Crises – like the current Covid-19 pandemic – take a significant social and economic toll, yet they contain the dynamics for disruption from which new business models emerge. In a June 2020 survey by McKinsey, more than 90 per cent of executives said they expect the fallout from COVID-19 to fundamentally change the way they do business over the next five years.
But where are these game changers, the companies challenging convention with the ability to open up new avenues of social, economic and financial growth? Here are three of our favourite examples of companies which are challenging convention and transforming industries right now.
Dive In Festival – adapting to a virtual platform to broaden reach of D&I issues
Despite a visible year-on-year growth for the insurance industry’s festival on diversity and inclusion – which Gong has worked to deliver since inception in 2015 – the Dive In Festival team’s swift response to physical events disappearing during the pandemic resulted in record-breaking attendance in 2020. By taking the event online, and running it virtually, Dive In recorded 30,153 attendees (three times that of the previous year), at 144 events globally, in 33 countries. The event has already proved to be award-winning, at the 2021 Africa SABRE awards, and the format will be replicated for the event in September 2021, when it will once again inspire discussion around important discussions such as racial equality and gender diversity in the workplace.
Visionable – changing how we access healthcare
Visionable is the first video collaboration platform designed especially for healthcare teams’ specialist clinical needs. It’s reimagining health and social care as we become more and more digitally connected. This article in the Financial Times outlines its success in improving results for stroke victims by allowing treatment by consultants via video link before they reach hospital. Even more recent though, is its Visionable Connect video calling app, allowing Covid patients to remain in contact with loved ones whilst in lockdown and professionals to support patients without having to visit their bedside, while PPE was in short supply. You can read the case study on this here.
DPO – encouraging financial inclusion via ecommerce in Africa
DPO Group is a home-grown Kenyan technology champion headquartered in Nairobi. Established 14 years ago, it has built and scaled electronic payment solutions that are now used by 50,000 merchants across Africa. It has a history of successful innovation – notably (according to this Forbes article on the company) because of the way it “respects the cultural differences that exist across Africa markets and builds products and local teams suited to each market”. DPO responded to an accelerated structural shift away from cash to online payments during the early stages of the Covid-19 outbreak by offering many of its small firm customers the opportunity to process electronic payments in order to expand. One example is Artcaffe – a coffee and bakery chain with no previous online presence – which was able to become a much larger food ordering marketplace, using a DPO-powered website. Artcaffe now sells products on behalf of its suppliers and supports the livelihoods of many offline businesses during the crisis.