Looking Up – Innovation: The Up Side of the Downturn

Paul Leinberger
The Futures Company

“The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise to the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.”1

By now you are no doubt tired of hearing—once again—about how challenging this business environment is: the worst recession in more than 70 years in the United States; consumer confidence numbers hovering at or near record lows; unemployment numbers getting worse by the month. All doom and gloom.

Funny thing about bad news—it instills pessimism and fear. And fear immobilizes; it stops us in our tracks. We don't focus on the future; we focus on survival. Our gaze turns inward at exactly the moment it needs to do the opposite. Instead of focusing on how consumers are changing and how the market is changing, we focus on cutting costs, we agonize over layoffs, and we let the anxiety about what might happen tomorrow overwhelm us—today.