The Atlantic Canadian Corona Corps

Are we really a world-leader in the time of Coronavirus? Let's find out.

Scott Galloway of the NYU Stern School of Business recently wrote a piece called the “United States Corona Corps.” The idea was to bring back national service as an avenue to mend the wounds that have appeared so deeply in modern-day America.

In 1951, Representative John F. Kennedy said, "young college graduates would find a full life in bringing technical advice and assistance to the underprivileged” around the world. In that calling, they would “follow the constructive work done by the religious missionaries in these countries over the past 100 years."

Over 250,000 people have served humanity via the Peace Corps in 142 countries since it’s inception, including the CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings. When COVID-19 washed across the world, all of those people serving the world were evacuated.

It makes sense to me that JFK saw merit in national (and international service). He himself was a master of empathy and cooperation (even if he was flawed, as we all are). I believe if you had of asked Krushchev in the 1960s, he’ d say the same. For more on why that is, pick-up Ryan Holiday’s new mind-bender, Stillness Is The Key.

What do we need in a crisis? Empathy, cooperation, and expertise x mass testing.

What do we need to be prepared for the next one? Robust systems, the ability to decentralize at the drop of a hat and anti-fragile companies.

So what do we do?

The Atlantic Canadian Corona Corps Est. 2020

What Scott has pitched to America, and what I give to you now is an army of young people taking the next year to serve their country and their people, building that empathy, cooperation, and technical expertise needed for the 21st-century marketplace.

Who are they?

Young, healthy people statistically fare much better after having contracted this particular virus. Of course, we want our young and strong to maintain appropriate PPE and social-distancing but we also need their energy for work. This year, hundreds of thousands of students had their school year cancelled and may even possibly enter into an extended gap year if the virus is reborn in the Fall. What do these students have? Energy, time and an innate understanding of technology.

What do they do?

The Atlantic Canadian Corona Corps (ACCC) could be comprised of 5 primary divisions:

  1. Testing: send the ACCC Testing Division into the field to ensure we accurately diagnose the asymptomatic carriers among us so we can encourage them to self-isolate for 14 days.

  2. Contact Tracing: send the ACCC Contact Tracing Division into the field and into the lab to design tracking applications on the scale of the South Korean initiative.

  3. Health Innovation: the ACCC Health Innovation Division would be a volunteer army of tech-savvy youth (or unemployed people) with the mission of digitizing health records and automating processes for our frontline health-care workers.

  4. Government Innovation: the ACCC Government Innovation Division’s mission is to create the first open-source governments in the country, following the lead of first-movers like Estonia. Imagine if Atlantic Canada held that title nationally? As it exists today, government isn’t where you go to innovate. The Government Innovation division could be the catalyst to ensuring our most talented graduates choose civil service.

  5. Entrepreneurship: the ACCC Entrepreneur Divison is the division of the Corona Corps responsible for building our next great companies. In the Maritimes, we are not raised to be entrepreneurs. We’re raised to go get a stable degree followed by a job with one of our big companies and put in the work required to get the gold watch. That worked for the generation before us but it doesn’t reflect what’s on offer (or what is needed) in the 21st-century.

What’s on the table? College credit, a base salary from the government for your service, practical field experience, job opportunities after your year in the field and a complete innovation overhaul of the Atlantic Provinces.

Are we really a world-leader during the time of Coronavirus? Let’s find out.

More inspiration for the Atlantic Canadian Corona Corps came about in my interview with the great Dan Doiron on the Unsettled podcast and in this conversation on the Growing Pains Podcast with David Campbell.

What a ride,

Matt