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The evolution of the agile organisation

Old dogs.  Ingenious new tricks.

Read our report on organisational agility.

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organisational agility is the answer to change

Incumbent businesses around the world face unprecedented disruption.

For the first time, business leaders are more worried about digital natives than traditional competitors. They recognise they must transform, and fast. Yet in too many instances, organisational agility is lacking. They just aren’t set up to respond to rapid change.

And as the pace of change accelerates, the risks of inertia are significant.

Scared looking black dog symbolising the importance of agility


of companies will fail in the next five years as a result of not adapting to rapid and radical change.


say their business model needs a fundamental rethink – a new business design for agility.


The top 10% of businesses by financial performance are 30% more likely to display agile characteristics.

Scared looking black dog symbolising the importance of agility

Why are incumbents under pressure to embrace agile?

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Innovate to thrive

Our vision is of an agile organisation. Where humans work in aware, alert, inclusive and responsive teams. Where we tune into and bounce off each other, attentively and rapidly responding to our customers and competition. Always one step ahead.

We have proven, through research that included interviews with more than 500 global business leaders, that it is possible, indeed essential, to build this sustainable agility.

Now we’ve codified our findings in a new report. Crucially, our research clearly shows the link between five dimensions of agility and top tier financial performance.

Small dog symbolising an agile organisation

what it takes to be an agile organisation

Through our research, we found five dimensions of organisational agility that will enable you to keep pace with rapid change and stay ahead of the pack:

  • Centring on customers is a key aspect of organisational agility and the businesses with the best financial performance are much more likely to do so. They listen to feedback, bring customers into the innovation process and use data to prioritise according to customer needs.

    A graph from PA research showing agile organisations centre on their customers more


    1. A. Feedback: We always seek regular feedback from our customers before and after launching a new product/service
    2. B. Co-creation: We encourage our customers to play an active co-creative role in our innovation and service improvement processes
    3. C. Prioritisation: We continuously re-prioritise our products and services based on data analysis of changing customer needs and demands
  • The businesses with the best financial performance are also much more likely to use agile throughout the organisation to speed up time to value. They mobilise quickly in response to competition, outpace competitors when it comes to rolling out improvements and invest in moving from idea to launch at pace.

    A graph from PA research showing agile organisations get value from innovation more quickly

    1. A. Mobilisation: If we hear about a competitor launching an innovative product/service we’re able to mobilise quickly to match or beat their offer
    2. B. Improvements: Our business systems and processes enable the release of improvements or new functionality on a more frequent basis than our competitors
    3. C. Investment: We invest significant resources and leadership priority in going from initial idea to launched product/service in an ever-shorter timeframe
  • Simplicity is necessary for agility, something the businesses with the best financial performance understand. They’re more likely to build teams around products and services rather than skills, empower their people to make decisions, and create a flat organisational structure.

    A graph from PA research showing agile organisations have simple organisational structures

    1. A. Integration: Our organisation is structured so that people working on the same products and services are part of the same department regardless of their specialist skills and competencies
    2. B. Decentralisation: We empower decison-making from anywhere in the organisation with little or no need for senior approval
    3. C. De-layering: We have created a relatively flat organisational structure, with few layers between the CEO and lowest level employees
  • In an agile organisation, the ability to evolve continuously is in-built. And that’s the case for the businesses with the best financial performance. They’re more likely to accept changes at any point in the development cycle, flex easily to respond to changing requirements and have teams that respond well to change.

    A graph from PA research showing agile organisations have a business model that lets them evolve

    1. A. Acceptance: We are happy to accept changes to products/services and processes at any point in the development cycle
    2. B. Flexibility: Our organisational systems and processes are able to flex easily in response to changing requirements
    3. C. Competence: Our people and teams all demonstrate high levels of competence in terms of responsiveness to change
  • No organisation can be agile without giving its people the power to be agile. And the businesses with the best financial performance are more likely to have a dynamic company culture, empower all people to contribute ideas and set up technology, infrastructure and workspaces for collaboration.

    A graph from PA research showing agile organisations empower their people to make decisions

    1. A. Dynamism: Our people would describe our company culture as fun and dynamic
    2. B. Empowerment: We actively empower employees at all levels to contribute ideas that improve our business and its products/services
    3. C. Collaboration: Our technology, infrastructure and workspaces are designed to support flexible working and informal collaboration

How do agile organisations get ahead?

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Latest insights

Three happy dogs symbolising success of agile

Discover what organisational agility means for you

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Contact us

To find out more get in touch with one of our experts today.

Sam Bunting

PA agile expert

Stephen Hughes

PA IT transformation expert

Conrad Thompson

PA business transformation expert

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