Dec 2, 2022

Lessons Learned from Caitlyn Phillips, Partner at Prophet

The last two years have shown many of us the value of innovation. The ability to accommodate surprises, discover effective solutions quickly, and strategically think about navigating an unknown future has helped certain businesses and leaders to stand out among the rest. In our podcast series, Innovation in a Recession, we’re speaking with leaders, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and more to get their perspectives on how companies should really be thinking about their innovation strategy going into next year.

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By Alex Pavlou

Founder - I help organizations and startups scale their teams.

Our latest episode features a conversation with Caitlyn Phillips of Prophet, a growth and transformation agency, wherein we discuss how to stay focused on innovation despite a looming recession. Throughout her career, Caitlyn has had a primary focus on brand marketing, paired with her background in product and experience strategy and enterprise transformation. 

Caitlyn’s insights suggest that, instead of waiting for the recession to come and reacting defensively, companies should be thinking about ways to offensively prepare for what’s to come. There are ways to strategize, invest, cut costs, and mobilize your team today that will set you up for success in the face of an economic downturn.

Below are four insights we’ve taken away from our conversation with Caitlyn that you can reference in strategizing how your team will prepare for the new year and to anticipate the effects of the recession before it strikes. 

 

New Talent in the Face of New Demand

An organization’s ability to shift its priorities quickly in an ever-changing market is fully dependent upon its team and their skills.

“There was a report that came out from McKinsey, and they see that 50% of revenue within the next five years is going to come from new products, services, and businesses. Looking through that lens, you're going to need new folks, new talent, and new skills to be competitive. I think where I see this being done really well is where they're upskilling people instead of laying them off or getting rid of jobs. They're helping to transition folks into new roles.

The data shows that a lot of folks are moving into building up their product management teams, which is fantastic because we see that the market is trending this way. Another shift I anticipate is going from this idea of design as production, to design as more business transformation, or design as change management.”

 

- Caitlyn Phillips, Partner, Experience & Innovation at Prophet 

 

Strategizing with Resilience in Mind

Preparing for a recession is not just about scaling down, but learning how to build a business strategy that is, for the most part, fail-proof.

“How can I consolidate efforts? How can I look at a product or tool that is so massive and that I'm spending all this money and time on with no results? How do I reduce to what is necessary so that I can take those funds and put them into areas of growth? I think this idea of resilience is going to be strong and something that we'll be looking towards a lot to see how we shape our story around resilience.”

 

- Caitlyn Phillips, Partner, Experience & Innovation at Prophet 

 

Progress Fueled by Sustainable Values

Consumers across all markets are leaning towards brands and products that not only speak about positive impact, but that actually build it into their operative core. 

“Right now, brands are really talking a lot about sustainability, ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance), these areas that are going to set us up for a better world in the future. Let's look into ensuring that we're not just virtue signaling through our brand and marketing, but actually practicing what we preach. So that's an exciting thing that's happening, where you would think that ESG would take a backseat in a recession. My opinion, and from what I'm seeing, is that it should actually step forward.”

 

- Caitlyn Phillips, Partner, Experience & Innovation at Prophet 

 

Breaking Down the Big Picture

When it comes to innovation, it’s important to set small milestones that all contribute to the final, overarching goal.

“The idea of innovation can be really overwhelming. It seems like this big thing that we have to tackle. And the way that I like to look at innovation is by breaking it down into smaller pieces. How can we identify where you put your dollar first? What's going to be necessary right now? And then, where are we trying to get and does what we're doing help to build our steps to get there? That means you only look at what is needed for your organization.”

 

- Caitlyn Phillips, Partner, Experience & Innovation at Prophet 


Curious to hear more? Be sure to check out the full conversation with Caitlyn. If you’re ready to talk hiring for your team in 2023, send us a brief and we’d love to support!

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