Amid the pandemic, every one of us is forced to live with the “new normal”. Dr. Karndee Leopairote, Chief Advisor for Future Foresight and Innovation, Future Tales Lab, MQDC, as a future and innovation forecaster, shows us a comprehensive picture of the new normal which presents both crisis and opportunity. When the world must adapt, the question may not lie in what we must change forever or temporarily to handle the immediate threat, but what we can do out of this situation which the whole world must confront together. 

“We are working from home by force right now, but soon it will be by choice. We’ll see the development of organisations where employees can choose their work days and place. Bangkok people used to choose their residence based on convenient location and had to compromise on space or privacy/security. We’ll need satellite cities to disperse the central areas with more effective resource management.

The Covid-19 pandemic is accelerating unemployment, including the workforce related to tourism and service industries as well as the effect of digital transformation. It’s worrying if you’re in one of those workforce categories that don’t serve future needs. What the government must do the most right now is to reskill the whole workforce system. Even those in employment are still heedlessly at risk. I believe that the elements of the future workforce are people with 3 types of skills. We need those who think quick and act quick as Decision Maker and Doer at the same time, those who look out for new opportunities as Opportunist, and those who are ready to look beyond the immediate as Visionary. Try to have all three of them in our organisation and we’ll make it through any situation.

On the bright side, Covid-19 is a lesson for the new gen on the importance of saving, investment and freedom from debt. They will be more cautious in spending. In time of crisis, we can clearly see the vulnerability of household economy. The problem of the urban poor taking on debts that create no value must be quickly solved. That’s because office workers come first on the urban poor listing. They have very high travel and communication costs which are hard to reduce so they have to cut other costs such as food, health or even their children education. If such costs are cut, they will enter the poverty cycle and it will be difficult to fix. From now on we can no longer sit on our hands. To prepare for the uncertainty, we must always have a backup plan because this situation makes us realize that nothing is certain. So we must be ready to learn new things and adapt, that’s the most important thing.”

 
 

Interview Date :  29 April 2020

Interview and Edit : Patcharin Pattanaboonpaiboon | Image : Surachet Soparattanadilok