One year on since the first COVID-19 cases were recorded in the UK, it’s hard not to reflect on the challenges and devastating effects of the past 12 months.  One silver lining is undoubtedly the example set by scientists throughout the world, working together on a global scale for the greater good. Their mission to defeat COVID-19 has set a new standard in collaboration and innovation.  One that we should all aspire to in the business world.  So, as we look to the future, let’s follow the lessons of the scientists and dial up our EQ to develop adaptability, optimism and resilience.

3 ways to foster collaboration and unlock innovation:

Embrace new ways of working

The rule book has changed. It’s time to rise to new challenges and draw on your adaptability in the face of uncertainty and changing circumstances.  By collaborating globally, the scientists have shown how it is possible to accelerate the pace of change. Whereas in the past, it has taken years to develop vaccines, they have achieved the ‘impossible’ and released vaccines in under twelve months without compromising on safety. The key to generating ground-breaking ideas is to be brave and front-footed. Your goal should be to encourage collaboration by building balanced relationships where people feel they are being listened to and treated with respect.

Manage your Mood

The ability to get your head in the right place, so you can think creatively and look to the future with confidence is crucial to collaboration. When times are tough, it can be easy to start catastrophising – where negative thoughts spiral out of control. By focusing on the positives and looking for new opportunities, you are more likely to encourage creative thinking and problem-solving in others. This in turn ensures the mood is upbeat and the energy levels are higher. If the mood becomes negative, people immediately think in the short-term and focus on their own needs rather than working towards a common goal.  The scientists developing the COVID vaccines have continued to work together for the greater good, ignoring the naysayers, to deliver ground-breaking advancements in vaccinology.

Develop true Grit

As the scientists have repeatedly reminded us, we are in this for the long haul. As a society, that is used to quick wins and instant gratification, banishing short termism and focusing on the longer term can be challenging. Now, more than ever before, fear and disappointment can seem to prevail. It is so important to draw on your resilience to tackle adversity head on. If things don’t work out like you’d planned, take the learnings from the situation and move forward, rather than dwell on the downsides.  The scientists have demonstrated their resilience and determination to win the vaccine race with the eyes of the world upon them. Although it must have been tempting to take short-cuts, they have maintained their resolve and adopted a rigorous and disciplined approach throughout the process.

By taking inspiration from the world of science and following the steps above, you will be well on your way to developing your adaptability, optimism and resilience. Traits that will stand you in good stead in the months ahead, as you embrace change, bounce-back from any setbacks and unlock even greater collaboration and innovation.