I was reading a newsletter today from the Association for Competitive Technology. In it they stated:
During the Great Depression, Du Pont’s research team invented Nylon and Douglas Aircraft developed the revolutionary DC-3. Hewlett Packard invented the pocket calculator during the recessions of the early seventies. During the economic slowdown of the late 1990s, Apple developed the iPod and iTunes and hundreds of successful, innovation-focused firms were created.
What I’ve learned as I prepare for my new book Bootstrap Business to be published this spring is that in difficult times, you still need to spend along the same percentages that you did in good times. What that means is that you should not shift all of your spending away from R&D, but just look across the board at spending cuts that still allow innovation to occur.
It sounds like Du Pont, Douglas Aircraft, HP and Apple knew about this secret as well.
What are you doing about innovation right now that will put your company “on the map” like the firms mentioned above? Double check the R&D budget line for 2009 and shift your focus to innovation. It is much more inspirational than “hunkering down”.