Agile Strategy – Strategy with Action in Mind

Agile Strategy – Strategy with Action in Mind

We use a traditional approach to conduct a structured analysis of missions, stakeholders, value chains and process flows, technology, and the workforce to inform holistic capability-based improvement options. We help clients to articulate their performance aspirations and align solutions to mission and organizational improvement needs.

Design Thinking enables us to develop intense insight into the often-unspoken needs of constituents, users, and stakeholders and to apply iterative approaches to evaluate innovative solution options to meet these needs. We embrace the uncertainty associated with challenging problems and manage development risk to create solutions in close collaboration with our clients and stakeholders.

Agile techniques then enable us to focus quickly on the areas that matter most to clients and stakeholders, creating rapid momentum and Speed-to-Mission in critical performance areas.  We gather information quickly to rapidly diagnose challenges and create ideas based on a “just-in-time” mindset to drive quick wins and successes that inspire longer-term implementation.

Our skilled consultants use our design-focused strategy method to quickly customize a strategy to a client’s core needs and define a roadmap for action. Our strategy projects are action-focused. We leave our clients with practical action plans, or we can help them implement solutions in an agile, iterative way that provides immediate benefits to their workforce and stakeholders.

Strategists are constantly advising clients of the need to adapt their processes and methods to meet the realities of new technologies, challenges, and evolving customer/constituent demands. 

But, how often do strategists follow that advice themselves? As the solutions they recommend have evolved, most strategy approaches have not changed appreciably in decades.  As a result, strategy efforts often take too long to enable the outcomes desired or do not reflect the most pressing mission needs of Federal organizations.

At Arc Aspicio, it is our strategic priority to change the way we provide strategy consulting services to our Federal clients. Why? To help them quickly make transformational decisions that can be implemented in an agile and flexible way, with empathy for their stakeholders and Federal employees.

We have created a new, adaptable Strategy Method that embraces and incorporates:

  • The rigor, experience, and best practices of traditional strategy approaches
  • Intense customer empathy and iterative design approaches of Design Thinking
  • Applicable mindsets and techniques for flexibility from Agile software development to implement strategic initiatives
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Contributors

Dave Stahlman |

Dave brings over 20 years of experience in helping government agencies, non-profits, and commercial organizations improve mission performance and organizational efficiency.  Dave has focused his consulting career in developing solutions related to business strategy, organizational analysis and improvement, and performance-based decision-making. He is adept at identifying the key issues facing organizations-- whether they be must-have mission capabilities or internal organizational pitfalls-- and designing holistic, integrated, and effective solutions to address them. A certified Project Management Professional (PMP), Dave links approaches for structured innovation with extensive experience in making innovative ideas practical and actionable. Before joining Arc Aspicio, Dave spent more than 18 years with Accenture’s Federal practice leading strategy and organizational improvement efforts while also guiding large transformational programs. Dave has also served as a civil servant for the Department of Defense and in uniform as a Surface Warfare Officer in the US Navy.

Using Behavioral Science to Improve Mission Outcomes

Using Behavioral Science to Improve Mission Outcomes

Although behavioral science has been studied and applied within academia for decades, recently the concept has emerged everywhere – from Silicon Valley tech giants such as Google and Uber, to various Government agencies including the Department of Education, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Agriculture.But defining and applying such a broad and sometimes-nebulous discipline can prove difficult. What exactly is behavioral science? How can the Government use the concepts and lessons learned effectively?

Homeland Security Managers = Innovative Leaders

Homeland Security Managers = Innovative Leaders

The search for and implementation of innovative methods to protect the homeland should play an important role in homeland security managers’ approach to how they guide their organizations. Citizens expect government leaders to propose and implement organizational, acquisition, and personnel management practices that enhance our nation’s ability to prepare for and mitigate potential threats. They expect these to make them safer and the nation more secure.

Exploring the Known: Empowering Innovation by Working Out Loud

Exploring the Known: Empowering Innovation by Working Out Loud

Sharing in-progress work with others – your team, your client, your leaders – can be a daunting prospect. It can also be a great way to share lessons learned, drive quality into everything we do, and build trust. Working Out Loud is “a practice that combines conventional wisdom about relationships with modern ways to reach and engage people”. 

Leaders by Design (Thinking)

Leaders by Design (Thinking)

At Arc Aspicio, our very best assets are our people. In 2017, we introduced a program called the ‘Leaders by Design’ aimed at growing future leaders of our firm in a peer group setting. Leaders by Design is a customized experience for Senior Associates within the company to develop leadership skills and grow professionally and personally by interacting with others with similar experiences and also with senior leaders. The Peer Group is a co-investment to focus on collective growth and development – this means the company invests money and time in developing the training and the growing leaders also invest personal time.

Organization Redesign: Is the Cure Worse than the Ailment?

Organization Redesign: Is the Cure Worse than the Ailment?

According to a popular management joke, new executives should blame their predecessors when facing their first crisis.  When facing their second crisis, they should reorganize everything. Jokes are funny when they’re seen as plausible. Reorganizations show action, produce change, and create opportunities for new leadership. However, are reorganizations worth the disruption?

Arc Aspicio to Host Design Thinking Forum: Creating the Future of Government on June 21

Arc Aspicio to Host Design Thinking Forum: Creating the Future of Government on June 21

Washington, DC, June 7, 2017 — Arc Aspicio plans to host an inaugural Design Thinking Forum featuring a discussion on how Federal leaders can innovate solutions to create the future of Government. Design Thinking is a human-centered innovation process that emphasizes observation, collaboration, fast learning, visualization of ideas, rapid concept prototyping, and concurrent business analysis, which ultimately generates innovation and increased mission outcomes.

Firefighters Show You Can Develop a Strategy While Fighting Fires

Firefighters Show You Can Develop a Strategy While Fighting Fires

“Employees at all levels are too busy ‘doing their jobs’ and ‘fighting fires’ to devote time or pay heed to strategic initiatives.” It’s a common complaint. Academic literature has confirmed that ‘firefighting’ takes up much of the manager’s job and offers extensive advice on how to stop fighting fires – and even how to suppress the urge to do so.

The SILab: An Invitation to Embrace Innovation

The SILab: An Invitation to Embrace Innovation

Government agencies and businesses must embrace innovation and strategic thinking to keep up with today’s changing society, rising demands, and complex problems. Encouraging organizations to fully adopt innovative thinking, however, is difficult. Organizations are often focused on their daily activities and have limited time to discover new approaches. In addition, employees often choose to stay with proven, mainstream solutions because they fear wasting resources or failure. 

Putting the Mission First in a Leader’s Agency Reform Plan

Putting the Mission First in a Leader’s Agency Reform Plan

Agency leaders have more than a little to do these days. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released guidance for implementing Executive Orders and Presidential Memoranda on Federal management and human capital. The Comprehensive Plan for Reforming the Federal Government and Reducing the Federal Civilian Workforce (M-17-22) directs agencies to create comprehensive plans to enhance mission focus, streamline operations, and improve workforce effectiveness and efficiency.

SharePoint: Unique Solutions for Homeland Security Partners

SharePoint: Unique Solutions for Homeland Security Partners

As information sharing has become more common across local, state, and federal agencies, homeland security partners need tools to manage this critical data. SharePoint has emerged as an information sharing tool that can assist emergency managers, law enforcement agencies, and others across the homeland security enterprise with the sharing of sensitive data with internal and external partners, quickly and securely.

Managing Change Using a Maturity Model

Managing Change Using a Maturity Model

The pace of change is accelerating. Government agencies, and their employees, must find new ways to support their stakeholders and manage internal operations in the face of changing mission expectations and potential budget cuts. Guiding the workforce through the change is messy and challenging and is essential to successful implementation of innovative ideas, technologies, and processes. 

Lost in Translation No Longer: Data Translators Bridge the Gap to the Mission

Lost in Translation No Longer: Data Translators Bridge the Gap to the Mission

Two main types of problems can make it difficult to make data-driven decisions: technical and cultural. Technical difficulties could include data that is messy, incomplete, or split between different departments or components. Cultural factors might include a resistance to change, an environment that favors trusting your instincts, or a belief that things are fine the way they are. 

How to Use Data to Drive Employee Engagement

How to Use Data to Drive Employee Engagement

When it comes to retaining your workforce, one feature correlates to 87% increases in retention and 57% increases in employee effectiveness. It is not compensation. It is employee engagement. Engagement measures an employee’s emotional commitment to an organization and willingness to use discretionary effort to achieve organizational goals. In other words, engaged employees strive to exceed the status quo. 

A Leader’s Most Influential Tool: Gratitude

A Leader’s Most Influential Tool: Gratitude

Gratitude is one of a great leader’s most powerful tools. It creates positive energy among an organization and the sense of appreciation permeates through the work the collective group is performing. Influential leaders listen to the needs of their colleagues and express gratitude. This helps them bring out the potential in the people they lead and inspire them to achieve what is most important to them and to the project.