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  • 06.12.09

Addicts Must Hit Bottom First – Innovation Will Help Our Economy Recover

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I’m in Colombia right now doing a
series of seminars for different groups and companies, including
Hewlett-Packard. As I travel across the globe, I see one positive sign of this
worldwide economic breakdown – people are becoming more innovative.
We’ve reached what we hope is the bottom, and individuals and companies are incredibly
discontent with their circumstances.

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This is the nature of innovation and
the first phase that I discuss at my presentations – the Metal Phase,
which is when a company’s system gets stuck and it is unable to adapt to a
changing environment.  This why addicts must reach bottom before they are
willing to change and why so many people reinvent themselves only after they
have lost their job or have closed a business.

It is only when we are willing to
give up the current future that we can consider alternative ones. After a
person or company reaches a state of discontent, then they can explore new
options and develop new strategies.

Nokia is a
perfect example of surviving and thriving after the Metal Phase. There was a
time when Nokia made tires, produced rubber, owned forests, and fabricated
paper goods. Over its hundred or so years of business, it had become an unfocused
conglomerate.

This
unaligned strategy eventually caught up with the company, and with a severely
weakened financial foundation, Nokia’s CEO committed suicide.

Since great
innovations are always rooted in deep discontent, Nokia executives used this tragic
situation as a new foundation to rebuild the crumbling company. Its management
recognized that the deregulation and privatization of Europe’s telecom market
would create a major opportunity, so it invested with focused determination on telecommunications. Mobile
phones have grown faster than most experts imagined, and Nokia has grown with
it.

Nokia is
just one of many companies that reinvented themselves after become too big or
too stuck it their ways. Our economic structure is facing the same struggle,
and luckily, people and companies seem to be adapting and recovering.

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This
economic downturn has not only ignited a desire for innovation, but it’s also
created a sense of unity. We are all in this crisis together, and people are
actively sharing ideas and thoughts in numerous ways. Hopefully the lessons we
learn from this unstable time will not only give us new products and services,
but will continue to unite and enlighten us.

 

About the author

Author of Outthink the Competition business strategy keynote speaker and CEO of Outthinker, a strategic innovation firm, Kaihan Krippendorff teaches executives, managers and business owners how to seize opportunities others ignore, unlock innovation, and build strategic thinking skills. Companies such as Microsoft, Citigroup, and Johnson & Johnson have successfully implemented Kaihan’s approach because their executive leadership sees the value of his innovative technique.

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