Why we need to AIM for innovation-led solutions


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In times of great challenge human ingenuity comes to the fore. As an example, we traditionally seen wars as accelerators of technology. But they also act as incubators of real innovation, with nations as a whole looking to do more from less or find new ways of coping.

COVID-19 is a new kind of enemy, one which strikes invisibly and has no respect for boundaries. And while the speed and spread can be frightening, we shouldn’t forget that the world has conquered other viruses and other diseases in the past and there’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll do so again this time.

As with previous wars, we are rapidly reaping rewards of those who’ve torn up the rulebook and delivered solutions amid this current battle. In a 2018 CB Insights report [1] they revealed that 60% of companies said it takes a year or more to create new products. And yet Dr Rhys Thomas, from Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen, sat down on Monday with a blank sheet of paper and by Friday with the help of a local company had a working production model of a ventilator which not only helps patients breathe but also clears the room of viral particles.

“After designing, constructing and trialling several prototypes in just three days, we came up with a device that worked perfectly. It is simple and robust and specifically designed to work against the Covid-19 virus in a contagious environment. Although it won’t replace an ICU ventilator, the majority of patients won’t need intensive care if they are treated with this ventilator first, releasing ICU ventilators for more serious Covid-19 cases and other general medical cases.”

Dr Rhys Thomas

The Welsh Government has now approved the production of 100 of these emergency ventilators per day.

Across the world, people are showing the way that they can rise to the challenge, adapting and collaborating in the face of lockdown. And, as for the usually perceived innovation barriers like lack of time (43%) or lack of employee skill (37%) [2], not to mention problems overcoming legacy systems etc., organisations around the world seem to have found a way to navigate them. We’ve seen an instant reframing of company infrastructure to facilitate business continuity while people work from home.

Right now, the quest is for immediate solutions. However, in a comparatively short space of time, the impetus will change as mindsets shift from the now, to what happens next. Once leaders start to plan for tomorrow and more importantly, to design the future, they should start by re-evaluating, building an understanding of their current level of innovation capability and culture; something which may well have shifted dramatically in a short space of time.

To help clients around the world, we’ve design ‘The Assessment for Innovation Maturity’ (AIM) to provide leaders with the level of detail and understanding necessary to enable them to develop a meaningful strategy, not just merely for recovery but for future innovation-led growth. Over the next few weeks, I’ll explore measuring innovation maturity in more depth, unpacking how AIM is helping our clients shape their future by building an understanding of their current innovation capability and culture.

In the meantime, take a look at the dedicated AIM website https://www.the-aim.co/ to see how it could help your organisation shape the future but also point the way towards delivering current solutions.

[1] https://www.cbinsights.com/research-state-of-innovation-report
[2] https://www.fsb.org.uk/docs/default-source/fsb-org-uk/innovation-report-final.pdf?sfvrsn=0

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