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Innovation experts from Imperial College London and the private sector are advising businesses not to waste the opportunity of the COVID-19 crisis pass, by embracing ‘reinvention’ to ensure survival and long-term health.

This insight came from the first episode of Scaling From The Edge, a new insight series from Scale Space, the new community seeking to unlock UK innovation and growth from Blenheim Chalcot and Imperial College London.

Despite immense pressure and uncertainty, businesses have the unique opportunity to ‘think the unthinkable’, to drive innovation to ensure long-term success.  The need for businesses to be bolder and step into ‘entrepreneurship mode’ was a key takeaway with not only the competitive landscape but also customers and markets also changing. In achieving clarity on relevant resources, assets, skills and team experience, so new opportunities to trade and win become clear and possible.

Businesses have a unique opportunity to experiment and have a relatively safe window of opportunity to embrace trial and error. Leaders should be more afraid of not surviving, than allowing themselves and colleagues to experiment and make mistakes.

Mark Sanders, Executive Chairman of Scale Space said, “Believe it or not, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“Business leaders need to recognise, if they haven’t already, that more damage can be done through indecision than by taking risks and experimenting – long term winners will have embraced this opportunity and won’t just survive, but will come out of the crisis stronger and more relevant.

David Kirby, Growth Acceleration team, Livingbridge, ““The COVID-19 crisis has created many unique learnings for businesses – what their customers truly value, how they can become more productive, and how quickly they can drive change. The best businesses will apply these learnings with vigour in the months and years to come.”

Professor Nelson Philips, Imperial College London Business School, “The current situation demands that many firms that have been busy scaling return to their entrepreneurial roots to rethink and test the assumptions their businesses are built on. While this can be stressful and challenging, it also is opportunity to try new things and potentially pivot to new opportunities. Experimentation and creative thinking judiciously applied by motivated teams can help firms find new opportunities that will last well beyond this crisis.”

Julia Tierney, CEO, Hive Learning added, “The pandemic has forced organisations of all sizes to operate in a more agile way, respond to changing market conditions, and problem solve fast, because there was no other alternative. Businesses must capitalise on this opportunity now – it’s the only way they’ll be able to help employees upskill, reskill, and ensure businesses survive.”

The first Scale Space is a joint venture between Blenheim Chalcot and Imperial College London and will launch in summer 2020 on Imperial’s White City campus.