The upside of this incredibly difficult last year is that many subtle problems in society and business have come out in the open. In response, here are 5 themes for substantive change to consider in 2021:

5. Address the downside of the virtual world.

Our physical neighborhoods and towns will irreparably suffer if we don’t figure out a way to balance the doubling down on Internet retailing with local shopping and dining. Consider regionally-based Costco-style memberships as a way to offset the cutthroat competition based on price alone.

4. Address the upside of the virtual world.

How many office workers miss the commute? Not many, I should think. VR-based workplaces are in development on multiple fronts. I’ll start working on a smart, good-looking avatar that isn’t losing hair.

3. Get the “whole” truth.

I think a lot of people on both sides of the political spectrum have been shocked in 2020 from seeing some of society’s hidden underbelly and dirty laundry for the first time. While understandable, our desire to seek comfort in hearing only from suitably-biased mainstream media and social media sources should be called into question. A socially-curated Wikipedia style non-profit platform for news (and opinion) could do a lot to counteract this unfortunate trend.

2. Address the funding of political campaigns.

Is there a powerful elite? You can decide for yourself, but it won’t hurt to remove campaign funding from the political equation by looking at campaigns as one more taxpayer-funded item that is equally distributed among contestants. Some will see this as a waste of taxpayer dollars, I’m sure, but let’s have this debate and see where popular opinion lands.

1. Expand your “family.”

By this, I mean the definition of your brother and sister, beyond just the folks who popped out of Mom. If your family includes your neighbor, your political nemesis, and perhaps a pen pal or two across a national border, we would have a much better chance of living in peace.