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.
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.
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
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:
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.