30 second summary:
Covid presented us all with a rollercoaster of unexpected turns. Many business leaders around the globe focused on survival. Others saw more, found golden opportunities in the crisis and thrived. This article highlights 10 key strategic innovations that emerged during lockdown and asks: (1) with which of these did you as a business engage and (2) which of these will you pursue further for even greater results going forward.
A mantra calls back as we emerge from lockdown: “Never let a serious crisis go to waste; … it's an opportunity to do things you didn’t think you could do before.” (Rahm Emanuel).” In parallel, a business meme captures the essence of this moment: “Who is responsible for your digital transformation: A) the CEO, B) the CTO or C) Coronavirus"
It’s been a roller-coaster ride to survive and thrive. And whilst some businesses, some industries, have focused on survival, others have learnt to thrive even as they’ve worked hard to survive.
So, two questions:
1. What are the three most significant things you’ve done during lockdown that you didn’t think you could do before?
2. Which of those will you incorporate into your new business as usual going forward?
Because, be warned, at times of great change, the most dangerous strategy is: stay the same.
For, on a global scale, COVID-19 has turbo-charged leadership innovation. Leaders have had to grasp all their courage, discipline and love to direct their energy to:
- Contain contagion – at break-neck speed create and trial ways to combat the level of infection and spread of disease in hospitals, care homes, factories, places of work, towns, cities, nations
- Discover new uses of existing drugs – to save lives by slowing and reducing the impact of the disease on those infected
- Develop new building and repurposing existing buildings – to create new hospitals in record time and increase capacity for worst-case scenarios
- Accelerated clinical trials to develop new drugs and effective vaccines against COVID-19
- Engage in previously unheard-of collaborations, teaming-up with “rival” corporate entities and sovereign nations to advance medical treatments
- Reimagine “home-schooling” – a task that has tested headmasters, teachers and parents in almost equal measure, particularly for primary school children
- Repurpose products – to put to different use existing technologies such as heat sensors, alternative ventilators, tracing apps, drones for monitoring building sites
- Repurpose factories – as organisations adapted production machinery to go from high-ticket fashion to PPE, perfumes to anti-bacterial lotions
- Remote working of all individual contributors – which though possible for some time, became the only way to maintain momentum for most businesses across the globe
- Virtual working for all teams virtually - through online platforms (Zoom, Teams)
Which of these do you see in your own organisation? How can you continue the trajectory of innovation in your organisation beyond lockdown? “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin
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