It surprisingly hard to find a good definition of agility. The Oxford English Dictionary describes agile as, “ability to move quickly and easily”.
But this definition is lacking.
Sport science describes agility in terms of change and direction, as a “change of velocity or direction in response to a stimulus“.
This is echoed by Psychology, which describes emotional agility as “being flexible… so you can respond”.
Agile is being quick and adapting to change.
Real world Examples
Apple were agile with the iPhone. They adapted quickly to increasing hardware capabilities. And Apple launched quickly – the first iPhone launched even before the iPhone had an app store!
Microsoft weren’t agile in the mobile space because they were slow to adapt.
What about MySpace? They quickly became the world’s largest social network and then adapted to the growing demand for video by broadcasting their own video content, called MySpaceTV, but…
MySpace nosedived because they adapted in the wrong way. MySpace was crushed by Facebook’s user-created videos. I’m guessing that most people would consider this NOT agile.
So, agile is being quick and successfully adapting to change.
To see agility in action, just watch this video of Lionel Messi…
NEXT: Why Agile Matters
- Agility in sports science
- Emotional agility
- Apple took 2.5 years to develop the iPhone. This wasn’t any quicker than the Motorola Razr, for example, but iPhone development was quick considering how innovative it was.