Innovation in times of crisis: how to navigate uncertain scenarios and still innovate in business? 

During a global crisis, like the one we are currently experiencing after the pandemic, innovation can take a back seat for businesses, which usually only focus on surviving the moment. 

However, innovation in times of crisis is a determining factor not only for the business to survive, but also to gain market share and come out ahead of the competition. 

Understand, in detail, why it is worth innovating even during times of crisis and how to promote innovation in your company. Continue reading and check it out! 

Why is it important to promote innovation in times of crisis? 

At the slightest sign of a crisis, the market usually reacts by cutting costs and reviewing its growth projections. On the other hand, there is a portion of companies that take advantage of the fragility of the crisis to stand out in the market, moving in contrast to competitors that retract during a period. 

The vision of innovation in times of crisis suggests the opposite attitude of the market, betting on the long term and using creativity in its favor.  

Which companies have a good track record of innovation in times of crisis? 

There is no shortage of good stories! Corporations like Google, Uber, Netflix, and Nubank are examples of organizations that have not been intimidated by market challenges and continued to innovate even when the tide was not in their favor. Get to know some of these stories. 

Google 

During the famous Internet bubble burst of 2001, many companies ceased to exist. Meanwhile, Google did not stop innovating and stood out during the predicament, strengthening its search intelligence system and offering an e-mail service with high storage and integration capacity. 

Apple 

Even in a market dominated by competition and unstable economic scenarios, Apple has managed to build a legion of fans. By creating new product categories through the integration of mobile and computer functionality in innovative devices such as the iMac, iPad, and other gadgets, Apple always manages to stay relevant. 

Uber 

In a market that was completely established, Uber has innovated by changing the habit of the population of taking a cab. This is done by placing technology as a connector between service providers and consumers, benefiting both sides. 

Its success came in a turbulent environment, with a high level of rejection on the part of cab drivers and a great movement of innovation that increased the quality of the transport service for users. 

How to innovate in times of crisis? 

For team leaders in medium and large companies, the examples of Google, Apple and Uber can be inspirational. But, after all, how do you put innovation into practice in periods of economic uncertainty? 

Check out some paths that can be taken to achieve this goal.

Find the opportunities 

One of the main ways to create a culture of innovation within a team during a hard period is to not stop planning.  

It may not be possible to execute the actions with the same intensity as in a non-crisis scenario. However, planning will certainly lead the business to achieve the best results within the reality of the market. 

Understand your customer’s needs 

Realizing what your customers need is just as important as protecting your business from a crisis. In unstable scenarios, consumer needs can change, and as a result, strategic redirection can be essential. 

As complex and unknown as innovation may seem, the truth is that innovating does not necessarily mean high investments and great technologies. Often, looking at the customer’s need and focusing on solving problems with your product/service can be the best kind of innovation in times of crisis, boosting the business result and increasing the customer’s perception of value. 

Envision the end of the crisis  

Every crisis has its end, even if it seems far away. While it is necessary for companies to create a resilient and adaptable mindset to cope with economic qualms, seeing an end to the setbacks and seeking a positive outlook is necessary. 

The reason goes beyond just spreading positive thinking to the team. Envisioning the end of the crisis is important to understand how the recession period will leave its mark on society and what the new behaviors of the population will be when the market is favorable again. 

Strengthen your competencies 

Last but not least, invest in promoting knowledge to bring the mindset of innovation in times of crisis to your business. 

Studying success cases in depth, expanding your networking, and keeping an eye on international trends are some of the ways to strengthen your competencies to succeed with a culture of innovation in times of crisis. 


If you are in search of new knowledge on the topic, how about checking out the Masterclass Innovation and System Logic, with Prof. Jacopo Filippo Bargellini from CUOA Business School. Register now and attend this free online lecture! 

And for those who want to have an international experience and participate in a short course in Europe, the course Creativity, Innovation & Entrepreneurship is for you! See all the details on the IBS Americas website and apply for a scholarship!