The “100x100 Business vs. Coronavirus” digital handbook.

MILAN — Despite the havoc wrought by the pandemic, one thing is for sure: 2020 has taught businesses, entrepreneurs and every person at least one lesson on how to be prepared and face unprecedented times.

It has also pushed everyone to embrace challenges and turn them into new opportunities.

Moving from that assumption, Maurizio Ribotti, founder of marketing and communication consultancy B-f-t-m, has edited a not-for-profit digital handbook gathering quotes and insights from 100 international professionals.

Called “100×100 Business vs. Coronavirus,” the 100-plus page tome is available for free on the dedicated web site and it is based on the idea that sharing knowledge is the only way to move past the current situation.

“The project was triggered by the conviction that we have to walk towards the future together. There’s true richness in sharing, which is fundamental, today more than ever,” Ribotti explained.

“We’ve gathered the contributions from professionals from around the world, each of them different in terms of culture, business sector, role, sex and age. They all shared visions and intuitions that are personal and experimented in their day-by-day business activities.”

The list of individuals involved covers 16 industries and sectors including retail, luxury goods, tech, media, hospitality and more. The handbook features a sample of international businessmen and women, executives, managers and freelancers from the U.S., Italy, Spain, China and Australia, among other countries, each with diverse points of view.

For instance, American investor, writer, mentor and entrepreneur Chris Yeh points out that those people and businesses “who acknowledge and adapt to change will quickly gain an advantage over those who don’t. To make the most of this pandemic, ask yourself, ‘What opportunities can I pursue during this pandemic that I won’t be able to pursue once it is over?’” he wrote.

Contributions coming from representatives of the luxury and fashion worlds included one from Peter Malachi, senior vice president of communications at Hermès, who noted that “socially responsible practices are fundamental to ethical business, empowered by social media. COVID-19 has disproportionately affected disparate populations. The economic shutdown, catastrophic for many, has fueled overwhelming demand for certain products and services,” he said mentioning rising online sales, by-appointment shopping experiences and increased popularity of products that improve the quality of life, comfort and safety.

The pandemic has also shed a light on untackled issues, according to Maddalena Beltrami, global CRM and Salesforce senior manager at Gucci. “How fragile is a woman’s professional life and how complex is the balance women need to manage. When will business value the uniqueness of relentless female strength? Proud to be a strong and optimistic woman. More than ever in this historical moment,” she offered.

At the same time, Lelio Gavazza, executive vice president of sales and retail at Bulgari, took the opportunity to wave a national pride flag. ‟The crisis affected all aspects of our lives and we observed the real behavior of people. As an Italian citizen, I am proud to see how we reacted with no judgments or finger-pointing towards anyone else, but there was an incredible creative response and interpretation allowing the Italians to express their true spirit and remain united, whilst respecting the health and safety rules,” he said.

“I’m happy to see that we are an example of how to react to a crisis. This is the real Made of Italy,” he added.