Recession = More Creativity + Higher Rates of Entrepreneurship

Guest Writer
Writer and Content Strategist
min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Roughly two weeks ago, T-Mobile UK aired a commercial featuring a flash mob taking over a train station with a smartly choreographed dance routine. Saatchi & Saatchi created this brilliant video, earning an impressive viral following.*

In spite of tough times--or perhaps because of them, as a recent study suggests--creativity is on the rise. The Creative Group found that 40 percent of marketing and advertising executives surveyed believed leaner budgets resulted in more innovative campaigns, and T-Mobile's new "Life's for Sharing" ad series certainly lends credence to the theory.

If a downturn potentially drives creativity in large companies, it seems likely that startups would be given an even greater boost. Stephen Fuller, the Dwight Schar faculty chair and public policy professor at George Mason University, believes exactly this, that a byproduct of the current recession will be a growth in levels of creativity and the number of small businesses.

Fuller explains that in good times, people stick with the status quo, but when things slow down, circumstances like unemployment will "activate" an entrepreneurial drive. This is perhaps the same reason people start businesses during good times, but necessity spurs action. "There's always opportunity in adversity," he says.

"There are tens of thousands of firms that succeeded that were founded in a down economy," he continues. And indeed there are, according to research firm Inside CRM, which lists some big-name companies like Burger King and MTV. "Some of the unemployed are out there starting the future AOLs and Apples. If I knew who they were, I'd invest in them," he jokes, perhaps half-seriously.

* The elite advertising firm is hardly the first to use flash mobs as a way to generate publicity. In fact, the idea is more often associated with small groups like Improv Everywhere, which use Internet forums and social networking sites to organize "scenes of chaos and joy in public places"--not for business, but for fun. This just goes to show that while big organizations can execute great productions, the most novel ideas often spring from humbler sources.

More from Entrepreneur

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Are you paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.

Latest on Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur Media, Inc. values your privacy. In order to understand how people use our site generally, and to create more valuable experiences for you, we may collect data about your use of this site (both directly and through our partners). By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the use of that data. For more information on our data policies, please visit our Privacy Policy.