Innovation in manufacturing during the COVID-19 outbreak
Posted on 08/04/2020
The COVID-19 outbreak has developed at incredible speed.
Here at KTN, on 16th March we were asking symptomatic people not to attend meetings. On the 17th, we stopped going out. On the 18th, we spoke to contacts to understand manufacturing industry perspectives.
It’s too easy to assume everyone is in the same boat, when actually the situation has been divergent – dire for some firms but an opportunity for others. Talking to people helped give us that sense of perspective, reinforced the need to be sensitive, and gave us a strong sense that our support and reach would be in high demand.
With manufacturing firms pivoting like they’re in Silicon Valley (to supply into critical needs such as ventilators), we’ve had all sorts of requests to join up capability, expertise and resources. Amongst the firms continuing to work through the crisis, the rate of innovation has, if anything, increased.
As KTN, we talk about accelerating innovation. Whilst in this current crisis where products are getting developed in days rather than months, we are still able to provide critical connections, shortcuts and insights. Our Manufacturing Team, Health Team, Materials Team and others have collaborated to support the national efforts to rapidly manufacture ventilators, as well as PPE, test kits, pharmaceuticals and more. We can’t say more on where these projects have got to at this point, but watch this space!
For those innovators who find their side-hustle is now their main activity, progress is accelerated too. For example, yesterday an innovator looking to manufacture a new product spoke to us in the morning and we introduced likely collaborators the same day (who were all unusually available), meaning the innovator made a month’s progress in an afternoon.
A final thought for those who have had to close the doors: social distancing doesn’t work if everyone can justify carrying on as normal, so you are directly helping our industry overcome COVID-19.
If there is any innovation activity you’d like to discuss, be that now or when you start up again, we’d be happy to help. – please keep on talking to KTN’s manufacturing team.