I must admit, while I hate the pandemic and the devastation it has rained upon millions, I am not hating the quarantine. I am taking advantage of this quiet time to take uncrowded walks, and for the first time ever, I can hear birds singing from my balcony overlooking downtown San Diego. The air has cleared, and my newly cleansed view goes on practically forever.
Truthfully, my business has not slowed. Cannabis companies are still selling products and need well-designed child resistant packaging. However, even though our team is still working as hard as ever, there is a new spirit taking hold. It feels a bit like the Christmas season, in that nowadays people are taking stock of what’s really important: connecting with old friends, sharing more time with family, and spreading more love than usual—they’re just doing it from at least six-feet apart.
At Hippo Premium Packaging, we are using this time to develop an exciting new technology that will be announced and launched at a later date. While I can’t yet share details, I can say that this project will enable smaller businesses to have cost-effective access to the same packaging and design resources as the largest companies in the market.
This technology “equalizer” seems especially pertinent during these troubling times, when small businesses are struggling, and millions are out of work.
And we are not the only company that is changing, adapting, and inventing during this pandemic. According to ABC News, there has been a shift in the way companies conduct business.
At many companies, employees are becoming more valued. Business leaders are now referring to their hired help as “stakeholders,” not just workers. Car companies are telling us that we can take a break from payments. Oil companies are donating millions to help fight the COVID-19 outbreak. Walmart is giving bonuses to employees. And hotel operators are telling us to avoid travel.
Yes, the times they are a-changin’.
An article in Time Magazine by Bill George, senior fellow at Harvard Business School and former chief executive officer for Medtronic, said for all the terrible tragedy caused by COVID-19, the turmoil is unlocking innovation.
“Companies who figure out how to use today’s adversity to invent tomorrow’s workplace will be the ones that prosper in the long term,” he wrote.
The fact is this pandemic is forcing companies to rethink their purpose. As businesses struggle to survive, many could emerge with better social practices.
In a new book, Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire, Harvard Professor Rebecca Henderson said the coronavirus crisis may spur some positive changes.
“In some important ways, we’ve mistaken focusing on profits as a goal, when it really should be a means,” she said. “I think one of the things the pandemic is doing is making that argument very clear: Human society is about more than making money.”
Henderson went on to discuss inequality and how it is now easier to raise these issues with business leaders.
“Business people are seeing what we’re all seeing, which is people being forced to put themselves in danger without adequate pay because they don’t have healthcare or they don’t have sick leave or savings,” she said. “The fact that we have this enormous fraction of the population, which is living pretty much right at the edge, and now threatens to go right over it, is no longer something that companies don’t have to worry about.”
Furthering her argument, Henderson said the pandemic could lead to an improved society in many ways, such as more investment in green technologies, increased access to healthcare, and the creation of a living wage.
This reminds me of the expression, “A rising tide raises all ships.” I believe this pandemic and the economic chaos that has followed gives our society an opportunity to look at itself, right some wrongs, and improve conditions for everyone.
We are a village. We depend on each other. We will get through this together and come out of it stronger.
Now I am getting back to my balcony, my wine, and my view. Peace be with you.
Kary Radestock brings more than 20 years of award-winning print and packaging expertise to some of the top brands in the world. She launched Hippo Premium Packaging in order to fill a need for professional, compliant packaging, brand development, and graphic design to the emerging cannabis industry.