The current situation is influenced by many factors, such as the behavior of competitors, the opinion of health experts and the reactions of the government, which requires weekly, sometimes daily changes.
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This means that planning horizons are very short and leaders as well as employees have to be prepared for constantly changing requirements. Decisions are now made faster and more independently, knowing that the basis for decision making can have changed again within a few days. Every company now feels what it means when the goal is only a vague vision and the way to reach it is unclear. But as if they had never done anything else, employees adapt the agile behavior that allows them to test more, execute faster and do not overthink in this uncertain (explorative) environment. The goal must be to use this as an example and to switch to the right working mode in uncertain environments even after the crisis.
Paradox: innovative and agile culture grows but innovation activities pause.
While the explorative work mode in these uncertain times is now experienced first hand, many programs dealing with new technologies pause.
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This is understandable considering that the current restrictions often do not allow for a test run. Nevertheless, innovation is often treated as a luxury good. In good times we are happy to pursue many ideas, but in bad times this must stop. The reason often cited is to secure liquidity. This is an argument that is only understandable at first glance, when it is now becoming more than clear that the core business must continue to develop. It seems, however, that the existential pressure is not yet great enough. Only when to wait and see is more of a risk than changing, it seems, innovation is taken seriously. It is paradoxical because exactly now is the time when innovation programs can benefit so much from the new momentum.
How the utilization of that momentum could look like show the numerous hackathons.
#EUvsVirus from the European Commission, #WirVsVirus from the German government and Hack the crisis Norway from a network of Norwegian entrepreneurs, supporters and the City of Oslo are Hackathons dedicated to the fight the crisis.
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Here, participants from all over the world connect remotely and work on ideas in categories as in the case of Hack the crisis Norway: “Save Lives”, “Safe Communities” and “Save Businesses” in a very short time (usually 48h). The best ideas are chosen and supported by a network of sponsors with an appropriate initial funding, so that the implementation can start immediately. Nora observed that many employees form different companies participated in Hack the crisis Norway and thus committed themselves beyond the boundaries of their companies. This format clearly shows how much energy and ambition is generated in a global context. It is astonishing how this energy can be channeled in the shortest possible time and spend for product or service execution without extensive PowerPoint battles. It blows up old boundaries and enables unreserved global cooperation.
So why not tackle company-specific challenges together?
With the platform “Start-Ups against Corona” 27pilots has created the possibility for companies to publicly advertise their own challenges with the crisis.
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Start-ups can submit their proposed solutions there. 27Pilots evaluates the solutions and the start-ups on behalf of the companies and makes a recommendation about the cooperation. Open innovation par excellence, only on the crisis topic.