Preservation of the Pandemic “Permission to Try”

The spread of COVID-19 has brought about devastating consequences, affecting economies, communities, families and individuals on a global scale. Despite the grim realities, it is crucial to acknowledge that tough times can offer valuable insight and prospects for progress. Lessons learnt from this crisis can be integrated into our day-to-day routines as we navigate our way forward.

The outbreak of COVID-19 highlighted the innovation potential of several businesses. With the choice between “innovate or fade away,” many companies were pushed to think outside the box, resulting in productive outcomes. Some enterprises that had never engaged remote workers before swiftly established entirely remote departments, while numerous teams went beyond borders to sustain their production lines and distribute essential goods to those in need.

Numerous managers have been pleasantly astonished by their staff’s response to the crisis, witnessing them present and implement innovative solutions in a matter of hours. It’s natural for these individuals in higher positions to aspire to retain their organization’s resourcefulness and harness the “animal spirits” that fostered even quicker creativity, foreseeing its benefits in the future.

It’s crucial to shift our perspective from the political, tragic, and challenging elements of the present pandemic and acknowledge the optimistic aftermaths, particularly the rapid pace of innovation. Whether you’re faced with your next global crisis or planning a product launch, possessing such a mindset can substantially benefit your company.

Evaluating the Prospective Advantages and Disadvantages

Conversations with numerous businesses revealed a recurring trend – a re-evaluation of the conventional ‘risk vs benefit’ evaluation for pandemic innovation. While most leaders wouldn’t condemn calculated risk-takers, there has been some curiosity in the consequences for failed trailblazers pre-pandemic.

Previously, individuals would devote their political influence to persuade others to embrace novelty. If the venture prospered, the credit would be shared across all participants. Nonetheless, at the first sign of failure, everyone would try to free themselves from connection with the innovator.

Occasionally, when introducing modifications within an organization, only a select few would undertake the involved risks, while the rewards weren’t evenly dispersed. Often, it was an individual vs. a much larger entity, with little to no aid or support from the institution.

The peril of existential destruction Substantial changes at both the individual and organizational levels have dramatically impacted the situation. When confronted with a genuine threat to your means of livelihood, you may be open to taking a chance on any proposal that provides a ray of hope.

All of a sudden, everyone was engaged in shifting the status quo, acknowledging that the possible advantages eclipsed the risks.

Adjusting the Evaluation of Costs and Benefits

Individuals in charge of preserving their teams’ or organizations’ resourcefulness when the world resumes a more conventional state must intentionally initiate a process of “rewiring.” As a result of the pandemic, incentives have altered, with taking risks now bringing greater rewards than maintaining the status quo.

To accomplish this “rewiring,” you can conduct transparent discussions with your team members, posing open-ended questions such as:

  • As a direct consequence of the epidemic-induced changes, experimenting with new approaches has become feasible.
  • Which two fundamental modifications do you aim to retain after the pandemic?
  • What original methodologies did your leader adopt that stimulated creativity?

Through asking uncomplicated, open-ended questions, we can begin recognizing patterns without requiring an extensive research endeavour or expensive consultancy engagement. The objective is to identify the methodologies that have facilitated innovation and experimentation amid the pandemic, allowing us to replicate or enhance them even after the pandemic concludes.

Some have proposed that relaxing standard regulations and laws could stimulate innovative efforts. Although it’s possible that your company may have established an excessively strict set of guidelines and provisions, it wouldn’t be viable to eliminate all regulations and controls altogether. These may have impeded creativity, yet they can be modified to maintain necessary supervision without impeding innovative thinking.

It has become clear that there have been few severe consequences for initiatives that did not yield the anticipated outcomes. A few high-ranking executives I have collaborated with have mentioned that some trials executed during the pandemic didn’t generate immediate intended outcomes. However, they may have offered valuable insights or introduced novel methodologies that have facilitated advancement in different domains.

Fundamentally, they altered their approach from regarding failure as a destructive impediment to their profession to regarding it as an indispensable aspect of the path to success. The notion of ‘failing fast’ holds some validity; it shows that you are endeavouring to be inventive. Just like an athlete who never trains, a business that never takes risks will never be able to innovate.

Looking Ahead

Innovation: The accomplishments during the epidemic were not attributable to any exceptional circumstance. Leaders probably balanced the risk and reward equation in favour of trial and error, instead of compelling innovators to calculate and minimize the risk of their ideas up to the point that they became impractical. The company’s larger hierarchy also reevaluated the significance of innovation, acknowledging that everything was on the line and the current status quo was inadequate.

It is likely that the proficiency, skills, and resources necessary to uphold innovation are already present. Employing and assimilating these insights will ensure that you persevere with innovation even amidst global disasters, rather than trying to revert to the “conventional approach” hastily and forfeiting the strides made with your novel inventive approach.

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