We often hear that crisis breeds so much innovation. So, what leads to such innovation? If you can understand that, you can use it to your advantage and drive some beneficial changes in your organization.
In my view, three factors come into play. These three factors are
A compulsion to think
Crisis forces everyone to think and contribute as if life depends on it. And people, who often do not speak up, are reserved, or keep ideas to themselves start to participate. The situation forces them to think and express themselves.
The reason is simple; it is almost a do-or-die situation; failure is not an option.
Seeing things differently
Crisis often strips down elaborate setups to the bare minimum. When it happens, we are forced to confront the truth about how our systems work or don't work. We are forced to see things differently.
And, as we get critical about what is must have and what is good to have, things that could be done better become glaringly apparent.
Slow-down of momentum
We often build elaborate systems for the efficient operation of the organization. And, this setup often makes innovation slow to thrive and realize. Due to constrained resources during a crisis, momentum slows down. Then it becomes possible to improve agility and innovate, iterate, and experiment faster.
Here are a few things you can do
If you want to leverage any crisis as a stepping stone, do this.
As a leader, you must create a conducive environment and ask the right questions. Since most people will be open to sharing their ideas and insights in a right and safe environment, everyone can be encouraged. The environment often dictates performance, so use it to your advantage.
Under the right constraints and the right environment, people can get highly creative, encourage them.
Create internal task forces to brainstorm and identify redundant processes that you could get rid of permanently. And most importantly, encourage experimentation.
Help to improve speed, be agile so that if any idea is to fail, you will fail faster and learn from it quicker.
Crisis or not, innovation requires action. First, simplify, then focus, start small, start now.
And remember, doing beats talking!
Innovation requires action. First, simplify, then focus. Start small. Start now. Doing beats talking!