How to innovate in tough times, part II

Innovation consultant Laura Weiss offers tips on innovating during an economic downturn.

Last week, I blogged about a Knowledge@Wharton article containing advice about innovating in difficult times. This week, a visitor to our site added her own insights on that topic: Laura Weiss, an innovation consultant, pointed out her own recent San Francisco Chronicle column on innovating during a downturn. Commented Weiss: “I advocate the following:
   

  • Get focused, fast
  • Leverage what you already know
  • Maintain a steady pace
  • Be compassionate with yourself.”

Two of the points in Weiss’s column strike me as particularly interesting. First, in order to innovate efficiently in lean economic times, she recommends undertaking small experiments that help you learn quickly and maintain momentum. And she also suggests looking internally:

When it comes to innovation, there is a tendency to believe that insights and know-how are the domains of outside experts. Take the time now to improve internal networks for communicating your ideas in order to more effectively mine in-house knowledge across as much of your organization as possible. You may know more than you think, which will help you get focused on what’s missing and eliminate the cost of reinventing the wheel.

A good point, indeed. What else should innovators keep in mind so that they and their new ideas can survive in — and hopefully thrive in — difficult economic periods like these?