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Creativity And Innovation In Uncertain Times For Business

In honour of World Creativity and Innovation Day, we decided to look at how both concepts shaped businesses’ responses to the pandemic. In addition, we will offer tips to help your business to foster creativity and innovation to benefit you.

What is World Creativity and Innovation Day?

The 21st April marks World Creativity and Innovation Day that was implemented by the United Nations in order to raise awareness of the role of creativity and innovation in all aspects of human development. Here at White Label Loyalty, we believe creativity and innovation are vital to what we do. In honour of this day, we thought we would first define both terms. Then we’ll look into how companies have been creative and innovative in response to the challenges that Covid-19 caused. Lastly, we’ll provide you with tips on how you can get the most out of being both creative and innovative.

United Nations
creativity lightbulb

What is Creativity?

Creativity can be defined as the use of imagination or original ideas to create something. Furthermore, in a more business-focused perspective creativity has been called the ‘biggest driver of non-incremental growth’ with creativity improving the long-term brand health of companies. Research shows that rewarding creativity can drive business results. This reflects the importance of creativity in daily life and why it was a vital tool in the armour of companies since the start of the Covid-19 crisis.

Creativity has been called the biggest driver of non-incremental growth due to improving the long-term brand health of companies.

What is Innovation?

Innovation can be broadly defined as an idea that’s been transformed into a practical reality. Research has found that there are four types of innovation. These are; incremental innovation, disruptive innovation, architectural innovation and radical innovation. Incremental innovation increases value to a customer by utilising your existing technology such as design changes and providing additional features. Disruptive innovation revolves around applying new technology to an existing market in order to disrupt the order of the day and break the norms. Architectural innovation involves taking existing skills and technology and applying them to a different market. On the other hand radical innovation is all about creating new industries. This type of innovation in particular is something that a cataclysmic event such as a pandemic invites. This article will take into account all of these types of innovation when discussing what has been achieved this year.

innovation in action

Adapting business to fit needs

One innovative adaptation in the last year that was taken up by a few companies was the production of hand sanitizer by alcohol producers in order to meet with the increased demand from March 2020. Alcoholic spirits producer British Honey Company was one such firm that took this decision reporting sales of over £500,000 between March and May 2020 with the sale of their 70% proof hand sanitiser. This practice was implemented by many other companies with some donating without charge to hospitals and those in need. 

Another key way that many businesses adapted to changing of customer needs and societal norms was the production of face masks. Following the shortage of medical masks and the government mandates throughout the world for masks to be worn in public, thousands of clothing manufacturers took initiative and started making them. 

Top Screen Media and their shift in creating their digital displays with an hand-sanitiser dispenser reflected a company adapting to fit the circumstances. Furthermore, they created a facial recognition thermometer in order to provide extra-capability in line with Covid restrictions. This shows an interesting way to be innovative in the face of a challenge and modify a service to fit customer needs. 

These are just a few adaptations that had implemented by businesses in order to cope with the unprecedented changes that the pandemic has thrust upon the world. The ability to adapt is crucial in order to always remain one step ahead in terms of innovation and creativity. 

face mask business

Digital Acceleration

The accelerated shift from physical to digital since the pandemic is a key way in which companies have been both creative and innovative to make sure they survived.

This digital shift has been exponential with remote working becoming normal for many businesses and individuals. In the US alone, 45% of both large and small businesses in the U.S. moved part of their staff to remote work. This has meant that companies had become adaptable in order to make sure that they survive. It’s arguable that this time has allowed the younger workforce to thrive, already being versed with the technology that remote working relies upon (video conferencing, setting up work computer systems etc). For some companies, this has been a challenge with up to 48% of UK businesses not making any changes to support home working.

Back in May last year, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stated that his employees could work from home ‘forever’. One positive that remote working has thrown up is that it allows companies to be able to open up their job adverts around the world. Moreover, individuals are able to apply for a job from anywhere without being restricted by their geographic boundaries. This shows how the changes have allowed the opportunity to be innovative and broaden companies’ horizons.

Interconnected technology

Our tips for creativity and innovation

As you have seen, creativity and innovation are vitally important, here are four quick tips on how to use both in the wake of these challenging times. 

  1. Try new things: Brighten up your normal creative process by mixing it up and getting involved in games and tasks to foster creativity. Using games such as ice-breakers and team-building exercises are a great way to open people up to being creative and innovative. 
  2. Finding inspiration: Creativity and innovation cannot always just spring out of nowhere – this is why research is key. Examining your competitors and companies that you admire and seeing what they offer and seeing ways that you can improve on it is key. One way that this can be done (once viable) is by sending teams to attend trade shows in order to explore what innovation is out there and spark new ideas.
  3. Learn from mistakes: We are not robots, not all our ideas will work but it’s the mistakes that will provide lessons that will allow creativity and innovation to thrive. In addition to this it is important that there is a process in place to support learning from these mistakes. The best way to do this is to firstly acknowledge the mistakes, work out how they happened and make a plan to make sure you can learn from them. 
  4. Make sure you’re patient: Finally, creativity and innovation both take a lot of time to perfect so make sure that you don’t try to rush things through.

What the future holds

Despite the fact that restrictions are starting to be lifted (in some parts of the world) and optimism is on the horizon, it must be stated that last year has changed things forever. This is especially true in terms of workforce and the further reliance on technology that the situation accelerated exponentially. This is why creativity and innovation will continue to be vital in order to keep up with the changes in the aftermath of the pandemic.

If you’re interested in how a loyalty program can help you to be innovative and creative have a look at our Loyalty Programs 101 post for more information.

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