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.

The Challenge

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.

The Concept

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.

The Project

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:

24 workshops

Over 3 months

Covering 12 core personal, management and leadership skills

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.

Delivered a two day division-wide agile methodologies workshop on campus in Brooklyn Pivoted to run 12 remote skills sessions to support the division in lockdown Launched a leadership growth accelerator for strategic organisational outcomes

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.

The focus areas:

Leadership Fundamentals
Change & Disruption
People & Culture
Projects & Workstreams
Influence & Challenge

The Impact

Implementation of agile working practices across an entire division to aid critical projects in a season of disruption

Creation of a more connected and collaborative team who strengthened working relationships, enabling better team performance

Empowered a cohort of leaders across the division to lead more strategically

The programme culminated with the IT Division writing a book comprising of their learnings and insights throughout the programme. It has since been distributed across the institute and the wider higher education community.


We found Interactive Workshops to be engaging, enthusiastic and professional. Their can-do attitude has been incredibly refreshing and energizing for us. We have appreciated their flexibility as our needs have changed to meet requirements of both our business and present times.

Leo Rundle
Director of Core Data Systems

Interactive Workshops have provided different formats and learning opportunities for my division. All have been extremely well developed, organized and well received. They have listened and developed a series of programs that address our divisional needs far beyond our expectations and deliver with precision. When you deal with the IW team you are in excellent hands.

Diana Russo
Assistant Vice President of Information Technology

The example projects and tasks engaged everyone. The HUB sessions were excellent at getting people to connect, apply learning and engage too. I was so happy to hear so many positive things from workmates about what they’d been getting from the sessions.

Workshop Participant

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