7 pandemic era innovations we (now) can’t live without

Two years and 104 newsletters ago, the world came to a screeching halt. The pandemic began with nervous chatter and vague rumors about quarantining for “two weeks,” then quickly turned into a frenzy that changed everything about our world. Our go go go lifestyles were over in a flash, while chaos ensued in other realms — e.g. hospitals while chaos and upheaval ensued in emergency rooms, and across the spectrum of our economy. No one wanted to believe the reality of the cards they were dealt. Because it was hard. And it was scary.

But Covid also brought people together in ways we forgot we needed — because nothing breeds innovation and creativity quite like a major disruption. It reminded us that small gestures and human interaction make a huge difference to our well-being. It also helped us recognize that just about every situation has its upside.

In that spirit, we asked XP Land friends and fam about their favorite pandemic era innovations we (now) can’t live without.

I really love streaming live concerts and musicalsHamilton on Disney+, Adele’s One Night Only, Dua Lipa’s virtual concert, Hulu’s partnership with Lollapalooza… Even though being there is better, streaming opens these events up to everyone. Not just the select few who live in the right place, have the right connections, and can afford to pay for them.”

— Samantha Stallard, Director of Content and Editorial, Liberty & Co.

Zoom saves me so much time, and I can jam a ton of meetings into one day without commuting all around the city. Also outdoor gatherings and dining. There are some really nice alfresco setups in NYC right now — as well as some terrible ones! It’s nice to be outside more.”

Conor Hanlon, Chef and Executive Vice President of Operations/Partner at VCR Group

I’ve really benefited from the normalization of telemedicine appointments. It’s nice to have access to my doctor virtually, which I feel wasn’t really an option pre-pandemic. I hope it continues to be a standard option post-pandemic — if there is a post-pandemic world!”

— Caroline Karter, Senior Strategist, Liberty & Co.

The first thing that pops into my mind is how prevalent Zoom and other video conferences are. We did a webinar series with people who wouldn’t normally show up, because they could do it from their homes. So we had Sir Paul Smith, Jason Wu, and this amazing South African designer, Thebe Magugu. There was a sort of humility in the willingness of these people to do the video conferences. They wanted to stay connected. And there was a real camaraderie, as well. I used to do phone conference calls all the time. I don’t think I’ve done one for six months, because everybody just hops on Zoom.”

Louisa St. Pierre, Global Director of Art, Design & Experiential for MA+World Group

“For me, it’s the Wonder truck, which is a food truck that comes to my driveway that was launched by entrepreneur and former President of Walmart Marc Lore. I pop open the app, find a truck that’s close to my house, order food for the fam, and the chef prepares our meals from their kitchen-on-wheels and delivers them right to my doorstep.”

— Anne Woodard, Head of Operations, Liberty &Co.

“Peloton comes to mind. I certainly opted in because of the pandemic, and it’s been a life-changing thing for me. It’s created so much stability and motivation, changing my relationship with at-home fitness. Cooking, too. I have three kids, and cooking was always a big part of our family, but we became so much more adept and creative.”

Gabrielle Muse, Founder and Brand/Product Strategist, Studio Mococo

Mine is 100% Instacart. I never used it pre-Covid, but it has saved me so many hours of shopping, allows me to multi-task and stop making impulse purchases in an attempt to lose my “Covid 19” pounds. Listen, it’s not perfect… It’s hit or miss and sometimes I feel like I get a teenager who has never grocery shopped before asking me way too many questions. But, for the most part, it’s a total time saver and the shoppers are incredible. Also, themed Zoom Happy Hour with my college buddies in California. It was a real lifeline during the height of our collective trauma, and has continued on… I am very grateful!”

— Erica Boeke, CEO Liberty & Co.

Yet, we remain wholeheartedly committed to IRL experiences; sometimes, absolutely nothing competes with going out into the world:

I’m into real-life stuff. We obviously do lots of digital, but the lower senses don’t work well over digital. They don’t translate. I can’t send you a smell now. There are a lot of industries that have changed dramatically, and there are plenty of exciting opportunities in the digital domain. I’ve been on many digital panel discussions, but you may have noticed that they’ve dropped off because attendance slowed. Maybe I’ve talked myself out of some work, but from my deathbed, I know how I want to have spent my time: around the table with some friends, with a beer and some good jokes.

Sam Bompas, Director at Bompas & Parr Studio Ltd.

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Experiential Is Everything

XP Land is for experiential creatives and experience-makers, brand leaders, and IP-owners, space stewards and venue visionaries — all those in the business of epic gatherings and live, immersive storytelling.