Innovating in times of crisis: on course or not on course?

History is marked by constant reinvention. Each era, from the most prosperous to the bloodiest, sees the birth of its own innovations. The necessities relating to each crisis context lead to a revival of industrial ingenuity, enabling social and corporate development. But then ... wars stimulate creativity? Well yes ! Obviously, innovations affect the arms industry and medicine. But a military crisis can also be good for art or culture. The fall of Constantinople made us discover many ancient texts. The wars in Italy gave us the Renaissance ... Team We Are COM offers you his epic of small and great inventions. 👊

📞 In times of crisis, communication is essential!

The recent confinement is a good example. It should have had the consequence of driving people away… As a result, we have never exchanged so much. This need to communicate during times of unrest is not new! 

The walkie talkie

First of all, thank you to Canada, which developed the walkie-talkie in 1940, for military purposes. It is Motorola which commercializes this invention based on short distance radiographic links. It seems that the name comes from a soldier who once told a reporter that he was walking while speaking: "walkie-talkie". 

The computer

The ancestor of our computer was also born in times of war. Colossus, its name, is developed by English engineers to decipher Nazi codes. These machines will be destroyed when the war ends. The secrets of this brand new technology will remain well kept for a long time.

We can also cite automotive innovations, with the emergence of brands such as Volkswagen or even Jeep !

The car for everyone

It was in 1934 that Chancellor Adolf Hitler decided to create for the German people a car accessible to all. A real propaganda tool! Porsche wins the contract. Above all, the model had to combine power and economy. In a context of preparation for war, the dictator also has military requirements: ability to transport three soldiers and a machine gun, to reach a speed of 100km / h, to consume less than 5 liters of gasoline per 100km ...

The all-purpose car

As for Jeep, the acronym for "General Purpose". This can be translated as "all-purpose vehicle". The US government, suspecting its entry into the emerging conflict, wants to create a car that will facilitate military travel. The innovation relates to the fact that the four wheels are driving, allowing the machine to adapt to all terrains, a considerable advantage!

💡 Other essential inventions 

The rocket

The rocket is a Chinese invention from the XNUMXth century. And yes ! It was during the siege of Yuzhang that the "flying fire" was born. The attackers threw arrows at the city which exploded on impact. The process is carried out thanks to the presence of cylinders filled with powder. They did not take long to develop this weapon: opening the cylinder allows more precise propulsion.  


It was in France this time that Nicolas Appert invents sterilization: "appertisation". This former confectioner realizes that boiling an airtight jar allows the air to be released from it, and thus preserves the shelf life of food. This new process is essential for the transport of goods, in particular to the fronts of the Napoleonic wars. In 1802, he became the official supplier to the French navy. 

The microwave

Today we could no longer live without it, and yet it was not created until 1945: the microwave! The work of the American engineer Percy Spender, concerned the design of radars for the US Navy, within the company Raytheon. One day he realized that the unusual odor he smelled was none other than the chocolate which had melted in his pocket, thanks to the magnetron. He tries the experiment again with popcorn. Two years later, the patent was filed. 

World famous brands such as M & Ms where Fanta They too are born under the bombs. 

Sugar coated chocolates (yum)

We are in the middle of the Spanish Civil War, when the American Forrest March note that soldiers have a habit of coating chocolate balls with sugar, so that they do not melt in the heat. Back in the United States he created the famous candy by partnering with Bruce Murrie, Mars & Murrie thus giving M & Ms. During World War II, American soldiers loved these treats that were easy to carry in their cardboard tubes. 

The orange ... or apple drink

Fanta, formerly Phantasy, was born when the United States went to war with Nazi Germany. So syrup deliveries from coca-cola are no longer insured. Max Keith, responsible for famous american company in Germany decides to develop a soda with products available locally: whey and pressed apple residue. Production ceased in 1949 before being resumed and somewhat modified by the Coca-Cola Company in 1955. 

👉 The final word

Did this article inspire you? Finally, let us quote the brand Heinz, this giant of ketchup. Heinz is not strictly speaking a crisis innovation, but has been able to reinvent and develop itself during the Second World War. A fine example of anticipation and responsiveness! 


The famous sauce, essential for our burgers, was introduced in Pittsburg in 1869. Much later, it was the son of the inventor, Howard Heinz, who increased the brand's notoriety. In 1940, he had the ingenuity to provide soldiers with special rations: cans of self-heating soups. This food revolution was a real advertisement! On release, the Tomato Ketchup had conquered Europe. Invest in times of crisis also makes it possible to emerge a winner, in terms of notoriety and brand image. A lesson in communication not to be forgotten!

journalist, writer, teacher and guest of the We Are COM team

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