Fire bullets, then cannonballs

I have reflected over work and readings that I’ve been doing lately, and thought I should put them down on paper.

Firstly these remarks are made from observing the work at Innovation@altinn since early September, both in Oslo and in Tronheim. Combined with reading ‘Great By Choice’ a book by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen.

The book explains choices and behavior “10x-companies” have. These companies have beaten the stock market by at least 10 times, so called 10-xersSouthwest Airlines, Microsoft and Intel are repeatedly used as examples. Highly recommend reading this book, one chapter at a time to fully see the case studies and the concepts. Innovation@altinn is on the other hand, is an innovation program focused on creating working prototypes based on ideas sourced from participants of the program. It is a living example of Open Innovation [1] in the public sector. What the program specifically aims to do, is show how government can be digital[2]. Using the national IT platform Altinn, the citizen of the future should enjoy better services and improve communication with government via this platform. Currently this platform is underused, where most Norwegians are only aware of Altinn when they do their taxes online. This has already saved Norwegian businesses  estimated to above one billion kroner per year, just from time savings[3]. But there is a capacity for doing a lot more.

My reflections that tie these two together:

In the program, it is surprisingly well aligned with the book. Using open innovation techniques, it is easy to have a mindset that “we know what the customer wants” due to incorporating as many points of view as possible. But to have ongoing testing / Q&A / probing is essential. To make sure a “full fledged cannonball” becomes a success, the tuning and validation from bullets are needed. Backed and calibrated from feedback is the only way to have a grasp on what problem you’re solving. The book has in its numerous examples found that firing cannonballs, often identified as expensive and distracting tasks need a proper backing of empirical data and validation. For the bullets, however, they can be seen as the opposite, a Minimal Viable Product [4] to some extent that allows to correct mistakes early on. Book standard project management, but complicated due to having an increase in parties with certain ownership of the idea.

You can read more about Innovation@altinn at , and if you would like to read the book,

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