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ASTUTE 2020 Update September 2020

Here at ASTUTE 2020, we can support your business throughout this period of uncertainty. Our world-class academics and technical experts from across our strong Welsh Universities partnership are available to support you through research and innovation activities. If you wish to discuss opportunities for working with us e.g. to modify your production to develop solutions to support the fight against COVID-19, you can contact us via email.


Agile Marketing Impacting on Agile Engineering

Agile Marketing Impacting on Agile Engineering


There are a lot of conversations taking place right now about Agility in business. But what does this mean in a marketing context and how will this impact engineering? Agility is the ability for an organisation to move fast when opportunities arise – to free themselves up from the management practices of the pre-Covid era. Some management theorists refer to this approach as a ‘waterfall’ approach to business strategy – whereby (and like a waterfall) once a strategic decision has been made it is really difficult to go backwards… just like trying to push water uphill. Therefore the days of medium to long term business planning is probably a thing of the past… today businesses need to be aware of and open to rapid changes in markets and technology if they want to remain competitive or meaningful to their customers.

So, what this all means for business and indeed those businesses within the engineering sector is: that we need to create a culture that validates learning (a sort of prototyping approach) rather than relying on a set of hard held opinions about our sector or industry (if you want an illustration to think about Uber or Air B and B). The learning that we do has to be undertaken in collaboration with the end-user or customer (a customer-centred approach to value development – Lego are a fine example of this approach) – no longer is it a game of them and us, and organizations need to have a management and production structure that can respond to changes and respond fast rather than doggedly following some set plan (all we need to do is look at the decimation of the high street to see an example of this type of thinking). This all leads to a framework for the future – post covid – for how organisations within the engineering sector can cope with rapid changes in markets. It is a not so simple management equation of Creativity (problem-solving and solution development) combined with Analytics (the knowledge and insight as to what is changing and where) delivered through a Purpose (a reason why we should be doing ‘something’ that is greater and better than just making a sale or another product).

For more information about these articles or how the ASTUTE 2020+ project can help your organization, please contact Professor Hefin Rowlands (hefin.rowlands@southwales.ac.uk)