At the newspaper I used to work at, one of my assignments every time the price of gas went up was to head to a gas station and ask people if the cost would change their driving habits. I estimate I’ve performed this task at least five different times.
Inevitably, two out of every 10 drivers I interviewed would say yes. The rest would say, ‘Not really.’ But then, they’d add things like, ‘well, we aren’t taking our vacation this year,’ or ‘I do bundle all my errands into one trip now,’ or ‘I am carpooling to work.’
Television news gave the impression that gas prices were truly crushing people, as if no one was driving anymore. But many people didn’t think about it like that. Sure, gas was really expensive, but they were finding ways to manage because they had to.
I thought of this as I was interviewing SAP customers last week about their SAP resolutions for the New Year. With so much news on how the recession would decimate IT budgets, IT projects and consequently, vendor sales, I expected to hear from SAP customers that they’d prioritized some sort of cost cutting measures.
So I was surprised by the optimism I heard, each one chiming in with the new projects they had planned for the coming year, not even mentioning cost cutting. And when I asked how they’d pay for them, they said they would just have to get creative.
I know a resolution is what you want to do, not necessarily what you will do. But the resilience exhibited by customers is a bright spot in a year that has been filled with some pretty bad news.
So let’s head into 2009 remembering this — despite a dismal economy, just as people are still driving, companies are still finding ways to innovate, because they have to.
I’d be interested to hear how you plan to deliver innovation in the New Year, and some of the creative ways you’ll do it.