How the global pandemic is driving invention and innovation for UK businesses3 min read
Global events, such as worldwide recessions or pandemics, have a way of reshaping the course of businesses, economies, and governments. That, in turn, can fuel invention and innovation in an unprecedented way. At such times, scientists, inventors, and companies are pushed or inspired to come up with fresh solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. And while the Covid-19 pandemic may seem like our most significant challenge yet, it could result in an even bigger, more positive wave of new innovation and technology. Here are just some of the inventions and innovations that are already being fueled by the Coronavirus outbreak.
In challenging times, easy-to-build and hackable solutions can help businesses and governments stay on top of rapidly unfolding events. Devices, such as the simple yet robust ventilator designed by a senior doctor working at Glangwili Hospital, can make all the difference. Designed in just under three days, the quickly assembled machine was developed in collaboration with engineering firm CR Clark & Co. In addition to helping patients breathe better, it also functions as an air cleaner for the room, riding it of viral particles. While it isn’t a replacement for an ICU ventilator, it can treat patients before they become critical, thus dramatically reducing strain on the NHS.
Contact tracing smartphone app
Necessity is the mother of invention and innovation during times of crisis, and often solutions come from those right on the front line. The digital transformation arm of the NHS, NHSX has developed a smartphone app capable of tracing the close contacts of virus carriers. The app, which is in the advanced stages of evaluation, can inform users infected to self-isolate and is weeks away from being deployed. It will allow the greater population to sign up and record their symptoms or test results in a database. The app will then also log proximity to other users. Users will be informed if they’ve come into contact with a carrier and advised to self-isolate based on this.
Hands-free door handles
Unprecedented events also have a way of driving creativity. When Wyn Griffiths wife visited a local hospital, she lamented having to touch door handles after sanitizing her hands. That prompted Mr. Grifiths to come up with an out of box solution. He subsequently designed and prototyped an attachable arm that could be mounted onto existing doors. This arm acts like a crook, allowing individuals to open doors with their arms. The design has been uploaded online for free for anyone with a 3D printer to download. But it’s innovation and unusual ideas such as this one that helps to fuel further innovation down the line. For instance, it could lead to an entire industry springing to life around touch-free doors.
Some businesses who have been researching and developing their solution for years have suddenly experienced increased demand during the pandemic. That was the case for a company that had been working on anti-viral coating since 2011. During the last five weeks, they channelled this solution into developing a snood that acts as a virus killing mask. The designers claim the item can kill more than 95% of any viruses, including the Coronavirus. The business is now working diligently to make a million snoods per week while reserving some stock for NHS workers.
These are just a few ways organizations are responding to the Coronavirus through innovation and invention. It is increasingly clear that this global crisis is likely to drive enterprises worldwide to expand, grow, and evolve in ways they’ve yet to experience.