Corona, virus for responsible innovation


If there is one area that the Covid 19 will have spurred, it is innovation. This health crisis, which has become a systemic crisis, has had the merit of creating a more powerful awareness than decades of alert.  Today is the time for reconstruction and the key is innovation.  This is the paradox of this virus. It distributed death and fear but it also raised awareness of the need for accommodation for survival and of meaning for humans. He inoculated the innovation of responsible innovation.   Expert and passionate about innovation, I see in this period the opportunity to move to the disruption of a breathless system. Carrying for years the message of innovation through soft skills and new management methods such as teleworking, I savor the already visible impacts of this crisis which illustrate my vision and reinforce my convictions.

1)  Abrupt acceleration of entry into the “New World”

The emergency created a world we didn’t have time to think about. While tens of millions of jobs are destroyed worldwide, the value of the Facebook title jumps by almost 60% along with the other GAFAMs – Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft – which have benefited from the upheaval of the daily newspaper.   Mark Zuckenberg, the boss of Facebook, with his “you just have to organize” at the European Commission opens on the need for the Ancients to take the turn of the New World.   In our country, we have been able to witness unexpected adaptations because they were “forced”. Partial unemployment and telework are two social innovations that open up new ways of working and more flexibility on which the corona has been right for years of stagnation.

2) Incremental innovation and disruption

Entering this new world reveals the need for innovation in all its forms.  To cope with the shortage, hundreds of companies have shown their capacity for incremental innovation and responsiveness.  LVMH and Yves Rocher have been able to transform their cosmetic production lines into hydroalcoholic gel in record time. Décathlon has teamed up with Bic to transform its famous Easybreath diving mask into a respiratory protector in 18 days!  As for the disruption, it took hold by the “forced” adoption of new uses. The platforms of “e” commerce, “e” education, “e” work … have also revealed unsuspected market sizes.

3)  Full-scale “pilot” tests

Videoconferencing is an emblematic example. Deprived of contact, even the most refractory to digital have taken up “What’sapps” and weddings by Skype.   Zoom, a start-up created in 2011, has become a worldwide success thanks to the corona by finally finding its market with 300 million daily users.   Thus the telework software market estimated at 400 million people, that is to say executives, is today at 2 billion employees because it is now necessary to connect field workers too.

4)  For a conscious and meaningful innovation

This crisis, by making us aware of our vulnerability as a human being, has made us realize that the healthcare system cannot be purely commercial and must be modernized.  The new “Heroes of the Nation” must be able to innovate.  And can we continue to leave the active ingredients of vaccines totally delocalized in Asia, between China and India. There is a real lesson to be learned for Western R&D.

5)  Slowdown for sustainable consumption

This crisis created an astonishing paradox by giving a boost to the urgency of the situation and at the same time the confinement brought life at a rhythm out of time.   In the fashion in which the ephemeral creates business, the Kering group opens the transition between the era of “Fast Fashion” and that of “sustainable fashion”. The house of Gucci has announced that it will break the calendars of Fashion Weeks to parade only twice a year and its next collection is made from recycled, organic, natural and sustainable materials.

6)  New normal, new leaders

The containment has been conducive to creativity as shown by the billions of exchanges. This creative potential is resolutely to be exploited to reinvent the new world and the role of leaders is to know how to mobilize it.  We can already see this with many leaders who have taken “responsible” initiatives for employees. To quote only Sébastien Bazin who created for the Accor group a relief fund for the 220,000 unemployed employees in the world since the hotel industry was affected to 90% of its activity. Or Michel-Edouard Leclerc who mobilized personally on the ground throughout the crisis to ensure continuity of supply.   Confinement, imposing both telework and physical distance, revealed the need for respect for others, empathy and kindness in order to function and even survive. The corona makes Darwin’s theory of the species’s evolution more relevant than ever “it is not the strongest but the most adaptable who will survive”.   Intelligence of oneself and that of others are intimately mixed and bring together the soft skills that leaders must acquire to innovate and make others innovate: creativity, collaboration, intuition, risk management, agility for decisions and project modes.   By realizing that it is a set of individual actions that build the collective and innovation, it is accelerating the transformation of management and the emergence of a new type of leadership. This is the opportunity of the responsible innovation virus for the next world.

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