Remember the story of Isaac Newton and the famed apple that helped define gravity? Did you know that it all happened while he was quarantined at home during the 1665 Great Plague? While the story of Newton’s discovery has become a legend although, details are debated. The truth stands that Newton used his time in lockdown to change the world forever. In a far distant future, yet not-too different situations, individuals around the world find themselves locked in their homes like Newton. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a global shift in life as we know it, with massive implications for those who do – or don’t – innovate along with it.
When Crisis Hits, The Innovators Get Busy
When the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 began its silent spread across the globe, millions of businesses slammed their doors shut and turned off the lights. Out of an abundance of caution, once-busy companies have turned away paying customers and paid employees. For many, it may be difficult to find a glimmer of light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel.
In the days before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, studies showed that nearly 92% of companies feared that their day-to-day business and long-term viability would be threatened by unexpected disruption and the growth of the digital market. The shift to online sales, the use of cloud computing platforms, and an ever-changing market landscape have left those who haven’t prepared to fear their long-term prospects.
In fact, those companies who miss the opportunity to innovate find themselves dying at a much faster rate today. Those who were nimble were able to quickly adapt to the new online-only option of business, while others faced sudden collapse without a viable business model.
The trick to surviving any unexpected disruptive event in the market – big or small – is to have the ability to find innovation in the midst of a crisis. Like Newton, the crucible of struggle can often bring out new and unexpected innovations that change the world. Whether it’s a car manufacturer pivoting to create much-needed medical ventilators or mom-and-pop shops navigating new online ordering methods, companies that will survive COVID-19 are those who have an adventurous spirit and a willingness to see opportunity hidden in the crisis.
An Innovator’s Guide To Lockdown
During this time of quarantine, we challenge you to take the opportunity to dive into your ideas, passions and focus on unique ways to innovate, because there are many rewards to be found by those who take advantage of this historical moment to grow and adapt. Truly, there is not a guide for how to best operate and thrive during unexpected disruptions – even less so for a global pandemic with worldwide economic stopping power.
How can you – as an entrepreneur or business leader – seize the opportunity afforded to you at this moment? Consider some of these ideas as you begin to create your strategy for post-COVID innovation:
The first step for you to begin to move ahead in uncertain times is to communicate, communicate, communicate. Make a plan or strategy for how your business will move forward with new safety protocols and ways to keep team members and customers safe. If you create a plan and promote your strategy clearly, you will build trust and keep customers loyal in a world of new expectations.
2. Get Creative:
Now is the time to begin to develop new methods of doing business. Is there a unique way that your company or brand can join the “war effort” of fighting COVID-19 through creating PPE or offering needed services to first responders? Can you put in place new methods of delivering goods or services without person-to-person contact? If you can create new and creative ways to do business, those stuck inside looking for hope in the midst of the mundane will take notice and want to join in the fun.
3. Stay Consistent:
Here’s the truth: this time of crisis will come to an end. However, just because the pandemic comes to an end doesn’t mean your new practices have to! If you create new methods or innovations for your business to adapt to the coronavirus, consider if staying consistent once businesses reopen would be beneficial. It’s likely that customers will get used to the efficient and convenient services many businesses now provide and will want them to remain when doors open once more.
It’s Time To See Crisis As An Opportunity
As we have seen, some of the greatest innovations in history have come from times of social and civil upheaval. Those who take advantage of the opportunity afforded them during unique times will watch as their businesses thrive while others die. Don’t miss your chance to make the best of this time, and put in the hard work to innovate. You never know what may come next!