One theory of why there is more innovation in a downturn comes from Professor Dominic Houlder of London Business School. It goes like this:
There are two main sources of innovation – invention and discovery.
Discovery as it relates to innovation is analyzing where customers are being over-served and where they are being under-served. Discovery is teasing out what needs customers have surpressed during the boom times for a myriad of reasons, and identifying ways to better serve customers. The firms that get this right during the downturn are the firms that are likely to emerge strongest out of the downturn.
For more detail check out the video:
So, now that you are less busy filling customer orders. Are you using that time to innovate through discovery or only through invention?
Where will your next innovation come from?