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The Adaptive Change Design Cycle

Updated: Sep 9, 2020


To create a cycle that repeats from one Transition State to another (a time span of 3-4 months).


This approach has been successfully used by the US military and later, applied to Agile software development (I.e. Sprint), over shorter timeframes (typically 2-3 weeks), however, the Adaptive Change Design Cycle applies to the whole change programme. Cultural, Organisational and Operational, as well as Technological changes, are managed under the same cycle. The main benefits of a shorter change cycle are:

  • Smaller committed investment

  • More freedom to experiment (safe-to-fail)

  • Can adapt and course correct in VUCA environments

  • Smaller teams are more productive.


Design Thinking philosophy is at the heart of the Agile/Scrum software development movement. However, Adaptive Change Design is not purely technical, it applies to any type of change. And the scale and scope are much larger in Adaptive Change Design than most software only projects. However, they do share the same general mindset and many of the same principles.

Design Thinking is focused on the innovation of new products and services whereas Adaptive Change Design is focused on the change journey. Adaptive Change Design does trigger insight & innovation, but always in the context of delivering a meaningful outcome.