The Great Reset: Experts say innovation, entrepreneurship historically thrive in bad economies

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Monday, October 12, 2020
Experts say COVID-19 sparking innovation, entrepreneurship
Experts say COVID-19 sparking innovation, entrepreneurship

Although things may seem bleak right now - history tells us that tough times like these often inspire our best and brightest entrepreneurs.

That's according to a local economic expert Jamie Jones.

"The research has actually shown that during economic downturns that there's an acceleration of innovation that occurs," Jones said. "For example, during the Great Depression we saw a huge increase in manufacturing capabilities as well as new materials being introduced like nylon and Teflon."


Jones said those are just two examples of how entrepreneurship and innovation can thrive during the worst of economic times.

"This necessity and these acute pain points that we're feeling really activate the entrepreneurs among us," Jones told ABC11.

Jones is the executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.

She points out that ten years ago the 'Great Recession' spawned businesses that are now ingrained in our society like Uber and Airbnb.

"So it's easy to imagine, given the multi-level crisis that we're in now, that we will see an acceleration of innovation coming out of this," Jones said.

Some economic historians, according to Jones, have suggested that these times of steep economic decline that spawn new, innovative businesses should be called the Great Resets.

She noted that in this economic crisis in particular, "We've had huge behavioral shifts in how we work, how we learn, how we communicate, and how we consume. And so in an environment like this entrepreneurs are going to do by definition what entrepreneurs do which is identify needs, marshal resources to develop and deliver solutions that meet those needs."

But the unique circumstance of this 'Great Reset' - combining economic and health crises with social justice - calls for extra efforts.

Jones believes this reset should include finally acknowledging that support of entrepreneurs in groups facing social justice challenges is often lacking.

"Many people face barriers to entrepreneurial action. Not everyone has the same opportunity in front of them. And so we have to figure out; how do we bridge those barriers?"

Jones says while she expects another historic Great Reset in the world of capitalism, she notes that like the ones that came before, it won't happen overnight.