Agility and Experimentation: An Innovator’s Advantage Academy Update

By Dale Dixon,

"The number-one threat to old and big brands is the lack of agility. We must react at the speed of market, or faster." Dr. Evans Baiya

Jennifer Didonna has worked at Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific for two months as the marketing coordinator. In mid-October, she experienced a day with the Innovator's Advantage Academy. "I loved the immediate collaboration on everything," Jennifer said.

"Everyone was open and offered constructive feedback. I loved the process and understanding of the process. It was really cool to collaborate with different personality types, leveraging strengths, and cultivating native genius."

That's just one day!

Session five of the Academy focused on agility and experimentation.


Think moving fast. Quick turns. Nimble. An agile brand is flexible and focused, data-driven, and customer-centric. Let's pause on the idea of customer-centric. In its pure form, it is putting the customer first. But, it goes deeper. How do we, as an organization, make every interaction with a customer a world-class experience? Does each step the organization take in its systems and processes reduce friction and make life easier for the customer? That's a customer-centric approach. Think about your daily tasks, your job. If you step outside your box and put yourself in the position of a customer, do your actions make life better for the customer? If not, it's time to ideate ways to reduce the friction.

Evans Baiya offered the IA2 Champions a list of ways to measure agility. Basic performance metrics (Key Performance Indicators or KPIs), efficiency, including speed to market, the ability to prioritize and alignment with the organization's mission. We know agile organizations are profitable and have high employee engagement and morale.

Here are two quick exercises to get you thinking about agility as a habit: Name five ways your organization can be more agile. Then, name three ways you can become more agile in your personal life. Let's put those ideas into action.

One fast way for an organization to be agile is to use scrum. The word originated in the Rugby world. To scrum is to huddle.

Evans said, "The scrum is where everything starts." He said it's easiest to create a personal habit of a scrum. My morning routine starts with meditation, reading, and intense exercise. Those three activities set the starting point for the day. It's my scrum.

A work team scrums every morning with a 15-minute standing huddle. The work scrum involves each person on the team answering three questions (and no more). What did you do yesterday? What will you do today? What is blocking progress?

Scrum only works with small working teams of people who embrace change and deliver finished work frequently in small batches. If you see an opportunity to be more agile by using scrum, have a conversation with your manager about starting a quick morning meeting with team members.


Experimentation is key to validating an idea so it can move on to the next stage of innovation. The objective of an experiment is to test assumptions, reduce risks, and learn.

Every experiment needs to be intentional, not accidental. Evans told us that experimentation is a risk management tool with truth. We explored the Build-Measure-Learn Methodology, and learned the importance of being able to pivot as needed and with speed.

We also discussed the Optimal Learning Loop and the potential traps of experimentation, and learned the five keys to good experiments: purpose, buy-in, feasibility, reliability, and value.

The IA2 Champions began to design experiments during the session, and are eager to apply