Life, Leadership, and Inspiration in a Post-COVID World- Part 3 of 3

On the Future

Bill Taranto, President Merck Global Health Innovation Fund: “Humans are inherently optimistic, which is probably why you see more protests to reopen the economy than protests to have widespread testing available.  There is an inherent need for interaction, which should bring back many of the services industries.  But an important fundamental underlying theme is that technology offers hope to greatly improve areas like education and healthcare (and government) to improve quality and access while lowering overall system cost.”

Hemant Taneja, Managing Director, General Catalyst: “I am hopeful that we will thread the needle here because of the conversations that are happening quietly amongst the technocratic to be a lot more intentional about their approach to innovation. We must think about second and third order effects of all innovation and what we bring to life.”

Paul LaViolette, Partner, SV Life Sciences, Former COO Boston Scientific: “We’re in a crisis, BUT it’s only 2 months old.   World War II lasted 4 years and we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it.   We won’t have a highly effective vaccine shortly, but we will have widely distributed testing, widely known antibody tracing, treatments that lower mortality and vaccines that begin to make a dent.  We will start to get ahead of this plight in under a year.   In two years, the health scare will dissipate, but the economic rebound will still be sputtering.  So, this economic reboot may be tougher than the Great Recession, but that spawned a decade of expansion.   This too will be followed by significant gains…I find inspiration during these times in the common man.  The nurse working 24/7.  The neighbor helping an elderly person living alone.  The EMTs, the ICU staff…my God…what they have been through.  It is the common expressions of kindness that make me so humble and challenge me to do more. I admire some leaders who are leading effectively…anyone can lead a front-runner…try leading in a storm. So, yes, good leadership now is vital and admired, but inspiration comes from the unheralded doing the thankless because of a personal calling.”

Matt Herman, Senior Managing Director Ascension Ventures: “I hope people will appreciate the things we took for granted before. I am most hopeful about human creativity, sense of community, and solidarity. We are entering an era when it should be easier to reimagine the future.”

Zane Burke, CEO, Livongo: “Despite some of the political leadership banter, we have seen some significant advances in health and care. Through multiple pieces of legislation, CMS, the FDA, the and the FCC have shown their commitment to expanding access to virtual care and have done a great job passing legislation to get remote monitoring technologies into the hands of those who need it most. I applaud their swift and definitive action, and at Livongo, we are actively working with lawmakers to ensure this progress is sustained beyond the pandemic. My hope is that both the private and public sectors will put politics aside and work together to lead us to a better health care system in the future.”

Stephen Smith, Founder, NOCD: “Seeing how quickly our society has innovated to address the COVID-19 pandemic has made me hopeful for the future. If billions of people around the world can change their behavior overnight, imagine what else we can do. There’s an incredible amount of untapped potential.”

Bill Geary, Cofounder & Partner, Flare Capital: “Global innovation and our will to improve the human condition with a focus on the most vulnerable members of our society gives me hope. Times of crisis have a unique way of bringing people together around shared goals, no matter how divergent the viewpoints in the moment, and believe our global sense of community and mutual responsibility will be increased.”

While there are inherently challenging times that lie ahead both from an economic and public health perspective, there is a thematic sense of hope woven throughout the predictions of our leaders. Inspiration has been drawn from the tangible: noble frontline workers, to the more abstract: possibilities of innovation.

Despite great uncertainty for the broader future, there is one sector for which we believe harnesses great certainty and possibility. Digital health will continue to play an outsized role in our healthcare ecosystem, particularly as the benefits of leading solutions are increasingly recognized over time. We are optimistic that innovation both in digital health, and other sectors impacting our daily lives will benefit from the power of technology and lead us to a potentially new, yet beautiful, normal.