It was quite a big site and had a relatively high turnover of decent hardware. Next to the IT support team's area was a room about 6 yards by 10 yards almost full to the ceiling with older monitors, printers and a shitload of commodity PC's. And I'd just stated reading about mainstream acceptance of linux clustering for paralellizable apps.
Cue the lightbulb winking into life above my head!
I approached my boss, with the idea to get those old boxes working again as a cluster and speed things up for the modelling team. He was quite interested and said he'd look into it. He fired up Excel and started plugging in some estimates...
Later that day I saw him and asked him what he thought. He shook his head. "It's a non-starter" he said. Basically, if the effort involved in getting a cluster up and working - including porting of apps - was more than about four man-weeks, it's cheaper and a lot safer just to dial up the Sun rep, invoke our massive account (and commensurate discount) with them and buy a beefier model from the range. And the existing code would run just fine with no modifications.
A useful lesson for me in innovation risk and cost.