Leverage Innovation to Prepare for the New Normal After the Pandemic

Organizational Renewal
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Companies across the world are dealing with unprecedented disruption for their employees, customers, and partners due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some companies are using technology innovation to address immediate challenges which may position them to be leaders in the new normal. Technology innovation includes new applications of 3D printing, drones, artificial intelligence, and big data analytics. As these new capabilities mature, they may change customer expectations and the landscape of related products & services. Companies must continue to innovate to be competitive in the new normal.

Technology Innovation

There are many new applications of 3D printing. To reduce COVID-19 transmission via door handles, Barcelona’s BCN3D and the engineers at CIM-UPC created a hands-free door handle attachment (Arm Door Opener) which is made in a single piece in under 4 hours on desktop 3D printer. Stratasys, 3D printer manufacturer, mobilized to produce 5000 full face shields in under a week and plans to increase production. Northwell converted BiPAP machines into ventilators using 3D printed adapter.

The promise of drones as a reliable delivery service is beginning to materialize. Alphabet’s drone delivery company, Wing, has seen a significant increase in demand as people adhere to social distancing rules. Wing currently offers its drone deliveries in Virginia, Finland, and Australia, where the company has partnered with local shops for deliveries. Customers use Wing’s app to make an order, and their deliveries can arrive within minutes.

These are a few examples of how Artificial Intelligence is being used to support medical personnel, countries, corporations, and citizens. In Israel, Tyto Care Ltd. offers in-home medical exams, using AI to deliver clinical-grade data to remote doctors for diagnosis. Baidu Inc. devised an algorithm that can analyze the biological structure of the new coronavirus and made it available to scientists working on a vaccine. Remote biometrics is being used for fever detection. IBM is using AI to put critical data and information into the hands of citizens with “Watson Assistant for Citizens.”

Big data analytics will be an enabler to the recently announced contact tracing project partnership between Apple and Google. China is deploying a new system, Health Code, to map infection hotspots and then triage China’s population based on their previous interactions. South Korea used their own version of contact tracing, leveraging CCTV, bank card records, and mobile phone data to deal with the outbreak.

Preparing for the New Normal

We don’t know what the new normal will look like. Will the greater use of 3D printing make it more cost effective to be used for more traditional manufacturing? Will touchless home delivery via drones become commonplace? Will there be transparency through the supply chain such that we know who touched what and when? Will medical diagnostics using data from remote sensors become commonplace? Will countries and companies be able to address personal and private information security concerns in order to broaden usage of AI and big data analytics?

What we do know is that we can begin preparation for the new normal.

  1. Identify and understand the potential disruptors that affect your business’ ambition (purpose for being).

  2. Define new business areas or extensions of core capabilities to explore.

  3. Foster innovation to create and test new ideas.

The key is to prepare now such that your business can accelerate when the world begins making the turn to the new normal.

Nishi Gupta

Read More Articles in our COVID-19 Series