Imagine - if you can - that the city you live was recently decimated by an enormous earthquake.
Now imagine your job is to rebuild the central shopping zone, as much as you can and as quickly as you can. People need stuff. People need to work. Life must go on.
So, a question: do you start the rebuild with bricks and mortar or with shipping containers?
In February 2010, Christchurch, New Zealand was devastated by an enormous earthquake. The city's response was to build a "Pop Up Mall", called Re:Start, right there in the old central-business-district.
The buildings are shipping containers. But they look nice and friendly. Take a look at the 360 degree panoramas.
The tenants sign up for 6-month leases.
The mall is meant to be dismantled in a few years. It might be. It might not.
The mall was an inspired and frugal response to a disaster. But here's a similar solution, which grew from from different circumstances:
Adidas have been running a global "pop up shop" campaign. The picture above is in Beunos
Sports giant Adidas has recently come up with a brilliant sales strategy that comes as a mysterious but pleasant surprise for its clients. In Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, Adidas launched 6 pop-up stores to cater to customers who want their sportswear in a snap. Each pop-up store opened in a location that was not announced to the public. Only selected individuals were given invitations to the opening dates and venues via social networking sites.
The Adidas pop-up stores are called such because setting up the display and merchandise can be done within a day. All shelves are made from light steel tubes, with shoes hanging out on display, and simple seating that features the Adidas logo. Even the lighting and floor layout are basic enough, allowing store owners to immediately make sales without having to fuss over design details. At present, the pop-up stores sell only the limited edition ‘Ransom’ and ‘Blue’ collections.
I'd never heard of Pop ups until last week when Amazon Vine gave me this rather interesting little book: Pop Up Business For Dummies.
I say "rather interesting" because, although I'm not interested in starting a pop up business and, if I ever did, it'd almost certainly be a virtual one, I've decided to start talking about Agile in terms of doing big projects and pop-up projects, as well as projects in between. Most businesses seem to "take a long term lease" on their project teams without ever considering what the possibilities of doing a quick, frugal, but still commercially sensible project - a "pop up" project.
Every few weeks, or so, the BBC morning TV news show runs a story about all the empty shops across Britain. They make great, cheap, TV, I guess - pictures of "closed" signs and whitewashed windows. Many of the big businesses blame Amazon. Many of the smaller ones blame the land-lords - the rents are too expensive, the leases are too long.
But some of those land lords are now offering shorter leases because, hey, it's better to have some income than no income.
That, like the Christchurch mall, is a positive response to a negative situation. Some Agile "Pop up Projects" will be like that - "argh, disaster, plug a gap". Others will chase "quick wins" - "here's a chance to do something small which delights people, let's not make a big fuss about it, let's just do it". Others … who knows?
I'm still thinking this "pop up projects" idea through. I've been searching for a way to say "think a bit more like a start up" without freaking businesses out. This might be it.
What's most interesting about the Dummies book is this: it has a whole section in it on Agile thinking and it says that Pop Up Businesses are based on Agile Philosophy.