It’s not 2028, but it might as well be from a digitization perspective. According to McKinsey Research, the digital portfolios of many companies leaps forward by seven years. Why? Covid-related changes in workforce operations and consumer behaviors have prompted organizations to change – and change quickly.
In fact, digital acceleration has occurred across all industries, spurring incredible amounts of innovation. As a result, every sector has experienced some type of disruption. And although the pandemic crisis appears to be abating, the innovation it has fostered has not interrupted its frantic pace.
5 examples of accelerated innovation that propel companies forward
Which areas have been most affected in recent months by innovative thinking, products and services? Top five have undergone a serious reinvention.
Almost every product has a manufacturing component. Take clothes and accessories, for example. From sourcing fabrics to making clothing, the manufacturing process typically involves the manufacture and then storage of items.
The problem, of course, is inventory and surplus. While many manufacturers have applied just-in-time principles over the years, they usually end up with additional merchandise. This commodity routine often ends up being sold at a loss or thrown away.
Again, the retail fashion industry has historically been known for a abundance of stocks. Often, retailers order so many clothes that a fifth of them never get bought. So far, no company has found a way to reduce inventory without making customers wait endlessly for products. However, innovators like Gooten are offering a new option: build on demand.
Gooten offers a catalog of products ready to be personalized and created on demand. In addition, their process reduces the domestic manufacturing lead time to around three days per item. As a result, Gooten partners avoid inventory management costs while getting goods to hungry consumers quickly.
The world of education has changed dramatically in 2020. Entire schools have moved their teaching online, forcing students, teachers and administrators to rethink learning. Although remote classrooms are not new, they have not been widely adopted. Covid has completely changed that.
Granted, schools are set to reopen, and in-person instruction has already resumed at K-12 and college institutions. Nonetheless, schools are not about to dismiss what they have found out about digital learning over the past year. Plus, they’re better equipped than ever to handle massive changes to online education if the need arises.
Likewise, many companies have thrown their hats off in the education arena, including Google. The search engine plans to create a series of professional degrees lasting around six months. The study programs will be affordable and suitable for professionals of all levels. Like Google, Instructure’s Canvas is strengthening its successful online learning platform.
With around 30 million student users, Canvas is testing tools like flexible assessments to better serve these users. Currently, 14 states have adopted Canvas as a primary education platform for distance education purposes in public schools. As more states join, students from all walks of life may find it easier to access online learning.
Transferring money in the B2B marketplace often involves tedious and time-consuming workflows. This means that companies and their suppliers can wait several days for transactions to be published. While these delays may seem inconsequential, they can cause friction points for all parties. For example, at the height of the pandemic, having cash on hand could be the difference between meeting or missing pay.
The problem is that real-time payments are out of reach for most businesses. Yes, they can collect money quickly in some cases. However, no operator has offered true real-time payment capabilities. Still, the FIS believes it is on the verge of being able to embark on an almost real-time movement of funds.
FIS announced its innovative cloud-based product, RealNet, in early 2021. RealNet uses existing payment rails to transfer money from one location to another. RealNet’s intelligent routing decision engine gauges each rail to determine the fastest payment route for each B2B transaction. This ensures that money is transferred quickly, including money that crosses international borders.
Businesses are poised to benefit greatly from real-time payments. The same goes for consumers and even government entities. This means that FIS’s unique innovation could lead to radical changes in the financial landscape.
4. Health care
The Covid crisis has turned into a health crisis. People suffered blockages, hospitals became overcrowded, and drugs were strained. Amid the whirlwind of experimental treatments and vaccines, innovative companies have tried to fill the gaps in healthcare.
It is difficult to limit the examples of innovations in the field of health only a few. Perhaps one of the most spectacular has been the use of drones. Not only have the drones helped get supplies from the ships to people in remote communities, they’ve also proven to be reliable and robust. Many vendors predict that drones will be useful for other similar applications.
Another innovation in medicine propelled by the pandemic has been the growth of 3D printed supplies and parts. A New York Times writer even reflected on the possibility of printing human tissue.
It would not be fair not to discuss the rapid development and embrace telemedicine. Consumers and their suppliers have used online portals to diagnose and treat a myriad of conditions. The standardization of telemedicine has increased the comfort of patients when they request a digital appointment that saves them time. Time will tell if the rise of telemedicine will correspond to better patient compliance.
During the Covid shutdown, many consumers were working from home. For some, the loss of their commute has resulted in overtime for practicing physical activities. As a result, they took back fitness equipment so suddenly that it disrupted the exercise industry’s supply chain.
These old “couch potatoes” have started to revert to more traditional office environments. However, not all of them got rid of their desire to adopt a healthier lifestyle. This means that many are more open to the idea of always or occasionally cycling to work.
This phenomenon is particularly prevalent in European countries, although it is gaining popularity in the United States. Yet many parking garages lack proper and safe storage spaces for bicycles. Enter Bike2Box. The company has designed a modular box can store 12 bikes in a standard size parking spot.
The pandemic has been an uphill struggle, there is no doubt about it. Nonetheless, it has served as an inspiration for innovations in a variety of industries. And these innovations will continue to drive other disruptive solutions for years to come.
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