May 5, 2020

The Future Has Changed—Welcome to The New Tomorrow

Most of you are in the midst of prepping for reopening, or if you’re lucky, are already welcoming guests through your gates (albeit in ways you might never have imagined). While the next several weeks will be different for all of us—masks, temperature checks, one-way routes, and limited guest interactions—the world beyond has changed even more.

Last week, the Zoo Advisors team hosted the fifth session in our Crisis Solutions webinar series to discuss what we’ve termed “the new tomorrow.” There are seismic shifts happening and we want people to think beyond the immediate time horizon.

This excerpt from a recent Wall Street Journal article “Getting the Restart Right: How to Lead When Nobody Has a Map,” seemed apropos.

“When the Great Restart begins, many leaders will fall back on an idea once espoused by Machiavelli, who wrote: ‘The great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities.’ They will try to reduce the anxiety in the air by restoring familiar routines, procedures and traditions. The problem is that business, as we knew it, cannot be recovered. It will need to be reinvented.

Over the last eight weeks, we’ve talked about “never waste a good crisis.” Well, this is the time to look closely at who we are, who we need to be, and to reimagine how we get there. This is about rethinking and reimagining the next six to eight months and beyond.

To accomplish that, we discussed trends, cultural changes, and issues we’ve been watching that have the power to upend how we operate and deliver on our mission.

Five areas to watch include:

1.     Adoption Pace of Technology Increases—Existing technologies will be implemented at much higher rate.

  • Contactless transactions

  • Online ticketing

  • Virtual is the new reality

  • The traditional front gate experience is changing dramatically

  • How can these new technologies be implemented quickly and seamlessly? Who can help you get it done?

2.     Borders are Blurred—Between work, home, and school, if there’s one thing this pandemic has taught us, it’s that we live in a globally connected world.

  • Being engaged from everywhere and anywhere

  • School is home and home is work

  • We’re all connected

  • Education is no longer place-based

  • Office-Home-Work-Life (the lines have further blurred)

  • How will education and engagement change for zoos and aquariums?

3.     The Strong and Innovative Will Thrive—Those that think creatively and consolidate their influence will succeed.

  • Consolidation may happen

  • Collaboration is needed and may be rewarded by funders

  • Identify your areas of expertise and focus on them; partner with others to deliver on areas that are not your strength

  • How can zoos and aquariums partner on a greater scale to improve efficiencies?

4.     Our Home is Our Castle

  • Competition from the couch will increase

  • We learned we can survive (and work) without leaving—do we need all those offices?

  • How will we motivate people to come out to our facilities?

5.     We Crave a Sense of Belonging

  • We need social interaction and engagement

  • We want to be part of something larger and have meaning

  • We crave connections and interactions

  • How can zoos and aquariums meet those needs?

These five trends can be viewed with both positives and negatives. You may not fully agree with all of them. Nevertheless, you should take notice of how the world has and is shifting and how we as a profession and movement can take advantage of them…together.

To download the presentation, click here.

To view the webinar video recording, click here. Enter password: 0i*9=C&2

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