Innovating in the eternal downturn

Peter Jones Innovation, Wu Wei

You know we’re in a very unusual downdraft cycle when articles on keeping the faith with innovation during downturns remain popular. The perpetual (or is it eternal?) financial crisis has lasted long enough to sustain a cottage industry of books and workshops intended to help the waning innovator and entrepreneur. My colleague Walter Derzko in Toronto has just such a book coming out any day now from Wiley, Hard Times, Golden Opportunities. When you expect the situation to remain dire for another year or so, even publishers will buy the normally pessimistic premise. To be fair, Walter’s upcoming Opportunity Clinic workshop offers a glimmer of hopefulness: “Spotting and designing Opportunities in a Recession and later in the up-turn.” “Green shoots” notwithstanding, the corporate mood has turned and uncertainty reigns. It is a great time for innovators, if not for the classic IPO-seeking “pump and dump” entrepreneurs. And while everyone in our line of work will of course insist that innovation is essential, we also need a set of guidelines sensitive to the creative destruction mindset. We need to be able …