Agile Strategy

Agile Strategy

Using previous, global disruptive events as examples, Emmanuel Verrier-Chouquette shares an article that provides sound advice for building strategies that are designed to withstand disruption. 

Like many others have pointed out since, the Brexit referendum, the rise of Donald Trump and the Brangelina break-up (!) left many voters, observers and institutional leaders shocked, dazed and confused in 2016.

While many have doubts about how much legs the stock rally has and the jury is still out on longer term impacts, the first shockwaves of at least 2 of these events were significant. According to our analysis, the VIX jumped by 45% overnight on June 23/24, 2016 (this is the Chicago Board Options Exchange’s Volatility Index, a popular gauge of expectations of stock market volatility over the next 30-day period). This is one of the top 5 one-day hikes and swings in its history since 1990. The index also rose by about 65% over slightly more than 2 weeks before the U.S. election, following news about Obamacare premium increases and the reopening of Clinton’s email server investigation, before swiftly tapering down to what is now its lowest level in over a decade.

What should be most striking, however, is that “surprises” like this are not all that surprising anymore. In fact, our review indicates that significant one-day swings in the VIX (defined as +- 25%) have become 5 times more frequent since the beginning of the Great Recession in August 2007. With upcoming elections in France and Germany and a U.S. President keeping everyone on their toes with hardball negotiation tactics at home and abroad, we would expect that volatility will spike again from its current low at some point in 2017 (it has already rebounded slightly in the few days it took to update this article.)


Key points include:

  • Understanding immediate impacts and risks
  • Challenging blindspots
  • Upgrading capabilities for the exponential world

Read the full article, Three tips for strategy in the exponential age, on LinkedIn.


Kaihan Krippendorff shares a post that identifies the need for agility in the face of major disruptions, such as COVID-19, and explains how companies can adapt their product to meet the shifts in demand.

“As the COVID epidemic rounds through its second year, Gen Xers, like me, are happy to avoid airplanes. On average, compared to younger travelers, our houses are bigger (so why risk leaving?), we have kids at home to be with and care for, we have the seniority at work (so who is going to tell me I can’t work from home?). While younger Millennials are itching to escape smaller apartments for warmer beaches with friends or conferences with colleagues, we are happy to stay put.

This creates a challenge for airlines. While air cargo reached an all-time high in 3Q 2020, US airline passenger volume is down by 60% compared to 2019. Not only has volume bottomed out, but the mix of customers flying has shifted. Gen X business travelers are out. Gen Y vacationers are airlines’ best hope of a recovery.

Now, as my analysis of industries’ vulnerability to the COVID crisis shows, airlines are in trouble. They have low profit margins and weak balance sheets. In the most optimistic case, experts project that US air traffic volumes may recover to normal levels in 2024. In a pessimistic scenario, by 2024 we may still be almost 20% below normal volumes.”


Key points include:

  • Adapting your product 
  • The attribute map 
  • How to adapt 


Read the full article, Adapting Your Product Is A Life-or-death Skill … Here Is How, on 



In this article, Emre Kara explains the benefits of going agile and how to do it without undergoing massive transformation. 

This article is for those of you who have heard of agile but are not sure what to do with it and how to use it in your context. If you are one of them, then go ahead and enjoy reading!

When you google agile as a keyword, you will see that in the majority of search results agile is used within the software development context. It is not surprising as agile has become popular in IT domain. We could not have heard of agile more and more these days if agile has failed as a way or working in software development. Therefore, congrats to all the agile contributors who have helped this term become this much popular today.

Now, let’s further specify the audience of this article. Let us assume that you do not work in an IT domain but you are from any type of business function such as marketing, finance, human resources, strategy, product management, business development, etc. When you have done the google search, you have probably read some of the articles about agile in software development. You understood what agile is overall and then you have started to look for agile applications in business rather than IT because it makes more sense for yourself. Then, you must have found agile case studies regarding the companies such as Spotify, ING Bank, Bosch, etc. I hope you have read their stories, they are amazing – if not, please take your time to read. These companies (there are many others by the way) have taken serious and bold course of actions to become agile and they succeeded. They did not use agile in only IT but also in other business functions.


Key areas covered include:

  • The one fundamental principle of agile
  • Making your employees agile-native
  • Standing up a scrum team to do a project


Read the full post, How to Go Agile without Massive Transformation, on 


Umbrex is pleased to welcome Supriya Sen with Singapore Management Consulting.  Supriya has spent five years as a Senior Advisor in the banking and infrastructure practice at McKinsey (since 2015). Prior to McKinsey, she was an advisor and investor in infrastructure project and climate finance where she worked with multilateral, commercial bank and private equity investor clients in India, China, South East Asia and Middle East.

Supriya has particular expertise in digital finance, public private partnership initiatives and platform economics in the context of smart cities. She has been involved in major transformations within banking & financial services, energy and transportation, as well as health and education sectors. She lives in Singapore. Supriya is happy to collaborate on projects in Asia and the Middle East