Suddenly innovation wasn’t one of a number of priorities. It was the priority. Because we had to find new ways of doing things, we did; we worked out what the challenges were, came up with new ideas to meet those challenges, and then we worked out how to implement those ideas and make them work.
For example, within days, many organisations had transitioned to having almost everyone working from home. Over the following months, a lot of those organisations discovered that those working remotely had high productivity, that their communication was good, and that lots of people preferred working from home. They realised that more remote work would cut travel time, and that reducing the amount of their office space (often in tall, expensive buildings in the CBD) would save them lots of money.
The questions is this; why did it take a pandemic to show us the benefits of remote work when we have had the technology to do it for years?
One reason is that we get stuck in our ways. We get so used to doing things one way – ‘of course, work has to be done in an office in the city’ – that we forget there might be another way.
Covid shook us all out of complacency and made us question things we had long taken for granted. Accepted ways of doing things had to be changed. Two important lessons emerge;
- Sometimes the accepted ways of doing things are no longer the best way of doing them.
- When we are forced to question the way we do things, we can often come up with excellent solutions quickly.
As we emerge into the post Covid world, I suggest that you don’t expect things to go back to ‘normal’. Instead, why not harness that innovative energy Covid forced you to generate in late March and keep using it every day to make your business better.
Don’t let innovation slip back down your list of priorities.
Try to identify any barriers to innovation within your organisation. Does your organisations’ culture welcome, or resist, innovation? Are there people in key positions who aren’t open to new ideas? Do your people have good intentions about being innovative, but never quite get around to it because there’s always something more urgent to do?
Keep looking for new and better ways of doing things. If you do, then your organisation won’t stagnate. Instead, it will stay relevant and prosper.