Organizational Agility at the Future of Work Lab

Lynda Gratton
Lynda Gratton

Today I am at the Future of Work Lab (FoWlab) in London attending a masterclass on Organizational Agility. The goal is to get acquainted with cutting edge academic thinking on the topic while sharing cross-sector knowledge. I will write a few blog posts on the basis of the day.

The need for agility

Lynda Gratton opened the day by talking about three external trends that make it harder to manage your organization. They are:

  1. Exponential change
  2. Increasing complexity
  3. Multiple stakeholders

All of these require increase the level of ambiguity and thus require you to become more agile. She advices that there are three things you can do:

1. Learn to experiment

Companies should go into a mode of continuous experimentation. This copes with ambiguity through a rapid feedback mechanism. The experimentation should be based on a test and learn approach and the knowledge about and from these experiments should be stored, tagged and searchable.

Designing experiments is a five-step process (nothing new here):

  1. Developing a hypothesis
  2. Identifying sites
  3. Selecting a control group
  4. Defining the test and control situations
  5. Creating measurable metrics

Another post from the FoWlab will address experimentation further.

2. Harness the crowd

You have to increase the diversity of the mindsets involved (see the work of Scott Page). Three ways:

  1. Internal: social strategy
  2. External: open innovation, example of Innocentive
  3. External: social media

Courageous leadership

This term did not get a lot of definition. You can say that when situations become ambiguous, you have to create a narrative that helps people to know what they need to do.