A Nation of Innovation – Now’s the Time

August 14, 2020

Lori Murphy, Purpose-Driven Business Executive

Our world seemed to be humming along nicely before the pandemic. Or was it?  

Almost every restaurant in NYC was filled with people every night of the week. The travel industry was bustling; airports were packed with people and flights were booked consistently. Online businesses were exploding. But, were things really that great?

In a recent interview with Danny Meyer, owner of the Union Square Restaurant Group, he commented on challenges within the hospitality industry pre-COVID; high rents, challenges with employee pay and tipping, and barely enough cash-flow to cover costs for 1-2 months.  

The pandemic has pushed many industries to the edge. But, he is right. Many companies and industries were already on the edge. The new buzz word over the past several years has been “disruption”.  

I had the opportunity to speak with the head of Research & Development for a technology company a few years ago. The company was on the forefront of technology and innovation in their industry. Yet, it was something very simple that he said to me that has stayed with me. He said, “You can’t stop innovation.” Wow, so simple but so powerful. He proceeded to say that if his company does not come up with the newest technology, somebody else would.    

Innovation is critical if organizations are going to come out ahead on the other side of this crisis.  

Many industries had already been disrupted (the hotel industry with Airbnb, the taxi industry with Uber and Lyft, etc., animal agriculture with plant-based foods). This caused some companies to panic, and take on a defensive approach to addressing the disruption.  Instead, companies should be on the offensive, always looking to innovate in order to evolve and compete in a constantly changing marketplace.    

No matter what we do, innovation is going to happen. Whether you like it or not is another thing.  So, what does that mean for you?  

Some organizations have always been on the forefront of innovation. But, others will have to re-invent themselves or, push themselves to accept the changes they need to make and get moving! This isn’t the first time in our history that crisis has led to disruption and innovation. In the 4-part docuseries (“The Men Who Built America”, many crisis’ led to more innovative products, services and efficiencies. (I am waiting for “The Women Who Built America” but that’s another blog!).  It was not easy and there were a lot of challenges and sacrifices that had to be made.  But, those innovations would have happened eventually.

What Organizations Can Do:

Not only should companies be focusing on innovation but so should their employees. And, we should all be thinking about it for our professional careers but also for personal evolution.


Final thoughts:

It’s difficult to say what our world will look like a few years from now. Even 6 months from now.  Even next month.  And it can be unsettling.  But, you can’t stop innovation. It’s going to happen whether you want it to or not, so prepare for it.  Seek it out. Be a part of that innovation.  

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