COVID-19 has driven business down in almost all sectors, with digital service providers being among the few exceptions. When the first wave of the pandemic struck, the reaction was the same everywhere. The brake pedal was pressed, product development was halted, in-house staff was laid off, and subcontracting was put on hold until the situation would return to normal. Everyone hoped the pandemic to be overcome by the end of summer.

Come September, the 90-day layoff clocks launched in April-May will start ringing, but the pandemic is showing no signs of letting go. The coin tossed into the air in April has still not dropped. The future is still covered in fog.

With the second wave, business management can no longer afford to play in the same way. Business must resume for companies to be able to survive into the future.

With short-time solutions such as continuing layoffs no longer a viable option, companies are looking for long-term solutions. Costs are being adjusted. Operations are being downsized. New operating models are adopted. Structures are given an overhaul. For many companies, this means focusing on their core business – keeping only the most essential functions in-house. As for the other functions, they will be let go, possibly to be subcontracted as needed.

Unfortunately, user-centric design (the function best suited for creating new ideas and solutions) is often not considered to be among a company’s core functions. Sure enough, it is seen as an important piece of value-added work when times are good, but yet something that can be given up when times are tough. As a side effect, development of new ideas is postponed. There is a definite shift to traditional, incremental product development. The wheel which has already been invented will only be getting minor improvements.

In these difficult times, how does one keep long-term strategic and innovative creativity alive? Specifically, how can strategic design and innovation generation be incorporated into the core business without giving the competitors a multi-year lead?

At ED Design, we have a solution. Our strategic design toolkit has been developed over the decades while working with a broad range of different lines of business. By exploiting our expertise, companies have just the right tools and methods at their use – whether it be continuous renewal of the companies’ products and services to keep them in line with shifting customer expectations, or discovering radical, all-new product and service opportunities. We don’t just help companies survive – we help them rise to their full potential.

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