Special Report: Innovate In a Recession

Entrepreneur Magazine
Innovate in a Recession
By Tiffany Meyers, January 22, 2009

If the downturn is hurting your entrepreneurial spirit, we have good news for you: Recessions are historically ripe with opportunity for innovation. Don’t believe us? Read on.

Change Your Mindset. The economy tanks. You have two options: hole up in a bunker and hope it ends before you run out of tinned peas, or innovate and emerge stronger than when the economy took the hit. “During a recession, people tend to say, ‘Let’s stop everything and save money until it’s over,'” says Bernard Meyerson, vice president and CTO of IBM’s systems and technology group. “Well, you’re not going to save your way to greatness.” But you can innovate your way there. So stop moping and heed our experts’ advice. Here are three steps that’ll help you focus on innovation rather than recession woes.

Take a Reality Check. “Love the lows,” the experts proclaim. “Relish the recessions.” Given the national mood, even Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Larry David comes across as more sensitive. In fact, before you relish anything, “make sure your core business is strong,” says Susan Schuman, CEO of innovation and leadership firm SYPartners. “Protect your core, because only then will you have the capacity to innovate.”

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