Where is the best place to find “the next normal” news and information?
There are a number of websites that can act as an excellent resource for news about what McKinsey has dubbed “the next normal” – that is, the post-COVID era.
For business leaders, staying current on news about the pandemic and the post-COVID normal is essential, for several reasons:
- Current events are unfolding rapidly and can change overnight, impacting or disrupting business operations in the process
- In order to stay agile, business leaders need access to real-time information about the virus
- The dynamics of the current pandemic will have a significant impact on the shape of the era that follows
Below, we’ll cover some of the best places to find news about the pandemic, the post-viral era, and we’ll also answer some important questions about the next normal, starting with the most fundamental question of all:
What Does “the Next Normal” Mean?
McKinsey has been using “the next normal” to refer to an impending global paradigm that will look far different from the years leading up to this point.
McKinsey’s global managing partner Kevin Sneader and senior partner Shubham Singhal share how leaders can begin navigating to “the next normal.” Tell us how your organization is responding to the #coronavirus crisis along these dimensions. https://t.co/bm8nfm5esn pic.twitter.com/SgduUYmHfr— McKinsey & Company (@McKinsey) March 24, 2020
According to this industry-leading research firm, the arrival of that paradigm has been greatly accelerated due to the current pandemic.
When the crisis has been contained, the firm claims, we will return to a sense of normalcy, but that normal will be different on many levels:
- People’s expectations and perspectives will have changed as citizens, customers, and employees
- Leaders will have to reimagine their businesses and rebuild strategies for a competitive landscape that has changed
- New insights, strategies, and systems will emerge that will improve resilience against these types of events in the future
Ultimately, the world will undergo significant structural, social, and economic changes as a result of this crisis.
Such massive changes imply, among other things, that businesses must also change in order to survive and succeed during that era.
What Type of Post-COVID (Next Normal) News Is Most Valuable?
Some professionals may feel that any site delivering “next normal” insights can be useful.
To a certain extent, this is true – at least, as long as the news and insights are credible.
However, there are a few problems with that research strategy:
- Everyone’s time is limited
- There is so much news about COVID-19, the new normal, and the next normal, that it would be impossible to filter out the signal from the noise
- Quality control can also become a problem, since there are so many sources online
- The actual content of a given news story or source may not actually be very relevant and useful
For these reasons, businesses should focus on news that…
- Comes from authoritative sources, such as global consulting firms and specialized news sites
- Is strictly relevant to “the next normal,” the post-COVID paradigm, or the chosen research criteria
- Is high quality and offers significant practical value
In the sections below, we will keep these considerations in mind, focusing first and foremost on news and sites that are authoritative, valuable, and relevant to businesses.
Let’s start by looking at some of the most useful next normal news sites online, consulting firms and technology companies.
Next Normal News and Insights: Consulting and Tech Companies
The COVID-19 outbreak is transforming the entire global economy from top to bottom, and while many industries have been hit hard by the outbreak, the pandemic has actually acted as a catalyst for digital transformation and technological innovation.
Technology firms, therefore, are an excellent news source, especially industry-leading firms whose solutions and insights can aid businesses during crisis.
WalkMe’s digital adoption solution, for instance, helps organizations automate and streamline technology adoption, onboarding, and training, which are critical functions for a remote workforce. Their blog, like many of the others mentioned here, can act as an excellent source for information about the digital path businesses must take through this crisis.
Consulting firms’ websites are another excellent source of information on the pandemic and the next normal. While technology firms often offer information that is specifically relevant to a particular business unit or function, consulting firms tend to provide high-level overviews, predictions, and recommendations.
Both types of blogs are suitable for researchers, and we’ll look at a few of the best ones in this section:
McKinsey, the world’s leading business consulting firm, coined the term and they naturally have quite a few insights to offer.
It is only fitting that they should top the list of next normal news sources.
For their insights, it is a good idea to start with their article that covers the next normal and the coronavirus.
For ongoing updates, visit their web page dedicated to the next normal, which features a variety of insights and predictions about the impending paradigm shift.
A number of interesting videos can also be found on YouTube, which focus on emerging and future trends, as well as the coronavirus itself.
Capgemini also presents news and insights related to the next normal.
However, it is important to note here that not all organizations use the term “the next normal.”
“The new normal” is also commonly used, as well as other terms, such as “post-COVID,” “post-coronavirus,” or even “the Never Normal” in the case of Accenture.
Terms, as we mention in the research tips section, should be far less important than the actual content of the news or insights. Although McKinsey’s reputation certainly lends weight to the term “the next normal,” many other research firms may only reference the term in passing, if at all.
Regardless, the research firm Capgemini also maintains its own web page dedicated to news and research about the post-COVID new normal.
Topics include contactless payments, supply chain disruption, leadership, and much more.
Earnst and Young
Earnst and Young’s COVID-19 page presents updated information about the impact of the coronavirus on various sectors, such as automotive, private equity, and retail.
As with many of the other consultancies covered here, Earnst and Young recognizes that we are moving to a new paradigm, but they often don’t dwell on the term, “the next normal.”
This doesn’t detract from the value of their news and insights, however, since they offer in-depth information about specific industries, as well as an overarching “COVID-19 Enterprise Resilience Framework.”
Gartner’s COVID-19 Resource Center tends to focus mostly on advice, models, and frameworks, rather than news.
They also have pages dedicated to specific industries, such as:
- Customer Service and Support
- Supply Chain
However, like the other sites covered in this guide, Gartner’s page is regularly updated with new material.
Business professionals who want information related to strategy and planning – especially those within the industries mentioned above – will find Gartner’s content very useful.
Accenture is a technology company and consultancy, but their purview is so broad that virtually any business can benefit from their insights and news related to the next normal, which they call “the Never Normal.”
Accenture’s COVID-19 page provide predictions, original research, and business recommendations that encompass:
- Business Strategy
- The Workforce
They also have analyses and reports that cover a long line-up of industries, including chemicals, commercial banking, oil and gas, healthcare, and many more.
The consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) maintains branches across the world and they regularly present new research, insights, and reports for specific regions and countries, as well as at the global level.
PwC’s COVID-19 resources include:
- A diagnostic that can help organizations assess the impact of the crisis on their business and their ability to respond
- Six key areas that organizations should focus on, such as crisis management, the workforce, and strategy
- A section of articles that is regularly updated with new news, insights, and recommendations
Their global website can be a good starting point for research, but to gain more local insights, researchers should drill down into PwC’s region-specific sites.
Deloitte, another global consulting firm, also maintains branches in countries around the world.
Their website recommends combating COVID-19 with resilience, and their global site covers topics such as resilience, reopening the workplace, scenario planning, industry-specific content, and more.
As with many of the other global consultancies here, Deloitte’s branches will offer unique information and insights, so it can be useful to drill down to one’s own region or industry for more relevant information.
However – and this goes for the other firms mentioned here as well – useful insights can be gleaned from branches that aren’t located within one’s own region.
One analysis from Deloitte UK, for example, offers a scenario planning framework that can help organizations “prepare for the ‘next normal.’”
Models such as this can be useful regardless of location, so it often pays to leverage search engines and search operators when looking for highly targeted information (see below for more).
Boston Consulting Group (BCG) regularly publishes analyses, thought leadership, and insights for businesses.
At the time of this writing BCG’s COVID-19 page, COVID-19 and the New Leadership Agenda, covers topics such as:
- How to restart work safely
- How deep tech will impact the new reality
- Content and news related to specific industries and business functions
- A multi-part series that explores a number of key business topics related to navigating the pandemic
This last series of reports would be a good place to start for professionals who want a thorough understanding of BCG’s thoughts on navigating the pandemic and thriving during what they dub “the new normal”
Bain and Company
Bain and Company’s Coronavirus Insights page provides content that includes:
- Industries, such as financial services and healthcare
- Business functions and activities, such as automation and digital marketing
- A range of content types, such as infographics and articles
As with the other firms mentioned here, their content includes industry analyses, future predictions, business advice, and much more.
While they also offer news and ideas that relate to the next normal, they often use other terms, such as “post-pandemic” or “post-Covid-19.”
Booz Allen Hamilton
Booz Allen Hamilton is a technology-focused consulting firm that leverages expertise in several digital fields, including engineering, cybersecurity, and analytics.
This well-known firm offers its services and products to clients on multiple continents and in several markets, including:
- Financial Services
- Homeland Security and Law Enforcement
- Civil Government
Business professionals with a special interest in the specialties covered above can learn more by visiting their page dedicated to COVID-19, Coronavirus Resources and Insights.
L.E.K. Consulting serves a wide range of industries, including healthcare, construction, education, financial services, and more.
Their expertise and service solutions range from data and digital to strategy and transformation.
At the time of this writing, the company has no specific page dedicated to COVID-19 research and insights.
However, since the current crisis has dominated the entire global economy, it should come as no surprise that all of their recent perspectives revolve specifically around COVID-19.
Topics that they cover on their insights page include:
- COVID-19 and the growing digital divide in industrials
- COVID-19 building and construction perspectives
- COVID-19’s impact on professional sports
- COVID-19 and direct selling
They have also decided to conduct studies and research on consumers’ response to the crisis, in order to help businesses better understand how the consumer mindset is shifting.
The third edition of the survey covers questions such as the perception of the severity of the outbreak, changes to consumer spending, perceptions about the future of business travel, and more.
Roland Berger is strategy consulting firm based out of Munich, founded by a German entrepreneur of the same name.
The firm serves more than a dozen industries, providing guidance in areas such as IT transformation, transformation, operations, and more.
Roland Berger’s COVID-19 page is continuously updated and offers a wealth of information for the business leader, including:
- Action plans to implement at the organizational level, such as a scenario analysis and a 360-degree checkup
- Operations crisis response strategies
- Recommendations and guidance for specific industries, such as automotive and fashion
- A macro analysis of the economic impact
Also, they acknowledge that the world will be entering a “new normal” and that businesses must take action now in order to prepare and succeed.
International Data Corporation (IDC) is a provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events.
They regularly perform research that is specifically geared towards IT and technology, making their content useful for CIOs, IT professionals, and any business interested in understanding COVID-19’s impact on technology industries.
IDC’s COVID-19 resources include:
- IT market analyses
- Webinars discussing outbreak-related topics
- IT spending forecasts
Interestingly, as of this writing, they project that despite the current dip in overall IT spend, beginning in 2021, IT spending will increase beyond their pre-COVID projections.
Their research also suggests that, despite the plunge in overall IT budgets, digital transformation will grow in 2020 and beyond.
HFS Research analyzes and provides “visionary insight” into innovative technologies that are transforming today’s economy, such as automation, AI, IoT, and blockchain.
They do not have a page specifically tailored to the COVID-19 crisis, though much of their content explores how businesses are responding to the crisis – and how organizations can survive and thrive after the crisis has abated.
Their insights cover topics such as:
- Why mid-level managers must improve their soft skills during the COVID-19 outbreak
- How one organization moved 100% of its staff to work from home
- Why another organization chose to invest in cloud solutions for the post-COVID era
- A 4-stage “Paradigm Shock” model that demonstrates why people must be unleashed to fuel success in the next normal
HFS agrees with many other research firms that we will be entering a new “paradigm,” and they also agree with most of those firms’ recommendations that both people and technology must pilot the organization into the next paradigm.
WalkMe, mentioned earlier, pioneered the digital adoption platform (DAP), a software training platform that provides in-app walkthroughs, automated onboarding and training features, and more.
WalkMe’s blog includes articles that cover a number of topics related to digital adoption and transformation, as well as next normal news and insights, such as:
- Guides that explain what the next normal is and how it impacts businesses
- How to train and manage a remote workforce
- How to maintain business continuity during the crisis
- A next normal checklist
Recent research indicates that spending on IT projects and digital transformation will actually increase during the crisis.
After all, in the midst of these uncertain conditions, a wide range of technology trends, such as remote working and telehealth, are more relevant than ever.
“In Britain, less than 1% of initial medical consultations took place via video in 2019. Under lockdown, 100% are remote.” 🤯— Future of SaaS (@fo_saas) May 27, 2020
Insights from Covid-19 with Matthew Bigelow, @WalkMeInc including how to empower your employees and make happy customers 💡 pic.twitter.com/a1qXkHUgCO
Given these global trends, WalkMe’s blog can serve as an excellent resource for timely and useful information to organizations that want to streamline and economize their own transformation programs.
Next Normal News: Media Outlets
Mainstream media outlets will use the term “the next normal” far less than any of the companies mentioned above. After all, “the next normal” was coined by McKinsey – it only makes sense that the term is used predominantly within business circles.
For that reason, it is important to expand the scope of the research to include other related terms, as mentioned elsewhere in this guide.
When discussing the idea that the post-COVID era will bring with it a number of changes, one of the most commonly used phrases is “the new normal.”
It is also worth noting that not only will the phrase vary, but the actual content and type of news will vary as well.
Business news blogs, for example, will offer next normal news that is tailored towards business professionals, while mainstream news sites will offer content aimed at a more general audience. Each can be useful, however, depending on the purpose of one’s own research.
To start off, let’s look at business news sites.
Business News Sites and Niche Sites
There are quite a few publications, blogs, and websites that cater to business professionals.
Some are industry-specific, such as CIO.com, while others offer business content to a more general audience, such as Forbes or the International Business Times.
Here is a list of both types of business websites:
- The Next Normal Blog
- The Financial Times
- Supply Chain Dive
- International Business Times
- Harvard Business Review
- MIT Sloan Management Review
This list is by no means comprehensive.
Many of the sites listed here, such as Forbes, are well-known and widely respected. Also, the last two on the list come from two of the most reputable educational institutions in the United States, so they can also be an excellent source of high-quality news and analysis.
However, since so many quality business sites can be found online, it pays to dig deeper and look for sites that are specific to one’s own industry or locale – which, in that case, would require looking to major news outlets for next normal news.
Mainstream Media Sites
Again, mainstream media sites will rarely use the term “the next normal,” but all of them can provide valuable information, such as:
- Stories that speculate about “the new normal”
- Information about government mandates and restrictions
- Industry-specific news
- Current trends that will permanently affect the economy and the global landscape
- News that can offer perspectives on customers’ changing needs and expectations
Like the list of business news sites, this one is very partial, but can serve as a useful starting point.
- The Associated Press
- Local News Sites
- Regional News Sites
Naturally, every news site will provide an overwhelming amount of information about the current state of the pandemic.
Business researchers may not find all of that content useful or relevant to their needs, which is why it pays to use search engines, Google Alerts, and other research techniques to stay focused (see below for a few research tips).
When used properly, social media can become yet another useful resource for up-to-date news about the next normal.
Certain platforms, such as Twitter, can act as excellent discovery platforms, since a great many business professionals use the site to share useful content and news.
However, as we all know, not all social media content is authoritative, accurate, or useful. For that reason, it is perhaps more important to search judiciously and proactively focus on relevant, high-quality news sources.
Social media platforms, when combined with the other sites and sources covered in this article, can be very useful news channels – especially when using the right research techniques.
Next, we’ll look at a few tips that can help business professionals save time and get better results from their research efforts.
The Next Normal: Research Tips and Techniques
So far, we have covered quite a few websites, blogs, and resources that can provide next normal news, insights, and information.
In fact, it’s far too much information for a single individual – or even a team – to digest on a regular basis.
Also, visiting each website individually to check for updates will simply waste too much time.
Luckily, there are several ways to accelerate and automate the research process, allowing researchers to stay up-to-date with minimal effort.
Here are a few tips that can help improve both speed and quality when looking for next normal news:
- “The next normal” isn’t always called “the next normal.” As mentioned elsewhere in this guide, a great many research firms and businesses predict that we are about to enter a new global paradigm. While some of them use the term “the next normal,” this term mostly belongs to McKinsey. For that reason, it is important to look for the same concept that may be hiding behind other terms, such as “the new normal,” “the post-COVID era,” “the next paradigm,” and so forth.
- Set specific research goals. Typically, a business professional who is researching news about the next normal will have a specific purpose in mind. Some may want to learn about how government restrictions and mandates will impact them, some may want to learn about developments within their industry, and others may want up-to-date business advice. Having a clearly defined purpose will help filter out irrelevant websites and information, saving time and reducing information overload.
- Sign up for newsletters. One of the easiest ways to receive up-to-date information from many of the sites above is to sign up for their email newsletters. The vast majority of businesses and news sites offer some type of email newsletter, and a number of businesses have created newsletters specifically related to COVID-19.
- Filter out the noise with search engines and search operators. Search engines have a number of tools and features that can trim away unneeded search results. Many of us are familiar with the ones that appear directly under the search box, allowing us to define a time frame, a region, restrict results to news sites, and so forth. However, search operators can provide even greater control over the search results. For instance, “filetype:pdf” only returns pdf documents and “site:mckinsey.com” will only return results from McKinsey.
- Automate the research process with alerts and feed readers. Google Alerts allows users to receive an email any time a new web page appears that matches a search query, such as “COVID-19 Deloitte,” “digital transformation next normal,” or “the next normal coronavirus.” Alerts such as these can dramatically lighten the research load, especially when used in conjunction with RSS feed readers and services that convert web pages into RSS feeds.
With the right combination of automation, apps, and targeted research, it will be much easier to stay abreast of news and information about the next normal.
Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention again that our blog, the-next-normal.com, offers constant news, updates, and insights about the next normal.
Final Thoughts: Insights Must Lead to Action
In this guide, we have only covered a list of consulting firms, technology companies, and websites that can provide useful news and information about the next normal.
We have not actually explored any of their advice.
Recommendations naturally vary from company to company, but one common theme stands out.
Business leaders must lead change now in order to survive and thrive during the post-COVID “next normal.”
Since today’s crisis will lead us to a new paradigm that is different in so many ways, organizations must concentrate on several key areas:
- Protect the organization’s people today, so they can innovate tomorrow. HFS Research conducted a survey of major enterprises and found that most of those organizations wanted to protect their people. Only a small number of companies engaged in activities that would harm the workforce, such as layoffs. However, the research firm also claimed that protection is only useful up to a point. Employees must ultimately be “unleashed” in order to power an agile, innovative business during the next paradigm.
- Build agility into the fabric of the business and its culture. Agility, flexibility, and adaptability are more necessary than ever. Since resurgences in local infections or a second wave could result in more disruptive health restrictions, businesses must be ready to shift directions at a moment’s notice. However, Accenture suggests that the post-COVID era will also be unstable and unpredictable for a certain period of time. Even after the outbreak has subsided, therefore, businesses must stay agile, innovative, and responsive.
- Cultivate a digitally mature organization and a digitally mature organization. A digitally savvy workforce powers a digitally mature organization, and both will be needed in the next normal. COVID-19 has, as mentioned, propelled several digital technologies and trends forward by months, if not years. In the coming months and years, the world will become more digital than pre-COVID predictions could have anticipated, which makes digital a necessity, not just an advantage.
- Take action now. We can fully expect that the future business landscape will be defined by rapid change. The longer businesses wait to plan, pivot, and change, the less prepared they will be when the next normal arrives. Though every business activity carries risk, especially major activities such as pivots and organizational changes, the cost of inaction will almost certainly be higher.
Business continuity certainly remains vital and it will remain so during such uncertain times.
“WalkMe has never used WalkMe more.”— WalkMe (@WalkMeInc) May 29, 2020
Like every other company, we couldn’t have predicted the level of adaptation required when #COVID19 hit. But unlike many other companies, we had our own #digitaladoption solution to turn to.https://t.co/5FHZcgBOD1
By mid-2020, though, the crisis response phase of the outbreak began to give way to a longer, protracted period of muted growth and tenuous economic stability.
During this period, the world waits for a vaccine and, in the meantime, certain industries will stagnate, while others, such as certain technology industries, will gain momentum.
In short: the post-COVID economy will look far different from the pre-COVID economy.
Organizations that want to survive in that era must abandon crisis response plans and instead begin reimagining their business for a new and different age – “the next normal.”