With some notable and frankly shocking exceptions, the roll-out of vaccinations and in some countries the further easing of lockdown restrictions is leading many companies to focus or refocus on innovation. What will be the new normal innovation principles that may drive development?
1.Building a better future.
An increased focus on ‘Good’ Innovation – innovation whether products, packaging, or whole new ways of doing business that helps build a better future for the world, its people, and future generations. During Covid research showed that many people wanted, even expected, brands to step up to the plate and help drive positive change. Coupled with the recognition that we are facing not climate change but a climate crisis means that brands will look to innovate in and around “sustainability”.
Within this there are two strands to consider will be
It will be important to recognise that sustainability is now a much broader term and relates to more than just the environment (but social and moral issues too)
Innovation needs to shift from helping brands be ‘Not bad’ but to actively delivering ‘Net Good’
2. Adapting to a recession
While there is likely to be a ‘bounce back’ effect, as restrictions are lifted, much of this recovery may be either short-term or simply a movement back towards the economic output levels pre-COVID. There has been much damage done to major parts of the economy and there has been a spike in unemployment. It is therefore likely the world will face a period of economic recession and so innovation which deliver new products and services that are either low cost or clearly delivering ‘good value’ will be another focus.It may also mean that companies take the opportunity to review their own innovation processes to try and ensure it avoids expensive mistakes.(Interesting these first two principles could conflict because as we have seen from previous recessions whether people can afford to choose the often more expensive ‘sustainable’ options may limit their potential.)
3. Supporting new behaviours
While there is talk about ‘returning’ to normal, it will be a new normal and certain behaviours adopted during the pandemic are likely to continue – two obvious examples would be online shopping and working from home (probably correlated).Identifying and then innovating against the needs around these new behaviours, improving the experience, is likely to be another principle.
It will be an interesting and challenging time to be a marketer but here’s hoping for a brighter better future.