University Economic Development Association

Agile Strategy Lab

Growth. Whether as individuals, organizations, communities, or economies, most of us are interested in continued growth. Growth may mean different things to different people and organizations, or at different stages in our personal and organizational lives. For many, growth means getting bigger or creating more wealth. For others, the motivation to grow is to increase our capacity to bring about social change or improve the quality of life for others.

Growth, in all its forms and contexts follows a predictable pattern, a pattern that is reflected in nature. Every organization, every community, every economic region, is in a specific stage of growth. Some feel the newness of spring, either their first, and they are chirping away like baby birds; or they are emerging from a long nap, ready for a new cycle of continued growth. For others, it is summer. The seeds they planted in spring have taken root and they are joyously reaping the earliest benefit of their springtime labor. Others are enjoying a bountiful fall harvest. There is enough for everyone. For some, it is winter. Provisions are being depleted daily and there is worry about how long their resources will sustain them. This may be their first winter or one of many they’ve endured. Still, they wonder if they will live to see another spring. Some do. Some do not.

At the Agile Strategy Lab, we help organizations use tools specifically developed for navigating complex challenges. In complex situations, the environment doesn’t stand still while the organization decides what to do. Rather, organizations need to develop a new set of skills that help them to respond to constant change – to be agile. Our offerings include Strategic Doing (how to develop and implement strategy), CommPlexity (how to communicate complex strategies), and Strategic Diversity (how to assemble the human capital needed to implement complex strategies). The AEM-Cube ™, developed by the Dutch firm Human Insight, is an online tool that allows teams, companies, and regions assess their Strategic Diversity.

The Lab has partnered with UEDA to make two of the AEM-Cube offerings available at a 15% discount to members:

The AEM-CubeTM for Teams helps teams determine if they have what it takes, in their current strategic context, and as they look to meet coming challenges. The AEM-Cube for Teams looks at three different dimensions of each team member’s natural orientation to their work:

  • Attachment. Is the person naturally drawn to working with people, or are they more comfortable with content – ideas, technologies, scientific endeavors and the like?
  • Exploration. Is the person someone who enjoys constantly exploring new fields of knowledge, or are they “subject matter experts”?
  • Management of Complexity. Within their particular domain, is a person a generalist, taking in many dimensions of a challenge, or do they specialize, working on one particular aspect of a challenge?

Our Growth CurveTM explores similar questions, but on a larger scale. The tool helps organizational and civic leaders pinpoint where their organizations, communities, or regional economies are on a growth curve that spans from new venture/community to decline. The assessment and analysis can help inform strategic decisions like:

  • What is likely coming next for us and what should we start doing (or stop doing) to prepare for it?
  • Where are we in terms of the maximum value of this growth curve? Is it behind us, still ahead, or are we in the midst of it?
  • How much are we at risk of compromising our values and integrity or derailing entirely?
  • What kind of people do we need to lead us into the next phase of our growth?
  • When should we be thinking about “jumping” to our next growth curve?