Photo by Dane Deaner on UnsplashThink back to March 2020. What were you feeling? Would your company survive? Would your job survive? Would you survive? Tensions were running high, and we at Skild were asking ourselves those very questions.

Flash-forward a year and change: Looking back at the pandemic, we learned some things about ourselves — namely our ability to roll with volatile and highly uncertain times. In fact, our ability to adapt not only allowed us to make it through, but it also offered breakthroughs in terms of how we went about our daily lives. If we were being honest, we rather enjoyed some of the changes brought about by a crisis:

  • Our commute to the office was now the distance between the fridge and the couch.
  • Our loss of a water cooler was more than made up for by an appropriate Slack channel.
  • Our company’s trust and confidence in our skills and commitment grew along with the prevalence of virtual workspaces.
  • Our work-life balance became redefined, and we became better at prioritizing what was important to us.

Prior to the pandemic, Skild was already in the business of running challenges online — from submissions to evaluations to awarding prizes. Over the course of the past year, we had new clients come to us looking to adapt: Up to that point, they had been doing pitch competitions live, and they now needed another way to facilitate those events in a socially distanced world. The shift to virtual was on — yet far from this change being a hindrance, we were receiving feedback that the medium’s inherent flexibility had actually amplified submissions.

Suddenly, merely surviving had morphed into the distinct possibility of thriving — by leveraging technology and breaking old habits. Working virtually helped us to save time, energy, and costs. In the world of innovation challenges, that pivot actually opened up new possibilities, including opportunities for people who previously may not have been able to participate.

Now that the world appears to be opening up again and people have the opportunity to go back to their old ways, they’re realizing that there’s a new horizon and that a combination of choices presents new possibilities. In terms of challenges, many organizations are choosing to combine live and virtual events, while others are opting to remain completely virtual. As a result, they’ve already seen an increase in participation and quality of submissions, and an overall spike in satisfaction among participants, who are enjoying the hybrid challenge experience.

If you’ve been considering adding a virtual dimension to your formerly live challenge events — or moving your program completely to a virtual space — we’d be happy to discuss the right physical-virtual combination for you.

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