Crisis – A Strong Driver of Innovation

Crisis – A Strong Driver of Innovation

Doesn’t it feel like the time where we have the Will, but not the Way? It was that time of the year when I was planning for a trip to the beautiful place located in the Himalayan range on the Bank of Indus river, Ladakh. 

Just before I could click the booking button, Nation bans free movement of people, borders are closed, airplanes are grounded. Words you could hear everywhere were, confirm, evidence, symptom, test, sample, people, age, severe, treatment.

Soon International Monetary Fund (IMF), the global economy released data on economy expected to shrink by over 3 percent in 2020 – the steepest slowdown since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Now here we are, all together, every day. You’re supposed to be careful what you wish for, but come on, none of us saw this coming.

Although more and more studies are showing that quarantine and isolation methods are indeed effective and that we should all continue to keep our physical distance, it is hard not to grow impatient and wonder how long this is likely to last.

Today’s coronavirus is already changing cultural and business norms shaking to the core of what we have taken for granted for decades and centuries. 

If examined closely, one can already observe abundant creativity and innovation emerging at the national, institutional, organizational, and individual levels within the countries affected by COVID-19.

New side of the New normal

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly influenced the lives of most people on the planet. It has changed daily activities; something as simple as a walk in the park is perceived very differently now.

What has been interesting is how people are all getting innovative from life to death.

My grandmother passed away as I write this article and the séance was all done through video calls. The condolence meet was organized over zoom, to avoid social gathering.

On the other side, we have seen a lot of new innovative ways to celebrate various milestones of life. The video made by my little niece over 20th anniversary of my cousins was no less than a life event.

People say that it needed COVID-19 to help achieve the “Swatch Bharat” Abhiyan. We see nature at its best and lot more greenery with more life to our flying friends (birds).

People had no choice but to learn online way of living, either for essentials, or being connected to their close ones, or entertainment. 

Professionals who used to live out of suitcases carved out a sitting space at home and new ways to connect to work.

Fitness centers converted their sessions to connect their members online. Schools tried all their new ways to connect students with education.

WFH will lead to a myriad of workplace changes impacting teamwork, productivity, collaboration, and communication.

Converting Train coaches to COVID wards. Companies providing their offices to support fight the pandemic.

A host of new innovations, some emerging from start-ups that have been incubated by universities, have appeared in recent weeks. Across the country, entrepreneurs and innovators have quickly devised new apps, robots and ventilators to help overcome the pandemic.

Another startup, Droom, claims it has come up with a special anti-microbial coating called Corono Shield, which inhibits the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria, algae, yeast, moulds, and mildew on the surfaces of vehicles. It is being tested by police in Gurugram in Haryana state.

The global impact of COVID-19 has reaffirmed that pandemics do not care about geographical borders. We in India, have a once in a century opportunity to ensure that “Make in India” “Digital India” truly become a reality. Improbable Yes! Impossible No! – a direct fall out of COVID-19. Innovation at its best!