Open innovation during COVID-19: Collaborating to close the distance

By HCL Tech Sri Lanka

While the last year has been filled with adversity, it’s also inspired human ingenuity from every corner the world. The challenges of COVID-19 have driven us to unite under a common cause. With all the economic uncertainty that businesses have had to endure, the need for innovation has never been so vital. In this changing landscape, it takes an adaptive mindset to not only survive, but thrive in the face of adversity.

In the first waves of global lockdowns, what first caught us off-guard has now made us more efficient than ever. The inherent flaws in our supply chains and manufacturing processes were exposed, and subsequently transformed. The new industrial process has embraced “lights-out” manufacturing, which involves complete automation and requires no human presence on-site. Automation has optimized our supply chains and inspired us to imagine smarter cities. Additionally, employers and workforces across the globe have embraced hybrid remote learning, and we’ve fundamentally reimagined the way we work.

As alliances formed and industries mobilized, our united efforts to adapt to this new normal have cultivated a new global model for progress: open innovation. This movement of innovation is distinct because it abandons secrecy for collaboration. Open innovation is a model based on extensive networking and co-creative collaboration between many fields of industry. Take the public health responses throughout the pandemic: to find a universal solution in a time of crisis, it’s mutually beneficial to share findings and data. This movement of global data sharing has formed our first line of defence. As a result, statistical and mathematical modelling has become more accurate and has been crucial in predicting patterns with abundant, shared data sets.

With changing priorities in business processes, we’ve also seen the rise of exponential technologies. By repurposing the vast industrial capabilities of manufacturers, we’ve met the sudden and unpredictable needs with widespread business transformation. Shoe manufacturers such as Nike, Adidas and New Balance have dedicated their 3D printing capabilities to the mass production of personal protective equipment (PPEs) for healthcare workers. Automobile manufacturers such as Tesla, General Motors, Volkswagen and Ford have committed 3D printing processes to the develop and distribute ventilators to hospitals. Countries like China have used autonomous vehicles such as drones to deliver medicine, meals, and disseminate information and testing equipment to rural and urban areas. Educators have taken their curriculums online, retailers have made checkouts contactless and museums, galleries, concert halls and musicians have found ways to create and connect with their audiences, despite the distance.

This year has proved that change is now essential for survival. It’s also shown us that we’re all capable of change and adaptation, even under the toughest conditions. In our united efforts, we’ve unlocked the power of mass collaboration, and technology and business will never be the same again. For ambitious organizations to thrive in this new normal, transformation must come from within. Open innovation starts at an individual level, and open-minded, adaptive cultures are the only way forward. To enable businesses to transform into next-gen enterprises, HCL in Sri Lanka offers comprehensive infrastructure services developed over years of experience. With a focus on agility, speed and innovation, HCL’s culture of IdeapreneurshipTM cultivates an entrepreneurial mindset in every employee. With digital workplace services, collaborative platforms, cloud infrastructure and more, HCL Sri Lanka makes the transformative power of open innovation accessible to everyone.