Meetings and gatherings in a virtual space are still occurring.
In recent weeks, the U.S. and the world have witnessed countless changes due to the widespread of COVID-19. With the help of several virtual technologies, many adjustments have been implemented to stave the population’s professional and social communications. UCI Beall Applied Innovation may have temporarily closed the physical doors to its new building, however, virtual doors are still open and online meetings are taking place.
“During this time, Applied Innovation still remains open on a virtual basis to continually serve the entrepreneurial communities,” said Richard Sudek, executive director at Applied Innovation and chief innovation officer at UC Irvine. “We care about the health and safety of our students, startup teams, staff, faculty and tenants and want to be able to provide them the same resources that can help them move their venture forward to ultimately improve the lives of others and the economy.”
The Wayfinder program, an incubator that connects UC-affiliated startups with essential resources needed to launch, grow and succeed, remains open to startup companies to meet with advisors, hold virtual meetings and workshops via Zoom.
The Wayfinder program’s regularly scheduled showcase event was also held virtually via Zoom video conference. The public showcase event featured Wayfinder startup teams who presented their progress to a crowd of virtual viewers, which included Applied Innovation’s in-house Innovation Advisors, Applied Innovation staff and more.
“The showcase is an opportunity for our startups to tell their story and highlight their progress, but more importantly, it is a networking event where many connections are established,” said Juan Felipe Vallejo, director of Scalable Venture Incubation at Applied Innovation. “We are not able to have the valuable personal interactions, but we encouraged our mentors and teams to chat online during the presentations and maintain communication after the event via email and through our online office hours.”
Startup companies are now adjusting to a new virtual world as they meet with each other to conduct business and move things forward with their companies. Wayfinder startup Wing, which provides services and help with daily tasks via its mobile app, is adjusting to these changes while at the same time helping those in need.
“Wing relieves professionals in healthcare from their daily chores so that they can focus on saving the rest of us in this crisis,” said Roland Polzin, Wing co-founder and chief marketing officer. “We are proud to be able to provide some support for the people that are working tirelessly while most of us can’t work. This is at the heart of our mission to democratize the ability to have an assistant, and that’s why we are grateful to do our part for as much as we can.”
The Innovation Advisors program, which is a group of local business leaders and subject matter experts who volunteer their time to support the development of the Applied Innovation entrepreneurial ecosystem, is holding virtual office hours and continuing with one-on-one introductions for virtual follow-up between startup companies and advisors.
“Our Innovation Advisors program remains active. Our advisors are engaged, committed, and flexible to continue to provide meaningful mentorship to our entrepreneurs via virtual channels,” said Marco Henkel, Innovation Advisors manager.
Cove tenants at Applied Innovation are also improvising and adjusting to continue more modified scheduled events and programs. Scott Hamilton, president of Executive Next Practices (ENP) Institute, an established network of fortune 5000 C-level and key executive leaders and large enterprises who meet to review innovations in business and leadership, is including expanded online webinars, training and livestreamed events.
“Context, communication and perspective are critical in times of an evolving crisis,” said Hamilton. “The ability to look beyond the current moment and be emotionally comfortable with planning for multiple and often ambiguous future scenarios is an absolute necessity.”
Lizz Pellet, advisor at ENP and innovation advisor at Applied Innovation, is holding webinars that feature working and managing teams remotely. Pellet’s human resources background focuses on supporting organizations in achieving positive transformation as well as experiencing an increase in employee engagement and productivity.
“In today’s fluid environment it is an imperative to understand how our employees and leaders are feeling and dealing with the vast amount of change in such a short period of time,” said Pellet. “These changes will continue, so now is the time to act and provide change management support to all.”
To learn more about virtual events open to the public, subscribe to our newsletter.
To help during the pandemic, learn more about Applied Innovation’s call-to-action surrounding COVID-19.