Adaptation in uncharted waters

5th May 2020

Serene, watchful, stately, majestic, good-natured, gentle and unruffled; there are many words that come to my mind when I look at the picture of the swan in front of the GRID building at Heriot-Watt University, recently taken by my colleague Suzy.

But on closer examination, I realised that something was not quite right – the swan was not in its usual habitat of water!  Nevertheless, far from being rudderless, it retained its customary traits that we expect and anticipate. 

The current COVID-19 pandemic has taken all of us out of our usual habitats and our routines that we have honed over the years.  It has tested our abilities to deal with uncertainties, unprecedented challenges and extraordinary demands. And yet like the serene swan, strong and stable leadership and being true to the values and traits that have been instilled for many years is helping weather the choppy waters.   

Everyday, we now read of the real difference that academic and company researchers are making. The recently announced 50 Scottish studies involving 15 Scottish universities and research institutions will help increase the understanding of COVID-19, screen potential treatments and support clinical trials. Delivering pioneering research and invention through collective thinking and collaborations across academia, government and industry is Scotland personified.  

Committed to delivering on our mission, the team at Interface have quickly pivoted and adapted our ways of working to both connect business needs to academic expertise alongside being supportive and proactively empathetic to many small businesses who will need to adapt and diversify to survive.

As I write this, uncharted territory continues to be on the horizon, we have no clear idea of when and how many businesses can begin to “return to normal” and what social distancing measures are likely.  However, I do forecast that reimagining, adapting, diversifying and transforming will be central to both business survival or growth. 

Just like the swan, adaptive universities, colleges and businesses will emerge stronger from times of change.  And we are there to help provide the catalyst – what might be possible for you and how can we help?


If you would like to find out more about working with academic teams in Scotland’s universities, research institutes and colleges, please contact us. Turn ideas into invoices and overcome barriers with Interface’s support.