I was an academic in the recession that hit the UK in the late 1970's.
One summer I did some research on Design Process and Analysis with a sponsored student from an engineering company that made hydraulic pumps and valves for everything from taps in a home central heating to industrial steam raising plant. They had a highly skilled but compact factory workforce and highly professional design and engineering teams. They had invested heavily in automated manufacture and so were a relatively lean operation. Orders were thin, so ,what did they do? innovate. Even then they realised that India would become the heart of iron and steel casting and finishing industry so they started to prepare for that day.
So in that recession they made some key strategic decisions:
To move simple casting and finishing work to India (e.g. domestic tap assemblies and central heating pumps and valves:-
To invest in a new range of superior industrial pumps and valves incorporating the latest material, machining, manufacturing and fluid dynamics knowledge;
to simplify designs so that manufacture was more straightforward ( and one day when India's manufacturing quality had developed to the necessary level- move production there- joint venture business model);
to retain and improve the skills and competences of their staff to handle the interactions and pressures of collaborative working across internal and external interfaces. This implies the acquisition of new and different tools and technologies.
It strikes me that as resources get scarcer driven by economic imperatives the same approach will pay dividends, wherever we are starting from. But if you are a control freak this approach (involving letting go), will drive you mad.. if you are a process freak then this period is going to be great fun!
So let us start by adopting a radical approach to equity release.. where the capital we want to exploit is iterative capital... the process way is to go looking for M>W>D. Releasing budget committed against time for a project so that it can be used in other more effective ways, remembering Michael Schrage's words in Hyperinnovation:
It is this effect that multiplies the advantages that come from adopting and exploiting M>W>D.We could start by noting the interactions that are needed to move the project forward at any given point vs. the way we decide now... do we do them together or in series.. and which takes longer. If we are a team distributed in time and space (i.e globally distributed) what tools allow us to be (virtually) in the same space interacting creatively and decisively?
Picture uploaded on by harald_kirr. Used with thanks under CC.