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Introducing the New Possible

Human stories shaping a post-COVID-19 world

Certain events split eras into times before and after. We’re living through one right now. Every day, what we knew as normal before coronavirus fades away, and we find ourselves in a transitional space where we cope with the crisis day by day and wonder what we’ll be doing whenever the next normal arrives.

The new possible
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But what might that future actually look like? The New Possible: Human stories shaping a post-COVID-19 world is our attempt to grapple with that question. Here’s our starting point: Past before-and-after events, like the world wars, shaped in ways that stuck the values and behaviors of those who lived through them. By looking at how the current event is shaping people now, we might better anticipate the changes that could stick tomorrow.

To do that, we’re going beyond the data and observing human experiences. We’ll look at the crisis through a human-centered lens, to deliver perspectives and share stories that paint a picture of emerging behaviors that might stick in the long run.

We’ll look at the crisis through a human-centered lens—to bring perspectives and share stories that paint a picture of emerging behaviors that might stick in the long run.

Over the next several weeks, we’re going to meet dozens of mothers and fathers, artists, scientists, academics, and workers across eight countries, right where they are in this particular moment. From their hometowns and newly adopted home offices, they’ll let us know how they’re feeling about their current situations, as well as how they’re thinking about the future.

We know the impact of coronavirus has been manifold, bearing health issues and hardships that have not been evenly distributed among people around the world. We will try in our ethnographic research approach to talk to as diverse a group as possible, and although we can’t tell everyone’s story, we’ll do our best to capture and share the human stories that have been shared with us.

We’ll synthesize these stories into a series of developing perspectives, which we’ll share in this space every week. Our thinking is that rather than hold our results until the end of our work, it would be better to bring you along on this journey with us, so that we can show you what we’re hearing and seeing.

This project is not about trying to predict the future. And, while we’ll use storytelling to share what we’ve learned, we won’t just produce a series of anecdotes; everything we talk about will be representative of a broader, consistent experience or finding. Finally, as often as we can, we’ll give you a chance to experience our process through artifacts that capture our work as a team.

We strive to provide individuals with disabilities equal access to our website. If you would like information about this content we will be happy to work with you. Please email us at: McKinsey_Website_Accessibility@mckinsey.com
Our global team discussing insights from our first week of research.

We’re hugely excited about this, and we hope you’ll come along. While we can’t promise definitive answers, we do promise to be transparent and open about what we’re doing and to share our perspective on what we find along the way. Please join us.

Thanks for reading. For more stories about how this crisis is shaping the way we live and work, please check out our first set of Human Stories.

8

countries

100+

participants

150+

hours of ethnographic research

HUMAN STORIES

Article

The New Possible and what’s next

– The journey was enlightening. Here’s where we go from here.
Article

Relation-shifts

– What we’ve learned being together, being apart, and being virtual
Article

Acknowledged but unaddressed

– The COVID-19 crisis and global mental health
Article

The careful economy

– How financial stability, security, and safety are being redefined for an uncertain future
Article

Reflections in crisis

– How the lockdown is helping us rediscover what’s important
Video

Meet our participants

– The people behind the stories
Article

Bridging the new divides

– Making work-from-home work better

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