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Crisis = Innovation

As a species, humans are creative creatures and tend to handle challenges like champions who belong on Wheaties boxes. For instance, when Mount Tambora, a volcano located in what is now known as Indonesia, erupted in 1815 it was the most powerful eruption in history! Shortly after this volcanic eruption, the bicycle was invented in Germany. It’s hard to believe these two vastly different historical events are connected, but they are.

What is the connection?

Mount Tambora’s eruption created mass disruption around the world. The ash from the volcano brought on a massive climate change; New York saw snow in July, Europe had to weather failed harvests and China’s trees and livestock began to die. It was so bad that horses in Germany were killed by the ash and the decimation of the horses disrupted transportation. It is during this crisis that Karl von Drais invented the first bicycle, based off an earlier drawing by DaVinci to aid in transportation efforts. Crisis truly does drive innovation.

Over the past few months, there have been many companies that have pivoted in order to adjust to our current crazy climate and their adaptation has led to innovation. Most of what they have done may not have the same effect as the invention of a bicycle, time will tell, but to some that innovation may be just as important. Think of the craft breweries and distilleries that started to make hand sanitizers, the plastics company that made face shields and the companies that started manufacturing ventilator parts with 3D printers, just to name a few. None of it may be revolutionary, but in many cases that innovation may have saved these companies from going bankrupt while also saving jobs and lives.

Think about how the hospitality and entertainment industries have changed! After months of only being able to offer takeout, many restaurants are now able to only offer outdoor dining. In order to stay open, some are renting the parking lot next to them to accommodate more tables and in some areas the towns have shut down select streets to allow space for additional outdoor seating. While that may pose its own challenges, I am sure there is a solution in some creative minds; maybe two story outdoor seating, like a double decker bus. Entertainment has also shifted with the times; concerts are being held in fields, with fans socially distancing by watching in or on top of their cars. Old-school drive-in movie theatres are even having a resurgence, with many hosting viewing parties with double features of classic films. We are doing the best we can with what we have.

My favorite activity has become more challenging in these times and I am struggling to find ways to fix it. No, it is not smoking a cigar and having a bourbon, that’s easy ?; my favorite activity is meeting people and connecting with them. In this environment many of us are being cautious about where we go and who we meet. Because so many of us are being vigilant, I’m finding meeting new people and networking to be a challenge. I am struggling with finding creative ways to expand my network and help more people; how do I find opportunities for folks without meeting them in person? Connecting via Zoom and social media is not the same as meeting face to face when first starting a relationship. I am slowly working towards a solution, and while it may not be creative, it might be working. Any creative solutions to my challenge?

I am also curious as to what your challenges are during these times and how you are being innovative, maybe we can learn from each other!

“Never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you thought you could not do before.”– Rahm Emanuel

Have a great weekend.