People need more than protective products to cope with the drastic disruption to society. The list of necessary services is long and complex. Enabling “physical distancing” for the most at-risk populations requires delivery of food and other essential items. With schools closed, students, caregivers and teachers need immediate access to resources that will support continuing education. Healthcare workers depend on help with childcare and ways to ensure safety of their families. Social service organizations providing emotional and mental health support are seeing increased demand. Prolonged social distancing is highlighting and exacerbating the exclusion and burden placed upon marginalized communities, including those without regular access to the internet, raising an opportunity for businesses to serve a wider swath of the population.
How can businesses address needs for new services to help people cope with COVID-19? How do we ensure adequate provision and protection of marginalized communities? In many ways, this opportunity area is about rethinking the roles both existing and new businesses (and their associated resources, capabilities, and networks) can play to step in and help people with these new needs.