Innovation During a Crisis

[21 August] The last few months have been challenging to say the least.  However, as time marches on, we are starting to see some interesting innovative thinking and innovative solutions coming to the fore.

ParkOffice is a new entrant into the Irish market, by Longford entrepreneur Garret Flower.  Essentially it is an online parking smartphone application. It allows companies to maximise the usage of their current car spaces.  It ensures that if an employee is not going to be using their space on a given day it will be offered to another employee, thus maximising efficiency.  It also allows private residents and landlords with unused, idle car spaces, to rent them out daily at a reasonable rate, thus maximising revenue. On the flip side it eliminates the stress and hassle of scouring the city looking for parking by reluctant motorists.  Essentially ParkOffice is like Airbnb for car spaces.

This innovation is particularly welcome as more and more people are relying on their cars rather than public transport to get around the city.  It is a simple solution that will encourage the public back into the city, which is always good news for business and OOH advertising of course!

Turn on the taps for product sampling

The public advice remains the same, frequent hand washing is essential.  The Poole based cosmetics brand Lush has been badly hit by the pandemic as they rely heavily on the Asian market for sales.

Cleverly they have turned a negative into a positive.  They are encouraging the public to come into their stores and wash their hands, using Lush soap of course!  There is no obligation to buy and lack of handwashing facilities has been well documented in city centre locations.

It is a small idea yet one that has allowed Lush to stand out on the high street and encourage the public into their stores to learn about and safely sample their range.

They have used their shop windows as giant billboards to promote the initiative.

Innovative thinking can be the solution to problems

At PML Group, our mantra has been to help our clients solve the problems that they currently face.  This next example is a great case study of how technology, when used creatively can really help produce workable solutions to what might be seen as, insurmountable problems.

Italy was one of the worst effected countries by Covid-19.  Tourism is a vital component of their economy and Florence’s Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore or the Cathedral (Duomo) is one of the most visited sites in Italy with over four million visitors annually.

Ensuring that visitors maintained adequate social distancing initially proved impossible.  However, they have turned to technology to help overcome the problem. Visitors are now given a small lightweight device that they wear throughout their visit.  If the visitor gets too close to another person, the unit beeps and vibrates, reminding them to take a step back.  The device has been a huge success and has allows the cathedral welcome back visitors in a safe manner.

As we look ahead to the next few months, many challenges still exist for individual businesses.  Innovative thinking and non-conventional ideas should not be dismissed or put off as they will be key to successfully meeting these challenges. We have a dedicated Innovation Team at PML, with members from all departments, who are regularly tasked with creative thinking for campaigns as well as project management to bring ideas to life.