Translated title of the contribution: Thoughtworks: The Dilemma of Acquiring Agile Innovation Talents

Research output: Other contributionCase Studies


Thoughtworks, a globally renowned software development and tech consulting firm, championed agile software development and espoused values of “diversity, equity, and inclusion.” In its day-to-day tech service and software development operations, Thoughtworks underscored the adoption of agile innovation delivery and “cross-functional and full featured” teams, thus placing a special emphasis on innovative talents. However, after 2015, in the escalating talent skirmish with top-tier internet tech firms and tech consultancies, Thoughtworks found itself grappling to attract versatile candidates with both technical prowess and well-rounded skills. Confronted with the traditional options of “boosting salaries to enhance job appeal” and “lowering the bar to enlist second-tier talent,” Thoughtworks chose to break new ground. In 2018, it officially rolled out an innovative talent recruitment and training initiative — the “SuperX Program” (or “SuperX” in short) — that targeted candidates with strong general abilities amongst non-computer science graduates, providing them with an intensive three-month training to equip them with computer skills. Over the past three years, Thoughtworks successfully onboarded several high-achieving university graduates through this program, thereby amplifying the team's diversity. With a probation pass rate of 85%, it broadened the horizons of career choices. Yet, a year down the line, the SuperX recruits' performance did not outshine that of their computer science graduate counterparts. As 2022 kicked off, Thoughtworks found itself poised at a crossroads, compelled to delve deeper into some pressing questions ahead of the hiring season: What kind of talent was truly indispensable for agile innovation? In a situation where technical and general skills were hard to come by in the same package, which should be prioritized? Was it selection or nurturing of innovative talent that warranted more investment? More crucially, under the current circumstances, was it necessary to stay the course? And finally, what impact did the diversity from a variety of professional backgrounds have on the company’s ability to innovate?
Translated title of the contributionThoughtworks: The Dilemma of Acquiring Agile Innovation Talents
Original languageChinese (Simplified)
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2024

Case number


Case normative number


Case type

Field Case

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Published by

China Europe International Business School


  • innovative talent acquisition and cultivation
  • Innovation Management
  • factors Influencing innovation
  • development of innovative talent
  • recruitment of innovative talent
  • Diversification
  • innovation teams
  • agile Innovation
  • lean and agile delivery

Case studies discipline

  • Human Resource Management
  • General Management

Case studies industry

  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services


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