Tag Archives: agile

Rethinking Agility for the Post-Digital Age

Rethinking Agility for the Post-Digital Age

GUEST POST from Greg Satell

For the past 50 years, innovation has largely been driven by our ability to cram more transistors onto a silicon wafer. That’s what’s allowed us to double the power of our technology every two years or so and led to the continuous flow of new products and services streaming out of innovative organizations.

Perhaps not surprisingly, over the past few decades agility has become a defining competitive attribute. Because the fundamentals of digital technology have been so well understood, much of the value has shifted to applications and things like design and user experience. Yet that will change in the years ahead.

Over the next few decades we will struggle to adapt to a post-digital age and we will need to rethink old notions about agility. To win in this new era of innovation we will have to do far more than just move fast and break things. Rather, we will have to manage four profound shifts in the basis of competition that will challenge some of our most deeply held notions.

Shift 1: From Transistor-Based Computers to New Computing Architectures

In 1965, Intel’s Gordon Moore published a paper that established predicted Moore’s Law, the continuous doubling of transistors that can fit on an integrated circuit. With a constant stream of chips that were not only more powerful, but cheaper, successful firms would rapidly prototype and iterate to speed new applications to market.

Yet now Moore’s Law is ending. Despite the amazing ingenuity of engineers, the simple reality is that every technology eventually hits theoretical limits. The undeniable fact is that atoms are only so small and the speed of light is only so fast and that limits what we can do with transistors. To advance further, we will simply have to find a different way to compute things.

The two most promising candidates are quantum computing and neuromorphic chips, both of which are vastly different from digital computing, utilizing different logic and require different computer languages and algorithmic approaches than classical computers. The transition to these architectures won’t be seamless.

We will also use these architectures in much different ways. Quantum computers will be able to handle almost incomprehensible complexity, generating computing spaces larger than the number of atoms in the known universe. Neuromorphic chips are potentially millions of times more efficient than conventional chips and are much more effective with continuous streams of data, so may be well suited for edge computing and tasks like machine vision.

Shift 2: From Bits to Atoms

The 20th century saw two major waves of innovation. The first, dominated by electricity and internal combustion, revolutionized how we could manipulate the physical world. The second, driven by quantum physics, microbial science and computing, transformed how we could work with the microscopic and the virtual.

The past few decades have been dominated by the digital revolution and it seems like things have been moving very fast, but looks can be deceiving. If you walked into an average 1950s era household, you would see much that you would recognize, including home appliances, a TV and an automobile. On the other hand, if you had to live in a 1900’s era home, with no running water or electricity, you would struggle to survive.

The next era will combine aspects of both waves, essentially using bits to drive atoms. We’re building vast databases of genes and materials, cataloging highly specific aspects of the physical world. We are also using powerful machine learning algorithms to analyze these vast droves of data and derive insights. The revolution underway is so profound that it’s reshaping the scientific method.

In the years to come, new computing architectures are likely to accelerate this process. Simulating chemistry is one of the first applications being explored for quantum computers, which will help us build larger and more detailed databases. Neuromorphic technology will allow us to shift from the cloud to the edge, enabling factories to get much smarter.

The way we interface with the physical world is changing as well. New techniques such as CRISPR helps us edit genes at will. There is also an emerging revolution in materials science that will transform areas like energy and manufacturing. These trends are still somewhat nascent, but have truly transformative potential.

Shift 3: From Rapid Iteration to Exploration

Over the past 30 years, we’ve had the luxury of working with technologies we understand extremely well. Every generation of microchips opened vast new possibilities, but worked exactly the same way as the last generation, creating minimal switching costs. The main challenge was to design applications.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that rapid iteration emerged as a key strategy. When you understand the fundamental technology that underlies a product or service, you can move quickly, trying out nearly endless permutations until you arrive at an optimized solution. That’s often far more effective than a planned, deliberate approach.

Over the next decade or two, however, the challenge will be to advance technology that we don’t understand well at all. As noted above, quantum and neuromorphic computing are still in their nascent stages. Improvements in genomics and materials science are redefining the boundaries of those fields. There are also ethical issues involved with artificial intelligence and genomics that will require us to tread carefully.

So in the future, we will need to put greater emphasis on exploration to understand these new technologies and how they relate to our businesses. Instead of looking to disrupt markets, we will need to pursue grand challenges to solve fundamental problems. Most of all, it’s imperative to start early. By the time many of these technologies hit their stride, it will be too late to catch up.

Shift 4. From Hyper Competition to Mass Collaboration

The competitive environment we’ve become used to has been relatively simple. For each particular industry, there have been distinct ecosystems based on established fields of expertise. Competing firms raced to transform fairly undifferentiated inputs into highly differentiated products and services. You needed to move fast to get an edge.

This new era, on the other hand, will be one of mass collaboration in which government partners with academia and industry to explore new technologies in the pre competitive phase. For example, the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research combines the work of five national labs, a dozen or so academic institutions and hundreds of companies to develop advance batteries. Covid has redefined how scientists collaborate across institutional barriers.

Or consider the Manufacturing Institutes set up under the Obama administration. Focusing on everything from advanced fabrics to biopharmaceuticals, these allow companies to collaborate with government labs and top academics to develop the next generation of technologies. They also operate dozens of testing facilities to help bring new products to market faster.

I’ve visited some of these facilities and have had the opportunity to talk with executives from participating companies. What struck me was how palpable the excitement about the possibilities of this new era was. Agility for them didn’t mean learning to run faster down a chosen course, but to widen and deepen connections throughout a technological ecosystem.

Over the past few decades, we have largely been moving faster and faster down a predetermined path. Over the next few decades, however, we’ll increasingly need to explore multiple domains at once and combine them into something that produces value. We’ll need to learn how to go slower to deliver much larger impacts.

— Article courtesy of the Digital Tonto blog
— Image credit: Pixabay

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Why Most Corporate Mindset Programs Are a Waste of Time

What to Focus on Instead

Why Most Corporate Mindset Programs Are a Waste of Time

GUEST POST from Alain Thys

You may know that I’m hunting for a Transformation Algorithm

Its goal is to help us move beyond the >70% failure rate of corporate transformations and create transformative experiences for employees, customers and society. Ambitious? Moi?

To get there, I’m walking around the problem.

Looking at it from all perspectives (Japan style). So without claiming expertise in any domain, I’m blending systems thinking with neuroscience, behavioral psychology, philosophy and my background in experience design. There’s even a little math (I couldn’t resist .

It’s a work in progress, but I’m getting there.

Meanwhile, here are some more thoughts as I put together the puzzle. The article starts a bit gloomy, but it ends more upbeat… I promise.

It’s all work in progress in which I’m still improving both language and content.
So don’t hold back on comments, compliments or corrections.

These days, every company wants to see a ‘mindset change’.

People need to be customer-centric. Digital. Agile. Sustainable. Innovative. More in love with the color blue. After all, the consultants, executive trainers and software vendors say this is the future. Not to mention Mark’s metaverse:

To make this happen, organizations unleash a barrage of initiatives

They do enthusiastic presentations. Introduce new KPIs and dashboards. Launch internal communication programs and training academies. Create new journey maps. Introduce AI. Get some fancy software.

Some even call me (obviously the smartest ones ).

At first, the signs are good.

After all, with enough pressure, you can get water to go uphill. Also, any decent third-party consultant or vendor will make sure that employees leave those workshops with a smile and some quick wins. Especially those that show progress in pretty graphs and numbers.

But then – one by one – the ‘old ways’ assert themselves

They raise dozens of practical, budgetary, emotional and IT concerns which are all valid and require the change program to be calibrated. After all, leaders need to be pragmatic. These thousand slight cuts erode the big transformative vision and expectations get lowered. Things might even become as they were.

#endofmindsetchange?

What if we were aiming at the wrong target?

If you look up mindset in a dictionary, you find it is a mental attitude or inclination. The combined set of assumptions, methods and notions with which each of us approaches problems and the world at large (our perspective). Something rooted in the way we view the world and our perception of reality (our paradigm).

This means that every mindset change is in fact a change in perspective or paradigm.

Let me illustrate with a consumer electronics company that wanted to go from product- to customer-centric value propositions. Digging deep, we found that from the engineer’s perspective, the requested mindset change meant letting go of their long held belief that as the world’s best technical experts they knew how to make the best products on the planet (and had the awards and accolades to prove it).

Instead, they had to embrace that the customer knew better what great looked like and their opinion didn’t matter as much as they thought.

If you’ve worked all your life to become that smart and esteemed technical expert, this is an existential pill to swallow. Especially if the only rationale from the top is that “our Net Promoter Score should improve”.

These shifts in perspective lurk in any transformation

Being agile means seeing that we live in a chaotic world where we can never really be sure of our best next step. True sustainability means accepting that there are limits to growth, also ours. Going digital means letting go of activities we have long considered to be uniquely human (ours?). Innovation requires unlearning the orthodoxies and beliefs we may have held since childhood. And so on.

For some people, these steps may be easy. But for most, they can challenge the core of who they are (even if they may not admit this to themselves).

Ignoring this deeper reality can doom your transformation from the start.

If the new KPIs, processes, systems and incentives you introduce do not match the worldview of the people you target, they will reject them. Sometimes they rebel. Sometimes they stand in the way without realizing it themselves. Either way, your culture will eat your strategy for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

So what to do instead?

Frustration

If you want mindset change, focus on the paradigm shift first.

Before you expect people to approach problems differently (mindset), work on the way they perceive these problems and their context. Clearly describe the required paradigm shift in a FROM… TO… statement and make it as compelling as possible. All while acknowledging the uncomfortable bits head on.

Then, give people opportunities to embrace this new narrative through experiential programs (remember: the old brain doesn’t do PowerPoint).

Once they see the world with fresh eyes, the mindset and changes will follow.

Or as my ultimate change guru Antoine de Saint-Exupéry used to say: “if you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

But always remember that your perception as a leader is flawed too.

When you say: ‘I want a mindset change’, you are actually saying: ‘I want you to see the world as I do’.

This is often a big ask, as chances are you live in a world that is more affluent, more educated and more informed (I won’t mention diversity … oops, I did). You probably have a different education, live in a different social media bubble and even shop in different stores. You may even have the freedom to make your own decisions.

Seeing life your way, may not be as easy for someone who has grown up, works and lives in a different context (no value judgment here, just observation).

Inversely, unless you’ve done their jobs and lived their lives, you will have difficulties to imagine the world through the eyes of your people. No matter how you try.

So before you talk about mindset change.

Understand and start from your people’s perspective and then expand it in the direction you propose. And if the gap between the two is too big, consider adapting your strategy.

Perhaps your world view and sense of possibility need an update too.

Image Credits: Pixabay

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Building Resilient Organizations

Strategies for Designing Agile and Resilient Organizations that can Effectively Navigate Industry Disruptions

Building Resilient Organizations

GUEST POST from Chateau G Pato

In today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving business landscape, organizations face continuous disruptions that challenge their ability to remain competitive and thrive. To navigate these disruptions successfully, organizations must prioritize resilience and agility. By designing resilient organizations that can adapt and respond effectively, leaders can better position their businesses to weather industry disruptions and emerge stronger. In this article, we will explore strategies that can help build agile and resilient organizations, showcasing two compelling case studies that demonstrate their practical application.

1. Embracing a Culture of Adaptability:

A resilient organization begins with a resilient culture. Companies that foster a mindset of adaptability and continuous learning are better equipped to navigate industry disruptions. Organizations must first assess their current culture and identify areas in need of improvement. By encouraging innovation, risk-taking, and employee empowerment, businesses can build an environment that promotes flexibility and agility.

Case Study 1: Netflix

Netflix, originally a DVD rental service, recognized the shift in consumer behavior towards streaming services. Instead of resisting the change, Netflix embraced the disruption by evolving into a leading provider of online content. By prioritizing adaptability and empowering employees to experiment and take risks, Netflix capitalized on the opportunity to transform its business model, ultimately becoming one of the most influential disruptors in the entertainment industry.

2. Developing Robust Strategic Planning:

Strategic planning is essential for building resilient organizations. Effective planning allows businesses to anticipate disruptions, make proactive decisions, and quickly adapt to market shifts. Organizations must be willing to challenge conventional thinking, explore alternative scenarios, and foster an environment that supports experimentation.

Case Study 2: Amazon

Amazon’s journey from an online bookstore to a global retail giant serves as a testament to the company’s strategic planning capabilities. Amazon consistently invests in innovation, technology, and supply chain optimization to maintain a competitive edge. By staying ahead of industry disruptions, Amazon successfully integrated new business models like marketplace platforms and cloud computing, ensuring long-term sustainability.

3. Building Collaborative Networks:

In an increasingly interconnected business world, organizations cannot thrive in isolation. Resilient organizations actively cultivate partnerships, collaborations, and networks that allow them to leverage shared knowledge, resources, and expertise. Building strong relationships with suppliers, customers, and industry players fosters resilience by enhancing access to valuable information and enabling collaboration during times of disruption.

Conclusion

Building resilient organizations is vital to navigating industry disruptions successfully. By embracing a culture of adaptability, establishing robust strategic planning processes, and cultivating collaborative networks, businesses can enhance their resilience and fortify their ability to thrive amid uncertainty. The case studies of Netflix and Amazon exemplify these strategies’ effectiveness, showcasing how organizations that prioritize agility and resilience can not only survive but also lead industry disruptions. By leveraging these approaches, organizations can position themselves as catalysts for positive change and build a future-ready business ecosystem.

SPECIAL BONUS: The very best change planners use a visual, collaborative approach to create their deliverables. A methodology and tools like those in Change Planning Toolkit™ can empower anyone to become great change planners themselves.

Image credit: Pixabay

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Change Leadership for Agile Organizations

Adapting to Rapid Change

Change Leadership for Agile OrganizationsGUEST POST from Art Inteligencia

In today’s complex and unpredictable business landscape, change has become a constant rather than an exception. Agile organizations that embrace change and adapt rapidly are more likely to succeed in an increasingly dynamic marketplace. However, achieving agility requires effective change leadership that empowers employees, aligns organizational values, and ensures seamless transitions. In this thought leadership article, we will explore the principles of change leadership for agile organizations through the analysis of two compelling case studies.

Case Study 1: Spotify’s Agile Transformation

In recent years, Spotify, the global music streaming giant, underwent a profound transformation to embrace agile practices and foster a culture of innovation. Their shift from a traditional hierarchical structure to a “tribe-squad-CT” model empowered autonomous cross-functional teams. Top management encouraged experimentation, where squads were free to take calculated risks and learn from failures. This cultural shift required strong change leadership that aligned the organization and inspired employees to embrace change.

Spotify’s change leaders focused on three core aspects:

1. Communicating a Compelling Vision: Leaders articulated a compelling vision that emphasized the need for agility and explained how it aligned with the organization’s strategic goals. They emphasized the benefits of empowerment, collaboration, and adaptability, ensuring that employees felt a sense of purpose and understood the value of change.

2. Nurturing Change Agents: Change leaders identified, trained, and empowered change agents within the organization. These agents served as advocates, mentors, and facilitators of change, supporting their respective teams through the transition. By creating a network of change agents, Spotify established a grassroots movement that accelerated the adoption of agile principles and practices.

3. Encouraging Continuous Learning: Recognizing that agility requires continuous learning, Spotify’s change leaders established a learning-oriented culture. They encouraged employees to embrace experimentation, learn from failures, and share their experiences. This created an environment that fostered innovation, collaboration, and rapid adaptation to change.

The successful transformation of Spotify showcases the effectiveness of change leadership in enabling organizational agility.

Case Study 2: Toyota’s Lean Manufacturing Revolution

Toyota’s journey towards becoming a global leader in automotive manufacturing is a testament to the power of change leadership in fostering agility. In the 1950s, Toyota faced significant challenges, including a resource-constrained post-war economy. They responded by developing the groundbreaking Toyota Production System (TPS), which revolutionized manufacturing processes and established the foundation for lean manufacturing.

Toyota’s change leadership approach encompassed the following elements:

1. Empowering Frontline Employees: Change leaders at Toyota recognized the value of frontline employees’ expertise. They empowered workers to identify and solve problems, emphasizing the importance of continuous improvement. This empowered culture fostered a sense of ownership, creating an environment where employees actively contributed to adapting to rapid changes and driving innovation.

2. Embracing Kaizen: Toyota’s change leaders popularized the Kaizen philosophy of continual improvement throughout the organization. They facilitated cross-functional collaboration and encouraged employees to seek incremental improvements in their work processes. This focus on Kaizen nurtured a culture of proactive responsiveness to change, benefitting not only the production line but the entire organization.

3. Leadership through Servant Mentality: Toyota’s change leaders assumed a servant leadership mentality, seeking to serve and support employees rather than commanding them. Leaders actively listened to the concerns and ideas of employees and provided the necessary resources and guidance to implement change.

By implementing these change leadership principles, Toyota transformed into an agile organization capable of rapidly adapting to shifting consumer demands and market conditions.

Conclusion

Change leadership is the catalyst for agility in organizations navigating rapid change. The case studies of Spotify and Toyota demonstrate how effective change leadership enables organizational adaptability, fosters a culture of innovation, and empowers employees to embrace and drive change. By communicating a compelling vision, nurturing change agents, encouraging continuous learning, empowering frontline employees, embracing Kaizen, and practicing servant leadership, organizations can pave the way for successful transformations in an increasingly volatile business environment. Embracing change leadership is the key to thriving in the face of rapid change.

Bottom line: Futurology is not fortune telling. Futurists use a scientific approach to create their deliverables, but a methodology and tools like those in FutureHacking™ can empower anyone to engage in futurology themselves.

Image credit: Pixabay

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Designing an Innovation Lab: A Step-by-Step Guide

Designing an Innovation Lab: A Step-by-Step Guide

GUEST POST from Art Inteligencia

Innovation has become a driving force for organizations looking to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing business landscape. To foster a culture of creativity and problem-solving, many companies are now investing in innovation labs. These dedicated spaces provide employees with the tools, processes, and environment necessary to drive impactful change. This article aims to present a step-by-step guide on designing an innovation lab, exploring key considerations and showcasing two inspiring case studies.

Step 1: Defining the Purpose and Objectives

Before embarking on the design process, it is crucial to define the purpose and objectives of the innovation lab. Is it primarily focused on developing new products, enhancing customer experience, or addressing internal efficiency challenges? Identifying the intended outcomes will help shape the lab’s design, resources, and methodologies.

Step 2: Creating the Right Environment

A successful innovation lab requires a physical and cultural environment that encourages collaboration, risk-taking, and creativity. This includes considerations such as open floor plans, flexible workspaces, comfortable furniture, and access to cutting-edge technology. Attracting natural light and incorporating natural elements can also enhance productivity and well-being.

Case Study 1: Google X Moonshot Factory

One of the most renowned innovation labs is Google X, the parent company of Google. The Moonshot Factory, as they call it, is responsible for developing radical, moonshot ideas that address global issues. The lab’s unique design features open spaces, colorful furniture, brainstorming walls, and prototypes scattered throughout the area. This innovative approach creates an atmosphere that fosters creativity, experimentation, and a sense of purpose, enabling teams to tackle audacious challenges with confidence.

Step 3: Promote Cross-Pollination and Collaboration

To maximize the potential of an innovation lab, it is essential to encourage cross-pollination of ideas and collaboration among employees from various departments. By integrating diverse perspectives and expertise, organizations can foster a more holistic and inclusive approach to problem-solving. Setting up common areas, organizing regular ideation sessions, and facilitating knowledge-sharing opportunities all contribute to a vibrant collaborative culture.

Case Study 2: Autodesk’s Pier 9 Workshop

Autodesk’s Pier 9 Workshop in San Francisco serves as an innovation lab that brings together artists, designers, and engineers to explore the intersection of technology and creativity. The lab provides users with cutting-edge equipment and a platform to experiment and create innovative projects. By fostering collaboration between diverse disciplines and offering access to advanced tools, Autodesk empowers individuals to push their boundaries and unleash their creative potential.

Step 4: Implement Agile Processes and Iterative Techniques

To drive innovation effectively, organizations should embrace agile processes that allow for rapid experimentation, continuous improvement, and quick iteration cycles. Encouraging teams to adopt proven methodologies like Design Thinking or Lean Startup principles helps create a structure that balances creativity with tangible results. Emphasizing the importance of learning from failure and celebrating successes also fosters a growth mindset within the lab.

Conclusion

Designing and implementing an innovation lab requires a strategic approach with careful consideration of the purpose, environment, collaboration, and iterative processes. By following this step-by-step guide, organizations can establish a dedicated space that cultivates creativity, engagement, and breakthrough innovations. The case studies of Google X Moonshot Factory and Autodesk’s Pier 9 Workshop serve as inspiring examples of successful innovation labs that have revolutionized industries by embracing the power of human imagination and collaboration. The future belongs to those who dare to innovate, and an innovation lab is the gateway to unlocking boundless possibilities.

Bottom line: Futurology is not fortune telling. Futurists use a scientific approach to create their deliverables, but a methodology and tools like those in FutureHacking™ can empower anyone to engage in futurology themselves.

Image credit: Unsplash

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Rise of the Evangelist

Chief Evangelist Braden Kelley

What is an evangelist?

When many people hear this term, their minds used to picture Billy Graham or Pat Robertson, but this is changing. Why?

Our perceptions of evangelists are transforming as the pace of change accelerates to construct a new reality faster than most human brains can process the changes.

This creates a chasm in understanding and change readiness that evangelists can help bridge in a number of different ways.

Let us look at what an evangelist really is…

Oxford Dictionaries say an evangelist is a “zealous advocate of something.”

Nine Innovation Roles EvangelistIn business, the evangelist is a role that any of us can take on (with varying levels of success). Evangelism is very important to innovation success, which is why the evangelist is one of The Nine Innovation Roles™. This is how I define this particular role:

“The Evangelists know how to educate people on what the idea is and help them understand it. Evangelists are great people to help build support for an idea internally, and also to help educate customers on its value.”

Notice at this point we are talking about an evangelist as a role that can be played by one or more people, and not as a job that one or more people hold. Evangelism normally will be a role and not a job, but there are inflection points where this must change.

Outside of an innovation context, evangelism often falls on the shoulders of CEOs, business owners and product managers within organizations. When the need for evangelism is small, this can work. But for most organizations, this is no longer the case.

When should you hire an evangelist?

The time to cross over from evangelism as a role to evangelism as a job is when:

  1. The pace of internal change is accelerating faster than employees can grasp without help
  2. The pace of external change is accelerating faster than customers can understand without help
  3. Your company is facing disruption by new entrants or existing competitors
  4. You’re considering a digital transformation
  5. You’ve already embarked upon a digital transformation
  6. You’re using Agile in product development
  7. Your brand essence is being shifted by you or your customers
  8. You need a more human and personal presence in your marketing efforts to better connect with customers

When one or more of these conditions are true, you’ll find that it isn’t possible for CEOs, business owners and product owners to meet the needs for evangelism in the short spurts of time these people can dedicate to the necessary activities.

As highlighted by Agile Product Development’s presence in the list, organizations leveraging Agile to develop software-based products will find that their product managers are always engaged with the backlog with little time to focus on evangelism. They’re always focused on shipping something.

Some organizations will resist adding evangelists to their team, feeling that such a role is superfluous, but having one or more people focused on evangelism delivers value to the organization by executing a range of incredibly important activities, including:

  • Growing awareness
  • Building a community around the company and/or plugging the company into pre-existing external communities (potentially taking the brand to places it has never been before)
  • Generating interest
  • Working with customers and the marketing team to identify the stories that need to be told and the themes that need to be introduced and/or reinforced
  • Creating desire
  • Building and maintaining conversations with the community that cares about your products/services/brands
  • Engaging in an open and honest dialogue to help gather the voice of the customer
  • Facilitating action
  • Practicing a human-centered design mindset to continuously elicit needs and surface wants and desired outcomes

Depending on the size of the organization you may decide to have a single evangelist, or some larger organizations have more than one type of evangelist, including:

  1. Chief Evangelist
  2. Brand Evangelists
  3. Product Evangelists
  4. Service Evangelists
  5. Innovation Evangelists

This specialization occurs when the evangelism an organization needs become too big for one evangelist to handle. At that point a Chief Evangelist creates the evangelism strategy and manages the execution across the team of brand, product, service and other evangelism focus areas.

So what makes a good evangelist?

Evangelists arrive from a range of different job specialties, but key knowledge, skills and abilities include:

  • Empathetic
  • Passionate About the Company’s Mission, Products/Services, and Customers
  • Comfortable Public Speaker
  • Efficient and Effective Writer
  • Human-Centered Design Mindset
  • Experienced with Social Media, Audio and Video
  • Skilled Content Creator
  • Continuous Learner
  • Self-Directed and Comfortable with Ambiguity

… and ideally your chosen evangelists will already have some presence in the communities important to you, or the knowledge of how to establish a presence in these communities.

Customer buying journeys are notoriously unpredictable, meandering, long and non-linear. Evangelism is a critical part of helping to build relationships with potential buyers and increasing the chances that your brand will be top of mind when a non-buyer finally becomes a potential customer of your products or services.

It’s a long-term non-transactional investment, one that will pay dividends if you see the wisdom in making the expenditure.

Has your organization already invested in evangelists? What learnings would you like to share in the comments?

Are you ready for the evangelists to rise in your organization?

Or do you need help with evangelism? (contact me if you do)

Share the love!

p.s. I wrote a follow-up article for InnovationManagement.se that you might also enjoy — Increase Your Innovation Reputation and Velocity with an Innovation Evangelist


Accelerate your change and transformation success

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The Evolution of Change Management

From Top-Down to Agile Approaches

The Evolution of Change Management

GUEST POST from Chateau G Pato

Change is an inevitable part of any organization’s growth and survival. In the past, change management strategies primarily followed a top-down approach, where leaders dictated the changes and employees were expected to comply. However, over time, as organizations faced increasing complexity and speed of change, a more agile approach to change management has emerged. This article explores the evolution of change management from top-down to agile approaches and provides two case study examples showcasing the benefits of adopting agile change practices.

The traditional top-down approach to change management involved leaders identifying the need for change, setting objectives, and then cascading the change down through the hierarchy. In this approach, employees were often not adequately involved or consulted, leading to resistance or low engagement. The lack of employee involvement also hampered creativity and innovation, with change initiatives frequently facing roadblocks and slow implementation.

Recognizing the limitations of the top-down approach, organizations began embracing agile change management methodologies, inspired by the principles derived from agile software development. The agile approach emphasizes collaboration, flexibility, and iterative progress, empowering employees to actively participate in the change process. This shift enables organizations to respond swiftly to changing circumstances and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

Case Study 1 – Spotify

One notable case study that highlights the effectiveness of an agile change approach is the transformation of Spotify. This music streaming giant faced the challenge of scaling rapidly while maintaining innovation and adaptability. They shifted from a traditional top-down approach to a squad-based, agile organizational structure. In their agile change management, cross-functional teams were empowered to make decisions, experiment, and continuously improve. This resulted in faster implementation of ideas, increased employee satisfaction, and enhanced customer experiences.

Case Study 2 – Dutch Government

Another case study illustrating the benefits of agile change practices is the digital transformation of the Dutch government. Facing the need to modernize and improve service delivery, they adopted an agile approach to change management. Using this methodology, they formed multidisciplinary teams responsible for specific projects, involving end-users throughout the development process. By conducting frequent iterations and incorporating feedback, the Dutch government successfully rolled out digital initiatives such as the Digital Identity App and the My Belastingdienst portal. The agile change approach ensured that the final products met users’ needs and expectations, leading to improved citizen engagement and satisfaction.

The shift from top-down to agile change management approaches is driven by the understanding that employees are key stakeholders and vital sources of expertise and innovation. By involving employees throughout the change process, organizations can tap into their knowledge, unlock creativity, and improve the quality and sustainability of change initiatives. This collaborative approach results in higher levels of ownership, engagement, and commitment from employees, fostering a culture of continuous learning and adaptation.

Conclusion

The evolution of change management from top-down to agile approaches represents a paradigm shift in how organizations navigate and embrace change. The agile approach, with its emphasis on collaboration, flexibility, and employee involvement, enables organizations to adapt swiftly in an ever-changing environment. Case studies such as Spotify and the Dutch Government’s digital transformation illustrate the positive outcomes of adopting agile change practices. Embracing agile change management not only accelerates the implementation of changes but also nurtures a culture of innovation, empowerment, and resilience in organizations.

Image credit: Pexels

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Human-Centered Design and Agile Methodologies

A Powerful Combination

Human-Centered Design and Agile Methodologies

GUEST POST from Chateau G Pato

In today’s fast-paced and competitive market, organizations are increasingly realizing the importance of incorporating both Human-Centered Design (HCD) principles and Agile methodologies into their product development processes. By doing so, companies are able to create innovative and user-centric products while staying agile and responding swiftly to changing customer needs.

Human-Centered Design is an iterative design approach that focuses on understanding and meeting the needs, desires, and behaviors of end-users. It involves continuously involving users throughout the design process, gaining insights through user research, and incorporating their feedback to build products that truly address their pain points. On the other hand, Agile methodologies emphasize flexibility, collaboration, and adaptive planning, enabling teams to iteratively deliver value through frequent and incremental product releases.

When combining HCD with Agile, organizations can leverage the strengths of both methodologies and achieve remarkable results. Let’s explore two case studies that highlight the power of this combination.

Case Study 1: Airbnb

One of the most prominent examples of successful integration of HCD and Agile methodologies is Airbnb. In its early years, Airbnb faced the challenge of low user engagement and failed to attract users to their platform. Recognizing the importance of putting users at the center of their design strategy, Airbnb embraced HCD principles alongside an Agile development approach.

Airbnb extensively researched the needs and preferences of its target audience, even going as far as sending its designers to live with hosts in different cities to truly understand the user experience. The insights gained from these immersive research experiences helped Airbnb identify pain points and develop innovative features that addressed them effectively.

By integrating Agile methodologies, Airbnb was able to quickly implement and test its design ideas, gaining rapid feedback from users. They released regular updates and constantly improved their app based on user feedback, ensuring that the product remained user-centric. Today, Airbnb is a global leader in the accommodation industry, revolutionizing the way people experience travel.

Case Study 2: Intuit

Intuit, a leading financial software company, is another example of successfully combining HCD and Agile methodologies in their product development process. Intuit’s flagship product, TurboTax, enables users to file taxes easily and efficiently. However, in observance of a common challenge faced by many organizations, Intuit realized that users often dropped out during the tax filing process due to its complexity.

To address this issue, Intuit adopted an HCD approach. They conducted extensive user research, including in-depth interviews and usability testing, to understand the pain points hindering user adoption. Based on these insights, Intuit redesigned their tax filing process to be simpler, more intuitive, and less time-consuming.

Intuit complemented their HCD efforts with an Agile development methodology. By releasing regular updates and engaging with users throughout the development process, Intuit ensured that the changes made aligned with user needs. The incremental approach allowed them to constantly improve the product and significantly reduce customer drop-offs during tax filing.

The integration of HCD and Agile methods played a crucial role in the success of TurboTax, making it the most popular tax preparation software in the market today.

Conclusion

The combination of Human-Centered Design and Agile methodologies has proven to be a powerful tool for organizations seeking to create user-centric and innovative products. The case studies of Airbnb and Intuit demonstrate how this integration can lead to significant improvements in user experiences and overall business success. By prioritizing user needs and leveraging feedback through an iterative and adaptive approach, companies can adapt to changing market requirements while delivering products that make a lasting impact.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Braden Kelley’s Problem Finding Canvas can be a super useful starting point for doing design thinking or human-centered design.

“The Problem Finding Canvas should help you investigate a handful of areas to explore, choose the one most important to you, extract all of the potential challenges and opportunities and choose one to prioritize.”

Image credit: misterinnovation.com

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The Benefits of Agile Project Management for SMEs

The Benefits of Agile Project Management for SMEs

GUEST POST from Art Inteligencia

The rapid pace of technological advancement and the increased competition in the business landscape have made project management a critical factor in the success of any organization. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are no exception, and the implementation of agile project management can provide numerous benefits that can help them stay ahead of the competition.

Agile project management is a methodology that emphasizes flexibility and iterative progress, allowing teams to adapt quickly to changing conditions and customer needs. This type of project management has become increasingly popular in the business world and is a great option for SMEs looking to improve their project management capabilities. Here are five key benefits of agile project management for SMEs.

1. Improved Efficiency

Agile project management allows teams to break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks, which can help teams complete projects efficiently and on time. The iterative nature of agile project management also encourages teams to test and revise plans and strategies regularly, which can help teams identify and address inefficiencies more quickly.

2. Improved Communication

Agile project management encourages teams to communicate frequently and collaboratively. This regular communication helps teams stay on the same page, reduces misunderstandings, and encourages everyone to contribute their ideas and perspectives.

3. Enhanced Flexibility

The iterative nature of agile project management makes it easier for teams to adjust to changing customer needs and priorities. This allows teams to respond quickly to changes, and to adjust their strategies accordingly.

4. Improved Quality

Agile project management encourages teams to consistently review and test their work, which can help identify and address any issues or problems more quickly and effectively. This can result in higher quality projects and products.

5. Increased Visibility

The regular communication encouraged by agile project management helps keep stakeholders informed of project progress and allows teams to identify potential risks or issues more quickly. This can help teams to take proactive steps to address any potential problems before they arise.

The implementation of agile project management can be a great way for SMEs to increase their project management capabilities and stay ahead of the competition. The five benefits discussed here are just the beginning of the many advantages that agile project management can provide.

Image credit: Pixabay

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Join Me at the Virtual Change Management Summit 2017

Virtual Change Management Conference

On July 12, 2017 I will be speaking at Change Management Review’s Virtual Change Management Summit 2017™, a curated collection of brand new pre-recorded global webinars bringing thought leaders and senior practitioners in the change management profession together.

The purpose of the event is to help participants discover, learn, and reinforce how change management practices and principles are applied in today’s business world.

Click here for more information and to register for this outstanding event

Why is the Virtual Change Management Summit 2017™ important to change management professionals today?

Our profession is currently fragmented and formalizing at different rates across the globe resulting in confusion about how to take part in professional development for those who have just joined the profession and for those who are in the mid-range of their career as a change management practitioner. Aside from formal certification training, there really isn’t a tangible mode to learn more about what is going on and what works unless one attends a conference or an in-person seminar.

The Virtual Change Management Summit 2017™ is an inexpensive means for change management professionals to learn, grow, and understand the business world around them from the perspective of well known experts and senior change management practitioners.

(from the Change Management Review web site)

In addition to myself, the rest of the speaking lineup will include:

  • Theresa Moulton, Editor-in-Chief, Change Management Review™
  • Dr. Dean Ackerman and Dr. Linda Ackerman Anderson, Co-Founders, Being First Inc.
  • Tim Creasey, Chief Innovation Officer, Prosci
  • Jason Little, Agile Management Consultant, Coach and Trainer
  • Kimberlee Williams, President, Center for Strategy Realization
  • Linda Hoopes, President, Resilience Alliance

The title of my presentation will be:

The Future of Project Management is… Change!

… and I will be exploring the intersections and relationships between project management, innovation management, change management, lean, six sigma, agile, lean startup, and design thinking and how organizations can fundamentally transform how they plan and execute what matters most.

I hope you’ll join us on July 12th!
(or watch the sessions on demand after their scheduled times)

Click here for more information and to register for this outstanding event


Accelerate your change and transformation success

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