Pavlos Konstas

Management Consultant & Innovation Lead

  • Governance
  • Strategy
  • Innovation
  • Rapid Prototyping

– 17 Apr, 2020

Innovating In The Age Of Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has become a vehicle for change and innovation of products and services for organisations around the globe.

We have seen organisations and teams designing and manufacturing products at a fraction of the time a normal R&D process would require and governments taking measures that may have previously required years of deliberation and bureaucracy.

Ventilators are the number one product in demand globally right now. The urgent need for this product has sparked mass innovation at a scale and speed not witnessed before. Vacuum maker Dyson designed a new ventilator in just 10 days, they have never moved as fast before. Engineers in Italy designed an innovative, 3D printable solution to transforming scuba diving masks into ventilators.

Image credits: FabFactory

What is particularly interesting in these innovation examples is that usual constraints such as budget, time effort and KPIs expectations came second place to addressing the urgent emerging need, which in this case was ventilators.

These examples, from the complex, with many moving parts, to the simple to implement, prove that innovation comes in many forms, but have equal impact.  There are two main lessons we can take away from these examples?

1. Clear intent and purpose streamline innovation: This crisis showed how efficiently we can innovate when united around a common well-defined goal with clear intent of purpose for a product or idea. Alignment is a powerful tool! Teams need to be free to design a way to meet their objectives; test, iterate and jump in quick innovation loops. It also shows a clear target accelerates velocity and stimulates that iterative process. Equally this clear purpose allows teams to identify and empathise with their users and their needs much more efficiently and effectively. To come back to the ventilator example, designers quickly considered that ventilator size and mobility is no1 priority due to more and more ICUs being installed in mobile health units.

2. Time restrictions stimulated innovation: The crisis eliminated the luxury to waste time. Teams had to design and test quickly whether prototypes fit for purpose and iterate based on feedback as time is of essence and could mean lives would be lost. Innovation did not get lost in bureaucracy because there was simply no time for it. At this point we shouldn’t equate bureaucracy with governance. Governance is essential as it maintains the alignment that enables autonomy. Bureaucracy is redundant.

Even though different clients, in different industries, are in different parts of their innovation journey, the pandemic taught us that clear intent, alignment with users, quick iterations and feedback loops alongside reduction of bureaucracy allows us to introduce innovative ideas, design, release, test, and iterate quickly and efficiently. We should observe the positive findings of this unique situation which show that remote innovation exists and flourishes if intent and alignment is present.

These lessons provide great foundations to enable and promote innovation sustainably to any kind of corporate environment as one of the things COVID19 taught us is assuring us that everything is possible if we have a clear goal.

To find out more, please do get in touch.

Pavlos Konstas

Management Consultant & Innovation Lead

Pavlos is a managing consultant at Chaucer, with great experience in advising global multinational enterprises at defining and implementing strategic business plans. He has helped clients empower themselves to define and monitor growth oriented KPIs by defining and designing with them sustainable operating models. Mature in agile ways of working, Pavlos has become an ambassador of agile and has coached several clients on how to successfully embark on a scaled agile journey. In addition, he has helped organisations blueprint, test and create user centric products and services and build a sustainable innovation lifecycle and a culture that supports iteration and continuous improvement. He has previously worked at Deloitte UK, Hellenic Petroleum and has trained as a fighter pilot at the Hellenic Air Force. He holds and MSc and BSc (Hons) from Cass Business School, City University of London.

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