Thank you for sharing this article. Before it was mentioned, I was immediately thinking of the accelerated innovation that has been implemented by pharmaceutical and biotech companies in order to develop the vaccine. I found it interesting that the CEO of the company BioNTech when the news of the new COVID-19 virus was released on that Friday in January 2020, the CEO of the company announced he was going to develop 2 teams to work on vaccine development 7 days a week only a few days later on the Monday after.
The other example of accelerated development that I thought of is in the recent push for automotive manufacturers to develop the first fully autonomous vehicle and the push to go all-electric in the U.S. Government pressure and EV friendly tax credits to incentivize these companies have certainly accelerated innovation, since automotive companies realized if they are not producing EVs, then they risk losing significant market share. When Cooper mentioned that there is inconclusive evidence that "the first to market wins" I found myself agreeing with this statement. Tesla for example, has first mover advantage in the EV market, however GM has been making impressive moves with their EV strategy such as vertically integrating their battery supply with their Ultium partnership with LG Chem to provide them with a cost advantage. GM announced today the opening of a second Ultium plant, which will be a $2.3 billion facility, which will further assist them in their strategy to mass-produce EVs. The first to market always captures higher revenue and market share initially, but the followers such as GM in this case, have a great opportunity to learn from the first-mover's mistakes and improve the product and/or technology.
The COVID-19 pandemic certainly caused other additional accelerated innovation, besides the obvious shift to work from home, where companies such as Zoom certainly capitalized with their market timing, many restaurant chains and retail businesses found themselves in a 'adapt or die" situation. Due to extensive shutdowns across the U.S. and worldwide, many restaurants had to act quickly and come up with a strategy to partner with food delivery companies such as GrubHub, or to incentivize customers to come into their restaurants for carry-out services. Due to high food cost and waste, many sit-down restaurants depend on higher margin alcohol sales to keep their businesses afloat, and to offset not being able to serve alcohol to customers dining in their restaurants, For example, there is a small family-owned business Mexican restaurant by my house that my family and I eat at pretty frequently, that was serving margarita kits to-go to customers who were coming into their establishment for carry-out service. This type of innovation helped restaurants such as this example move inventory, instead of wasting more product.
The main lessons that I learned here in regard to accelerating innovation during the pandemic, is that if you are a leader of a company, you must think proactively, not reactively. During the pandemic, people as a whole, have learned how adaptable we all are. For example, when I began the MBA program at Oakland University, if somebody would have told me that I would be working from home with my wife and our now 10-year old son would be attending school virtually on Zoom, I would have told them they were crazy. Now our son is back for in-person school, but we continue to both work from home, and I have actually became much more efficient with my time, since I spent a lot of time on the road travelling locally. Now I am able to meet many of my clients through Zoom, which has saved me an extraordinary amount of time.
Steve T. McKeogh
Sent: 04-03-2021 14:24
From: Megan Campbell
Subject: Pandemic Lessons Learned about Accelerating Innovation
I recently came across the article, Accelerating Innovation: Some lessons from the Pandemic, written by Robert G. Cooper. In the article, Cooper outlines the following five approaches to accelerate development:
- Focused Project Teams: Often teams are spread too thin between multiple projects. Core teams should dedicate 60-70% of their time to a particular project.
- Fewer Projects, Better Projects: Force management teams to rank projects from 1 to N. Projects ranked higher on the list should receive more resources.
- Digital Tools to Accelerate Knowledge Generation: Digital tools can help assist with the speed of a project. Examples of common tools used include 3D printers, simulations, virtual and augmented realities, and artificial intelligence.
- Lean Development: To remove waste from a project timeline, leads should consider deleting unnecessary tasks, constantly view tasks, and ensure they are a value add.
- Agile Development: In the article, Cooper notes an agile development team is made up of individuals who are co-located physically and 100% dedicated.
What are some of the lessons you learned about accelerating innovation during the pandemic?
Cooper, R.G. (2021), Accelerating innovation: some lessons from the pandemic. J Prod Innov Manag. Accepted Author Manuscript. https://doi-org.huaryu.kl.oakland.edu/10.1111/jpim.12565