Necessity is the mother of invention

Ten things we have learnt from COVID19 about digital transformation

We have been running some #navigatingthecrisis Breakfast Briefings for social housing execs.

In one of our early sessions it was observed that “the sector has achieved more in two and bit weeks than had been achieved in the past 10 years in adopting new technology”. So, what have we learnt from the crisis so far?

  1. Well first that “necessity is the mother of invention” and that digital transformation can happen quickly and effectively as our briefing guest suggested! Well done to all our ICT teams!

  1. Those quick transformations meant that people quickly found a way to adopt the technology. Whether they got help from family and friends or practised until perfect they have found a way! Maybe we should stop being so parental about making assumptions about skills levels.
  2. Zoom (or whatever tool you have chosen) has been the catalyst for continued working. We are all video stars now – whether we like it or not!
  3. The Zoom model is now been considered to provide direct outbound services to customers, residents and tenants – our task has been to challenge why anything that was once done face-to-face couldn’t be done via digital channel?
  4. On the downside, the data on our customers is imperfect and we can now see that we weren’t necessarily collecting and using the data which we really needed. Some rethinking needed here!
  5. The emerging COVID19 tracker app technology is showing how data could be used and now the debate around privacy/security versus effectiveness will shape how we use data in the future.
  6. Whilst many staff are itching to return to the social safety of the office, many see the Zoom culture as a gateway to more agile working. Leaders are now looking at the value of their office and their presenteeism HR policies.
  7. Stealth learning is also taking place through those Zoom meetings. We are seeing lots of shared good practice and although a different style of training is required, we are becoming acclimatised to digital and distance learning.
  8. Digital and communications skills are at a premium and many organisations are looking at how to attract, train and retain the right talent.
  9. Lastly, and I have no proof for this, but apparently the ideal team size is nine people – because that’s the perfect number of people who easily fit on a screen!

This is one of a series of blogs as we navigate this crisis and as our thinking emerges and some clarity appears. We believe the five stages described here offer leaders a clear path to begin navigating to life after the virus. If you would like a copy of our more detailed  #navigatingthecrisis briefing pack then please contact me at

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