Tough Times Call for More Innovation

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by: John Winsor

It seems counter-intuitive to be more innovative when the economy shows signs of trouble. Yet, over half of the 2008 Inc. 500 companies had one thing in common. They all started in the few months following 9/11. People decided to forget about the uncertainty that the events of that day caused and go start something. Creative people forget about the uncertainty and focus on innovation. When the macro environment changes radically, as it is today, it’s easy to get gripped with fear and focus on efficiency. But, efficiency is for accountants and not for leaders and innovators.

The worst thing to do is to get locked up by fear and go into hibernation. If you pull in your horns waiting for things to get better they won’t. They’re going to get better but only for those companies who can but fear out of their mind and move forward aggressively.

Disruptive times create opportunities for companies. In the 1970’s both Microsoft and Apple were founded in the middle of an economically turbulent time. Likewise, Palm transformed an entire industry by shifting from being a software company to a hardware company. They invented a whole new industry in the middle of a recession.

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