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Innovation Anti-patterns: Bonkers Beans and Magic Numbers

Holly Cummins
September 29, 2022

Innovation Anti-patterns: Bonkers Beans and Magic Numbers

The innovation fizzle, the fauxnnovation, the maximal viable product. Holly’s seen them all.
In a world where there’s always too much to do and too little time, how can organisations make time to innovate?
(Spoiler: siloes probably aren’t the answer.)
A presentation on practical innovation strategy, exploring how to design an MVP, how to get something for nothing, and psychological safety.

Holly Cummins

September 29, 2022
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Transcript

  1. Holly Cummins Senior Principal Software Engineer Red Hat @holly_cummins innovation

    anti-patterns bonkers beans and magic numbers Voxxed Athens
  2. @holly_cummins #RedHat george washington carver

  3. @holly_cummins #RedHat george washington carver first African American to earn

    a BSc
  4. @holly_cummins #RedHat george washington carver first African American to earn

    a BSc first non-President to receive a national monument
  5. @holly_cummins #RedHat george washington carver first African American to earn

    a BSc first non-President to receive a national monument ship named after him
  6. @holly_cummins #RedHat george washington carver first African American to earn

    a BSc first non-President to receive a national monument ship named after him inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame
  7. @holly_cummins #RedHat george washington carver

  8. @holly_cummins #RedHat george washington carver

  9. @holly_cummins #RedHat why peanuts?

  10. @holly_cummins #RedHat cotton farming plantations

  11. @holly_cummins #RedHat cotton exhausts soil

  12. @holly_cummins #RedHat

  13. @holly_cummins #RedHat hungry farmers could not afford expensive fertilizers to

    restore the soil
  14. @holly_cummins #RedHat hungry farmers could not afford expensive fertilizers to

    restore the soil … so they got hungrier
  15. @holly_cummins #RedHat

  16. @holly_cummins #RedHat peas soy beans peanuts (a peanut is a

    bean, not a nut)
  17. @holly_cummins #RedHat

  18. @holly_cummins #RedHat cotton exhausts soil beans restore it

  19. @holly_cummins #RedHat cotton peanuts

  20. @holly_cummins #RedHat cotton peanuts

  21. @holly_cummins #RedHat cotton peanuts

  22. @holly_cummins #RedHat but there was a problem

  23. @holly_cummins #RedHat but there was a problem

  24. @holly_cummins #RedHat but there was a problem idea! peanut butter!

  25. @holly_cummins #RedHat but there was a problem idea! peanut butter!

    idea! salted peanuts!
  26. @holly_cummins #RedHat but there was a problem idea! peanut butter!

    idea! salted peanuts! idea! chocolate covered peanuts!
  27. @holly_cummins #RedHat but there was a problem idea! peanut butter!

    idea! salted peanuts! idea! chocolate covered peanuts! …
  28. @holly_cummins #RedHat

  29. @holly_cummins #RedHat the double win:

  30. @holly_cummins #RedHat the double win: improved soil, great cotton yields

  31. @holly_cummins #RedHat the double win: improved soil, great cotton yields

    yummy peanuts to eat
  32. @holly_cummins #RedHat

  33. @holly_cummins #RedHat the double win

  34. @holly_cummins #RedHat the double win win-win

  35. @holly_cummins #RedHat the double win win-win win-squared

  36. @holly_cummins #RedHat the double win win-win win-squared 1 + 1

    = 3
  37. @holly_cummins #RedHat the double win win-win win-squared 1 + 1

    = 3 twofer
  38. @holly_cummins #RedHat the double win win-win win-squared 1 + 1

    = 3 twofer überwinden
  39. @holly_cummins #RedHat the double win win-win win-squared 1 + 1

    = 3 twofer überwinden the extra win
  40. @holly_cummins #RedHat the double win win-win win-squared 1 + 1

    = 3 twofer überwinden the extra win
  41. @holly_cummins #RedHat life before the shopping cart

  42. @holly_cummins #RedHat life before the shopping cart heavy

  43. @holly_cummins #RedHat life before the shopping cart heavy annoying

  44. @holly_cummins #RedHat life before the shopping cart heavy annoying ow,

    my arm
  45. @holly_cummins #RedHat life after the shopping cart

  46. @holly_cummins #RedHat life after the shopping cart easy

  47. @holly_cummins #RedHat life after the shopping cart easy nice

  48. @holly_cummins #RedHat life after the shopping cart easy nice ooh,

    I can also take this .. and this …
  49. @holly_cummins #RedHat life after the shopping cart easy nice ooh,

    I can also take this .. and this … the double win
  50. @holly_cummins #RedHat “everybody knows”

  51. @holly_cummins #RedHat everybody knew … peanuts are barely edible

  52. @holly_cummins #RedHat everybody knew … peanuts are barely edible

  53. @holly_cummins #RedHat now senior principal software engineer helping to build

    Quarkus
  54. @holly_cummins #RedHat “innovation leader” in corporate strategy consultant in IBM

    Garage worked with businesses to help them innovate huge enterprises + teeny startups before
  55. @holly_cummins #RedHat 15 years ago everybody knows programs go fastest

    if you compile them ahead of time
  56. @holly_cummins #RedHat 15 years ago uhh … not actually true

    – JIT and GC can enable surprising speed-ups everybody knows programs go fastest if you compile them ahead of time
  57. @holly_cummins #RedHat now (innovative leap) everybody knows programs go fastest

    if you let the runtime optimisers do their thing
  58. @holly_cummins #RedHat now (innovative leap) uhh … not actually true

    – moving more to build-time enables surprising speed- ups everybody knows programs go fastest if you let the runtime optimisers do their thing
  59. @holly_cummins #RedHat everyone knows reflection is a good idea :)

  60. @holly_cummins #RedHat 2020 (another innovative leap) and what if we

    did ahead-of-time for libraries, not just the JVM itself?
  61. @holly_cummins #RedHat quarkus starts so fast quarkus runs so fast

  62. @holly_cummins #RedHat … and the developer experience is joyful quarkus:

    a double win
  63. @holly_cummins #RedHat (actually, a triple win) it can halve your

    app’s carbon
  64. @holly_cummins #RedHat the best ideas are on the edge of

    ‘impossible’ and ‘stupid’
  65. @holly_cummins #RedHat the best ideas are on the edge of

    ‘impossible’ and ‘stupid’ … but now seem kind of normal
  66. @holly_cummins #RedHat ideas that seemed stupid … that were not

  67. @holly_cummins #RedHat “People don't want to lug a computer with

    them to the beach or on a train to while away hours they would rather spend reading the newspaper. Somehow, the microcomputer industry has assumed that everyone would love to have a keyboard grafted on as an extension of their fingers. It just is not so.” New York Times, 1985 laptops
  68. the double-win

  69. the single-win

  70. @holly_cummins #RedHat ideas that seemed stupid … that actually were

  71. None
  72. peanut bread

  73. peanut bread

  74. peanut bread peanut sausage

  75. peanut bread peanut sausage

  76. peanut bread peanut sausage peanut coffee

  77. peanut bread peanut sausage peanut coffee

  78. peanut bread peanut sausage peanut coffee peanut paint

  79. peanut bread peanut sausage peanut coffee peanut paint

  80. peanut bread peanut sausage peanut coffee peanut paint peanut nitroglycerine

  81. peanut bread peanut sausage peanut coffee peanut paint peanut nitroglycerine

  82. peanut bread peanut sausage peanut coffee peanut paint peanut nitroglycerine

    the non-win
  83. None
  84. failed experiments are only possible with psychological safety

  85. learning is only possible with psychological safety

  86. is the org supportive of this?

  87. is the org supportive of this?

  88. is the org supportive of this?

  89. is the org supportive of this?

  90. is the org supportive of this? it means they are

    asking questions they didn’t already know the answer to
  91. @holly_cummins #RedHat how do we tell the difference between ‘almost

    impossible and stupid’ and ‘actually impossible and stupid’?
  92. @holly_cummins #RedHat build something small how do we tell the

    difference between ‘almost impossible and stupid’ and ‘actually impossible and stupid’?
  93. @holly_cummins #RedHat build something small and incremental how do we

    tell the difference between ‘almost impossible and stupid’ and ‘actually impossible and stupid’?
  94. @holly_cummins #RedHat optimising for feedback can feel weird

  95. @holly_cummins #RedHat optimising for feedback can feel weird visual designs

  96. @holly_cummins #RedHat optimising for feedback can feel weird visual designs

    user research
  97. @holly_cummins #RedHat optimising for feedback can feel weird visual designs

    user research devops
  98. @holly_cummins #RedHat optimising for feedback can feel weird visual designs

    user research responsive web app devops
  99. @holly_cummins #RedHat optimising for feedback can feel weird visual designs

    user research responsive web app TDD devops
  100. @holly_cummins #RedHat optimising for feedback can feel weird visual designs

    user research responsive web app TDD devops deployed to prod
  101. @holly_cummins #RedHat optimising for feedback can feel weird visual designs

    user research responsive web app TDD devops deployed to prod order processing system
  102. @holly_cummins #RedHat optimising for feedback can feel weird visual designs

    user research responsive web app TDD devops deployed to prod order processing system
  103. @holly_cummins #RedHat wizard of Oz mvp

  104. @holly_cummins #RedHat this only works if you can release often

  105. @holly_cummins #RedHat this only works if you can release more

    than once
  106. how do you measure a win?

  107. @holly_cummins #RedHat we’re going to be data-driven!

  108. @holly_cummins #RedHat the quantitative fallacy (the McNamara fallacy)

  109. @holly_cummins #RedHat we have data! and no matter what the

    numbers, it shows we are doing a good job!
  110. None
  111. how do you measure a double win?

  112. how do you measure a double win?

  113. how do you measure a double win? usually, one of

    the wins is a surprise
  114. how do you measure a double win? usually, one of

    the wins is a surprise may not have metrics in place
  115. how much effort should you put into measuring?

  116. @holly_cummins #RedHat high uncertainty moderate uncertainty

  117. @holly_cummins #RedHat high uncertainty moderate uncertainty experiment

  118. @holly_cummins #RedHat high uncertainty moderate uncertainty experiment hypothesis

  119. @holly_cummins #RedHat high uncertainty moderate uncertainty experiment hypothesis able to

    fail
  120. @holly_cummins #RedHat high uncertainty moderate uncertainty experiment hypothesis designed to

    fail
  121. @holly_cummins #RedHat high uncertainty moderate uncertainty experiment hypothesis designed to

    fail strong metrics
  122. @holly_cummins #RedHat high uncertainty moderate uncertainty experiment hypothesis designed to

    fail strong metrics learning
  123. @holly_cummins #RedHat high uncertainty moderate uncertainty experiment hypothesis designed to

    fail follow-on experiment strong metrics learning
  124. @holly_cummins #RedHat high uncertainty moderate uncertainty experiment hypothesis designed to

    fail follow-on experiment radical descoping strong metrics learning
  125. @holly_cummins #RedHat high uncertainty moderate uncertainty experiment hypothesis designed to

    fail follow-on experiment radical descoping really hope to succeed strong metrics learning
  126. @holly_cummins #RedHat high uncertainty moderate uncertainty experiment hypothesis designed to

    fail follow-on experiment radical descoping really hope to succeed strong metrics learning user value
  127. @holly_cummins #RedHat high uncertainty moderate uncertainty experiment hypothesis designed to

    fail follow-on experiment radical descoping really hope to succeed iterative continuous expansion of scope strong metrics learning user value
  128. @holly_cummins #RedHat high uncertainty moderate uncertainty experiment hypothesis designed to

    fail follow-on experiment radical descoping really hope to succeed iterative continuous expansion of scope strong metrics learning user value
  129. @holly_cummins #RedHat the innovation funnel

  130. @holly_cummins #RedHat

  131. @holly_cummins #RedHat prune out the bad ideas early

  132. @holly_cummins #RedHat

  133. @holly_cummins #RedHat innovation funnel

  134. @holly_cummins #RedHat idea innovation funnel

  135. @holly_cummins #RedHat production idea innovation funnel

  136. @holly_cummins #RedHat production idea innovation funnel innovation railroad

  137. @holly_cummins #RedHat production idea innovation funnel organisational incentive to plough

    on; failure is punished innovation railroad
  138. @holly_cummins #RedHat production idea innovation funnel organisational incentive to plough

    on; failure is punished innovation railroad
  139. @holly_cummins #RedHat production idea innovation funnel innovation fizzle organisational incentive

    to plough on; failure is punished innovation railroad
  140. @holly_cummins #RedHat production idea innovation funnel innovation fizzle most projects

    the same length few get to production incentive for ‘innovation activity’ organisational incentive to plough on; failure is punished innovation railroad
  141. @holly_cummins #RedHat production idea innovation funnel innovation fizzle most projects

    the same length few get to production incentive for ‘innovation activity’ organisational incentive to plough on; failure is punished innovation railroad filtering for ‘sure thing’ focus on risk reduction bureaucracy paperwork
  142. @holly_cummins #RedHat production idea innovation funnel innovation fizzle most projects

    the same length few get to production incentive for ‘innovation activity’ organisational incentive to plough on; failure is punished innovation railroad filtering for ‘sure thing’ focus on risk reduction bureaucracy paperwork lack of psychological safety innovation teams
  143. @holly_cummins #RedHat this starts to become a lot like work

  144. @holly_cummins #RedHat can you try too hard to innovate?

  145. @holly_cummins #RedHat the fauxnovation

  146. @holly_cummins #RedHat “we don’t have slack in the system for

    normal improvement, but we do have an innovation budget.” corollary
  147. @holly_cummins #RedHat innovation keeping the lights on

  148. @holly_cummins #RedHat “we need a chatbot.”

  149. @holly_cummins #RedHat “we need a chatbot.” “we need a chatbot…”

  150. @holly_cummins #RedHat “we need a chatbot.” “we need a chatbot…”

    “… because our internal search is really bad.”
  151. @holly_cummins #RedHat “we need blockchain.”

  152. @holly_cummins #RedHat “we need blockchain.” “we need blockchain…”

  153. @holly_cummins #RedHat “we need blockchain.” “we need blockchain…” “… because

    our processes need to be digitised.”
  154. @holly_cummins #RedHat ‘normal’ improvement smuggled in with disruptive innovation

  155. @holly_cummins #RedHat ‘normal’ improvement smuggled in with disruptive innovation ‘normal’

    improvement enabled by disruptive technology (actually, this is kind of ok?)
  156. @holly_cummins #RedHat (actually, this is fine)

  157. @holly_cummins #RedHat (actually, this is fine) (actually, this is kind

    of ok?)
  158. @holly_cummins #RedHat sometimes, disguises have value

  159. @holly_cummins #RedHat sometimes, disguises have value (actually, this is kind

    of ok?)
  160. @holly_cummins #RedHat … but think about why they are needed?

    are you measuring the right things?
  161. @holly_cummins #RedHat work … work … yawn

  162. @holly_cummins #RedHat 1 + 1 = 3 double win

  163. @holly_cummins #RedHat this works for people, too

  164. @holly_cummins #RedHat the daily grind exhausts teams

  165. @holly_cummins #RedHat the daily grind exhausts teams play restores them

  166. @holly_cummins #RedHat play helps adaptation people play robots don’t play

  167. @holly_cummins #RedHat play can turn into a product “our founder

    wrote this on a plane, for fun.”
  168. @holly_cummins #RedHat ok but we can’t play all the time?

  169. @holly_cummins #RedHat year 1 peas cotton

  170. @holly_cummins #RedHat peas cotton year 2

  171. @holly_cummins #RedHat year 3 peas cotton

  172. @holly_cummins #RedHat peas cotton year 4

  173. @holly_cummins #RedHat a change is as good as a rest

  174. @holly_cummins #RedHat week 1 play daily chores

  175. @holly_cummins #RedHat play daily chores week 2

  176. @holly_cummins #RedHat week 3 play daily chores

  177. @holly_cummins #RedHat play daily blah week 4

  178. @holly_cummins #RedHat rotations

  179. @holly_cummins #RedHat 10% time every friday afternoon you can do

    a cool side-project (tends to fall apart in presence of deadlines)
  180. @holly_cummins #RedHat since you’ve been working your socks off on

    this release, we will give you time off! … you still come to work, but you can work on anything you like or …
  181. @holly_cummins #RedHat advantage: everyone is ‘off’ at the same time

  182. @holly_cummins #RedHat play isn’t always easy especially in organisations

  183. @holly_cummins #RedHat play has consequences

  184. @holly_cummins #RedHat lost productivity play has consequences

  185. @holly_cummins #RedHat untracked productivity play has consequences

  186. @holly_cummins #RedHat failure play has consequences

  187. remember peanut nitroglycerine?

  188. @holly_cummins #RedHat

  189. @holly_cummins #RedHat so …

  190. @holly_cummins #RedHat so … • play, to innovate

  191. @holly_cummins #RedHat so … • play, to innovate • iterate

    freely and measure (with caution)
  192. @holly_cummins #RedHat so … • play, to innovate • iterate

    freely and measure (with caution) • look for the double-win
  193. thank you @holly_cummins slides