The need for innovation in the digital age may be an open-and-shut case, but leaders of many companies aren’t sure whether their innovation processes should be open, shut, or both. Forging partnerships and investing in startups can help companies catch up with rivals, but it doesn’t always give them a competitive advantage. While external innovation can serve to balance and broaden organizations’ portfolios, companies must also invest in developing key capabilities internally.
In The Atlantic, Harvard Medical School professor Julia Marcus assures us that, yes, quarantine fatigue is real, and many of us are indeed experiencing a profound psychological toll from extreme physical and social distancing. Abstaining from in-person social contact with no end in sight may be tough to sustain, but a public-health-inspired harm-reduction model offers practical strategies for mitigating — not eliminating — risk.
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During the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve seen an acceleration in the use of robotics to do the jobs of humans who’ve been ordered to stay at home. Many of us can overlook our former uneasiness about robots and AI when tech’s perceived value outweighs its anticipated downsides, but we also need to consider what’s next. The increasing adoption of AI and robots has important implications for jobs, biases, and data privacy.
In strategy+business, Theodore Kinni considers how companies’ responses to the pandemic can boost or burst employees’ sense of institutional pride. Organizational culture will be marked long term by how companies operate, support their communities, and treat their employees during the pandemic. This fraught moment has brought much suffering but also offers a rich opportunity to build institutional pride.
Digital technology has made social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic much more palatable, but the coronavirus crisis has also revealed a stark gap between the technology “haves” and “have-nots.” Contact tracing apps, for example, require use of a smartphone, but few have raised the issue about what happens to people who don’t have smartphone access. What can businesses do to help address this issue of technology access and inequity?
What Else We’re Reading This Week:
- The “sharing economy” once heralded great things but has contributed to economic precariousness
- Will the pandemic make companies rethink cities?
- MIT professor Alex “Sandy” Pentland suggests how companies can reopen safely while protecting employee privacy
Quote of the Week:
“Exponential change is shocking and really not intuitive. It isn’t the way our brains work. Things happen seemingly slowly and then all at once. And I think it partly explains why we can be so slow to act on things like COVID in the short run and definitely climate in the long run.”
— Andrew Winston, founder of Winston Eco-Strategies, in this week’s Three Big Points podcast episode, “COVID-19, Climate Change, and the Forces Shaping Our Future”