2020: Out of Adversity Comes Opportunity

2020: Out of Adversity Comes Opportunity


As Big Ben struck midnight and we toasted the new year, businesses held high hopes for 2020. Meanwhile, in China a strange new virus had begun to spread. As one countdown ended, the clock was quietly ticking to the time the world would be brought to a standstill. Fast-forward to March and the coronavirus alarm had awoken businesses to a new normal: lockdowns, supply chain blockages, homeworking and Zoom calls.

‘Business as usual’ has gone out the window this year, but there have been moments of inspiration amongst the uncertainty. As Benjamin Franklin once said: “Out of adversity comes opportunity”. So, rather than dwelling on the negative stuff, we’re celebrating 2020 by highlighting five examples of innovation under pressure – from businesses pivoting to survive to businesses diversifying to help society overcome the pandemic.


Supermarkets across the globe have been swamped by panic-buyers who strip the shelves of essential supplies as they prepare for the latest lockdown. In Australia, for example, this created a lucrative black market in toilet paper of all things – that’s right, loo rolls were being flogged for hundreds of dollars online. Radio stations even ran competitions giving listeners the chance to win packs of 3-ply rolls.

To help address this problem in the UK, Deliveroo – the online restaurant food delivery company – diversified in response to the pandemic. Already experts at delivering your favourite takeaway pizza or curry to your front door, they partnered with grocery giant Marks and Spencer to provide essential goods to households in selected areas – a free service for orders over £10 that aimed to d