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Economic Instability Can Promote Innovation

October - 2008
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By: Anna Levitsky, Editor

The past few weeks have been marked by a steadily increasing economic turmoil - with financial institutions lined up and falling like dominoes, echoing down the corridors of Wall St. But it isn't just banks, credit card companies, and other lending institutions that are feeling the crunch; every individual, organization, or business that relies on these institutions (which is basically everyone) is being either directly or indirectly affected by the crisis.

While it's tempting to let the media's constant economic updates and premonitions of disaster enshroud you with despair, it is not necessarily the only way of approaching the issue. Historically (and philosophically), times of crisis or upheaval - anything that blatantly resembles an uncomfortable change - are not simply defined by their obvious jolt to the status quo, but by their ability to transform and create.

Think about it: when the American Colonists first decided to challenge the authority and rule of the British Empire, the ensuing revolution was by no means a pleasant response, but it was in fact a change; one that would later lead to the creation of one of the most longstanding, thoroughly composed, and well known governing documents that the world has ever seen - the United States Constitution. (The reason I use this as an example of a transcending result of tumultuous times, in addition to its analogous pertinence, is because this past September 17th marked the 221st anniversary of the U.S. Constitution.) Then as now, the people of America faced a changing economy and way of a discussion on Innovation, and so far I have digressed.

The most effective way to break out of a failing system, in my opinion, is to create your own. This is the essence of innovative thinking. If all around you people are struggling, and they are all trying to stay afloat using the same old, worn out, and ineffective methods, it is up to you to come up with a new and novel solution.

To get you started, here are a few areas which you might want to collaborate on with some coworkers to come up with solutions to kick start your business during these trying times:

  • Reevaluate and consider adding or removing steps in your business processes.
  • Combine steps for better efficiency
  • Find ways to conserve energy in the office, factory, or warehouse
  • Determine which materials can be reused to cut down on expenses
  • Simplify your products

These are just a few challenges to get your creative juices flowing. Here is another challenge: branch out to your comrades in the industry, and learn from each other. Our online forums have become a great resource for constructive and professional feedback on finishing related questions and more, posed by industry members across the country and around the globe. Have a problem that you can't quite figure out on your own? Visit www.finishingtalk.com and click on "Community". See how others are handling current economic conditions, get inspired, and let the innovation begin!