The Age of Agile is the title of Steve Denning’s most recent book that describes a shift in business to adopt an agile mindset for management, leadership, innovation and narrative.
Having taken root in the software development sector, Steve describes how the Agile Movement is now spreading quickly throughout all industries – which is something that hasn’t escaped the attention of the management team at Pyrotec in the packaging sector. It enables teams, units, or enterprises to nimbly adapt and upgrade products and services to meet rapidly changing technology and customer needs.
Steve first heard the phrase, The Age of Agile from Professor Julian Birkinshaw of the London Business School who, in 2016, suggested that agile organisations are leaving behind ‘the industrial age’ with its emphasis on efficiency based on finding the right answer through planning and rational analysis. A new kind of management is emerging, in which ‘adhocracies’ emphasise searching out opportunities, finding solutions through rapid experimentation, and achieving agility through decisiveness. By drawing on the full talents of those doing the work, firms generate continuous new value for customers, thus creating a virtuous circle of value creation, always driven by the agile mindset.
What is strategic agility?
Steve points out that the distinction between operational and strategic agility is that operational agility makes existing products better, faster and cheaper for existing customers, while strategic agility creates new markets with new products that reach new customers, in other words market-creating innovation.
According to the Agile Business Consortium in London, strategic agility is defined as the ‘dynamic process of anticipating or adjusting to trends and customer needs without diverging from the company vision’.
Their white paper adds that the need to adapt to changing market conditions has always been a requirement of businesses; it is not new. However, the current need for organisational strategic agility is unprecedented for two reasons – the speed of change and the complex interconnectedness of the world.
Today’s business environment is extremely volatile. The pace of change is becoming faster and faster, and a combination of human creativity and systems thinking is essential for success. Systems thinking is a holistic approach to analysis that focuses on the way that a system’s constituent parts interrelate and how systems work over time and within the context of larger systems.
Organisations need to be change-ready and able to respond to shifting market conditions.
What is the benefit of strategic agility?
Research conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests that agile firms grow revenue 37% faster and generate 30% higher profits than non-agile
There are some big changes afoot at Pyrotec that will very soon reveal our company’s strategic agility. Watch this space!