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How Do You Innovate In A Recession? Look to the iPhone, Flip, Kindle and ZipCar for Answers

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on April 23, 2009

Warren Buffet’s now-famous metaphor about corporate culture— you never know who’s wearing a swimsuit and who’s really naked until the tide goes out—is never more evident than today. Even as companies are cutting back investments in innovation, many are paying their CEOs’ federal and state taxes, country club membership fees, family flights on the corporate jet and who knows what else. With their separate health care, deferred compensation, schools, insurance, and transportation systems that cut them off not only from their own employees but from their consumers, most CEOs live on different planet. No wonder they fail.

But a few succeed and show the way. if you want to know how to innovate in a recession—or out of one—there are examples right in our faces. All of the obvious successes—the iPhone, Kindle, Flip and ZipCar, have one thing in common. All the successes offer a new platform to people that is easy to use, easy to build new applications on and expand and easy on the pocket. All of them combine both great hardware and terrific software. Without the software platforms that allow consumers to manage their images, songs, books, etc., the products would fail. Indeed, these winners are both products and services. They break the boundaries between the two.

Want to know how to innovate and succeed in a horrible downturn. Look to Apple, Amazon, Flip (just bought by Cisco), and ZipCar for lessons.



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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