Innovation Hero’s

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April 8, 2020

Let’s be honest and forthright before we get into this section which will highlight what I call innovation heroes.

 The people putting their lives at risk every day are the ultimate heroes at the moment.

The people who collect your refuse and waste.

The shopworkers who serve you.

The delivery drivers who come to your front door, without any clue as to who lives there and what their health status could be.

The cleaners who sweep, mop and put the rubbish in the bins.

The teachers teaching the key workers children.

The health workers on the front line, relentlessly trying to carry on in the face of overwhelming adversity.

The small business owners who get up each day knowing that today may not bring them any sales, where once came many.

The business owners who now get up trying to claw a semblance of normality into their upturned lives, without a business to run.

I could sadly go on, but I want to focus on another set of heroes, and they are heroes of innovation.

There are of course big bang innovation heroes at the moment, the researchers who are coming up with new and novel ways to fight COVID-19 and their stories will shine as time passes. 

In the last few weeks though I have been taken aback with innovation heroes who are adapting, starting and changing a business and/or equipment they have, to come up with ways to fight COVID-19.

There have been several young people in the news who have done some remarkable things one of whom a 13-year-old boy Charles Randolph from Virginia has used his parents 3D printer to make a face mask for his uncle who was waiting for a heart transplant. He now makes them to donate to others.

Project Pitlane is a response to COVID -19 from the Formula 1 team including Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, BWT Racing Point F1 Team, Haas F1 Team, McLaren F1 Team, Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team, Renault DP World F1 Team, and ROKiT Williams Racing. There are several workstreams in progress including the challenge of scaling up the production of ventilators for healthcare systems and hospitals. The skills Formula 1 team have in rapid prototyping and reverse engineering has meant that they are perfectly placed to get involved, and good on them for doing so. We wait to see how the results are harvested and integrated…

Several breweries have innovated and stepped into the manufacturing of hand sanitiser.

BrewDog, as per usual have done this with a beautiful sense of design (the bottles look great) and have said that they will be giving away their sanitiser for free to those who need it.

The luxury goods manufacturer LVMH have also started to make hand sanitiser to help French hospitals in their battle.

Verdant Spirits based in Dundee Scotland is also making gel to assist locally.

Ron Denis the ex-McLaren Formula 1 team boss and several major companies, including Tesco and delivery firm Yodel, have joined forces to launch ‘Salute the NHS’ to serve the free meals to NHS staff over the next three months. The meals will consist of what they are calling ‘Boost Packs’ for workers to either eat during their shift or to take home. Home Packs will also be delivered to front-line staff who may be infected or self-isolating at home.

Ayesha Pakravan Ovey runs a London-based catering business, The Plattery (www.theplattery.com) and she is cooking and delivering free nutritious meals to the elderly, vulnerable and those unable to leave their homes or access food for whatever reason (NHS staff who are not able to get to a stocked shop for example).

Retailers have been donating food to charities during the crisis. Store owner Raj Aggarwal in Sheffield has been giving food to a community outreach group helping the homeless, as well as donating teabags and biscuits to his local hospital in Leicester.

Brompton Bikes in London (who we have interviewed previously in the magazine) are behind ‘Wheels for Heroes’. Brompton launched a Crowdfunder on April 2 to build 1,000 machines, all to be painted in NHS colours and within hours they had raised more than £40,000. At the time of writing they have raised over 127k. The idea is to loan NHS workers the bikes during the pandemic to allow them to travel for free and avoid public transport.

Simon Paine from Leicestershire, turned adversity to his favour when losing several keys strands of business because of COVID 19. He uses his company the ‘Pop Up Business School’ to help other entrepreneurs and start up’s navigate this tricky time with helping tips and hints regarding running and starting your own business.

These are just a few of the innovation heroes that caught our eye in the last week or so.

We are going to focus on these and many other stories over the course of the next few months in blogs, and editions, so please share as much as you can as it makes a huge difference to our business, in these tricky times.

Written by James

April 8, 2020

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