That traditional planning techniques are poor at dealing with change becomes all too apparent when something like coronavirus hits, but such a crisis can offer the chance to introduce new ideas and approaches, an Agile coach argues.

Cameron O’Connor, CEO of Singapore-based R1 Training, says that the biggest hurdle to implementing agile thinking and practices at organisations is inertia, but the sense of urgency that accompanies a black-swan event like COVID-19 means mental barriers and risk attitude to new ideas are lowered.

In an exclusive WARC article, O’Connor explains that in uncertain times, when marketing teams and leaders are left scrambling for direction, people are worried and willing to accommodate change to help the organisation survive.

“New ideas are genuinely entertained, change is expected and almost demanded,” he notes. “Standing still is even now seen as a risk.”

Considered from that standpoint, “there’s no better time to look to introducing new ideas to the way we work”.

He’s talking here specifically about Agile working and having the speed and nimbleness to respond and innovate, but O’Connor takes the opportunity to debunk a few myths about this topic.

“Some believe Agile to be the empowerment of managers to create increasingly flatter organisations, overly cost concise initiatives that leverage IT and lean practices to extract value from penny pinching,” he notes. But he views it very differently.

“We see it as fostering mindsets, human-centred work practices and organisational infrastructure to respond to and succeed in a world where change and the spread of good ideas are happening in increasingly shorter timeframes.”

In the context of COVID-19, his suggestions include:

• Moving to iterative delivery cycles

• Injecting empathy into the process

• Putting transparency front and centre

Read Cameron O’Connor’s advice to brands in full in his article Turning to agile in times of uncertainty: Three tips for marketers. This is part of a special WARC Snapshot focused on enabling brand marketers to re-strategise amid the unprecedented disruption caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak. 

Sourced from WARC