Webinar Q&A:

Final Responses from “Leveraging the Unplanned Pit Stop”

Responses to Unanswered Questions from the Panel:

Question 1: 

Can someone provide some insight for business that is luxury / extreme discretionary? I like the “dead reckoning” comment, because past data will likely be less valuable. We’re a product manufacturer – in business for over 60 years. We’ve continued to adapt and flex our products, but this pit stop is totally unique. Where do you recommend we look for trying to understand what the future may be?

Response from Cindy Hannafey, UHY:

You’ve heard from Evan Hughes that his distillery is making alcohol-based sanitation products. Bacardi, Anheuser-Busch, and Tito’s have jumped on that as well.  High-end clothing manufacture, Brooks Brothers, has pivoted to produce masks and gowns. Snowboard manufacturer, Burton, has pivoted to produce protective medical face shields. Their organizations were agile enough to respond to a sudden demand caused by the pandemic. How did they do it?

Innovation is the engine to success. In these times of rapidly changing market conditions, the ability to quickly innovate, accurately orient your workforce, and to quickly respond to changes can be the differentiator that determines the long-term success of your business. Here are a few steps to help jump start your innovative engine:

  • Some of the best subject matter experts are within the walls of your organization. Build a cross-functional, empowered team to develop innovation ideation.
  • Review your history with innovation team. How did 911 and the financial crisis of 2007-08 impact your industry? How did you respond? What measures did you take to ensure business continuity?
  • With that data, start the ideation. Gather your targeted innovation ideas from the people that know best – your front-line workers.
  • Reassess your company’s Vision, Mission, and Values. Consider changes that may be necessary in light of the “new normal” for your business.
  • Prioritization of your innovation ideas and put them into play.


Response from Mike Gallagher, Crown:

I am not in the stated business areas, but as I mentioned in the webinar, look into Scenario Planning methodologies as an aspect of Strategy. Since they are speculative, but based on data and assumptions, those assumptions have all been thrown a curve ball, so Scenario Planning seems like an important one to work strategically.

Question 2 for Evan Hughes or Mike Gallagher: 

[Is there] a change in the way your customers receive your product, any major shift in how you distribute products and product support?

Response from Mike Gallagher, Crown:

We don’t yet see major changes with distribution and support beyond what we are doing for protection in these times. Note I am also not on the front line of these areas so please don’t read too much into my response. I believe there will be new cultural dynamics across the spectrum of what a new normal will be, and for those, we will just have to watch and pivot/innovate as we go.

Question 3: 

Difficult times are great times to develop leaders. How have you used this period to bring out the best of your team and emerging leaders?

Response from Cindy Hannafey, UHY:

We are a highly collaborative team of problem solvers. We check titles at the door giving everyone the opportunity to contribute, share, problem solve, innovate, grow and emerge into leaders. In these all-hands-on-deck, unprecedented times, we’ve had more than enough opportunity to not only identify but help develop our emerging leaders. Most are taking the charge of seizing new opportunities. In short, we are taking this disruption and making it purposeful!  


Response from Mike Gallagher, Crown:

Admittedly I have not concentrated on this heavily as stated, however, I have really concentrated on my own behaviors such that I can act as responsible and effective as possible, all things considered. I would imagine others are doing the same and I am trying to role model correct behaviors. I trust future training can post analyze our actions. Secondly, I have specifically run some “stress tests” on my staff. This will surface many new things that we can “manage” to improvement.

Question 4 for Mike Gallagher: 

What are some specific tactics and tools for your design development team to be operating at the level of face-to-face engagement? May be helpful for expanding the pool of talent available.

Response from Mike Gallagher, Crown:

1) We are operating pretty effectively while in remote locations (mostly from home), and those learnings could help us not be so locked into the traditional thinking we have of leadership wanting bodies on site, some for functional and efficiency reasons, some for other reasons. 2) Although we use outside consultants for various business needs, most of our talent needs require a long tenure with the complex products we produce – and all the interactions with the other functions, especially given that we are so highly vertically integrated. I suppose your question could inspire new tactics for research and other aspects of our business activity that are maybe not core, but still could stand for effectivity improvement. Thanks for stimulating that new thought!

Question 5: 

Has your business seen new opportunities (markets, customers, products) opening up (realized in the now, or future planning for after)?

Response from Cindy Hannafey, UHY:

Yes, we have seen new opportunities opening up and we anticipate more in the future as well – markets, customers, and services. An example of “in the now” would be helping clients navigate through the CARES Act/loan benefits for small businesses. An example of “future” would be anticipating increased merger activities, divestiture of business units or products, optimization of supply chains, and optimization of end-to-end business processes.

Question 6: 

Has the pandemic driven Crown to pivot its product technology strategies? Has the situation created new product opportunities?

Response from Mike Gallagher, Crown: 

Regarding the 1st question: Not yet on the technology side. Our backlog is pretty full so we will have to reprioritize after the next few sprints. We are pivoting some of our truck projects, but I don’t want to say any more than that.

Regarding the 2nd question: As of yet, this situation hasn’t created “new” product opportunities per se, as we have many ideas in the backlog. What it does is shift some of what is in the backlog as the customer needs will accelerate in certain areas of our past research. We have changed some of our research priorities regarding this. That could lead to future opportunities for sure.

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