FROM THE MOUTH
February 13, 2021
It is no exaggeration to say that the covid-19 pandemic caused a real race for new business models, development of products and services, for companies that were previously in a place of comfort, accommodated in following the status quo governed by the market and by its biggest players.
This “innovation” that, let's face it, is not something new for anyone, had to be faced head-on by professionals and businesses that have any level of survival interest (which, here, we understand as everyone) amidst the chaos caused by a virus that changed our social life and consumer relations.
What is also interesting to note, however, is how this forced innovation opens lip service to approaches, when the image and communication of a given company send a message that does not hold up in practice, when the animal really catches on.
Here, we bring two main types of business, extreme, that illustrate the current scenario of innovation: on the one hand, individual entrepreneurs, small and medium companies that, without capital and access to formal knowledge to innovate in a structured way and with mitigation from not so fruitful paths to the business, they embark on a journey of trial and error, innovating in loco, in a lethal survival dynamic, like a savanna, in which the choice of a path can mean the end of their activities.
At the other extreme, we have large companies, with capital and knowledge available to structure innovation processes, but which, for a long time, left them dormant or relegated to communication pieces in order to gain social capital from an innovative and cool company.
Of course, there are many exceptions in both types of businesses raised here, but I bring both extremes to make a point: innovation should not be kept up a sleeve, reserved for moments of crisis, with the expectation that it will miraculously save the business in a short period of time - it must be treated as a vital part of the company's organism, constantly nurtured and cared for, so that it even provides enough strength to face critical periods.
This question becomes even more interesting when we analyze the structures of these two types of businesses. We can use the analogy of a jet ski and a cruise ship.
Individual entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized companies, have the ability to innovate and take risks, albeit in a less structured way and they can have a hard impact on the business, in a much more agile way, either due to the lesser (or lack of) internal bureaucracy, or for its much leaner structure, which allows for more incisive and quickly applicable yaws.
Large companies, although they have access to capital and knowledge, have much heavier, bureaucratic structures, with several areas that dialogue directly or indirectly, which consequently impacts the speed of strategic decision-making, even in periods of crisis, when agility is key.
The direction shift is much slower, which, as we know, can be fatal in the times we live in (we can cite the classic examples of Blockbuster, Kodak, Nokia and Blackberry here).
The treatment of innovation as an almost imagistic, front-facing element by large corporations took its toll when the unprecedented crisis caused by the new Coronavirus forced everyone to search for new models.
Without the strength to sustain themselves, and with a huge structural weight to make quick and assertive decisions, we saw many companies slipping in the search for business models for these (new) times. With this awareness, today we find organizations in a race against time to make their operations leaner and their teams more integrated, with the objective of fostering systemic innovation and as a modus operandi, and not as something ad hoc.
In an almost counter-intuitive relationship, we see large companies pursuing the model of startups and small companies, lean and aware enough to actually practice innovation - which, sooner or later, are incorporated into the system. The point is not that innovation is an exclusive product of smaller companies, but that it is facilitated by their structures, which signals a direction to be followed by colossal, global and rigid organizations that suffer in keeping up with the unpredictability of a volatile world.
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