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Article
Publication date: 10 March 2021

Stephen Denning

The author posits that the management model of an organization determines what kind of business models can be pursued within that organization and that successful 21st…

Abstract

Purpose

The author posits that the management model of an organization determines what kind of business models can be pursued within that organization and that successful 21st century management models are very different from those that succeeded in the 20th century.

Design/methodology/approach

The author compares and contrasts successful 21st century management models with models that succeeded in the 20th century.

Findings

Success in the digital age requires a 21st century management model and mindset based on an obsession with delivering value to customers.

Practical implications

The management model incorporates the key ‘written and unwritten rules’ of the firm. The success of digital innovation can be threatened by 20th Century management assumptions that thwart Agile initiatives.

Originality/value

Article explains how Agile mindsets and practices are essential to the 21st century management model, and how they potentiate the firm’s focus on creating customers.

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Article
Publication date: 19 March 2018

Stephen Denning

Provides lessons in strategic agility from the presentations of two Drucker Forum thought leaders at the annual conference in Vienna in November.

Abstract

Purpose

Provides lessons in strategic agility from the presentations of two Drucker Forum thought leaders at the annual conference in Vienna in November.

Design/methodology/approach

Summarizes the Drucker Forum conference presentations of Steve Blank, a Silicon Valley serial-entrepreneur, and Professor Carlota Pérez.

Findings

Blank warns that, “Companies and government organizations are discovering that innovation activities without a defined innovation pipeline are likely to result in innovation theater.” 10; 10;Pérez believes the world has an historic opportunity to turn our environmental problems into economic solutions.

Practical implications

Pérez warns “Business is trapped in the illusion that a minimal state is always best.”

Originality/value

Steve Denning highlights paradigm shifting lessons that Blank and Pérez have to offer managers.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 46 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 15 January 2018

Stephen Denning

“Agile management” refers to a set of management goals, principles, values and practices that emerged to speed up software. Now its tools and culture are spreading to all…

Abstract

Purpose

“Agile management” refers to a set of management goals, principles, values and practices that emerged to speed up software. Now its tools and culture are spreading to all kinds of organizations throughout the world—from R&D to top management teams. As some corporations race to become “agile” they can lose sight of the essential ideas and practices of Agile methodology

Design/methodology/approach

In September 2016, a group of large firms came together in New York to see whether they could agree on what Agile stood for in their own organizations. They aspired to create workplaces that draw on everyone’s creative talents and kindle everyone’s potential in workplaces that respect individuals and are highly productive and profitable. The firms involved were members of the SD Learning Consortium (SDLC)—a non-profit corporation.

Findings

As it is being adopted in a wide variety of corporate settings since 2001, the core concept of Agile has evolved.

Practical implications

To be fully entrepreneurial, the whole organization needs to embrace the Agile mindset and function as an interactive network, not a top-down bureaucracy with just a few teams implementing Agile tools and processes.

Originality/value

As Agile is being increasingly adopted by all corporate functions and levels of management it is essential to focus the whole organization on creating value for the customer.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 46 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 23 November 2020

Stephen Denning

The author contrasts 20th Century hierarchical management with Agile influenced 21st Century management, which is more suited to modern realities.

Abstract

Purpose

The author contrasts 20th Century hierarchical management with Agile influenced 21st Century management, which is more suited to modern realities.

Design/methodology/approach

Understanding how 20th Century and 21st Century management differ offers an evidenced-based theory why today’s leading firms are leading and why yesterday’s giants are flailing.

Findings

For 21st Century management – the pioneering mode of Agile enterprises and of leading Silicon Valley firms, as well as individual businesses in Europe and China–the goal of the firm is to create customers.

Practical implications

Because the firm’s goal is to create value for customers in a dynamic environment, sustainable strategy must incorporate creating new businesses that attract new customers.

Originality/value

The author compares and contrasts the practices, principles, processes and mindsets of 20th Century management and those of the leading 21st Century firms that have become the most valuable firms on the planet as well as the leading global brands.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 48 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 14 March 2020

Stephen Denning

When firms embrace an adaptive interactive development mindset—obsessing over the needs of customers, systematically working in small self-organizing teams working in…

Abstract

Purpose

When firms embrace an adaptive interactive development mindset—obsessing over the needs of customers, systematically working in small self-organizing teams working in short cycles, operating as a network rather than command-and-control hierarchy—its software developers can work with management to innovate new customer value.

Design/methodology/approach

The article identifies the reasons that the need for innovative, rapid software developments has had on the way corporations are organized and managed.

Findings

Software development went from being a drag on organizational performance to being a key driver of success.

Practical implications

Business agility thus isn’t just a matter of applying agile software practices to other functions.

Originality/value

Computer software, including artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud computing, is now enabling, improving or accelerating almost everything that humans, machines and organizations do. This article explains why an Agile mindset is the key to winning in the competitive race to offer high-value, innovative, digitally powered products and services.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 48 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 11 May 2020

Stephen Denning

Some organizations are responding to the opportunity of innovation, while others are not. Harvard innovation expert Stefan H. Thomke says a key reason for the slow pace of…

Abstract

Purpose

Some organizations are responding to the opportunity of innovation, while others are not. Harvard innovation expert Stefan H. Thomke says a key reason for the slow pace of innovation is that most organizations lack "a culture of experimentation." In this article the author explains the impediments to establishing such a culture. 10;

Design/methodology/approach

In his latest book, Experimentation Works: The Surprising Power of Business Experiments, 10;Thomke says, to create a culture of experimentation, firms need “a new model of leadership,” which cultivates curiosity, emphasizes data-informed decisions, experiments ethically, sets grand challenges and establishes systematic training and support for rapid experimentation. Those are all positive steps in the direction of creating a culture of experimentation.

Findings

But they won’t be enough because the underlying management model of most big organizations is explicitly aimed at preventing the very kind of experimentation that Thomke is recommending.

Practical implications

In a digital world, technology has made it radically simpler and quicker and cheaper to carry out and evaluate multiple experiments. The whole organization needs to become an organic living network of high-performance teams. In such firms competence resides throughout the organization and that innovation can and must come from anywhere. 10;

Originality/value

An important discussion of how top down managements squelch experimentation and thus throttle innovation.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 48 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 19 September 2016

Stephen Denning

By learning how to overcome implementation challenges, the Agile methodology can enable organizations to cope with the 21st Century marketplace and deliver what customers…

Abstract

Purpose

By learning how to overcome implementation challenges, the Agile methodology can enable organizations to cope with the 21st Century marketplace and deliver what customers expect and demand: easy, quick, convenient, personalized responsiveness at scale.”

Design/methodology/approach

The 10 major implementation challenges are addressed.

Findings

Agile offers a methodology that can improve the chances of building a new product or service that people will actually buy, use and like.

Practical implications

A key Agile principle – doing work in small iterative cycles with customer feedback at the end of each cycle – is a transformative idea.

Originality/value

The author has recently made on-site visits to leading corporations that have adopted Agile. The “Agile” managers he met recognize that the future of their firm depends on inspiring those doing the work to accelerate innovation and add genuine value to customer, that enhancing that capacity depends on giving autonomy to self-organizing teams within broad parameters of control.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 44 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 16 May 2016

Stephen Denning

Under the co-direction of John Hagel, Deloitte’s Center for the Edge has been publishing important new studies of disruption with an ‘outcome-based approach to…

Abstract

Purpose

Under the co-direction of John Hagel, Deloitte’s Center for the Edge has been publishing important new studies of disruption with an ‘outcome-based approach to disruption.’ This research is discovering patterns that may help leaders institute defenses against threats and identify opportunities for innovators

Design/methodology/approach

Deloitte research is focusing on patterns of disruption that hit more than one market, but not all markets. It is examining: what are the characteristics of markets that would make them vulnerable to a particular pattern?

Findings

After six months of research, Deloitte has identified nine patterns that meet its outcome-based criteria. A number of the patterns are based on creating network effects that grow so quickly they become hard to compete with if the rival firm does not already have an established market position. Another set of the patterns identifies ways to fundamentally transform the value-cost equation, but without network effects.

Research limitations/implications

More patterns may be discerned as the research proceeds.

Practical implications

For example, if incumbents and innovators just think about driverless cars as the auto industry, they are never going to fully see the disruption that is coming. By contrast, by thinking about it as a mobility ecosystem, then many other key players, risks and opportunities become apparent

Originality/value

The patterns identified by Deloitte research may provide leaders with insights into how to defend against specific disruptions and also offer innovators inspiration for new opportunities in established markets and Blue Ocean ventures.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 44 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 22 November 2018

Stephen Denning

Practitioners can learn much about how a CEO can generate and sustain business agility from examining the role of Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon—arguably the world’s…

Abstract

Purpose

Practitioners can learn much about how a CEO can generate and sustain business agility from examining the role of Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon—arguably the world’s most-agile large organization.

Design/methodology/approach

Amazon demonstrates mastery of strategic agility by having successfully shifted Amazon into a whole series of new businesses on a massive scale.

Findings

As Amazon acquires new skills, it doesn’t just become more proficient in its own business: it turns these into newly-created capabilities into new businesses.”

Practical implications

For Bezos, the medium-term road map for the future is ‘pretty much all that he works on, delegating the day-to-day business operations to others.’ His job is all about long-term thinking.

Originality/value

This article examines Amazon’s remarkable record of continuous innovation in the light of its Agile mindset. The practices will be illuminating to senior executives seeking to promote an innovation-focused culture in their organizations.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 46 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 20 March 2017

Stephen Denning

While some large organizations are preoccupied with mastering operational Agility as a way to upgrade existing products and services, they and the wider management…

Abstract

Purpose

While some large organizations are preoccupied with mastering operational Agility as a way to upgrade existing products and services, they and the wider management community need to realize that the main financial benefits from Agile management will flow from the next frontier: achieving Strategic Agility, a market-making approach to innovation.

Design/methodology/approach

The author proposes that firms adopt Agile management as a way to promote market-creating innovations through a process of imagining and delivering something that unexpectedly delights whole new groups of customers, once they realize the possibilities.

Findings

The potential of the Agile approach to innovation is that it can revitalize mature companies by discovering new customer experiences and create products and services that fulfill unmet needs.

Practical implications

This article shows how Agile management and strategic management concepts like “Jobs to be done” theory and “Blue Ocean” strategy can merge to promote market-creating innovation.

Originality/value

Given that industry borders are dissolving and competition is more dynamic than ever, the need for Strategic Agility – speedy, customer focused innovation that aims to make markets–is becoming increasingly obvious. This confluence of Agile and strategic management is a new and exciting approach to innovation.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 45 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

Keywords

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