Clients / Case study

Encouraging agile thinking in Argos

How do you shift an organisation towards a more agile way of working?

Encouraging agile thinking in Argos

The brief

When we were asked to design and deliver an agile thinking workshop event as part of a major initiative at Argos developing new behaviours in their commercial approach, we leapt at the chance.

Julie blunt, our Creative Director, explains: “A major initiative was happening in Argos regarding developing new behaviours and ways of thinking specifically for the commercial areas of the organisation; such as Argos traders who buy the goods that appear in the catalogues. We were asked to develop a two-day commercial essentials programme launch workshop event. This was to raise awareness, challenge thinking, and make it clear that things were changing in the organisation meaning new things would be required of its people to ensure they’re ready for the future.

The challenges

Argos needed to engineer a shift away from the old ingrained way of working which was very much bound by the catalogue, to a more online-focused, agile way of trading. This would involve a large-scale shift in organisational and individual behaviour. Senior internal stakeholders had to be brought on board and employees across the organisation enthused rather than threatened by the new approach.

The solutions

We developed a design that reflected the key new behaviours required based on Shroeders High Performance model, with four clusters: ‘Think’, ‘Involve’, ‘Inspire’ and ‘Do’. We challenged thinking, encouraging different areas of focus that would send a clear message about what would be needed going forward, whilst building on things they were already very good at. We looked at all of this in light of the changing world of work with a highly practical and commercially-focused emphasis. We brought in senior internal stakeholders to share their own learning to support colleagues and send the message that everyone, at all levels, was embracing the changes.

The results

Julie reports: “The feedback we had was that it helped them to think differently about even the next autumn/winter range of products. People loved the combination of the internal experience stories and the practical skills elements and thought provokers around the changing world of work. All of them said it was a fantastic opportunity to take a step back and think about the work that they do now as well as what they need to do differently for the future.”

Julie Blunt

Julie Blunt

Julie, who led this agile thinking project for us, reflects, "Naturally, people who’ve worked somewhere for a long time and are used to doing things in a certain way can find it tough to try out different methods and ideas; change requires effort on top of the day job. It was important that this wasn’t seen as a soft and fluffy programme; it needed to be challenging and relevant. Throughout the programme we monitored the ‘so what?’ factor, ensuring participants could see the relevance and put into practice what they learned so that it made a difference straight away. There was a real appetite for exploring different ways of thinking. For example, we asked them to plan future scenarios based on customer buying habits of the future and we were really pushing them out there. They took the challenge and came up with some amazing ideas."

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