9 July 2020

Innovate or deteriorate: 7 tips to create your next normal

The Covid crisis has brought significant challenges, but it's also afforded us the opportunity to adapt and evolve.

We’re all familiar with the phrase ‘necessity drives innovation’. Before Coronavirus hit, we already knew that necessity forces us to think differently and try new ideas, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last few months, it’s that crisis drives innovation, too.

This won’t be hugely surprising for many. In fact, some of the greatest innovations and most well-known products and services were created through crisis. During the last recession, companies like Uber, Airbnb and Yammer were born, and they’re still just as relevant today as they were then. So, it’s no surprise that Covid-19 has already inspired some amazing innovations, proving how capable we are of not only adapting to change at speed, but also seizing the opportunity to evolve.

From Captain Tom Moore, who was awarded a knighthood for his amazing fundraising efforts, to platforms like TikTok, where people are sharing their creative, inventive and (occasionally) awful ideas, people around the world are adjusting to the current situation – and embracing it.

But this sudden enthusiasm for innovation isn’t just touching people and brands. As we enter the next normal, every business across the world will need to welcome innovation in their day-to-day. As it stands, digitisation is already key for survival and  62% of CEOs have elevated the strategic importance of e-commerce channels. Now, with the world suddenly adapting, there’s a unique opportunity: innovation could now change our behaviour, permanently.

To make the most of it, CEOs must move quickly. And they’ll need to listen, adapt and believe in the power of their people to thrive during these times, and beyond. Here are our 7 things all businesses should bear in mind when embarking on their journey of innovation:


  1. Define the problem

First things first, make sure everyone in your business is on the same page before trying to find a solution. New ideas will be more effective if everyone is aligned and clear on exactly what they’re trying to solve.


  1. Have an open mind

Having an open mind is everything. No idea is a bad idea, so make sure to encourage different viewpoints and ideas from everyone. Challenge yourselves to think differently and accept that trial and error is part of the process.


  1. Empower your people

Your people know your customers best, so find a way to capture those moments of genius and not let them escape. Be agile and empower your people to make decisions before they have all the answers.


  1. Be prepared to change

How quickly is your organisation able to pivot and change at speed? Do you have the right behaviours and mindset to enable this? If not, you’ll need to get ready to embrace change – and fast.


  1. Put everything into context

Are you already going through a transformation journey? If so, where are your people on that journey? You’ll need to consider what any further changes could mean to them, right now and in the future.


  1. Encourage the behaviours you want to see

With access to so many free resources at our fingertips, a sixth of people in Europe say they’ve started a new hobby. And as education has become digital, we’ve seen many parents homeschooling. When you see your people embracing these opportunities, make sure you notice their efforts and encourage them.


  1. Adapt existing ideas

You don’t have to do it all from scratch; there are already some brilliant frameworks out there to build on. Take Adobe Kickbox, an innovation process that Adobe developed for its own use and then open-sourced so everyone can use it.


Is your business making the most of this opportunity?

There’s no doubt that crises unleash incredible levels of creativity and innovation. To take advantage of this springboard, organisations will need to learn from their people and customers. 

Right now, we’re helping our clients to launch and fast track innovation programmes, and with companies bringing their people together through virtual sprints and hackathons, we’re busy running team masterclasses and tapping into the power of creativity and behavioural science.

If you’d like to book onto one of our sprint sessions, where our creative and strategy teams can come up with actionable ideas to solve your engagement challenges, email nicky@mccannsynergy.com






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