Friday's Growth

An Experiment and an Option are not quite the same thing

As the pace of change accelerates around us, our ability to experiment is presented as a more agile way of charting a path forward, in an increasingly uncertain world. In fact, we have a wealth of methodologies and tools to choose from, from innovation hacks and design sprints to a more strategic application of the Agile manifesto, such as the Lean Startup or the use of OKRs.

Every one of these, in my experience, has added much to our ability to make Agile an organisation-wide capability and we’ve come across some excellent examples of organisations who have reaped the rewards of Agile at scale. 

However, being Agile and becoming Adaptive are not quite the same thing (though they share many of the attributes of the Agile Manifesto). Becoming an adaptive organisation requires us to look more deeply at our strategic direction and how we intend to thrive in the opportunity spaces our emerging environment provides. In short, we develop an adaptive strategy, which evolves through the practice of Strategic Options.

Each option is designed to test new elements of our strategy – not merely through the testing of an hypothesis (though this is how experiments often start), but a deeper testing of a new strategic approach, a new ‘How’, a testing of a system of capabilities, to achieve something new.

Many of you would recognize the linkages between strategic options and experimentation. That is certainly the case, but so is knowing that experimenting without the context that strategic options provide can become a distracting exercise.

Here are three steps I found useful in our journey into a more adaptive form of strategy execution and experimentation:

  1. Ask yourself – where would you like to see your organization’s strategy become more adaptive? Is it in entering new markets? In accelerating the commercialization of new offerings or perhaps in crafting game-changing partnerships with others? In becoming more discerning, we achieve focus and can drive our adaptiveness more clearly.
  2. Discover how adaptive your organisation is – originally developed at INSEAD, our Adaptive Organisation diagnostic evaluates 32 dimensions of adaptiveness and can bring clarity into our improvement efforts, in a short period of time.
  3. Explore lessons from highly-adaptive organizations and their enduring traits – whether in Financial Services (e.g.: Handelsbanken or DBS), Telecoms and Media (e.g. Telstra) or Energy (e.g. Equinor), learning from our peers within or in related industries can bring a wealth of insights into our adaptiveness journey.

Let’s use the crisis as an opportunity, not merely to experiment, but to do so with a clear a compelling purpose.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Saar Ben-Attar (A Connector Beyond Limits) 

Useful Links:

The principles behind the Agile Manifesto

Ascent Growth Partners Manifesto

Featured podcast ePISODE

In the latest episode of Hidden Growth Champions Zipporah Maubane, Digital Transformation and Marketing Executive, joins host Saar. We speak about the state of digital transformation in 2021 and how it is unlocking value, not only in the much-spoken about areas of customer experience, supply chain and operations, but in the relationship with other key stakeholders, including investors. She illustrates the premium placed over digitally-transformed organisations, from diverse corporate environments such as BP, Sasol, Coca Cola and most recently South-Africa ICT company Altron.

A marketer at heart, she brings a unique perspective into how organisations can transition successfully, in an increasingly digitised, post-COVID environment.

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Featured Diagnostic

This week, we feature our Adaptive Organisation diagnostic, which has become such a valuable tool for clients assessing their ability to identify, discover and act on new capabilities – their ‘new molecules’ in the making. Based on landmark research by INSEAD, it has become a source of insights for many in becoming more adaptive and thrive in a new and emerging environment.

To try any of our online diagnostics…

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"In strategy it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things."
Miyamoto Musashi
Legendary Japanese Swordsman