In an August 1 article Holding the Line on R&D by Josh Cable…
Rita McGrath, a Columbia University associate professor who focuses on innovation, corporate growth and new business, has observed less of the “across-the-board, off-with-their-heads mindset” toward R&D than in previous downturns. McGrath, who recently penned a book on corporate innovation strategies, “Discovery Driven Growth,” believes that many companies learned their lesson the hard way in the 1980s and 1990s.
“When the dot-com bubble burst, and then prior to that during the sort of mini depression of the early 1980s, a lot of companies cut R&D, they cut innovation — they really cut down to the bone,” McGrath says. “And then when things came back again in the mid-2000s, they missed a lot of growth opportunities.”
Those companies that are maintaining their focus on R&D during the current recession “are being much more intelligent about it,” she adds. “I do see some evidence that companies are being more selective when it comes to R&D,” McGrath says.
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