Back in October I mentioned that, just after Barack Obama was elected president, his incoming chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, told a conference of American captains of industry, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”
Now, I’ve come across the following video in which Emanuel, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal expands on the idea. He’s talking politics – specifically the opportunity for bipartisan reform – but the principle is equally true of how businessnes can take advantage of the crisis: use it as a great opportunity to innovate.
Video after the break.
Emanuel with Barack Obama
The Schumpeter column in The Economist last week recounts how, just after Barack Obama was elected president, his incoming chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, told a conference of American captains of industry, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”
Quite right. It’s in a slump that innovative companies are created or come out fighting. As The Economist notes “Business is more likely to take advantage of this ‘serious crisis’ than the world’s politicians.”
The evening papers in London tonight are reporting the story of David Rowe, an unemployed history graduate who spent five days walking the streets of the capital last month wearing a sandwich board. His pitch? He’d work for free for a month. After that, you could either hire or fire him.
Well, his innovative advertising idea produced exactly the result he was looking for. In addition to widespread media coverage and about 250 enquiries, Rowe attracted the attention of JCDecaux’s managing director Spencer Berwin who literally bumped into him on Fleet Street.