FLORENCE — The arrival of the University of North Alabama’s new Agile Strategy Lab will benefit students in the College of Business, and support the local economy.

According to College of Business Dean Greg Carnes, the lab aims to prepare business leaders for a rapidly changing environment.

“An important part of our mission is having a positive impact on economic development in this region,” Carnes said. “Companies that are prepared to deal with change strategically are going to be successful.”

The lab will initially work in partnership with the Agile Strategy Lab at Purdue University. Carnes announced this week the Purdue lab’s former director, Ed Morrison, will serve as the director of the Agile Strategy Lab at UNA, effective immediately.

Morrison brings with him experience as a legislative assistant, a staff attorney and staff counsel in Washington, D.C.; a consulting team member for Telesis, a corporate strategy consulting firm; and a fellow at the Strategic Doing Institute.

Morrison said he is drawn to the “innovative and experimental” spirit of UNA, as well as the College of Business’s nationally recognized executive online program.

“Joining UNA is exciting for a number of reasons,” he said. “The future of our work will be to extend online training in Strategic Doing into different management sectors. Working with the College of Business puts us on the frontier of the rapidly emerging field of open innovation.

“My colleagues at UNA are wonderful professionals. I look forward to continuing to build a global presence for UNA through our work together.”

Carnes said UNA has worked with Morrison for several years, particularly through Strategic Doing.

“By having Ed Morrison help lead this Agile Strategy Lab, we will be able to serve the region better in terms of providing the expertise that our faculty and staff have related to business strategy and business processes to help the companies do better,” Carnes said. “Of course, as the companies do better in this region, then the region will do better.”

Students in the College of Business have already been learning Strategic Doing principles in their coursework, and the lab is expected to enhance that learning.

“We’ve had students who have developed skills in agile strategy, and they’ve been able to help organizations in the area when they hire students,” Carnes added.

Carnes explained the lab’s projects at UNA will be distinct from those at Purdue, but the two entities will continue to share their knowledge to better serve their constituencies.

He added the addition of the lab is reflective of an “exciting time” at UNA, as well as the administration’s support of the College of Business.

“I really think opening the Agile Strategy Lab and attracting Ed Morrison here is a game-changer — not just for the College of Business, but for this whole community,” he said. “I think it’s going to have a significant impact on not just helping businesses that are here, but helping attract other businesses to this community.

"It’s just another sign that people across the country see some of the good things happening at UNA and in the Shoals region, and they want to be a part of it.”

—kendyl.hollingsworth@timesdaily.com or 256-740-5757. Follow on Twitter @TD_KendylH

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