Why we will need more entrepreneurs and innovators for an economy that is sure to change after COVID-19

La Trobe Business School Professor of Entrepreneurship Alex Maritz talks about a history of economic recessions and pandemics changing trajectories of governments, economies and businesses. Will COVID-19 fuel the next wave of innovation?

COVID-19 will fuel the next wave of innovation. Economic recessions and pandemics change the trajectory of governments, economies and businesses. Just think of huge and successful global start-ups founded in turbulent times, such as Ali Baba (meteoric growth just after the SARS pandemic of 2004), Airbnb and Uber (disruptive platforms founded just after the global financial crisis in 2008). We are already seeing early signs of a shift in how consumers and businesses behave and react, such as remote working, airline profitability and disruption of supply chains. But will we have the creative minds, innovative individuals/organisations, and proactive entrepreneurs to shape long-term economic and digital disruptions that will shape businesses for decades to come?

Pandemics such as COVID-19 have a direct impact on biological, psychological and economic dimensions. Biological dimensions include the rapid escalation of the virus, hardest-hitting on the elderly. From psychological perspectives and impact, we see the under confident reactions from investors in stock market globally and low morale due increased isolation and freedom to travel. Last, but not least, is the significant economic impact, evidenced by disruptions in the demand and supply for various essential products and services.

We will need individuals and organisations to capitalise on underlying changes and disruptions associated to COVID-19, providing creative, innovative and entrepreneurial solutions to new and emerging biological, psychological and economic dimensions. COVID-19 has irrevocably changed the way businesses will compete over the next decade. What these disruptions will be remains to be seen, but will most certainly include macro innovations such as supply chains merging into resilient ecosystems, digital bureaucracies becoming mainstream and mental health provided digitally and at scale.

Authored by Professor Alex Maritz, Professor of Entrepreneurship, La Trobe Business School