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Project Next – The New Operating Environment

What is next in this pandemic-prone age – and how can we make “next” not only safer but better? That is the focus of NYU’s Project NEXT, a vital international multi-stakeholder initiative that is advancing how we best adapt and re-imagine operations and operating environment for organizations worldwide in response to the current and continuing threats of infectious disease – while also innovating for the better.

Project NEXT is inviting interested stakeholders to collaborate on this challenge of our century and will be hosting an international forum online on June 17.

Key questions confront us all including how will operations and the built environment be adapted for pandemic-onward offices, schools, retail stores, distribution facilities, manufacturing sites, public spaces, and other environments.

How do we address safety while also using this juncture as an opportunity to innovate for a better experience for employees and improved performance for the organization?

Both public and private organizations are currently wrestling with these challenges – often on their own – or potentially with some isolated multi-party efforts in a few segments.

There is an urgent need for a global initiative for coordinated action, guidance, and resources to inform how organizations are to adapt and reimagine their operations – both in the short run and on an ongoing basis as new information and experience necessitate changes.

NYU’s Project NEXT is:

  • Bringing together international stakeholders from businesses, government, NGOs, and academia including
    • subject matter experts from key disciplines such as infectious disease, architecture & engineering, sociology and others
    • building occupiers, owners & managers, real estate professionals
    • solution providers;
  • Identifying and connecting various distinct efforts / programs to integrate their insights and spotlight their resources while promoting cross-pollination of strategies;
  • Clarifying current and evolving stakeholder needs through targeted individual outreach, surveys, and forums;
  • Developing and curating a global clearinghouse of best practices, lessons learned, solution strategies and providers through the ongoing researching of insights from various media as well as integrating insights on best practices and lessons learned from stakeholders;
  • Distilling common principles & a common framework to promote coordinated efforts based upon current initiatives to date, stakeholder input, and subject matter expertise;
  • Identifying and addressing the distinct needs and considerations in targeted environments such as office, retail, residential, hospitality, manufacturing, distribution, education, entertainment / public spaces, public transport, surface transportation, food service, utilities, government facilities and functions, health care, and agriculture;
  • Positioning stakeholder insights to inform the evolution of current and the development of new standards and codes to reflect the needs of the new operating environment;
  • Hosting the NEXT Alliance, an ongoing community of diverse professionals and organizations focusing on the common challenge of adapting and innovating operations and the new operating environment through sharing of best practices and lessons learned;
  • Assembling a panel of subject matter experts available to inform Project NEXT activities as well as individual organizations;
  • Convening the ongoing NEXT Forums with insights on the near future through senior level discussions among key stakeholders and subject matter experts;
  • Advancing bottom-line impacts & economic incentives by directly engaging insurance, legal liability, and rating agency communities as well as linking benefits in productivity and continuity; and
  • Focusing on actionable strategies & solutions through direct engagement of subject matter experts and users to evaluate current solutions, identify opportunities for improvement and advancing innovation of new solutions when needed.

NYU is an internationally recognized research university with a diversity of expertise, proven research output as well as a reputation for providing non-biased neutral ground to address global challenges. The two institutes at NYU who will be championing this initiative each brings unique expertise, capabilities, and robust stakeholder communities to this initiative.

The Institute of Design & Construction (IDC) Innovation Hub: 
The IDC Innovation Hub promotes innovation in construction, engineering design, and management. Member firms leverage the IDC Innovation Hub’s resources to improve efficiency, control costs, and help identify innovative solutions that emphasize sustainability, fiscal responsibility, and safety.  The IDC Innovation Hub aims to play a long-term, instrumental role in helping industry leaders create vibrant and sustainable communities where people want to live and work — while grooming a new generation of architects, engineers, and planners to take on emerging challenges facing the construction industry.

NYU’s International Center for Enterprise Preparedness (INTERCEP)
The Center has over 15 years of stakeholder engagement experience in convening diverse stakeholders, facilitating consensus-based strategies and supporting follow-on implementation activities. It has a proven track record of having advanced the development of both national and international guidance and standards in emergency preparedness in the aftermath of 9/11 and economic incentives to support them. INTERCEP hosts a unique network of over 30 major multinational corporations that are actively collaborating on a 24/7/365 basis in addressing COVID-19 challenges. These companies are sharing information, benchmarking contemplated actions and collaboratively innovating new strategies as they collectively navigate unchartered waters.This network will provide key stakeholder insights into the needs for and feasibility of critical guidance.

Invitation to Join
Project NEXT invites interested stakeholders to come together to address the vital need for a common, collaborative, and innovative approach to how our operations and operating environments will be adapted and reimagined for the better as we confront the ongoing threat of infectious disease. Interested parties may contact or

Continuity Insights

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