5 Examples of How Hard Times Breed the Most Impactful Innovations Difficult challenges are sometimes the secret behind the best innovations.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
As we begin to recover and rebuild from the pandemic, many entrepreneurs are coping with challenging business setbacks, lost profits and, in some cases, restarting completely anew after they had to shutter their doors. But entrepreneurs are used to remaining eternal optimists amid chaos and unpredictability, whether that's emerging from Covid-19 or rebounding from personal tragedies, the loss of goods, lawsuits or even just the need to pivot in the direction of their value proposition.
That resiliency can serve as fuel and motivation to all founders and reaffirm that hard times can be a platform for the next big thing. The following examples of founders who have recently created innovative solutions to their own problems — or global challenges — might even inspire you in your own business pursuits.
Turning illnesses into purpose
Oftentimes it's a personal crisis during a founder's life that can lead to new clarity and purpose. Even tragedies close to home can result in a renewed impact for communities at large, simply because their perspectives have changed and they're ready to do more.
Many say that near-death experiences cause them to better assess what they want their mark on the world to be. Daniel Badran is no exception. As the founder of energy efficiency service company Minimise, he started his company after a battle with cancer sabotaged his ability to speak for three years. During this tragic time, he doubled-down on building a business that could help the world from a sustainability standpoint.
Other founders create businesses to immediately address the types of personal tragedies they've encountered, such as Johnny Crowder. Crowder created Cope Notes, a text-messaging platform that provides mental-health support to subscribers. This service was born out of his own mental health struggles, as Crowder has coped with schizophrenia, OCD and bipolar disorder all of his life.
There is no more admirable entrepreneur than someone who has overcome the very difficulties their innovation seeks to remedy. This has the potential for significant impact when that innovation has a direct influence on others' health and happiness. Take Dr. Patricia Lawman, the CEO of Morphogenesis, a company that helps to assist bodies to fight on their own against chronic diseases. Dr. Lawman is also the division director of Cancer Molecular Biology for the Walt Disney Institute, and her groundbreaking technology and service is an homage to those she knows who are struggling with chronic illness.
Rising to the challenges that the world is facing
In a time of so much mass suffering and so many challenges, entrepreneurs have lent a discerning eye to what they can do to help. Companies such as Louis Vuitton have access to factories and supplies and were able to quickly step up to the plate with PPE equipment during the height of the pandemic.
Jon Fisher is the founder of CrowdOptic, a company he founded in 2011. As the medical demands surged when Covid-19 began its deadly spread, Fisher and CrowdOptic partnered with National Bioskills Laboratories to help all medical communities through AI and bioskills when it was most needed. The concept was to remove the geographical barriers and ensure that medical professionals could work together remotely, assisted by the technology, and apply their findings and new skills immediately to their work in patient care.
Covid-19 sparked significant financial fears for many as well. Justin Donald felt called to help others who were struggling financially during the pandemic and in the aftermath, and he channeled everything he's learned about building an income through investing to help other individuals create wealth while still searching for a new job. For some, it even became a side hustle to support their families.
Each of these examples proves that hard times don't defeat everyone. They may just provide the fertile ground for big, bold and life-changing ideas, especially when executed from a place of passion. While hard times are difficult, they fundamentally change the way that we work and live, and the entrepreneurs who rise to this occasion and contribute their talents, time and innovations to make the world a better place are dearly appreciated by all.