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March 17th marked the beginning of a new phase for all of us, as we moved into the new reality of COVID-19, working from home and beginning to nurture our virtual world. We had planned to have Ayana Johnson from Georgia Pacific’s Point A innovation lab join us live for Off the Record at the 352 offices, but as it rapidly became apparent that a live event was not in the best interest of our community, we shifted the event into a virtual discussion.

Moderated by 352’s own SVP of Strategy, Kacie Lett, we got an honest and real-time look at how COVID-19 was impacting Point A in general, as well as specifically the early days of working from home and shifting of business priorities. Our favorite insights included:

Innovation isn’t glamorous, no matter what the circumstances. There is a lot of humility in innovation as a function. Great innovators know that they are going into every situation knowing that they are going to be wrong or that they will make mistakes, and there’s a sense of relief when they find out what they are wrong about, and can start to move forward. 

Teaching others how to be innovative is more than just giving them a framework. You have to dig deep to understand human and corporate dynamics, as well as organizational maturity in order to guide innovation in the right way. And people need to be provided with opportunities to learn how to innovate through their own engagement, using real-world situations.

There will be a lot of accidental innovation coming out of the current situation. We are learning new ways of working, new ways of living through scarcity and virtual experiences. We’re also freeing people to work under their own terms, enabling new thinking and approaches. There will be new and unexpected collisions and opportunities that arise out of COVID-19 that will have lasting impact.

We also heard a lot about Ayana’s favorite tools for collaborating and innovating remotely. We’re seeing a lot of these show up in our day to day work, and hope you’ll find them useful.

Want to know more?

Watch Ayana and Kacie’s YouTube live conversation now, and join Off the Record each week as we bring insights about innovating in the COVID-19 world.

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352 is an innovation and growth firm. Leading companies hire us to find billion-dollar opportunities, build killer new products and create hockey-stick growth. We bring grit and new-fashioned thinking to innovation, digital development and growth marketing.