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Business agility – growing and developing

Updated: May 3, 2020

We’re members of the Business Agility Institute and like its thinking and ideas. Here’s another one that’s moving agile thinking way beyond IT and into the wider business world – the space we live in.

Here it is.

Let’s look at one element: strategic agility.

Strategic agility

Of course it’s about innovation, taking risks, recognising complexity and responding to change, change and more change. And we’ve had the mindsets and tools to be strategically agile for a while now.

In 2011, Govindarajan and Trimble gave us the simple three box model. Box one: improve what you’re doing now. Box two: forget what you need to from the past. Box three: innovate based on box two thinking. Systems thinking and the unintended consequences that arise from changes in one part of the system been with us even longer. Iterative innovation, Lean Startup and design thinking are all part of the strategic agility mix.

But it’s hard to let go of a comforting and neatly bound strategic plan that starts with the premise: we can predict what the world will be like and how people will behave in it. And the second subconscious premise is: whatever change happens, we’ll somehow plough through. The plans may not say that exactly, but it’s written in invisible ink on every page.

We need strategic agility more than ever. Why? The world order is changing; climate change threats loom larger than ever; and politicians in the US and Europe are more volatile unpredictable and even dangerous. We love the phrase: drop the fiction of prediction. Adopt the strategic agility tools that we know and love already. They’re there for the real and uncertain world we live in.

Back to the domains of business agility – pretty good we reckon. We’ll certainly be using them. No framework or model is ever perfect. All models are wrong but some are useful is one of our mantras. And this one easily meets the useful threshold.


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