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  • Writer's pictureLolly Atherton

Innovation: Does It Really Thrive In Times Of Crisis?




In short? Yes. However, innovative ideas that do not come into force during uncertain times, do not necessarily get the same credit. Innovation is all around us, every human being you pass by on your morning commute, or in the queue at the supermarket is someone with limitless untapped potential. You never know what ideas could be ricocheting in the skull of a pre-school-aged-child, just as we do not have the capacity to explore the unconscious mind and thoughts of those who are asleep.


In Dave Eggers ‘The Circle’ a novel about the idea of sharing opinions and gathering a societal consensus on ideas to encourage social change, the ideas of limitless potential are explored. The organisation, known as The Circle are always innovating, making what if statements turn into reality, these statements of sheer insanity are somehow suddenly tangible and accessible. Being able to uncover the details of one’s ancestry to assess whether this information is worth actively broadcasting for everyone to access should they so choose, a further expansion of the idea of DNA testing and family tree mapping from places such as Ancestry and 23&Me, is explored for a significant portion of the book, to the detriment of the people that this impacts. Furthermore, the morality of the situation as a whole. Without spoiling the book, I believe that it is a great indicator of the limitless potential that resides within the human mind, and the power we have to make the impossible possible.


Of course, the novel simply spins the idea of current innovative technologies to a new level. But what about the ideas that are now commonplace that were once ground-breaking developments in science or technology? Vaccines, for example, a hot topic, during the Covid19 pandemic, have only reached the levels that they have due to the nature of human curiosity. When Edward Jenner injected young James Phipps with cowpox, to attempt to keep him from catching and dying of smallpox during the 1700s, he certainly would not have imagined that his idea would have escalated to the point where mass-inoculations for deadly diseases was a daily occurrence.


Equally, when the bouncing bomb was developed during 1942 by Barnes Wallis, it was the middle of the Second World War, his idea being realised and the weapon being used in the Dambuster raids the following May. The ability to coin, hone and explore an idea of such enormity during this period, simply due to the impenitence of the technological advantage against an enemy, was enormous. And from marbles in water, to a highly-capable weapon, we were able to demonstrate, even without the same advanced technology we have now, that humanity could create amazing things.


Then of course, more recently, there is the Flint Water Crisis, which is, unfortunately still ongoing without a long-term-solution. The entire city of Flint, Michigan has been in a situation where they are unable to access clean water via their taps etc. due to the lead pipes poisoning the water supply. This has severely impacted the community since April 2014 years, and despite the longevity of the situation, there is yet to be a long-term solution. However, this crisis has inspired young people such as the now-thirteen-year-old activist Mari Copeny, who has been campaigning nationwide in order to get Flint, as well as other communities within the USA suffering from similar issues due to lead corrosion in their water pipes since 2016, when she was just eight-years-old. The circumstances in this community have also lead international organisations such as Nu Flow, based in the UK to consider what their technology could do for the crisis. The ability to consider what if we were to try this, from a scientific perspective means that it is less likely that a crisis on this scale will happen again. More information on how to support Little Miss Flint in acquiring funds for water filters is available via her Gofundme link here (https://www.gofundme.com/f/little-miss-flint-clean-water-fund?utm_campaign=p_cp_url&utm_medium=os&utm_source=customer )


If the past has taught us one thing, it is that innovation and new ideas come into their own during times of crisis. With this in mind, maybe it’s time to take the leap and try something new. Agile practice within the workplace could be just that: a new and innovative way of managing your workplace by implementing a structure that stresses the importance of communication between colleagues, and organising one another in a structure that means less time is wasted. By using agile methods such as scrums and Kanban to organise your teams, you may be able to increase outward productivity without wasting precious time and resources, which are much-needed during this pandemic.



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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