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  • Irina Ketkin - Learning and Development Expert

What can organisations learn from science?

I recently received a great gift - a Science encyclopedia that tells in very human way what the world around us consists of. One of the chapters is on great discoveries - Galileo Galilei, Thomas Edison, Marie Curie and others. The introduction of the chapter was on experiments and what methods scientists use.

And this is when it dawned on me - this is something organisations can learn from science - experiments!

Some companies call it Agile, others - failing fast, in Telenor it's known as the Red Way of Work (developed in collaboration with INSEAD). While the definition is quite broad, the essence comes down to:

  • Validation - making sure what you develop as a solution is actually what your customer wants and needs

  • Pivoting - coming with a solution and testing it; if it doesn't work, pivoting slightly to ensure you catch the right "angle"

  • Failing is OK - not always is it OK to fail, but when you, make sure you learn from your mistakes and don't repeat them next time around

  • Flexibility - waterfall is dead! OK, maybe not always dead, but definitely not suitable when it comes to fast development (specifically in IT). You customers' needs change and they change often. If you set out a plan to develop something within the year, chances are - the customer will need something else entirely by the time the solution is ready.

  • Fast delivery (MVP) - if there was a magic wand to make things happen immediately, people would use it all the time (like in the Click movie). Alas (or maybe thankfully), there is no such wand. Yet clients need things to happen fast. How do you do this? MVP - minimum viable product. Create the essence, the absolute must-have. Then, as time progresses, create all the whistle and blows.

I'm sure experts is Agile and Service Design would add another 10 basic principles. But in my humble opinion these should be key. Except may be one -


the customer is #1


As the old saying goes - without customers, there is no us (organisations, companies, consultants, freelancers, start ups, _______ [insert your entity here]). So whatever you do - make sure you first think of your customer!

Any scientists out there to add to my humble list?

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