It’s hardly headline news that the United States is in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression — and that these conditions extend to global economies as well. An oft-repeated mantra in business circles is that what’s needed most now are the “animal spirits” of innovation that will spur the next wave of productivity to lead us out of recession.
As the CEO of a global audio and multimedia company, I more than ever believe that now is not the time for companies to hoard cash and “wait it out” in a defensive position.
Conversely, companies should be ratcheting up their research and development investments, and R&D should be the top priority for companies looking to deploy cash.
For corporations around the world, I firmly believe that R&D is more of a core business driver now than it was 5 or 10 years ago.
My particular company, Harman, has a deep amount of engineering heritage, so R&D investment has always been an important part of our strategy. However, I would argue in favor of R&D investment regardless of a company’s industry or sector. With regard to technology, devices are increasingly interconnected and networked, and the fast pace of tech evolution is having a profound effect on all consumer products. We at Harman see this every day, particularly in the multimedia audio and automotive infotainment areas.