Necessity is the mother of invention, and in the coming weeks we  will watch a rapid change in work culture as we adapt to the COVID-19  global pandemic.

The Necessity

We want  to remain safe and healthy. In order to do that millions will  self-quarantine at home. However, we want to remain productive. We want  to continue our work (if possible) without slow downs, work stoppages,  or other blockers. This requires collaboration, hand-offs, and daily,  hour-by-hour interactions.

The Innovation

This  is supposed to be the digital age, right? Or was it the information  age? Either way, both are correct. We have the skills and technology to  collaborate, interact, and deliver results. All that is missing is the cultural change.
This is our opportunity to drive that cultural change of digital innovation throughout all organizations.

School is still in session

Last  week hundreds of millions of students virtually attended classes in  China and the rest of the world. Lessons were given, tutoring sessions  held, and grades delivered. Students still sat in lectures, answer  questions when called upon, and turned-in their work digitally. Why  shouldn't companies as well?
This is not longer a technology problem. This is a business/leadership problem.  CEOs, CIOs, and CxOs must embrace the new culture and understand the  information in their silos to do tomorrow what schools do today.

Millions working from home

Not  all companies are lagging behind (eg - your competition). Ironically,  COVID-19 has been a shot in the arm to video conferencing products from  Microsoft, Google, and Cisco, Zoom and others. They have created special  long-term trials of thier tech for school and orgs to meet demand. This  is a smart move on their part.Some of the tools:

Chat and collaboration

Task Management

Nimble is the name of the game...

You  can only be nimble is you have solid footing in your own data  ecosystem. You can step over, around, and through problems because the  data allow you to be honest with yourself, your customers, and your  partners.
Starbucks China is one such example. In the past weeks  they were able to overcome quarantines, closures, and other risks by  driving forward with data-driven decisions. The necessity of extreme  hygiene and "no contact" gave rise to the "Contactless Starbucks  Experience." It is an inspiring and interesting read about how the data  and technology allowed Starbucks to re-open quickly, hygienically, and  keep customers, employers, and partners connected. Linked story here:

https://stories.starbucks.com/stories/2020/one-global-companys-bold-steps-to-navigate-covid-19-in-china-and-the-lessons-learned/

The Take Away

Starbucks  has had data and information at the center of their business for a very  long time. This, along with their cultural values intact, enabled new  service delivery models, support networks, and other innovations in a  matter of days from the time of store closures. They were able to  organically change to demands and needs in "near-real-time."

Schools  remain open because leadership, students, and parents have the mindset  to utilize the technology and information-flow in ways that adapt to the  community needs.

Companies keep the "virtual lights on" when they  embrace the right cultural mindsets and tools to allow employees to  work from anywhere.

This pandemic is truly horrible, and we are  not yet through it. We already see the organizations who have embraced  digital transformations are less impacted, even stronger, than before.