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Should you build an Internal Agile Innovation Coaching System?

Digitization, the pace of change, and relationships between businesses and their customers affect how organizations must operate to remain relevant and survive in today's shifting business landscape.

Organizations recognize with the new normal, the way to realize their vision for growth and continuous innovation is to launch more internal Entrepreneur teams operating throughout the core business.

How do Entrepreneur Teams operate?

  • They can identify a customer problem.

  • They know how to gain insights to learn how much of a problem it is for the customer and why it is a problem.

  • They know how to generate bold solutions to solve the problem.

  • They can dwindle a chosen solution down into a defined feature set to an MVP (minimum viable product believed to create customer value).

  • They can identify and reduce risk internally and externally around that MVP solution by running customer behavioral experiments before they build.

  • They know how to run experiments that get to the heart and test if what the team believes solves the customer problem.

  • They continuously learn by gathering evidence from every experiment rooted in customer behavior, revealing how to create and deliver customer value.

  • They bring in Stakeholders early and often to ensure the solution will garner support internally for the functions that the MVP could affect.

Entrepreneur Teams ultimately become part of the continuous growth innovation engine needed for the organization to thrive and survive.

For this to happen, an organization needs to determine who will teach, guide, and mentor these developing new Entrepreneur Teams to become high performing. Is it through building an Internal Agile Innovation Coaching System?

The Agile Innovation Coaches act as the backbone when an organization kicks-starts this innovation transformation of Entrepreneur Teams? Where can you find them?

  • Many organizations have embraced Agile and developed Certified Agile Coaches. Identify those that want to up-level their entrepreneurial skills as Agile Innovation Coaches.

  • Look for individual contributors, leaders who desire and are already behaving more entrepreneurial in their work and hone their skills.

  • Find those that have the natural ability to coach others and build their entrepreneurial skills.

Once they become skilled and certified, you have students who can become teachers. These Agile Innovation Coaches become the bridge to building critical in-house capabilities and scaling Entrepreneur Teams across the organization.

Without that internal system, you rely on outside coaches to teach, guide, mentor, and support. This option is ideal if you are just at the beginning of this journey and don't yet have the in-house capability. But is it practical as a long-term solution for a large organization?

Here is some advice with seven tips on how to build an effective coaching system:

  • Design a process to identify, assess, train, and co-develop your Agile Innovation Coaches.

  • Determine the time dedication of their utilization these coaches will have for guiding Entrepreneur Teams.

  • Create a method for measuring the strength of your bench.

  • Pin down how you will continually up-skill the coaches to remove any gaps.

  • Plan the technique to match your coaches with the work and Entrepreneur Team.

  • Plot out how you will show evidence and the value of an Agile Innovation Coach working with a Team versus one without.

  • Communicate the vision, expectations, and performance measurements for any coach who wants to go through this program and be certified.

Identifying the right people, training them, continually skill-building to reduce gaps, matching them with skill-appropriate work, monitoring their utilization, producing value to the team, communicating expectations are the keys to having a successful internal Agile Innovation Coaching System.

You've decided this is the right way to go. You have the support and funding from Executives. You know what needs to be in place. Before you build an entire system, become an Entrepreneur Team and learn. Understand your customer (internal Leaders with Teams) and run experiments that produce evidence that leaders will take advantage of a coaching system. You believe in the value of teams having an Agile Innovation Coach; you are not the customer. It's the Business Leaders that will pay internally for these coaches. Create an MVP version, decide what is riskiest, and test their behavior. Run each experiment and learn and follow the evidence for building this system. Create value and wins that will build momentum. Be prepared to produce proof of a team's progress with an Agile Innovation Coach versus one without.

Decision Point: Once you get evidence leaders are ready, Agile Innovation Coaches help you scale internal Entrepreneur Teams working across the organization. As you consider taking that first step to build new capabilities for growth through launching Entrepreneur teams to discover and create value for customers, remember your Agile innovation Coaches are the backbone in leading this effort. Once it takes hold, an organization can realize its vision for growth and continuous innovation.

Based on where you are on the journey of launching Entrepreneurial Teams, what would you do?

By Pam Krengel