November 1, 2018

To answer the question, let’s first discuss what it means for an organization to be agile.  An agile organization proactively seek opportunities to identify and apply new ideas that improve organizational effectiveness. It also has a cultural mindset that values and encourages learning, collaboration and shared ownership of the vision, mission, and purpose of the organization. 

Next, let’s review why I believe it is important to become more agile.  Estimates are there will be more technological change in the next 20 years than there was in the last 300 years.  This transformation will impact every person in the world.  It is called the 4thIndustrial Revolution. We have already experienced disruptive technological change having significant impacts on people and industries. Two examples are Uber’s mobile app that matches drivers and passengers within minutes in cities across the world and the Airbnb mobile app that matches world-wide travelers to a marketplace of people willing to rent out their residence or spare room.  These examples are the tip of the iceberg.  More dramatic change is expected.  Below are changes expected by the year 2025 according to the World Economic Forum:

  • 3D printed automobiles in production
  • Mobile phones implantable in the human body 
  • 10% of all cars on the road will be driverless 
  • 1 trillion sensors connected to the internet
  • The first robotic pharmacist in the US
  • First city with greater than 50,000 residences and no traffic lights

How does this short list of disruptive changes make you feel?  If your organization has a strong competitive position today your risk is that you lose your advantage because you may react too slowly to customer demands or competitive forces.  If your organization aspires to become more competitive, the 4thIndustrial Revolution provides an unprecedented opportunity to leap-frog to greater relevance.  Every business, non-profit, community and individual has an unprecedented opportunity to re-imagine the future.  There is no need to think in terms of incremental progress. Technology is leveling the playing field.

Now is the time for aspirational leadership.  Agility requires a shift in thinking across the organization, so you can develop a new way agile way of delivering value to your constituents.  Many traditional approaches to organizational structure, decision making, compensation and talent development must be reconsidered to capitalize on the speed at which change is taking place.    

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Darsweil L Rogers is Co-Managing Partner of CFP Innovation

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