Agile an Unexpected Journey Compendium Book

Agile an Unexpected Journey. A Compendium of Agile Biographies

How exactly did people get involved in Agile, what did then learn that galvanised them and propelled them into a career in it? This compendium of Agile Biographies by practitioners expresses their experiences and their vision for the future.

Without editing the Agile Practitioners will answer the same five questions listed below.

1. How did you hear about Agile and how did you first get involved?
2. What was your first experience of applying Agile and what did you learn?
3. How has your experience and practice of Agile evolved?
4. Can you share any pivotal work or case studies?
5. Where do you go from here.

In my chapter I will show Agile is a journey not a destination and describe my journey in Agile since 2003. It will express what I have done, what works, what has not worked and what I have learned. It will show the connection between Agile and Human Centered Design and how they are symbiotic for the betterment of humanity.

Compiled by Karl Smith
Published by Polymath Knowledge, Polymaths Series, Book 2
Distributed by Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

Due out January 2021
E-book: ISBN 978-1-8382370-4-2

Due out February 2021
Paperback: ISBN 978-1-8382370-5-9

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Servant Leadership Experiments in Ways of Working Book

Servant Leadership is not just another fad in business its a critical component of successful adoption of Business Agility.

Experiences and anecdotes describing 15 years of implementing Servant Leadership in high pressure, results oriented work environments.

Authored by Karl Smith
Published by Polymath Knowledge, Polymaths Series, Book 2
Distributed by Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

Due out February 2021
E-book: ISBN 978-1-8382370-2-8

Due out March 2021
Paperback: ISBN 978-1-8382370-3-5

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Designing for Human Experience Book

Designing for Human Experience

Forewords by Robert Powell and Patrick Neeman. Designing for Humans remains for me the most fantastic amalgamation of the complex to create the simple, useable and nascent components and artefacts that support human experiences. I’ll apologise in advance while I try to use simple English I often fail because someone came up with a word that covers off the complexity I’m trying to express. I use dictionary’s often when writing, not least because I’m dyslexic and can’t see letters, I was taught to read the gaps between them in primary school by a special teacher, so my perspective is often quite different from others.

Fundamental to my work in designing for human experience is my early experiences of human augmentation in supporting what the world describes as disability. When I was eight (1970’s) my father was involved in setting up a respite centre for the families disabled children. It was the first time I’d seen technologies that support people in doing what I take for granted and it changed my perspective on technology and what it means to be human.

“I’m not interested in Technology; I’m interested how Technology evolves our human experiences”

Looking back, it was clear from an early age that I accepted all people, recognised individuals and gained the realisation that everyone had strengths and limitations. Through my design training at school, college and then university I was able to frame questions about; what does it mean to be human? Ergonomics and Anthropometrics is what started me on questioning why technologies were not measurable against who uses them and their physical, emotional and intelligence limitations. If that’s offensive think about it, everyone has limitations they also have strengths, certainly I have benefited by having to work harder with reading and writing than others through being able to make connections others cannot see, I’m not special just different.

Authored by Karl Smith
Published by Polymath Knowledge, Polymaths Series, Book 1
Distributed by Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

Due out November 2020
E-Book: ISBN 978-1-8382370-0-4

Due out December 2020
Paperback: ISBN 978-1-8382370-1-1

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Imagine If The Way We Now Live Became Redundant

Ari Abraham from Philosophie Group Inc. Santa Monica, California talks to Karl Smith, a consultant, and innovator who has said in the past “My desire was not to build things that humans already do but to find out how technology could evolve our human experience.” Ari and Karl dig into some of his wins, his fails, and the adventure of having a storied history of projects all centered around the human experience.

In the first part of this interview Karl describes some successes some failures giving examples from projects he has worked on.

In the second part of the interview Karl Smith describes some of the use cases for UbiNET. The first implementation of UbiNET should be in FMCG with a focus on product lifecycle (creation to recycling) management, removal of the grey product economy (no more fake products of any kind). In the second version UbiNET becomes a transaction system with a daily mutating encryption to uniquely identify buyer and products. http://ubi-net.us/

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The Autonomous Hot Tub and other moving Rooms

Humanity continues to make the same innovation errors in every generation, instead of finding out “how technology could evolve our human experience” they focus on how to upgrade or change our existing experience. This is most evident in autonomous vehicles and it has missed the essential point the if there is no human driver autonomous vehicles are moving space with humans inside them. If we considered travelling instead of driving, then using the time in a different way is understandable. It also perhaps changes what the purpose of travel from being destination focused to being movement focused.

Trusting Technology Autonomous or Not

It is startling that few people understand how much of their travel already relies on computers and automation. Autopilot on planes is the standard and they fly through three dimensions unlike ground vehicles in just two dimensions. It may simply be the psychology of control, few people currently control airplanes but many control cars and that loss of control may be the bases of fear regarding autonomous vehicles. Certainly mistrust of technology is pervasive yet abandoned when need overrules such concerns. It is common for people to give away their personal data in order to gain a service as is seen in social media and many service applications. It’s also worth noting that trust in technology is generational there are currently people in their 70’s and 80’s who don’t trust credit cards in online ecommerce, even though all transactions even in physical shops are online.

Autonomous Hot Tub

I have to admit that this is my prefered option, since we don’t all have jetpacks I’ll settle for hot tub vehicles, I will certainly arrive rested. And this is the point of autonomous vehicles they change the meaning of travel the options become endless.

Autonomous Hotel Room

What if our means of travel also became our meaning of staying. The vast expense of building static hotels would be removed and replaced with parking bays for hotel rooms, that are styled for the owner or renter. Parts of peoples homes could travel with them and their view and location will change but personal comfort won’t. I would be nice if hotel rooms could meet us at the airport and then take us on a tour of a country.

This may seem all too far fetched but consider that entire music or book collections now exist in subscriptions, how about autonomous meeting rooms that collect the participants, autonomous restaurants or bars. Perhaps we need to move away from reframing our existing world in new technologies and just change how the world works. We all need to let technology be the servant of humanity rather than its drug and get rid of pointless things so humanity can be inventive and creative.

About the Author

Karl Smith is a futurist and inventor with creative design, engineering and scientific backgrounds focused on how human life is evolved by technology. Karl Smith is a Fellow of the British Computer Society, a member by invitation of BCS ELITE (Effective Leadership in IT) the CIO & CTO group and European CIO Association. He mainly works as an interim consultant, CIO, CTO or CXO but also joins companies on a permanent bases to deliver the change they are seeking.

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Global Thought Leader in Predictive Analytics Karl Smith

Predictive Analytics startup in 2019 Decision Point AI and SaaS company Advance Analytics AI may be in the past but its a knowledge base that few people have. I don’t just write about technology, digital disruption and customer engaged business I create the strategy, brand assets and deliver the target operating model, HR roles and career paths, vendor contracts, services and products of the new company, division or offering.

Decision Point advanced and predictive analytics AI

It is clear that my work in setting up Decision Point AI and Advanced Analytics (SaaS) is being recognised for my expertise in Predictive Analytics. I was able to distil the complexities of the offering create the brand, brand assets and equity, and see additional opportunities in the technology by creating a suite of offerings IntelSuite in just six months.

Decision Point AI system architecture by Karl Smith

Thinkers360 is the world’s first open platform for thought leaders – including academics, advisors, analysts, authors, consultants, entrepreneurs, executives, influencers and speakers – to share opportunities, promote and advance their expertise. Organizations and agencies use our tools to find and work with the world’s top thought leaders as well as showcasing their own executives, experts and insights!

Thinkers360 Predictive Analytics Karl A Smith

We focus on cutting edge business and technology topics including 5G, Agile, AI, Analytics, AR/VR, Autonomous Vehicles, Big Data, Blockchain, Business Continuity, Business Strategy, Change Management, Cloud, COVID-19, CRM, Cryptocurrency, Culture, Customer Experience, Customer Loyalty, Cybersecurity, Data Center, Design Thinking, Digital Disruption, Digital Transformation, Diversity & Inclusion, EdTech, Emerging Technology, Entrepreneurship, ERP, FinTech, GovTech, Health & Safety, HealthTech, HR, Innovation, InsurTech, IoT, Leadership, Lean Startup, Legal & IP, Management, Marketing, Mergers & Acquisitions, Mobility, Open Innovation, Predictive Analytics, Privacy, Procurement, PropTech, Public Relations, Quantum Computing, Retail, Risk Management, Sales, Social, Startups, Supply Chain and Sustainability.

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Ways of Working Organizational Design Service launched Paradigm Interactions

WoW Organization Design Consultancy – Can be remote

Paradigm Interactions offers the service of organizational design consultancy, to meticulously define and organize the structure of companies, create job titles, and allocate resources (i.e. personnel) to improve efficiency and increase productivity. Supporting the making of strategic decisions with regard to company hierarchy and personnel infrastructure.

Experience with the organization, business structuring, business process definition and deployment, recruitment policies and employee reward systems, role and title definition for both senior, mid and junior staff.

Based upon business objectives, strategy, processes and operations. Followed by meticulous planning, analysis and research.

Working with MD’s, Partners and senior managers to make sure the proposed changes are as economical and effective as possible.

Typical Benefits

No two organisations are the same even in the same sectors, but all are focused on common objectives provide product or service, create consumer engagement, transact and establish consumer engagement lifecycle.

Typical areas where value is realised;

  • Increase customer acquisition, advocacy and lifetime value
  • Improved business agility and ability to rapidly respond to change and opportunity
  • Increased credibility, confidence and influence across the business
  • Effective delivery against financial targets
  • Enabling positive behavioural change
  • Fostering a human centric, transparent, trustworthy and agile culture
  • Viable, scalable and actionable roadmap to deliver innovation and change
  • More consistent and sustainable profitability and business growth
  • Successful, timely delivery of evidence based transformative change
  • More satisfied and engaged employees with increased retention and productivity
  • Builds flexibility into business DNA
  • Supports culture of next best action
  • Creates a focus on work that delivers value
  • Reduces management overhead, bureaucracy and timelines
  • Delivers transparent and scalable working practices
  • Enables idea to value workflow for executive to customer engagement
  • Delivers flexible portfolio management
  • Enables continuous and market responsive evolution

Overview

New Ways of Working Programmes are now quite common in major organisations, this consultancy service is intended to offer a holistic approach to WoW. It is imperative to be holistic in establishing new ways of working as boundaries to old ways of working in portfolio management, finance, ITIL and HR can very quickly become an impediment to transformation if they are not considered as part of it.   

Strategy

  • Identify, agree and prioritise new ideas and opportunities to generate business value
  • Validation and endorsement of decisions and approach
  • Enhanced cross-business collaboration, communication and buy in
  • Agree and define actions and a feasible roadmap
  • Gain context and insight to enable faster, more informed decisions and actions
  • More perceived objectivity without political bias

Return on Investment

Exact returns are difficult to stipulate without a scope definition however there are a number of themes;

  • Flattened hierarchy as management becomes systemic giving a 10% to 40% FTE reduction of management and increasing the producer to non producer ratio
  • Increased throughput of value creating work (up as much as 60%) as unplanned work is revealed and dramatically reduced (down as much as 60%)
  • Increased visibility at executive leadership level with new capacity to refocus the entire organisation every three months
  • Operational measurement of all work to indicate blockages in the flow of work to provide continuous improvements
  • Operational flexibility as the focus moves to skills and teams over time served and individual role
  • Staff galvanization and focus as pay and rewards become team based and transparent

Approach

The consultancy service takes a building block approach so that the client always has a clear line of sight on what they get for their money. Each of the following steps builds a bespoke client service, responsive to both the experience and context of the client. Additionally is allows for course correction as part of an iterative engagement focused on the client Subject Matter Expertise augmented by Transformation Consultants with numerous framework experiences.  

Engagement

  • Initial consultancy to define scope – 2 to 4 weeks to be agreed in writing prior to commencement
  • Proposal presentation to refine scope – 1 to 2 weeks to be agreed in writing prior to commencement

Consultancy

The exact components and size of work will be defined during the engagement phase

  • Delivery strategy document
  • Benefits proposal document
  • Delivery model proposal document
  • Governance model proposal document
  • Scaling strategy document
  • Target operating model proposal document
  • All staff HR contracts review action
  • Pilot proposal for first area document

Delivery

  • Team building – size and locations defined in consultancy
  • Support document creation
  • Training strategy
  • Communications strategy

The delivery team will change over the course of an engagement in the following way;

  • 2% of total team in Engagement
  • 10% of total team in Consultancy
  • 30% of total team in Delivery for pilot delivery
  • 100% of total team in Delivery for scaled delivery
  • 30% of total team in Delivery for hand over to in house delivery teams
  • 10% of total team in Delivery for hand over to in house leadership teams

Example

Actuals for delivery in an organisation of 90,000 people in 8 main locations globally

  • 4 consultant team in Engagement
  • 20 consultant team in Consultancy
  • 60 consultant team in Delivery for pilot delivery
  • 200 consultant team in Delivery for scaled delivery
  • 60 consultant team in Delivery for hand over to in house delivery teams
  • 20 consultant team in Delivery for hand over to in house leadership teams

Timeline

Timelines are subject to scope, complexity and team size the above was 2 years.

Our Requirements of You

  • Ensuring an executive sponsor from your organisation is allocated to the engagement, communicates the rationale behind it and signs off any ‘Terms of Reference’
  • Assisting in all possible ways to ensure that a contract, (and confidentiality agreement where necessary) is in place, in advance of any work commencing
  • Ensuring all support is in place and access is granted for all and any required data, processes, policies, meeting rooms and nominated resources to enable successful delivery of the engagement
  • Ensuring sponsor availability within the agreed timeline, to resolve any significant issues that may impact the timely completion of the engagement, if not resolved in a timely manner.

Our Commitments to You

  • Provide support throughout service delivery using our World Class Professionals and Subject Matter Experts
  • Provide high quality deliverables in a timely manner and in line with agreements upon engagement with the client. (Any changes to this will be mutually agreed in writing, in advance, between all involved parties)
  • Provide deep insights and genuine value-add in all possible areas throughout the engagement
  • Provide progress updates and feedback at regular intervals, agreed in advance or at the engagement ‘kick off session’
  • Respect all personal and professional development of client team members throughout the engagement

Deliverables WoW Organisational Transformation

  • WoW service design of organization
  • WoW enacted service design as pilot
  • WoW enacted service design as organisational transformation
  • WoW target operating model
  • WoW replacement for ITIL
  • WoW enterprise work funding model
  • WoW enterprise roles definition
  • WoW communications
  • WoW training

Service Delivery Model Project Based Engagement

Project based engagements operate on the basis of agreeing work and any outcomes or milestones for delivery in advance of commencement of any engagement in a ‘Statement of Work’. Prices are fixed for the agreed deliverables and should changes be required, these may incur changes to delivery costs. Payment for Project Based Engagements are agreed on a case-by-case basis, giving consideration to risk, contract value, client payment history, relationship longevity and duration.

WoW Completed Projects

  • NatWest Banking Group (RBS) Retail Bank
  • NatWest Banking Group (RBS) Commercial Bank
  • NatWest Banking Group (RBS) Group
  • Wipro – Wipro Digital

Service Pdf with Contact Details below;

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LinkedIn bullies and the loss of the LinkedIn professional network

Social Media Empowerment

It is without doubt that Social Media empowers people to feel they can act with impunity. However this has never really been true, there is no impunity on Social Media as accounts can be traced quite easily.

LinkedIn Posters Experiences

It is now a common experience of people who post that they get blasted by someone else’s opinion instead of experiencing a discussion. It may be that the responder is so insecure that they feel the need to bully others or it may be a strongly held belief. Either way it’s unprofessional, even things that you may consider to be universal or culturally correct may not be someone else’s experience.

How to Respond on LinkedIn

Like a court case, when responding you need to provide context and evidence (case studies, though often without the client name). Your summary opinion without the context of why your saying something is the response of a child (around the age of 4). Structure your response;

I disagree based upon my experience of …. it showed me that …. what is the bases of your post?

Responses to LinkedIn Bullies

Some people simply won’t behave like professional people, in those cases the following responses are common;

  • Block people rather than engage with them if your the poster take a note of who they are first then delete their abuse, then block them. If you block them first their abuse is still on your post but now you can’t see it.
  • If the comment is particularly vile or brings their company into disrepute forward it to their Managing Director, Head of Public Relations and Head of Sales one of them will contact Human Resources and get them retrained or have them fired.

Why deal with this at all?

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing

Edmund Burke, 1795

For those who experience this kind of abuse I would suggest that you endure, my father taught me to never run away from bullies, your mere existence and experience diminish their hate because you won’t surrender or submit.

Please remember that you add a perspective that many people want to engage with they just need to think and write professionally.

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Amateur Business Agility or Ways of Working will cause Business Carnage

No one would let someone have a go at Brain Surgery yet Company Boards will let both large Blue Chip consultancies (supposedly to manage risk) and Internal Staff (to save money) have a go at Business Agility (Agile Transformation, Ways of Working, Operational Transformation or Optimisation). 

No one would let someone have a go at Brain Surgery yet amateurs are playing with the future of many Companies and Organisations

Karl Smith, 2017

Things to consider in hiring Business Agility “expertise” which should be interrogated

The first and most important thing to recognise is that Business Transformation is the skill and Agile is the passion. Hiring Agile Coaches to do Business Transformation is business suicide. Likewise hiring Business Transformation people with no experience of Agile Delivery is also business suicide. Lastly business people need to accept they will be challenged by an actual expert, they will listen and try to evolve the organisation, not break it to make it, but build on what’s there. They won’t try and do what they have done before they will first try to understand your business, your objectives and strategy and then create a proposal on how and where to start. They won’t go big bang, they will propose a pilot of an end to end function that cross cuts the organisation to test what can be done and what level of benefit it will offer.

Business Agility is slow before it gets fast, small before big and wrong before it becomes right.

Karl Smith, 2018

No Business Agility programme is 100% successful 

I worked on a programme where a very well known Blue Chip consultancy claimed 100% success on a previous Business Agility programme. We asked for the name of the client and a contact, neither were available. They arrived on site through a business unit who had read their sales pitch online and believed it. We spent 6 months trying to get them to understand the basic concepts of Business Agility however their mind sets were toward creating standard patterns they could own and reuse, somewhat horrifically also reinventing Agile terminology to own it (it was very embarrassing). Due to their general ignorance on Business Agility they were on an outcomes based contract that could never be completed as professional Business Agile Transformation is not time boxed and outcomes are very hard to predict, as takes years to adopt in existing organisations.

Business Agility Transformation contracts cannot be outcomes based in the normal ways as the transformation is a mixture of mindsets and practices, artifacts can be created but they don’t denote DONE.

Karl Smith, 2017

No Business Agility programme is ever Complete

As with the previous section Business Agility, Agile Transformation and Ways of Working are all essentially the same thing. The transformation cannot be time boxed and in fact should evolve over time, adapting to meet the needs of the clients market and their business.

Business Agility Transformation is both an evolution and a revolution meaning that it keeps on going forever and adapts to enable the business to adapt

Karl Smith, 2017

No Business Agility programme is created by “Hero’s”

The notion that one person delivers Business Agility is a total fallacy, it’s a team activity where every person willing to participate aids the outcome. Avoid Agile Hero’s it’s unlikely they understood what it took to deliver Business Agility and would not be able to replicate it without their previous team.

No Business Agility programme is focused on one part of an organisation only

It’s a little odd but there is a lot of NIMBY’s in Transformation. The ‘Not in my backyard’ is quite prevalent in enterprises. Executives and Senior Managers are happy for someone else to change but are very unhappy at being asked to change themselves. Impacting their carefully crafted careers often meets extreme resistance. So Transformation is often focused on the path of least resistance.

Business Agility only works when the board, finance, legal, HR, portfolio, programme and project levels embrace it too, everyone is changed

Karl Smith, 2017.

Because Business Agility is totally interconnected, there needs to be an expectation that both Business Agility and Current Business practice will run at the same time. This will mean that Risk Management will require two taxonomies and two different processes to be run at the same time. This is essential as in flight work cannot be stopped while transformation work is piloted and then launched as the standard practice. Long term work may not also be converted to a new way of working so the management and structure of it may persist for many years until complete. Selection of these long term programmes would require a risk assessment againsts agreed deadlines or regulatory compliance.

No Business Agility programme was universally liked and did not have “Rebels and Dissidents” who were very senior

Change is unexpected in hierarchical organisations, in fact people have over the years fended off a lot of transformation and change. People have become adept at swallowing up the transformation funds and ensuring the delivery of nothing. Transformation and change are for very many organisations counter culture, to be endured till they run out of money or patronage so that the old order can reassert itself in a very public way.

There will always be rebels and dissidents in the situation of transformation and change so the question is not how to discover them but how to mitigate their impacts. In my previous experiences we have set up a taskforce to deal with the impacts of rebels and dissidents. Like them direct action is not the way, in fact we created broad strokes with wide transparency to deal with misinformation so that the purveyors of such would cripple their own networks with obvious untruths (against the now public truth). This is one method of around eight functional mitigations. If you want the rest, Business Agility as a service is available through Paradigm Interactions Inc. globally.

No Business Agility programme did not fundamentally change portfolio management 

While the primary focus of many organisations is their output it is impossible to improve this until the input is transformed also. You can’t change production or delivery of services or products until you change how its led, managed, funded and how people are contracted or valued.

No Business Agility programme did not fundamentally change how finance works

If your funding for work is based upon supporting specialist based departments being funded or portfolios with programmes and projects being funded, then Business Agility changes both these models.

No Business Agility programme did not change the contracts for all staff and vendors

Moving from a specialist based department or programmes and projects system changes what people do for a living, where they work, how they are assessed and how they are valued, hence paid.

No Business Agility programme did not create a work type taxonomy

I think many people will be asking “what is a work type taxonomy”, well its a description of work that has value to the organisation a common taxonomy would be;

  • Business initiated work
  • Technology initiated work
  • Technology maintain and support work
  • Unplanned work

Hopefully your Business Agility consultants don’t broach this subject the day after this is posted on LinkedIn.

No Business Agility programme did not change the ratio of producers to non-producers in a positive way

Something quite shocking about how organisations have evolved since the second world war is that the number of people who make money or achieve the actual intent of an organisation ‘producers’ is dropping and managers and administrators ‘non producers’ is rising. In some organisation for every 10 people only 3 are producers in commercial organisations this 30% make all the money and deliver all the services that justify the 70%. A major outcome from Business Agility is the redistribution of non producers, refocus or their loss. Most organisation have large administrations functions that can be reduced by 90% or more by the implementation of Business Agility. If you want to know how, Business Agility as a service is available through Paradigm Interactions Inc. globally.

No Business Agility programme increased the number of staff instead of redeploying them

The way most organisations deal with change and transformation is to absorb its funding mainly through hiring of staff. However in Business Agility most new staff are short term hires to deliver the guide rails for transformation and change or are converts from existing old ways of working, with the exception of a few specialists to support the transformation strategy.

No Business Agility programme was delivered by posers and playbook users

Three huge consultancies all failed to deliver on one programme because they were not focused on understanding and building the client company only proving they should be paid. We got rid of them, from the consultancy work and moved them to admin work in that they were not all that useful either.

No Business Agility programme was delivered by Agile Fanatics (Evangelists) and Framework users

Extrapolating frameworks into reality is rather difficult, but it supremely better than attempting to cookie cutter businesses or organisations into frameworks. A transformation is symbiotic not a replacement of one incomplete and nonresponsive working practice with another one. Transformation by its very nature adopts and adds to the existing, getting that balance is essential, least the essence of a business or organisation become lost.

No Business Agility programme was completely delivered by internal staff

As much as Businesses and Organisations want to be in control of their futures they will attempt transformation and change themselves without external involvement. There are a number of reasons for doing so, but essentially it comes down to control and managing unpalatable truths. This is also the reason they often fail to deliver real transformation or change. This is the point of bringing in externals, they can be the bad guys without it affecting their career in the business or organisation. Being external they can share bad news and define options to deal with them without preference to any persons agenda. To deliver of Business Agility then, independence is essential to ensure that agility does not simply mask another restrictive and controlling agenda, which is open for business by compromise and for allegiance gains.

Businesses and Organisations need some bad guys, that’s the role of external Business Agility consultants

Karl Smith, 2016

No Business Agility programme was understood by HR internal staff and did not fundamentally change their work

Transformation is simply not the HR skill set, though many are now hiring Transformation Consultants the agendas a quite clear when the work is done. HR are great at Policy and BAU but creative and unrelenting Transformation work, incapable by mindset.

Business Agility is Delivered by non partisan (not seeking to expand engagement) Transformation Consultants with a personal Agile story

These people are rather hard to find, impossible to find in large consultancies because this is counter culture. Staff in large consultancies infiltrate and spread it is essential to their business model.

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Innovation is a Cultural Action

Having a strategy in business is critical, but a business without a focus on innovation and an understanding of how to do it efficiently and effectively won’t survive. This articles talks about innovation being based on a truth and how it can be done efficiently and effectively. There is a huge amount of information about Innovation out there, please read it all, but more importantly TAKE ACTION. Take small action not grand plans, actual innovation can’t be planned, only the frameworks, funding, people and physical resources, the outcomes can’t be planned.

Innovation Culture is a Strategy

Below is from the Huawei Europe Innovation day in Paris, this is the only example I have first hand, as I was invited to attend. What’s really impressive here is the commitment to innovate being backed up with money and not words. #HuaweiHID

Innovation is Based on Knowns

Innovation is about building on something you already know to be true, even if that truth is just geographic, cultural, brand bases, technology based, time (date relative) or customer based.

A truth in time is essential for innovation to succeed, always test your truth to ensure its not a perception, a lie or a dream

Karl Smith

An example of a truth may be drawn from quantitative or qualitative data. For example “customers do not buy when the journey to buy is more than three clicks”, “in the cluture of xxxxx country, this product won’t sell”, the next big thing is 5G “our 4G product will sell well in 5G as its just about speed”.

Once you have a truth there are three ways to respond to it, either by Progression or in Counterpoint and rarely but interestingly sometimes by Accident. As its very easy to get wrapped up in ownership over value principals, someone not involved also needs to conduct Triage (prioritisation, relationships, backlogs) and Due Diligence (similarities, copies, brands, people, etc.) at this point to avoid waste.

Progression Innovation

In Progression Innovation, the most common way in business and technology you need to set what your values are then look at what are the success factors currently delivering value to your organisation.

EXAMPLE: If your value is P&L then shipping millions of low margin high complexity products is not a success, especially if you have not properly understood the supply chain costs and risks, you may be working for free. Your innovation attributes should then included a full lifecycle cost, margin and profit valuation.

EXAMPLE: If your value is Market Penetration, then your innovation attributes need to include regulatory, tax, political, killer product

Counterpoint Innovation

In counterpoint Innovation the focus is taking any truth and seeking to invalidate it and reviewing the by products of that invalidation as a starting point for a new branch of thinking products or services. Just think if you could go back in time and get their touch screen mobile to market in 2001 when it was ready instead of waiting till 2005 for the iPhone. How different would the world be now. Counterpoint invention allows companies to think this was and to discover hidden catalysts for invention.

Accidental Innovation

This is perhaps the one most organisations hope for, like the invention of a new stronger glue by 3M that was a failure. In fact it let you stick things and remove them constantly without much degradation in its effectiveness as ‘sticky’ but not bonding enough to be a glue. The product Post-its.

Quick Innovation

I have seen various posts focused on tightly structuring innovation that include top level components of Incremental, Disruptive, Architectural and Radical, to me these all sound expensive and time consuming. There are much quicker ways of doing innovation, in fact it can be done to a level of confirmation to proceed or not in just eight hours.

The following film shows a process for quick innovation based upon both Progression Innovation and Counterpoint Innovation both exposed through the Innova8™ process.

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Business Bullies and the Modern Workplace

I normally write about positive side of business because I choose to focus on it, however I have come across a few bullies over my years in work and feel a duty to support people who are being bullied at work. I’m writing this as a former victim. The people who have worked with me as their manager may now understand my engagement with them and the latitude I provided to get from A to B, or Z as a discovery experience rather than a micro managed one, in this context.

Bullying has victims and is a crime against humanity

While there may be many reasons for bullying at work I can’t really cover all the potential initiators but the most common one is fear in the aggressor, often about being discovered as a fraud or incompetent person. They need to feel superior and get this by bullying other people to gain the power they lack in their own life. I’m not going to focus on the criminals, but on helping victims identify the experiences that indicate they are the subject of this experience.

If you recognise the following factors in your work experience either contact HR or seek legal employment advice because your experience is not acceptable at any level for any culture or other reason.

There are four aspects to business or workplace bullying;

  • Isolation
  • Elevation
  • Intimidation
  • Domination

Isolation

Isolation is critical for bullying to work if the bully can separate you from other people, become your only point of truth they are able to control your environment and effectively own you. This is quite common in low level leadership (teams, projects) and middle management roles in large organisations. Its a form of deception that encourages the victim to feel they should submit, to their only real friend or supporter. It’s quite insidious because it’s the quickest way to institutionalisation effectively crippling your voice and remove your ability to create, innovate and ultimately have value to your company. As a victim you need to remember for your bully your unimportant, your a means to an end, nothing more. To overcome this, join meetups or social groups in your organisation, get out there and just be yourself. And no matter how alone you feel, find someone else to talk to, isolation is your choice not the bullies.

Elevation

Having isolated and socially crippled their victims bullies next elevate themselves often by ingratiation with time, special treatment, access all kinds of things this achieves two things, it enforces their position as the voice of truth and then is pushes victims down further by enforcing the idea of reliance on the bully for anything good.

Intimidation

By this point in bullying most of the intimidation is reflective and based on losing special treatment or favour so the victim intimidates themselves and are prisoners of their own perceptions and mind. It’s shocking that people would rather continue with the pain they know than change their situations, yet it is very common. Other intimidation arrives if people show any attempt at change, dreams or independence, usually in the form of the most hurtful or most secret thing shared in confidence with their bully. Another common activity is to deny access on an adhoc basis it keeps the victim unable to settle into a working rhythm. Including them, then not including on emails, holding to account on things they have no control over is a constant flow of bullying activity.

Domination

Once Isolated and Elevated, where Intimidation works the next level is Domination, where nothing the victim does is of value, where they must seek constant approval and are totally undermined in the work they do on a daily basis. This is a horrific experience and a form of psychological warfare. It will often take the form of getting the victim to do things outside of their work contract, which in many cases will be on their own time or if during the working day (be wasting time) and if discovered by other senior people be seen to negatively impact their employability.

Past Experience

In one organisation I hired a fantastic group of people, I found out a lot of things after I left.

  • One of the team leaders, went to their team and told them he had made the decision to employ them and that they were not appreciated or in fact liked by others – Isolation.
  • He made himself the voice of truth for that team using his position after I left to grant favoured status to them – Elevation
  • He made it clear that only he could aid their careers – Intimidation
  • He then ‘asked’ team members to help him on their own time to help him on his PHd – Domination

Overall one of the most unethical things I have ever heard of in a major corporation. This bully destroyed 12 months of building the team in two months of pure selfishness and bullying.

The impact on the non ‘special people’ was they started looking for new jobs, they are now scattered across the globe. I still regard them as some of my best hires ever and I keep tabs on their careers as for some of them it was their first role after University.

If your experiencing this and have no one else to talk to, message me.

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Eye tracking from Military to Healthcare

Like most technology innovations eye tracking started life as military technology with the best known supplier being Applied Science Laboratories or simply ASL. It was founded in 1962 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists who developed their first video-based eye tracker in 1974.

After it initial focus on Military critical path activities it was then moved into civilian applications first with complex dashboards like those in use in Nuclear Power Stations and then into other usages.

I used an ASL unit in the 1990’s and early 2000’s in the then AIU (activity, interaction and usability) Company for Contextual Usability, Brand Recognition Testing and Sports Optimisation as an extension to Ethnographics a process I had created in 2001 as a method for researchers to shortcut Ethnography studies.

Intelligent business requires a full understanding the effectiveness of new products and services. By testing in context, clients can get realistic data on the performance of systems. Such data can be valuable to making decisions on changes, or having confidence that the benefits you expect will be realised in practice. By testing real users in context potential problems can be eliminated and new, previously unconsidered opportunities developed.

AIU Press Release 7th August, 2006

Brand Recognition Eye Tracking

Product placement has been around for a long time, with certain aspects banned post the Vicary scandal in 1957;

James Vicary astonished the assembled reporters by announcing that he’d repeatedly flashed the slogans “Drink Coca-Cola” and “Eat popcorn” throughout a movie, too fast for conscious perception. As a result, he claimed, sales of popcorn had risen 18.1% – and Coke by 57.7%. This, he declared, was “subliminal advertising”.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-30878843

as it is rightly or wrongly associated with Brainwashing (Subliminal Messages) (below) and spoofed product placements in The Truman Show (after)

Product placement concepts have also been driven from studies of data analytics including the classic Walmart Beer and Nappies model for store product locations. Walmart discovered through data mining that the sales of diapers and beer were correlated on Friday nights. It determined that the correlation was based on working men who had been asked to pick up diapers on their way home from work. On Fridays the men figured they deserved a six-pack of beer for their trouble; hence the connection between beer and diapers. By moving these two items closer together, Walmart reportedly saw the sales of both items increase geometrically. But through A/B testing they also found moving beer deeper into the store near other items men may random purchase other items like chips, fishing equipment, bbq equipment etc. This type of data based product placement is useful on the high level item recognition but does not help with brand based recognition.

So while the notion of product placement is not new the measurement of it was, more an accurate understanding of ToT (time on target) indicated the level of cognition associated with that recognition and any secondary validations that human may seek for confirmation of product, relevance, price or nearby alternative options.

Product recognition wearing an ASL Mobile Eye system in shops and reading magazines

Sports Optimisation Eye Tracking

Optimizing sports and sports people through eye tracking was a natural progression as it enabled a review of targeting activities. In the case of boxing, boxers visually and mentally plan their striking sequences and often prepare their defensive actions as a lead into a set of predetermined punches based a prior assessment of their opponents strengths and weaknesses. Below Alex Arthur is wearing a Mobile Eye system in a piece of research with AIU (activity, interaction and usability) now part of Paradigm Interactions.

Alex Arthur is wearing an ASL Mobile Eye system and wearing WBO belt

Healthcare Eye Tracking

Visual impairment in children can be treated and prevented through early detection. DIVE Co-Founder Marta Ortin Obon stresses on the difference the support from and collaboration with tech companies can bring.

DIVE is working with Huawei to globalise its potential impact and offer 19 million undiagnosed visually impaired children around the world an opportunity to be treated early and avoid blindness and low vision completely.

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Organisational and cultural transformation in Business Agility

The UX, UCD and HCD code explained

User Experience has become the solution focused end of User Centred Design, being based in normal practice on usability, accessibility and user research over time.

The Term User Experience/User Centred Design and Human Centered Design are interchangeable because the International Standard changed from being User Centred Design to Human Centered Design.

Some Background

In my other posts it should be clear by now that I have been involved in what now called UX for some considerable time. I have previously mentioned how UX moved from the strategic and its equal status to enterprise architecture into software development and becoming visual design for a time. Well it’s on the move again, just as UX incorporated marketing components with repeatable science at its outset and seeded Agile with user stories and human context, so now it has moved into organisational and cultural transformation.

Organisational and Cultural Transformation

There are now in 2019 many people talking about organisational and cultural transformation and change however it is clear that what they mean is everyone below the C-suite needs to change. However organisational and cultural transformation is the whole organisation otherwise it is just a rebrand without actual change. More especially culture is born from action not just intent and this is what organisations who want to change are discovering. They want to take their staff on a transformation journey and to evolve their engagement not simply recasting them with new role titles and responsibilities. They also expect to evolve the transformation in flight gaining a true understanding of what already works well and folding it into the new culture. This kind of transformation takes a highly adaptive and pragmatic mindset in its leadership and enablement.

Organisational Design

The historical focus of organisational design has been to establish one standard structure across a whole organisation. The value of this is to standardize command and control mechanisms which is supposed to simplify reporting and oversight. It forces all work through it regardless of its priority or type of work it is.

The old four types of organizational structures are;

  1. Functional Top-Down
  2. Divisional Structure
  3. Matrix Organizational Chart
  4. Flat Organizational Chart

However the New Ways of Working in adoption of HCD, Agile, Lean and DevOps don’t utilize these structures. In fact instead of starting with organizational structures it focuses on work to define the structures needed to deliver it. This is very intensive consulting activity and often led by external consultants not vested in internal politics and previous alliances.

And this explains why most new organisational transformations will fail before they start because they are focused on hierarchies not getting work done efficiently with a culture that rewards and honours people who deliver.

Karl Smith

Work Formats

The common structure of work is linear and directional often following the concepts of grouped specialisations handing work to each other having completed their activities. This creates a slow flow of work with bottlenecks around capacity. When unexpected work arrives and depending upon its priority it can destroys the whole flow of work and create ripples impacting the whole organisation. This behaviour with work is derived from industrial production techniques often related to the Ford production model of manufacturing.

In adoption of HCD, Agile, Lean and DevOps, work types are defined first and then the organisational structure is derived from the work types. The consultancy around the organisational design should be unique to each organisation in order to both facilitate taking porfilio work into viable and validated and measured delivery.

Psychology of Transformation

In large organisations there have been lots of transformations and people are used to dealing with them, adept at absorbing language and funds without actual transformation or the derivative cultural change. So as far as possible the psychology of transformation is defensive for the mainstream of organisations. Delivering long term cultural change therefore requires a top down adoption in order to establish an authoritative perspective of We Change rather than You Change.

In new ways of working YOU change is not the way to succeed it must be WE change together

Karl Smith

Human Centred Organisational Design TOM

At this point I’d normally publish the exactly how to do it, but to be honest in the wrong hands it’s a stick of dynamite, so I won’t just hand it out. Below is the Portfolio Planning for Business Agility for an Organisation focused on a Work Type Taxonomy rather than hierarchies.

Business Agile activities at Portfolio Level

If you’d like like to find out how to do this from someone who’s done it in an organisation with 80,000 staff contact me.

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UbiNET Smart Living

The UbiNET platform is a unified framework that considers all aspects of future living and is intended to deliver solutions that move humanity on from dealing with mundane transactional activities into Smart Living where these transactions are secondary to their benefits. The system provides absolute identity of everything, absolute ownership and absolute value.

Below are several use cases;

Ownership – when an item is purchased it becomes added to several new ecosystems through its embedded micro sensor; individual, family, community, state and nation.

While it may be considered that as resources become more scarce ownership will become much reduced and shared resources more common, even including telecommunication devices as profile identities become portable ownership will continue to be a focus for some time. The adoption, usage and recycling of material and energy of every item will become more and more critical to the world.

Recycling – an item lifecycle is monitored from creation to recycling, items that are not recycled retain a relationship with their last individual owner or other structure like business/organisation.

Unfortunately the notion of law is for some an imposition on them rather than the glue of society where they consider their choice to be destructive a right, it’s not. Rights are created by societies and their boundaries agreed in societies underwritten by laws and law enforcement. The UbiNET platform is agnostic on by who and how societies laws are enforced only that citizens should be accountable for their actions to the society they live in and affect. One key accountability is recycling and the full lifecycle of products. While this may seem invasive its already highly common for consumers to give this data to stores as part of the purchase transaction where they are rewarded with point. The stores in turn utilise this data for product manufactures and to understand store dynamics.

Identity and Value – items that are not recognized as being part of an ecosystem may not join one. Without full lifecycle data, the item will be considered to have no value, fraudulent or stolen.

Absolute identity of items creates huge value to consumers and businesses alike, it removes all fake goods from the supply chain and establishes brand and product trust. For business the benefits are clear by removing fake products that damage their brands or create a risk to consumers. Many people will think of handbags with this, yes but what about fake airplane parts or baby milk? While these items can be traced, businesses who make them can also be traced.

By using an inverse data analysis, a home or other place can detect a person that has no recognizable items and consider them a threat. They will not be allowed access and become the focus of Law Enforcement.

Personal and family security continue to me a major issue, the absolute identity of everything will also include people (concerned about human right read on). The right to be anonymous has never existed in any society. Since the 1950’s governments have focused on identifying its citizens, the difference with UbiNET is it identifies everyone. It does this through the micro sensors embedded in everyones clothing which will be different each day (we can’t share how this works for obvious reasons) and our twin AI blockchain. Suffice to say the UbiNET creates a proactive security net over the areas in which it is deployed.

Usage – two items in common use are guns and bullets, although an advanced sensor would be required is would be possible to create zones where bullets would not fire from guns as UbiNET would instruct the bullet to fail. There are a number of complexities around this use case, however given the complexity of building bullets even self-loader ammunition can have sensors added to the ignition cap.

This last use case involves Generation 2 of sensors, which we have not even started designing yet however the concept is sound based upon the deployment of UbiNET.

The above use cases are just the start, we already have financial services and medical use cases not listed which will be in our white paper for our crowdfunding launch of ThingCoin see ThingCoin as a SAFT release schedule now in tranche 1.

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Ways of Working Business Agility and Rapid Innovation service offerings proposal for Partner Role

This is the Business Plan I wrote for a Blue Chip Consultancy to adopt Business Agility to deliver New Ways of Working as a new line of business and give me a Partnership. Naturally it does not say how it would be done and who my first clients would be. If you want that you’ll need to engage me.

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Paradigm Interactions Market Entry and Capability Building Consulting

Paradigm Interactions is involved in Strategic, Tactical and Operational market entry and capability building. Often this will involve embedding people into organisations to deliver the required change or to drive adoption of a new way of working to become effectual.

Case Studies

  • Accenture EUX – Capability
  • Wipro Digital – Market Position and Entry
  • Decision Point AI – Market Position and Entry

Accenture Enterprise User Experience (EUX)

Back in 2010 the world was changing and the big corporate world knew that Customers (targeted, with money to spend) were fatigued from bad real world experiences and moving to online experiences that were as bad. They were asking their corporate consultancies for support and those tax and management consultancies provided people who had no design backgrounds, no user experience background and no research background who where trained to be the expert from afar but never held accountable for outcomes to end customers before.

Around this time we were courted by Accenture, PwC and KPMG, EY were not really involved in digital at this time. Each had their own rational for what they wanted and why, but also they saw UX as a production skill not a strategic one. While there was a massive influx of graphic design into the field at that time, most of the pretty graphic UI’s failed to aid the actual experience as they were skin deep and did not tackle the end to end (UI, logic, ETL, process, latency, integrated support issues etc) experience that UX actually covered and still does for professional practitioners.

We reviewed the various offers pros and cons and went with Accenture because they were willing to let us build a capability rather than just a body shopping function. Accenture accepted that UX required two types of people with very different mental models where conflict is normal. UX people from the usability and research side able to create solutions and graphic designers from a digital side also able to create solutions. This conflict between ‘what users need’ and ‘what users will adopt’ was combined with ‘what the business needs’ to establish Accenture EUX globally.

The work started in 2011 and was complete in 2012 by Karl Smith. What was established was a new hiring protocol focused on specialist skills over the generalist policy at that time for consultants and new role profiles for EUX. New hires were locked in through a salary that would allow them to live in London and have money over at the end of the month. However it was double the standard salary for these type of roles in London at that time. A new funding model was created so that EUX staff would have hardware and software needed to do their jobs without seeking project funding and sign off, a common consultancy practice at that time. Additionally a co location space was established along with the attributes of a digital agency feel (in a corporate office). A great deal of time was spent creating internal marketing material around the services and engaging cross verticals on any opportunity that would require a great customer or user experience.

Also there were a number of strategic M&A activities going on at that time so ultimately the plan was for this group to join Fjord as part of its hands off engagement with Accenture through Accenture Digital.

EUX is still in use within Accenture as a descriptor of this capability.

Market Entry and Capability Building continued.

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True Leaders grow up Emotionally

It’s very easy to get turned off by this message as someone who is in a leadership position but you’ll never achieve what you could and should if you don’t persevere. After all True Leaders do persevere, its built in, otherwise they would have run away years ago.

As leaders we often review our actions against our intent, sometimes we are assured we did the right thing, other times we accept we did not and more often than most people want to admit we bluff our way through and hope no one noticed (they always do).

Success is measured in many ways

Success comes in many forms focusing on the bottom line without context to staff, clients or culture is the quickest way to end your business opportunities.

Sales, sales, sales, sales!!

Unfortunately this is not leadership and usually indicates a total lack of connection, sales in the form of new business is about building a new relationship, it’s a kind of dating having someone on the side asking if a contract is signed often destroys the relationship before it can begin. This is not the only woeful practice the 1980’s and 1990’s it still seems to drive the most shocking behaviours that for clients would send them running for the doors but internally in organisations are considered the way to success and elevation.

Success is often accidental

Leaders can just sometimes be fortunate the smart ones declare the team effort, the naive (to the pressure it creates to be right all the time) that it was all them. Regardless of how we articulate success, there is a constant drive to do new things, exciting things, to innovate and drive the organisation’s vision on. Unfortunately the people capable of original thinking are infinitesimally rare and even if the leader of the organisation had the first original idea, it may be their only one, in their lifetime.

Leading success requires different thinking

Moving forward requires a different kind of thinking then, it needs to focused on the in house team (please don’t be too hard on in house people many of them have spent years being told to tow the line and now they are being told to rock the boat instead of hide under it, they are institutionalised) and where often needed subject matter catalysts (people who don’t want a job, but want to do good work) from outside. No matter what kind of work you do, you need the voice of your customers/clients/users etc., opinionated (pushing an internal agenda) staff don’t and can’t speak for them, you need the real thing.

The next thing a True Leader needs is an open mind, remember;

If you always do what you have always done, you’ll always have what you always had. Can you maintain the past and still have a future?

Well, not exactly, you may not have the past or in fact a future if your customers or potential customers have moved on and you have not. 

A leader will listen to many voices and make a decision about what to do, great leader will accept that there are people with better knowledge and experience and use that to decide, their next best action. More they will be willing to accept that not only do they need help, but it will need other peoples playbook to deliver whatever is needed. All too often people take other people’s ideas and expect it to work for them, it rarely does. And often it will create more damage than good.

A Leader will listen and absorb the useful inputs from others a Great Leader will set aside pride and act on those inputs, using other people’s skills and knowledge. This is the reason consultancies and subject matter expert services exist.

Unfortunately ego and pride are the most common failure points in companies and no amount of marketing or technology can fix the inability of company leaders to accept that they cannot be the experts in everything and that they should not try.

Even companies that employ consultancy services may only do it for personal validation rather than fixing problems.

Growing up is painful

In all these experiences true leaders will recognise that growing up is painful and that

the only thing worse than learning from a bad experience is not learning from a bad experience and having it again when it could have been avoided completely

It is the emotions that drive some of humanity’s greatest achievements and worst experiences. Great achievements are often born from chaos where the environment is the catalyst to create something new, conversely the same is true of awful experiences. The pivot point is the person and their mental model, human capacity and connectivity and their relative maturity in shared constructs like society, communication, democracy, wealth etc.

As leaders in business, just as a leader in your personal life your maturity through relevance enables you to set value and principles around how you work with people, see their inputs and drive towards innovation, cultural cohesiveness often projected into digital convenience.

No one has arrived but true leaders know they are working on themselves, they are aligning to a common understanding of cultural context, values which then set expectation on self and others. I’ve said before and it still true, true leaders lead from the front and don’t expect others to do what they won’t themselves, they grow up emotionally and encourage others to do the same.

Growing up Emotionally for leaders means fixing insecurities by converting them into securities

In all this there is a huge amount of work to do on ourselves but the impact on colleagues is amazing. They change from working to supporting, from time focused to outcome focused because you changed from being the boss to being a colleague and a mentor.

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Why George Hotz, #Geohot thinking is superior to Elon Musk in Artificial Intelligence AI

The title of the post is perhaps a little misleading in one way, I really don’t think Elon Musk coded his AI, but I do think both he and George Hotz set the features, relationship and prioritisation around the work for their AI’s and in Georges case also built it.

In thinking about the design an artificial intelligence too many people think about the inputs and not the logic first. The critical path in AI design is

what are the features of the AI that make it intelligent beyond a binary interaction and where are these interactions focused

Karl Smith, Founder at UbiNET

Geohot took the classic hacker approach in relation to immediacy in defining his features, taking the problem statement to ‘how to teach a car to drive’ instead of ‘how to understand the world in which a car moves’. These are fundamentally different approaches to the same question producing radically different solutions.

Tesla and Elon Musk

The Tesla solution is an ecosystem approach, from friend who have them the end to end experience of buying, getting and using a Tesla is orchestrated in much the same logic as the AI is designed. The Tesla AI maps the world and creates not just an in the present experience but a sense of knowing relative environment and future risk. This is much the same way as drivers make constant assessment of context based factors in their driving responses. However this way of building AI is extraordinary expensive not just in the initial build but also in the maintenance with constant updates.

George Hotz

The George Hotz solution is at the other end of the spectrum, its focusing on actually learning to drive and making the AI responsive to environmental change rather that mapping the world. In the film below George makes a statement

Drive naturally like a human not some engineers idea of safety

George Hotz

at 4.50 onwards which I used in 2016 when I spoke at SXSW in Austin, USA about Cognition Clash in the Internet of Things, that is fundamental in building Artificial Intelligence that is adaptive rather than limited by human perceptions on how we think we do things.


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Government as a Service (GaaS), Spying as a Service (SaaS) the United Kingdom exports some unexpected things

While it has long been known that the Special Air Service (SAS) conducts desert training ‘exercises’ in the Middle East in support of a number of small but strategically important Kingdoms, what’s only recently becoming known the United Kingdoms other special exports.

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3/

Government as a Service (GaaS)

In recent years the United Kingdom government has sort to move away from procuring it’s Information Technology needs from external consultancies on long multi year contracts to more manageable value focused small contracts for unique skills and also create internal technology capabilities for each cabinet department. This then created new opportunities to resell capabilities to other countries.

Early in 2016, I was interviewed to lead one such endeavour for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. I must admit however I only went to find out what was going on, the revelation that the United Kingdom Government expected to be able to sell full stack technology solutions to other countries was staggering, yet logical. Smaller states don’t have the time or money to work out what technologies works and what does not, so an off the shelf solution is a really great offer (provided it works), naturally there would need to be modifications for local legal and cultural constructs all affording additional fees.

Foreign & Commonwealth Office Services Map
https://www.google.com/maps/search/foreign+%26+commonwealth+office/@52.1053269,-0.8095153,899m/data=!3m1!1e3

Spying as a Service (SaaS)

The well known now ‘special relationship’ with the USA has been in place since the 1940s based on the United Kingdoms creation of code breaking computers at Bletchley Park, where the German Enigma Cipher was broken by Alan Turing and his team based upon Polish mathematicians in the 1930’s. The more recent revelations by Edward Snowden and the subsequent publishing of secret information by Wiki Leaks points to a continued sharing of data and capabilities.

Infrastructure for National Security

None of this is new in fact since the first Transatlantic cable was laid it was tapped for ‘National Security’ reasons below is the Hut in Porthcurno, Cornwall where this was done.

Infrastructure Security Today

Coming back to today there are constant concerns regarding the security of Telecommunication Infrastructure.

The current war of words around Huawei Technologies has create an odd situation for general public since this company does not hold customer data but rather sells telecommunication hardware to companies who do and therefore any backdoor can be detected. I attended the Press launch of new Huawei Cyber Security Transparency Centre, 5th March 2019 in Brussels.

What I heard was the desire for an even playing field in commerce from an engineering company committed to excellence and innovation. Further Ken Hu the rotating chairman of Huawei suggested that GDPR be adopted as a global standard for data protection of all humans. I applaud the notion, especially as GDPR was a proposal from the United Kingdom adopted by the European Union. I suspect however the idea of named Data accountability and transparency on holding and usage would be counter productive for the NSA (USA), BND (Germany), CNI (Spain), DGSE (France), Five Eyes (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK, USA).

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Ego Ideas and the Failure of Design Thinking

Design Thinking is Not a Design Process for Designers it’s for Executives

Like many great ideas that come along Design Thinking has been perverted into a one size fits all toolkit. The inception of Design Thinking as a light weight coalescence tool for executives to work on strategy has been shifted once again showing the greed and gullibility of the mass market constituents and vendors ability to divert methods into money and activities they can’t deliver on.

Design Thinking as a light weight Strategy Coalescence tool and does not create products or services only high level thinking and prioritisation

Even well known Design organisations has jumped on to Design Thinking but changed it into linear processes, how embarrassing!

Correctly used Design Thinking

Design Thinking has over the past few years been used in many enterprise to reenergise and reengage business people with the strategy needed to drive their organisations forward.

Design Thinking has been used by charlatans to make executives think they can design products and services at arms length from their customers

Design Thinking is not Human Centered

Design Thinking is specifically structured around a set of thinking exercises. No customers are involved or engaged in the Enterprise activity of Design Thinking, so it is not Human Centered.

Ego Ideas

Unfortunately the attempted extension of Design Thinking as a top down directive on requirements for products and services only creates Ego Ideas as the level of detail to set direction is not the level needed to setup work.

Design Thinking needs to be filtered by the actual customers of products and services before it can be converted into services and products

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Business Agility

Business Agility is not about products, increasing speed, adapting to customers, reducing cost or even employee empowerment its about creating the human cohesion that delivers all of these business desires and more it establishes behavioural change and a new flexible TOM.

Karl Smith CEO Paradigm Interactions Inc.

What is Business Agility?

Business Agility replaces traditional organisational structures and redefines the organisation of labour, departmentalisation, management and decision-making authority. In turn staff move from one type of specialisation an I type person to enable them a wider engagement and impact through T and X types of work involvement.

Enterprise Agility is about moving on from the Henry Ford model of departments and silos into an integrated way of working that naturally responds to customer needs.

Business Agility removes;

  • Functional departmentalisation
  • Geographic departmentalisation
  • Product departmentalisation
  • Technology platform departmentalisation
  • Customer / market departmentalisation

Business Agility adds;

  • A single accountable person for the outcomes of the work
  • Work type definitions with one pan organisation focus (customers is a common one)
  • Simplified, self-service and automated governance, components and outcome validations

Business Agility enables the business to be able to be first to market through innovation and invention by faster release of new ideas, products and services.

Business Agility combines the business and production into one end to end team (without silos) built around the delivery of Ideas to Customers showing tangible value that establishes the business as an engaged and responsive partner.

Karl Smith CEO Paradigm Interactions Inc.

DevOps3 slices through the business to align with the customer outcomes and situates everything together either permanently or by continuous alignment that is need to ensure that the customer outcomes are also everyone else’s outcomes.

Business Agility and DevOps3

There have been great strides in making Agile serve business outcomes through BusinessAgility and Business Agility in recent years however in some organisations existing stratified societies and impotent management structures are being rebranded without actual change.

How can you determine if real Business Agility exists in an organisation?

  1. There is a single point of governance for each critical oversight pan organisation and there are no localisations (local definitions are transparent centrally if critical).
    • Pan Organisation Outcomes (have a chain of custody and are always visible)
    • Pan Organisation Experience (is strategic sitting outside the Business and Technology setting experience outcomes and validating outcomes), the rise of the CXO to the Board
    • Pan Organisation Assurance (indication controls, security, resilience and continuity is unified)
    • Pan Organisation Architecture and Engineering (from framework to delivery is unified)
  2. The flow of work is transparent and measured on cycle time to ensure continuous optimisation from inception to value delivery (everyone stops delivering products and internal services) of verifiable outcomes.
    • The flow of work has a single oversight owner pan organisation regardless of the skills being used on it.
    • Outcomes and validation criteria are broadly set at Enterprise level with an overall budget to meet them.
    • The work flow is tightly connected to outcomes and validation criteria not budgets, work areas, people or processes.
    • The work can be stopped at anytime should it not be considered performant to outcomes or outcome change and the finances will not be lost just redirected.
  3. An exhaustive list is available as part of Consultancy from Paradigm Interactions Inc.

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#EngagedDemocracy #LordLaird John Dunn Laird of #Artigarvan #UKHouseofLords

An anecdote on my experience of Lord Laird of Artigarvan, John Dunn Laird

There are no doubt many people who knew Lord Laird better than I, I cannot and don’t speak for them, but just of my conversations and times in his company and the appreciation I have for his life and attitudes to democracy.

I think my lasting admiration for this man will come from his desire to learn and challenge other politicians to do so also, that and his very dry sense of humour.

Over a number of years he took the role of protagonist for thought, for knowledge and for challenging the status quo in Westminster not out of party politics but from a genuine desire to use his position to better the knowledge transfer from the specialist populace to the generalist politicians in #UKHouseofLords and #HouseofCommons. That is laudable in its own right, but the capacity to see that need is perhaps lost on some, it reveals someone deeply committed to British democracy and the enablement of the conversation between elected officials and their constituents.

At his passing in July 2018 I feel Britain and the Crown has lost a great advocate for discourse and the engagement between its people and its politicians.

On a personal note I’d like to thank his family and others in Parliament for supporting his notion of Engaged Democracy it gave so many people a voice and made democracy stronger in the United Kingdom. I hope someone else in Westminster will take up this baton in his stead, visionary people are rare but vision of this depth and value should not depart with him.

@UKHouseofLords  @HouseofCommons

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Fail Fast, Fail Small to avoid Failing Big and Failing Slow #BusinessAgility

You would think by this late stage in the life of Agile and Agility that the concepts would be well embedded in organisational transformation, people assessments and processes. From my experience I’ve never seen Agile actually fail, I seen people pervert its meaning and make up their own versions then blame a framework for personal incompetence. Likewise I’ve not seen DevOps fail either.

There is something at the heart of business that hates the idea of being associated with failure in European culture. It’s not even logical as Socrates proposed a logical form that constantly tested (hence willingness even a desire to fail to find truth) by debate. The Socratic method is a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presumptions. Concern around failure relies on deep seated fears around not being able to prove worth and conversely the chance that any hint of failure transfers on to the person rather than the thing.

“Fail Fast, fail Small to avoid failing Big and failing Slow”

Fail Fast in organisational transformation, people assessments and processes

If your going to really take this on you should start at the beginning, planning the programme and making the case. Instead of getting some expensive consultants who want to try something in your company (no many how many times they say they have done it elsewhere) get one or two Agile DevOps strategists (these are certified Scrum practitioners) and get 60/100 of your staff from all levels into a room and do a two day hackathon. Will they hack your company, no they will hack the problem and hidden problems to define the ‘Problem Statement’ on day 1, on day 2 they will map out all the moving part to define the scope. Could it fail, absolutely, could it save 12 months of 6 consultants on £2500 a day absolutely.

Start at the beginning with people too, most management exists either to direct work (which should be automated or manage people who are not trusted) or to circumvent freakishly hard processes to get the most simple things done. If your planning on changing the emphasis in your company from hierarchy to teams and outcomes, you must offer the incumbents a way to revalidate themselves or they will actively seeking to cripple or pervert the programme to suit themselves. Quickly test the water with an alternative career path based on knowledge not prestige or headcount. See how many people will sign up to not having to manage people, be appreciated for their knowledge and be paid them same as now? You may be surprised.

Processes in this scenario begin to take care of themselves but its always go to run some ‘what if’ or ‘unhappy path’ testing too, to create checks and balances around change.

Fail Small in organisational transformation, people assessments and processes

When you have worked out your plan, don’t enact the whole thing choose a critical path (if thats what fits with your company targets), a happy path for customers or a low risk path and do the MVE, that’s minimum viable experience to success. Viability in transformation is really important and often missed, viability is the whole not the part in transformation.

“Don’t make a door handle that doesn’t unlock the door”

You’d think that would be impossible but the MVP of a door handle is a door handle that looks like a handle making the mechanism to open a door is the MVE. Often in a transformation people focus on rebranding, a new and more exclusive hierarchy, but that is just the look of things, making it work means that the people and machines that customers and colleagues interact with it, do so with higher quality, are quicker, traceable, with measurable delivery.

Fail Big and Slow

This is pretty much a description of most businesses in their current state though many would not see themselves that way. My first question to any organisation is ‘where do you get your money from’, ‘why do you get it’, ‘are there anythings expected of you to continue to get it’. Weather your a corporation, government organisation or corner shop, getting the money to operate and pay people is part of the clear line around purpose and value. When you have clarity on those compare your ideals with where you are now, are you failing steadily, but very slowly? If the answer is yes, you need help. Contact us here

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Speeding up the Wrong Work DevOps Maturity in Business Decisions #BusinessAgility

It’s a fact that common sense it not that common and is often not a factor except in reflection after the fact. If we could simply learn from each other rather than rely upon a uniqueness agenda, businesses would stop creating the same failure points with new language and excuses around it.

Digital is a form of communication with customers, where technology is the mechanism

Accepting that digital and its underwriting technologies is the common parlance of success in our world would greatly decrease business fostered failure. Additionally, if business would participate in digital and technology, joining the team, then the choice of work would get considerably better. After all its impossible to read people’s minds to understand their intent let alone their exact need, but if people are all in it together they work at being understood and understanding in a way that is foreign to hierarchical businesses.

Conspicuous success never belongs to one person or a figurehead but is the culmination of many people flowing and moving together over a problem or outcome statement. The business driver for success through innovation in existing capabilities, the desire to drive engagement and in many ways validation of existence create a huge level of waste. There are now other ways to do things that add value to the company and validate its purpose and more importantly its people. DevOps having started in engineering is spreading from the tactical into the strategic. However, without a bottom to top transformation in business values DevOps will only deliver the wrong work quicker.

Businesses need quality not quantity of ideas

What’s essential in Business is quality not quantity of ideas, anyone can come up with an idea, but one that meets not just one but several outcomes for several actors (business, shareholders, regulators, customers etc.) holds quality at its core. These are the ideas that deliver conspicuous success, but they don’t arrive fully formed and ready to go, they need a cross organisation effort to refine them. The quality of ideas should be able to be challenged by any part of a business and still go forward on their merit not the position of the originator. What about those that can’t, well they need to be worked through, modelled combined with other ideas, placed on hold sometimes, the critical path is to only commit design and production capability that is the right work at the right time.

Thinking first, not Digital first

The people doing the thinking around ideas should be the people who can add value to them, by refining them, by challenging them, by modelling them as outcomes (without solutions or delivery mechanisms), by taking them to targeted customers* to test the ideas. In this way ideas can be checked to see that they are the right ones, only then can they be converted into increments of minimum viable experience (MVE).

Service Design*, not Design Thinking

Only by having ideas added to and evaluated by people who can implement and understand at the coal face their impact can ideas really be understood and prioritised. The final barrier to success is always ego, even putting the whole capability of an organisation into defining, refining and producing the work, will only be effective if leadership will trust their own hiring and release products and services to the market without interfering with them.  Delivering the minimum viable experience (MVE) will ensure customers and colleagues are not confused about the business intent and the communication remains “here’s something useful”. Until the work is fully understood and derived from the right ideas at the right time Businesses will continue to expose their lack of maturity and DevOps will speed up the delivery of the wrong work.

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