Sunday, 30 August 2009

Innovating in the Global Recession

A number of clients are asking us to help them to innovate out of the this crisis. Whilst every organisation is different, here are The Innovation Beehive's top line tips for innovating in the global recession:

1) It all starts with the customer - go back and triple your efforts on building consumer insight. What do they need now? What processes do you have in place that are getting in the way?

2) Add a value offering to your portfolio. Over the last five years we have heard clients say that consumers will be prepared to pay a little more for premium. Those days are gone. Ask how you can still give your consumer access to your product or service and consider introducing a value range. KFC UK are a great example of this with the Street Wise 99p snack menu and £1.99 Snack Box. Burger King is running to catch up.

3) Get Skinny. When Steve Jobs went back to Apple he was ruthless at culling the amount of projects being worked on. Review your innovation portfolio and cut those projects that are least promising.

4) Get into bed with someone. Necessity is the mother of invention so look around your industry and search for an innovation partner. Talk to your suppliers and get them involved in your business.

5) Think Home Grown. If done successfully, staff suggestion schemes are a great way of coming up with new ideas. Think about "I'm Running Sainsburys" (and see our previous blog). They can be a great motivator for staff and a fantastic source of free new ideas.

6) Flex your People. KPMG has creatively used the slack the recession has provided in the diary of Senior Management. They now act as project sponsors and innovation mentors. If your execs aren't as busy as they used to be, put them to work on driving sponsoring and driving innovation.

7) Go Open Source. Look outside the walls of your business for ideas and new relationships. This is low cost and low risk. P&G used to be known as "the Kremlin on the river" and now are the world leaders in open source innovation. Check out to find out how they did it.

8) Stay Talent Focused. Review your current innovation capability against your market needs. Identify the gaps and use any slack in business to re-deploy your teams to projects to drive revenue and profit.


  1. I agree that innovation is a vital part of making it out of an economic recession. There is actually a great new book out that pushes this very subject called Exploiting Chaos - 150 Ways to Spark Innovation During Times of Change by Jeremy Gutsche. He actually has a free preview available on his website,

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