Looking on the bright side in midst of a crisis?
As the world is facing a new pandemic, COVID-19 has become our number one concern and has already had an overwhelming impact on our lives. Europe is now facing a massive challenge trying to control the pandemic with countries such as Italy and Spain implementing lockdown measures, in an attempt to restrict human contact and prevent the virus from spreading. While the media portrays the situation in a very negative light, we at acccoi have looked at how the innovation industry is affected from all angles.
Innovation is highly reliant on events and sharing ideas, companies focus on increasing their innovation output by cooperating with one another in the hopes of accelerating their activities in this field. Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, almost all key international innovation events have been cancelled, such as the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona which usually attracts more than 100 thousand participants. This along with the fact that innovation is perceived as a second-tier priority for most corporates, has taken a toll on innovation. Nevertheless, even though companies are focusing less on investing time and resources in innovation activities during the crisis, there are a number of positive societal changes that are pushing innovation further.
Pandemics accelerate change and enhance innovation, it’s a fact! As it happened in the past with various pandemics, society has been able to evolve and innovate their way through hardship. In 2002 during the SARS outbreak in Asia consumer internet penetration, which was relatively low in China, skyrocketed. People had to look for alternatives, as schools, supermarkets, stores and pharmacies were closed, spurring the usage of e-commerce platforms to access primary care products and services. Since then, e-commerce has become a vital part of our daily activities. The same thing is happening with COVID-19 and the implementation of digital working platforms in our daily corporate activities. Companies are complying with governmental restrictions and are working together with their employees to structure functional “home office” routines allowing teams to maintain business as usual remotely.
The digital world of communication has also reached the educational system. Schools and universities are expected to be closed for long periods of time during the Coronavirus crisis and in order to maintain the student’s curriculum in line with the specific program requirements, institutions are implementing new digital tools to facilitate home school mechanisms. Even though almost every institution is already familiarized with online educational platforms, it is the first time they face a situation where every aspect of the student’s educational journey is conducted online.
The reality is that the professional and educational systems in place at the moment, are not making use of the full potential that digital communication channels and tools provide. The Coronavirus crisis has pushed forward the change towards the full integration of digital tools into our professional lives. Will this be the start of a new era? How will our daily work activities be structure after we experience long periods of time working remotely? We will have to wait and see.