Dealing with everything else

You see them often at workshops and presentations. Always sitting in the back. Usually on their phones, or more likely their MacBook. Faded T-shirt from a three year old hackathon on their backs. They come from startups, consultants and even ‘large, complex, organisations’.

They are the ‘know-it-all’ believers that I wrote about in Dealing with Yourselves.

Don’t worry, I’ve read The Lean Startup,’ they’ll smirk when you ask them to pay attention.

Oh god, do you know how many times I’ve done Business Model Canvas?’ they cry when the charts and Post-Its get put up on the wall.

We’re mature, We know all this. What could we learn?’ they respond when you ask them to an event.

They are at the heart of the third stream of the Rainmaking Summit — Dealing with Everything Else. Companies run and put on hackathons — it seems like every month. Every large, incumbent business with an innovation lab claims to instill an ‘entrepreneurial culture’ throughout its workforce. The future of work? — everyone is on Slack, right?

Look’, they cry, ‘here are our hackathon prizes. Our CIO is from outside our industry. We have women and people of color and LBGT people in positions of leadership … Our post-its come in multiple colors! We know this.’ ≤=Or to put it simply — we have nothing more to learn.

It is as if admitting that there is ‘more to learn’ proves that the ‘innovation test’ has not been passed. A box needed to be checked to show that their company is modern and progressive and will weather the storms of digital disruption. And they have ‘checked that box’ dammit!

However, reading The Lean Startup, and working with a lean methodology are two very different things. You can replace the word ‘waterfall’ with ‘agile’ — but if the attitude remains the same — the only thing you have changed is semantics.

We at Rainmaking ran a workshop some time ago with a ‘large, complex, organisation’. The back of the room was filled with ‘know-it-all’ believers who were becoming increasingly restless at hearing, once again examples of lean and agile.

The facilitator stopped and asked a simple question — ‘What is the purpose of an MVP?’

The ‘know-it-alls’ sighed. “An MVP is an minimal viable product…”

“No”, replied the presenter, “what is its purpose?”

No response came…from the back.

A young girl in the front, her first year at the company, notebook and pen on her lap from taking notes, raised her hand. “An MVP is a test.”

Correct — and the most useful tests are not the ones we pass, but the ones that we learn from.

In the words of Louisa May Alcott — “I am not afraid of storms, for it is through those that I learn how to sail my ship.”

Register now for the Rainmaking Summit and you will learn ‘Do you need a hackathon?’ What the fuck is an ‘entrepreneur’? And what will work be like for our children.

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