Inaugural Business Agility Conference Considered Successful

| by Shane Hastie Follow 27 Followers on Mar 14, 2017. Estimated reading time: 3 minutes |

The inaugural business agility conference was recently held in New York City.  Over 330 people attended the sold-out event, and the response from participants and speakers emphasizes the importance of culture and mindset in adopting agile thinking across the whole organisation, and how important business agility is for success in today's volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous business environment.

The conference was described as being about:

Authentic short stories and facilitated deep dives on business agility; focusing on organizational design, market disruption and product innovation, agile outside IT and next-gen leadership.

The main event was two days, with an optional half-day Open Space session on the third day.  There was a single track and each session had multiple speakers. The sessions consisted of three 20-minute TED-style talks followed by 30 minutes of "Deep Dive" conversations with the speakers and audience, exploring the topic together.

The sessions covered a wide range of topics pertinent to adopting an agile approach to business, from the initial introduction to organisational design, governance & strategy, leadership & empowerment, leading the transformation, business innovation, engaging people and facilitating change. 

Blogs and reports about the conference indicate that the participants were happy with the event and the organisers are planning to make it an annual event, possibly more frequently, and are exploring the idea of running it in different parts of the world.

Jason Bloomberg of Forbes published a summary of the event, titled Digital Transformation Requires Enterprisewide Agile Transformation, in which he says:

At ICAgile’s inaugural Business Agility 2017 conference in New York last week, it was clear that Agile had jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them.

Jason Hall wrote on the Lithespeed blog that "The results are in: we need more business focused agile conferences." He listed some key lessons and interesting facts about the event:

Deepest Thought: You won’t SEE it until you BELIEVE it. – Pat Reed

Most Bizarre stat: There was only 1 more New Yorker (10) than there was Australians (9) at this New York based conference.

Slickest & Most Emotionally Gripping Presentation: Renee Troughton’s entirely animated presentation chronicling her difficult experience under a decide-first-ask-for-inputs-later style leader.

Coolest Executive Management Concept: DBS’s switch from sending Executives to business school to sending them to Hackathon’s to learn how to lead products in the modern era.

Best Take Away Concept: Amber King & Jesse Huth’s Self Selection model for giving structure to “the best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.”

Best Take Away Concept most people probably missed: Ron Quartel’s FASTAgile TM.  uses Open Space to run two-day iterations, allowing for self-organization to persist after initial formation. Note: This was discussed in Saturday’s Open Space session.

Stephanie Ockerman wrote on her Agile Socks blog about five lessons from the conference:

  1. Business agility requires more than agile delivery teams. 
  2. Business agility requires a focus on people. 
  3. Business agility requires a different kind of leadership. 
  4. Business agility requires innovation. 
  5. Business agility requires more transparency.​

Shannon Ewan, MD of conference organizer ICAgile said of the event:

ICAgile is thrilled with the high-level of participation in the inaugural conference as well as the opportunity to facilitate thought leadership in Business Agility, a new imperative for the modern enterprise.

Solutions IQ recorded podcast interviews with a number of the speakers.  They can be found here (items dated 23 and 24 Feb 2017).

Angela Wick attended the conference and blogged about the key messages she took from the event. 

InfoQ recorded the conference sessions and they will be released over the coming months.


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