Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Trystorming

Mndoci.com [now a dead link]

Every all-hands meeting I learn something new. This time the word that I heard Jeff Bezos use was trystorming, described as brainstorming, except that instead of talking about things you actually try things out. That’s something that most of us can relate to. Many of us spend too much time doing to former [..]

Also this week, I got my hands on a paper by Sanjoy Ray Director of Technology Innovation at Merck [..]

The pharmaceutical industry is facing increasingly severe challenges to its mission of delivering novel therapeutic solutions for unmet medical needs. Today, a heightened focus is being placed on leveraging maximum value from its core asset—information [..].

The approach that Sanjoy proposes is based on the scientific method, but also borrows from the rapid prototyping approach mentioned above. The following is a very simplified workflow
  1. Develop a hypothesis. Essentially a formulation of an existing or anticipated future business challenge or gap
  2. Develop a prediction of expected impact of IT solution
  3. Design and execute an experiment to test the prediction
  4. Make decision based on results of the experiment

[..] I found interesting was the observation that the method that encourages and recognizes “good failures”, something I have talked about before.

Let’s generalize now. It’s clear that where possible, whether it is trystorming in a retail environment, in IT innovations to drive business goals, agile software development to manage genomic pipelines, or just the principles of DRY to get something deployed quickly, agility has some significant advantages. But equally importantly, there needs to be some end purpose associated with it. If you do things just for the sake of agility you are not going to really get anywhere. Will be interesting to see what kinds of projects such methodologies lend themselves to. In many cases, I keep bringing crystallography up, there are far too many variables to be able to do this reliably, but where possible, we should definitely try.

Health Apocalypse Now

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