The first week of 2021 shattered the sweet fantasy I clung to that the midnight chime of the clock on Jan. 1 would ring in an easier new year. As of this writing, the U.S. Capitol has been stormed by rioters, and the nation set a new high record of reported COVID-19 deaths on the same day.
It's almost enough to make me wax nostalgic for 2020--I can't remember a year with higher levels of continuous chaos than last year. Personally and professionally, I've never had to adapt more quickly and intensely on an ongoing basis than I did last year.
But chaos is not inherently bad. Neither is being squeezed through a cocoon I didn't willingly spin for myself. It's a different kind of butterfly effect--the storm of 2020 tested our wings in ways we never could've imagined. It's pushed some of us to new heights.
My consulting company worked on a record number of submissions to regulatory agencies in 2020. My mechanical testing company received a steady stream of parts from clients during a year I expected my businesses to struggle. I was pleasantly surprised that despite the battering our global economy took last year, the medical device industry seemed to follow the example of all of us who found ourselves twisting our lives and expectations so that we could all keep going.
It sparked new levels of innovation. Not just in terms of how to craft better product, but how to work through the unique challenges and ripple effects of a global health...