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Luna Yu on finding positives in the pandemic

June 29, 2021 By: Luna Yu

This post is also available in: Français (French)

This might seem strange, but I’d like to focus on viewing the pandemic through a positive lens. It has now been over a year since the initial lockdown, and in that time, several things have happened to make Genecis a better company. To be clear, the pandemic is a horrendous event that that has devastated the world. Nonetheless, it would be a bigger loss if we failed to glean meaningful lessons from the experience.

The first benefit: Genecis is more focused

Before the pandemic, we often fell into the trap of wasting our time and resources on seemingly important, though not necessarily impactful activities. We over-thought our internal company direction, had too many R&D goals, and pursued too many shiny new things (a common trap for research-heavy companies). But now our priorities are clear.

Genecis relies on physical R&D activities in our lab and pilot facility. The pandemic has placed a hard ceiling on our core activities, limiting our time, occupational capacity and supply chain. As a result, we had to eliminate more than half of our originally planned projects, and only execute the ones we determined to be the most important to our customers and to the development of new technology. Now, we examine and analyze any results before moving onto the next experiment. Overall, our quality of work has skyrocketed, and we have obtained more informative conclusions from our work. We’ve also gotten much clearer about who we are as a company, and where we want to go.

The second benefit: Genecis meetings are twice as efficient

Pre-pandemic, my calendar for the day could be taken up by as few as two or three meetings. I often felt the need to meet people in person and wasted a lot of time commuting. Now, because my meetings are all virtual, the team and I can have as many as 10 meetings back-to-back in a single day and arrive at final decisions much quicker.

The third benefit: Genecis has adopted a culture of worst-case scenario planning

Hoping and striving for the best results was something we were both good and bad at prior to the pandemic. We were always overly optimistic and set ambitious goals. Many of these goals didn’t pan out due to the realities of budgets and timelines. This applied to all aspects of our company, including external and internal projects, establishing new systems and estimating our cashflows. Now, we pad all our timelines with contingencies and ensure sufficient planning is conducted at each step along the way to refine our budget.

Over the past 12 months, we have re-examined all aspects of our business. We have gone through endless exercises of pre-mortem analysis. This has included identifying all potential risks, dependencies, and unexpected events that could cause a project or activity to fail. No doubt, it was an excruciating experience at the time. But surely enough, it has paid off, ensuring our goals were met with the right expectations for both ourselves and our customers.

As vaccines are rolling out and the end of the pandemic in sight, we are very excited to take these lessons and apply them to the next phase of our journey. We always have a choice to analyze difficult situations through a positive or negative lens. Much more benefits come from using a positive lens and taking a pragmatic approach.

Luna Yu