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Innovation in times of corona – those who do not reinvent themselves now will not play along tomorrow

By April 15, 2020April 26th, 2021No Comments

Our future is rapidly changing from day to day. The lack of everyday freedom reinforces the human urge to change current circumstances.

Since the outbreak of the Corona pandemic, the restrictions have been so far-reaching that interests seem to unite in almost all areas of life, across the medical, social and economic environment. People are faced with new restrictions that change their everyday lives and lead to problems in many parts. In this way, these restrictions lead to people’s unified desire to find solutions to problems that limit their everyday lives.

The pandemic triggers an urge to innovate in society.

The problem areas have no geographical boundaries and the search for solutions brings together teams of experts from all nations. The search for answers unites the world in these hours. In the past few days, we have seen many initiatives that focus on key problems of the crisis and solve them with digital technologies. Across the globe, more and more hackathons are combating the CoronaVirus. This underlines that in this extraordinary situation, we even manage to create a global hackathon and connect entrepreneurs all around the world striving to find solutions for the same issues together. Starting with the Global Hack initiative in Estonia, many other governments around the world followed and launched hackathons. The German government’s call for #wirvsvirus was followed by 42,000 participants and developed 800 ideas within 48 hours. It is obvious that innovation is a proactive way of dealing with change.

Still many of our daily routines are non-digital – why?

Our everyday life during shutdown offers a new perspective on familiar processes.
We see long lines in front of supermarkets and supermarket checkouts with people looking for their cash. Since the payment process at the customer interface has not yet been digitized, the purchase must be made physically between two people. Plexiglass walls are set up for safety. Apart from the possibility of doing your grocery shopping via home delivery, contactless shopping has long been a reality at Amazon. Billing and payment are also possible directly via smartphone and NFC, so no cashier and no direct contact point are required. So far, at least in Germany, there is no widespread use of this technology.

It’s not just in retail that you can feel the digital backlog. Doctors’ offices were crowded in the first few days of the virus. Unsettled people wanted to see a doctor or pick up their prescriptions. Why is there no digital prescription and why are medical consultations usually only possible physically? The global development of telemedical services and solutions for digital patient data is progressing rapidly. We also find many successful startup examples in the European ecosystem such as Fernarzt, eedoctors, Clickdoc, Teleclinic, Selfapy, Connected Health or Symptoma. Of course, critical examinations and blood analyzes require a doctor’s visit. But laboratory results are still mostly sent by fax. The transfer of patient data also illustrates the need for digitization in the healthcare system.
Last but not least, working from home has hit us all with full force recently. Home Office illustrates two aspects that we have to deal with in the digitization of Corona times. From a purely superficial point of view, parents are forced to balance working with teaching and supervising their children. Schools and kindergartens are trying to save the education system and care for young people via digital channels. In business, companies are trying to keep everyday work as smooth as possible and to organize workflows via remote solutions. It is more obvious than ever before that working in remote structures is a challenge for many companies and public institutions (e.g. government, court, schools etc). Many do not have the necessary tools and know-how in digital working methods.

Decision-makers should recognize the opportunities of this change early on.

Taking the next step, companies now have to deal with the central questions:

  • How will the change impact our business model and how can we use the learning experiences from the crisis to our advantage?
  • How can we use innovation tools to identify new ideas from all of the learning experiences?
  • How can we access relevant digital technologies to unveil business potentials as quickly as possible?
  • What know-how and skills do we need in order to build digital maturity sustainably?
  • What organizational changes do we have to see to adapt to the velocity of digital change?
  • Which use cases are promising future business models in terms of their added value and their scalability?

Winston Churchill once said, “never let a good crisis go to waste”. This implicates that even this crisis will open new windows of opportunities for innovations throughout the economic landscape.
Therefore, in the next few weeks we have to find out how we can use the opportunities of the crisis with digital technologies to the benefit of our economy!

For this purpose we are organizing a curated exchange along with decision makers in order to share the learning experiences so far and to find ways to exploit the opportunities. Please reach out to us via discover@pioneers.io if you want to participate!