The Importance of Agility in Crisis

Mar 23, 2020

The recent Coronavirus outbreak has turned the world upside down, transformed our normal way of life, and is creating significant headwinds for most businesses. This situation is changing every day, hour by hour, making it very difficult for companies to think about how they’re going to stay afloat and compete next week, let alone next quarter. As we navigate this state of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever for businesses to adopt an agile approach going forward. 

So what exactly does “agile” mean? At GutCheck, we define agile as the ability to iterate, re-assess, and adapt quickly and intelligently based on continuously evolving information. This approach is our bread and butter, and the principles on which our firm was founded. Right now, that ability to be agile at every level of your organization is critical as you focus on successfully operating within this dynamic new environment.

At GutCheck, we believe agile business models can create significant value relative to some of the key pain points we see in the market research industry today, such as quicker turnaround times and increased productivity.

A few key fundamentals of agile market research include:

  1. Study design based on iterative consumer feedback vs. one phase of research that is waterfall in nature.
  2. Adaptive planning based on consumer and stakeholder feedback during short cycles – such as two weeks – as opposed to following a rigid plan and time-boxed approach.
  3. Focus on a working deliverable instead of a static, overly-engineered deliverable.

This agile approach to market research that we take at GutCheck helps our clients understand and respond much more quickly and effectively to their consumers’ wants and needs. And indeed, the effect that an agile philosophy can have is widely understood and accepted by the best of the best organizations around the world. CollabNet VersionOne, a global leader and expert in the agile management space, has conducted an annual study on agile practices for the last thirteen years. In their most recent report, they noted the following points as the top reasons for adopting an agile approach.

  1. Accelerated delivery: How many of you need to get things done faster? Now significantly multiply that need for speed when you’re dealing with a crisis scenario.
  2. Enhanced ability to manage changing priorities: The Coronavirus has plunged the world into fear, uncertainty, and doubt, leaving business leaders scrambling in its wake. Agile organizations are much better equipped to manage the quickly changing priorities, helping ensure stability.
  3. Increased productivity: How many of you are trying to do more with less? When times are tough and budgets are cut, agile and lean businesses can still deliver on their promises.
  4. Improved quality: Can your clients and customers rely on you to take an educated approach, informed by intelligent and contextualized research, that results in better outcomes?

The importance of implementing an agile approach throughout your organization cannot be overstated, and that includes insights and intelligence. Not only are you more prepared to adapt to scenarios out of your control, you are also better positioned for continuous improvement and growth.

There’s no doubt about it – the world finds itself in a major predicament with the outbreak of the Coronavirus. This pandemic is pushing businesses to their limit, forcing them to think deeper and find new ways to appeal to their customers and evolve accordingly. In fact, many of our clients have been reaching out to us during this time in an effort to understand how consumer mindsets have shifted and how that should inform their strategy going forward.

While it’s challenging to have a fully concrete understanding of what consumers are thinking right now, leveraging agile market research can be an effective way to stay abreast of what will likely be an evolving consumer mindset. The companies that can think differently, turn on a dime, and use agile market research will be the ones that best weather the storm in the long run.

GutCheck helps some of the world’s most successful companies more effectively reach their target audiences using rigorous and proven research methodologies. Schedule a personalized meeting with our team if you’re interested in how we can help your business do the same.

Written By

Matt Warta

Matt Warta


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