November 10 – 12, 2020

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Agile Thinking drives digital Innovation

An integrated agile Process-Model for digital Innovation

Efficient digital product innovation requires an integrated agile approach for continuous value add

Digitalization is disruptive and challenges the legacy product portfolio as well as the innovation process to create new digital products. With a linear innovation process model (waterfall) you will likely face difficulties to meet the demanding requirements of digital markets, e.g. release quick & early, learn & adapt, continuous value delivery.

Since agile methodology has proved that it can successfully meet the requirements of software engineering, the entire digital innovation process should also follow an agile approach in order to form a continuous value delivery pipeline. Therefore, the corresponding innovation process model should be based on main principles of agile thinking: Iterative, value-oriented, lean and self-organized.

A lot of modern approaches (Design Thinking, Lean UX, Scrum, DevOps) are available in the software industry, but no one covers the entire digital innovation process. Therefore, digital innovation pioneers (CDOs, Business Owners, Product Owners, etc.) experiment a lot in finding the right innovation process for their enterprise and thus, misses a lot of market opportunities. And even worse, they also discourage their employees during non-focused transformation. 

However, a clear guideline for an incremental implementation of an efficient process for digital product innovation, which scales well according to individual needs, can help enterprises to transform faster, achieve a competitive advantage and obtain stronger support of employees.

But how should an integrated agile process model for digital innovation look like?

First, the model should be structured according to the main value creation activities (process steps) of the digital value chain: Business Modelling, User-oriented Design, Technical Engineering and Operation.

The outcome of one value generating activity is the input for the next step in the innovation process cycle. Thus, the quality of each step determines the quality of the following step. In order to achieve high quality results in the innovation process the activities and produced artefacts in the different process steps (sub-process) needs to be clearly defined and maximum aligned along the entire process cycle.

Second, each sub-process in the process cycle should be organized based on the results (value) produced. The objective is to take maximum advantage from creativity and the problem solving competences of the involved roles. Therefore, the sub-process should be executed by an independent, self-organized, x-functional team of relevant experts.

Based on this approach it is possible to build an efficient innovation pipeline based on independent agile sub-process cycles which represents the main value creation activities (process steps). Thus, digital innovation is a true agile teamwork.

However, the agile transformation of an enterprise is also a disruptive process in terms of working methods, leadership principles and the change of employee’s mindset. A clear vision is needed to establish an agile organization. Since every organization is individual, each enterprise has to define its own flavour of the agile innovation process model, organization structure and culture. Changes should be implemented incrementally in order to include all relevant people.

Digitalization is not an option for enterprises, it’s definitely a key challenge for future business success. Only if enterprises establish an efficient product innovation process they can fulfill the demands of the digital markets. The presented integrated agile process-model for digital innovation can help enterprises to master their challenges and take competitive advantage in the digital markets.


Agile Thinking drives digital Innovation

An integrated agile Process-Model for digital Innovation


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