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Models of Mass Disruption

Models of Mass Disruption

J. Walker Smith

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A look ahead to the post-pandemic landscape and opportunities for success amid instability

The handoff from the last century to the next fell into place in 2020. This pivot to the future has been building since the mid-1990s, but it took the twists and turns of the coronavirus pandemic to give it the final push and lock it into place.

What the pandemic has made clear is that disruptions are the new normal. Since the turn of the century, a number of critical events have rocked society and the marketplace. Mostly, these have been difficult moments, including 9/11, the financial crisis and the pandemic. But the transformative introduction of the iPhone is probably the most disruptive thing to happen in this century.

The last quarter of the 20th century was far less volatile than the first two decades of our current one. Certainly, there were many destabilizing events and surprises, but on the whole, the frequency and magnitude of such events were temperate in comparison to the earlier part of that century, so much so that economists now refer to the period from the mid-1980s to 2007 as The Great Moderation.

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J. Walker Smith is chief knowledge officer for brand and marketing at Kantar Consulting and co-author of four books, including Rocking the Ages. Follow him on Twitter at @jwalkersmith.​