The pandemic has hit our overall global economy, and society, much harder than the financial crisis back in 2009. We are all continuously reading about frightening forecasts, gloomy numbers and all kinds of bad news connected to COVID-19. Since the lockdowns started in March business leaders have called on the government for financial support, with many governments doing a great deal to try and help. Of course, there are lots of arguments around the means of support, the amount of support, the measures that are being taken.
There are very good reasons for the arguments on all sides. However, there is only so much a government can do and it will be those companies with the most entrepreneurial leaders that come out of this the strongest. New ideas, creative business models or innovative adaptions of existing business models are what are needed for companies to survive and ideally thrive.
We have had a look around and wanted to share some examples of this entrepreneurial spirit in action.
New ideas and offerings
Digital offerings in various forms are booming right now, with new players appearing on the market every day. One of the most innovative offerings that probably would never have come about without the pandemic is Doctodo, a digital waiting room. Instead of waiting in crowded and sometimes poorly ventilated rooms, patients can register on a digital waiting list and are notified as soon as they can appear for their appointment.
This platform was developed by Atodo out of pure necessity, as these guys originally developed software to enable restaurants to make better use of their tables. When restaurants closed, sales crashed and the idea of turning the software into a digital waiting room was born.
New channels to sell
With bars and restaurants being closed, many owners and suppliers needed new ways to sell their products. Going to a bar for a gin and tonic or a dry martini in the evening? Not an option anymore. So, gin distillery “Gin Sul” was one of the very early manufacturers to offer a gin and tonic delivery service in cooperation with Schweppes in the Hamburg area of Germany.
To make this as easy as possible, the only product you can order is a package consisting of two bottles of GIN SUL and 24 bottles of Schweppes Dry Tonic. Exactly the amount of tonic that is recommended with two bottles of Gin. No big online shop, huge choice or complex processes but a new sales channel and a way to win and retain customers.
Revival of old-fashioned entertainment models
When was the last time you heard or talked about a drive-in cinema before the pandemic? Years? Decades? In Germany, drive-in cinema is experiencing a renaissance as a nostalgic experience. This makes complete sense, doesn’t it? A car is the perfect place for social distancing and a refreshing alternative to monotonous sofa streaming.
Not only is Germany seeing existing drive-in cinemas do well, but the number of new pop-up drive-in cinemas is growing. According to our client Getty Images, the search term ‘Autokino’ (German translation for drive-in cinema) has increased by a staggering 2,185% in the last couple of weeks.
Using other industries as a blueprint
Festivals, concerts and shows have been cancelled or postponed. At the moment, many cultural events only happen online if at all. It’s hard to substitute the interactivity of a live audience performance with a digital one. That’s where a new project of Jahrhunderthalle comes into play, a well-known event space in Frankfurt.
In order to make culture a community experience again, they have started STAGE DRIVE Kulturbühne FrankfurtRheinMain, a concept similar to drive-in cinemas. The large car park at Jahrhunderthalle has been transformed into an entertainment arena for around 300 cars. A stage, framed by two 50 sqm LED screens, forms the setting for live shows and formats from a wide range of entertainment areas.
Approaching different target groups
Working from home for a longer period of time is a tremendous change for many employees. Lots of people have had a hard time coping and the whole situation has been made even harder when partners and kids had to stay home as well. The kitchen table is often converted into a desk, kids are dropping in on online meetings, WiFi might struggle with several people using it heavily at the same time.
In other words, at home people have struggled to find the necessary peace and quiet to cope with work. Hotels in Germany were amongst the first to see this as an opportunity. Travel came to a more or less complete stop, rooms stayed empty. Why not use this excess capacity? Dorint Hotels has been renting hotel rooms from 7 am to 7 pm – for those who struggle to or simply cannot work from home.
These are just a few of many examples when business leaders have out of necessity come up with innovative ways to do business and provide their customers with what they need and want. While still being somewhat dependent on governmental support – which is fair enough – they are also trying their utmost to keep their heads over water and to pull themselves out of the challenging situation. Despite all the horrid consequences of this pandemic, it is great to see this level of entrepreneurship. Necessity is, as they say, the mother of invention.