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What Exactly is Business Agility?

May 24, 2013

by Tess Robinson, Director, LearningAge Solutions

For me it conjures up images of acrobats and contortionists. Although this is a little strange, it’s probably not too far from the truth because business agility is indeed all about being flexible and adaptable; being able to adjust to changes in the business environment without wobbling or losing your balance.tightrope

Advances in technology, the increasing complexity of the global economy and escalating customer (and staff) expectations mean that agility is no longer a choice but a necessity. Organisations need to be able to predict, adapt and respond to whatever challenges are presented to them and this needs to be done at lightening speed. Failure to do this will result in being left in the competition’s dust and in this delicate economic environment that is definitely not a good place to be.

So what’s the role of learning technologies in all of this? As IBM succinctly put it ‘to act with agility, organisations have to increase communication and collaboration, and improve decision-making processes’. The traditional elearning course is just not enough to address these issues, although it may provide part of the answer. There is now such a wealth of technologies that enable L&D to create really exciting solutions that allow for collaboration, user-generated content, sharing and communities of practice. This is a really pivotal time for learning. The coalescence of the current business climate and the wealth of technology available give us a real opportunity to break out of the cycle of dull and predictable online learning and to really embrace new ways of thinking and working.

Towards Maturity have consistently demonstrated the value of introducing a variety of technologies, interaction, depth, opportunities for collaboration and engagement into the learning mix by showing the positive impact that embracing these can have on organisational performance. So why isn’t everyone doing it? Probably the biggest barrier to this brave new world is trust. Rescinding control to learners is really hard and often takes an entire cultural shift. The variety of technology available can also make for an overwhelming choice.

So where do you start? Think of yourself on a tightrope, like my acrobats. Begin by taking small steps, tiny risks and once you can see that you’re not going to fall off, hopefully that will encourage you to try standing on one foot and eventually maybe even to do a back flip.


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