Enterprise innovation strategies helping you to overcome budget cuts

Enterprise innovation is a transformative business process that enables businesses to operate more efficiently. If you're facing budget cuts, it could be exactly what you need.

Owen Hunnam
by Owen Hunnam

We’re a decade out from the financial crisis of 2007/08 and the crash is still sending aftershocks through our economic system. The UK has officially been out of recession since 2010, but austerity measures continue to drive down public service provisions. Somehow ‘cutting back’ has become a major part of our work culture no matter what industry we’re in.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking, however, that a tighter budget always means fewer opportunities.

In 1929, when the Great Depression was in full swing, William Cooper Procter handed over the reins of his company to a young CEO called Richard R. Deupree. With help from a savvy marketer by the name of Neil McElroy, Deupree took advantage of the low competition for ad space and bought up as much as he could, spreading the time across various brands. By the time the Great Depression began to ease in 1940, Procter & Gamble sales had reached over $230 million, smashing all previous records.

Through broad enterprise innovation initiatives, P&G delivered unprecedented sales at a time when other businesses were struggling. No matter the economic climate, people, it seems, still need soap. Below, we’ve put together a few enterprise innovation ‘dos and don’ts’ to help you start thinking about transformative innovation strategies for your organisation.

Do…

…analyse your advantages.

P&G took the lead by spending more where their competitors cut back. This won’t work for everyone, but carefully thinking about your marketplace advantages can help you find places to create innovative solutions. What’s working for you right now? How can you capitalise on it more?

…consolidate.

As organisations grow, new platforms and processes evolve out of the mire of productivity. This can create all sorts of inefficiency, obsolescence and conflict. Now is the time to cut back on the unessential systems that are causing friction.

…pool your resources.

Over 60% of companies consider their internal employees to be their most important partner for innovation initiatives. This fact inspired us to create Idea Drop in order to help organisations make better use of their existing assets. When money is tight, you need to make the best of what you have, and community innovation systems form the core of that principle. Create platforms that enable your team to share ideas in new and interesting ways.

…develop your people.

Hiring new employees is costly, especially when you have untapped potential in your team already. A smart team member with a Udemy budget can sometimes disrupt enterprise-level systems that are costing you thousands. Give your team the space to improve themselves and, if you have a successful company culture, you could be pretty amazed at what they’ll come up with.
…scale agile.

…fail fast.

Failed projects account for enormous amounts of wasted resources. It’s been projected that the UK Government wastes around £37 Billion per year due to over committing on failing IT projects. Always make sure you implement and test on a small scale, with a small investment, before ramping up operations. This gives you the freedom to cut the project off with minimal losses if it’s not meeting expectations.

Don’t

…panic

A budget cut isn’t a death sentence, although it might feel that way when you’re facing growing targets. Plenty of enterprises innovate their way through difficult times. Now is the time to focus.

…slash your team.

You need smart people with effective skills to help you navigate through the coming tough times. Human resources should be the last place you look to make changes, and you might even want to consider investing.

…work in silos.

Innovation requires new perspectives. You simply can’t get those if your team hardly ever interacts with others. Shadowing initiatives, collaborative hacks and team-building sessions all provide fertile ground for creative solutions to grow. Even if you have to take time out of your day-to-day to get your teams to talk, it can be worth it.

….be blinded to the long-term.

It took ten years for P&G to truly see the results of their investments during the Great Depression. I’m sure they rode out some serious highs and lows to get there, too. Don’t let impending budgets cuts stop you from envisioning future growth. With a focused approach to enterprise innovation, you can find the opportunities that will put you one step ahead of the curve.

Enterprise innovation isn’t a challenge to be undertaken lightly. However, if you’re mindful of the elements above you’ll put yourself in the best possible position for success.

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