Learning Curve

Amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the chamber is moving along at a brisk pace. This strange landscape that we find ourselves in is a difficult one to be sure, and we stand in solidarity with one and all, but it is also full of potential, with seemingly countless opportunities.

Of course, physical events are an ongoing topic of conversation. The official edicts say that events with up to 5,000 people are acceptable, yet the general feeling is that smaller is better — and just avoiding them altogether is best. 

We err on the side of safety, and so our in-person event calendar is almost entirely empty (the golf tournament has been rescheduled for October 23), but that doesn’t mean we aren’t discussing how best to approach the new reality that is forming around us. Where should we be hosting? What sort of content is acceptable? How large an attendance list is too large? Is there a time limit on these events? What are the safest routes for attendees to take to an event? There are seemingly endless questions to be considered when discussing hypotheticals about how in-person events might safely operate in a post-corona world, and while it is pretty taxing work, it is also extremely interesting and requires the type of mental acrobatics that rarely sees the light of day.

VIRTUAL LANDSCAPE

Our new world is also chock full of virtual events and these, too, require some of the same gymnastics as in-person event planning, if only to keep things interesting. The coronavirus is a topic that rears its head quite often at these events, in the context of business resilience, safety precautions, travel restrictions and other topics. While it’s invaluable information, one might comment that the landscape is getting saturated with it.

But what else can you do with Zoom, or Meets, or BlueJeans, or GoToMeeting — or any of the many other video conferencing solutions? That is a question we have been having a lot of fun addressing, and the answer is both positive and daunting: anything! You just need to explore a bit to find out what that is.

We’ve hosted successfully and online coffee breaks, health professionals, policy discussions, our Annual General Meeting and more, and are very much looking forward to where this will lead us.

On July 22, we had a live discussion with the members of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong about how Covid-19 has affected their day-to-day operations com­pared with the situation in Japan. It proved to be a valuable affair for a wide range of people all over the world.

When we come out of this pandemic, it had better be after having learned something and grown.

ON THE WAY

We’ve been working with one of our food and beverage members to produce a cooking show using their products. We’ve finished editing the video and are in talks regarding distribution and logistics, but the gist of it is that par­tic­i­pants will have a package of ingredients shipped to them and then, at a given time, log in to view the program and cook along with other participants.

We’re also in talks with local entertainment start-ups and Canadian musicians about pro­duc­ing original music content which, is a really exciting proposition. On the surface, it’s just a great way to get unique content to our members. But, if you dig just a bit deeper, it could also be a great method for the chamber to get that same great Canadian content into the hands of Japan, hopefully boosting the soft power presence of Canada here in doing so.

While things are far from comfortable amidst this pandemic, it does occasionally present us with new and promising opportunities to diversify our offerings and provide value to our members in new ways. And that is somewhat reflective of a larger, positive theme in all of this confusion — that when we come out of this pandemic, it had better be after having learned something and grown.

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