“Great strategies,” said Wisconsin School of Business professor Hart Posen, “almost always identify and solve valuable problems.”
And COVID-19 presents a series of valuable problems.
The current pandemic is forcing businesses large and small to think strategically and to find areas in which to innovate. It’s a challenge, Posen noted, but it’s also an opportunity. He and Scott Cook, the cofounder of Intuit, talked about innovation in the shadow of the pandemic during The UW Now Livestream on July 14. Mike Knetter, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association, hosted the discussion and brought forward questions from the hundreds of UW alumni and friends who viewed the event live on YouTube.
Innovation during Hard Times
Both Posen and Cook cited ways that crises have inspired the rapid development of new ideas and new products: aviation and industry in World War II, the airline industry after the financial crisis, and the renewal of Apple Computer after financial hardship in the 1990s.
“This is a grim situation,” Cook said of COVID-19. “But it’s also true, to use a pretty grim analogy, that there can be … permanent and important changes accelerated in even the grimmest of times.”
To hear more of Cook and Posen’s thoughts on innovation, view a recording of The UW Now. The series of events is itself a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though originally planned as in-person gatherings in cities across the United States, The UW Now is now offered via YouTube and will continue through the summer. The next event will be July 28.