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Innovation: The Key to Cutting Costs and Increasing Efficiency in Tough Times

As the old saying goes, "necessity is the mother of invention." In times of economic hardship, businesses are forced to re-evaluate their strategies and find ways to reduce costs while maintaining or increasing efficiency. While it may seem counterintuitive, this is precisely why innovation is even more critical in tough times. By embracing new technologies, processes, and business models, companies can not only survive but thrive in challenging economic conditions.

In this article, we'll explore why innovation is essential during tough times and provide real-world examples of companies that used innovation to succeed.

Real-World Examples of Innovation in Tough Times

The 2008 Financial Crisis: During the 2008 financial crisis, many companies struggled to stay afloat. However, some firms used innovation to cut costs and increase efficiency. For example, General Electric (GE) launched a "ecomagination" initiative to focus on developing clean technology products. This initiative helped GE reduce its environmental impact while generating significant revenue. Similarly, Procter & Gamble (P&G) launched an initiative to reduce the size of its packaging, leading to significant cost savings.

COVID-19 Pandemic: During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a surge in demand for food delivery services as more people were staying at home. Delivery Hero, a Berlin-based food delivery company, used innovation to meet this increased demand while maintaining efficiency. The company implemented contactless delivery options and launched a "quick commerce" service, allowing customers to order groceries and household essentials for delivery within 30 minutes. These innovations not only helped Delivery Hero adapt to the pandemic but also allowed the company to expand its offerings and increase revenue

The Shipping Industry: The shipping industry has faced significant challenges in recent years, including rising fuel costs and increasing competition. However, some companies have used innovation to overcome these challenges. For example, Maersk, the world's largest container shipping company, used data analytics to optimize its shipping routes, reducing fuel consumption and cutting costs. This innovation helped Maersk increase efficiency while reducing its environmental impact.

Despite the importance of innovation during tough times, many businesses stop their innovation efforts, focusing instead on cost-cutting measures. While cost-cutting can be effective in the short term, it often leads to a decline in long-term competitiveness. Instead, companies should pivot their innovation efforts toward improving their core business. By embracing new technologies, processes, and business models, companies can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance their competitiveness.

Want to know how your organization can use innovation to stay ahead? Reach out to and we'll tell you more.


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