Innovation: A Key Differentiator in Times of Crisis

3 min readApr 30, 2020

Innovation is what keeps businesses alive. It helps build customer relationships by addressing specific needs and allowing companies to thrive even in the face of adversity. According to a study conducted by Adobe, 81 percent of digitally mature businesses surveyed cite innovation as a strength of their organization’s success.

Business leaders seek to create innovative strategies that promote growth. During the COVID-19 crisis, technology is driving competition beyond traditional boundaries. Competitors now extend from local companies to businesses all over the globe.

What Drives Innovation?

During a crisis, business leaders strive to create innovation strategies that add value to customers. This is often accomplished by finding solutions that help the organization navigate uncertain situations. This can mean re-purposing materials to make other products or providing alternate ways of accessing services.

While there is no way to predict exactly how a crisis such as COVID-19 will affect your business, there are steps you can take to maximize your innovation efforts.

Develop an Innovation Strategy

When developing your innovation strategy, it helps to have a wide range of resources on hand. Find various marketing channels so you can develop new approaches that will prepare you to respond when the unexpected occurs. Marketing research shows 91 percent of marketers are either leading or are involved in driving innovation organization-wide.

These resources will help you position your business for future disruption. Once they are in place, you can mobilize them quickly and successfully.

Tap into Existing Ideas

Idea management is an essential process where ideas are gathered and analyzed. Some are implemented while others may remain in the pipeline for later use. Companies can benefit from examining those ideas to figure out how they apply during times of crisis.

There is a lot of pressure to innovate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses need to focus on solving problems quickly so immediate solutions will be put in place, but also plan.

Change will derive from those who are actively engaged with the organization and its customers. Find ways to communicate with them so you will better understand their needs and how to fulfill them.

Focused communication that touches on specific problem areas is what scales impact, inspires change in behavior, and sparks the development of new ideas. You can effectively do this by placing positive messages on your website and all social media pages to show customers your dedication to serving them.

Expand Your Innovation Efforts

The COVID-19 crisis is bringing people together from all over the world. This provides more opportunities for innovation management through the sharing of ideas across multiple channels.

This gives you an opportunity to learn from other business owners and the customers you serve. This, in turn, makes you more adaptable in other markets that may not have been hit as hard as yours.


You never know which ideas could turn into innovations. Brainstorm with employees, business partners, and investors. Reach out to customers to find out what is driving their decisions. Invest time and energy into finding ways to solve new problems and make improvements.

Emerging from the COVID-19 crisis will take time, but putting a well-thought-out innovation strategy in place will help you come out on the other side with your business still intact and thriving.

Want more ways to address customer needs during the COVID-19 pandemic? Check out our COVID-19 response page today!

This article was originally published on the IdeaScale blog here.




IdeaScale is the leading innovation management software platform for the enterprise, government, and education. Gather ideas, implement them.