Paving a Path for a Post-COVID-19 Innovative Environment
Rebecca J. Slotegraaf
Originally published: April 22, 2021
Read time: 8 minutes
Access the Full Article
Cooper's (2021) “Accelerating Innovation: Some Lessons from the Pandemic” offers a clear reminder of not only the benefits but also the reality of acceleration in new product development. Indeed, when called upon to respond to dramatic shifts in the environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many firms across various industry sectors quickly pivoted to generate new products or services. Some of these pivots involved minor changes to react to new, immediate needs. For example, numerous clothing retailers added cloth face masks to their product line and retailers offered curbside pick-up to their delivery options. Other changes involved breakthrough products, such as the KC N901 smart helmet that can screen for fever within a two-meter radius (kcwearable.com) and robot nurses designed to deliver medicine and meals in northern Italy (Luo & Galasso, 2020). Firms have also engaged in alliances to pool their resources and accelerate the development of innovations to fight the virus. For example, Ford Motor Company transformed its production facilities while collaborating with GE Healthcare to build essential, life-saving ventilators (Beresford, 2020), and the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca collaborated to develop the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in a record time of 10 months.