Translated title of the contribution: Thoughtworks: Agile Innovation in the Digital Era

Research output: Other contributionCase Studies


This case describes the challenges faced by Thoughtworks China ("Thoughtworks") and Yuelong Automobile ("Yuelong") when they worked together to develop a digital tool for Yuelong car owners: What was the aim of innovation—to beat competitors or to meet consumer needs? Was this digital transformation project beyond the purview of Yuelong's New Retail Department, with GM overseeing it directly? Was market research needed to explore innovation opportunities? To consider all pain points and needs of users or to focus solely on key issues? What issues should be prioritized: high-value or high-risk ones? Should the company adapt to market change after the launch of Minimum Viable Products (MVPs)? Which department should manage the digitally innovative product? How to transcend the temporal and spatial boundaries to replicate such a product? Clues can be found in Thoughtworks' agile innovation process. As described in the case, only one month after release, the app co-developed by Thoughtworks and Yuelong after intense debate proved to be well-received in the market. At the end of January 2021, Zhang Min, Chairperson of Tengfei Group, Yuelong's parent company, invited Wang Jie, Yuelong's General Manager, Li Chuang, Director of Yuelong's New Retail Department, and Zhao Xin, Thoughtworks' Chief Project Manager, to discuss how to replicate the app's development process and apply it to other Tengfei subsidiaries. While the digital age continuously demanded innovation from car makers, Zhao knew these subsidiaries needed to understand their market position and priorities before introducing new tools instead of blindly following the latest digital trends. This case may spark further discussions about the difficulties with product innovation, helping students to understand the characteristics and applications of Thoughtworks' agile innovation methodology.
Translated title of the contributionThoughtworks: Agile Innovation in the Digital Era
Original languageChinese (Simplified)
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023

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Case normative number


Case type

Field Case

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Published by

China Europe International Business School


  • innovation
  • agility
  • lean
  • digitalization
  • approach to innovation

Case studies discipline

  • General Management
  • Strategy

Case studies industry

  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services


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