In Times of Crisis - Innovate or Vanish!

In Times of Crisis - Innovate or Vanish!
Edward Matti

Author: Edward Matti

Title: Managing Partner

In December 2020, I had the opportunity and privilege of delivering a keynote address to an audience of healthcare professionals, organized by one of our clients in the pharmaceutical sector.

Under normal circumstances, this in of itself is not exactly newsworthy! So why am I writing about it?


As a public speaker, it was thrilling to be back in front of a live audience, rather than sitting in front of a screen, delivering motivational speeches to leaders and others, through whatever virtual platform was called for. Needless to say, I was excited.

Our client was clearly just as tired of the endless video conferences, and the inability to engage their clients the way they used to - live conferences. They also recognized that there are strict rules in place, and that their clients' health and safety were of paramount importance. Something needed to be done. So, they had a choice:

Be Bold and Innovate. Or, Sit Back and Vanish!
Our client chose to innovate. They wanted to create a unique, live experience, and still manage all the restrictions in place. They:

  1. 1. Secured a large ballroom at a 5-star hotel, significantly larger than what was required for the audience size
  2. 2. Commissioned built-for-purpose, individual pods that would ensure the safety of the attendees, while offering a 360 degree, unobstructed view of the entire ballroom (and therefore, the other attendees)
  3. 3. Socially distanced the pods for further safety and peace of mind
4. Ensured that, as with every hotel in the region, the ballroom and pods were sanitized, staff wore masks and gloves (and maintained social distance), etc.

All in all, it was a fantastic experience. The attendees absolutely loved being out at a conference, while knowing they were looked after and that their safety came first. They got a chance to "interact" with others within the industry and even raise their hand to ask a question or two (rather than clicking the icon on their virtual conferencing platform).

With rising cases across the globe, additional lockdown measures and/or curfews, and further travel restrictions, it's easy to feel the grips of this crisis tightening. Moreover, it's easy to feel helpless and not in control.

I am not for one second downplaying the devastating impact this crisis has had on so many families, small and large businesses, and our way of working (and living). However, it is during such times that we need to innovate, to find ways to do things differently. And to be clear, innovation is not invention!

Innovation can be defined as "translating an idea into a good or service that creates value. It must satisfy a specific need, and requires the deliberate application of information, imagination and initiative, that is converted into useful products".

So, you can "wait it out", see how things go for the rest of this year...and hope that you're still in business at the end of 2021. Or, you can assemble your team and uncover every imaginable and unimaginable solution to serve your clients/customers. Rather than feel the grips of the crisis tightening, unleash the power of the creative, the innovative, the silly, the crazy, the outlandish and the bizarre! Your team (and even yourself) might surprise you with what can be accomplished when we choose to be bold and rise to the occasion.

I surely didn't expect to be addressing a live audience anytime during 2020, let alone an audience separated by Plexiglas. But I'm glad I got that opportunity, and witnessed firsthand what innovation can lead to, along the endless possibilities awaiting us.

Wishing you and your teams an innovative 2021!
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