Crisis management after the pandemic

John Carter looks at what has changed since the Covid-19 pandemic and what has stayed the same.

It is often quoted that the Chinese characters for ‘crisis’, 危机, wēijī, compose the characters for ‘danger’ and ‘opportunity’. While this is not quite true (a closer translation would be ‘danger/change point’), it can indeed be useful for those who work in incident management to use a ‘good crisis’ as an opportunity for change and transformation.

Examples of this abound; you may recall the Belgian Dioxin affair of 1999, when just 50 litres of transformer oil in the agricultural feed chain cost the industry more than $1 billion and in fact brought down the Belgian government of the time. This crisis demonstrated the interconnectedness of the agri-food industry, heightened public awareness of certain practices in the preparation of animal feed, and transformed the regulatory landscape in Europe – the latter of which partly led to the creation of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).