We’ve had a lot of conversations recently discussing the way that various businesses and industry segments are reacting to the current global lockdowns. No matter who we’ve talked to there seems to be a common consensus across every industry that we are seeing two distinct reactions from businesses:

  1. Hunker down and hope to ride it out
  2. Use this opportunity to look at how we can be more efficient with what we have, and prepare ourselves to be in a leadership position in the future

The companies that are using the current situation to take a step back and look at their existing processes continue to produce and serve existing customers, as well as being flexible enough to meet new demands or deliver existing services in new ways.

But does focusing on finding efficiencies mean we have to give up on innovation too? Not at all. Innovation and efficiency improvements go hand in hand.

Some of the examples of efficiency and innovation working together that we’ve have seen and heard about over the last few months include:

  • Acceleration in the application of 3D designs and digital supply chains that eliminates the need to move samples and other physical objects from location to location.
  • Growth in the use of tools like Digital Asset Management and Content Management platforms has become almost exponential as they spread across the enterprise (reports of upwards of 17 or more touchpoints).
  • Executives that are now working remotely are starting to realize the value that they didn’t know was there as they are now connecting directly to DAM and CMS platforms to access corporate assets.

The one industry segment where the contrast between traditional and flexible digital innovation has been visibly demonstrated is retail. While we see almost daily reports of traditional retail stores - especially long-established department stores that rely on physical sales - going out of business, we’ve seen stores that have a strong eCommerce and delivery infrastructures persist, while digital-only fulfillment companies are thriving.

There has also been notable changes with the customer experience, as more and more companies look at digital streamlining of customer interactions. There has been a realization that many steps in the process may have been unnecessary and that moving towards a digital supply chain that connects from product ideation, through design, to delivery, and experience can provide a faster time to value for both the enterprise and the customer.

Continuing innovation also has a role to play as many companies are looking to pivot to meet both short term needs (like switching to mask and ventilator production) and positioning for a new world where social interaction changes (hi-tech, multi-function mask design), and the way we work is impacted (more flexible networks, increased video interactions), and travel (reduced air travel), and changing expectations of the digital customer experience (moving to true omnichannel delivery).

The organizations that will thrive in the future are those that have the flexibility to be both efficient and innovative - there really is no choice.