Innovation in Times of Crisis: Why the Best Time to Grow is Now

Rafael Chaves Lopes
7 min readMar 30, 2020

There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit individuals and businesses hard all over the world.

Reports indicate that in the US, more than 3 million people have filed for unemployment already this year and in their best estimates, experts predict that the economic turmoil of the pandemic will cost the global economy trillions of dollars. Essentially, we’re smack in the middle of a global crisis of unprecedented proportions.

For most businesses, the natural instinct at this time would be to enter into disaster management mode. Hemorrhaging profits and revenues must be cauterized somehow, with the usual response being to batten down and impose austerity measures.

But as is often the case, this stability usually comes at the expense of innovation. After all, as Paul J.H. Shoemaker, research director at the Mack Center for Technological Innovation, says, “… if the patient is bleeding you need to stop that first”. There’s no sense worrying if he can learn a new trick while he’s still leaking blood.

Despite this, innovation should not always be a casualty of crisis. While it makes sense to suspend efforts to improve while the existence of the business itself is at risk, companies stand a lot to gain by taking the long view.

History is replete with examples of companies that found a few exploited opportunities to innovate in times of crisis, reaping massive wins as a result. In this article, we will examine what they did right and how your company can also find the best innovation in this challenging period.

The opportunities of crisis

Change precedes growth, and while the current situation is looking increasingly bleak for many, it holds opportunities and positives for the wary.

Times of crisis can hold great potential for growth, evolution and expansion. But it takes a business with a long-term vision to identify available opportunities and act on them as they arise.

Why is the time of crisis such a great opportunity for the forward-looking company? Here are some reasons:

  • Crisis creates new consumer needs and habits. Depending on how fundamental the change is, it can…
Rafael Chaves Lopes

I help corporations become ambidextrous organizations, measure innoavtion, and increase idea-to-success ratio.