Be the Change You Wish to See in the World, Even in and Especially in Turbulent Times

Written by Li Liang, Managing Director, BUild Lab IDG Capital Student Innovation Center

There is no crystal ball to predict precisely when the coronavirus pandemic will end, how it will end, what the total human, social, and economic impact will be, and how everyday life will change when we emerge from it.

In the midst of these uncertainties, we can find comfort in the fact that innovation skills and an entrepreneurial mindset are exactly what is needed right now. In these moments, we urge you to exercise the skills we most often associate with launching something new that creates impact. Let us turn on our entrepreneurial mindset to face these challenging situations while holding optimism for finding new solutions. And, let us take action.

As we work to solve problems, there will be uncertainties, risks, and change. Managing these uncertainties and risks is an essential part of the journey. Start by naming and managing these fears.

Change also brings new opportunities for innovation. New problems and unmet needs have emerged, existing players may no longer be offering meaningful solutions, and users may be more willing to try new solutions.

Changes and challenges can also help us connect deeper with our values and ignite our passion. What have you noticed happening to you, in your family, in your community, in this country, and in the world that draws a strong reaction from you? What changes do you wish to see?

Let your curiosity take you. Let your values and passions fuel your actions. Like Mahatma Gandhi said, “be the change you wish to see in the world”, even in and especially in turbulent times.

As you continue your innovation and entrepreneurship journey in this turbulent time, here are a few thoughts to consider along the way:

  • Continuously asses the following and take appropriate actions:
    • Have there been changes to the unmet needs/problems that you have set out to solve? Are these changes temporary or long term? Are there changes that your solution and/or your work need to adapt to and how?

    • Are there actions you have taken up to this point that have become assets/advantages due to the current situation? How might you be able to leverage these assets and advantages and are there any tradeoffs if you do?

  • As you continue to make decisions and take action, be sure to stay agile and find ways that provide flexibility as the situation is evolving.

  • Use and manage your cash wisely – this is a given at any time, but even more so in the current environment. 

  • Working as a team distributed across different countries, continents, and time zones pose challenges. This makes it even more important to intentionally spend time connecting with each other and share openly and authentically.

Advisors at the BUild Lab IDG Capital Student Innovation Center are available and will continue to be available throughout the summer to support you through one on one coaching. You can find and book office hours here.

We look forward to hearing from you and helping you create the change you want to see.

More Innovation, More Inspiration