In the Strategy & Business article The Agility Factor, authors make a case that agile organizations are more profitable. They explore this concept to present how agility helps organizations to respond faster to the changing environments – internal or external through the flexibility in the system. Agility can also be interpreted as the ability to innovate as and when the opportunity presents itself, it means the flexibility in the systems, processes, and more importantly the culture of the organization to be able to re-invent or re-adjust itself to tap on new opportunities or respond to new threats in the market.
Authors give 4 primary components of being agile:
- Dynamic Strategy i.e. a strategy that is not rigid and can be changed on the go as required. There is also a component of the strategy being transparent to all employees, that helps it in being flexible, as people know what it is and why it needs to be changed.
- Perceiving Environmental Change requires built-in sensors that can sense the changes in the environment as early as possible. This requires that some part of the organization has strong ears that is always listening to the waves outside. There should be a mechanism to analyze these changes to see how and where they impact the organization, and what is the best possible response to it.
- Testing Responses – This is where the innovation engine comes into the picture. As soon as an opportunity is identified, you need to find or create solutions, test them, fine-tune them, and after the required iterations launch them in the market for the customers to use them.
- Implementing Change – My interpretation of this would be mainstreaming the new solutions, inducting them into your product portfolio, and making it a standard offering.
I quite like their breaking down of this agility factor, this can help organizations identify what parts exist in their system and what needs to be inducted or improved. The examples given are also very robust and appropriate.