The new wave of innovation is cause for business optimism about 2021

Kevin Sneader, Global Managing Partner at McKinsey & Company, provides perspective on what corporate business leaders are thinking during the global coronavirus crisis:

Should businesses be pessimistic or optimistic about 2021?

It's easy to be gloomy about the year ahead when faced with the realities of a cold, bleak winter in much of the world. Add to that lockdowns across Europe, surging case numbers and hospitalizations, and dreadful events in the Capitol in the US to name a few reasons for pessimism. But I think there is a case for optimism when it comes to this year. After all, it's true to say that it's always darkest before the dawn, and my conversations with business leaders suggest there are reasons to be positive by 2021.

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Boris Johnson is going to be out, one way or the other

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60:

First, will Boris Johnson step down?

I certainly think it is getting likely. He's going to be out, one way or the other. The question is, is it as a result of a second in one month no-confidence vote that he loses this time around, or he reads the writing on the wall, knows he's going to get voted out and so decides to resign himself. If you made me bet, I think he's going to resign, but he might well just force them to do it. He's lost… a majority of conservative voters in the United Kingdom now want Boris Johnson to step down. He's had scandal after scandal after scandal, lied, been caught lying about so many of those scandals, and it's just a disaster, frankly. While the economy's doing badly, while Brexit has not played out the way he said it would, this is a man that has well passed his sell-by date and I don't expect he will be there as prime minister for much longer.

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West Virginia v. EPA ruling hampers climate change action

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, DC, shares his analysis on US politics:

This week's question, what are the implications of the Supreme Court's decision in the case of West Virginia v. EPA?

It's been a busy term for the Supreme Court, topped off this week with a ruling on the EPA's ability to regulate carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act.

The Supreme Court ruled that the EPA did not have the properly congressionally delegated authority to regulate carbon emissions. This will hamper the ability of the Biden administration to act on climate change in the absence of congressional action, which we do not expect. And more broadly could have implications for other agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Trade Commission.

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NATO Summit most important post-Berlin Wall

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60:

First, what is the significance of Japan and South Korea's presence at the NATO summit?

First of all, this is by far the most important NATO summit we've seen since the Wall has come down. Japan and South Korea, a very big deal. Trilateral meeting with President Biden, the two American allies most important that have a dysfunctional relationship, fundamentally dysfunctional on the global stage, and increasingly they are trying to align Kishida, the Prime Minister, and Yoon, the President of South Korea, trying to make that happen. Also, we're increasingly seeing a transformation of NATO to not just being a North Atlantic Alliance, but increasingly taking on global security issues. China's more of a focus. Asian allies, more of a focus. Keep in mind, New Zealand and Australia also there.

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Victory for US conservatives: Roe v. Wade overturned by SCOTUS

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, shares his perspective on US politics:

What will be the immediate impact of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade?

This week's decision is the culmination of 40 years of work by the conservative legal movement to create the alignment of justices willing to make this choice, which ironically came together during the presidency of Donald Trump, who, for most of his career, was not a conservative Republican. Abortion could become a relevant issue in the midterm elections, but surveys are showing that most voters are much more activated by the economy at the moment than abortion. That could change however as there's going to be a movement in states to either deny or preserve access to abortion, which could put the issue on the ballot in places like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona and Georgia.

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US Senate passes bipartisan gun bill but SCOTUS may loosen gun laws

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, shares his perspective on US politics:

How are the rules on gun ownership changing in the US?

This has been the most consequential week for regulations on gun ownership in the US for many years. In response to two recent high-profile mass shootings in New York and Texas, the Senate this week passed a bipartisan bill that restricts access to gun ownership by preventing people convicted of domestic abuse against a romantic partner from purchasing a firearm. And also increases funding for mental health, school security and incentivizes states to adopt laws that prevent people who are in mental distress from purchasing a gun.

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Kevin Sneader, Global Managing Partner at McKinsey & Company, provides perspective on what corporate business leaders are thinking during the global coronavirus crisis

Should big business care about small business in these times?

The answer is yes and for many reasons. First, small business is the lifeblood of our economies. 45% of employment in emerging countries and 70% in the OECD comes from small and medium enterprises. Moreover, these enterprises have been badly hit by the crisis. Surveys indicate as many as 50% of European small to medium enterprises feel they may not survive over 12 months. While SMEs are relying on government support, larger companies do have a role to play. After all, this includes prioritizing small business and procurement by locking in demand for multiple years, thus facilitating access to good credit, paying receivables to small business in time and where possible, ahead of schedule. Cash flow matters most when you're small. Looking out for small businesses that have lower resilience. For example, financial institutions can lend more and in doing so, ensure deeper customer relationships in the future.

Kevin Sneader, Global Managing Partner of McKinsey, looks at the challenges around a COVID-19 vaccine from the corporate business leadership perspective on Business In 60 Seconds.

What will it take to bring a COVID-19 vaccine to market?

Now, there are reasons to believe that a COVID-19 vaccine can indeed be developed faster than any other in history. For a start, the characteristics of this virus, unlike some families of viruses, coronaviruses overall have been shown to mutate at relatively low to moderate rates. Moreover, the sheer number of development efforts mean that over 275 vaccine candidates in development, with over 45 already in clinical trials. This is coupled with unprecedented access to funding, given over $17 billion has been committed to vaccine development and supply. That said, there are multiple hurdles to overcome. They start with getting the science right, including validating the platform technologies and demonstrating both safety and efficacy. But let's not forget that we also need enough capacity to manufacture and supply in place to reach patient populations now, and over time. And last, but by no means least, people need to be willing to be vaccinated. In the US in May, 72% of Americans said they would get vaccinated. That number has fallen to 51% in September.

Kevin Sneader, Global Managing Partner at McKinsey & Company, provides perspective on what corporate business leaders are thinking during the global coronavirus crisis:

What are the opportunities and threats on the horizon for 2021?

Now, given the pandemic is still raging, it's hard to narrow the threats and opportunities down, but here are three threats and three opportunities. One, a growing likelihood of increased inequality on several fronts. Gender, since a quarter of women in work we recently did with LeanIn.org were either contemplating leaving or taking time out of the workforce. This reached 40% for those with young children. Race, since Black Americans have seen their jobs disappear at a far greater rate than their white counterparts. And income, since COVID deaths are 4 to 5 times higher among the unemployed and are concentrated in jobs that have been hardest hit. The second threat, mental health. The signs are increasing that this is the other side of the health threat that the virus poses. And three, the environment. They need to ensure a green rather than brown recovery at a time when money is tight.

On the opportunities, first off, flexibility in working through remote and other forms of working that are now happening. Secondly, innovation; we've seen more startups this year being started than in any year before. And lastly, the environment; for all that I said there is a risk of a brown recovery, policy makers and businesses alike in much of the world assuring they're prepared to invest behind the business case for a green recovery.

Kevin Sneader, global managing partner for McKinsey & Company, provides perspective on how corporate business leaders think in response to the coronavirus crisis:

Why is managing for the long term difficult?

Well, we know from earlier research that companies that are oriented towards long-term performance, rather than short-term targets, generate more shareholder value, create more jobs, and contribute more economic growth. But we are seeing short-term behaviors, like cutting costs to boost quarterly earnings, have become more common in the past few years. Executives say they face heavy pressure from investors, and even fellow directors, to meet quarterly targets. And recently, disruptions from COVID-19 give executives more short-term issues to deal with. Now let me be clear, short-term results do matter. They're needed to stay credible. However, trouble happens when short-termism ensures focus in quarterly earnings, which have little to do with long-term value creation. It's far more important to pursue steady improvements, and fundamentals like growth, and return on invested capital.

Kevin Sneader, global managing partner for McKinsey & Company, provides perspective on how corporate business leaders think in response to the coronavirus crisis:

How can business leaders approach budget planning for 2021 when the environment is so uncertain?

In short, I believe that the planning process for 2021 presents an opportunity to turn hard earned lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. It's an enduring exercise that links strategy to value. Now, five steps are needed for this to happen.

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Kevin Sneader, global managing partner for McKinsey & Company, provides perspective on how the pandemic has influenced climate action:

Has the pandemic helped or harmed efforts to tackle climate change?

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Kevin Sneader, global managing partner for McKinsey & Company, provides perspective on how corporate business leaders think in response to the coronavirus crisis:

What does the next normal consumer look like?

COVID-19 is changing how consumers behave across every aspect of their lives. A few examples. Overall, consumption is declining. 12% drop in private consumption is anticipated in the US over the next two years. 35% of Netflix subscribers now use Netflix for educational content. And over 40% of consumers are watching more TV, 40% more social media. But beneath these broad shifts, new behaviors are hiding significant variation. One example, for all the excitement around online shopping, not everyone liked the experience. 60% of Italian consumers shopped online during the crisis, a dramatic increase, but less than 10% said that they found the experience satisfying.

The result? Companies need to rethink their engagement with consumers and specifically reflect on the following, how consumers get their information, meet them where they are, not where they used to be, where consumers purchase, given a rebalancing of the channels that they use, and understand what they value in the shopping experience. Online shopping can certainly be efficient. And when there are no other alternatives, it can even be exciting. But it can also be deadly dull and often frustrating. Reengineering that experience is therefore key.

Kevin Sneader, global managing partner for McKinsey & Company, provides perspective on how corporate business leaders think in response to the coronavirus crisis:

How do we get remote and hybrid learning right?

For many, this is the back to school season. But this year's preparations are fraught with added anxiety as educators, public health officials, and parents try to balance the need to reduce the spread of the virus with a desire to get students into more productive learning environments. For many students, a full time return to the classroom will not be safe for some time. It's important to understand three lessons in order to get remote and hybrid learning right.

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