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Coming out the other side of the coronavirus pandemic – not just stronger, but different

What in the world does Kintsugi, the Japanese practise of repairing broken ceramics with gold, have to do with the Coronavirus Pandemic? Laura explores how we can come out of the pandemic, not just stronger, but different.

Coming out the other side of the coronavirus pandemic – not just stronger, but different 

What does Kintsugi, the Japanese practise of repairing ceramics with melted gold have to do with the Coronavirus pandemic?

Kintsugi is the Japanese practise of repairing broken ceramics with melted gold. 

When repaired, the broken bowl, dish, plate, sculpture, looks notably different to how it looked before the break. 

But the broken piece hasn’t just been repaired to its original form – instead it is different and new. It is stronger and also more beautiful, unique and valuable. 

It makes me think of the incredible creativity, resilience and innovation that I have seen since the start of the pandemic. 

Organisations are returning to the marketplace and although made up of the same parts (maybe even broken parts) most are different (repaired with gold) – people really have been taking the cracks in their life caused by the pandemic, and making them stronger. 

How can we come out of the coronavirus pandemic stronger?

We have seen individuals, teams and organisations take what has been a very challenging time, and they have fixed issues in ways more innovative ways than we could have imagined. Through the hardship they have weathered, the organisations (and individuals) who have done well are the ones who, instead of yearning for the old days have filled the gap created by the pandemic with something better.

Sounds simple right… 

Sounds good… but it can be easier said than done. 

One of the key principles which is integral to the success of Kintsugi, is the idea of Wabi-sabi – an acceptance of transience and imperfection. 

Organisations fostering a ‘fail-fast’ culture will be key. We have to be okay with things not always being perfect but this can feel uncomfortable. It can be a learning curve to let go of our perfectionism and our ideas of how things should be.

To fill the gaps with gold, we need to be okay with things looking and feeling different to how they looked before. 

The pandemic has forced us to let go of our preconceptions of how things ‘should be’. 

Design thinking works in iterations, it’s something that start-ups around the world have managed to foster and capitalise on in a massive way. This iterative way of working, is why they are so successful at innovating.

What next?

Take some time to stop and take a think about what’s been happening in your organisation…

For most of us, it’s been a scary and unsettling time. 

How was that first virtual town-hall meeting?

Your first online induction/onboarding?

Your first home-schooling experience?

And how are they now? Pretty good I bet. We have all iteratively improved. We were forced to get comfortable with things being different to what we were used to. 

To fill the gaps with gold, redefine and refine – what do you want take forward with you as we return to more ‘normal’ ways of working and what do you want to leave behind?

At NKD at the start of the pandemic, delivery of our live face-to-face programmes came to a halt. 

In quieter times we have been working on perfecting our NKD 360 and NKD Player solutions. 

We have ran free virtual workshops to help people build resilience and manage their teams remotely.

We did our first virtual inductions for new team members. 

In one way or another, all of these things and more we will take forward in our ‘normal’ future. 

We don’t know what the future holds… 

Things might not be the same for a long time:

  • We might not be hosting a conference for a while… 
  • We might not have 50 graduates and tons of team members taking over the Atlantis in Dubai… 
  • We won’t be not be having our annual sports day this year… or maybe even our Christmas party


  • We do have a virtual suite of solutions like never before
  • We are helping our clients thrive in unstable times
  • We are supporting our clients in America, Australia and Asia with more efficiency
  • We do have an internal working from home policy which feels more robust and offers a true work-life balance… and I have a feeling the zoom pub quiz isn’t going anywhere soon! 

What we take as a given, could be taken away in a minute. Kintsugi acknowledges the break, and that the break can be life changing, but with an open mind, resilience and a little gold… things can be better than before… different, but better.