DAVID L. PETERSON

When the Situation Demands Innovative Thinking

Close up of a light bulb with yellow filaments. The background is blurry with many dots of yellow lights in front of a sky line.

As positive cases of COVID-19 continue to increase, there is a drive by many politicians to retreat back into a shelter-in-place response. And yet, the economic damage the previous withdrawal from public life caused is likely to be more devastating than the effects of the virus itself. In the face of people risking their lives, something must be done to allow public activities to occur with reasonable procedures in place to limit risk.

Recently, I was excited to see two stories in my news feed that showed this type of innovation is alive and well. The first story came from Montgomery, Ohio. The city leaders wanted to continue their tradition of holding a 4th of July Parade, but they knew cramming people together on the city streets to view a rolling parade would not be reasonable given the virus. So they created a “reverse parade,” which was an idea used by many high schools for graduations in May. The floats, musical acts and all other traditional parade elements were setup in a large parking area and remained stationary. People wishing to experience the parade remained in their cars and drove slowly through the parking area. There were a few rules: windows had to stay up, and no candy was to be thrown. All in all, the parade was a huge success. You can learn more about the “reverse parade” here.

The second story comes from Argentina, a country that may love its football (soccer) like no other. In order to continue playing matches, an amateur league came up with the concept of “metegol humano” or “human foosball.” If you remember the classic foosball table, there are bars with plastic players that occupy a row; a competitor, or competitors, on each side of the table controls the actions of their “players” when the ball comes into their part of the “field.”

Photo of a foosball table made of black wood with a green table top.

In Metegol Humano, the field is separated into a series of rectangles, and one competitor occupies each rectangle. The competitors can move the ball at will, but they cannot move themselves out of their assigned rectangle. Thus, the human foosball game allows for significant and exciting gameplay, while reducing the contact that would certainly occur in a regulation football match. It looks like this:

Photo of a football (soccer) field with white dotted lines sectioning the field into 12 rectangles. Each rectangle has a player in it.
(Photo by Natacha Pisarenko for Associated Press. Originally in a July 3, 2020 AP article written by Almudena Calatrava.)

COVID-19 has forced many people to adjust how they live their daily lives—from working from home to how we interact with clients and prospects. How are you incorporating innovative thinking into your work/sales process? Why not use this global pandemic to show your employees and customers that your company is “different,” and come up with innovative ideas that can thrill and delight stakeholders?

Let me know if you hear of a company using an innovative idea to thrive in the face of virus adversity, and I’ll post more innovative stories.

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