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Q&A with Liora Raitblat

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Liora Raitblat, Innovation Culture Strategist, Keynote Speaker & Business Professor.



How could you describe your career path in a few words?


I am an innovation culture strategist, keynote speaker, business professor, and behavioural science enthusiast (check out my TEDx talk on 'designing choices that ignite change'!). While I wear several hats, they all focus on my passion of helping impact-seekers apply innovative practices to grow high-performing teams. 


I support leaders and their teams in fostering innovation through agile and design thinking practices and have done so for both public and private sector organizations. Previously, as a strategic change consultant at a Big 4 Consulting firm, I led agile change management teams in supporting organizations adapt through their largest digital transformations. Prior to this, I ran a startup that focused on providing charities with a mobile method of capturing donations (sounds oddly simple these days.. but definitely wasn't the case a few years back!).


I am also passionate about giving back to the community and have led education and sustainability-focused volunteering initiatives. I also teach business & entrepreneurship classes at a local College, and previously co-hosted the "What's Next In" podcast which discusses will drive change through the lens of science and behaviour.



How do you think agile practices have transformed companies over the past two years?


It's no surprise that the last few years have been transformative for organizations. Whether they were launched into fully remote workforces, had impacts on their manufacturing supply, or the many other challenges that came out of the pandemic, many were faced with the need to rapidly address changes. Organizations that embraced agile cultures were able to react more quickly and strategically to the challenges of these market shifts. 


From my perspective, it often comes down to the innate ability for an organization to best utilize their feedback loops to iterate on a path forward. The organizations that focus on continuous learning and adapting to changing landscapes, markets, and customers' needs were able to shift where they were able to add the most value. Without this organizational muscle, companies struggled to stay relevant, and more so, lacked the flexibility and retrospection to shift and adapt their strategies in a timely manner.


Resilience and adaptability have been key themes for organizations that succeeded over the past two years, which are two strong outcomes that come from an organization embodying agile practices.



What successful cases of agile transformations have you had the opportunity to observe that have particularly stood out to you?


I have had the opportunity to support a variety of agile transformations across different industries. In my experience, the transformations that stood out to me shared a few common elements that I felt contributed to their success. These two elements included strong leadership buy-in partnered with a culture of experimentation. First and foremost, each of these transformations spent significant effort to gain alignment and strong buy-in from key executives of the organization. Strong leadership commitment continues to prove to be a critical driving force behind adoption, and helped to establish the trust and priority needed from the rest of the organization.Another key factor is the emphasis and empowerment for the organization to continuously learn and adjust as needed. When organizations and their teams embrace a culture of experimentation, which includes trying new things and adapting based on the learnings, they are able to respond to the evolving customer and market needs.  These ongoing feedback loops facilitate innovation and the ability to remain resilient.



Will agile practices continue to generate interest? What challenges do you see in the context of deploying these practices?


I believe that there are trends and practices that come and go that generate interest in supporting business transformation. However, ultimately, I believe the fundamental principles, mindset, and behaviors that support the culture around agile practices are what will not only continue to generate interest but also demonstrate results. This includes key principles include the strong focus on the customer, ability to shift based on continuous learning, empowering teams, - the list goes on. 

 

When I work with teams, I focus a significant amount of effort on evolving their practices and mindset to embed key agile principles. I have seen first-hand how these efforts have been instrumental in shaping high-performing teams, delivering results, and perhaps most importantly, seeing team members become happier and more motivated in their roles.

 

However, this type of transformation is not quick nor easy, especially when it comes to deeply ingrained organizational behaviors. It's a process that demands time, effort, and dedication to realize incremental changes. The success of deploying these practices relies on trust, patience, and focusing on incremental change that ultimately leads to stronger results. While the technical landscapes can change at a rapid pace, behaviours certainly do not follow suit and thus a key challenge is the time it takes for these practices to become embedded within a company to see results. 

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