Making fresh energy into effective agility

January 10, 2023
4 min read
group of people of an organization working effectively together

This article was first published in our Cocooners N° 12

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When we were first approached by this Italian Banking Group to hire and train new young people, we saw ourselves faced with the challenge of interpreting both hiring and training anew, applying a lens of systemic value creation. What follows reveals that responding through this lens of a broad and holistic perspective was a wise and deeply generative choice.

Beyond the boundaries

So off we went, on a project designed to redefine the assumptions around core organisational processes such as hiring and training. A trusted partner was involved for the people selection phase, and from there synergies flew throughout the project, organically creating and nurturing shared value. It was soon clear that there were no real boundaries between the customer, the partner, and Cocoon Pro. Hands-on collaboration and ever-evolving alignment on the desired direction were ensured through a permanent working table, as we moved as a sole team towards a shared direction.

Open up to complexity

The visible part of this shared direction was about selecting culturally aligned scrum masters, and creating an Academy to train them to effectively support multiple teams. But then, the system has gradually discovered itself, revealing new layers that had remained unseen. For example, during the first Iteration we explored which dimensions were most needed to fulfil the scrum master role, and what emerged was partly unexpected. In this process, the customer remained open to observe the multiplicity of variables composing the challenge at hand, sustained by a continuous exchange between us. Overtime, this nurtured a mutual trust in our capacity to listen to each other and to the inputs we were receiving, beyond the specific scope of our intervention.

Generative loops

As a matter of fact, on the starting line we had clear in mind what the desirable outcomes could have been and the trajectory to reach there, while what that unique system would have needed along the way was by no means predetermined.

What followed, the Academy itself, integrated theoretical frameworks, practice, and coaching on the practice. The practice itself was intended to be gradually integrated into the actual life and real needs of the system, which was in the meanwhile listened to.This triggered a generative dynamic between this new seed and the rest of the organisation, letting emerge and bringing new energy to aspects that really matter for the broader system, such as continuous improvement.

Rigorous impact

Undoubtedly, a rigorous and pragmatic approach to how the project was brought forward and handled by all parties involved was an asset of this project. It contributed to generate valuable results (a group of young people well integrated in the organisational fabric in relatively limited time) and produced an impact at the individual, team, and organisational levels.

From our standpoint, a certain rigorous approach helped the project explore the possibilities of complexity, neither being overwhelmed by chaos nor constrained by linearity.

Ripple effects

All of this translated into valuable outcomes for both the people involved and the organisation as a whole. Some of these outcomes were those expected by design — having a group of new scrum masters ready to be integrated into the organisation — some others emerged along the way, even beyond the scope of the project itself. Indeed, the ripple effects of what happened around the Academy start radiating through apparently small moves — the sharing of knowledge, the integration of new people in the teams — capable of triggering systemic evolutions: the seed of a cultural change brought about by the new people in their new role.

Well beyond formal agility, this is about touching leverage points with the potential of a much broader impact on the entire organisation.

Final thoughts

Opening up to an effective agility, one that really works, can be a powerful entry point to deeply evolve a human system. While this observation confirmed something we expected to see, its magnitude in this project was a major takeaway for us.

The conversation we are now having with the Holding company of the same Banking Group is all about bringing their effective agility and its evolutionary potential to the next systemic level.

This article was first published in our Cocooners N° 12

If you would like to receive updates on this and other topics related to the evolution of the world of work, subscribe to our newsletter here:

If you want to know more please get in touch, here:

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