In Brief:

  • There is a growing need for innovation and perseverance in the workplace due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Learn about some online tools that you can use to diversify and strengthen your skillsets.
  • Become aware of resources to expand your network.



This article was written by guest author Brian Ardinger, Nelnet’s director of innovation and founder of Inside Outside.

The world is constantly changing, with new ideas and problems being introduced daily. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the need for adaptability and resourcefulness. The most common challenge we face is learning new skillsets, mindsets, and toolsets, while unlearning old techniques that have fallen out of favor. In order to keep up with the inevitable changes ahead, it is essential to promote creativity and productivity in the workplace.

There Is No Time Like the Present To Get Moving

In the workplace, we should always be ready to adapt to unprecedented times. As a result, we should encourage our employees to focus on diversification and growth. Now is the time to accumulate new knowledge, leverage new insights, make better decisions, and experience and learn while you have the time to do so.

Begin With Curiosity

Instead of waiting for an opportunity to arise to learn something new, seek out information. Become more comfortable asking questions, exploring connections, and seeking new opinions from new voices. Refrain from fear of being wrong, and instead embrace curiosity and exploration of new landscapes.

From epidemiology to remote working tools, there are a few subjects you can navigate quickly and decisively.


  • Check out some new online training tools.
  • Subscribe to a few new podcasts.
  • Curate a new list of newsletters, publications, or Twitter folks to follow.

Information, insights, opinions, and answers are out there to get you moving in the right direction.

The Network Is Your Friend

Today, you have access to a great amount of the world’s knowledge and connections through the touch of a button. We are entering an era of mass collaboration where talent and expertise is everywhere, which you can use to your advantage. You need a diverse network to give you access to new insights and talent to partner with. The diversity of your network can insulate you from sudden changes and challenges and open you up to unexpected opportunities. You need a network that can morph and change as you learn, and as the market and environment changes as well.

Use this time to polish your LinkedIn profile and be open to connecting. Share your new projects or learnings with online communities and associations. Reach out directly for help. You can interact with new founders and builders at ProductHunt and through AngelList.

Navigating change is a team sport, so in tough times, build out your team. Add value and watch your opportunities expand. Don’t forget that your family and friends are on the team, too.

It’s a Marathon at a Sprinter’s Pace

In order to navigate disruption, you are required to move fast and be prepared for a marathon race. Focus on patience and persistence as you seek new information and insights. Remember that despite all the obstacles and challenges, you are still progressing in the race every day.

Business disruptions are common. The current disruptions associated with COVID-19 may be more challenging than previous disturbances, but they offer great opportunity for problem-solving. Take this time to reorganize and refocus. Create the new you and explore a new world of opportunities.

Begin Today

Nelnet proactively prepares for industry disruptions and uses them to transform our business. Read more about Who We Are or Contact an Expert to learn how partnering with us can help transform your business.


Brian Ardinger

Director of Innovation

With about 25 years of experience in technology and corporate innovation, Brian feels strongly that associates from every level should be comfortable thinking of new ideas and bringing them to the table, and companies should feel comfortable listening. Brian is also the founder of Inside Outside, an innovation community for entrepreneurs, tech gurus, and anyone interested in new ideas. For more thoughts on innovation, connect with Brian at and @ardinger.