9 suggestions on how to use the time as an innovator now (and for afterwards)

The Corona Crisis presents us with enormous challenges and impacts on life and economy, psyche and mentality, and companies and their innovation. We are all struggling with uncertainties and insecurities, and the only clear thing is that the Corona pandemic will change us.

Companies as well as each and every one of us are required to adapt their behavior and actions to this exceptional situation. This is by no means easy, but it can also hold great potential. After all, rapid adaptation and efficient solution finding are at the heart of every good innovation.

Saying this, we do not want to give this crisis positive attributes. It just means that – like any crisis – it contains disruptive forces.

We have collected 9 suggestions on how to make good use of the time now – perhaps also in preparation for the time after the crisis.

#TogetherAgainstCorona

At first glance, the Corona crisis may seem like a time of separation and isolation. But a second glance reveals that we are also going through a process of opening up and solidarity. Especially in science, there is a global and collective exchange of knowledge – incredibly fast and digital.

Many companies are also making their infrastructure and resources available for dealing with the crisis. It’s all about supporting healthcare, in particular. For example, the French luxury group LVMH or Becks Brewery produce disinfectants. The lingerie manufacturer Mey or the mattress producer Breckle are now sewing masks for mouth-nose protection. And with the #GiveaBreathChallenge, Munich Re and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are looking for the best solutions to 3D printable designs for respirators.

What can we do? Share ideas in your network, talk to your employees, customers, or suppliers about ways you might be able to contribute. Get together and support each other. Innovation challenges or awards can be a great way to find innovative ideas and solutions.

Don’t look at the future with today’s eyes.

People tend to evaluate future decisions with the present emotional state. In short, if I feel unhappy and anxious today, I assume that these feelings will also play a role in my future decisions.

There will be a time after the crisis. On the one hand, you can assume that a good idea will still be a good idea after the crisis, even if your current state of mind hardly allows it. On the other hand, current feelings will have an impact on future decisions. The uncertainty we feel about COVID-19 will continue to influence our behavior long after the crisis is over. As a result, ventures that seemed promising before the crisis may be less successful after the crisis.

Consider which decisions about the success of ideas and plans need to be made now and which can take place at a later date. This does not mean not to deal with the future. The essential thing is not to let yourself be guided too strongly by current feelings and to keep an open mind. Look into trends, start workshops, consider possible scenarios and gather perspectives.

And as for possible new behaviors, check out the suggestion “As always, keep up the customer dialogue.”

Increase efficiency

Perhaps the first reaction of many companies will be to scrap innovation projects with a longer-term payback period. And some can’t afford to look to the distant future either. But it would be fatal to underestimate the importance of innovation teams. An innovation team’s expertise lies in understanding the biggest challenges facing the core business and solving them. More than ever, it is important to address those that can contribute to revenue and efficiency within a short window of time.

The 70/20/10 model states that 70% of innovation activities should focus on the core business, 20% on adjacent, and 10% on disruptive innovation initiatives. Innovating successfully does not necessarily mean enabling disruptive innovation continuously.

So, the current time could be used exactly to focus once more on this 70%. Stimulate your idea management, collect ideas and suggestions for improvement to increase your efficiency, and adapt and further expand existing products or services in a resource-saving manner.