Historically, recessions have been a time when new companies are born and good companies separate themselves from their competition. When times are tight, people look for new, less expensive ways to do old things. For example, a new industry of buses has sprung up to transport passengers from New York City to Washington, D.C. at ridiculously low costs (as low as $5 at times!), stealing business from Amtrak.

So is this the time to put innovation on hold due to tight economic circumstances or to exploit innovation opportunities? Firms that adopt the first approach do so at great risk. If you don’t take advantage of opportunities, your current and future competitors will.

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