Date posted: 3/09/2020 5 min read

How a crisis is the mother of innovation

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing businesses to rethink their operations. And it’s innovators who are leading the way.

In Brief

  • LegalVision has had a 52% increase in enquiries about setting up online businesses in the second quarter of 2020.
  • Businesses are showing more interest in registering trademarks and patents to protect their brands and inventions.
  • Australian businesses have some catching up to do when it comes to innovation and digital transformation.

By Lachlan McKnight

The word innovation gets bandied about a lot in business. However, at our legal firm, LegalVision, over the past six months we’ve seen an explosion in some interesting behaviours, which I believe are the start of amazing grassroots innovation.

Between January and June this year, LegalVision received more than 10,500 enquiries. In the second quarter, we’ve seen a 52% jump in enquiries from people wanting to set up online businesses, compared to the first quarter.

The data also shows a 17% increase in business-structuring enquiries, including new business formation, partnership structuring and business owners protecting assets through trusts. We also saw a 27% rise in regulatory and compliance enquiries as businesses look to import more goods or obtain licenses to trade online.

Intellectual property enquiries also saw a 27% growth. Businesses are more interested than ever in registering trademarks and patents to protect their brands and inventions, which ties into the rise in online business creation.

What do the results tell us?

The overall results give a fascinating insight into what’s happening on the ground, not only for businesses trying to survive the COVID crisis, but also for people who have lost their jobs.

Every month, businesses are contacting LegalVision in their thousands to have privacy policies, terms and conditions, and shareholder agreements drafted, as they prepare to launch new businesses or move their existing organisations online.

We have also seen a 12% rise in queries about disputes. Unfortunately, we’ve been dealing with more companies experiencing issues about debt recovery and unpaid invoices due to the economic uncertainty and business shutdowns.

Not surprisingly, we’ve had a 29% drop in corporate immigration enquiries, with fewer businesses hiring talent from overseas because of border restrictions.

There has also been a 24% decline in enquiries about selling businesses, with the current recessionary economic climate not conducive to it.

Innovation drives economic prosperity

Following the global financial crisis, we saw the birth in the US of many start-ups that became multi-billion-dollar companies, including Instagram, WhatsApp, Uber, Airbnb and Slack.

The last recession in Australia was in 1990-91. As a result, we’ve had it easier here compared to our global counterparts, so we have some catching up to do when it comes to innovation and digital transformation.

Companies can either choose to be innovative, such as Disney and Apple – or maintain business as usual, like Blockbuster and Toys R Us, whose brands are now a thing of the past.

“Companies can either choose to be innovative, such as Disney and Apple – or maintain business as usual, like Blockbuster and Toys R Us.”
Lachlan McKnight, CEO, LegalVision

Whether it’s those out of work looking to forge new income streams, or intrapreneurs shaking it up within large entities, our economic prosperity relies on the innovators to keep us moving forward. 

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