// WORK STORY
Leading in Disruption
We helped leaders at Pratt Institute use the agile approach to navigate the season of disruption
// Pratt Institute
Pratt Institute are a global leader in higher education situated in New York City. With a 25-acre campus in Brooklyn and another in Manhattan, Pratt Institute is a creative hub providing students with unparalleled training facilities with programmes consistently ranked among the best in the country.
Information Technology (IT) is uniquely placed at Pratt Institute to teach students how to master the tools and technologies they need – whether administrative or practical – to enable innovation. Pratt’s IT Division’s leadership team had already adopted agile principles and revolutionized their approach to problem-solving and productivity. Our challenge was to build on the success of agile processes in the leadership team by introducing these behaviours across the whole division.
We proposed to run a series of face-to-face workshops with the whole division together on campus, building a new system for the team underpinned by successful agile processes, effective relationships and a collaborative culture that would foster proactive leadership.
Interactive Workshops’ partnership with Pratt Institute came at a crucial time for the IT Division. The whole division met for a two-day face-to-face workshop on campus in Brooklyn to delve into agile processes, tackle real world problems and find new systems for agile working that could start from their next day back at their desks. They found creative uses for Slack. Brilliant remote Kanban boards. Innovative ideas to deal with support tickets faster.
Within two weeks, the whole division was in pandemic-induced national lockdown. Remote working went from prohibited to enforced overnight.
Information Technologies were at the heart of how the world adjusted to the disruption.
Rather than implementing agile principles over time, the season of disruption demanded agile strategies from day one. To our knowledge, they were the only team in the world to be primed for the disruptive and rapid shift to remote working with a two-day workshop on agile principles within two weeks of lockdown.
Instead of the disruption causing organisational chaos, Pratt IT Division had a rapid, professional and collaborative response to the technological needs of the Institute.
Lockdown meant that our planned face-to-face workshop topics were no longer appropriate. Instead, each week the division voted on the topic they would find most helpful, and we designed and delivered:
Since the season of disruption, the sprint-based approach and pattern of remote delivery allowed us to pivot into accelerating leadership in the IT Division. We created LEAD, a six-month high impact leadership growth accelerator. To participate, delegates were required to submit an application to join the process, increasing proactivity and accountability.
The programme challenges participants to dig deep and understand themselves better. The goal: To lead both their teams and the organisation more strategically. LEAD combined expert content, strategy, technique and capability. It focused on five main areas that were identified through scoping with senior stakeholders. Performance Hubs – small group sessions that ran alongside the main input sessions – provided dedicated support and feedback to participants.