Innovation in times of coronavirus

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Innovation in times of coronavirus

The coronavirus is making it possible to consolidate progress (Telemedicine, Teleworking, Online Conferences…) as a direct response to the health crisis. But, just as in the case of the great recession of 2008, there is more to come. And this is where innovation plays a vital role.

A few weeks ago, in one of Lo de Évole’s special programmes on the Coronavirus, the film director Juan Antonio Bayona told an anecdote on the exceptional situation that we are experiencing. It consisted of the change of category that imdb, the most important database in the world of cinema, gave to the film Contagion, changing it from science fiction to drama.

This at first glance insignificant change shows how an initially implausible situation is now a reality. A situation which represents the biggest health crisis in living memory.

And although in surreal moments like this we always have to lament bad news, they also offer opportunities for transformation, such as the major companies that arose from the great recession of 2008-2009 which revolutionised the way we travel, communicate and live: WhatsApp, Uber, Airbnb…

startups founded reccession

Green light for innovation

We do not yet know what COVID19 will do for us in terms of business creation, but in reality it has been a key driver for teleworking, online conferences and events, online food purchases (tripling during quarantine) and telemedicine (it is predicted that it will grow suddenly 5 years due to the coronavirus).

All of these advances were already before the coronavirus. They have simply been consolidated as the epidemic became a global pandemic. But if we stick to pure and simple innovation, this is where we have to take advantage of the above-mentioned opportunities arising from exceptional situations.

The first thing to remember is that creativity and innovation cannot only be developed in all people, but are present in our daily lives without sometimes being aware of it: when we turn a towel into a dishcloth, a pot of nutella into a glass, a shirt into a cloth, a soft drink into a bottle of water or, to add a touch of humour, a supermarket bag into a rain hat.

Innovation in companies: from urgency to new trends

In the business sector, the innovation we have seen stands out in times of instability. Firstly, due to the emergency and need, such as healthcare equipment in the form of respirators, fans and masks that companies and individuals are creating to deal with the coronavirus. And secondly, because this global pandemic will drive a great wave of innovation to respond to new trends, habits and behaviours.

We must prepare for change

Therefore, part of these changes, being direct short-term responses to the coronavirus crisis, will be a return to normality when the pandemic passes. But others will continue and that is when companies must be prepared and not reluctant to transform.

The drawings of Tom Fishburne, author of the book “Your Ad Ignored Here: Cartoons from 15 years of Marketing Business and Doodling in Meetings” are perfect for illustrating this reflection and rounding off this article.