We introduced a pulse survey function this week into the Australian Innovation Community leaders slack platform. The aim is to engage leadership thought around a specific topic, help normalise feelings so people know they are not alone, and provide a means for quick feedback on topical areas.

The sample size is obviously biased towards individuals who would identify as leaders in the Australian Innovation Community and be likely to sign up for and engage in a slack channel. There are over 550 members in the community, of which around 180 are active. This is expected given that the community is two weeks old and time demands on those innovation leaders introduced by the current COVID-19 impacts.

The aim is not be scientifically rigorous, but these may provide immediate valuable feedback and test questions that others may find useful for further research.

I post the results here to further share that others may benefit and continue to contribute.

Wednesday: Understanding government COVID-19 business support

“How well do you understand how the current federal, state, and local government COVID-19 relief options apply for entrepreneurs and business?

The first question asked leaders how well they understood the recent business support programs from government to address COVID-19 impacts to the extent they could be used to support other businesses. This was on Wednesday, as the policies were released from federal, state, and local levels on an almost daily basis.

Of those who responded, everyone had some awareness. A majority could point people in the right direction for support, and several were generally aware but could not describe current options. Others knew enough to explain to others, while a select few could speak with authority on the topic.

The poll perhaps highlights the need for leaders to support each other in community. Our job is not to have all the answers, but to be able to point people in the right direction. We can also foster more people in the community who deep dive and stay on top of rapidly emerging complex topics.

Thursday: Work from home impacts on productivity

A large majority of the global population has transitioned to work from home over the past week. The poll was prompted by an excerpt from the FIN about a survey of 5,000 respondent’s perceptions on productivity changes from working from home. Many startups and entrepreneurs may be used to remote working and distributed teams. Others such as coworking space managers have had business models transformed.

Several leaders in the poll noted a productivity increase. Certainly removing commutes and office distractions may help focus. A majority saw no increase, perhaps due to already having a flexible work arrangement. Others saw a decrease, as there may be many who are now juggling home school, less than ideal working arrangements, or roles not suited to work from home.

One take-away is to perhaps acknowledge that not everyone is having the same experience and ensure we acknowledge different perspectives in our conversations.

Friday: Personal impacts from COVID019

For Friday, we focused on how leaders have been impacted personally in their roles or business. The leaders in the community are self-employed or in roles where the current COVID-19 impacts is increasing a need for their services. As such, it is not surprising that there was no one who responded with business closures or job loss.

This does not mean they are not impacted. Many are needing to change their own business model and a few are reducing staff. A fair number are also experiencing reduction in revenue. This can place pressure on support services, particularly if they are also experiencing increased demand on both personal time and the need to support others.

Those who have jobs are needing to do more with less. This can highlight a greater need for community to support others, find new and more efficient ways of operating, and find new ways to collaborate when there was previously capacity to go it alone. There are also a select few who have experienced either no change or an increase in revenue, which may also result in greater capacity to support others in the community.

Next steps

These polls are quick pulse surveys of a closed community. They are designed for minimal impact, taking a few seconds and opt in by those in a closed community. They are also designed for quick publication.

Pulse surveys are good to test questions, raise awareness, and progress conversations. But we also need to be conscious and cautious of impacts on people’s time during the COVID-19 situation.

In parallel, we also need a coordinated and structured analysis on the current impacts for policy development and decision making. This is occuring in the background to avoid confusion in the broader business community.

We will continue the polls on weekdays as an experiment as long as the community engages and finds value. Questions for each day will be drawn from the topics of the day.

This is all an informed experiment. Your input and feedback is welcome on the approach, the topics, and your views in general as we work together to improve the situation for as many as possible.

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