Businesses around the world are looking for ways to help in response to the pandemic while continuing to sell products and services and keep people employed. From the C-suite to managers to employees at all levels, great ideas are popping up. But how can they be turned into reality as quickly as possible?
I have some experience on this front. When Hurricane Katrina struck the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005, I was with the advertising and marketing agency Saatchi & Saatchi. My team and I were sitting in a bar with the brand team for Tide, one of our biggest clients. We got to talking about how we’d love to create something to help. Pens came out, and together we scribbled on the back of a napkin. Two weeks later, our idea came to fruition: Loads of Hope, trucks filled with working washing machines and dryers. People struggling in the aftermath could drop off their dirty clothes, and we would clean and fold them. These mobile laundromats continue to be deployed to afflicted areas today, and have helped tens of thousands of families.
Early during the COVID-19 pandemic, a contact in Asia and I got to talking about how kids would need washable masks for school. Within a few weeks, we had Crayola on board, and the SchoolMaskPack program was launched. Families can buy a set of five color-coded kid-sized masks, one for each day of the school week, which can be washed and reused. Demand has been so great that the manufacturer recently had to expand operations to multiple countries.
In both these cases, we were able to move very quickly because we had three crucial ingredients for fast-tracking new ideas.
Innovation as a mission
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