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We need to work together and take care of each other  

Solving COVID-19 – Stephen van Coller, EOH Group CEO

The fourth industrial revolution, already impacting every aspect of our daily life, has been accelerated by the world’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. When physical distance has to be maintained to keep us safe, digital solutions are increasingly responsible for the way we connect, on a social, economic and cultural level. The power of digital lies in its ability to quickly and efficiently create and scale up connections; between employees and employers, learners and information, and consumers and providers of goods and services. We’re going to need to harness this power, and the relationships it enables, if we are going to Solve COVID-19.

A SOLVE mindset

Weathering the economic storm under the constrained economic and social conditions we find ourselves in, is going to require collaboration, a shared vision, and what I call a SOLVE mindset. The current COVID-19 environment has shown that you need to continually recalibrate your mind around the realities and opportunities of the future and importantly what that means for your business. We have to look at our businesses, and our social and economic challenges, and identify what aspects you can repurpose in a distinctive way to solve them. During times of massive uncertainty, we need out-of-the-box strategies. We need to learn from the future, as COVID-19 has shown us that the past is not a good predictor of the future.

No more going it alone

A good example of collaboration was pro bono work that our EOH company iOCO, recently did alongside fundraising experts BackaBuddy and the Gauteng Food Security Committee. iOCO is helping to develop a humanitarian-relief platform in order to coordinate food provision across the country. The platform, called *LinkedTo, connects donors and those in need to leverage resources and efforts to maximise the reach of food donations. It allows NGOs to identify and locate communities in need, and to track and record food parcel delivery as part of COVID-19 relief efforts. That information will be fed back into the Presidency to assist in coordinating relief through the Solidarity Fund.

This is a perfect example of the effect of an innovative digital solution. It works by creating connections and leveraging partnerships for outsized impact. Our growing realisation that it is the strength of our collective response that will ultimately determine the success of our fight against this pandemic, has reemphasised the fact that in an increasingly interconnected world, no single government, business or institution is going to achieve the sweeping, broad changes needed to reduce the negative effects of the crisis. The world will never be the same and what matters most is that we as a country and corporate SA embrace Solidarity – which means working together and taking care of one another. This is our chance as a collective to create “Radical Economic and Social Transformation” but it requires collaboration on a large scale. 

*The LinkedTo solution is currently in its pilot phase, with go-live date to be advised.

This is the first in a series of articles by Stephen van Coller on solving COVID-19. Please see  future Topco Bulletins for further invaluable insights.

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