The Agile Startup: 4-Month Series to Follow GILD Collective


Working through the details of how to connect what customers want and what you can actually provide—and how to make money along the way—is where startup founders always sweat and sometimes cry.  Because startups are by definition doing something new, they’re operating in a world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) that’s arguably more intense than that of most businesses. 

And dealing with that VUCA fundamentally demands agility. It requires startup founders to be nimble in how they sense and respond to their first customers, investors, each other and every other part of their business. 

Given that The Strategic Agility Institute (SAI) seeks to produce and communicate agility-related knowledge, we thought it’d be fascinating to follow a startup that’s attempting something big—one that’s in its infancy, trying to make the leap from a concept to a scalable enterprise. 

And so we are. For the next four months, I’ll be following GILD Collective, a startup that’s beginning its journey today at one of the most well-respected startup accelerators in the United States. 

Like other startups in accelerator programs, GILD Collective’s founders will work on growing quickly in preparation for a culminating event in which they’ll pitch their business to high-profile investors. If their case is compelling enough, they stand to gain another round of funding that will support their continued growth. 

Here’s what to expect: During the next four months, I’ll be checking in with GILD Collective’s founders. On a weekly (or close to it) basis, I’ll provide an update. In those updates, I’ll focus mostly on what’s going on from the perspective of the four dimensions of VUCA and various topics related to agility. 

GILD Collective ( is the brainchild of three friends—Kelsey Pytlik, Rachel Bauer McCreary and Jessie Deye. It’s a business focused on crafting, which happens to be about a $29 billion industry. GILD Collective seeks to join that industry by offering instructor-led craft parties, in which customers will pick the project, location and participants. GILD Collective will bring the supplies and expertise, allowing party participants to explore their creative sides and make something with their own hands. 

GILD Collective founders (from left): Kelsey Pytlik, Rachel Bauer McCreary, Jessie Deye

GILD Collective founders (from left): Kelsey Pytlik, Rachel Bauer McCreary, Jessie Deye

More about GILD Collective will certainly emerge throughout this series, as will various aspects of how they’re navigating the world of a startup accelerator. 

Within the next week, watch for the first recurring update about GILD Collective. I'm looking forward to working with GILD Collective to share—and collectively learn from—their experiences. 

About The Strategic Agility Institute™
The Strategic Agility Institute™ (SAI) is a collaborative, global effort dedicated to the production and communication of agility-focused knowledge. We're building a community founded upon a common interest in helping people and organizations become agile and thrive in the face of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. For more information, visit: