Roaring out of recession through innovation

The future is uncertain. Just like now, when we’re not predicted that we will in the recession time due to COVID-19 pandemic where the relation between businesspeople and customers are disturbed, even though the business still needed to operate to survive. Mr. Eko Agus Prasetio, Lecturer of Entrepreneurship and Technology Management (ETM) Group Interest at SBM ITB, stated that this recession affects the way we run our business, one of the examples is that right now, we need to do low touch and less crowd economy, where we minimize face-to-face relationship and activities that needed to assemble. This has a major effect on the industry like tourism, transportation, hospitality, and MICE (Meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) that needed high touch and crowd to operate its business.

To overcome the challenge during this time, adaptation is a key for businesspeople. Business needs to do efficiency and innovation in operating their business, for example, a coffee shop or a restaurant that now offer 1-liter coffee and bundling package with delivery. Retail industries where they advertise their product via an online channel and uses delivery service to deliver their goods to their customer. Pak Eko also said that we need to know the characteristics of low touch and less crowd economy itself to be able to come with ideas for adaptation.

Not just from the business operation that changes, but also customer preferences. Based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, customer needs are bottom-up (from psychological needs to self-esteem; traveling, etc) but during the recession, customer needs are change to top-down (from self-actualization to psychological needs), the customer tends to focus on their basic needs during this time where some of their resources might be limited. Seeing the change in customer preferences, businesspeople, especially SMEs (small-medium enterprises), must be observant in choosing their channel and formulate strategy regards their customer journey. By knowing which channel to reach their customer, hoping that could maximize it.

Technology is also having important roles during this time, businesspeople and customer who right now minimizing interaction to do transaction greatly helped by technology to do it virtually and seems like the only temporary possible way to run low touch and less crowd economy. But the next question is, “Will technology disturbed us fully?”, according to Pak Eko, the thing that we need to realize is we can’t act against technological development, the thing that we can do is that how we see the role of technology with a growth mindset when we do not avoid challenge instead we see it as an opportunity to help us innovate and grow our business.

This time is a challenge for business people to run their business and resilience is needed when someone can get back quickly and never give up during hard times because there will always be an opportunity for us to seize it. The only thing constant is change itself but with resilience hoping that we knew how to make our business sustain especially during this time through innovation.  According to Pak Eko, it’s time for Indonesia to change from a resource-based economy to an innovation-based economy, where we did not rely on our economy on natural resources but also on innovation to make value creation to help overcome the middle-income trap and take the advantage of demography bonus.

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