How Wall Street Chaos Killed Innovation Courage Last Week

Good Morning Pioneers, For 30 years we've measured the mindset of business leaders as they prepared to innovate in Eureka! Inventing or Innovation Engineering CREATE sessions.

Each time the stock market took a big dive - 1990, 2000, 2008 the data showed significant declines in "courage to take action" on innovations.  I fully expect that based on last week's stock market gyrations we will see a similar reduction in courage as we track data this fall.

My theory on the reason for the decline in courage is that it ignites a fear reaction.   Most  business leaders have their retirement invested in the stock market. When the market goes into chaos it causes them to become unreasonably conservative.    This theory is supported by psychology studies that teach  us that "prevention of a negative" is often more motivating than the "promise of a positive."  What the leaders don't understand is that by not innovating they are actually increasing their odds of failure.

Stock Crashes are the best time to innovate.   When the stock market is in chaos is actually the best time to innovate.  In my career the best years for growth have been.... 1990, 2000 and 2008.  Each time I doubled down with our investment in new technologies and systems.  Each time the rewards were significant.    Similarly, I fully expect this recent chaos should make for a great fall and 2016!

As Rudyard Kipling wrote in his poem IF...

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, 
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   

The simple fact is "If you're not unique you better be cheap."  Innovation is no longer optional.   The real choice is not to innovate or not innovate.  The real choice is will you innovate randomly or will you apply system driven leadership to innovation.

Have a good one!

Doug Hall