“When times are tough, creativity should not be!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
You should never forget that you might find your best ideas when faced with adversity.
One thing I’ll be talking about during my keynote in Switzerland tomorrow is that a recession and economic downturns are actually a great time to launch new ideas and new companies. I’ll share this slide, which is an overview of companies that were launched in previous times of economic uncertainty. Microsoft, Mattel, Trade Joe’s, IBM, Colgate-Palmolive, MTV, Disney. No one told the founders that they shouldn’t launch their opportunities when things were going south!
That’s because it’s always a good time for creativity – a new idea, an imaginative opportunity, an imaginative reality. The long-term opportunity should never get distracted by short-term uncertainty.
Here’s what you need to know though – Some people don’t see the world that way. They view a downturn as a time to retrench, pull back, and shut things down because their view of the future is so limited. I am reminded of the time the editor of the Globe & Mail newspaper shut down my long-standing technology-oriented weekly column at the height of the dot.com collapse in 2001. His attitude was that clearly, the tech run was over and that ideas were dead in the water. I’ll never forget his comment to me: “There is no more technology news yet to come.”
LOL on him: after that, the tech industry saw the recession of 2001-02 as an opportunity for rebirth and growth. So after ‘tech was over,’ we saw the birth of a few tech-based organizations and inventions such as the iPhone, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, WhatsApp, Android, Bitcoin, Tesla, Wikipedia, Netflix, Google Maps, Spotify, Airbnb, Uber… Oops! I guess he didn’t understand how the world works!
The fact is, recessions and economic volatility are opportunities – we know that through history! What do these innovators know?
- they see the long-term opportunity and don’t get deluded by a short-term trend of volatility
- they know that current uncertainty won’t impact the long-term certainty of that opportunity
- they are far too invested in the rightness of their opportunity to let short-term thinking delude them as to the value for their investment
- they are too busy inventing the future they know to be deluded by the current reality around them!