Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Innovating through a Recession

Professor Andrew Razeghi ( of Kellog School of Management has written a compelling piece called "Innovating through a Recession, When the going gets tough, the tough innovate" - it's available as a download here: PDF Download

Taking lessons from history and the Great Depression, Razeghi provides insights into how NYTimes, Fortune, Kraft (Miracle Whip), Motorala, Texas Instruments, La-Z-Boy, and Apple innovated and succeeded when others pulled back on their efforts.

He also shows how companies like Vlasic reduced their prices in the hopes of making it up on volume but in the end it damaged their brand.

Razeghi's 7 Principles:
1. Listen to the market.  It's quieter when it's less crowded.  Unmet needs abound.

2. Invest in your csutomers  Now they need you most.  Loyalty hangs in the balance.

3. Rather than reduce price, offer more value to your customers and demand greater value from vendors.

4. Increase communications with your customers.

5. Move longer-term projects forward not back.  Now is the time to grab market share.

6. In recession, not all costs are create equal.  Maintain or increase investment in "good costs"; prune "bad costs"; use judgment on "it depends costs".

7. If you don't have money at least spend the time.
- "Now is the time to unleash corporate creativity.  The greatest mistake you can make now is to mortgage your future by failing to innovate"

It's a very good piece for innovators looking for inspiration in challenging times.  I highly recommend it.