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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)