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The Importance of Innovation: How Can a Business Be Innovative During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

General Articles

The Importance of Innovation: How Can a Business Be Innovative During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

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The Importance of Innovation When the Chips Are Down

Some of us this year might have been surprised by how fast some businesses in our vicinity folded, unable to adapt to the changes brought about by a global shutdown. But we also might be equally amazed by those organizations that somehow managed to thrive, even as delivering products and services became so much more challenging. How did they do it? Through innovation.

Consider how, in the past, some tiny startups managed to overtake dominant competitors. One might look to Netflix — which many of us started watching a whole lot more this year — and recall that 20 years or so ago, it was about $50 million in debt and not entirely certain of its own survival. Back then, Blockbuster was the source of much of our entertainment. Flash forward: Blockbuster is all but gone, and Netflix is everywhere.

Observing how Netflix managed to overtake Blockbuster, Mark Randolph, co-founder of Netflix and former CEO, said, "If you're big, someone will disrupt your business for you." Better to try to innovate in-house rather than wait until some scrappy startup comes along and changes everything.

57%

57% of companies surveyed in North America and Europe reported that their entire business model had to be reconsidered in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Forbes

Unsure Where to Start?

"The only way to know if an idea is a good one or a bad one is to try it," Randolph suggested. "You'll learn more by doing something than by studying it for six months," he said.

But how do you even get to that point where you have an idea to implement? One way to approach innovation during a challenging time is to focus on human-centered design. In essence, think like a client. Focus on clients' needs and how your business can make their livelihood better. Think, for instance, about restaurants that managed to pivot toward more home-catering services, preparing meals for takeout or delivery. Or contemplate clothing stores that, with malls and storefronts closed, found a way to deliver clothing selections to customers who could shop and try on new outfits, from the convenience and safety of their own homes.

Sometimes — like in 2020 — we are not given the luxury of contemplation; circumstances require an immediate response. This past year it was "sink or swim." This year, how will you innovate?

The Importance of Innovation- People at an office post pandemic
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