Pandemic planning is distinct from traditional continuity planning; as companies are forced to analyze how a pandemic would adversely impact commerce. The key is to manage threats–which include absentee-ism and loss of vital public services (utilities and transportation). An effective means of allocating capital (from the point of view of investors) and finding sources of capital (from the point of view of faltering enterprises) must be established.

In the uncertain environment of a protracted crisis, savvy organizations will not have only traditional plans in place. It will be those that implement new ways to attenuate supply-chain disruptions and overall shortages. The advantage in a crisis will go to the one that can harness the full capabilities of on-line technology. This is a matter of networking with other members of the community–even competitors.

Avenues for networking, then, is key; and the ability to network is determined in large part by the effectiveness of the technology we use. CDC protocols enjoin companies to “evaluate what employee access to healthcare services would be” in the event of a major disruption.

On-line technology can be used by a globally-organized group–the members of which would fluctuate. The group would coordinate their efforts–in a synergistic way–to shore up faltering businesses. The idea is to implement new ways of communal problem-solving as we all find ourselves in an unpredictable and fast-changing environment.

Companies might consider applying an open-source model to crisis response. Just as they invite partners and competitors to co-develop innovative products, a communal (i.e. collaborative) crisis-response may be more effective than proprietary ones. If some companies lose certain capabilities in a crisis, competitors would lose others; hence there are mutually beneficial opportunities that can be orchestrated for everyone’s benefit.

During a pandemic-induced economic shut-down, the crucial role that networking plays in bringing about an effective response. An important approach to dealing with the economic downturn, where everyone must interact remotely, is to provide people with the information and tools needed to keep it at bay.