Luci Ellis: Innovation and dynamism in the post-pandemic world

Speech by Ms Luci Ellis, Assistant Governor (Economic) of the Reserve Bank of Australia, to the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia, webinar, 18 November 2021.

Central bank speech  | 
19 November 2021

Thanks very much to the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia for the invitation to give this talk. I would very much have liked to be able to travel to Perth to do so in person, as was originally planned, but it was not to be. Our nation is opening up, but mindful of the ongoing health risks, this is taking place in stages. The remaining restrictions on travel remind us that the pandemic is not over. The world is still facing a major public health challenge. The transition from pandemic to endemic is not straightforward. Even so, we are far enough along that transition that it is worth asking what the post-pandemic future might look like, even if the answer is not yet clearly in view.

After any major global event such as this, it's natural to want things to go back to 'normal' – to restore everything to the way it was before. At the same time, there's a countervailing tendency to believe that nothing will ever be the same again. As is often the case, the truth is likely to be somewhere in the middle.

As I touched on in another talk earlier in the year, in the face of a big shock, people and organisations adapt (Ellis 2021). In some cases, adapting to events sets your future on a different path. This is the topic of my talk today – adaptation, innovation and dynamism, and how the experience of the pandemic might have changed things. This is a central question for the shape of the post-pandemic future. Dynamism – the drive to innovate, adapt and evolve – helps underpin a society's living standards.