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Carlos Alberto Rojas Ávila is professor of Business Innovation at Universidad La Salle Bolivia.
Project manager of the Croatian Community of La Paz, Bolivia.
He served as a Process Control specialist at Amazon.
He obtained an MBA from La Salle Open University.
Double degree in Commercial Engineering and Business Administration from Universidad La Salle Bolivia and Lewis University.
Artist and passionate about environmental sustainability.
The opinions expressed in this comment belong to the author.
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Why is a pandemic or crisis associated with a lack of opportunities?
Is it time to change this paradigm and begin to assess the needs that arise in difficult times, such as growth opportunities for families, businesses or government institutions?
How much is needed a dynamic survival strategy in times of crisis, which considers solutions that customers seek as a first step and from there, develop personalized products, services and talents that adjust to fluctuations in the socioeconomic context.
Traditionally, it was largely the other way around.
The product was built first, people performed the same functions for most of their working lives, or long-term fixed processes were implemented, and then clients were found to fit that proposal.
The current pandemic has revealed the projects that were not flexible enough to quickly adjust to the new needs that arose in this global crisis (no matter how successful they have been in a normal context), for which they have been forced to reduce staff , breach goals or even close.
A study by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), released in July, estimates that 2.7 million companies in the region will close, which would imply a loss of 8.5 million jobs.
An unprecedented negative impact.
On the other hand, Bolivia, a country hit by a political and health crisis due to the pandemic, registered a growth of 3.2% in the number of companies (most of them sole proprietorships) between July 2019 and July this year, according to the report. of statistics from the Bolivian Trade Registry Concessionaire.
There are indications of a relationship between the projection of Cepal and the people who were laid off or who closed their business, who had to exploit their creative potential and use their entrepreneurial spirit to innovate, start over and present solutions to needs that arose as a result from quarantine.
Curiously, there is a record of new ventures in Latin America, which somehow survived the last few months providing solutions to the new needs generated by this time of pandemic.
In Bolivia, new projects such as Chaski Delivery took place, whose name refers to the chasqui or messenger of the Inca empire who carried messages from the king from one region to another (it can be considered that this empire covered territory from Colombia to Chile).
This company arises from the crisis that a couple faced when faced with the sudden reduction in income from their advertising-related activity.
Considering that people could not go out to restaurants to consume a popular dish such as ceviche, they proceeded to prepare orders and coordinate shipments with taxis.
The level of sales was not what was expected, when considering the costs of preparing the food plus shipping.
For this reason they decided to undertake a shipping project on foot, inspired by the chasquis of the Inca empire.
They even target differentiation and entertainment factors by dressing in outfits that emulate, to some extent, the flashy costumes of the Incas.
It is also interesting that construction companies such as Reforma Construcciones designed spaces for urban gardens in houses that they offer for sale.
Businesses were created that knew how to respond creatively to the need of people to keep themselves disinfected in public spaces.
This is the example of "Tapetito" and "Perlita", two clowns in La Paz who decided to start a mobile disinfection service for people, houses or offices while maintaining their funny characters, in response to the sudden decrease in face-to-face children's parties during the pandemic .
The world of fashion and clothing also survived the pandemic by making biosecurity garments with unique designs.
An admirable case is that of several women from the Ayata region in the Munecas province, La Paz department, who decided to implement tailoring techniques inherited from grandmothers to granddaughters, to make artisan masks with native designs that "tell their stories in their fabrics ”.
Another case occurs in Colombia with the Maaji company, which went from making swimsuits to masks and onesies with its own designs to respond to the population's need to be protected against covid-19 without losing style.
Finally, it is important to highlight three technological giants such as Amazon, Apple and Facebook, which are characterized by their high level of innovation and who can share with the world several lessons on how to radically adjust their processes, talents and products, to respond immediately to the most uncertain situations and to be able to generate utility in full pandemic.
From April to June, those companies released earnings results that showed they became more dominant amid the pandemic.
I emphasize that one of Amazon's leadership principles is an obsession with customers and building products or services based on changing needs.
This tool could generate great changes in Latin America by complementing the entrepreneurial spirit so that people are more willing to create their own opportunities in the most uncertain situations.
After months of receiving sad and negative news daily, this is perhaps the type of testimonial most in demand in the region.
These are examples that show us that in crises there are many needs to satisfy and that it is the perfect time to innovate and aim for better days.