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Our 2018 Annual Review

Speed up time to value

In 2018, we showed the power of ingenuity to build a positive human future in a technology-driven world. And we highlighted how organisational agility unlocks this power. Our research found a key aspect to agility is speeding up time to value by rethinking how you embrace innovation.
 

Speed up time to value

Innovate at pace

New competitors and changes to how customers act and think can come about almost overnight, causing sudden and dramatic disruption. For incumbent organisations, responding can be a problem – legacy processes slow the time it takes to get value from innovation.

To speed up time to value, we see three aspects of organisational agility to focus on.

Pace your innovation to drive value fast

Driving efficiencies are an everyday part of doing business, but efficiencies are typically a byword for cost-cutting. Our research highlights the need to rebalance this approach. Delivering differentiated products and services at greater speed is far more likely to achieve enduring results than short-term cost savings.

To do this, set up systems and processes to adapt and experiment with new products and services. In our research on organisational agility, 42 per cent of the top financial performers said they release improvements or new functionality more frequently than their competitors, compared to 33 per cent of others.

It might sound impossible for an incumbent business to quicken its processes, but we’ve seen them succeed. At a global consumer products company, we took product development life cycles from between six and nine months to just six weeks.

Top-performing organisations invest disproportionate leadership effort in going from concept to launch faster than their competition

Innovate around customer outcomes

Too often, organisations focus their resources on activities that don’t directly serve customer needs. A recent Harvard Business Review article showed the number of managers, supervisors and administrators has doubled in the United States, while the overall workforce has grown just 44 per cent. Typically, these roles don’t directly deliver customer value and slow the release of new products and services.

So, invest significant resources and leadership priority in going from concept to launch more quickly. More than half (58 per cent) of top financial performers said they do this, while only 39 per cent of others do. Only by launching products and services at pace will you satisfy your customers and see real value.

Jaguar Land Rover used agile methodologies to reduce time to market for new models by 12 months. This means improved ideas that overcome customer problems get to market faster. As a result, costs have fallen by more than 10 per cent.

Use the real world as your test bed

No matter how great your research, nothing compares with the real world when it comes to understanding what customers really want. So, minimise your research and lab work before getting products in front of real customers to understand whether they’ll succeed.

In our research, 49 per cent of the best financial performers told us they mobilise to respond to competitors quickly, compared to just 32 per cent of others. While you may not always have first-mover advantage, there is significant benefit in being a fast follower, refining concepts and features to improve the customer experience.

One great example of using the real world to test new products is fast fashion company Zara. It takes 10,000 products a year from idea to shop floor, while its competitors typically launch a fifth of that. They produce small batches and see how real customers respond, scaling what works. It’s this approach to quick iterations that’s seen Zara make its way onto Forbes’ list of most valuable brands.

In a fast-changing world, organisations need to be equally fast. They no longer have the luxury of waiting for investments in innovation and change to deliver value. Organisations must work in more logical ways to test and learn, and capture value as quickly as possible. And in our experience, that means adopting an agile operating model.

Our client work in action

Picture of Skipping Rocks Lab

Skipping Rocks Lab

Starting a revolution with a waste-free alternative to plastic bottles

Skipping Rocks Lab

Starting a revolution with a waste-free alternative to plastic bottles

We’re helping London start-up Skipping Rocks Lab move closer to their goal of stopping one billion plastic bottles a year from reaching the world’s oceans. The business has come up with a container called Ooho, made from plant and seaweed extracts, that’s 100 percent biodegradable (and edible). Our team of mechanical and process engineers has worked closely with their team of scientists to develop and finalise a production prototype. Oohos have already been seen at the first non-plastic marathon since plastic was invented, and takeaway delivery company Just Eat has been using them for pizza dipping sauce.

Read more

Picture of Ecobooth

Ecobooth

Finding new uses for old plastic and creating a sustainable business

Ecobooth

Finding new uses for old plastic and creating a sustainable business

Plastic is increasingly hitting the headlines as a global waste headache, whether it’s clogging oceans or piling up in landfill. Ecobooth, a sustainable events company, wanted to reduce the huge amount of plastic waste produced by the events industry. We partnered with them to transform an innovative idea into a successful business.

Our technology experts researched, analysed and identified potential materials, manufacturing technologies and certification approaches. We then helped link choices on certification, materials and technologies back to a deeper understanding of the customer value proposition.

In less than a year, the business has transformed from an idea to a fully-operational organisation.

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2018
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2018
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2017
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2017
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PA Consulting Group Half Year Report - September 2019

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