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 users which infrastructure teams possess, and product-focused teams do not.