Room 6

17:40 - 18:40 (UTC+02)

Talk (60 min)

From Gin & Tonics at 4 to delivery at pace. Introducing urgency and Agile into a global soft power

Consider an organisation that’s part of the cultural fabric from South Korea to Cape Town, an institution set up to combat fascism, a giant in teaching, assessment and cultural diplomacy. Now consider the need to transform this organisation. Make it more ‘agile’, bring it into the 21st century.


This case study, co-presented by the British Council and Sullivan & Stanley, illustrates a pattern for thoughtful change that will prevent your transformation from becoming a corporate legend of yore.

Getting transformation right is hard. Many long-established organisations fail. Multiple times.

In this case study, the British Council’s Director of Technology, Anthony Nicols, and Sullivan & Stanley’s Product Lead, Marcel Britsch share how they started a successful movement of change in a global, cultural giant.

They tell you how they sowed the seeds of change at the British Council, an institution set up in 1934 to combat fascism; promote a wider knowledge of the UK and the English language abroad and develop UK cultural relations with a operation in over 100 countries; one that is now the largest provider of English teaching and assessment in the world with a commercial revenue of over £500m per year.

In 2020 the world no longer relies on physical locations – digital entrants are uprooting the market from the ground up; money and job security have become less important than job satisfaction and work-life-balance; services are no longer solely provided by human beings but by machines... Worse, customer expectations are becoming increasingly demanding.

In this talk they share how they started a movement from a position that can only be called ‘classical’, to one that is lean, agile, and focused on happy high performing teams, delivering valuable outcomes.

They will discuss how to lay the groundwork, where to start, and then what to focus on to spark a movement.

Marcel Britsch

Marcel Britsch is an independent Digital Consultant, Product Owner and Business Analyst.
He helps organisations build solid products and services in a sustainable way, by facilitation, pairing, coaching or hands-on product management.

He believes that project success is strongly linked to happy teams, value-focused decision- making and fast feedback cycles. He is passionate about finding the best tools and techniques to optimise team culture, ways of working and solution design. He considers projects that follow classic waterfall / big-design-up-front practices to be too likely doomed to go anywhere near them, but loves to help organisations build products and transform in incremental evolutionary fashion.

Outside of work he is interested in SciFi and comic books, Theravada Buddhist meditation and number theory.

He can be found at or his blog

Anthony Nicols

Having spent over 10 years in senior digital agency delivery roles, working with clients in the energy, telecoms and automotive industries, Anthony made the leap to the public sector joining the British Council in 2018.

Despite hoping for a quieter time, old habits die hard, and inevitably, as Exams Director of Technology and Delivery, he was charged with disrupting the status quo.

He believes that transformation is only possible when the organisation is ready and wants to change; with the groundwork firmly in place. He’s passionate and fascinated by architectural innovation, coupled with an employee and customer first mentality.

Despite a Prince2 project management up-bringing, once he’d seen the agile light he couldn’t really understand why he or anyone else would work another way.

Outside of work he enjoys navigating two small children, DIY, music and cooking, his speciality being eggs.

You can find him at