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8 months ago

Valerie Kramis

Nov 29, 2020

Innovation in Times of Coronavirus


We are living in unprecedented times; this article shares some ideas of how you can use entrepreneurship and innovation methodologies to rise in the midst of adversity.

The first thing you need to know is that it’s ok if you are not ok. I’ve seen a lot of messages in the media saying that if you are not using the quarantine period to learn a new skill, read dozens of books, or reorganize your entire home, it means that you lack discipline. This type of message is just dangerous since it fuels feelings of shame and failure. 

The truth is that everyone is facing challenging times and we are grieving the loss of the world as we knew it. 

So, before planning to start something new, it’s imperative that you take care of yourself. Be conscious of what emotions you are feeling, give yourself permission to feel difficult things, and then plan strategies to feel better.

The good news is that human beings are enormously resilient. After all, adversity is called the mother of invention. And there are amazing stories about people that became widely successful with their innovations after facing extremely tough moments.

“In the process of grieving, the thing that I find the most useful is to find meaning for what we are going through—that’s where the entrepreneur mindset can give us some tools to channel all the energy we accumulate into something positive.”​

Asses where you are

The hospitality industry has been disrupted and many have had significant reductions in their incomes.  So, the first step is to assess your financial situation.  

Make a budget of your normal monthly expenses and then make it as lean as possible by cutting all the unnecessary expenses. This will determine your cash runway, or the length of time you will remain solvent. In turn, this will help you establish specific goals for the next months. 

Maybe you find out you need to ideate a new income source as quickly as possible, or maybe you find out you have sufficient funds to survive for the next months and want to use your creativity to help others.  Whatever the outcome, understanding your current situation is crucial to begin innovating.

Use an innovation methodology to ideate new projects

There are plenty of innovation frameworks out there, but Design Thinking is one of the easiest to use. 

Design Thinking is a way of using the designer's sensibility and methods to find ideas and solve problems​

The Five Stages of Design Thinking

1. Empathize

2. Define

3. Ideate

4. Prototype

5. Test 

6. If you are interested in learning more about how to use this methodology, please visit: https://www.ideou.com/blogs/inspiration/what-is-design-thinking

Start now!

One of the biggest pitfalls in entrepreneurship and innovation is thinking too much about potential ideas and letting time pass by. 

Testing ideas as quickly as possible is essential. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a perfect plan or design, what you need to do is to validate if your idea has potential.

That is what the Lean Startup methodology is about— favoring experimentation over elaborate planning, customer feedback over intuition, and iterative design over perfect development.​

In fact, you can read the book, The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, to learn more about this philosophy.  

Finally, remember that during the coming months, the world will experience changes at a faster pace than we are used to.  

But every big change is also a new opportunity to redesign our lives and make things even better. 

I hope these three simple steps can inspire you to start something that gives meaning to the pain and turmoil you are experiencing. May all this adversity become the seed of a better horizon for each of you!