© 2022, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved
In trying to understand, manage, successfully innovate, and steer clear of bankruptcy in what seems to be a normalized world of constant volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA), a consolidation of thought and methodology is emerging under the name Requisite Agility (RA).
RA is the latest of many efforts underway on multiple fronts to combine the sophistication of modern systems thinking, complexity science, and management science to cope with highly complex and even chaotic “wicked” or seemingly insurmountable challenges. One advantage RA adherents seem to have is that they are purposefully pursuing an emerging transdisciplinary and inclusive approach to identifying, understanding, managing, and coping with difficult higher-order challenges.
In its most basic terms, what is RA?
To begin to understand RA as an emerging construct or discipline, we can start with the general meaning of “requisite” and “agility.”
Requisite refers to that which is made necessary by particular circumstances. It is that which is necessarywithin a specific context for the achievement of a specific end. What is requisite or necessary is that which is determined by the nature of things and the basic requirements of human life.
Agility is the ability to move or think quickly and easily, with alertness and speed to cope with and adapt with minimum delay to changing circumstances.
Using these definitions of general usage, requisite agility is the ability or competence to be active, alert, flexible and capable to adapt and act in ways made essential by the dynamic nature of things and people. RA is the effort to understand and improve life and living through productive, responsive, and flexible creativity and consumption that is appropriate to the situation at hand and the desired results, within the context of our knowledge, capabilities, and values.
With this as a starting point, Requisite Agility has been coined to represent something much more sophisticated. There is an effort underway to expand on the fundamentals inherent in the term requisite agilityand use that term to denote the basic meaning ascribed above within a more rigorous framework of systems theory or systems thinking.
RA is an emerging body of thought amalgamated with the explicit intention of trying to understand, successfully innovate, manage, and help direct organizations through difficult but necessary methods to cope with rapid and complex changes in market demand and consumer satisfaction, and steer clear of squandered efforts, resources, and ultimately, bankruptcy, all within the sphere of a robust and dynamic multi-dimensional systems-of-systems perspective.
RA seems to have the potential capability to be an emerging construct or amalgamation of ideas and methods into a broader science-based understanding of human achievement and flourishing that encompasses and embraces complexity science, systems-of-systems thinking, and practical management theory and application to achieve profitable results.
If RA can be nurtured and live up to its potential—if it can be transdisciplinary and inclusive within the realm of the natural sciences and the social sciences (the unique nature and complexities of people are always part of every social system)—it may be able to provide significant insight and guidance into the underlying driving forces of change and adaptation to consumer desires. This would be a valuable framework and tool for prime-movers (see E.A. Locke) and thought leaders stiving to cope with the ethical, economic, and political challenges of aligning corporate and government resources and methods to respond to heightened multi-faceted consumer and citizen demands that are meaningful and productive (net value-positive) from the “consumer” point-of-view.
Next: Part 3 – From Requisite + Agility to Requisite Agility
Barry Linetsky is CEO of Cognitive Consulting, Inc., and a Partner with The Strategic Planning Group in Toronto, Canada, where he and his colleagues have been helping executives and owners define and align their business purpose with customer values since 1994. Barry is the author of the acclaimed business biography The Business of Walt Disney and the Nine Principles of His Success (2017, Theme Park Press). His most recent books, Understanding and Creating Vision and Mission Statements (2020), Understanding and Creating Strategic Performance Indicators and Business Scenarios (2020), and Understanding and Creating Critical Success Factors (2021), each co-authored with Dobri Stojsic, are available from amazon. Barry’s thought-leadership articles have been published by Ivey Business Journal, Rotman Magazine, Mises Wire, and the Economist Intelligence Unit in conjunction with Harvard Business School. Barry is also a writer, researcher, analyst, photographer, and business strategy enabler. Read his blog and learn more at barrylinetsky.com. Follow him on Twitter @BizPhilospher.