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COVID Says: Collaborate

20 September 2020

The Chinese word for ‘crisis’ (危机wēijī) is made up of the two words Wei (危 = crisis) and Ji (机 = opportunity), indicating the positive aspect inherent in perceiving and responding to a crisis. One of Professor Yipeng Liu’s papers this year looked at the lessons from how China, Singapore and Korea, in particular, had responded to the COVID-19 challenge from its earliest stages. The upshot was: collaboration. A “single discipline approach is not enough” and business, government should “collaborate and join forces to tackle challenges”, he said in a talk discussing the paper hosted by the Association of British Chinese Professors in August 2020.

In brief, COVID-19 has accelerated two powerful trends for the future of the global economy: the decoupling from China’s supply chains and the relocation of strategic manufacturing operations out of China. Moving forward, there will be an increased need for infrastructure and technical means suited to ensure transparency within global supply chains. There must  also be new predictive models that take uncertainties and risk factors into consideration in the proactive scheduling and dynamic planning of supply and whatever happens, there will be greater collaboration between governments and industries in all countries to ensure minimum disruption in global supply chains.

Liu’s talk also highlighted the soft skills of innovation, entrepreneurship, resilience, strategic agility and organisational capabilities. Resilience requires psychological readiness, organisational support and system-level preparation to help business and society collectively ‘bounce back’. “We will become stronger in the process of combating COVID-19 and launching ‘new norms’ for our organisations and societies” Liu said.

Strategic agility is the skills to swiftly transform business and management practices to reinvent and make a swift transition to focus on the creation of new value for both business and society following the disruption of transportation, logistics, and the mobility of people and resources.

It is worth noting that the organisational capabilities associated with strategic agility are not simply related to resource readiness and allocation; they require coordination mechanisms to be in place to activate and materialise both resources and knowledge bases.

Entrepreneurship and innovation is required to generate creative solutions. “To snatch opportunity from the jaws of the crisis, entrepreneurs can find and create new opportunities across multiple sectors – commercial, social, and governmental – to address the grave issues faced by societies worldwide” says Liu.


Professor Yipeng Liu, Founding Director of the Research Centre for China Management and Global Business (CMGB), Henley Business School, University of Reading, UK was speaking in a talk, “The Challenges And Opportunities Of A Global Health Crisis” hosted by the Association of British Chinese Professors on 28 August 2020, based on his paper, written with Jong Min Lee and Celia Lee “The challenges and opportunities of a global health crisis: the management and business implications of COVID-19 from an Asian perspective” published in Asian Business and Management 12 May 2020.

See full talk here on Guanlidao’s YouTube channel. Further references here:

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