Innovation in the Time of Coronavirus: How to Innovate Effectively During a Crisis

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

There is an old Chinese proverb that says, “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 the message of this proverb in mind. Although we are inevitably seeing the cancellation of business gatherings and events, along with increasingly severe "social distancing" restrictions concerning movement and the sharing of public spaces, this doesn’t mean that innovation at your company needs to be stifled.

Ironically, the same behaviours that fertilize ideas via innovation management can spread an infection that will endanger it. For the full article click here.

As of today March 19th, there have been over 200,000 confirmed COVID-19 infections and over 8,000 deaths. This has resulted in some of the most severe "social distancing" measures that most people have ever seen, with millions "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.

At Qmarkets, we know that innovation doesn't usually happen in isolation, but fortunately, there is a way for it to happen in self-isolation:

Four Ways to Support Business Continuity with Your Innovation Management Platform

employee engagement during coronavirus - network1. Leverage Collective Intelligence to Support Business Contingency

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. Whatever disruptive challenges your company is facing, it is important to remember that your crowdsourcing platform can help you find a solution. Here are some individual scenarios that it might be useful to read through:

innovation in crisis - industries

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. Q-open – Qmarkets’ dedicated open innovation tool – provides a great way to crowdsource ideas from customers, partners, academics, and other external stakeholders to support your brainstorming initiatives. The tool presents an invaluable way to get ahead of the curve when it comes to market trends and reprioritizations.

In addition to improving internal processes, it’s advisable to crowdsource ideas from all employees to find ways to streamline your workflows so that they are better equipped for crisis conditions. Q-optimize – Qmarkets’ sophisticated continuous improvement tool – offers exclusive features that will enable you to adapt your processes, increase productivity, as well as reduce wastage. All these benefits could contribute towards your business gaining a competitive edge during this uncertain period.

employee engagement during coronavirus - distance2. Ideate While Overcoming Social Distancing

Now that 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 using your Qmarkets platform to engage your employees on a companywide basis. However, you may not know that your system can provide an alternative to smaller collaboration sessions. The extensive features of the Qmarkets platform make it easy to setup individual campaigns where teams can brainstorm and collaborate – rather than meet up face to face in the boardroom.

The Qmarkets system makes it easy for users to submit and collaborate around new ideas online

It’s worth noting that managing online brainstorming with the Qmarkets platform affords unique benefits that offline brainstorming does not. For instance, you can:

  • Invite an unlimited number of people to take part – soliciting more ideas in the process
  • Overcome barriers caused by distance and language – Qmarkets’ offers multi-language support
  • Enable employees to submit suggestions anonymously – which could remove additional factors stifling ideation

Communication and collaboration are more crucial than ever during this precarious time. With the Qmarkets platform, you can ensure that the brainstorming sessions that could result in major disruptive ideas can continue uninterrupted.~

3. Don’t Let the Coronavirus Keep You from the Expertsemployee engagement during coronavirus - group

During this period, it’s important to gain insights from external consultants and experts who may be able to help you assess the damage your company will face, and help you prepare contingency plans. Now that meeting face-to-face is pretty much out of the question, soliciting expert opinions for innovation in crisis conditions must increasingly take place online.

The good news is, your Qmarkets system makes it easy to leverage expert insights to combat the pandemic. Using the platform, you can:

  • Invite an unlimited number of experts to collaborate around key innovation projects and consult with them in parallel
  • Make sure that all experts have easy access to the information needed to make informed decisions around new innovation initiatives
  • Gain the information needed to make informed projections as to how your business will fare during and after the crisis

Expert opinions – be they from the business, academic, or healthcare sectors – could prove pivotal during this pandemic. With your platform, you can gain the expert information you need from a broad array of sources in an efficient and repeatable manner.

Of course, the same concept could be applied to a much larger gathering of experts, such as hackathons or events. No matter how big or small your collaboration session is, there’s no need to cancel it altogether – just take it onto the Qmarkets platform.

Covid-19 Innovation Management Care Package

4. Maintain Employee Motivation through Active Communicationemployee engagement during coronavirus - smile

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. Many of your employees may also be required to work from home at this time, which can intensify disengagement. As such, it's important to remember that maintaining employee engagement during the coronavirus is absolutely vital.

To help reassure employees that they are valued members of a strong organization that will get through the crisis, it’s advisable to run a variety of challenges that incentivize participation. These challenges should be planned in consultation with your HR and so that they have the maximum reach and effect.

employee engagement during coronavirus - numbers

These statistics from Hay Group exemplify the benefits of maintaining employee engagement during the coronavirus. During these precarious times, when uncertainty is high, keeping employees engaged and encouraged should be an even greater priority.

Some examples of the challenges your company could run include:

  • Idea Competitions:
    By offering employees recognition, tangible prizes, and/or financial incentives for contributing their ideas, you’re more likely to gain their input – regardless of the present circumstances. You might even consider running competitions designed to solicit ideas for ways the company could respond effectively to the pandemic. Qmarkets’ advanced gamification features offer a huge array of engaging ways you can run these competitions.
  • Community Recommendations:
    Create a campaign in which employees can contribute suggestions for ways the organization can better meet their needs during the crisis. This will give you an insight into where internal organizational efforts can best be concentrated.
  • Communicate Successes:
    A key ingredient to sustaining employee motivation is communicating successes regularly. By keeping users up to date with the strides your company is making towards key innovation targets, you can help reassure them and increase engagement levels. Your communications team should send out updates as regularly as possible.

Remember, your platform is a central hub where all employees can play an active role in your company’s innovation ecosystem. 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.

Qmarkets to the Rescue: How We Will Support Your Enterprise During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As we have seen, by moving all innovation and collaboration activities online, you can help reassure your employees (not to mention their families), while minimizing the inevitable loss in productivity that will affect all businesses during this time. Qmarkets is 100% committed to helping your enterprise achieve this, regardless of the specific challenges you are currently facing. We already have an infrastructure, knowledge, and culture that allows our entire team to switch seamlessly to remote working, so your service will remain uninterrupted no matter what.

Currently, it’s not at all clear just how long the coronavirus pandemic will last, or what it’s full impact on the global business landscape will look like. However, it’s vital to remember that the crisis does not have to dampen the resilience and innovative spirit of your business. You can rest assured that Qmarkets will be there to support your ongoing efforts, as well as help you generate the disruptive ideas that will allow you to navigate through this storm and reach clearer waters.

In order to help your business during this crucial period, and maintain innovation in crisis conditions, we have developed a 'Care Package' that we are offering all new customers. The package will allow you to quickly setup a platform and start harnessing the wisdom of your employees against the challenges you are facing.

If you would like to learn more about the 'Care Package' we are offering companies to help them tackle the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis, don't hesitate to reach out to us today.

An image representing an innovation ecosystem
Article Innovation Management
Discover the importance of leveraging an innovation ecosystem for enterprises. Learn how integrated innovation activities can drive...
by Charlie Lloyd
5 min
Qmarkets Capricorn
Article Idea Management Innovation Management Success Story
Discover the story behind Capricorn's idea management journey including how they configured their dedicated software solution and the early...
by Charlie Lloyd
7 min
Ideas portal
Article Innovation Management
Discover how idea portals can drive innovation in enterprises, from centralizing ideas to fostering collaboration. Learn how top companies...
by Charlie Lloyd
5 min