Friday, June 05, 2009

7 Ways Innovation Can Recession-Proof Your Business
March 13, 2008 by Stephen Shapiro

The ultimate outcome of innovation is profitable growth by achieving competitive separation, i.e., the attributes of your offering must excel vs. competition in the eyes of your target customers. However, in times like these many companies are striving for survival or the very least improving their balance sheets. I thought this was an interesting summary of innovative approaches to enhance the quality of your businesses

1. "Use Open Innovation to Reduce R&D Costs
Sometimes it can be less expensive to have others do your innovating for you. Organizations like InnoCentive enable you to define the “value” of a new idea and then post your request to a large community of expert solvers
2. Process Innovation to Reduce Operating Costs
3. Use Innovation to Match Supply and Demand During
the 2001 dot-com bubble burst, they (Accenture) used a different approach.
Instead of handing out pink slips, they offered a leave of absence for a period
of time. The employee on sabbatical would get 20% of their salary (plus
benefits) and would be assured a job upon their return.
4. Solve Your Customers’ Pain
During a recession, your customers will probably reduce
spending, especially on discretionary items. But they may be willing to invest
in products or services that eliminate their pains
5. Fail Cheaply
6. Before You Can Multiply, You Must First Learn to Divide The idea is that if you want to grow your business, you must learn to partner with others - and give them a slice (and a vested interest in YOUR success). This means you take a smaller slice of a bigger pie. With the economic downturn, this philosophy is
even more appropriate.
7. Use Innovation to Improve Your Suppliers’ Business "

If any of you have experienced such innovation efforts at your companies, please share it with the group.

1 comment:

Bob Cooper said...

A great reflection from Cyndi Greenglass on maching resources with demand:

"Thanks Bob for sharing this common sense approach. We often are so immersed in the day-to-day, we forget to think about the straightforward ways we can make change today.

Another trend I am seeing right now is as follows: Instead of laying off talented people in these difficult times, law firms have offered their junior associates furloughs at 50% pay. They suggest that they volunteer for a non profit or offer their services in a way that can make a difference pro bono for 6 months. When business improves, they will be back in the firm at full salary.

I have also heard about consulting firms placing Junior Associates on site at clients at no cost to the client, and asking the associate to take a reduction in pay for the next 6 months. The client gets “free” consulting, the associate gets an opportunity to learn in a great environment while contributing, and the firm retains talent for better days.

I have seen this approach in advertising and other services as well. What a great idea! These young people can make a difference, learn new skills, and share their knowledge. The company can retain excellent talent through these difficult times, and they will return with so much more of life’s experience with their ability to provide innovative thinking is enhanced by their experience. "


Cyndi Greenglass | President, Agency Services | Diamond Marketing Solutions