HOW THE SPACE INDUSTRY IS WEATHERING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a sledgehammer to the economy and the space industry is no exception.  Before the pandemic, the global space industry was really coming into its stride, valued at around $360 billion.  For the last few years, space startups with bold ideas could successfully close round after round of funding.  Now, companies may have a hard time getting infusions from outside investors.  That means companies will likely rely on government contracts, either from NASA or the Department of Defense, now more than ever as a guaranteed source of funding.  A few high-profile space companies succumbed at the start of the pandemic.  Analysts say these early losses are likely the result of problems that companies had before the pandemic, and the economic downturn just amplified those issues.  Whether they’re keeping busy or just trying to keep the lights on, companies across the industry are all stuck in the same pandemic-induced holding pattern. Like many industries, it’s still too early to say what will happen in the future. But for smaller companies with loftier ambitions, the financial picture has already shifted. To make it through, they’ll have to tighten their belts and adjust their plans or scramble for a government-funded lifeline that keeps their unique space goals alive.  Read More >>

OVERWHELMED? ADOPT A PARADOX MINDSET

With lockdowns closing schools and offices around the world, it’s become commonplace to see dogs and kids barge into business meetings as the boundaries between work and life have blurred. A seamless balance is impossible. We have to do both – work plus managing our lives, our spouses, kids, pets and home – all at once.  Doing both depends on our ability to adopt a paradox mindset, to consider the world with a “both/and” approach instead of an “either/or” one. In times like these, times of change, uncertainty and scarcity, we need to do many tasks together. And people need to feel comfort with discomfort – these hurdles aren’t going away.  The paradox mindset suggests an alternative perspective, accepting and learning to live with the tensions associated with competing demands. It is an understanding that these competing demands are not really resolvable, in the sense that they can’t be completely eliminated.  A paradox mindset can be cultivated.  In the current crisis, a paradox mindset won’t solve every problem, but it is a helpful and relevant way of thinking.  A paradox mindset allows us to look at the challenge, understand the need to adapt and uncover a different way of working.  Read More >>

SEVEN LESSONS FROM REFUGEES WHO BECAME ENTREPRENEURS

According to the UN Refugee Agency, every minute in 2018, some 25 people had to flee their homes. Across the world, there were 71 million people forcibly displaced due to persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations. These refugees left jobs and professions, studies and dreams, to find themselves in environments often hard to navigate, where they must reconstruct their careers as well as their lives.  The seven lessons we can learn from refugees who restarted their careers are that adversity is the mother of invention, when stuck, be smart and look for alternatives to keep moving forward, education and self-study are key; be curious and seek learning in all possible ways, to develop skills that are transferable and master English, use whatever ideas and passions you have to build your future as best you can, optimism and self-belief are critical to success, and do not assume you need perfect conditions to start a great company.  Read More >>

11 WEB DESIGN BEST PRACTICES TO ELEVATE USER EXPERIENCE

Website visitors usually take five seconds to decide whether to leave a website or not.  Website designs must be engaging to encourage visitors to stay.  One way of doing this is to optimize load speed.  When we land on a webpage, we expect it to load within 2 seconds. If it takes longer than that, we may get impatient. Anyone with access to a computer and an internet connection should be able to visit your website, regardless of their circumstances and abilities.  To cater to everyone, you should design a website that is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act so that people with a wide array of disabilities can browse. This will also help you avoid any lawsuit connected to a non-compliant web design.  A call-to-action is how you get your clients through the sales funnel. Without clear CTAs, your visitors have no idea where they are supposed to click next.  Among your top priorities when you think website design is the ease of navigation. Your visitors will use the navigation to find any relevant information they are looking for.  Without clear navigation, you end up with disappointed visitors that exit your website for better alternatives.  The responsiveness of a well-designed website needs to be fluid and adjustable to all devices. It is especially critical to make it mobile-responsive as the number of users on mobile continues to increase annually.  The importance of SEO is well established. Without it, search engines cannot find you.  Technical SEO involves optimizing your website and servers so search engine spiders crawl to index your website better for improved organic results. While it mainly concerns on-page ranking factors, it also involves several off-page SEO ranking factors as well.  Your website design has as a primary function to be the initial hook for your visitors. When best practices are correctly implemented, the user experience is elevated to create an emotional connection between your brand and the visitor.  Read More >>

HOW TO TURN ADVERSITY INTO ADVANTAGE DURING TIMES OF CRISIS

None of us are experts. None of us have all the answers. We are all feeling immense uncertainty and none of us are truly in control, really.  You cannot solve a complex, multi-step equation in your head. You need to be able to isolate variables, simplify pieces that can be simplified, think differently about terms inside versus outside the parentheses. You can only tackle one thing at a time.  In the business world, we talk about the power of networks—strong ties that provide us with deep connections, weak ties that provide us with informational flow. This has most often been applied to getting you the job/contract/opportunity you’ve been looking for. But extend this further.  Don’t let guilt get in the way of understanding and being a part of humanity.  There are going to be drawdowns, low points, periods of depression and anxiety. We are all being impacted differently, which means that we are all going to need to handle this differently.  If you’re the leader of a large organization, what are the two or three things that really made your first 5 to 10 customers passionately fall in love with your product or service. That’s where you’ll find your North Star, which will allow you to dust off old things or seek out new oceans.  Look for inefficiencies. Where are we lacking, where are things not operating as efficiently or as effectively as they could? There were inefficiencies that existed before this pandemic, and there are new efficiencies that have cropped up since. The ones that come to my mind immediately are things like supply chain issues, deliveries and goods out of stock.  Write a different story, with a different story angle, based on who you are and your before-and-after viewpoint before this tsunami uprooted all of our lives.   Read More >>

PIVOTING IN A PANDEMIC: INSIGHTS FROM TWO VETERAN CEOS ON TRANSFORMING A BUSINESS IN CRISIS

How you live in the moment right now while having an uncertain future is something that I’ve been grappling with on a lot of different levels.  It’s not just about trying to make money. It’s not at all about trying to make money, actually.  A lot of companies have gone one way or another in terms of masks and how they think about donations.  We feel like we’re working for more than just a higher stock price. When this passes two years from now, we still remember to say those things and to express just how much we appreciate the team.  We’re working to bring our friends back.  Read More >>

5 WAYS TO PIVOT YOUR BUSINESS DURING A CRISIS

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” —Charles Darwin.  There are likely changes you wanted to make in your business but haven’t and now is a time to act. Evaluate your talent, review your contracts, decide what is truly necessary to run your business.  It’s time to streamline so you can move forward without the weight of unnecessary cost burden.  If you’re primarily run out of a brick-and-mortar store, it’s time to find the digital version of whatever work you were doing.  Leverage your current assets and resources and align them with your customers’ current needs.  Continue to maintain a strong relationship with your clients whether directly, individually, in newsletters, and or/via social media. Show them you care.  The objective of collaboration can be new ideas, exploring synergies, and creating new business partnerships, where 1+1 = 5.  There has never been a better time to try (and fail!). Now is the time to experiment. Quickly launch new ideas with minimal investment. Focus on results. Learn and improve with each iteration.  Persistence pays off in the end.  If your business has been greatly impacted by the current crisis, you’re not alone.  Don’t focus on what you can’t control…think about what you CAN.  Read More >>

HOW DISCOMFORT MAKES US MORE CREATIVE

Minor disruptions to the status quo, against a background of psychological safety, may be the best formula for creative cultures. Li Huang, INSEAD Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour, pointed out that even the most innovative minds may expand, or contract, in response to environmental and cultural cues. “There was a time when Albert Einstein was attending a school that evaluated and tested students quite harshly, and he nearly lost his interest in science. It was only when he failed a test and moved to a different school that valued individual thought and creativity that he started to develop his interest further.” A little pressure can induce positive growth. “When plants are under a certain amount of stress, that’s when they go into an entirely different stage of growth – whether it’s from no flowering to flowering, or flowering to fruiting. It’s the same for human beings.”  Read More >>

HOW WILL THINGS BE DIFFERENT WHEN IT’S ALL OVER?

SARS is credited with being one of the accelerators for the adoption of e-commerce in China and the rise of Alibaba. We should not expect that the resolution of the Covid-19 epidemic will be a return to a 2019 reality.  Many organizations are understandably focused on reacting to and coping with the short term challenges presented by the unfolding epidemic.  A rebound of demand is inevitable, and using high-frequency data proxies for the movement of goods and people, production and confidence, we can see that it is already beginning to happen in China.  Our analysis shows that 14% of companies across all sectors actually grow top and bottom lines during recessions and downturns.  Those who flourish share the common traits of preparation, preemption, growth orientation and long term transformation. They take a long term view and place growth bets when competitors are retrenching.  In anticipating this new post-crisis world and seizing opportunity in adversity, we need to consider several shaping forces: new learning, new attitudes, new habits and new needs.  There is opportunity in adversity in every business. It may seem callous to stress opportunity in the midst of a humanitarian crisis, but leaders have an obligation to look ahead, to anticipate and meet new customer needs, to evolve their strategies and organizations, and in so doing sustain the prosperity of their enterprises.  Read More >>

DON’T LET YOUR OBSESSION WITH PRODUCTIVITY KILL YOUR CREATIVITY

Our current work world is obsessed with productivity.  But our relentless quest to be productive is undermining one of the most important abilities in today’s workplace: creativity.  First, gather raw materials as a stimulus. Draw together provocations and thought starters related to your area of interest.  Next, mentally digest the raw material.  The final step is to simply do nothing.  Most of us can probably identify with this time-tested approach. Our best ideas do seem to approach us in moments of disengagement.  Have a moment every day where you’re trying to achieve nothing. Giving your brain a moment to relax might lead to your best idea yet.  Read More >>

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