Twelve Agile Tools to Help You Keep Innovating Through a Recession

Maintaining your pace of innovation, whilst everyone else is cutting back and protecting profits may feel counterintuitive – but data, and experience, suggest that’s exactly what you should do.

Kantar data gathered during the recession of 2008-11 indicates that brands which grew share launched an average 35% more new products – than brands that lost ground.

There are four simple reasons why …

Recessions Disrupt Behaviours

Loss of purchasing power forces reassessment and behaviour change.

Brands that listen ‘harder’ to their consumers tend to adapt faster.

Value-Adding Propositions Prevail

Increasingly frugal consumers rapidly become more discriminating.

Brands with differentiated value-propositions are favoured

Recessions Create New Opportunities

Fast-changing needs create gaps to be filled by creative new product solutions.

Brands that deliver relevant new-solutions faster than their competitors … win!

Visibility & Salience are Key!

Amidst disruption, brands that stay silent – risk getting forgotten.

Brands that keep telling their stories, in powerful ways … emerge stronger

Innovators That Adopt Agile Tools Will Thrive

Businesses that don’t adapt to the new recessionary reality, will be left in the dust.

Their innovation processes will be too costly and too cumbersome to listen, evolve, ideate and communicate at the pace required.

Businesses that adopt agile processes will be able to mitigate against the worst of the downturn – maintain, or even accelerate, their pace of innovation – and potentially emerge stronger!

To help you claim your place amongst the winners, not the losers – we’ve put together this list of our #12 favourite agile innovation tools …

#1 Decoding Behavioural Data

Quant data gives you certainty and allows you to navigate. BUT a full-on quant-study costs a fortune – and in recession, will rapidly become out of date.

Agile innovators need to explore fast, flexible, tactical solutions like GWI, Pollfish or Norstat Express. We can help with set up & analysis!

#2 Rewinding Existing Data

When budgets are tight, smart innovators make sure they’ve extracted maximum value from the quant & qual data they already own – before they invest in more.

You’ll be astonished how many relevant & actionable insights can be extracted from your existing data – when the Rewind is executed by our experienced eyes!

#3 Benchmarking The Best

Ehrenberg-Bass believe differentiation is more important than uniqueness when it comes to NPD success – but it’s key to know which Best-in-Class to benchmark against.

Human intelligence platforms like StreetBees can help agile innovators identify which brands consumers perceive to be the most relevant best-in-class benchmarks.

#4 Uncovering Perceptions

Whilst it may be hard to get a business to sign off creation of a new brand during a recession – they can be a great time to leverage existing brand assets.

Online techniques like Cool Tool‘s Non-conscious Insight Tool and Bamboozled‘s Distinctive Brand Asset Assessor will be invaluable to agile brand-stretchers!

#5 Uncovering Insights

Fresh insights are the lifeblood of disruptive innovation, but in recession, insight-gathering budgets are frequently amongst the first to be slashed.

Mobile-ethno tools like Indeemo , Recollective and OtS can deliver quick, cost-effective insights into the consumer zeitgeist & uncover insights hidden in plain sight.

#6 Expanding Foresight

Foresight doesn’t just put your thinking ahead of the curve – it can provide invaluable inspiration for how you might ‘lean into’ change and shape the future.

Innovators don’t need to fund their own futurology – but can harvest inspiration from trusted thinkers like the Copenhagen Institute, Future Today Institute or Grey Swan Guild .

#7 Uncovering Enablers

Whilst investing in new science may be hard to justify – harnessing untapped or under-utilised science capabilities becomes essential.

Conventional wisdom says that all R&D should be done internally – but agile innovators are increasingly likely to reach out to tech-scouting specialists like our friends at IDYL

#8 Inspiring Thinking

Linear thinking can be limiting, so inspiring & mind-stretching stimulus is essential – but generating large volumes of relevant but randomised inspiration can be time consuming and costly.

We’ve started to explore the role of AI tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Jasper AI to generate text inspiration or Dall-E2 to generate iterative image stimulus.

#9 Agile Ideation

When it comes to generating fresh, relevant solutions – there’s no substitute for the creative leaps a team of energised human brains will make in workshop.

Our workshops can be face-to-face or online; one-day or multi-day, disruptors or incubators – but they’re all structured to stretch minds and generate game-changing outputs

#10 Optimising Propositions

Maximising the relevance, distinctiveness & compelling-ness of your concepts will dramatically increase their likelihood of success – and minimises your risk of wasting scare resources.

Light-touch concept co-creators can be face-to-face or online using or Zoom Webinar – but we always maximise optimisation with the fewest interactions.

#11 Fine-Tuning Concepts

Agile innovators know their pack designs and comms are going to have to work super-hard to cut through – so the design has to look great, but communicate brilliantly too!

Predictive eye-tracking tools developed by agencies like EyeQuant and Dragonfly AI bring the power of AI to pack and concept optimisation.

#12 Spotting Winners

Simulated Test Markets provide confidence, but can be slow & cost a fortune – agile innovators look for nimble, but powerful and cost-effective alternatives.

Augmented reality shelves produced by Concept Sauce bring your final mix-tests closer to the real in-store decision-point than quant research has ever got before.

Don’t Let Recession Slow You Down!

A typical recession lasts for 12-18 months …

That’s a long delay for any innovation cycle!

Maybe you will be working with reduced budgets and perhaps even a depleted innovation team – but by taking a leaner, faster, more-experimental approach – and implementing at least some of these agile tools – we’re confident you’ll be able to maintain or even accelerate your pace of innovation – and emerge even stronger…

Are You Ready To Get Agile?

We can custom-build an agile innovation solution for you ...

We’ve helped lock of clients successfully innovate their way through recessions before.

If you’d like more information about agile projects we have completed for other clients – or you’d like us to put together an agile innovation plan for you –  just give us a call on +44 1491 411272, or connect with David or Joanna via LinkedIn

We’ll custom-build a solution for you using agile tools – that will deliver brilliant results!