Without doubt, 2020 will be a year that many will be happy to leave behind. The stress of a global pandemic, being isolated from loved ones and the economic fallout that has followed lockdown has tested everyone’s resolve to remain positive in the face of great adversity.
Despite everything, there have been some incredible examples of business innovation and creativity. Three great examples of innovative companies and how they turned things around during the Covid 19 pandemic are detailed below. Their creative thinking and resilience demonstrate what transformational leadership is all about
Stich & story
During lockdown, many people reconnected with traditional occupations such as baking, gardening and sewing. Businesses that support these creative crafts boomed throughout lockdown and have continued to do well as more people work from home, enjoying the extra time to spend on hobbies.
Stich & Story began as a kitchen table business in 2012. With 11 full-time employees, the company sell crochet and knitting materials and run workshops for people who want to learn these two crafts. They promote and encourage the power to create, personalise and achieve something meaningful by bringing out the artisan in everyone. Their social media campaigns promote how creative journeys begin with being curious, a seed, a spark… and they found a way to help that grow by making crafting refreshingly simple, enjoyable and intriguing.
In April, co-founder Jenny Lam told the BBC:
“Sales are surging up massively. We had an 800% increase in March alone compared to the same period last year.”
“It’s just something that’s perfect to do now. So many people are sick of working on screens and being on their phones all the time. Crafting is seen as a break from that.
“It’s just so rewarding to make something from scratch.”
The pandemic had a crippling effect on businesses from a variety of sectors. One of those sectors critically impacted by the lockdown and has felt the full impact of Covid-19 is the hospitality industry. With little warning, around 20,00 pubs and restaurants were compelled to close their doors in March. For many, this meant furloughing or letting go over 3.2 million people. Fat Rabbit rose to the challenge by finding an innovative way to reach customers, radically changing its business model. They took Vegan meals to the next level by delivering tasty meals in a box.
Linda Clark, owner of the vegan restaurant, Fat Rabbit in Oswestry stated:
“A fellow food-based small business owner mentioned that they were doing a delivery service for their product. And although it has meant making food on my own and changing my website to be e-commerce friendly, it has actually been a fantastic pivot business-wise. I’m quite a positive person and my business is very much mission-led so it was essential for me to find a way through. Experimenting with frozen meals, social media-based sales etc has allowed me to take the business in potentially a more profitable direction. And I have been able to take my customers on the journey with me.”
Fat Rabbit and other similar businesses have seen their takeaway services retain customers, adding an extra layer of profit once they were allowed to reopen in the summer. They increased profit share, accessibility and widened their market reach. In short, the pandemic encouraged them to embrace a new way of doing business.
UK research and innovation
Working in partnerships with universities, research organizations, businesses, charities and government to create an innovation ecosystem to inspire the growth of research and innovation. In April 2020, the UK government committed £750 million to be dispersed through UK Research and Innovation to support UK businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. Examples of the projects who flourished from this environment and benefitted from this funding include:
- Radical Fibres Ltd ‘ creating new PPE using materials that capture viruses
- The National Theatre – developing an innovative entertainment platform, giving performers a digital stage for global audiences
- Volunteero Ltd ‘ created a social media app to connect local communities and allow volunteers to target support to their most vulnerable neighbours
- i3d Robotics – building a virtual-reality training/teaching platform that will enable medical students to upskill remotely and perform simulation surgeries.
Innovators are the driving force
Business owners are naturally courageous and creative. Many of today’s biggest companies formed during downturns or very difficult trading conditions: Disney, Microsoft, General Motors and Uber to name just three.
2020 is proving to be a year that put substantial pressure on many firms. Business owners across every sector are thinking outside the box and trying strategies that they normally would not consider, delivering innovation by being radical and disruptive.
Will you be an innovation leader? Is there a new idea, hobby or traditional occupation you would like to bring to life? For legal advice on your commercial venture, please contact us today. Working with a legal provider that invests in technology to source and provide commercially astute legal advice can make a significant difference in your ability to launch new innovative products and helping your business prosper.