In my last post, I covered the seven characteristics of what being #WorldsMostAgile means to me. These were inspired by a group of humans that have had or are currently changing the world with their ability to think and act with agility. So without further ado, I’ll introduce you to my dream team roster of #WorldsMostAgile humans, divided into two categories:
The first list includes the immediate movers and shakers who are currently tearing it up out there on the front lines, in the throes of their immediate transformation successes. The second list covers the lifetime achievement awards, for leaders who have changed the world in over the course of their long and influential careers
Movers and Shakers
- Eric Reis – Originator of the Lean Startup philosophy (and book, and near-cultlike following), he revolutionized the way people thought about developing products in a startup environment by emphasizing experimentation over following a plan, with failure as part of the process.
- Mike Cannon Brooks/Scott Fahrquar – Founders of Atlassian Software and known as Australia’s “accidental billionaires”, they created a $10+ billion company with a focus on pivoting for innovation, a dedicated, hard-working culture, an authentic focus on customer happiness, and creating products that customers “lust after”. They’ve been described as being to Australia what Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak are to the United States.
- David Hussman – Not only is he the leader of DevJam, a company composed of agile collaborators that focus on agility as a tool to help people and companies improve their software production skills, he also co-owns a bustling restaurant called Studio 2 with his wife, and if that isn’t enough, led a 80s/90s glam metal band called Slave Raider. (David, let me know if you’re ever in Austin and want to jam!)
- Barry O’Riley – The author of the celebrated tome, Lean Enterprise, he’s also a business advisor, entrepreneur, and author who has pioneered the intersection of business model innovation, product development, organizational design, and culture transformation. He encourages a hypothesis-based method so that leadership teams can illustrate what they believe good looks like, and then letting their teams come up with the solution.
- Indra Nooyi – CEO of PepsiCo, in 2012 she led the massive company’s transformation from a bloated, stagnant company with old, out-of-date product lines to an agile powerhouse that places tremendous priority on innovation and design – and resulted in a 30% rise in stock price over 5 years. She also played guitar in an all-female rock band back in India during her college days. (Hey Indra – if you’re ever in Austin, maybe you can jam with me and David! I’m thinking we have the beginnings of a CEO rock band here.)
Lifetime Achievement Awards
- Elon Musk – Legendary founder of SpaceX and Tesla, among many others, Musk is a tenacious, self-made visionary who completely embraces failure: He was ousted from his first company, PayPal. His first three rockets tested at SpaceX resulted in explosions at launch. The first Tesla model S batteries would spontaneously combust. These very public, very expensive failures only fueled his passion to learn, iterate, and try again, resulting in some of what ultimately became the most important and successful technological advances in the last 20 years.
- Richard Branson – The ultimate entrepreneur, humanitarian, and daredevil, Branson is constantly challenging the limits of what he can achieve in any arena. The creator of the highly successful and diversified Virgin brand, he has experimented with many product lines and challenged the conventional wisdom in many traditional industries such as airlines, railways, telecom, and even space travel. As his success and wealth grew, he used it to continue to radical experimentation to drive progress and customer value across industries.
- Thomas Edison – Known as America’s Greatest Inventor, Edison is well known for his history-changing inventions such as the light bulb, phonograph, and motion picture camera. His development method was driven by examining existing data from other completed experiments, and then doing his own trial and error experiments where the required data was absent. This created a grander vision, which was to create systems instead of components of systems for economic competition on a much grander scale.
- Steve Jobs – The infamous, visionary co-founder of Apple Computer, not only was Jobs a born entrepreneur, he was also brilliant designer who had an uncanny knack for delivering products so good, customers would wait in line to purchase them. With a dogged focus on market response, he carefully focused a $30 billion company on less than 30 major products, eliminating underperforming products and introducing new ones, attentively gauging customer response.
- Benjamin Franklin - One of America's founding fathers and whom many call the first American scientist, Franklin referred to his approach to science as “curiosity-driven”. His kite-flying experiment became incredibly famous not only for its success, but also for the widely read set of letters he published documenting how it was performed and measured. This set the stage for the American mindset of experimentation in pursuit of scientific answers to all our questions about the world around us.