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SDG9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure - Learning Resource supports the SDGs - UN-Guidelines[1]

The time until a vaccination of the population is possible is difficult to estimate. Even if the development is fast, it will take time to produce, deliver and perform the vaccination of citizens. If we can identify workflow tranformations, innovations and other demand specific changes in economy that might have benefits beyond COVID-19 then the implementation would not be risk management response but also an optimization for the company and e.g. with incorporation of the Sustainable Development Goals.


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Collaborative Economy

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If you look into drivers for economy activities, then you see identify underlying applications of mathematical optimization:

  • Produce more with less expenses for human resources,
  • identify risks for a company and mitigated the probability that an event will create a large loss for the company. Sometimes these activities do not lead to risk mitigation in general just to a shift of responsibility to another company, government, health system or the public in general.

In this learning resource we focus on the concept of collaborative economy to deal with Global Challenges in epidemiology, climate change, .... Some of the grand challenges are even a consequence of the optimization mentioned above due to feedback loops. E.g.

  • if companies produce with less people and those companies that employ less people are more competitive, then the iterative process leads to less to the fact that people cannot buy.
  • On the other hand if we optimize that way we need to consume more and produce more so that people stay employed. If you follow that route we are restricted to the planetary boundaries.

COVID-19 or any other pandemics, increasing number of extreme events (hurricans, droughts, floodings, ...) are huge additional stressors to economy. This section keep the competive part of economy in mind, that this exists, but focus on the collaborative view on economic activities. We address Small and Medium Business Enterprises (SMEs) at first, because small units are more flexible to change and redirect entrepreneural activities in COVID-19 times.

Learning Tasks

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  • (Impact Quantification) Try to quantify/estimate the impact on economy with and without workflow transformations. Perform that as good as you can. The main task is not the get the numbers right, but get a rough idea of the systemic dependency in the economy. The look at the impact and address the Wworkflow transformation in general, add use cases to the learning resource and place your discussion in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • (Workflow Transformation/Digital Transformation/Demand Transformation) Explain the role of digital transformation and due to the shift of demands. E.g. transport capacity of areoplanes (need for cargo and passengers). If vaccination is possible e.g. in 1 year, then the workflow transformation would be implemented for a duration of 1 year? What are the challenges for large companies and small and medium-sized enterprises?
  • (Post COVID-19 Sustainability) The transformation of workflows, the digital transformation or the change in the demand for products would be more sustainable, if they are not only applicable for one year of epidemiological constraints. Some of the forced innovations may provide an opportunity for companies and staff to be integrated in the long run. E.g. regional support offices with good internet connectivity and the application of video conferencing with other regional support offices or the head quaters of the company.
    • the rent of office space in secondary centers might be cheaper,
    • the travel expenses of staff members/employees to commute to the regional support office might be much cheaper, if they could work in the regional support office close to the place where they living.
    • reduction of traffic,
    • less emission of greenhouse gas,
    • epidemiological less crowded work place,
    • support collaborative enterprising
    • ...
identify workflows in your company that should be kept or slightly modified, for a post COVID-19 benefit.
  • (Close-to-Homeoffice) Homeoffice has epidemiological benefits for epidemiological risk mitigation. On the other side home office is challenge to combine support for children with home schooling and being focussed on the job for you company and institution. Having less distance to your home and at the same time a digitally well connected office as work place can be introduced as "Close-to-Homeoffice" work place. Discuss the opportunities for companies and employees to work in a collaborative way with such kind office places with good bandwidth internet connectivity. With close distance the staff members can support children for specific time span and stay focused in the rest of the time in a "Close-to-Homeoffice" work place. Furthermore it has an impact on travel expenses for staff members to commute to the work place in city centers. Now the employees have on the one hand collaborative office envirnoment and on the other hand e.g. secure video conferencing equipment that protects the interlectual property e.g. of companies or research and development units. Link that concept to collaborative enterprising! What are joined approaches and what are the differences? Epidemiological constraints require more office space for less staff members. Distributed regional office spaces can address the flexible needs staff members and regional demands of companies that might share collaboratively used office space in regions with less costs for rental of office space. Discuss also the IT-Requirements for privacy and protection of interlectual property!
  • (Travelling by Aeroplane - Basic Analysis) We analysis travelling[2] by aeroplane as a basic example for decision making.

See also

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  1. UN-Guidelines for Use of SDG logo and the 17 SDG icons (2019/05/10) -
  2. Tan, C. C. (2006). SARS in Singapore-key lessons from an epidemic. Annals-Academy of Medicine Singapore, 35(5), 345.