Demo-driven innovation

Meeting real deadlines is a hard and stressful job. It’s a job that typically eats all resources available, because when we know exactly what the best way is, we want to go full steam ahead. After all, we want to utilize our productivity to the maximum. Except that we typically do not know the best way. We know just a way and we get comfortable with it.

While the status quo can be comfortable, it is certainly not perfect. There always is something to improve. However, when entrenched in a routine we typically have no clue of what that something is and how to improve it.

In this talk we distill some lessons learnt from the time we spent in the research world and in helping companies rethink their approaches. It turns out that the path to follow is not dependent on the domain, and that a set of simple steps can get you quite far:

  • Always challenge the assumptions behind the status quo, even when it appears perfect.
  • Design your approach, don’t just settle for half-baked solutions.
  • Demo your design, even when they seem hard to implement.
  • Listen, especially when you do not agree.
  • Enable new things to happen.

Of them all, focus on the demo. Relentlessly. Much of the rest will follow. This is the simplicity and power of the demo-driven way.

Why is this relevant? Because it affects everything you do, including the design of your software system, understanding your clients’ requirements, or managing your team. And because the solution is simple and cheap.