What Innovating Taught Me about Confronting COVID-19 Uncertainty

  • January 14, 2021

When you’re part of a team that operates like a startup to develop new business ideas, working under conditions of extreme uncertainty is familiar turf. 

Although years spent making decisions quickly without complete information didn’t fully prepare me for COVID World, many of the practices I learned from my work in innovation have helped me adapt to the pandemic’s numerous challenges. I’ve found the following innovation tenets especially useful:

  • Prepare for the best and the worst
    During innovation initiatives, you often have to act on what you know at the time – while recognizing that when circumstances change, so must your actions. What does your work look like in the worst-case scenario? What can you do to prevent potential problems? If you can’t avoid these problems, what can you do to mitigate their impact? What do things look in the best case? What new opportunities does the post-COVID environment offer and how can you address those?
     
  • Take it one sprint at a time
    Approach your deliverables incrementally. We use an agile methodology called Scrum to work on small batches of tasks for projects in two-week sprints. We recognize that circumstances can drastically change during these sprints. In COVID World, conditions can change even faster. Handling deliverables one piece at a time keeps us focused on tasks to be done while giving us the flexibility to course-correct and adjust as conditions change. 
     
  • Be prepared to pivot
    When our offices closed in March, very few of us dreamed we’d still be working from home 10 months later. Our team, our clients and our partners adapted to remote work literally overnight. We never lost momentum.

Please remember that the Tax Matters provides information for educational purposes, not specific tax or legal advice. Always consult a qualified tax or legal advisor before taking any action based on this information. The views and opinions expressed in Tax Matters are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy, position, or opinion of Vertex Inc.

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Todd Cameron

Tax Technology and Innovation Expert

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Todd Cameron is Product Owner in the Vertex Innovation Labs, a client-centric new product incubation unit within the company. With more than two decades of tax and regulatory technology experience, Todd is an author and frequent conference speaker on technology and its impact on tax including blockchain, artificial intelligence, situs, data visualization, tax analytics, robotics process automation, cybersecurity and machine learning. A member of the Scrum Alliance, he also belongs to the Accounting Blockchain Coalition, Chamber of Digital Commerce, Toastmasters and the Delaware Valley Analytics Community. Todd holds degrees from Temple University and Penn State University and has served on the curriculum advisory board of Eastern University.

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