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Crisis Times Drive New Forms of Innovation

It is of no surprise that innovations occur during hard times.

One driver of innovation in societies is the urge of users. Users of a product employ their use knowledge and they usually combine it with their domain knowledge and innovate. This is by far one of the most significant patterns of innovation.  

Recent events arising from Covid-19 emergency stimulated the user’s urge, resulting in having more efficient innovative products to satisfy the needs of users of hospital equipment (i.e. medical staff) by themselves. In fact, communities of medical doctors are already introducing novel products. This type of decentralized, often more rapid innovation paradigm has been in place for several years. However, a centralized approach towards innovation (R&D labs) have established innovation mostly as a top-down process. Nonetheless, some crowd-based types of innovation have been shown to be highly effective in dealing with Covid-19.

This might be the moment to re-evaluate the system of knowledge advancement and shift the mere attention from a top-down approach. Isn’t it beneficial for societies to absorb the ideas emerging from the crowds with different backgrounds? Pieces of evidence from some of the U.S. hospitals during the pandemic emergency tell us that it is time to reassess the innovation system and to open up more.


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Nicola Lattanzi