September 9, 2020
A semi-coherent collection of news, data, thoughts and opinions for your enjoyment, sharing or immediate deletion. Hopefully you find a few valuable nuggets inside that are worth your while...
Another Labor Day has come and gone, and the kids are back in school...sort of.

At our house, that means heading to their respective bedrooms for "synchronous" learning sessions via Zoom or Google with teachers and classmates.

(Note to self: add the terms "synchronous" and "asynchronous" to the Coronavirus drunk-bingo game you're developing.)

And despite the trial run we all went through in the Spring, it seems the kinks of digital teaching are still being worked out.

On my youngest daughter's first day back, Zoom experienced widespread outages as students flooded server capacity nationally.

She does get to return to the classroom a couple days per week - which she is looking forward to - but in an interesting twist, only two of her teachers will actually be at the school...the others will be joining from home via Zoom.

Her older sister's first day back similarly problematic, but at least more entertaining...

She reported that by Noon on day one she had already heard toilets flushed by kids not muting themselves, teachers forgetting they were screen sharing while texting friends, and one teacher even taking a phone call while the class was in session.

It should be an interesting Fall.
McKinsey's Take on the Future of Education

Now that a significant percentage of students globally are beginning another semester online, we should consider not only how best to manage the current situation, but also how best to leverage this moment in our history to rethink k-12 education holistically.

That is the topic of this thought piece by McKinsey & Company, which offers some recommendations on how school systems can more effectively and equitably serve the generations to come and prepare them for a world far different than the one we experienced at their age.
Reimagining a more equitable and resilient K-12...

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended school systems around the world. The pace has been frenetic as systems have had to stand up remote learning overnight, plan whether and how to reopen schools amid changing epidemiological circumstances, and...

Read more
Consumers Becoming Inured to COVID-19 News

This is great article from Nielsen's retail practice on how consumer behaviors are tracking over time with regards to the pandemic. It includes loads of data and insights for the U.S. and ROW.

While initial news reports of the spread of Coronavirus in Q1, the emergence of lockdowns and the anticipation of supply shortages led to a drastic increase in purchase of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), but subsequent news coverage of spikes in outbreaks has not driven repeat behavior.

This article looks to explain why, and looks at four emerging patterns that can help predict consumer purchasing behavior in the future as the pandemic continues to be a key factor in our day-to-day lives.
Predicting the COVID-19 Behavioral Reset

In addition to keeping us informed, the news media can often inspire quick, sometimes targeted, behavior shifts, especially in times of crisis. But in today's prolonged timeline of crisis, there are other factors driving consumer behavior...

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Optimizing Virtual Events

During the past six months, we have invested to dramatically to expand our offerings; partnering with marketing & communications experts, meeting professionals, creative consultants and producers to launch an entirely new line offerings that we call 2gthr (pronounced “together”.)

The offerings from 2gthr include online / virtual events, physical events that are social distancing compliant, and enhancements including talent booking, activities, and gift packages.

2gthr’s curated events are designed to embrace the current situation and take experiences to a whole new level.

Whether virtual or physical, the events don’t just adapt to the restrictions of online meetings and social distancing requirements, they incorporate innovative technologies and ideas to create real connections while providing memorable experiences that leave guests eagerly awaiting the next invitation. 

Recently, 2gthr had the pleasure of working with a nonprofit client at the University of Southern California to host their annual awards gala online.

In addition to producing & hosting the online event, the team pre-produced video segments on location in Los Angeles, created a custom website and registration portal, coordinated delivery details for wine shipped to guests, designed backgrounds and sets for presenters and guests, developed animated transitions and title cards, and implemented strategies to increase donations by 10%.

Let us know if you would like to discuss how to take your Fall & Winter events to the next level.

Click on the GIF below for a 60-second recap of the event.
Inching Ever Closer to a Vaccine

The chart below details the number of C-19 vaccines that are in the development pipeline currently.

Of the 56 candidates in human-testing phases, 9 have advanced all the way to Phase III, in which thousands of human subjects receive the vaccine and are monitored. Several of those look promising, although one (AstraZeneca/Oxford trial) hit a momentary hurdle this week when a participant developed an unnamed illness during the trial.

In case you were wondering, here is the breakdown on phases:
  • Pre-clinical = animal testing for immune response
  • Phase I = human testing for safety (small group of subjects)
  • Phase II = human safety testing & dosage calibration (hundreds of subjects)
  • Phase III = human safety, efficacy, side-effect testing (thousands of subjects)
Four recommendations for streaming this week.

The first two suggestions offer perspectives on race in America from an African American perspective using historical settings and references.
Entertaining and creepy series on HBO that offers a glimpse into 1950s life from an African American perspective.

Great cast and storyline, with multiple heroic characters dealing with the racism of Jim Crow-era America, shadowy cult members and the supernatural.

While the series covers various parts of the U.S., the home base for the main characters is post-war Chicago and there are multiple references to real events that bring a ring of truth to the narrative.
Spike Lee's latest film about a group of black Army vets returning to Vietnam to recover something precious to them.

Lee does an incredible job of weaving historical footage and references into the storyline that provide depth into the characters' experiences and traumas.

Great cast, including the late Chadwick Boseman and a stellar performance by Delroy Lindo. Highly recommended.
These next two are documentaries that offer looks back at the 1970s and 80s.

They both tell the stories of men with a vision that others thought crazy, and that they pursued with passion and abandon.
Action Park was an infamous water park that was a rite of passage for many New Jerseyites and New Yorkers in the early 80s.

The stories of injuries and deaths illustrate a callous disregard for safety, but under the guise of free enterprise and freedom of choice.

Entertaining and cringeworthy.
Bing Russell (Kurt's dad) was a journeyman actor in Hollywood, appearing in hundreds of roles.

But his first love was baseball, and late in life, he decided to pursue a dream and launch the only independent baseball team in America.

What happened next, told through interviews and historical footage, is a story of both triumph and tragedy.

This film blends celebrity, sports, entrepreneurship, corporate sabotage, city pride, and wacky characters that came together to inspire and entertain fans in Portland and beyond.

Worth a look.
Please feel free to share any recommendations you have for inclusion in future Dispatches...

Back to School Faces
This concept is my way of sharing information and staying connected with my personal and professional network in these crazy times. Content is chosen based on what I think is interesting, entertaining and relevant. Occasionally, I may also include some blatantly promotional content that showcases the awesome work of my team and/or clients.

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