Novel take on ‘the new normal’

What are the eight principles for creating opportunities in a post-pandemic world?


Why would one need to go through a gargantuan non-fiction title to hear the same message that has been repeated several times over the past few months across newspapers, magazines and social media—how the COVID-19 pandemic has brought in ‘the new normal’, how you have to transform yourself to survive in this new reality, and so on and so forth…

The answer comes in the form of the big ticket names behind this new book, Transformation in Times of Crisis—a veteran Fortune 500 entrepreneur presently heading one of India’s biggest IT services companies, as well as a marketing master often cited as one of the predominant authorities when it comes to organisational behaviour and marketing strategy. Transformation in Times of Crisis is the brainchild of Mphasis CEO Nitin Rakesh and Wharton academic Jerry Wind.

And no, it is no mere repeat of what you have been reading in newspapers of professionals and companies racing to digitise themselves, become nimble in operations and transform themselves to meet the new reality thrown up by the pandemic. As they write in the beginning, “This might be a new reality but that does not mean we should surrender to it. We can transform any crisis into opportunities.”

But unlike the umpteen articles that tell you to ‘re-skill’, but remains vague on what one is supposed to actually do, this book wades in, leisurely and in detail, with excel sheets and tools on what you could try. It all boils down to eight principles that will do the trick, the authors say.

While the book is copiously peppered with ‘re-’ jargons (‘reimagine’, ‘reinvent’, ‘redraw’), the good thing is that it explains each of the eight principles thoroughly for whoever cares to read through. The principles include:

  • Challenge your mental modes and always stay ahead
  • Reimagine and reinvent your approach to customers and stakeholders
  • Speed up digital transformation and design for personalisation at scale
  • Reinvent your talent strategy and embrace open innovation and open talent
  • Seize the need for speed and design for ability, adjacencies and adaptability
  • Innovate, then experiment, experiment, experiment
  • Redraw your timelines and build a portfolio of initiatives across all innovation horizons
  • Deploy idealised design, recreate your organisational architecture

The book delves into crunching each of these principles in detail, with explanations and anecdotes galore, along with a complete set of tools to help with the implementation, including what to do and how to do it. There will be a dashboard to monitor the progress real-time, and a future app (the co-author is a software tycoon, remember?) which will help as a strategy worksheet.

That is also a peeve one could harbour against this book—its heaviness. It is no airport read, nor is it for the bibliophile (it might look good on your bookshelf as a Zoom backgrounder, perhaps!), but a serious syllabi for the serious professional (or corporate) earnest about their future. Filled with anecdotes, case studies, infographics and even ‘Ask Yourself’ sections at the end of each chapter, this is as good a lesson in re-skilling as may be the refresher course need of the hour.

Transformation in Times of Crisis: Eight Principles for Creating Opportunities and Value in the Post-Pandemic World

By Nitin Rakesh and Jerry Wind

Published by NotionPress

Price: Rs 899  (Hardcover available for Rs 791 from

Pages: 549 

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