Conscious Agility: A Brief Introduction

Brad BartonMark Ferraro, and I recently published Conscious Agility (Conscious Capitalism + Business Agility = Antifragility) — The purpose of this brief book is to introduce the conceptual underpinning of Conscious Agility but not fully elaborate or provide deep rich examples of its application.

While many business movements strictly adopt a single perspective — some focus on the so-called “softer” aspects (culture, leadership, etc.) while others focus on the so-called “harder” aspects (mechanics) of human dynamics — we have remained agnostic and embrace an all-inclusive viewpoint, integrating relevant perspectives yet keeping the “human element” paramount.

Not to discount any particular movement, but any myopic viewpoint often obscures reality and the importance of the “human element;” and while all business movements would readily argue that they don’t elevate their “particulars” over the “human element” — experience leads us to conclude otherwise!

Conscious Agility — which emerges from Conscious Capitalism, Business Agility, and Antifragility and our individual and collective experience fully rooted in decades of practice across many industry domains — is a design-thinking approach for business ecosystems that integrates awareness with intuition, orientation, and improvisation so that individuals and collectives may benefit from uncertainty, disorder, and the unknown.

A Conscious Agility initiative (cycle) as an approach focuses on “fundamental change” (or renewal), which is uniquely organic, simultaneous, and holistic in addressing a business perspective, organizational perspective, and culture perspective while being business or industry domain agnostic and technology agnostic, and may be combined with other approaches.

A Conscious Agility initiative is organized into a cycle of phases (which are generally sequential but may overlap), which are composed of conversation clusters, which are composed of conversations (that may occur in any order and as many times as needed to ensure the overall objectives of the phase are achieved and that are oriented towards addressing one or more questions that activates how people relate to one another and how people behave with one another). Conscious Agility relies on the following foundational concepts: Ecosystem, Stakeholder, Identity, Conversation, Values, Purpose, Value, Conversation Cluster, and Canvas (way of working together).

A Conscious Agility initiative cycle includes the following phases: Define, Create, and Refine.

Th following also explore Conscious Agility (and how it relates to other’s thoughts):

Foundational Concepts







Values and Purpose




Define Phase

The Define phase includes the following conversation clusters and conversations:

Phase: Define — Foster awareness of stakeholders, envision an improved way of working together, and establish clarity around the initiative.

  • Conversation Cluster: Establish a Design Team — Launch the initiative with a team of individuals who represent the stakeholders within the ecosystem.
    • Conversation: Identify Stakeholders
    • Conversation: Build the Design Team
    • Conversation: Kick-off
  • Conversation Cluster: Discover a “minimal” Ecosystem Definition — Establish design team ownership of a path forward toward an improved way of working that is considerate of all stakeholders.
    • Conversation: Explore Today
    • Conversation: Explore Tomorrow
    • Conversation: Explore the Path from Today to Tomorrow
    • Conversation: Call to Action



Create Phase

The Create phase includes the following conversation clusters and conversations:

Phase: Create — Achieve greater awareness, intuition, orientation, and improvisation by evolving the ecosystem; enacting shared experiences, while also integrating stakeholders.

  • Conversation Cluster: Enact Experiences — Exercise and evolve the new way of working.
    • Conversation: Examine Experiences
    • Conversation: Refine the Canvas
  • Conversation Cluster: Integrate Stakeholders — Exercise and evolve a new way of organizing.
    • Conversation: Explore how best to Organize
    • Conversation: Organize and Refine



Refine Phase

The Refine phase includes the following conversation clusters and conversations:

Phase: Refine — Ensure stakeholders have sufficiently evolved the ecosystem to nurture continued success, allowing for the initiative to draw to closure.

  • Conversation Cluster: Embrace Experiences —Ensure that the new way of working is embraced by all stakeholders and reflects stakeholder experiences within the ecosystem.
    • Conversation: Examine Experiences
    • Conversation: Embody Canvas
  • Conversation Cluster: Nurture Stakeholders — Ensure that the ecosystem has fully integrated the new way of organizing and is nurturing all stakeholders.
    • Conversation: Explore how best to Nurture
    • Conversation: Nurture and Refine



Conscious Agility in Practice

With this conceptual underpinning of Conscious Agility, we encourage practice to continue to inform its evolution.

Visit for more.


2 thoughts on “Conscious Agility: A Brief Introduction

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s