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Will you Innovate or Stagnate in 2022?

December 17, 2021

by Rina Carlini, PhD

Languishing. That’s a term that defined how many of us felt during the first year of the pandemic, which was most of 2020 and early 2021. Then a renaissance began in the summer with the miraculous arrival of vaccines across Canada; how fortunate we are to have experienced a renewed sense of vitality! Along with the vaccines came a healthy wave of innovation - new products and conveniences that inspire us, new advances in bioscience to keep us healthy, and new technologies to fight climate change and hopefully keep our world sustainable.

However with the emergence of new and more transmissible variants of the COVID virus, we are now realizing that life in a pandemic will be like a roller coaster ride of highs and lows, on where each cycle builds up new activation energy to create a bigger impact (high or low) at the next cycle.

Similar to the pandemic, the innovation process shares this same cycle of highs and lows. And it’s not for the faint of heart. It begins with a strong need to solve a challenging problem, followed by an initial burst of creativity and inspiration that propels you to act and pitch your idea with a contagious level of excitement that will surely attract more followers. What comes afterward is a shot of reality that your innovative game-changing idea will need a monumental amount of planning, policy, people and dollars to get off the ground. Patience and resilience will become essential traits to get you through the low cycles of innovation. Sounds just like daily life during the COVID pandemic, doesn’t it?

Indeed, it does. When you do not test the waters and attempt to innovate, you‘ll merely stay on the shoreline, watching and stagnating. For some, this is a comfortable place to be - and that is fine if you‘re unaffected by stagnation. But most of us working in a fast-paced world of global business and unrelenting competition, the risk of not innovating will certainly lead your company to a life cut short.

You’ve learned to navigate the waters during this COVID pandemic, figured out the right ways to operate and survive, and came out wiser, more resilient and prepared for nearly anything. And there you have it - NOW is precisely the best time for you to innovate, build a pathway to new products and services to ensure your company’s growth and future success. You know that you can do it, so why fear it? There has never been more funding and support programs for business owners and corporations to leverage in the pursuit of innovation. The conditions are excellent and the timing is ideal. Will 2022 be your year to innovate or to stagnate? I’d recommend staying optimistic, feeling inspired, and doing some initial planning to innovate - the water is looking great!

Rina Carlini is an executive advisor on innovation, commercialization and market development strategies in digital health technologies, biosciences and clean tech sectors. As President and CEO of Optimal Innovation Group, Rina has provided strategic innovation consulting to global multinational companies, tech startups, universities and non-profit accelerators.

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