By Ganesh Padmanabhan
Chief Revenue Officer

The pandemic state of the world with COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of our work and lives, forcing not just temporary adjustments but permanent changes to the way we live, work, and play. A crisis on this scale can reorder society in dramatic ways and is an exponential step in the evolution of businesses, society, and governance in many ways. We are moving into a world of remote everything and along with it a race to automate everything. What does this mean to the forces driving innovation and what can you do about it? Here are some early thoughts.

Reacting faster to changing information: Prior to COVID-19, innovation cycles and product concept development cycles were defined by weeks, months, and years. During the onslaught of the current crisis, our world changed in a matter of weeks from a health crisis to a pandemic with total lockdowns across the globe. Given how the response to the current crisis is a balancing act between healthcare and the economy, we should expect sudden changes to happen all around our customers, partners, and society in general. Having a hyper-agile approach to product development will be critical –not just making a choice between waterfall and agile models, but being able to pivot to handle sea-changes mid-cycle. One such change we are seeing is in the world of cloud based analytics. The cloud journeys that just got accelerated due to the current crisis are making many organizations realize they weren’t prepared to undertake the cloud costs associated with data mobility.

Human experience in the age of the pandemic: Building products for the new and different lifestyles of your customers and employees and taking a deeper look at how product and people interactions are changing as a result of the current crisis will be key. Workers in industries that previously prohibited working from home are now doing just that. From bankers, aerospace engineers, to almost every teacher in America – work-life has changed for most of us. We live in a new world in which it’s Zoom-everything from work to keeping in touch with family and friends.

In this new norm, rethinking user experience (UX) beyond the traditional will be an imperative. If you are building a product that traditionally gets introduced and sold by a human being in physical locations, understanding how those interactions change in the new world will be key to successfully driving innovation projects. For example, if you are a retailer and you now need to do contactless shopping, you’ll want to look at using commodity cameras with AI modules that support shopping inside of physical stores, curbside pickups, or even remote assistance.

Architecting for new customers in a new tomorrow: With the whole world in lockdown fighting the spread of the virus, it has enabled a fundamentally different landscape for trade, information transfer, and interactions through digital routes, at an accelerated pace. If you were traditionally thinking of market segments by geography, locations, or even demography, those boundaries may have to be redrawn. The unfortunate outcome during the current crisis is going to be a heightened digital divide for business and individuals. Businesses that are yet to start their digital transformation journeys may never be able to recover from the current crisis; those that have already evolved into a technology powered business will leap ahead of competition even further. Parts of the world with limited or poor internet access will create a disadvantage for those consumers in the way they access experiences, products, and services. There will be a spectrum of consumers for all things digital, requiring a rethink of how we look at segments and target markets.

If your organization has started a digital transformation journey in the past few years, this just accelerated it and will require you to revisit at the assumptions you made with respect to key initiatives around cloud, artificial intelligence, big data and the like.

We are witnessing a seismic change in the world right nowthat will leave it completely different than when it started. This global crisis is also presents the “opportunity of  a lifetime” to reassess, reevaluate, and reorient your innovation journeys. One thing is for certain: we are in the early innings of a new era and the choices and decisions you make now will define you and your organization for years and even decades to come.

Ganesh Padmanabhan is the Chief Revenue Officer at Molecula and works with global enterprises to accelerate their data-led innovation and digital transformation journeys. He previously worked with enterprises on their data and AI journeys while at CognitiveScale, Dell, and Intel. He is passionate about the human machine partnership and using technology to create opportunities for everyone.