit us. Post pandemic the world has changed and our beliefs about what is possible have been changed with it, and they simply cannot be reset. However, while many of us did convert to full digital operations, we simply put our traditional working practices online and spent the whole time on the phone instead. I believe that we’ve only just scratched the surface and that working practices need to evolve much further.
 
You always learn the most from the hardest times – I hope that humanity takes the right lessons into 2021 and start to work together more effectively. Digital transformation can and must continue to improve working practices, efficiency, quality of life, and must reduce the environmental impacts of work. Perhaps 2021 truly can be the best yet?
 
 

Mike Stratford, Director, Applied Intelligence Laboratories


Technology iconI wish I had kept a diary as looking back, the first three to four months of the pandemic were surreal. But as children descended from various universities – it was so nice to have everyone safe and home – work nonetheless continued.
 
A few of us have been able to continue to meet our clients (Dstl in my case) both in our offices and theirs from May/June, which maintained some sense of normality. And then, in the middle of all this, my mother in law passed away. We attended the funeral on the Isle of Wight in mid-May on another glorious day. Only three of us there. It was sad but the small number of people made it more poignant and more moving than had it been a big affair, so maybe the year has seen some glimpse of silver linings in some things.   
 
What have I noticed about what went well? The calls – which have hardly stopped since it all began back in March. It’s nice that we often have time at the start and end of these conversations to do the coffee machine/water cooler chat.  This has maintained the connection we have as people and no doubt helped with people’s mental health.
 
With news of the vaccines, it has felt like we have finally turned a corner (famous last words). Hopefully 2021 will be better than 2020. Have a good Christmas and stay safe. 
 
 

Nick Rhodes, Business Consultant


Our response as a society to what we value – our neighbours, our children’s education, fairness as well as our health – and how the global village has been made manifest on our screens 24/7 should cause us also to quickly think: what’s next?
 
The resilience of humanity to cope with rapid change, the ability to accelerate development cycles at ‘warp speed’ through mass collaboration, the patience of the public to carry on whilst under periods of ‘house arrest’ are all positives, but where was all the data collaboration from day one?
 
The much derided GDPR had anticipated the need to share data in a pandemic and data protection pros were quick off the mark to advocate regulation as an enabler, not a blocker. However, organisations’ scenario planning probably hadn’t extended to ‘risk assessment of not sharing’ (as advocated in the draft updated data sharing code of practice) in an emergency situation. What lessons will we learn from this?
 
But the bottom line is that in 2020 the tide went out but we coped; people connected digitally as never before – e.g. 75% of GP sessions are now virtual – we’ve acted globally and thought locally – but we’ve also spent abundantly and exposed inequality. The newly digitally empowered are sure to surge back as vaccines take hold and the new normal becomes a reality – are we ready to withstand the tide of expectation in 2021?
 

 

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