Innovation Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Summer Catalyst entrepreneurs and the Blank Center team have found creative ways to continue fostering innovation. As the Creative Artist and Writer in Residence at Summer Catalyst, I had the pleasure of working closely with entrepreneurs and the Blank Center team. Throughout the summer, I captured and shared their stories, accomplishments, and words of wisdom in a series of blogs including startup profiles and weekly recaps.
While participating in the accelerator programming, interviewing ventures, and reflecting upon my experience, I noticed a common thread that permeated throughout Summer Catalyst. Despite the pressing challenges we are all experiencing, innovation and creativity prevails.
To highlight some of these innovations and to encourage creativity, here are some of my takeaways.
Innovation from the Summer Catalyst teams
The pandemic prompted many of the Summer Catalyst teams to pivot, develop new products, and implement new strategies. For example, UNfabricated, a venture that creates fashionable products that are socially and environmentally sustainable, launched a new line of face masks.
ReServe, a company that offers innovative, stylish and sustainable products, found unique ways to continue product development during this virtual realm. Disliz, a watch brand featuring your favorite characters from popular media, capitalized on the surge in e-commerce sales.
Innovation within Babson’s Blank Center
The Blank Center team worked hard to transition the Summer Catalyst accelerator into a fully remote program. The program kicked off with an exciting virtual scavenger hunt, creative team selfies, and a rich level of energy within the virtual setting. Throughout the summer, entrepreneurs have continued to support one another, connect virtually, and foster a sense of community.
Although interacting remotely is different than being in person, Summer Catalyst entrepreneurs continued to support one another and offer words of encouragement during Team Update sessions. In Week 3, the Blank Center team transitioned from doing one large session of Team Updates to smaller sessions with break out rooms that would allow for more in depth conversations.
In addition to blogging, hosting creative consultations, and participating in Summer Catalyst programming, I’ve also been capturing pictures virtually. Although it’s not the same as the in-person photography that I love, I wanted to find some innovative, fun ways to capture and share the moment. Check out these blogs that feature some of my virtual photographs: the innovative mustaches, masks during COVID, high fives for week five, creative zoom backgrounds, and thumbs up for your hard work.
I also led a Brainstorm Session with Summer Catalyst entrepreneurs and the Blank Center team to ideate virtual programming and ways to create community online.
Advice for Persevering During Challenging Times
Here is a compilation of helpful tips to consider when navigating challenging times:
- Be kind to yourself and others.
- Continue to exercise, don’t be hard on yourself, prioritize your health, and make time for self-care.
- Search for the silver lining, keep an eye out for potential opportunities, and focus on the brightside.
- Stay strong, be resilient, and don’t give up.
- Implement creative approaches to solving problems.
- Lean on your support networks, help others, and reach out for help when you need it.