Why Agile can fail in Innovation contexts
- March 20, 2019
- Posted by: Web Team
- Category: Uncategorized
Agile works great if you can break a project into a bunch of tasks which can be estimated, and are achievable given the existing skills of the team. If you are doing an exploratory innovative process where you do not know what you need to know until you explore a bit, then I suggest that the many directives given by standard Agile methodologies don’t work so well. Moreover you shouldn’t get upset that they don’t work well, because Agile wasn’t designed for innovation. The Agile Manifesto (and its follow on suggestions), was created by software developers, for software developers, to optimise software development processes, with the implicit expectation that the client has full understanding of the tasks needed to be completed. There are however some aspects of Agile which I think are useful during exploratory and R&D processes.
Chat with Martin Jones from iZon Science
Martin Jones was the founding CEO and is currently [as of late 2017] the development director of iZon Science.
”Izon Science is the world leading manufacturer of nano-biological separation and characterisation tools. Its qEV SEC columns have rapidly become the EV separation method favoured by experts. Izon’s TRPS measurement system is the only accurate, standardisable and practical method of measuring complex nano-bio particles, particularly EVs and nanomedicine products.”
Martin runs all the R&D and in house development initiatives. Managing and overseeing the IP, internal infrastructure development , business strategy development.
Everyone has heard of stone soup right? The summary of the idea is that some hungry strangers arriving in a village set up a boiling pot (with stones to give it some heft) in the town square and convince the villagers (who are not overly well fed themselves, and wouldn’t normally be charitable) to donate ingredients to help create a big meal that can sustain everyone.
The message (from an entrepreneurial point of view) seems to be that if you convince and organise people appropriately, value greater than the sum of its parts can be created.
I think there are a few assumptions in the message which don’t translate well to a real life entrepreneurial context, and that its not a very efficient model on which to base a decision making.
We live in a simulation
It’s like a metronome – every month or so someone else comes out with an opinion piece about how we live in a computer simulation.
Also every few years a paper or article comes out proving that it is impossible. For example I like this one where the conclusion is more or less that if there was a neutronium blob the size of our current universe and it somehow avoided becoming a black hole and could compute (given the magical super duper future tech powers of the people from the future) then it would be able to simulate a universe almost the size of our solar system (including all the requisite sub atomic particles). There are many others, but the people who are “for” us living in a simulation wave their hands and say “who knows what an all powerful simulation engine builder could do?” a familiar unassailable argument.
Chat with Ulf Schroeter from Zeemio
The aim of these interviews is – given the context of tech ventures and my manifesto – to determine what works and doesn’t work with respect to:
Strategy and tech strategy
The importance of domain and expertise , which leads to
The importance of differentiation
The importance of focus
The importance of societal supporting structures
Up until recently Ulf was primarily engaged as a creative director here in Manly – now he is also Head of Design and Marketing of the German company Zeemio (zeem.io – the zeem standing for zero emissions). He still spends most of his time here in Manly.
Machine Learning explained
Most people answer this question by saying “its software that can learn from data” and then get down to the nuts and bolts of various machine learning implementations. Sometimes they explain why its big now (there has been an explosion in the amount of data so the machines can learn better, and machines are faster due to cpu/gpu speed improvements).
My focus on the topic is about how its useful in building technology competency in a company or community.
Creating technology differentiation
Competitive differentiation is usually defined as some aspect of a company or institution that helps it create some sort of value which is hard for a competitor to copy. The company is differentiated by the “hard to copy” thing. Classical management theory (“theory” might be too strong a word, since many things grouped in with management theory often don’t have much of an empirical basis) says that once a product or service is undifferentiated then it becomes a commodity, and it will be chosen from its peers based on its price to acquire (that price may include how difficult it is to acquire – so corner stores will sell commodities at higher prices because there is a relatively high cost to travel further to the supermarket).