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BLAKE DOYLE: Agility should be a cornerstone of P.E.I. enterprise

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A Deloitte survey in 2017 indicated 79 per cent of global executives rated agile performance management as an organizational priority. What does that mean for Island businesses and large organizations?

Blake Doyle.
Blake Doyle.

Let’s consider a definition of agile management? This concept evolved from software development as a term that describes a management process which involves a group of collaborators who adapt and adjust through a projects implementation.

There are many examples of industry innovations that remain impenetrably siloed in the sector from which they were conceived. The rate and pace of innovation in the IT industry continues to accelerate and yet the spread of disruptive impact to unrelated industries remains largely frozen. Information technology is one domain where innovation should be encouraged to more traditional sectors of our province.

BMO actually implemented an agile methodology in its organization. Crossing customer service teams with technology development has resulted in more responsive and client-centric solutions; very important as more organizations move to web and IT interactions.

What if we took a successful cross-sectoral concept, such as agility, and applied it to one of P.E.I.’s largest and most archaic industries? Would we realize improvement in efficiency, productivity or results?

How would we determine which sector should be the focus of this experiment? Our most dominant sectors are all “traditional industries.” Fishing, farming, tourism. These time-tested industries are adapting technology into their environments; either through progress or disruption. But there is one other sector that is slower to embrace change, arguably our largest sector by revenue and employment. Could this industry experiment with agile innovation?

Our provincial government is a web of bureaucracy. Ranging from dozens and dozens of Crown corporations to a static hierarchical of linear mobility. These structures have the peril of resisting external influence and mature only by nurturing perspective from within. Without external influence these organizations can lose perspective and create fiefdoms from archaic ideas spawned at water cooler meetings (Workforce and Advanced Learnings is a primary example of just such a rudimentary government structure can spiral to internal combustion; crystalized in their flawed Work P.E.I. concept).

Consider a progressive crown corporation, one with the aptitude to acknowledge there is dimension outside government. Examine a current issue (and there are many): health care delivery, educational outcomes, public sector customer service, PNP integration supports, or public accountability measures.

The creativity, experience and interest does reside within government and the broader community can be accessed to support complex issues. The leadership to establish agile cross-functional teams may be the obstacle.

Organizations that embrace rapid project evolution and adapt to change will flourish, those that cannot adapt will fail to thrive.

Blake Doyle is The Guardian's small business columnist. He can be reached at blake@islandrecruiting.com.

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