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Letters from the CEO

In the wake of COVID-19, ingenuity is blossoming all around us.

I am amazed at how quickly creativity has blossomed during this Coronavirus pandemic. I also find it a bit ironic, yet somehow appropriate, that creative ideas are blooming during this beautiful spring. I am surprised and delighted by the show of creativity from people in my network who have been planting, painting and building – and how they have come up with new ways to socially interact. And also how some businesses have pivoted to offer their products and services in new ways (which in some cases was necessary to simply stay afloat).

Sure, there is fear, loneliness and even a touch of desperation out there. But there is also an abundance of scrappy ingenuity that wasn’t so visible three long weeks ago. Innovation, as well as the speed of conversion to adopting new ideas, is simply amazing to me.

For the past three weeks, my primary connection to the outside world has been monitoring social media. Coming in a close second are calls and texting with family and friends. Then there’s monitoring email marketing, participating in Google Hangouts with my work mates, and lastly, watching television. Through these channels, I have learned about all sorts of innovative thinking happening right here in my own corner of the world.

Like my friend, Boyer Derise, at Good Eats Kitchen. To make up for lost revenue at his chef-prepared meals business, he has turned to retail operations and is now selling wonderful boxes of produce and fresh dairy, protein, beverage and snack items via the marketplace online for delivery or pick up. This pivot has solved a problem for those of us who have limited our time spent in grocery stores but still want and appreciate good healthy food. Just as importantly, it has helped Boyer stay in business.

Then there’s another of my favorites, Great Harvest of Acadiana, that is living up to its corporate mission of: “Be loose and have fun. Bake phenomenal bread. Run fast to serve others. Give generously.” They are bringing their mission to life with a promotion that invites their patrons to make a donation to provide fresh loaves of bread, peanut butter and jelly to needy families. This effort generates a little cash flow for their business while also feeding the hungry.

Our friends at Action Specialities have converted their New Iberia promotional items facility into a manufacturing facility for N95 protective masks for Lafayette General’s use to combat COVID-19. A great article on the work they are doing can be found here, written by local news source, The Current.

From drive-by birthday parties to musician’s solo living room concerts (shout out to talented Laura Huvall and Eric Adcock), to front porch photography and educational webinars, to online book readings and virtual cocktail parties – it’s all fantastic. I think we can all agree that we are living in the super strangest time of our lives. But creativity is the hallmark of the human experience. It is what sets us apart from the animal kingdom and has contributed to our evolution as a species.

Creative thinking happens all the time, but in normal times, there is not such a pressing reason to embrace and act on every idea that presents itself. Today that philosophy seems to be thrown out of the window. Anything is possible. Any idea is potentially a good idea. In order to save businesses, their sanity and themselves, people are trying new ways of thinking and doing. So in the midst of crazy times, innovation is one true joy, hope and promise of a better tomorrow.

And you are proving that you are creative, too.