• Cheryl K. Glaeser

Crisis Innovation: No Preconceived Expectations

Crisis breeds innovation; necessity breeds entrepreneurs. You’ve likely read or heard many great stories about how the changes forced upon on by COVID-19 are leading to new inventions, different business practices, and changing behaviors. Many of these innovative approaches require moving beyond preconceived expectations.

No matter who you are, you have likely been forced to change something about the way you work, socialize, shop, or live. Change is hard for most people. Very little feels “normal” and many of us are thinking, “I don’t want to think about, let alone embrace, this “new” normal!” But that is exactly what many have done. They’ve embraced these forced changes and turned them into opportunities, even if the new opportunities aren’t exactly what they planned or hoped for. I doubt distilleries like J. Carver Distillery in Waconia envisioned using their alcohol to make hand sanitizer or Bedford Industries in Worthington envisioned developing face shields, but they are.

Before COVID-19, I felt like I had just found my niche - helping groups come together to pursue collaborative opportunities. My challenge: this niche was largely based on in-person gatherings. I’m thinking of my grand-kid's favorite preschool song, “Wheels on the Bus.” Not only did the “wheels” stop going round and round, they literally fell off. Admittedly, I didn’t embrace this change very well. I found myself wrestling through some of the typical stages of change and transition.

Over the past couple weeks, I began to realize,“I don’t need to embrace the “new normal” but I do need to embrace a Growth Mindset. I began accepting new projects that didn’t fit my self-inflicted expectations. By embracing change and letting go of prior expectations, I began seeing new and different projects as opportunities rather than “outside of my niche.”

As you head into your week, remember the advice of Italian philosopher, Machiavelli, “Never waste the opportunities offered by a good crisis.” What opportunities might you be dismissing by hanging on to preconceived expectations?

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