Agile methodologies have existed for a long time and extend beyond information technology. However, agile methodology has proven to continue growing and improving innovation processes in every industry. The software industry in particular adopted agile as a successful alternative to help drive innovation within a company by valuing interaction, collaboration, and responding to change. For example, Planbox’s agile innovation management solutions manage all innovation activities by helping organizations crowdsource, discover, collect, develop, evaluate, manage and experiment on ideas from employees, customers, partners and suppliers. So, what is the agile methodology and how does it differ from traditional methodologies?

 A Closer Look at Agile Methodology

Over the past 25 to 30 years, agile methodologies have changed the software industry. Instead of being an approach to innovation or a component in the process, agile is a holistic system that is well-developed and engineered to overcome a multitude of barriers and obstacles to successful innovation. Not only is it highly effective, but the larger and more complicated projects typically see agile success rates increase even more than simple projects. Many companies are integrating agile methodologies into various departments of their organization, such as marketing, operations, and corporate strategy.

The fundamental explanation of agile methodology is simple: when working towards a goal or tackling an opportunity, the organization helps create small focused teams that are cross-functional and self-managing. The key objective is to decrease oversight and increase employee empowerment to ensure these teams succeed on their own. The team leader, who should also be involved with the stakeholders, will use techniques such as design thinking to compile a list of new ideas from everyone involved. Customer satisfaction, financial results, and other company goals should be taken into consideration when deciding on what ideas to pursue. The team will then organize tasks to put this idea into action, prioritizing some items and deciding how much work is necessary and how to get it all done. Agile innovation software, like Planbox’s Innovation Central platform, is particularly helpful in organizing these tasks and creating a strategy for moving forward. It is critical that this process remains transparent to everyone from start to finish. Meetups are regularly held to identify issues, which are resolved through experimental feedback loops rather than debates. Once a small test can be brought to select customers for feedback, the team can analyze their results. Even when the final product is finished, the team is not finished. They should brainstorm ways to improve the product, service or process in the future. The agile methodology described here helps employees be more creative, more efficient, and more productive without the need for constant oversight and rigid structure, which accordingly leads to the creation of a continuous improvement culture within your organization.

Agile vs. Traditional

The main difference between agile and traditional innovation is their focus. Traditional innovation is typically driven by providing new products or services; however, agile innovation focuses on improving the activity that leads to innovation so that it is consistent and sustainable. Traditional methods are more rigid and direct while agile methods are more fluid and self-organizing. One of the key characteristics of agile methodology is promoting open innovation that encourages collaboration within and beyond the organization. This model is set up for long-term success that keeps your company continually ahead of the competition by driving continuous improvement within all branches of the business.

How Agile Increases Innovation

After understanding what agile methodology is, you probably want to know how this strategy can increase the productivity of an innovation project. In our previous blog about the 4 Top Ways to Use an Innovation Management Tool, we discuss how agile software helps create a culture of continuous improvement in your organization. Collecting, documenting, and managing new ideas efficiently is a critical first step to innovation, and agile software aids in easing this process. From there, deciding how to go about implementing these ideas and in what order can be difficult. The agile methodology compares the lengths and results of different processes in order to help you choose which innovation pathway yields the best results for profit, productivity, and customer happiness. Without the agile method, you could risk wasting valuable time and resources, or miss out on an opportunity for innovation altogether.

Overall, agile methodology improves the speed and adaptability of innovation so that you do not have to be preoccupied with the risk of failure, but instead focused on the cost of failure. Lowering the cost of failure means that you are able to pick up the pieces and keep moving more quickly so that improvements can materialize on a constant basis. Collaborating in smarter, faster, and more efficient ways will bring more success to your innovation efforts. If you would like to learn more about managing all of your innovation activities, get in touch with us here ( to discover our cloud-based AI-powered agile innovation management solutions.