Scholars in entrepreneurship and innovation appreciate the theory developed by Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter.
He correctly argued that we constantly replace the old inefficient ways with new efficient ways. He called it gale of creative destruction.
Sometimes the shift may be purposed but other times it may be involuntary. A case in point for the later scenario is the replacement of expensive face to face meetings and mass gatherings that are now becoming quickly forgotten courtesy of COVID-19 and its demand to keep social distancing.
Recently Dedan Kimathi University of Technology held a virtual graduation ceremony. There were no major logistical costs and inconveniences traditionally associated with graduation ceremonies.
The university and its students spent far much less than they normally would. The best part is that the new form of graduation did not in any way compromise the quality of graduates. Some couples have already warmed up to the idea of holding their weddings with a guest list of less than fifteen people.
We celebrated this year’s Labour and Madaraka Days without the many unnecessary accompaniments that have traditionally been associated with such national events. This saved taxpayers tens of millions that would have otherwise been spent to hold them.
Some court rulings have been delivered through video links and so have seminars and trainings.
We need to permanently adopt this new modus operandi. After all, the World Health Organization (WHO) has already told us that COVID-19 is not going away. Henceforth we need to have a conversation on what academic or technical value arises by packing the entire village in hired buses to a graduation ceremony or a pass out parade.
What is the cost versus benefit of assembling and feeding hundreds of guests, some of whom barely know the couple, to witness a wedding? What national gain is there in assembling a battalion of VIPs for a national day celebration only for it to turn out to be shouting match between politicians?
Must the remanded and judges meet in physical courtrooms for mentioning of their cases? Must employees be paid transport mileage, accommodation and fat out of pocket money to attend seminars in fancy hotels? Let us go virtual or at least minimize the size of the crowd if we must have physical meetings.
It is the better option.