Part of gap intelligence’s onboarding process is the use of Strength Finders, Don Clifton’s wonderfully simple self-personality exam that highlights a person’s top five strengths. We use Strength Finders as a resource to better understand ourselves and each other, making us more self aware and as a result, better leaders. After taking the exam years ago myself, my #1 strength, according to Strength Finders, is the attribute of Positivity. In reflection, the book is right. Despite 45 years of ineptitude, not a year goes by that I can’t convince myself that my beloved Philadelphia Flyers will win the Stanley Cup (they were going to win this year). My Positivity is so strong that even in a pandemic the world has not seen in over 100 years, I can find a few rainbows up there.

Innovation on the Horizon

My Rainbow: When this is all over, the rate of innovation the world will see in the next five to ten years will be unprecedented.

When you think about our mass collective shut down, with millions of people stuck at home, we have in a sense, created a “Think Tank” on a global scale. Big companies, the really big ones, have Think Tanks, which essentially stockpile geniuses into a clubhouse style office space filled with bean bags, high tech toys, fridges full of drinks, and absolutely zero agenda. With zero distractions and nothing to do but ask questions and find answers, these isolated geniuses come up with the ideas that fuel economies and mankind for decades to come.

We have a lot of smart people, stuck in rooms, with idle time, and they are asking a lot of questions. That is human nature.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is also human nature, and speaks to human motivations that are driven by our inherent, hard-wired needs. Maslow’s theory emphasizes that humans first must fulfill their baseline needs before finding motivation to move up the pyramid to achieve higher level needs. The famed psychologist’s hierarchical pyramid may be an indicator of purchasing behavior through our global quarantine.

We have seen the baseline segment famously fulfilled with the stories of millions of people stockpiling toilet paper, hand sanitizer, masks, water, and food. We were collectively fulfilling our need to survive; our Physical need.

Remote Comfort

The next wave of shopping is still ongoing as millions of people who are lucky enough to work from home are setting up offices in their guest bedrooms. Reports from Europe indicate that sales of notebook computers (+230%), monitors (+359%), and tablets (+101%) have skyrocketed as folks have fulfilled their needs of Love & Belonging in the form of job security and stockpiling resources (freezer sales up 855%).

Reading vertically through Maslow’s Hierarchy, future consumer purchases may be driven to fulfill the next two segments —Safety and Esteem. As people thrive to stay connected with friends and family, they may turn to devices and technologies that keep us together. Voice Activated Speakers (particularly screen enabled), smart TVs, gaming consoles, headsets, web cameras, smartphones, group chats, and applications that share personal activity (step challenges, weight loss) across groups may see bumps in sales in the weeks ahead. Similarly, our need of Esteem will drive future sales of in-home exercise equipment (I bought a TRX GO and love it), Peloton bicycles, running gear, and a flood of e-readers to digest millions of professional & personal growth books, educational curriculums, and online school courses for the kids and their kid tablets.

Hope for the Future

With the first four buckets of needs fulfilled, we finish with Contributing, and here is where my rainbows come in.

In 1665, the Great Plague of London devastated the city and forced businesses to shut down and populations to flee into quarantine. Shuttered during the Great Plague was Trinity College in Cambridge and one of the school’s recent undergraduates, Isaac Newton, retreated to his parent’s home a very safe 60 miles away in Whoolsthorpe Manor. Sheltered, loved, safe, and alone, Newton could wander the family farm and stretch the limits of his imagination. The period is now referred to by historians as “annus mirabilis”—the “year of wonders”. The young Isaac Newton used the time to discover calculus, color spectrums of light, and thought about the principles of inertia and how airborne objects are prevented from flying—now known as gravity.

We have a globe full of Newtons with loads of free time right now. This gives me hope.

We are all in this together.

Do you have what it take to be a gapper? We’re hiring. Head to our culture section to learn more about open positions. We’re conducting phone interviews as we work towards flattening the curve. Stay safe and healthy.