Innovation Loops18 Apr 2020 •
The purpose of an engineering organization (at the risk of sounding frivolously reductionist) is to build business value. You can grow an organization’s delivered business value over time by: 1
- training members: investing in people,
- improving process: investing in shaping behaviour and communication,
- staking technical leverage: investing in technology.
A cumulative side-effect of these approaches is to strengthen innovation loops.
Innovation loops are informal, intrapreneurial feedback loops in engineering teams which builds products & features to address user demand & pain. It is innovation which circumvents the software development cycle involving product & market research teams. In mature teams, innovation loops complement & reinforce the existing, evolutionary product development feedback cycle. I call product development evolutionary, in contrast to the more revolutionary (or reactive) trait of innovation loops.
Innovation loops are more prevalent in infrastructure teams than in product focused teams. This could be partly explained by the availability of direct communication channels to the user which infrastructure teams enjoy compared to a product focused teams.