Yesterday was day 2 of the Business Agility 2017 Conference in New York. After a day full of new insights and an evening full of sightseeing and good food, I was curious about what this day would have to bring us!
Leading the Transformation
The first part of day 2 was about ‘Leading the Transformation’. The main goal of this topic was to provide insights about how to lead the change and align organisations in their journey to become Agile. David Grabel talked about his experiences with a big non-IT transformation. One of the main challenges he was facing, was that the ‘Work In Progress’ limit within this organisation was too high. Since there was no focus, the lead time from ideas to new products and services was unnecessary long. My main takeaway from this story is that by limiting the WIP of the organisation, focus is created and value to customers is delivered faster and more often.
The next topic was about ‘Business Innovation’. I was mainly interested in the talk of Andrea Fryrear, because she is an expert in Agile Marketing. She provided a lot of numbers and facts about the position of marketing within organisations, and the need to change this nowadays. Marketers are working much harder than the average employee in most organisations, and at the same time they are not very much recognized by other departments and the management. This surprised me, because I believe that marketing is vital to become succesful as an organisation. The promise of Agile Marketing is that campaigns will become more effective and go to the market faster, and marketers will be recognized for the contribution they make to the organisation. Another speaker about this topic was Iqbal Singh. He stated that one of the biggest impediments for innovation Agility is the absence of an intrapreneurial culture. When employees are empowered to be an entrepreneur within the organisation, new ideas will be nurtured and the innovative capacity of the organisation will be enhanced.
People & Engagement
The third part of day two was focused on ‘People & Engagement’. Isabella Serg gave us a number of tips and insights about how to attract, develop and retain employees. One of my main takeaways is that the Agile way of working requires a learning culture, which should be supported from the top of the organisation. Fabiola Eyholzer did even go one step further by stating that if an organisation wants to win the market place, it first has to win the work place. The central message I take from this part of the conference is that employee engagement and culture change are central to the success and sustainability of Agile transformations.
The final part of the conference was about ‘Fearless Change’. Todd Little talked about several aspects of work that are changing nowadays. He mentioned that the degree of collaboration and agreement have an influence on the way people work together. The combination of a high degree of collaboration and disagreement leads to creative tension, and in the end to a drive to purpose. This is the most effective way of collaboration. One statement I really liked was: ‘Never commit early, unless you know why’. In my opinion, this means that you should always maintain enough flexibility to change if necessary.
And with that statement, the Business Agility 2017 Conference has come to an end. After two days full of information, new insights, war stories and a lot of networking, it is time to go home. While I am writing this blogpost, I am on the plane back to the Netherlands. I am tired and satisfied at the same time, and I definately look back at two amazing days in New York. My colleague Annika and I set ourselves the goal to speak at the conference next year about Agile Marketing. So, I would say: see you next year!!