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Improvisation for agility

Many organisations are implementing the “methodologies” of Agile or Rapid Prototyping – and research suggests that most are really struggling.  Many are rediscovering the "truth" allegedly named by Peter Drucker that “Culture eats Strategy for breakfast” … and (we would add) methodology for lunch!

The difference between a classic, highly planned, designed in advance “Waterfall” approach to complex projects, and the iterative, collaborative and “improvisational” approach based in “Agile” is far more than simply a question of speed.  The entire mindset is different.  And agility goes way beyond project management.  Many of our clients are attempting to change their entire cultures from one based on slow, expensive and "controlled" processes towards fast, innovative and lean to compete with new entrants, adopt new technologies and survive in a different world.

We think about this shift as one best described by Taleb as becoming "anti-fragile" - 

Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder and stressors and love adventure, risk and uncertainty.  Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile.  Let us call it antifragile.

Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness.  The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.  This property is behind everything that has changed with time: evolution, culture, ideas, revolutions, political systems, technological innovation, cultural and economic success, corporate survival, good recipes …. bacteria resistance … even our own existence as a species on this planet.”

Taleb, Antifragile, 2012, pg 3-4

Take a look at the next workshop for development of core skills and confidence working with agile and improvisational based change.

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Developing the personal and social habits of agility, innovation, collaboration, risk tolerance and awareness, accountability and courage are not easy when you are used to something a bit more "controlled".  But learning the behaviours and skills associated with improvisation really help.

For over 20 years Caryn and her colleagues have been working with the deep skills and social practices that enable and support fast, collaborative practice.