It has been forty-two days since the closure of my children’s school and only slightly fewer since the entire family has been living in lockdown. While it has been a challenge, we realize many others are experiencing deep pain and suffering, both physically and economically. As a business thinker, I find myself looking at difficult times like these as puzzles to be solved and challenges and molts to fight through.
While our top concern must be the health and safety of our loved ones and the healthcare professionals and other workers on the front lines, my mind also wanders to creative and innovative ways businesses have approached the challenges presented. I have compiled a short list of impressive ideas businesses have implemented to keep the lights on.
I share these examples
in hopes that one or another might inspire you:
- Tarrytown, New York-based Coffee Labs Roasters is delivering fresh brewed coffee to hospitals and fire and police departments at the request of their customers. Each sale allows the business to generate modest cash flow while also allowing the community a chance to say thank you to first responders.
- Florence, Italy-based Ristorante Accademia is putting idled taxi drivers to work delivering family-style meals sold and prepared for home consumption.
- A United Kingdom-based coffee roaster is directing all available staff to execute annual cleaning and maintenance protocols normally requiring machine shutdown.
- In Katonah, New York, a family-owned grocery store, DeCicco’s, is accepting orders by email. Once items have been picked and packed, customers are contacted for hands-free collection. Upon arrival, customers remain in their car and pop open their trunk/boot where payment and tip have been left for the person placing the groceries directly in the car.
- A Belgium-based public school teacher forced to teach remotely without any previously installed online resources has turned to the app “Houseparty” for small-group meet-ups and lessons with her fourth-grade students.
- Anheuser-Busch and many liquor distilleries around the world are converting alcohol and bottling operations otherwise intended for beverages to the production of hand sanitizer.
- Independent consulting network Umbrex has organized pro bono consulting resources to businesses hard hit during the lockdown. This will serve as a value to those in need and may also generate future business demand.
- A German business that scheduled a rolling implementation of ERP software over the next six months now has dedicated IT professionals to accelerate the execution of the project in the next six weeks.
I’m sure a million other inspiring ideas and innovations are happening around the world. I’d love to hear about actions you are witnessing in your industry. Stay safe, be strong, keep the light burning, and innovate.