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Will Innovation Lead Us Out of the Economic Crisis?

In a recent interview with Business WeekAmar Bhidé, Lawrence D. Glaubinger Professor of Business, Columbia University, had this to say when asked if the current economic weakness is going to inspire more innovation, and result in a positive outcome from the crisis:
It’s going to be positive in two respects. One is that [recession] is often a stimulus for the adoption of new technologies. The decade of highest productivity growth in the 20th century was the 1930s. In the 1930s a lot of technologies developed in the 1920s were put into use because people were looking for any angle to improve their productivity. The personal computer revolution took off in the early 1980s when we had a really lousy recession. I think we’re going to see an awful lot of innovation in the health-care sector because people will be driven to cut costs. So right under our noses a great boom could be taking place that in the long run revolutionizes health care for everyone. And that will have a much more lasting impact on the economy than whether the recession lasts a few months more or less.

The continued adoption of video conferencing and telepresence technologies, even in challenging times, is proof of what Bhidé is saying. Companies have recognized the value that these technologies bring to help them not only deal with current short-term challenges, but to help them thrive in the future.

He goes on to say, “We have a more innovative society than at any time in history. There are people looking for opportunities, and they will lead us out of this.”

Do you agree?

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