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How distant working will change the innovation panorama and set up a brand new breed of entrepreneur

21, 2020

5 min read

The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.

San Francisco, New York, Berlin, Singapore – each of these major world cities is related in that they are important breeding grounds for innovation. These cities are bustling for a reason: critical meetings have been held about the state of the country's future, entrepreneurs and innovators put their heads together to invent new technologies, and kids have a cup of coffee to discuss startup ideas to discuss.

There is something about the physical environment and personal interaction in such ecosystems that enables humanity to formulate and implement breakthrough innovations. To make remote work a permanent future, Facebook, Google and Siemens have told their employees that they can work from home until July 2021. The nature of many jobs has changed and remote work is becoming the next normal thing. This shift towards “digital by default” and “remote first” structures has been brought to maximum capacity nationwide, giving innovations a new face.

However, it is claimed that the physical isolation of employees could potentially hinder product development and innovation. In an article for Bloomberg Opinion, Tyler Cowen wrote, “As technology companies become increasingly important, the geographical distribution of business activities makes them less unique. You will begin to resemble a typical cross-section of the workforce, with all of the routines and bureaucracy most other companies experience. You will have less fire in your stomach to disrupt and overthrow previous institutions. “It's clear that the disjointedness of the whole situation can have a negative impact on businesses and brainstorming. Regardless, people seem undisturbed. In fact, the article also claims that 60 percent of Americans will continue to do so after the pandemic has ended Want to work from home.

Another study by Google of remote workers found that “There is no difference in the effectiveness, performance evaluation, or promotion of individuals and teams whose work requires collaboration with colleagues around the world compared to Googlers who do most of their work Spending the day with colleagues in the same office. ”

Teleworking pioneer IBM stopped almost all office work years ago and has since published a report entitled "Challenging the Modern Myths of Teleworking, The Evidence of the Benefits of Teleworking". As early as 2014, they boasted their innovative modern business model, in which over 40 percent of their employees work remotely. Remote working has the potential to destroy innovation hotspots like Silicon Valley as it has led entrepreneurs to spread more and more frequently across their respective countries.

Offices have been set up for Discord Server, Zoom, Slack Channels and the like. In the past few months, several news sources have confirmed that people are moving from cities towards urban and rural areas. Could this pandemic really decentralize technology away from a few hotspots like San Francisco and New York?

According to Bloomberg CityLab, cities that were not traditionally known as innovation hubs have begun to put in place incentive programs to "get technicians to work from home in a new location." The article goes on to say: "Employees are proving to their managers that remote working is not only possible, but at least preferable for the time being, and the prospect of a future from anywhere now seems less hypothetical. So instead of trying." To attract entire companies with incentives for economic development, more and more cities are targeting people who suddenly have the opportunity to choose a city based on their merits, not their employers. "

These developments have a significant impact on the global innovation landscape as a whole. Just like in Florence in the 16th century, creativity never stopped. These new challenges can change – or even destroy – places like New York City and Silicon Valley, but they will likely emerge in a different form elsewhere.

It's also important to mention that trust between partners is vital when it comes to collaborative inventions. David Shrier, Program Director at Oxford Cyber ​​Futres, wrote for Raconteur: “Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has shown that successful innovators create trust for micro-interactions in the workplace. And the Allen curve shows that if you don't see someone face to face, you won't be working with someone. "As a result, remote working has cut off an essential part of the way people invent and develop ideas – and that is trust in a physical environment.

However, to say that working remotely will spell the end of innovation is an exaggeration. Raconteur and Professor Bernd Irlenbusch, who jointly led a study entitled Innovation and Communication Media in Virtual Teams: an experimental study by the University of Cologne and the University of Leibniz in Hanover: “Earlier studies have shown that creative output is considerably lower there no personal communication. However, the current lockdown has encouraged the introduction of new technology to perform common tasks when team members are working from home. Video conferencing can narrow the gap in creative performance. "

People still need trust and real relationships to come up with ideas, especially because creativity increases sharply and often unexpectedly. We'll be working remotely, but human contact is part of our DNA and we need to establish new augmented reality routines (e.g. online social meetings) that can be set up to encourage collaboration and more human meetings, rather than each other relying solely on cold, emotionless online meetings.

The most important aspect that emerges from all of this information is that the innovation landscape will never be the same because of our current challenges. Remote working means that a new breed of entrepreneur has emerged and those who adapt fastest will be best suited in the future.

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