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This Recession Will Breed Innovation. Here's What Companies Need to Focus on.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on October 29, 2008

Maybe it’s the 11% jump in stocks, but I’m beginning to see the deep recession as a great opportunity for innovation. Crisis brings change and a BIG crisis can create BIG changes. First, I think we’re going to see big changes in consumer behavior. IDEO’s Tim Brown is already talking about this. He thinks there might be a shift from spending to saving (remember Bank of America’s Keep the Change product/service?) and perhaps a desire for more stability and sustainability in our lives. Remember how the business for cheap airline seats and airlines that provided them took off in past recessions, when price trumped (bad) food. it was disruptive. What’s next?

Over at Cheskin, the same thought process is under way—how will consumer behavior change? Cheskin focuses on corporate brands and positioning in the recession. Perhaps more importantly, Cheskin talks about the government role in promoting innovation ecologies—and the kind of programs and spending that are necessary to do so.

This gets back to innovation economics and the need to support programs and policies that generate creativity and economic growth. The US outspends nearly all countries in R&D but in the past five or six years, jobs have actually declined in the tech industry. Why? We need to know. Do we need more support for innovation clusters in cities? In regions? Do we need more X Prizes to focus effort on key transformative technologies (the 100 mpg car, the much-better battery)? This is the stuff of private and public policy.

Chicago has a great innovation awards contest that promotes economic growth in the city.

Reader Comments


October 30, 2008 10:58 PM

I actually work for a company who jumped on the innovation train before the stock markets dropped an economic recession. And we've had a great response from individuals and retailers as it appeals to a broad audience... not just engineers, scientists, etc.

Edison Nation (

We make it easy to find great ideas for the retailer and we open doors for the independent innovator. Hosting innovation challenges on the Web site, Edison Nation members can submit their solutions for a chance to be selected for commercialization by the hosting retailer/manufacturer.

It's not just a site to connect the everyman-turned inventor with retail opportunities, it provides members with a safe community to share ideas, personal stories, interest, lessons learned and skills.

We've already had three ideas from the membership selected to be developed by Spencers Gifts. The idea generator received a $2500 cash advance + any future annuities and the retailer received an original idea that appeals to its consumer --- because it was created by a consumer.

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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