Defining an Agile Agency

EVCOMference 2019 opened the floor with opportunity for discussions on the future of the events industry. Keynotes, panel discussions and workshops challenged the minds of leading industry experts to consider the way we think about creativity, workplace culture and agency structure.  Our Managing Director Hannah Luffman, was part of a panel discussion that concentrated on defining an agile agency. We all know the meaning of agile, to be quick and move easily, but the question raised was how do agile and agency coincide with each other? 

What defines an agile agency? 

The panel began with each agency leader giving their own definition of what an agile agency meant. For most, it was about having a team that was capable of adapting quickly and efficiently to change whilst remaining true to the company’s values. The agency leaders role being to ensure teams were equipped with the tools and education to make these changes. 

“There is an absolute need for organizations to innovate, grow, transform, and reinvent themselves faster than ever before.” 

-- Kaihan Krippendorff

A point was raised that the definition of an agile agency is always evolving, agencies are changing and adapting to suit the growing industry, therefore, the ‘dictionary definition’ never remains the same.

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What qualities or traits define an agile team?

“You can't build an adaptable organization without adaptable people--and individuals change only when they have to, or when they want to.” -- Gary Hamel

Appreciating and having a team that understands and acknowledges the changing needs of the business, as well as its clients, was also a trait that agency leaders thought was integral. Agility is represented through the team. 

Unicorn Events Managing Director Hannah Luffman highlighted a key trait is maintaining curiosity within the team and also providing features such as transparent business models to ensure a smooth and easy process with both the team and client. 

The panel included: Hannah Luffman, MD to Unicorn Events; Jennifer Davidson, MD & founder to Sleek Events; Lee Harris, Chairman to Fresh Group. (Facilitator: Andrew Reid).

The panel included: Hannah Luffman, MD to Unicorn Events; Jennifer Davidson, MD & founder to Sleek Events; Lee Harris, Chairman to Fresh Group. (Facilitator: Andrew Reid).

How do you remain agile as you grow?

Finding ways to remain agile is a continual challenge, with the industry growing and changing at such a fast pace. Is it even possible to maintain an agile state? The logical answer is no, but having techniques to ensure you have an agile team is possible. 

Reward and encouragement - Allowing your team to explore their natural curiosity and creativity is part of what makes them agile. Agency leaders highlighted the importance of recognising the capabilities of their team and how this helped their career development and, in turn, their ability to adapt to change quickly. Running problem-solving workshops, listening to teams, finding out what they need to achieve their goals was also an important aspect of encouragement. 

Empowering senior teams - Trusting staff to make key decisions on behalf of the business can be integral to the development of the company as well as its ability to be agile. The agencies must empower senior teams to make decisions on behalf of the company and ensure they have the tools and support to execute those decisions. 

Maintaining workplace culture - Workplace culture, the character and personality of the agency, is often set within the foundations and the values. Maintaining culture is a challenge when a company grows, and maintenance is a constant process that varies depending on the type of staff you hire to the career development of your team.

Summary

Overall, the definition of an agile agency is one that is constantly being redefined, the most flexible/ resilient companies survive, life moves pretty fast - you just have to keep up. 

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“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” -- Charles Darwin

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