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Welcome back to the final week of our series on modeling innovation in your crisis response plan. If you’ve been following along, you should be well on your way to having a crisis resilient brand and implementing innovative solutions for your business. In this article, we’ll be bringing it all together as well as sharing the final, and arguably most important, stage in the process. 

Recap: The First Four Stages

Over the past four weeks, we’ve explored the various stages of crisis response and innovation. We’ve dived into the importance of effective action and communication occurring simultaneously, different examples for each step of the crisis response and innovation steps, and how the two processes work together. Before we move on to the final stage, we wanted to recap each of the four stages that precede it and share one more example with you.

Stage 1: Anticipate | Idea Generation & Mobilization

The first stage for creating your crisis response plan is to anticipate changes in stakeholder expectations as well as consumer needs and behaviors, both for the now and the future. Taking stock of available data to drive the insight to anticipate these changes lays the foundation for the first stage of innovation, Idea Generation and Mobilization. As you anticipate needs and behaviors you can come up with and share possible solutions to meet those needs.

Stage 2: Mitigate | Advocacy and Screening

The next stage of crisis response is to mitigate the impact of the crisis on your business. Whatever your mitigation strategy looks like, it is the ideal time to stage to take your ideas through Advocacy and Screening. Weigh the pros and cons of the ideas and evaluate their risk, then move the concepts that aid in your mitigation efforts forward. A focus on digital optimization is key in today’s marketplace, and in this stage you should adapt your model for digital products and distribution channels in the now. Start small with low-risk digital optimization to keep your business going. This is also the ideal stage in which to tailor your marketing strategy to present your brand in a way that will resonate with consumers by validating their emotions, relating to them, and fulfilling their needs

Stage 3: Prepare | Experimentation

The third crisis response stage is to prepare your business for the future. In this stage, the focus is on creating action plans for the optimization and transformation of future business operations, products, services, etc. To help inform these action plans comes the third phase of innovation, Experimentation: test the sustainability of your ideas. With smaller-scale digital optimization in place for mitigation, now is the time to focus on larger digital transformations that position your for the future. A/B testing your ideas will allow you to select and move forward those that are the best in terms of crisis readiness, staying power, and rising to the challenges of an increasingly more technologically minded marketplace.

Stage 4: Implement | Commercialization, Diffusion, & Implementation

The fourth stage in crisis response is to Implement your plan. Both the fourth and fifth stages of innovation are encompassed in this stage. All of the stages involved revolve around Commercialization, Diffusion, and Implementation. These are the areas of the final acceptance of both your crisis response plan and innovations company-wide (diffusion) and with your customer base (commercialization) and the creation of the structures to support each initiative respectively (implementation). Effective communication is key for diffusion and effective action in terms of choosing teams and project management is essential for implementation. This stage is best facilitated through work with a strategic technology partner, like LockData, to get your systems built, modified, tested, and in place.

Example | The Furniture Store

For our final example, imagine that you’re the proprietor of a local furniture store. At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, you had to close your doors to the public. With a determination to remain in business, you create a crisis response plan and focus on innovating your business for the new normal. What would your plan look like? 

Your Innovative Crisis Response

  • You anticipate the changing needs of your customer base. Of course, home furnishings are an important item and, with widespread stay at home orders, likely to be in demand. With your physical doors closed, you look to the world of digital to keep your business afloat.
  • You take a look at a variety of digital transformations for your business, exploring the logistics of each idea. You look at the pros and cons of each and select the most viable options for you. You’ve chosen to focus on social media outreach and sales, enhancing the e-commerce section of your website, creating safe delivery options, and Virtual Reality and Kiosk displays. 
  • In order to mitigate the initial immediate effects of the pandemic, you start on your smaller ideas and central business operation changes first, then move onto focusing on the larger ideas for future success once the base changes have been implemented. As you prepare for your larger innovations, Virtual Reality and Kiosk displays, you start to experiment with these to see how they will be received. You start by offering virtual showroom tours online and posting about the kiosk concept. With a few tweaks along the way, these become well-received by your customers.
  • As restrictions start to lessen and the time to re-open your brick and mortar store is approaching, you’ve fully commercialized and diffused your VR and kiosk plans to your customers and team. In order to successfully build and implement your Virtual furniture displays and automated sales kiosks, you partner with an experienced local technology partner to help complete your work.

With the framework of a crisis response plan, applying the stages of innovation in a practical and effective way becomes an easy endeavor. While it may seem natural to end the lifecycle of this process here, the most important step still lies ahead.

The Final Stage

Whether you’re running a garden center, restaurant, theater, retail business, or any other – the real key to success lies in this last stage of Crisis Response. This stage is to Monitor and Repeat. In this stage, the focus becomes monitoring and tracking the evolution of the crisis so that your business response can effectively evolve with it. With this knowledge, you’re empowered to repeat the above steps throughout the crisis and its after-effects to keep your business ready and sustainable. 

Innovation as a Constant

While there isn’t a matching stage defined in the current lifecycle of innovation, there should be. The need for innovation is continuous and so its lifecycle should be too. In the words of William S. Burroughs, “When you stop growing, you start dying.” Innovation, like crisis readiness, should be a sustained energizing force that you leverage to move your business forward through every change in the landscape. As you maintain constant efforts of brand resilience and innovation, you should be sure that your partners are equally committed to staying the course.

The LockData Difference

When you work with LockData, you’re not just hiring a development company, you’re gaining a partner that is dedicated to and invested in your business’ success. We’re in it for the long haul, and we have been for over 20 years. Not only are we an established industry partner, but we’re also your agile development team. Our passion is building innovative solutions with our partners and clients backed by equally lasting relationships. We specialize in:

  • Event Ticketing: We are experts in the event ticketing industry. E-commerce solutions, system integration, and custom software development.
  • Web Applications: Our web developers offer world-class programming and software solutions to add form and function to any project.
  • API Integration: Implementing APIs for multiple platforms. Our services include API Interface design, development, and integration.

We also provide our clients and partners with a wealth of other services including web design, managed services such as Search Engine Optimization, Content Marketing, and Social Media, CRM Management, Group Sales solutions, and more. Contact us today to experience the LockData Difference.

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