How are you surviving our faster future?

February 2017, by Moses Mohan

In a time of unprecedented disruptive and exponential change, it has become an imperative for organizations to constantly adapt and innovate. Unsurprisingly, it is no longer sufficient to only pursue innovation that creates efficiencies or that improves existing offerings. To avoid the fates of disrupted organizations such as Kodak and Nokia, most organizational leaders have rightly identified the need to create new-growth innovations, and an evolutionary organization better suited for our faster future.

Of course, this is much easier said than done. The stakes are high (your survival depends on this), you simply don’t have enough time (you are overwhelmed with existing operations), and it’s often hard to know where to start (can your organization venture where it has never gone before?).

Instead, what you will probably have are a set of unanswered questions, and maybe a hunch or two about what the answer might be. By prioritising and reframing such questions as challenges to tackle, therein lies your starting point! But what then about the high stakes and the time crunch?

Drawing inspiration from Transformation Design, Agile, and Google Venture’s Sprint, we believe the answer lies in what we’re calling Awaken Sprints.

Awaken Sprint_1An Awaken Sprint is a focused, week-long journey where the collective creativity of a multidisciplinary team from your organization is harnessed through facilitation to:

  1. Dream and align on the desired future and the specific challenge to tackle
  2. Discover underlying needs and insights for the users your team is trying to solve for
  3. Ideate and build high-fidelity solutions that meaningfully address user needs
  4. Prototype solutions with real users to get feedback
  5. Synthesise lessons learnt and decide on next steps

Through an Awaken Sprint, you can get alignment on the desired future and the challenges worth tackling. Rather than brainstorming in the dark, you’ll have insights that inform ideation. Instead of investing resources to build and test the viability of an idea, you’ll learn from a rapid yet realistic prototype. Essentially, you are stepping into the faster future, now, to learn from how people react to a near-real solution before deciding if it is the right path to take- all just in a week.
Awaken Sprint Diagram

At the end of an Awaken Sprint, your team will synthesise learnings and decide either to:

  1. Pivot to a new Awaken Sprint (you’ve learnt something that requires further exploration)
  2. Discontinue the idea (it was a great idea in concept, but not in practice)
  3. Build a solution (you’ve validated your idea and it is indeed the right path to take)

Awaken Sprint_2The beauty of an Awaken Sprint is also that it complements existing Agile and Lean methodologies. By committing to building a solution at the end of an Awaken Sprint, you can exploit the fast development cycles of Agile / Lean Start-up to quickly build and improve a solution, and the optimization-focus of Lean Six Sigma to reduce waste and variation.

As the pace of disruption continues to increase exponentially, what are you doing to help your organization survive our faster future, today?