How to keep up a successful innovation policy during challenging times:
1. Be creative if you want creativity to come to you.
2. Be flexible and agile inside and outside the organization.
HR: New hires are rarely on the company agenda during a recession:
Constitute horizontal teams to manage projects. If properly executed, this allows you to use existing personnel where you would have hired new people, to create new teams and stronger relationships, and to foster better communications within the organization.
Use outside consultants. More flexible than even temporary workers when it comes to work load, they also can work on commission and be ready immediately if you have worked with them before.
Keep eyes everywhere:
Commission people to be on the lookout for new technologies to in-license in different fields, in different countries.
Foster your network for opportunities. Suppliers, clients, workers, industry relations and former colleagues all have ties that may be useful to you.
Read the trade press from industries that are adjacent to yours—scientific journals, science popularization magazines, biomedical journals, to name a few.
Be open to new technologies that can help save money and accelerate processes:
Technologies that can help your design process:
Use the social media for customer-driven design, inexpensive and efficient market test and crisis prevention.
Use Web-collaborative tools to keep in touch with the best everywhere and to manage international teams.
Technologies that can help your lab and production lines function better:
New toxicity tests, but also activity and compound screening technologies are now available to the consumer products industries after having been validated by the biomedical industry for years (in silico biology, high throughput screening tools, etc.).
Some of those companies are small and need to land contracts to survive as the activity in biomed stays very competitive, and industrial partnerships are one way to keep afloat.