In my last blog post I referenced the need for an innovative organisation to be agile to minimise the likelihood of failure.
Apparently, it was an ancient Greek who stated that the “only constant is change”. Traditional strategic planning ignores this. Furthermore, it ignores the fact that change can and will occur from many places, simultaneously. Traditional planning determines a firm objective and describes a method of getting there. On the other hand, an agile organisation’s plan is never fixed.
The Characteristics of an ‘Agile’ Organisation
An agile organisation determines a strategic vision of what it wants to achieve. The means to that end is not set in concrete and will flex and stretch as circumstances change.
An agile organisation will engage with the relevant community to monitor change and opportunities as they occur and will quickly respond to benefit from this early information.
An agile organisation will have processes in place to turn data obtained through monitoring into information, knowledge and wisdom. They will then separate what is relevant and useful for purpose, from what is just noise.
Agile organisations have necessary ethical frameworks and operating guidelines for their people to work within.
An agile organisation learns to recognise linear thinking and understand its perils. We are all raised with the notion of ‘if this then that’. But little in life is linear – the real notion should be ‘if this then that, or maybe something else’. An agile organisation embraces this, by keeping light on its feet and being willing and able to rapidly change course, or even tactically retreat for a time.
Agile organisations follow multiple strategies. This results in a complex web of inter-relationships, from which unexpected opportunities emerge.
My previous post described the internal characteristics of an innovative organisation. These characteristics, together with an externally focussed agile strategy, will contribute towards achieving the desired vision. The next post will consider an alternative philosophy of innovation.
Larry Platt is Executive Chairman of The Advitech Group. Contact Larry on +61 2 4924 5400.