PACKAGING FORESIGHT for your business

For over two decades, leading companies have relied on PTIS and Leading Futurists to guide their strategies and programs, through every three year Future of Packaging consortia, and now with our valued global alliance partners, provide insightful Packaging Foresight that you can use to help guide and grow your business.

Contact us to stay ahead of key drivers and trends impacting packaging.

Brian Wagner

What To Do With This Post Pandemic Checkup

May 12, 2021

The Pandemic CheckUP Learnings
By Wayne Clancy
Leaders everywhere are looking at how to manage their workforces as we emerge from the pandemic. Even organizations that have seen significant revenue growth face many unknowns: will my team ever return to the office full-time? Will I need to offer fully remote positions to be a competitive hirer? For their part, workers are focused on achieving harmony as they adjust to sudden and unprecedented change in their work environments.Human culture is critical to performance and sustainability. We know this because we have been measuring organizational and community culture for over 25 years. Our tools blend in key factors such as innovation, strategy, decision-making, performance, efficiency and engagement with predictive analytics.
Two key elements that are not often considered when studying performance are wellbeing (emotional and physical) and humanity (how we treat each other). Our research has consistently shown that these factors have a significant impact on performance.

We wanted to understand the impact of the pandemic on our areas of interest. In the early spring of 2020, we reached out to John King, best-selling author of the New York Times #1 Best Seller Tribal Leadership. With John, we created the “Pandemic CheckUP.” The CheckUP helps organizations measure their workforce against the pre-pandemic period in four key areas: (1) strategy, (2) culture, (3) wellbeing and (4) humanity.
We launched the CheckUP across Canada and the United States using our proprietary algorithm, the Expectation Gap Index. The index measures the gap between what is desired and what is. We measured the data against our significant store of pre-pandemic data.

Here is a high-level overview of our results, based on 12 months of data collection:

  • The strategy and culture elements were down marginally from the pre-pandemic period, with clarity and focus identified as the greatest areas of concern.
  • The wellness and wellbeing scores have dropped precipitously since the pandemic began – in many cases, by as much as 25 points. Areas such as emotional energy and proper eating were exceptionally low.

The second finding is of great concern. In the short run, organizations can be quite productive and profitable despite significant wellbeing issues – but this state is unstable. Although humans are remarkably resilient, if wellbeing scores remain low, a “burn out” area is inevitably reached. The deeply negative effects of burn out on productivity have been well documented.

In our 25-plus years, we have not seen wellbeing metrics drop this low. Organizations need to get out in front of this phenomenon or be prepared to see significant knock-on effects in culture and performance.
It is not all doom and gloom, however. During this difficult time, humanity scores have gone up significantly. Metrics such as charity, generosity, compassion, empathy, inclusion and other factors have all improved. Crises have a way of bringing out the basic decency of most people. People are far more focused on helping each other than they were in the past.

Moving forward, two key questions that we are asking are: “How can we improve the wellness and wellbeing of our coworkers and neighbors?” and “How can we make permanent our humanity gains, rather than slip back into old patterns?”

Our study of these questions is ongoing. If this work is of interest to you, please reach out to me directly to participate or stay apprised of future developments.

Wayne Clancy is the Founder and CEO of MindSuiteMetrics and inventer of theMindSuiteTM Human Science GPS Platform.

We are sponsoring an industry checkup for the packaging industry
and will share the results in the near future.
To participate, please visit this link: Packaging Pandemic Checkup


Two Old Packaging Friends Run into Each Other, PackGlobal Nairobi 2030
By John Mahaffie, Leading Futurists
Tanner and Beth, packaging school classmates from the class of 1999, run into each other at PackGlobal Nairobi 2030. Here is part of their conversation.

Tanner: You’re second-generation packaging, right? Your old man?

Beth: Yesiree. My dad, the old Chem E, and proud of it.

Tanner: “PolyEthylene is a form of magic, I tell ya.”

Beth: Something like that.

Tanner, looking down at the show floor: This sure isn’t the world he was in, back in the day.

Beth: It’s not mine either.

Tanner: Really. So what are you up to now?

Beth: I’m a storyteller. Well, I had swung into green sourcing and followed that out of my old company and into a local group that recovers specialty plastics. My job is totally about public communications, light-years from plastics engineering, to be honest. I’m telling the zero-carbon story now. That’s why storytelling is so central. Remember that required class at State? English composition or somesuch? I should have paid more attention. They both stared at the equipment on the show floor and the scurrying host robots, trying to pull in potential customers.

Beth: This is amazing.

Tanner: Still blows my mind too, and I’m actually in automation. I manage robots. I had to learn Python and a whole AI software suite. You thought organic chem was hard.

Beth: We’ve put a lot of robotics in place in recovery, too. We use automated sorting and Chem-Sense materials ID. They expect it to be hands-free soon. No human labor. But that’s all for getting to 100% circularity. That’s quite the story when you can tell it.

Tanner: Dark factory automation. My days are spent entirely orchestrating that. I had to learn about robot ethics, for heaven’s sake. Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m talking about.

Beth: I know what you mean. I worry we sound like dinosaurs to the current generation. We have, what, thirty years each in this business? Although I’d say I’m not really in the business anymore.

Tanner: That’s twice you’ve said that, but you’re literally standing here at a packaging trade show.

Beth: I’m back to give a talk.

Tanner: “Life After Packaging?”

Beth, laughing: No, “Telling the Circularity Story.”

Tanner: Packaging transformed, then.

Beth: Exactly.

John Mahaffie is a co-founder and principal of Leading Futurists LLC, a consultancy that helps organizations explore change and discover new opportunities.

We are very excited to announce the establishment of the Mark V. Ewing Memorial Scholarship in the School of Packaging at Michigan State University (MSU)!  Donation options are listed below.

Mark spent the majority of his career in the packaging industry and has influenced and mentored an entire generation of packaging sales professionals over the past 30 years. Mark’s dynamic personality, keen strategic mind, and ability to find and sell value was unrivaled. Mark is not an MSU alumnus and, in fact, did not graduate from college, but liked to brag that he graduated from “the school of hard knocks.” Mark grew up in Texas but found his real home with his wife Sue in Michigan. Therefore, MSU School of Packaging is the perfect place for his memorial scholarship.

Contribute to Mark’s Legacy in the School of Packaging at Michigan State University

Make your check payable to Michigan State University, include Mark V Ewing Endowed Scholarship in the memo line of your check, and mail to:
Michigan State University Development
Spartan Way
535 Chestnut Road, Room 300
East Lansing, MI 48824

Call MSU University Development at (800) 232-4MSU or (517) 884-1000. Please mention your gift is for the Mark V Ewing Endowed Scholarship.


Quotes for our times…

“You can’t hit what you can’t see” − Walter Johnson, American baseball player (1887-1946) and a common baseball adage
“No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be”  − Isaac Asimov, science fiction writer (1920-1992)
“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible”Walt Disney (1901-1966)
“It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change, or so in love with the old ways, but it’s the place in between we fear…it’s like being in between trapezes.”Marilyn Ferguson, American new age author and speaker (1938-2008)


Some additional resources:

The Future of Packaging – PTIS and Leading Futurists Collaboration
Since the late 1990s, leading companies from across the packaging value chain have relied on PTIS and Leading Futurists to guide their future-focused strategies, leveraging foresight tools to anticipate change and navigate through uncertain waters. Every three years we offer the Future of Packaging program for a multi-sponsor deep dive into the shape of change for the sector.

Our tools help to assure your packaging is hitting on key global trends and stay ahead of competitors. These services can be delivered live or remotely and include:

  • The Future of Packaging Programs
  • Scenario Planning Programs and Workshops
  • Customized Trends & Insight Workshops
  • Teaching techniques such as Horizon 3 thinking
  • Ongoing future insights newsletter
  • Individual company “Future-proofing” audit of packaging, operations