COVID-19 – The mother of all disruptions

COVID-19 has disrupted the rhythm of our daily lives and business, bringing some unique challenges. Despite all the challenges, it is my firm belief that when we come out of this crisis and meet on the other side, what will matter most is how we persevered with grace, camaraderie, and compassion. Here is my take on “the mother of all disruptions – COVID-19” #disruptivethinking #disruptions #covid19 #covidkindness # #futurethinking #innovativethinking #businessinnovation #innovationstrategy #valuecreation Ninestars Information Technologies

Written by
Gopal Krishnan, Founder & Chairman, Ninestars

 

When I am writing this note, COVID-19 has already disrupted our lives on an unprecedented global scale. With more than a million reported cases across countries and nearly 75,000 deaths, COVID-19 has brought the world to a screeching halt. As we go through the throes of the lockdown, the pandemic has pushed the world into a health emergency, showed the cracks in healthcare systems, questioned business models, slowed down the economy, and exposed the vulnerabilities of even developed countries like Italy and the US.

To me,  COVID-19 is the mother of all disruptions. I believe leaders who will rise to the challenge to be resilient and adaptable and won’t let the crisis stop them from moving forward will come out stronger and wiser.

Disruption as an individual

Social distancing has brought forth a lot of anxieties, fear, and uncertainties for all of us. Most of us are facing added pressure from remote working. Instead of being discouraged by the situation, I urge all of you to find ways to manage stress. In my organizations, we have introduced the concept of  5H (Happiness, Health, Habits, Hard work, and Harmony) for WFH where we discuss important elements like happiness and health through virtual sessions on yoga and meditation. With the help of experts, we share techniques and tips to keep anxiety in check. These people connect initiatives that instill in us the power of camaraderie and hope. In these trying times, it is important to practice empathy not just towards others but to ourselves too. Invest time in yourself and emerge as a stronger person when the crisis is over.

Disruption to business

Shortly after the government’s directive to reduce capacity at offices, we rolled out remote working for our staff. What made it possible? Apart from the dedicated effort of our IT infrastructure and administration teams along with the leadership, we have our pioneering effort on workflow automation and cloud infra to thank for. We started on the automation journey much before it became a buzzword in the industry. We have worked systematically, embracing advanced technologies to reach a high percentage of automation, regardless of the diversity or complexity of processes we deal with on a daily basis. Some of our Operations teams work in continuous shifts with extremely tight delivery schedules. These teams are able to continue to deliver customer promise, with minimal interruptions at the beginning of this crisis, due to the technology backbone we have built and continue to make stronger.

However, the crisis is a disruption that would trigger innovation, not just in how we apply technology to deliver better but how we will reshape business models and rethink people engagement. I will not be surprised to see accelerated change, both in small and medium enterprises where change is inevitable and larger businesses who will be forced to rethink priorities.

Disruption on a global front

Upending lives across the globe, shutting down entire cities and countries in a matter of days, only an immediate threat like COVID-19 could bring the world to its knees. With this deep collective vulnerability, it is time to lean on and lift up each other to weather this storm and come out wiser, stronger and kinder than before. Our frontline healthcare practitioners, policymakers, research agencies, private sector, governments at all levels and international organizations will have to work together and reevaluate priorities. If we have to build readiness to manage future health crises, we have to build a new normal in terms of responsive healthcare systems and investments in the right initiatives so that communities worldwide, and not just a privileged few, have access to life-saving measures. If nothing else, the pandemic has taught us how interdependent we really are.

In conclusion

It is not a time to panic but observe caution. Stay strong and invest time in yourself and family. Stay alert and explore new ways to deliver business outcomes. Stay hopeful and build a new world around you.

Leading through the crisis

By the time you read this blog post, COVID-19 has brought the world to a pause. All of a sudden, and sooner than anyone could have envisioned, it was time to go remote. From 4 March, Ninestars announced work from home, starting from the city of Bangalore where our technology and corporate teams are located. On 12 March, immediately after the World Health Organization’s announcement that COVID-19 was a pandemic, remote working was initiated in all our locations.

Challenges are plenty. Our IT team along with delivery team are stretching hours and adopting innovative approaches to ensure we return to business as usual at the earliest across all projects. On the other hand, working from home and working together virtually is a new experience for most of our teams. It is a transition which is difficult but necessary at the moment with India and several other nations opting for lockdown to contain the virus spread.

We reached out to our colleagues to see how they were doing. Some like Dimitar Mitrev, Managing Director of Ninestars Bulgaria, sure knows how to make the best of challenging times. Let’s hear from Dimitar himself:

On finding safety and something to cheer about: Just before our government declared the quarantine and the state of emergency, I moved with my family to my grandma’s house in the countryside, not too far from Sofia. I decided to benefit from the situation and spend my time before/after work in farming, prepared the land for planting and seeding vegetables. So we’re all good and happy here!

Changes at work: Nothing much changed since here in Bulgaria ‘work from home’ program is very popular, but now in isolation it is different. Knowing you can’t go anywhere or meet anyone without the risk of meeting the virus too – my daily routine changed significantly! I love my family, so safety comes first – in the past two weeks I had to adapt to working from home.

Key benefits from remote working:

  • Learn how to manage your time at your best and do as much as possible in so little time because I often got my little helper around me! Growing your patience is something you master after two weeks of WFH!
  • Learn how to communicate at your best because it’s very difficult to coordinate and manage operations in an entirely virtual environment (Skype and Teams are your best friends!)
  • Learn how to follow up on the assigned tasks. In the office, it’s super easy to solve anything while virtually it requires a proactive approach and a well-organised schedule of tasks.
  • Discover the invaluable treasure I have at home and how many moments I’m missing while I’m away – looking at my wife and my boy I just feel happy! My wife is helping me so much in raising our son and he is on the fire of curiosity all the time! 😃 So without her, I wouldn’t have had even half a day of proper working time.