Oct 19, 2011Business
Don't cut costs - Innovate!

In a time when businesses are stuck in a cost-cutting rut and eager to start growing again, the answer lies in innovation.  Examples of how innovation can help the economy are all around us.  From the unemployment line to CEOs, innovation replaces tragedy with opportunity by inventing new jobs, new products, and new industries.   


The lesson we all can learn from innovation is clear.  You cannot go on doing the same thing and expect different results.  If an individual or a business truly seeks growth, they must do something different in order to get a new result.  Those who innovate become leaders in the industry, not followers. 


If you’re an ambitious, driven, and unemployed individual constantly applying for jobs online to no avail, consider creating your own job.  The Internet alone has seen an influx of young entrepreneurs who have innovated their way out of the unemployment line.  If you’re not cut out for self-employment, look for educational opportunities in fields like science and technology, where innovators are made. 


If you’re a successful business owner but your actual business suggests otherwise, evaluate your need for change.  Make a clear action plan for growth that promotes innovation and creativity in the workplace.  It doesn’t have to cost a fortune either; promote innovation as part of your business philosophy.  When times get tough, don’t cut costs or downsize your workforce, innovate your way out of trouble. You’ll emerge as an industry leader.   


Consider these examples:

Apple – In 2004, Steve Jobs said, “The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament.”  And innovate they did, over and over again. 


Ford – The automotive industry has taken huge losses over the last 5 to 10 years yet Ford Motor Company managed to avoid bankruptcy while other automotive manufacturers could not.  Ford relied on innovation; it was not easy but it paid off.  They designed new technologies and new designs that propelled them ahead of the competition.  


Starbucks – Just this year, Sustainability Director Jim Hanna explained how the coffee supply has been affected by climate change, and rumors about Starbucks exploring juice bar options have surfaced.  If the coffee supply decreases and demand stays the same, what is a coffee-centric café to do?  The cost of coffee may reach a threshold and become a luxury in the near future. 


This talk about innovation and growth has gone on for nearly a decade and only a few stand-out businesses seem to have taken the lesson to heart.  People are afraid of change, in general, and it’s easier to do more of the same than it is to start something new.  But that is exactly why some businesses will never experience their true growth potential.  With creative and passionate people doing what they love, innovation is bound to happen.  It’s only human. 

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