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Innovation in a Recession Pays Off

You've heard the arguments about why it's strategically smart for a company to invest in innovation in a downturn. You'll catch your competitors struggling just to stay afloat. Top talent is cheap(er). And consumers will respond to new products if they see value.

But what does history show us?

In a recent Forbes.com article, innovation expert Scott Anthony takes us back to the last significant economic downturn, 2001. What products were introduced that year?

  • Apple's iPod
  • Procter & Gamble's White Strips
  • Pfizer's Pocket Paks
"All in all, our research identified at least a dozen specific disruptive developments in the U.S. alone" that rolled out in that time, Anthony writes.
So now that you've decided to go on the innovation offensive, where to start? On Harvard Business Publishing, Anthony (he's everywhere!) writes about the success factors needed by established companies to be disruptive innovators. These include:
  • "Put the customer, and their important, unsatisfied job-to-be-done at the center of the innovation equation"
  • "Embrace the power of simplicity, convenience, and affordability"
  • "Create organizational space for disruptive growth businesses"
  • "Consider innovation levers beyond features and functions"
  • "Become world class at testing, iterating and adjusting"
Anthony works with Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, who did the seminal work on disruptive innovation, so he is a good source on the subject and a talented writer to boot.
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