Technology

COVID-19 Expected to Fuel the Next Wave of Innovation

By / Apr 6, 2020 (piranka/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Many are finding ways to survive, and thrive, in the midst of the health crisis.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in loss of life and economic uncertainty, some are pointing to a silver lining: a surge of innovation.

“If the history of pandemics is a guide, this contagion, like all others, will spark a wave of innovation,” argued Kumar Mehta, innovation researcher and founder of Bridges Insight, in Forbes. “Each one has altered how we live and function, leading to innovation that facilitates the changes we have made to our lives.”

As the situation forces millions of workers to adapt on the fly, Mehta highlighted the rise of the work-from-home model and the potential transformation of the workplace.

Other arms of the business world may also evolve: Supply chains could witness efficiencies, suggested Hamza Mudassir in Entrepreneur.

“There is a sharp need for a more distributed, coordinated and trackable supply of components across multiple geographies and vendors while maintaining economies of scale,” he saids. “This would require global platforms to be erected that use sophisticated technologies such as 5G, robotics, IoT and blockchain to help link multiple buyers with multiple vendors reliably across a ‘mesh’ of supply chains.”

In the medical space, many have already stepped up to find alternative solutions to medical supply shortages.

“Engineers, software designers, factory owners and self-taught sewers around the world have been racing to devise products they hope can help keep critically ill coronavirus patients alive and health care workers safe from infection,” wrote Andrew Jacobs and Rachel Abrams for The New York Times.

According to the report, a Stanford University lab is already clinically testing a full-face respirator that uses a snorkeling mask. Students at West Texas A&M University have come up with a antimicrobial patch that can be affixed to doorknobs, and researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are working on 3D-printed face shields and ventilators that can be manufactured quickly.

These innovations are necessary in tough times, argued Thomas J. Graham, M.D., director of strategic planning and innovation at the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, NYU Langone Health.

“Innovation isn’t superfluous—it’s central. Innovation has been both the solution and the outcome for almost all human crises, particularly when there has been a demand for strides forward in practical application of technical or scientific knowledge,” he said.

Michael Hickey

Michael Hickey is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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