Innovating Through Continuous Crisis

Last night we hosted our most recent Union Network event in London around the theme of innovation through continuous crisis. The theme was inspired by some work we’ve done recently where various organisations have wanted some help navigating uncertainty for different reasons so we thought it might make an interesting topic.

The talks varied widely from exploring a diverse range of types of crisis, from- environmental, political, financial, to social.

  • Sarah Farquhar from the charity Crisis talking about the major challenge of tackling migrant homelessness;
  • Mike Pittman from TRL talked about the current technological disruption and opportunity in the transport and mobility space;
  • Corina Angheloiu from Forum for the Future talked about tackling the environmental crisis of single use plastics through the #oneless campaign;
  • Mark Workman from Energy Systems Catapult and Imperial College talked about learning from others to make better decisions under uncertain conditions;
  • Cecilie Hestbaek from the Humanitarian Innovation Fund who gave a very insightful talk about the challenge of innovating in and around various emergency aid projects;
  • Tim Cook from Department of Transport talked about the danger and opportunity of future airport security which is part of a new innovation challenge and fund;
  • Anna from Ixy talked about a new messaging service that avoids miscommunication via text based communications to helps to avoid conflict;
  • Lastly Chris Parker from Ordnance Survey talked about the latest #CrisisHack on 26-28th April at the GeoVation Hub in London.

In preparing for last nights event I was particularly excited to learn that the word Crisis in Mandarin means Danger + Opportunity. In fact, the translation is somewhat ambigious and rather than opportunity per se, it actually means “a point where things happen or change”. Either way it seemed apt and inspiring as we were keen to see both the positive and negative sides of the different crisis situations being presented.

“The crisis is the best blessing that can happen to people and countries, because the crisis brings progress.” Albert Einstein

Developing tactics for dealing with a crisis, whether continuous or intermittant, is an increasingly common necessity of all of our lives and workplaces. As all of our speakers showed, it is how we respond to them that really matters and so be wary of the opportunities and seize the opportunities that your next crisis presents.

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