Business Geology 400

Business Geology 400



Instead of the usual focus on the season, local business, and community partnerships, a different approach seems appropriate.

Four years ago, the world as we knew it shifted. Schools closed and all classes went online. Businesses were forced to either shut down or completely change their customer interactions. The long-anticipated move to extensive remote work finally materialized. And nearly all air travel stopped.

You all know why. The impacts of Covid affected many aspects of daily life and disrupted the seasonal shifts in activities and traditions.

From a business perspective, the onset of Covid was like a seismic shift in tectonic plates. Clearly, over the past four years we have been more impacted by the effects of micro-organisms that the Cascadia Subduction Zone we here in the Pacific Northwest surf upon.

Over fifty years ago, an insightful article entitled “Evolution and Revolution as Organizations Grow” was published (article by Larry E. Greiner, published in the Harvard Business Review). The article outlines the major shifts that happen as organizations grow from startup to large companies. Some of these shifts are small and slow, like evolutionary changes in plants and animals. Others are big and abrupt, like when meteors or major eruptions cause mass extinctions.

Along the way, people and systems need to adapt – and previous solutions create present day challenges. Dinosaurs could not adapt to a planet blanketed by dirt and ash. Cockroaches did just fine.

The rapid effects of the pandemic created this type of revolution for business. This was not a slow evolution from one state to another. The solid ground business had been built upon felt like quicksand. Businesses needed to adapt quickly to survive. The lucky ones had cash reserves or government support to get them through. Many did not make it.

Today, some of the lessons learned and shifts in business practices have continued. Better sanitation practices still abound. Delivery and pickup services are now commonplace. Travel is picking up to pre-pandemic levels. And flexible work arrangements are still enjoyed by many.


As you think and reflect on how things have changed over the past four years:

  • What do you notice?
  • What businesses have changed in ways that you still appreciate?
  • What business practices have evolved that you hope are here to stay?
  • What business revolutions do you notice that you hope to see for the foreseeable future?

We have been fortunate in Beaverton to have many organizations that were able to adapt, survive, and even thrive through the pandemic and beyond. Kudos to our community for their support through those turbulent times.

Hopefully, through the rest of 2024, we can continue our slow evolution. Let’s hope our floating tectonic plates, nearby volcanoes, and all those pesty little microbes stay dormant so we can calmly enjoy the changing seasons.


By Rob Routhieaux, Director of Small Business Support & Development. For more information about how your business can be involved or sponsorship opportunities, email us at or call 503-644-0123.