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Turning hope into action: Open platform and open mind with Katz Kiely’s Frontline.live

One of the guest panellists from our ‘Pros and cons of inhousing your digital marketing’  fireside chat has written this timely post on COVID-19. Minter Dial shares his thoughts on the situation and on Katz Kiely’s Frontline.live app.

During the Covid-19 crisis – that has been a shared experience around the globe – people and companies have reacted in hugely different ways. That’s normal because it’s been impacting us in different ways, too. There have been those who’ve been directly affected for having lost someone close to them. Others have had their business wiped out or have had to file for unemployment. There have been others suffering from mental health conditions or domestic abuse. For sure, the cost and consequences of this pandemic will be far-reaching.

Alongside fear and a new-found appreciation for healthcare workers and of the delivery person, there have also been many cheerful expressions. Some are hopeful that the world will come out of this in a new and better way. But, as has been written before, hope is not a strategy.

Many of us have had to struggle with lockdown and, feeling a sense of helplessness against this invisible enemy, have felt frustrated. Unable to do anything. Turning that frustration into action was apparently what provoked the run on toilet paper. Those on the frontline were called into action. The rest of us had to sit it out.

Someone who was moved to act in a sense-filled manner was Katz Kiely. It’s a useful story in more ways than one as her initiative is a great lesson for any entrepreneur. Indeed, for anyone running a business.

In the month of March, as the lockdown took hold, Katz was mortified to see that healthcare workers across the country were struggling to get the protective equipment (PPE) they needed to do their job safely. After all, if they came down with the disease, they were rendered unfit for duty, not to mention becoming sick. Seeing the tweets of individuals who were begging for PPE and no solution in front, Katz went into action by finding a way to resolve these unmet needs.

Using an open-source platform, Ushahidi and partnering with a network of equally motivated and capable individuals, she built Frontline.live. The main idea was to identify the need, find the supply and deliver. As ever, one of the main sticking points was funding. Katz sought a solution that would deliver the PPE free to the end-user.

By finding an under-employed factory, several generous and entrepreneurial spirits and a clever barter agreement, Frontline.live does just that. There have been nearly 1000 individual calls for help around the UK. You can see them in real-time on the Frontline.live map. And you can contribute by buying an item in support at caregiven.co.uk.

The key learnings for businesses are threefold:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask your frontline team what they need in real-time
  • You’re only as strong as your network
  • Tap into your passion and build a team around a solid purpose.

You can check out Katz’s story on Minter’s podcast here. And if you feel so inclined, you can subscribe and rate the podcast here.

You can also subscribe to Minter’s bi-weekly newsletter here and you can follow Minter on Twitter with the handle @mdial

Minter Dial - Modo25
Author
Minter Dial
Minter Dial - Modo25
Author
Minter Dial
After an international career in marketing at L’Oréal, Minter Dial is now a professional speaker and author on leadership, brand and digital strategy with a specialisation in digital transformation. He has written three award-winning books on leadership and business, as well as producing an award-winning documentary on WWII story, The Last Ring Home.
 
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