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Agile Innovation – Methods and Outcomes

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19th Feb, 2024
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    Agile Innovation – Methods and Outcomes

    A Bain and Company article mentions that despite path-breaking thinkers coming up with better ways of designing new products, 70%-90% of those new products fail! The absence of agile innovation, a systematic, repeatable and fast-moving method of designing and developing innovations is the issue businesses struggle with while trying to meet the ever-new market demands. Something that the Agile system provides. 

    Agile is a well-developed, highly effective system aimed to overcome more than a dozen of common barriers to successful innovation. Way beyond just an approach to creative thinking or repetitive prototyping. Agile values have improved the success rates of projects from 11% to 39%, while in large or complex projects, its success rate jumps to almost six times when compared to the conventional methods. No doubt project managers are pursuing Agile Management training courses to learn how to apply agile concepts and methodologies to enhance the existing practices for more efficient project management, development and outcomes. 

    How to Develop an Agile Innovation Strategy?  

    Justifying its name, ‘agile’ means to move quickly and easily, the Agile project management involves breaking tasks into short phases or ‘sprints’ with constant reassessment and adaptation. Innovation is now necessary to remain in the market and not a choice. Agile and innovation going hand in hand can help in achieving this. Here is how an Agile Values strategy can be developed: 

    1. Effective Leadership  

    All team members must adapt to applying innovative thinking to their work which should start at the top. 

    It does not mean the leader needs to be a creative genius. But the leader should be able to bond with people well, communicate clearly, and use novel ways to motivate members to join the process. Leading by example is the way to go. Additionally, clarity of the objectives is necessary to guide the innovation process along with careful monitoring.

    A couple of strategies could help create effective leadership in an Agile innovation management environment. 

    Remove Failure of Fear  

    Perhaps fear of failure is the greatest obstacle to innovation, blocking employees with the lack of confidence. As a result, they hesitate to push forward their novel ideas or do not get enough courage to generate ideas proactively. 

    Therefore, it is the responsibility of a leader to establish an environment and culture where the employees, irrespective of the hierarchies, are encouraged to generate new ideas, brainstorm, collaborate and feel free to express their talents and ideas. 

    Recognition and Rewards  

    Even the staunchest employee needs acknowledgment of the hard work. Recognition just in itself in the form of a few words of applause does not last long unless supported by some tangible backup. An effective leader must develop a reward system to encourage participation and motivate members. 

    Innovation need not be proactive alone; it can be reactive as well. Thus, setting targets and challenges and attaching rewards both for short-term and long-term performance can create wonder. 

    2. Solid Process Implementation  

    Agile innovation depends on a firm internal business process to facilitate. Innovation might follow an ad hoc path. But systems need to be in place before it gets overlooked and lost. Furthermore, all the members must be aware of such business processes to avoid friction and confusion. 

    3. Speed  

    Agile is speed. In the modern days of digital acceleration, where some new technologies are coming up at an unprecedented rate every second day, quick decision-making is the key to a competitive innovation process. It also helps to remain ahead of the competitions. 

    Such things can better be professionally learned and implemented after attending some Agile management courses. KnowledgeHut Agile management training courses could be the best place to explore. 

    Why Choose Agile Innovation?  

    85%-90% of new projects fail due to rigid structures. Hence is a need for agile methods of innovation. The Agile innovation framework helps integrate the design with developments (of product or service) and trials, thereby enhancing the innovation process. Agile innovation is a methodology that includes an iterative and progressive method of managing design and creating activities for engineering, IT and other businesses.

    The aim is to create new products or services in a flexible and collaborative way. It depends on high frequency, and repeated improvement and encourages flexibility and quick responses (agility) to feedback. In other words, businesses need to respond fast to any change and develop new products, services or even business models.

    Besides, businesses also must innovate internal processes to remain competitive in the market. Agile innovation applies the lean methodology to accelerate the innovation process. As RSM International findings on innovation as crucial to business success and that innovation should be made everyone’s role, reveal the following : 

    Sectors Badly Needing Agile Innovation and Agile Values  

    As per RSM International survey data, some industries that feel the need for innovation yet struggling to reach their innovation goals are : 

    Marketing  

    Though surprising, despite using digital technologies, this sector fell behind the most due to the inability to use technology to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their business processes. 

     Mostly the internal processes are proving to be a formidable barrier to long-term innovation and the particular area needing improvement is, how marketers use data. It looks like the marketing companies focus more on data collection than usage. 40% of marketers accept that turning data into actionable insight was their problem. 

    Finance  

    90% of leaders admitted there was a lack of focus on radical innovation that Agile methods could rectify by implementing new collaborative and customer-focused processes.

    Real Estate  

    The real estate industry is conventionally slow-moving and profit is typically made from a small number of high value projects that too after lengthy negotiations and huge capital investment upfront. Agile can help real estate businesses to adjust to new circumstances facilitated by technology. 

    As such, the sector is notoriously slow in technology adoption as reported by Deloitte on commercial real estate industry in 2021, stating only one third of the surveyed industry leaders agreed that they had the resources and skills as well, to drive a digitally transformed business. 

    Agile Innovation Example  

    One of the best agile innovation examples of business excellence in customer feedback, monitoring product traffic and sales is Amazon. 

     Amazon reported net sales of over $138.41 billion In the final quarter of 2021 and the e-commerce giant continues to lead the way in e-commerce functioning and growth.

    Agile Innovation – Methods and Outcomes

    Rules for Agile Innovation Management  

    The rules or principles are: 

    1. Satisfy customers through continuous project deliverables or iterations at regular intervals throughout a project life cycle, instead of delivering the product at the end.
    2. Break the entire work into small manageable tasks that can be quickly completed.
    3. Adapt to changes even late in the project with minimal delay to remain at a competitive advantage.
    4. Regular communication with all stakeholders must happen daily, throughout the project life cycle. Typically, it involves a daily short meeting with the project team and other key stakeholders.
    5. Right people must be placed in the right positions, given the required autonomy, environment and support they need to complete the work. Instead of job positions or titles, it is better to design a project team based on the capabilities of the members.
    6. The most effective and efficient way of conveying information is via face-to-face conversation instead of email or phone. For remote teams, video conferencing is an option. The non-verbal cues can be captured this way.
    7. Providing complete work deliverables is the aim or goal of Agile methodology. This alone should take priority over any other requirements like project documentation, hours spent or other metrics that are not considered as important as delivering the end result.
    8. Agile methodology encourages sustainable development. Accordingly, the sponsors, developers and users must have a constant pace for each iterative cycle (sprint) within the project. It also reduces overtime or crashing schedules.
    9. Consistent attention to good design and technical excellence should be given with each iteration better than the previous one always striving to innovate.
    10. Simplicity is the rule. The Agile project focuses on project completion, and meeting the requested specifications. Any additional work like documentation, steps, processes or work that does not add value to the client or increase the value of output, should be avoided.
    11. The progress should be measured by the amount of completed work.
    12. Best work and workers emerge from self-organized teams. Agile encourages the teams to be empowered, get organized and structure themselves as required. Finding the best architectures, requirements and designs from such self-organized teams.

    Enroll in our project management exam preparation course to enhance your skills and achieve mastery in project management with ease.

    Conclusion  

    As per Harvard Business Review, Agile innovation methods have increased the success rates of software development, improved quality, enhanced marketing, and raised motivation and productivity over the past 25-30 years. 

    Agile’s potential can be fully harnessed if companies learn how agile really works, when it is appropriate to implement, starting small and practicing Agile at the top, allowing teams that have mastered Agile to customize their practices, remove corporate barriers to implementing Agile are some of the insights the Review shares which seem to be well thought out and must be explored further. Opt for Agile Estimating and Planning and see your career grow.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1Which agile is good for innovation?

    Scrum. Because it is designed to take care of two main pillars of software development a) Speed and b) Changing client requirements. 

    2What are the principles of agile?
    • Efficiency 
    • Open and direct communication 
    • Trust and collaboration 
    • Continuous improvement of the tasks 
    3What is agile technology?

    Software development methodologies based on Agile principles of iterative development, collaboration and constant innovation in output. 

    4Explain agility with example.

    The best example of agility in organization is Amazon how it has evolved /evolving responding to the market changes and customer demands. 

    Profile

    Lindy Quick

    Blog Author

    Lindy Quick, SPCT, is a dynamic Transformation Architect and Senior Business Agility Consultant with a proven track record of success in driving agile transformations. With expertise in multiple agile frameworks, including SAFe, Scrum, and Kanban, Lindy has led impactful transformations across diverse industries such as manufacturing, defense, insurance/financial, and federal government. Lindy's exceptional communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills have earned her a reputation as a trusted advisor. Currently associated with KnowledgeHut and upGrad, Lindy fosters Lean-Agile principles and mindset through coaching, training, and successful execution of transformations. With a passion for effective value delivery, Lindy is a sought-after expert in the field.

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