Apple Park silicon valley innovation hub

It’s been more than a year now that the world is facing the consequences of the Coronavirus. Businesses all around the globe are experiencing enormous changes in the way they operate. Even whilst the current financial losses are extremely high, there is still a dilemma- will this situation spark a significant wave of innovation or will it continue to threaten the financial stability for the world?

“There is no order without chaos”

– Oscar Wilde

History has proved that crisis have always served as triggers for what is to come, and they have shaped the way our society functions today. Here are a few examples:

  • The great plague, the Black Death, and the birth of modern society. 

The great plague was one of the disasters that have caused significant damage to humanity. This is because it caused large loses of life, and at that moment, human labour became a premium. People were obligated to work, more complex and more prolonged, giving birth to the working style we see today, or should I say pre-pandemic working style. The poor became wealthier, and somehow its equalized society. As such, they were free to express their thoughts. In this period, glasses were presented as a tool to help people be more productive.

  • SARS and the growth of eCommerce 

This pandemic started in China and quickly spread worldwide. People began to isolate themselves; they didn’t go to work, school or shopping. eCommerce that was emergent at that time became the new trend. People started to purchase goods from home and get all the information they needed in their homes. This situation was a trigger for companies like Alibaba to take advantage and innovate. This company continues to be one of the most influential ones, even today.

 WFH- our new trend

Apple Park Silicon Valley Innovation - Shejla pictured in the Apple Park
Me on a visit to Apple Park in Silicon Valley, California, USA in 2018 (Photography Credits: Shejla Donmori)

This pandemic has impacted every aspect of our life and has changed how we live, learn and work. Many people are working from their homes, and the WFH (work from home) is the new trend now, which gives them a lot of advantages and increases their productivity levels. But still, there are a few things that we are missing from the face-to-face interaction.

I came to this realization while making a business pitch during one of my master’s sessions. Some of my classmates texted me a few suggestions for my business idea, but we all felt the difficulties of not interacting and having spontaneous discussions as needed to boost our creativity. Innovation requires interaction, because it happens when we share knowledge, experiences, and visions.

There are many ways to come up with innovations. One of them is working independently in garages, as Jobs, Bill Wozniak and other innovators did. But for these innovations to succeed, we need working spaces where we can share, challenge, and refine our ideas collectively. Vaccines for Covid-19 are a great example of how scientists shared their research and improved their knowledge collectively. Another example is The Internet, which was created collaboratively by the Network Community.

Shejla inside Apple Park with smartscreen in the background

The key is to understand the importance of idea sharing, which may happen to change the world.

Creating communities of people who like to solve problems that occur during these difficult times and want to do so collectively encourages innovation. These innovations arise in diverse environments. The Internet was developed by a group of students working independently worldwide, supported by research institutions interested in such a development. They just wanted to have some computers connected, even why the final output resulted quite different. Enormous information was required for the Internet, and for this reason, it was necessary to gather a set of innovators who shared a common goal or area of interest.

Networking boosts collective knowledge sharing and gets the whole team closer to the common shared goal. In this way, it’s easier to achieve great results. We can follow this tactic during the times that we work remotely and create our own virtual network, where we all work for a common goal. The secret is for everyone to share their progress with the network. In this way, the team does not break down and allows innovation to thrive. This tactic is very beneficial in health care, education, technology, and business.

Apple Park exterior shot entrance with visitors walking in and out

Old Innovation – New environment

While we work and study from home, we can connect via different types of software with people, colleagues, and classmates across the globe. We need to take advantage of the current situation and adapt to these changes. It does not matter if the members of your organization are educated to innovate. It is important to gather them and see if they share a common goal because the new rules are learned along the way.


We hope that you enjoyed reading this edition of Student Minds. For previous contributions, stories and perspectives from our student bloggers please visit our Student Minds column.

Shejla Domnori

Shejla Domnori

Postgraduate Student, Student Minds Contributor at Westminster Business School
Born and raised in Albania. Currently studying and working in London. Exploring concepts in innovation, business development, personal excellence and lifestyle design.
Shejla Domnori

Comments

  • The value that cross pollination delivers to startup, scale up and accelerating businesses is incredible. The success of incubators and accelerators is, I believe, not only due to the advice and support afforded to them. It is also from being part of that “economic clustering” of start-ups, usually with a focus (e.g. tech). Interestingly, one of the biggest concerns for innovation is sharing of an idea. In case it gets stolen. A valid concern in some respects, but outweighed I feel by, as you say, the value of sharing and gaining feedback and support. COVID has not only bought about a surge in new businesses being created, but also created barriers as you’ve rightly pointed out. The next two years and the fallout will be an interesting journey.

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