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  • Writer's pictureLolly Atherton

COVID19, And The Nature Of Innovation



“Innovation is the application of technology, or engineering or something to solve a problem” – Simon Sinek


Since March 2020, the Covid19 pandemic has revolutionised working. When the UK government superseded the powers of CEO’s and management nationwide, we as a nation were in a position where we could now work in a different way; in the form of working from home, and being able to manage our days better to our real-world-schedules including childcare, animal care and personal efficiency, such as when we work best during the day. In her 2017 TED Talk Anne Cantelo said that we often get our best ideas when we are “free from distractions” ; ie. When we’re either “in the bath or walking in the woods” . Therefore, implying that innovation and new ideas to improve the way things are when we are in this supposed distraction-free environment. In Cantelo’s talk, she refers to the general office environment as a distraction, due to providing a space filled with “watercooler moments” and “informal communication” which she personally finds distracting. To conclude her talk, she explained that being in an agile company, which is flexible, and allows these accommodations is more likely to survive the tumultuous environment of the corporate world. Of course, she never knew how right she would be. The Economist predict that in their 2021 report, “What Covid19 Has Done For Innovation”, that the pandemic has provided an opportunity for businesses to “maybe even dare to try other things they had been reluctant to” .


The Economist released a digital report on YouTube in March 2021, almost a year after the first National Lockdown in the UK, where Tom Standage, their deputy editor explained that “businesses have been forced to adapt, or face extinction” . “Rapid adoption of emerging technologies” is being referred to by Standage and The Economist as “Tech-celeration” , which has been acknowledged to have “been given the biggest boost around the world due to the pandemic” .


As The Economist said: “history has shown that innovation often thrives in times of crisis” , demonstrated by the ideas of Edward Jenner and the first inoculation, where cowpox was injected into a young boy called James Phipps in order to supposedly make him immune to smallpox, this process would later become standard practice, with weakened, dead, or similar viruses and infections have been injected into patients to build resistance or immunity to an illness, even for Covid19! Alternatively, there’s also the example of the bouncing bomb, the idea had been developed during 1942 by Barnes Wallis. He developed this concept in 1942, and the realised weapon was used in the Dambuster raids the following May. According to the RAF Benevolent Fund’s blog, Wallis developed his idea at first on a very small scale – with marbles in a bath then with increasingly large models .


This is not unlike what Simon Sinek describes during an interview about innovation. He describes the process of coming up with these ideas as “doing something that fails and fails and fails and sticking with it because we can see the light at the end of the tunnel”. If Barnes Wallis’ ideas hadn’t fallen into place, and he had given up, what would have happened?



Based in London, U.K., and founded in 2016 by Arvind Mishra, The Agile Works (www.TheAgileWorks.com), is an up-and-coming recruitment and Agile consulting company. Arvind is a Certified SAFe SPC and regularly delivers both private and public SAFe certification workshops.

He is a design thinking expert, Sr. enterprise, portfolio Agile Coach with over a decade of experience working as an Agile coach in diverse industries such as banking, pharma, retail, auto, oil, gas, consulting and government.

The Agile Works; a small team of three strive to help shape the leadership's mind-set and values in readiness for their business transformation journey challenges. With Arvind at the helm, we strive to provide you with the agility tools to make your company that can thrive, and not just survive.

To book a consultation, or for any enquiries, you can contact Arvind via the following email address: arvind@theagileworks.com




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