Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Jamie Meyer, Traveller. Entrepreneur. Success Designer. Social Development Designer.
How would you describe your career path in few words?
This is quite a question Yassmina. I would have to use ambitious, audacious, and accidental. Laughs. And it wasn’t so much of a path as it was a following of things that I was curious about. Once I started working, I fell in love with business. Once I started running Companies, I realised what was available to businesses that wasn’t being utilised. There were an endless array of formats, structures and models that could achieve better results.
In answer, I started my first Company which focused on designing Businesses and ecosystems to best capitalise on those possibilities. That Company evolved into Personal, Professional, Team and Organisational Development. And has now recently expanded into a portfolio of Companies that assess needs and provides solutions in a diverse number of domains.
How do you think agile practices have transformed companies over the past two years?
Agile Practices have existed forever. They are the quintessential answer to how so many Companies stay in their prime for decades. What has changed in the last two years is two major things.
More businesses recognise the importance of Agility because it was the only way to survive. And businesses are now aware of the possibilities that exist in the realms of Agility. Agility hasn’t only transformed Companies of late, it has saved many of them. And has exposed them to a realm of success they had not and probably would not have considered before. Great things happen in the face of necessity. And if you ask me Yassmina, the world of business needed a drastic change.
Companies have embraced and diversified not only their external presence but their internal ecosystems. They have realised that Consumers and Employees are seeking substance. And while there will always be a market for trends, to excel they require depth and the ability to meet the ever-evolving needs of People. It isn’t so much a matter of how Agile Practices have transformed Companies but how the need for them has revealed the potential business had laying dormant.
How has agility changed in the past two years?
One of the greatest changes in the past two years is that the World has become smaller and far more accessible. Technology has advanced significantly to support new frameworks of business, making opportunities, acquisition of talent and low-cost expansion more accessible than before. Business operations, behaviours and best practices that have been executed in the same general manner over past decades required a complete overhaul. Companies have recognised the benefits of supporting Remote Work and International Integration to a higher degree than the old Off-Shore Call Centers.
They now have access to Agility on a global scale. To build revenue yes, but to also build Organisations. What is accepted as Agility has also changed during that time. People are more receptive to advantageous ideas and possibilities because they had no choice. My Company is an example of that. I was virtually based before virtual work was an acceptable practice. It took a lot to have People embrace the format. Come 2020, it was widely accepted.
What areas of agile transformation have become the most common during this time?
There are the obvious ones, the expansion of Restaurants and Bars offering takeout. Retail and Consumer Goods investing in Online Platforms, Curbside Pickup or converting Stores into Order fulfillment locations. Service-based businesses moved into the virtual realm with YouTube and many Learning Platforms excelling. The Hospitality Industry reduced Service Tables to accommodate the shortage of Staff. Airlines moved into Freight Transportation. Governments utilised People from Companies that were trading in restricted capacities to facilitate new departments. There were other Companies that reworked and refined their offering to meet recent Societal Standards and demands, expanding their Market and their impact.
In some instances, transformations have created the opportunity for completely new industries. Others have enticed businesses to move into new applications for their Products or Services. Expanded market reach. And despite the dire circumstances, those businesses that invested in agility over the past years have taken up opportunities that they were not willing to consider beforehand. Strengthening their Companies and securing their existence.
The more obscure transformations occurred internally. Companies began drawing on ideas and skill sets within their ranks. Diversity and Inclusion become a priority. They began working with People and Teams to develop the business itself rather than merely its Revenue Streams. And introduced software that could have been beneficial to efficiency before but was now imperative to facilitate different working models.
One thing I found particularly exciting over this time, was how many Companies stop at nothing to remain trading to keep people in jobs. Businesses began seeing the importance of meeting needs rather than purely selling things
What makes agility practices successful?
Success in anything is about whether a practice is appropriate to an entity and applied in a way that suits its desired outcomes. The purpose of Agility is to move towards a goal with the least amount of friction. This allows a Company to capitalise on internal assets, create its own opportunities and meet external alterations with significantly less resistance.
For Agility to be successful it must become a way of doing business for a Company. It needs to be considered when making decisions, expanding or evolving. In doing so it does two things, prevents cornering ourselves long-term and maps potential areas for development and growth beyond the immediate goal.
Will agile practices continue to generate interest?
The World and society are in a perpetual state of change. Companies that want to thrive need to invest in their Agility, it unknowingly has one of the highest long-term returns.
Agile Practices are not merely a tool to be used in the face of turmoil. They are the proactive way to meet the Market, advance in the Market and have an existing arsenal of defence against those periods of decline and uncertainty. While agility is an effective relief response, it is far more effective when built into the ecosystem of a Company.
What challenges do you see in the context of deploying these practices?
Our fear of change, disruption and the misconception that Agility costs more money, impedes our interest in it. If we overcome that, we face the challenge of understanding what is actually available to us, what best suits our business and then integrating those movements in a way that enhances the Company. All of which are challenges easily conquered once Agility is introduced as a practice.
What else has agility affected during this period?
Something to keep in mind Yassmina, is just as Companies have been affected and were required to be Agile in these past years. So too has Society. And in turn Consumers. As we have transformed so too have our Customers. Consumers' values and buying habits have changed. What is accessible to them has expanded. Where they look, what they want and who they buy from has developed. This has impacted the Trade and Markets we knew before just as much as the economic states have.