Building Resilience

This is a preview of the Super Tribe and Innovation Insights exclusive material available here. This is a recap of the innovation insights I shared as a speaker, during my workshop at the Toronto Agile Conference 2020. The goal of the workshop was to share a strategic, iterative approach towards building resilient businesses during the pandemic. The Super Tribe post includes the full workshop video recording.

I had the honour of hosting an online workshop during the prestigious 2020 Toronto Agile Conference. This was an interactive session with attendees from at least 7 different industries. I shared my work as a consultant over the last 14 years with focus on building, transforming and scaling businesses. In particular, I shared how the last 13 years varied from the pandemic year and what is required for the business success post-COVID.

We began the conversation by discussing how most medium-to-large organizations tackled transformations in the pre-COVID era. After any major change, the focus was on re-aligning the key operations towards a new end-state. This end-state was thought to enable an ideal business model (a.k.a. the ‘North Star’).

The transformative work efforts within the organization were carefully planned and managed through multi-year transformative programs. The program would map the annual milestones needed to complete the fundamental change. The organization would inch towards the ‘North Star’, with planned investments each year. This usually worked well since the unpredictability expected in the market was more manageable pre-COVID. Any internal and external changes could be accommodated with adjustments to the program, at a cost.

Visit the Super Tribe and Innovation Insights exclusive post for access to the complete material.

The strategy was defined typically at the start and it’s execution continued through the transformative program. This was primarily a waterfall-like affair in the pre-COVID world. There were parts of this program which were delivered iteratively — for instance, Agile tech enablement.

The biggest pill to swallow is that this approach requires a pre-defined end-state. There is an immense risk in taking this approach during the pandemic — what assumptions should the businesses make? There are no previous trends to review. The probability of multiple changes at the same time is much higher now, due to uncertainty across multiple macro and micro dimensions.

Even pre-COVID, the teams would eventually become married to the end-state (well, their jobs would…). No one in their right mind would call-out the issues with the end-state, after the time and cost investments were confirmed by the leadership. We also hardly expected the customer behaviour and everything else under the sun to change every week!

To be successful in the global and local landscapes today, a business must be resilient. Over the last year, I conducted practical research at a global level. I compared and contrasted what leads to sustained success in various situations. I also performed successful pilots with small, medium and large client firms in 3 industries.

Visit the Super Tribe and Innovation Insights exclusive post for access to the complete material.

Reach out to me for strategy, governance, planning thought leadership on post-COVID innovation efforts. I ensure scalability and resilience.

© 2019 Emerald Technology Group Inc. All rights reserved.

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Gunjan Syal

Gunjan Syal


I build, innovate and scale success in a way that the results are visible, measurable and repeatable, through responsible innovation.