[164] Hope in times of Corona – Innovation

A crisis provokes creativity. When the world as we know it is gone, we have to re-invent ourselves and rewrite the story we had in our minds. Corona is the beginning of a new era of innovation.

Look around you. See car makers who redirect the production line from machinery to breathing equipment; households who repurpose bed sheets to mouth masks; social businesses who integrate social distancing; an Italian laser-printing startup that started producing breathing equipment based on the model of snorkelling goggles; in-dining going take-away; heaps of companies going virtual, yet required physical attendance before.

When the impossible becomes possible

I even know a particular case of a friend of mine who begged for homeworking to avoid the long commuting times before the entire crisis. “Impossible,” was her boss’ answer. “Possible,” was the answer of COVID-19.

“Impossible,” was her boss’ answer. “Possible,” was the answer of COVID-19.

This is wat crisis time does: making the impossible possible. Whole at the sudden the impossible is happening anyways. Who would have thought a virus would spread over the world and rule us all by March 2020? Yet, who would have thought they would be teleworking, laid-off, bankrupted, producing breathing equipment, treating COVID-19 patients, or even just having and taking the time to walk in their own neighbourhood?

Taking the Leap

Crisis provokes creativity. It pulls people out of their comfort zone and once this has happened, there is no more use to hold on to what was, nor what we had envisioned for the future. There is only the now, and so we better make the best of it.

It is like being in doubt between staying in the current situation, and moving on to the next one, yet lacking the courage, the power, the energy, or simply the thrust to do it. You keep on talking yourself to remain in the current situation, because that is what you know, so it feels safe and comfortable; even if you would know the new situation might be better.

Yet the huge not-knowing stands in between of your current situation and the possible better future. So, you stand and wait. Wait for the sign that might never come, look for an answer in the stars or your surroundings that might never come. Wait for a little push to help you taking the leap.

A crisis is a big push, that forces you to take the leap.

A crisis is a big push, that forces you to take the leap. You might be in free fall for a while, or free floating, but eventually you have to jump and leave your comfort zone behind. Comfort is where ambition dies, they say, well, when there is no more comfort and the world as we know it is gone, we might become even more ambitious than we might have think. Ambitious, not as in gathering a tremendous amount of material achievements, but as in improving yourself, your situation and the world around you.

Survival of the Fittest

This is the survival of the fittest. Not only of the strongest, but of the most agile, the most flexible and creative one. Survival of the fittest, not only as in physically fit, but in who fits in. Who morphs with the new circumstances, who is flexible and resilient.

When a huge storm passes by, you rather bend with the wind than breaking while trying to withstand it.

No better examples of survival of the fittest, crisis-provoked-creativity and agility than the people I met in Cuba. Once, I met a man who used to be a farmer, yet due to increasing poverty of the country, and changing political circumstances, farming was no longer a viable business. He would no longer be able to feed his family with farming alone. Yet, material things stopped moving around the country, and America’s boycott prevented new material from coming in. So, they had to make the best of what they had, not only psychologically, but materially as well. And so he did.

He converted an old tractor into an ice cream machine. It was a monstrous construction, occupying an entire room, and making the bouldering noise of a chained dragon willing to escape. Yet, it did what it had to do: it produced ice. Not sure if it was because of the story, or because of reality, but it was one of the best ice creams I had in my life.

The farmer as many others on Cuba, was one who makes the impossible possible, when the impossible has happened.

Laughing and crying at the same time

I never had as much conversations in which in one sentence only I would switch from crying to laughing, I reckon. I have never seen as much chats going from informing and worrying straight to a joke and back. Humour is one of those secret weapons we have as human beings. I’ve never seen a bunch of dogs rolling over the floor of laughing, yet, I’ve seen myself and others around me doing it.

Humour is our strongest weapon; humour is that what pulls the angle out of a very uncomfortable situation; humour can make any inconvenient situation become convenient. Humour is that what requires creativity and makes us rewrite the story as we know it. It is all about putting the world around us in another perspective.

Humour is that what requires creativity and makes us rewrite the story.

Like the graphic designer who rewrote the popular children books from ‘Tiny’ to ‘Quarantiny’. While the Tiny books would take us everyday to another adventure in Tiny’s life (Tiny visits grandfather, Tiny on the farm, Tiny goes fishing, …), Quarantiny shows an adventure in Tiny’s life when she is in quarantine (Tiny whole at a sudden loves jogging, Tiny will have white legs this year, …).

Take the (Big) Leap

So here you go, pushed away from the known, but weaponed with humour, you are stepping into the new world as we do not know it. Be flexible, be agile, be creative and innovative, and you will surrender.

Use whatever is in your power but for different means; rewrite the story of your life, of your business. Use your talents to improve your current situation – no matter how bad it is.

It does not have to be a new world shocking invention, but it all starts with being a new version of yourself, a better parent, a better partner, a better friend. Use it for the better, you will feel better, while making the world a little bit better. One mask at the time. One joke at the time. One step at the time.

The crisis has given you the push, are you ready to take the leap?

This article is part of the series of Hope in Times of Corona. Read on how this times of self-isolation should not mean loneliness, on how you can contribute to this battle, on how gratitude lights up the dark, on how united we will stand strong. and on the most util strategy in awake of a crisis or on how I got blown of my feet as well, but caught by many caring hands, or on how being calm can get us through the storm. And what about Love in Times of Corona? or discovering your own talents? and why we need stories to hold on to.Or wait until tomorrow, when I’ll shine another light on yet another positive corner of this dark times.

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