In 2001, the vaunted glass manufacturer Corning nearly collapsed. The company had invested heavily in fiber-optic cables, and its market all but disappeared after the dot-com bust. But instead of slashing its R&D budget and concentrating on core products, Corning continued to invest in innovation, searching for ways to integrate its products into up-and-coming applications.
The company’s commitment to innovation during its toughest years paid off. In 2007, Corning Gorilla Glass was reformulated to provide the screen for the first iPhone. Today, Gorilla Glass is found in more than 6 billion mobile devices, and Corning is worth over $28 billion.
Corning’s steady focus on long-term innovation in the midst of crisis holds an important lesson for companies battered by the COVID-19 pandemic: Maintaining a pipeline for innovation today is crucial for emerging from the pandemic stronger tomorrow. While many businesses are simply focused on staying afloat right now, history shows that innovation can’t wait.
Read the full article online at Fast Company.