The outbreak of the Coronavirus disease has posed a serious crisis to the entire world. With colleges and offices going online, and masks and sanitizers becoming the new essentials, the consequences have been seen in economies worldwide as well as in our daily lives.
This crisis has affected us well beyond just the spread of the disease. These are times of uncertainty and ambiguity, with no guaranteed solution in sight. However, its worth mentioning that this is also the time when a lot of innovating is being seen.
Innovations are rarely revolutionary; most innovations are just little changes brought about by thinking creatively and out of the box. History has been witness that innovation always thrives in times of crisis.
During the World War II, American GIs were able to keep their trucks and jeeps rolling, even when the spare parts weren’t available. This was possible only because the young soldiers were used to tinkering with jalopies in their garages, because of which they were able to jury fixes with whatever material was available.
Such situations with time and resource constraints coupled with the crucial need to solve real-life problems catalyze innovation and creativity across organizations. It is in times like these, that people become much more efficient and open to broadly searching for any possible alternatives and radical solutions.
This is exactly what happened when the growing outbreak of the Coronavirus threatened our very way of life, and the entire world changed drastically. Innovators from various domains rose to occasion to create rapid, impactful and effective changes in order to adapt to this new world. The sectors seeing the most substantial innovation were Pharma, Education, and Corporates.
The pharmaceutical companies of India led the way to join global efforts to find a Coronavirus vaccine, post which our first COVID-19 vaccine candidate — Covaxin, was developed by Bharat Biotech. Apart from this, various immunity-boosting drugs are also being launched by domestic pharma companies at reasonable prices.
The Education and Corporate sector are also seeing a revamp as they switch to the online mode. Various video conferencing apps with adequate privacy measures were experimented with, and informative and accessible digital content was developed. Owing to these quick and efficient changes, online school and work from home has become the new normal.
I also saw people of my own college innovating and developing solutions to the problems created by this pandemic, including a COVID-19 tracker website, and a hands-free sanitizer dispensing machine.
What all of these innovations have in common is that none of them had the luxury to take time and respond creatively. In the kind of unprecedented situation that we are facing right now, rapid innovative implementation is needed, and that’s what’s being delivered.
The COVID-19 pandemic has once again suggested that it might not always be the case that time is needed to develop an innovative and creative response. Being without bounds can often be chaotic, and it was the constraints due to this critical situation that led to targeted efforts to solve problems.
It is after all in times of crisis, that innovation and ingenuity forge the path to progress and prosperity.