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Innovation during COVID-19

Organizations have reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic in their own ways.  Almost all had to change the way they were operating in order to cope with the challenges thrown up by the crisis.

Companies have discovered novel means to market, service, and function through the pandemic.  Notable Innovation throughout various industries has taken place as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Innovation is always a tumultuous process of hazarding into unfamiliar territory.  Apparently, the Innovations that businesses have come up with during COVID-19, may seem to be merely reactive responses to an extraordinary circumstance.  Some Innovations may be a passing fad—specifically for the pandemic—and others may serve the organizations and their customers even after the pandemic is over.

Which Innovations will last and which should be abandoned is a decision not to be taken lightly.

Sustaining the imaginative changes made during unsettled times like COVID-19, in order to generate prospects for organized growth after the crisis, needs careful contemplation.

Fresh research directs businesses to have improved comprehension regarding how Innovations made during COVID-19 can aid them in emerging stronger than before.

Research has enabled development of a matrix for the categorization of companies in the way they react to challenges in the pandemic.  The matrix also identifies the Innovations that will last after COVID-19 and should be invested in.  The categories include:

  1. Adaptors
  2. Trailblazers
  3. Optimizers
  4. Trendsetters

Let us delve a little deeper into the categories. 

Adaptor

Companies that witnessed short-term variations in demand for products and services that were already being provided by them are put in the Adapter quadrant of the matrix.  Thriving businesses placed in this quadrant have acquired the ability to offer the same products or services but probably with fewer resources.  Changes in customer demand for these companies took place before COVID-19 hit.  Expected duration of changes for such companies is temporary.

Examples of this category include restaurants establishing open-air dining or consumer-goods companies increasing production of disinfectant to meet worldwide demand.

Trailblazer

Companies that use current resources to resolve fresh problems that had never been handled previously, are placed in this quadrant.  For such companies changes in customer demand emerged as a result of COVID-19.  The changes are expected to be temporary for companies in this quadrant.

Therefore, the next step for companies in this quadrant of the matrix should be to discover new problems to solve.

Optimizer

Companies placed in this quadrant are the ones which reconfigured their resources to satisfy existing customer demand.  Changes in customer demand took place for such companies before COVID-19.  The difference from the above 2 categories is that changes for this category are going to be sustained.  So such companies should increase efficiency as the next step in their strategy. 

Trendsetter

Companies placed in the Trendsetter quadrant have responded to the COVID-19 emergency by creating completely new products or services that will keep on being in significant demand even after the pandemic.

Interested in learning more about the 2 types of Innovation, the 3-phase approach of choosing which type to use or the 4-category matrix?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on here Innovation During COVID-19 on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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About Mark Bridges

Mark Bridges is a Senior Director of Strategy at Flevy. Flevy is your go-to resource for best practices in business management, covering management topics from Strategic Planning to Operational Excellence to Digital Transformation (view full list here). Learn how the Fortune 100 and global consulting firms do it. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by leveraging Flevy's library of best practice methodologies and templates. Prior to Flevy, Mark worked as an Associate at McKinsey & Co. and holds an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. You can connect with Mark on LinkedIn here.




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