Research and development led to a surge in wartime patenting and also propelled innovation hubs that fostered post-war discoveries and related employment growth.
A large, mission-driven government backed research and development programme can have far-reaching effects on the growth of technology clusters, industry, creative hubs and employment not to mention the direction of technological, scientific and innovation progress.
Subsequent post war crises have propelled R&D forward - how did the great financial crisis of 2008 - 2010 impact on R&D, innovation and creativity in the United Kingdom and internationally?
The impact of the Covid crisis seems likely to leave many businesses financially weaker, with the most significant impacts on the willingness or ability of SMEs to sustain R&D and innovation. Where businesses are able to sustain and invest in new creative initiatives that resonate, the evidence suggests that they will lead to better survival chances, stronger growth and higher profitability.
The UK government has announced some additional financial support for innovation. How this is used to sustain levels of creative activity, with the introduction of new products, services and ways of doing business, will be a critical element of the post-Covid recovery.
The Covid crisis shares two significant similarities to the great financial crisis of 2008 - 2010. First, both were, or are sharp shocks rather than business-cycle fluctuations. Second, both have affected businesses through rapid reduced liquidity – the financial crisis, through a sharp reduction in the availability of commercial finance and the Covid crisis through sharply reduced turnover. In both cases, financial stringency will force businesses to make rapid strategic decisions about areas of spend and areas of potential savings.
Is now the time for businesses to invest in a new creative direction or new initiatives that respond and resonate with a new consumer mind-set.
Strategic and creative output driven by market condition does not necessarily have to negatively impact your business, often-tactical solutions driven by budget constraints are highly creative and innovative, pushing boundaries, challenging assumption and streamlining business.
A new model for the future of dining optimizes operations and prioritises off-premises dining.
The growing popularity of delivery-first dining, accelerated during lockdowns, is opening the door to a new restaurant concept: the ghost kitchen. Rather than renting and staffing full cooking and dining spaces, ghost kitchens allow restaurants to rent workspace in shared kitchens where cooking is done expressly for delivery and takeout with obvious bottom line benefits.
From store layouts to online shopping categories, embracing a gender-neutral treatment is hitting mainstream retail.
Brands are beginning to embrace gender inclusivity reinforcing gen Z’s attitudes for more fluid expression through fashion. Fallout from the pandemic is giving mass retailers another incentive to reassess their traditional design formats, products and production and implement more streamlined, sustainable processes and platforms. For retailers facing financial strain during the pandemic, a genderless model also has its benefits. If you think about it, it’s actually a whole lot easier if everything is gender neutral. Collections take up less space and stores can be much smaller, driving the one footprint instead of two.
Pre-pandemic, e-commerce couldn’t come close to the thrill of certain offline shopping experiences, but brands are now embracing more innovative digital futures.
Expect these online formats to be far from temporary, with a surge in digital transformation being fast-tracked.
As the new year begins, there are plenty of reasons for optimism. Ultimately 2021 could be a real ‘shake-up year, one of great change, innovation and creativity.
Middle of the road, bland and dull will be swept away, what wasn’t working pre-Covid has been revealed, allowing us to move to a more thoughtful, considered era.
Businesses that respond to new market conditions invest in research and development to pivot business direction and implement progressive new strategies may help us all work towards a more socially conscious, connected, diverse, less homogeneous, progressive and better future. Written by:
Strategic Partner, Inspired &Co