Diversity as a non-negotiable of Business Agility – Claudia Pellegrino

INTRODUCTION – As organisations continue to fact into an increasingly complex world, it is simply unsurprising that they have turned to Agility as a way to solve complex problems. The case for Business Agility has been made – it eases complexity by promoting empiricism, collaboration, continuous learning and incremental delivery.
However most organisations are struggling to achieve agility at scale. They are stuck in endless Transformation loops. At the same time, another topic lingers on executive agendas – Diversity & Inclusion. Mostly seen it as a KPI, rather than a true asset, it often comes second to Business Agility in board meetings.
This presentation will explain how Diversity & Inclusion is instead the main asset organisations have to thrive in today’s complex world. It explains how D&I is a real catalyst to achieving Business Agility, and that to solve the most complex challenges, Diversity and Agility must go hand in hand.
An agile organisation able to solve the most complex problems, is likely to display three key characteristics at its core: it centres on the customers, it is able to evolve and adapt and it empowers its employees.
None of these 3 aspects can be achieved without Diversity.
1. A diverse employee base fuels a true understanding of changing customer trends –
Iterative and incremental development will not get a company far, if the business fails to consider diverse market needs from an early stage in the product development. A diverse and empowered workforce can better communicate with and understand their customer’s needs, match products with demographics, create more innovative solutions, and increase an organization’s overall representation in the community it serves.
2. Diversity lies the foundations for continuous improvement and adaption
Businesses which do not take time to reflect, learn and improve by changing how they work are destined to fail. By celebrating and embracing diversity, companies will be more open minded to adopt new ways of working without getting stuck in how ‘things have always been done’. Fear of the unknown is eliminated and everyone will be more open to a fresh impetus of ideas.
3. Employees empowerment will only be partial until D&I is fully embedded in the company’s D&A
It is only when everyone will feel comfortable to bring their true self to work, that they will also feel comfortable to make decisions and work at their best without fear.

Agile on the Beach is a leading annual conference in Falmouth, Cornwall UK. Since 2011 Agile on the Beach has been a two day agile conference, set on the Cornish coast with a beach party in between. The conference explores agile software, products, teams, business and practices. With over 400 attending, the conference hosts 50 seminars and workshops to provide the ultimate agile learning experience, along with ample opportunities for networking at its three evening events.

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