The Agile Strategy Lab Podcast

What Can Scarcity Teach Us?

Perhaps you've listened to grandparents or great-grandparents tell stories about the Great Depression and the Second World War - saving tinfoil, making a birthday cake then they didn’t have ration coupons for sugar and eggs, or having to give up the pleasures of the Sunday drive because gasoline was too precious to be used frivolously. 2020 and 2021 will be remembered, in part, through the stories that individuals and organizations tell about how they got through the hard times of the pandemic. Kathy Hagler of K2OH Solutions has combined the insights of Edward Deming, Peter Drucker and Strategic Doing in her work with nonprofit organizations. In this episode, she makes the conceptual very practical by sharing a case study of one nonprofit organization and how she’s used all three toolsets to help them weather this remarkable time.

Road Trip: Learning How to “Do” from Edward Deming

Today’s episode has at its heart a really good story, about not a fictional character but someone very real - Edward Deming, revered as a management thinker who unlocked the secrets of quality by studying how manufacturing in Japan was being done. We hear from Kathy Hagler, who was presented with the opportunity to learn from Deming up close and personal. She then took what she learned and combined it with some other tools - including Strategic Doing to create an effective approach to working with nonprofit organizations. Kathy, a great storyteller, is the principal of K2OH Solutions.

Innovation Mathematics: An Introduction to Social Network Analysis

Innovation has long since ceased being something that happens within the four walls of a single lab or even company - it happens in networks. Most of us have at least some sense when the work we’re doing is engaging an increasing number of people and organizations - when our networks are expanding. But how can we get more precise about measuring that? In this episode, Scott Dempwolf of the University of Maryland gives us a primer on social network analysis and how he's used it. Scott came to academia from economic development, and his focus is on applying these mathematical tools to the innovation process.

Encountering the element of surprise

In this episode, we explore two key ideas. The first is one of the ideas we’re most fond of: the principle of starting small, but starting. Nowhere is that more true than in rural communities, where often a group seeking to make change is largely, if not entirely, made up of volunteers. In this episode, I talk with Rob O’Brian, a consultant whose work in Missouri includes this rural focus.

The second idea is something Rob encountered that's also a frequent theme in Strategic Doing: the element of surprise. There’s great potential in surprise, but it can also present the risk of stalling or even halting progress completely. In this case, Rob as well as the group he was working with encountered some unexpected twists and turns.

Looking at the horizon…and the next one

This week, we again feature futurist Rebecca Ryan in a short episode focused on the idea of what we call in Strategic Doing the S-Curve. Sometimes called a sigmoid curve, or a sine wave if you remember back to your pre-calculus class, S-Curves describe much of what we see in the world around us. Rebecca talks about the S-Curve - or as she calls it, the sine wave of entropy - as she discusses an idea called the three horizons. S-Curves overlap. We can see the one we are on, but there also was one preceding that, and there’s one ahead of us. In the three horizon model, the horizon behind us is the first horizon, or horizon 1. The one ahead of us is horizon 3. Listen as Rebecca talks about how that idea is playing out right in front of us, and what that means for our future.

The Future Starts Now: Are You Ready?

We've all spent a lot of time over the last year saying, "Remember when...?" In this episode, we talk to a futurist, someone who is perpetually thinking not about what has come before, but about what things will be like is 10 years, in 30 years. Are we ready to do that yet? Futurist Rebecca Ryan says we’d better be. Rebecca works with organizations, communities, and regions using a tool called Strategic Foresight, to closely study signals in the environment that are clues to what might be coming, and then to align their efforts to a future they want - to take the initiative to shape the future rather then just letting it happen. Rebecca describes Strategic Foresight, as well as how it aligns with Strategic Doing.

How to Leverage A Company’s Biggest Resource

In this episode, we explore coaching by talking to someone who uses Strategic Doing in his coaching practice with companies and their leaders. David Ducheyne is the founder of Otolith, a consulting firm based in Belgium that takes a people-oriented approach to its work with firms seeking to make major transformations. David notes that he’s often surprised at the extent to which management underestimates the talent in their own companies, and how slow they can be to embrace collaboration. Unblocking that resistance is often key to solving the problems that David’s been retained to help them solve. He's developed a novel solution to help them make the most of their greatest resource - their people.

Making the Most of Opportunities in Texas

Strategic Doing got its start more than two decades ago in the world of economic development. It’s since broadened to almost every domain and kind of organization - anywhere there are people who realize they need to find a way to get things done when there’s no one that can truly call all the shots. In this episode, we return to Strategic Doing’s roots, through hearing about the journey of one economic development organization,TexAmericas, in Texarkana - right on the border of Texas and Arkansas. It’s a place where collaboration is not an option, it’s an imperative. Eric Voyles, the Executive Vice President and Chief Economic Development Officer of TexAmericas, chose to use the Strategic Doing approach more than a year ago and we talk about what's happened since then and what's next. 

From the Basics to New Directions: Exploring Design Thinking

As an exploratory approach to identifying and deploying potential solutions to problems, Design Thinking has a lot in common with Strategic Doing. Many Strategic Do-ers are interested in learning more about Design Thinking, and people steeped in Design Thinking are attracted by the Strategic Doing approach. In this episode, you'll hear a brief overview of the basics of design thinking, from José Lugo of the University of Puerto Rico - Mayagüez, and Lab director Ed Morrison's report on conversations with the Darden School of Business about how the groups might collaborate to solve big problems. 

Getting Ready For the Next Big Disruption

REPAIRED FILE - Wouldn't it have been useful to have a crystal ball at the end of 2019? Is there anything that we can do to get ready for disruptions - maybe not enormous ones like the pandemic, but those that still have the potential for major impact on our companies, institutions, or communities. In this episode, Doug Barrett, the director of the Center for Innovation and Economic Development at the University of North Alabama, shares the discipline of foresight, and how it can help us prepare. 

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