COVID-19 Business Pivot Challenge Report and Webinar

Hundreds of people responded to the COVID-19 Business Pivot Challenge sharing stories and solutions from around the world—from remote agronomy services to using virtual reality to train frontline workers.

The COVID-19 Business Pivot Challenge engaged a global community in answering the question: "How might businesses of all kinds rapidly adapt to support the immediate needs of the COVID-19 response, and enable a more just and resilient future?" Hundreds of people responded, sharing stories and solutions from around the world—from remote agronomy services for smallholder farmers, to using virtual reality to train frontline workers.

This Synthesis Report dives into those stories, sharing back highlights and insights from the Challenge, as well as guiding principles, opportunity areas, and tactical tools you can use. Our hope is that through the ideas, examples, and tips found in this Report, businesses and organizations can gain both a deeper and wider understanding of the current landscape, while establishing the stability and mechanisms necessary to build in the midst of incredible ambiguity.

Webinar: Building a Just & Resilient Business Future—COVID-19 & Beyond

In May 2020, IDEO and the Social Innovation Summit hosted a webinar with a panel of global leaders (from B Lab, PayPal, USAID) along with a group of Business Pivot Challenge participants, to examine how a human-centered approach might help organizations navigate this unique time, while collectively building toward a more just and resilient future. More than 1,500 people tuned into the discussion.

Drawing from their experience in a range of sectors, the panelists offered a wealth of wisdom for organizations and individuals alike on rethinking purpose, responding empathetically to customers, having a north star, and building innovative partnerships. View the recording of the conversation below and see the collection of live tweets from the webinar here.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the discussion:

  • “Don't pivot. Find your relevance in the moment. Ask your customers what would be most useful. Pivot in your value, not your core purpose." — Alexis Bonnell, Chief Innovation Officer, USAID
  • "There is a whole range of reactions we are seeing in the business sector right now. The companies with purpose built into their business model have more agility. It helps them make decisions in times of crisis." — Anthea Kelsick, Co-CEO, B Lab
  • "This crisis has created a perfect storm for conditions to learn right now. If we can get strong with the learning, we can accelerate really fast." — Luis Cilimingras, Executive Director, IDEO
  • "When your 'why' is a part of your organization's DNA, in a crisis or in good times, you will much more cohesively be able to figure out the right thing to do." — Mike Todasco, Senior Director of Innovation, PayPal
  • "Collaboration and innovation come from taking care of yourself. Make sure you are thinking about your own health and wellbeing, and that of those around you.” — Mel Ochoa, Chief Operating Officer, Landmark Ventures
Sketchnote by OpenIDEO Community Fellow Manisha Laroia