How to Innovate Effectively During a Crisis

May 14, 2020 | Crisis Marketing

There is an old Chinese proverb, “Crisis is an opportunity riding on a dangerous wind.”

During these days of global unrest — with news about the coronavirus and its severity changing daily — businesses across all sectors should keep this proverb in mind. Although we are seeing the cancellation of business gatherings and events, along with continuing “social distancing,” this doesn’t mean that innovation at your company needs to be stifled.

As of this writing, there have been over 3.7 million confirmed COVID-19 infections and over 264,000 deaths worldwide. This has resulted in some of the most strict “social distancing” measures ever enforced with millions of people “self-isolating” across the globe. While this method has been proven to significantly decrease the spread of a virus, it also places a heavy burden on individuals, their families, and their livelihood.

Regardless of the social distancing restrictions, there is a way for most businesses to innovate. Here are four ways to empower employees to innovate so your business comes out of the crisis stronger than ever.

1. Leverage Employee Intelligence

It is becoming increasingly clear that the COVID-19 pandemic will result in one of the most disruptive economic episodes of our generation. Already we are seeing some worryingly severe consequences with global stock market volatility, consumer retail hysteria, and whole airline fleets grounded indefinitely.

It’s important to remember that no industry will be entirely spared from the brunt of this pandemic. It will have a profound impact on virtually all aspects of business — from production processes to HR regulations to marketing strategies. By having a repeatable method in place to collaborate around ideas and refine solutions for challenges as and when they arise you can help safeguard your enterprise.

To better ensure your company can respond efficiently to changing customer needs during the crisis you may want to consider expanding your brainstorming initiatives to include external input.

In addition to improving internal processes, it’s a good idea to co-create ideas from all employees to find ways to streamline your workflows so that they are better equipped for continued crisis conditions. These benefits could contribute towards your business gaining a competitive edge during this uncertain period.

2. Collaborate While Overcoming Social Distancing

Having a meeting in your office may no longer be an option. It’s critical to move your brainstorming activities online.

You’re no doubt already familiar with Zoom or Microsoft Teams to engage your employees on a company-wide basis, but communication and collaboration are more crucial than ever during this precarious time. Regular and proactive brainstorming sessions not only provide immediate insights, they can lead to a breakthrough idea.

3. Seek External Ideas and Input

During this period, it’s important to gain insights from external consultants and experts who may be able to help you assess the situation and prepare contingency plans.

4. Maintain Employee Motivation through Active Communication

It’s only natural that a global pandemic will cause your employees to feel anxious, uncertain, and distracted — which could take a toll on your productivity levels. As such, it’s important to maintain employee engagement.

To help reassure employees that they are valued members of a strong organization, it’s a good idea to run a variety of challenges that incentivize participation.

Innovation can be inspiring, and if your employees see that you are taking an active approach to tackle the dilemmas you are facing, it will naturally reduce anxiety.

As we are seeing, moving innovation and collaboration activities online can help reassure your employees (not to mention their families), while minimizing the inevitable loss in productivity that may affect all businesses during this time.

Currently, it’s not at all clear just how long the coronavirus pandemic will last, or what it’s full impact on the global economy will look like. However, as we begin to reopen it’s vital to remember that the crisis does not have to dampen the resilience and innovative spirit of your business.

In order to help your business during this crucial period, and maintain innovation in crisis conditions, we have developed a Crisis Marketing Program that helps you rapidly identify and replace customers and revenue taken by covid-19.

If you would like to learn more about the Crisis Marketing Program we are working with companies to help them bounce back from the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.

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Jeremy Miller

Top 30 Brand Guru

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