It’s not that good times are bad for innovation, necessarily. Easy money just tends to generate more followers than leaders, says Steven Johnson , author of “Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation.”
He uses a metaphor from biology: Nature has evolved several tiny critters that reproduce asexually when food is plentiful.
“Just make a copy of ourselves, because this is working,” Johnson said.
When resources are scarce, though, suddenly there are males that mate with females to produce a more-diverse next generation. Sex, after all, shakes up the genetic dice.
Something like that happens in business when resources get tight. Instead of companies trying to simply duplicate existing success, they’re more willing to mix up the old formulas.
“There is more of a drive for experimentation in the lean times and more of a copycat model in the fast times,” Johnson says.
Ken Tencer sings much the same tune. He’s the CEO of Spyder Works Inc., and the co-author and developer of The 90% Rule book and seminars.
“Innovation has always thrived during hard times, as they freed people to question the status quo,” he says. “In good times, people may be less inclined to rock the boat, but in tough times you have no choice.”Page 2 of 5 | Prev Page | Next Page