Become more agile

New technologies and a globalising business world have increased the pace of change facing organisations to ever higher levels. To continue to be successful in this turbulence, organisations need to become more agile. This means deliberately building flexibility and responsiveness into strategy and decision-making, organisational structures and relationship networks.

Learning and feedback loops need to be created to allow managers to better understand and respond to the evolving needs of the broad community of influential stakeholders that impact on all organisations today.

In Knowledge Works, one approach to becoming more agile is identified as improving how knowledge informs business decision-making. This depends on involving appropriate experts, avoiding personal bias, using technology to access and integrate knowledge into decisions and using internal and external collaboration to bring in relevant perspectives on the issue. These factors, together with learning from the process and reflecting on the outcomes build knowledge-enabled decision-making capability. The Henley KM Forum developed a knowledge-enabled decision-making maturity model and you can download an electronic copy here to assess your organisation. Knowledge Works explains how to use this to stimulate peer learning across the organisation and to gradually build organisational capability.

Individuals also need to develop their own decision-making capacity within this uncertain and ambiguous environment and the Henley KM Forum created a competency framework that managers can use themselves, or in conjunction with a business coach, to progressively improve their skills. An overview is provided in Knowledge Works and you can download an electronic copy of the detailed coaching guide here.

Another approach is to use social media to sense emerging priorities, draw on a broader spectrum of expertise and improve collaboration.

Take a look at the video of Martin Fisher, a Knowledge Manager who has explored using social media in this way (the interviewer is Christine van Winkelen): 

Issues 10 and 16 of the Henley KM Forum Knowledge in Action series summarise the approaches to improving decision making and using social media that have been included in Knowledge Works.

                     Issue 10                                                  Issue 16

You can click through to register and download these here.

In the knowledge economy, becoming more agile means finding new ways of structuring organisations and engaging the full potential and contribution of the people who work with it. Three scenarios describing possible paths to the future are outlined in Knowledge Works.  Join the debate about these ideas on our Blog.

Additional Reading

Obliquity, by John Kay

Strategy without Design: The Silent Efficacy of Indirect Action, by Robert Chia and Robin Holt

Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams

The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage, by Roger Martin

The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations,
by Ori Brafman and Rod A Beckstrom

Knowledge Capitalism: Business Work and Learning in the New Economy. by Alan Burton Jones 

Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age, by Clay Shirky 
We Think: Mass innovation not Mass Production, by Charles Leadbeater