In these times when the daily news from Wall Street, Main Street, and, for many of you your finance offices, leads with the words “budget cuts,” it’s difficult not to think about retreating into a bunker to ride out the storm – in effect, burying our heads in the sand (no offense to that oft’ stereotyped Ostrich, which, by the way, does not bury its head in the sand).
Despite this impulse, I encourage you to do the very opposite. Look into the face of the storm and ask the question: “What opportunity is there to change what we do so that we come out of this stronger and better prepared to compete?” Now is the time to be entrepreneurial, to be an innovator, scary as that may seem. Times of crisis have been responsible for some of our country’s greatest innovations – during the late 1800’s, America experienced a prolonged period of falling prices; out of that time came railroads, automobiles, the electric light, the telephone, and phonograph, to mention some. The time is ripe to do the same in the field of higher education marketing communications.
In many ways, most of us still operate on an outdated 20th Century model and have not really felt the pressure to change. We’re not alone. The blogosphere is rich with commentaries about how American business and industry is in the same boat. Seize this chance to get your staff out of the budget-cut woes and excited about redefining how you think about marketing communications in your shop. Look for tactics you can implement right away. Inspiration is all around you in the form of what others are doing on the Web. Bob’s post, College Marketing on the Edge is a great primer. As is Bea Fields’ blog “A Down Economy is a Great Time for Innovation“. And here’s one way to start…post links to your innovations or ideas/websites that get your innovation engines going on our blog to help inspire others.
I’ll leave you with these sage words by Clay Siegall, President and CEO of Seattle Genetics on Xconomy
“At times like these, it is important to focus on what you do best, while being careful to utilize the resources that you need, not those that you want. I have observed that most truly innovative ideas come from individuals or small teams that can ask and answer questions rapidly.
For entrepreneurs, financial uncertainty forces efforts to be streamlined. This is often when the best concepts arise as great innovators are excited by and step up to challenges much as great athletes reach deep within themselves to achieve peak performance. Above all, don’t follow others during a downturn as that is a sure way to halt innovation and progress.”