Some scientists advocate the theory of “boom and bust” cycles of around 60 to 80 years. Accordingly, a crisis in 2020 was inevitable and foreseeable. But these cycles vary depending on the scientist: One is certain of an upcoming crisis when the other predicts a boom. The beauty of it? The future becomes plannable, certain, and predictable. But of course, it is not that easy. However, there may be some truths to these cycles, the future is just not that easy to predict, especially not by looking back at the past. At the end of this year, we decided to give in to this illusion just because it is beautifully simple and so we are now looking forward to 80 years without a crisis. 😉
And with this, hopefully, we have managed to start our review of 2020 on a positive note. You wonder whether you really want to review this year, at a time when everyone can hardly wait for it to finally be over and is looking forward full of hope to a turn of the year that promises a better 2021.
But 2020 also had moments worth remembering. There were moments of solidarity and cohesion, moments of openness and cooperative exchange. There were moments of rapid innovation, scientific advancement, and moments of insight and confidence.
That is why we also want to look back on our year at innosabi. So here is our chronology of 2020, with all the important events, digital meet-ups, great experiences, exciting discoveries and, of course, uncertainties and insecurities.
January – March. Excitedly Starting the New Year.
As a proud participant of the EU funding program Horizon 2020, we had a very successful start in 2020 and were itching to use the funding in the best possible way. The goal? To develop our software even faster and further. This participation also felt like a great confirmation of what we do and what we have already achieved.
But not only for our product, we always have new ideas and improvements planned, but also for our website. It is the first point of contact for everyone who wants to get to know us better. So our website should always reflect the development we are doing and continue to do as a company and with our software. No sooner said than done – and so we ended up with the launch of a completely new website. True to the motto, if you’re going to do it, do it right.
The first month of the new year comes to an end and with the appearance of the first Covid-19 infection in Germany uncertainties took over. From then on, developments came thick and fast: In mid-March, the WHO declared a pandemic, the first inner-European borders were closed and the focus fell with horror on southern Europe.
With the hashtag #flattenthecurve, people tried to remind each other to minimize their social contacts, and at innosabi, too, the decision was quickly made to switch to decentralized working from home. The best example for how well decentralized collaboration can work, is the Give a Breath Challenge, which was launched by Munich Re and the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft and implemented in a very short time with innosabi as a tech partner. The goal of the challenge: to find solutions for the ventilation and care of Covid 19 patients as quickly as possible. Together with the public, construction plans and concepts were developed, which were then made freely available to governments and states around the world via digital channels. The decentralized production of portable ventilators and the training of medical personnel could thus be supported with the help of global capacities.
April – June. Home Office 😁 vs. Home Office 😕
For those who can, life now takes place almost exclusively within their own four walls. Some are rejoicing; others are struggling with the extra workloads that comes with staying home. The COVID-19 pandemic dominates world events and the media landscape. In science, a global and collaborative exchange of knowledge is taking place as never before – incredibly fast and digitally. Within a very short time, arguments and forecasts are emerging about how this crisis will affect humanity, our lives and economies, our interactions and behaviors, our psyches and mindsets, and our needs and consumption.
The transition from “We mostly work in the office” to “We only work from home” was comparatively easy for us thanks to an already existing infrastructure. Still, we dearly missed our colleagues, the quick conversation at the coffee machine, and the spontaneous meetings in the hallway. It is precisely these spontaneous, sometimes unplanned conversations in between that always have hidden potential for inspiration.
We cannot say it often enough, whether planned or not: The best ideas come from exchanges with each other, from exchanges between different parties, from interdisciplinary and open thinking and experimentation. And yes, that is what was missing in the home office. So what to do?
Our favorite place for spontaneous meetings? Our coffee machine! Is that also possible digitally? We think so! And the Virtual Coffee Machine Channel was born. It existed across teams and within teams, for social proximity at a physical distance. And the most important rule of the channel? The camera has to be switched on.
July – September. When Life Gives You Lockdown, Finish the Book You’ve Been Writing.
Catharina van Delden and David Chia used the summer months to finish their heart project “get the second innosabi book done” or as David likes to describe it: “When life gives you lockdown, finish the book you’ve been writing”. Of course, the two were not in this alone. The design team with Julia Gackstetter, Mona Sardari, and Pia Weizenegger was involved very early in the development process. And that paid off. Content, layout, and design really complemented each other. The design of the new book is really unique and very special – at least we think so 😁. So the summer months were full of design drafts discussions, we made final corrections, and talked is all through with the print shop.
These were also the months in which a bit of normality returned. Some of the innosabi team members started to go to the office more regularly and reestablished sunny garden meetings. Also, Catharina van Delden could more often go back to her usual exchange with our network. Interviews were conducted, thoughts and insights exchanged, podcasts recorded, and videos shot.
In the two podcasts With love and data with Alex Jacobi and Invincible Innovation Show with Adi Mazor Kario, Catharina talks about the importance of innovation, how innovation can succeed, and what role the use of digital solutions can play, especially in times of crisis. A really great interview has also been created together with Bosch Global. It gives an exciting, detailed overview of innosabi, the principles of agile innovation, and in what culture and environment successful innovation flourishes.
October – December. Ending the Year Kinda the Same, But Different.
The last quarter? It was once again particularly eventful and exciting. As is often the case, events accumulate before the end of the year. Things really got going in our last quarter with the launch of the new innosabi book Connect the Dots. So the efforts of the months before paid off.
It is always in this quarter that our annual User Group Event innosabi connect takes place, which every year we very much look forward to. But in 2020, everything was different.
What always made innosabi connect so special and interesting was the personal exchange in workshops, the exciting conversations, and finally, the delicious innosabi drinks in a relaxed atmosphere. And because that was not possible, we decided not to do innosabi connect, but of course, we did not want to miss out on the exchange with our network and our customers.
So a digital event was required. In mid-November, we organized our first digital event: innosabi next. Anything you try for the first time is, of course, particularly exciting and thrilling. And not everything works out the way you imagined. Still, we are very satisfied with our first digital meet-up, and we were very happy about the many participants, familiar faces, and the exciting exchange.
We used innosabi next to give all participants an update of our latest developments at innosabi. In addition to continuously enhancing our software, we could offer our latest innosabi Community update. It makes it even easier to drive innovation with customers. Enhanced visibility helps you to address exactly your target group, and an intuitive user experience enables optimal co-creation. In addition to our Trend Radar, which is very helpful for future and trend analyses, we have also developed a Startup Radar. New players are emerging as fast as never before, within but also outside your own industry. The Startup Radar supports you to keep the overview: Startups can be submitted, evaluated, and searched, thus enabling a quick and easy classification of potential collaboration partners.
And that was not all – the last quarter had even more to offer. December is also the anniversary of the founding of innosabi. This year, innosabi celebrates its tenth birthday. Congratulations, innosabi! Here is to many more years of good ideas and developments, of dialogue and exchange, of openness and diversity, of great teamwork and joyful celebrations, and, of course, of always striving to actively shape the future.
The last days before the holidays, we are now slowly but surely getting into the Christmas spirit. The last tasks before the end of the year are completed, teams get together for small, digital “secret Santa and mulled wine chats”, and the year 2020 is said goodbye to more quietly than usual but nonetheless together and in a Christmassy spirit.
We wish all readers a relaxing and wonderful holiday season. We hope that everyone finds moments of confidence and optimism for themselves. Take care!