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Release Your Spirit of Innovation

Aug. 31, 2020
Accepting our "new normal" doesn't have to mean giving in to discouragement.

As then pandemic drags along into another month, it’s easy to turn from disappointment to discouragement. Every time we toss out phrases such as “the new normal” we subtly concede that this predicament creates a more permanent change in our lives. As a result, we seem more bound by its limitations.

And yet exploration goes on. Hydraulics & Pneumatics reported online this month about the tools and technologies needed to send astronauts to Mars and return them safely. As daunting and dangerous as putting a man on the moon seemed 50 years ago, this extraplanetary voyage is an even greater challenge—and if successful, an even greater human achievement.

In the midst of all of this turmoil in earth, we continue to ask the fundamental questions of “how” and “why” as we stretch our understanding of the natural forces that constrain us. In that inquiry, we learn how we can use those forces rather than allowing them to use us.

It is a lesson we earthbound humans might ask as well in these times. I will leave the larger philosophies to others, but I will ask a business question: How are you preparing your company for what comes next?

If the specifics of that answer seem unclear at the moment, then we look to history to tell us that such global events are cyclical, and that from the depths of these chasms comes a soaring recovery. Things may change, but they do get better.

An economist at the National Fluid Power Association’s Industrial and Economic Conference noted last month there is reason to expect economic recovery in the near term and a full recovery over the next 18 months. Those who seize on that knowledge will be prepared to reap the benefits. “You’re going to be able to get your business further faster while other sit back and wait,” he said. “Sitting and waiting is not an option.”

This means investing, today, in your people and processes. It means trying new concepts and designing new solutions to old concepts. It means envisioning your operation as it could be rather than simply accepting it as it is.

Those who propose to take us to Mars are not expecting the planet will get any closer to Earth. They understand the challenges and the many dangers. They invent and persevere because it is what we do. That spirit of innovation was not defined by the plagues and wars that have derailed mankind in past centuries, and it cannot be deterred by the infirmaries of this one.

In early October, Mars will be visible in the morning sky. It will be a bright spot to begin our day, a distant, challenging milepost in our imagination. It also is a reminder to keep our heads up. There is something amazing on the horizon.

About the Author

Bob Vavra | Senior Content Director, Power & Motion and Machine Design

Bob Vavra is the Senior Content Director of Power & Motion and its sister publication Machine Design. Vavra has had a long career in publishing, media and events. He has covered all aspects of manufacturing for the past 20 years and is a regular attendee at events such as IMTS and Hannover Messe. Vavra is also a sought-after webcast moderator and event emcee, and has presided over events in the U.S., Germany and China. 

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