Optimism and innovation is one way to make it through this crisis


This year will go down in history as a difficult and strange time. For the past few weeks, the APA has been focused on providing support to our members who are facing unprecedented challenges—and we will continue to do this for as long as we need to.

But despite how difficult things are, there are opportunities to look for the upside. They say that necessity is the mother of invention and, in the quieter moments, my mind turns to this notion.

Is innovation the silver lining that COVID-19 will ultimately bestow on us? Will it teach us to be more nimble, resourceful and mindful of the collective good? Only time will tell.

Scattered among the many stories of hardship and difficulty, occasionally we hear of people doing extraordinary things to help their communities. In doing so, these people are helping secure their own livelihoods. They are examples of Australian ingenuity and the ‘never give up’ attitude we see throughout this beautiful nation. 

St Ali is a local coffee roasting house familiar to most Melbournians. The hospitality industry was arguably the first, and one of the hardest, hit by the new social distancing measures. As many businesses hibernate during the crisis, St Ali has decided to put its resources to a completely different use. 

Alongside roasting and grinding coffee beans, St Ali is now producing high-quality hand sanitiser.

What’s more, they dedicated themselves to producing a brand-congruent product which complements their brand identity and fulfills what they perceive to be a niche: socially conscious hand sanitiser in good-looking packaging.

Quinn Roney (a Canadian boy scout) wanted to do something for the healthcare heroes at the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis. He noticed how uncomfortable face masks were after a few hours of wear, so he took to 3D printing some unassuming, but effective, ear guards to prevent chafing.

These two very different stories are most likely driven by different motives, but the solutions they produced are simple, useful and innovative.

In these difficult and changing times, innovating to meet a need for an outcome that benefits many is the challenge we have to rise to.

This crisis requires creativity, the ability to see a problem from different angles, the agility to react appropriately and make use of what we have  on hand.

So many of you are embracing telehealth for the first time and trialing new operating norms in response to these difficulties. For this I applaud you.

Physiotherapists are a resilient lot. This proud profession has its roots in wartime rehabilitation, so hardship is not a new concept. This too shall pass.

Until it does, we at the APA will do everything we can to ensure physiotherapy remains a strong and necessary part of the healthcare fabric of Australia.

We thank you for your support of us and of one another, and we look forward to brighter days ahead.


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