Executive summary

The 2015/16 results show an increasingly polarised marketplace, with top performers demonstrating an agile and ambitious approach to change. With additional resources available from their cost-saving programmes, there is an opportunity for high-performing organisations to reinvest resources in new strategies and innovative services which will transform their operations.

Previous years have shown most organisations to be focusing on cost reduction programmes, supported by internal transformational change. With the economy moving from downturn to stability and now to growth, the 2015/16 Barometer on Change reveals an increasing emphasis on high-performing organisations aspiring to deliver greater innovation and service-led change.

Key themes

All change

Our Barometer on Change reports have highlighted the ongoing challenge of achieving growth in an ever-changing climate. 80% of our respondents predict a further jump in the pace and pressure of change over the next 2-3 years.

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A step change for cost reduction

2015 has seen a significant change in the drivers of cost reduction. While a core of organisations continue to cut costs reactively to protect profitability, their competitors are reinvesting the savings into new, growth-oriented initiatives. Specific examples of reinvestment include 56% of organisations funding new products and 48% of organisations seeking to invest in improving existing services.

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Investing in growth

Organisations are forecasting considerable growth - not an easy task in a period of limited organic expansion. We asked respondents to identify the top challenges driving their strategies that will enable growth. While 24% see cost reduction as their single most important objective, several parallel - yet related - challenges are nipping at its heels. Launching new products and services (19%) and accessing new markets (19%) are both increasingly high on the agenda.

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Shifting mindsets

For growth to be achieved, organisations need to ensure they have the right people in place, with the right skills to deliver the strategy. While capabilities required will vary, there are three clear priorities: accept that new capabilities are required for new challenges; embrace the unknown to develop market-leading insight; and see failure as part of the process, not the end of the road.

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Barometer on Change

Barometer on Change 2015/16 findings draw on the views of over 200 Board members and their direct reports, from a broad spectrum of organisations across the private and public sectors.

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Industry perspectives

Barometer on Change by industry

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