PandemicBuzz – podcast for continuing perspectives in the crisis

Everything stalled at the beginning of March and the world slipped into unprecedented times
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By Devin Simenis

“We’re now on full automatic in the hands of the computers, reliant on technology to nurture basic human aspects of socialization and a feeling of connectedness.”
Anonymous Resilience Practitioner, 3 March, 2020

Everything stalled at the beginning of March and the world slipped into unprecedented times. This was hard for me, the plunge into a routine with no variance.

Prior to the pandemic, I maintained 100,000+ mileage on airlines. I enjoyed traveling across the globe to support clients achieve their resilience goals, working with leadership teams face-to-face. The first two weeks of working from home passed quickly; days ran away like wild horses over the hills.

The third and fourth weeks – heavy introspection set in, followed by macro-level questions about the world in general. I felt an overwhelming need to connect on a greater level with people, to light the signal fire to let people know I was still here too. Furthermore, I wanted to share knowledge and insights from across the resilience community, to hasten a return to some sort of new normalcy. This was the impetus for PandemicBuzz, a snapshot in time podcast series that captures resilience practitioner’s thoughts on their company’s pandemic efforts, state of mind, and corporate path forward.

So, we dove in. Witt O’Brien’s launched Season 1 of PandemicBuzz in early April. Episode 1 collected perspectives from the biggest Covid-19 hotspot in the United States – New York – where the lockdown of a city with 8.3 million people had begun.

We realized quickly that the very high-touch, personal nature of how the interview was structured led to the sharing of not only corporate approaches for how companies were sustaining operations and caring for their staff but, lent itself to humanistic elements in terms of how people were taking care of their own physical and mental well-being, and pulling inspiration from their colleagues and leaders.

From there, PandemicBuzz connected with practitioners from across the globe. We:

  • reviewed the changing media landscape, walking through crisis communications strategies from the UK (S1 | E2)
  • listened to how empathetic leaders worked to enact plans and put processes in place to manage the impacts of the coronavirus from the heartland of the US (S1 | E3)
  • learned about being ‘gracefully conservative’ from Australia (S1 | E4)
  • explored ideas on how to strengthen and account for third-party supplier risk in business continuity efforts spanning the Pacific Rim (S1 | E5)
  • heard about the importance of having the right ‘listening posts on the front line’ so you can understand what problems need to be solved (S1 | E6)
  • emphasised rising to the challenge of delivering more value virtually to your constituency (S1 | E7)

As the pandemic advances quickly, so do the efforts of resilience practitioners. To keep up to speed with the evolving landscape, Season 2 of PandemicBuzz launched in May. The conversation shifted to short-term lessons learned in pandemic operations, the planning that has already begun to return staff to offices (site readiness, workforce planning), corporate and cultural attributes that have made organizations effective, and exploration of how mindsets may have shifted across leadership and staff in terms of what is important now.

The catalogue of PandemicBuzz episodes can be found on your favorite podcast platform:

Apple Podcasts
Google Podcast

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