Shouldn’t there be a bunch of rich economists on yachts with tropical drinks in their hands by now? Don’t they keep telling us how to invest and what to expect from the market and the economy?
It turns out economics is not much more than the study of supply and demand. Economics takes into account the production, consumption, and transfer of wealth… BUT it can’t account for INNOVATION. If you look back over the last few decades the largest drivers of the economy have been innovators. People who have pushed then envelope in terms of technology, big data, and logistics. Innovations account for tremendous uncertainty in the economy and they are all being developed using these Agile practices:
Tight Feedback Loops with Customers: think social media giants like Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, Instagram, etc. Customer feedback is built into the DNA of these platforms. In fact, in many ways, customer feedback is the entire operating model, and giving customers more channels for feedback is the number one agenda item for all of these companies.
Innovative Products and Services: Tesla, Apple, and Uber are all delivering products, features, or services we didn’t know we needed until they demonstrated them for us. No economist on earth was predicting the impact these companies would have until that impact was already being felt.
Delivering small units of value often: Microsoft continually adds features and capabilities to it’s software all the time. Amazon releases updates, new functionality, and features to it’s website every 11.7 seconds… that’s fast.
Prioritizing the Work: Companies that prioritize their work and reevaluate that prioritization are better poised to take advantage of market shifts. Clothing retailer Alton Lane closed all its retail locations and launched live online virtual appointments with its sales staff allowing one-on-one interactions to continue driving satisfaction through the roof. They also leveraged their relationships with factories across the globe to begin producing masks that they donated to communities in need including 17,000 to Virginia’s health care system.
Simply put, economists aren’t rich because they can’t predict the future. Agile companies are building that future by innovating, anticipating, sensing, and quickly reacting to market demands. Agilists can’t predict the future either, but we’re getting pretty close!