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Issue 3

Winter 2017

Crisis has been the theme of 2017, from natural disasters to corporate scandal and failures. The intensity of each storm gets scrutinized for easy comparison, but the accumulated volume of risks creates a constant worry over what’s next.

Destruction happens with remarkable speed. Rebuilding takes much longer and does not receive the same attention.

Homes and businesses were destroyed by the worst wildfires ever in Northern California and floodwater in Houston. Roads and electrical infrastructure were decimated in Puerto Rico, along with vital crops throughout the Caribbean. The financial toll and sheer determination needed to rebuild may seem overwhelming. Corporate donations and crisis response require a wide-ranging reexamination of supply chains and economic interdependencies, both to create resilient teams and to support those in greatest need.

Globally, 89% of people surveyed by the Cone Communications Disaster Relief Trend Tracker said that companies should leverage their assets to help affected communities with in‐kind donations and employee volunteers. The same study found 87% of people want companies to play a longer‐term role in relief efforts, not just immediate recovery.


China’s growing and evolving role in global affairs has implications for industries, nation-states and the personal connections that drive business. Geopolitics has reemerged as a major force, even for companies that tried to avoid such conflicts. These ongoing issues merit more attention from ThinkSet.

Companies often are unprepared for a change in the status quo. You can’t predict when standards will shift. The backlash against globalization may not last, but it requires navigation. Executives and board members have found themselves enmeshed in issues raised by others. For example, many were asked if they are doing enough to support female managers, hoping to avoid the crisis that hit The Weinstein Company over its CEO’s alleged mistreatment of women.

Equifax Inc. became a case study for data security failure after hundreds of millions of personal data records were stolen in one of the biggest data breaches yet. That alone may spark reconsideration of corporate data collection, protection and credit reporting. We think there’s value to be had as a trusted corporate steward, but with a humility that recognizes absolute control is not possible in the networked world.

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