Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Standardising innovation will deliver disruption at scale

I joined in a conversation on Linkedin triggered by one innovator positing a view on what disruption really is - and a dozen more piling in to place their version of the truth on record.
My point of view was/is this:
A technology trend has the potential to be disruptive
The response to it is a business model built on the co-evolution of practice which that trend prompts. If that response is a new model creating value in a new way, it will disrupt the existing landscape.

I felt the lack of clarity/consistency/agreement about a pivotal term like disruption revealed how far from being truly disruptive the innovation industry currently is. This comes as small surprise given that it is a core part of digital transformation (being the way-of-working How of digital transformation). And as I have previously pointed out - Digital Transformation faces its own lack of clarity on the supply side, at a time when demand is outstripping the industry's ability to supply it.

The nuts and bolts of innovation remain too often hand-wrought. We can not expect innovation to become the new way of working at a scale and regularity that the speed of digital demands, unless and until we bring a little more standardisation and certainty to it.

This was something I also referred to in: A Shared Language of Innovation recently. In that article I discuss the way in which terms such as MVP, POC, Pilot and Prototype get used in multiple ways. This speaks to the current lack of standardisation and uncertainty (when the client demand is for more standards and more certainty).

But that was just a start. Take a look at the terms I italicised in my initial POV above. We could have a lengthy debate on the meaning of all of them. Which would waste effort, time and intellect which would be better spent on creating the higher order complexity in which value actually resides.

Innovation - particularly where it relates to digital transformation - must agree and stick to making standard sized nuts and bolts. 

Until it gets close to ubiquity its impact will be limited.
There is little Disruption in making nuts and bolts - but there is next to none without them.

Friday, February 01, 2019

Minimum Learning Vehicles

Image via
One of the many problems with making stuff fast in organisations is the varying forms of language used to describe the same thing.
Park for a moment the regular confusion between efficiency and effectiveness, the one that can create mindblocks in rapid iteration is the Minimum Viable Product.
I have heard this used interchangeably for paper sketches in Design Thinking creative sessions, all the way through to the first product being taken to the actual market at production scale.
Mindblocks - well not having a clear view of this makes it very difficult to understand what each rapid iteration cycle is trying to achieve.
I have become used to using MVP as something that may better be called the Minimum Learning Vehicle (MLV). I say it may better be called that because I think it better reflects the learning discipline of the MVP:
1. Identify what it is you want to learn from this iteration.
2. Draw/make/build only that which will give you that learning.
3. Test with the end user.
By its nature, the use of MLVs keeps things lean - avoiding scope creep and maintaining focus on the value proposition (the value to the end user).
It's a critical thing for all parties to agree when they set out to iterate to value at speed.
What do you call your MLV?

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?