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Earth Day 2022: Agility in climate action planning and why we’ll fail without it

Net-Zero targets are rightfully ambitious, but they’re doomed to fail if strategies aren’t agile. Our agile guide to help #InvestInOurPlanet

Last year, the UK Government released plans on how it will deliver its Net Zero emissions targets by 2050 including a 78% reduction from 1990 to 2035. Whilst their strategy is ‘ambitious and comprehensive’ if their plans aren’t agile, measured and take an iterative approach, they’re doomed to fail.

This year’s Earth Day, falling on 22 April annually, is themed around nature in the race to net zero with the hashtag #InvestInOurPlanet. At Bright, we believe the best way for governments to plan for climate change is to use an agile approach.

13 going on 35

2035 seems miles away from where we are now, 13 years is a long time in project planning terms, however targets and goals as ambitious as climate action ones, demand special attention. Cities across the globe are setting targets and measuring for the years ahead, however, without monitoring, how are they going to track progress?

Agile methodology manages projects by breaking it up into several phases or sprints. Involving continuous collaboration with stakeholders and constant learning and improvement at every stage. Once the project begins, teams’ cycle through a process of planning, executing, and evaluating thus teams have a natural mechanism for responding to change quickly. Do you see where we’re going with this yet?

Seize the data

Climate targets need to be data driven; however, the data needs to be monitored and used correctly. Agile emphasises the freedom to be daring in concept and tactics whilst also highlighting the importance of data driven insights. The most important aspect of an agile approach is to turn your data into actionable insights.

Try, Fail, Try something different, Succeed

Collecting climate data is all well and good, but if that data suggests or even shows that transition targets have been missed by a large margin then more measures will need to be implemented behind this goal. Equally, if target measures seem to be particularly effective, more ambitious targets could be set to reach goals faster.

This kind of flexibility is important as climate strategies need to be adaptable based on actual results and external shifts that are not yet known. Agile ways of working promote this type of flexibility and retrospective outlook which allows for prioritisation on demand – providing teams with the knowledge of what is most important to work on next.

Some cities around the world are already adapting their climate strategies to make them more agile. Mannheim in Germany, for example will digitise its new ‘Climate Action Plan 2030’ to track measurable data close to real-time via a digital twin. Meaning the city can be more flexible in adjusting milestones to reach targets faster and more efficiently.

Limit risks without risking your limits

Agile methodology is based on the concepts of flexibility, transparency, quality, and continuous improvement. Visibility in project management plays a key role in ensuring targets are achievable and that teams have the resources necessary to attain them. It’s easy for governments to set ambitious targets that make headlines and line manifestos, but if the delivery is deficient due to lack of transparency, the strategies will fail.

The Committee on Climate Change – a group of experts that advise the UK government – called the governments net zero strategy “ambitious and comprehensive” but says the UK government needs to “strengthen delivery” and agree tougher policies. With increased visibility, predicting risks, and coming up with effective mitigation plans become simpler. When working within an agile framework, there are countless ways to identify and predict risks faster meaning it’s easier to plan to ensure that the project runs smoothly, targets are met, and goals are achieved.

So, there you have it, our challenge to #InvestInOurPlanet. While there may be plenty of obstacles in climate change planning, the benefits of agile ways of working, both to governments as well as the planet, are abundant. As the planet continues to evolve and change, strategies on climate change planning need to be agile enough to evolve with it.

If you would like to introduce agile marketing into your project planning, please contact us about our Agile Marketing training or marketing support.

Danny WhitebreadEarth Day 2022: Agility in climate action planning and why we’ll fail without it