Culture of Learning

Most organisations’ biggest challenge is moving from a culture of delivery to a culture of learning 
 — Bill Scott

Such a powerful and incredibly true statement. We don’t live in a world where people’s expectations are static — perhaps they never were. What yesterday was wow quickly becomes meh(as often said by Thom Jenkins).

No matter how much we try to set product roadmaps and backlogs, if we can’t continually surprise and delight consumers we are in for a difficult journey.

Many have tried several ways to tackle this problem — measure velocity, understand markets incredibly well, etc. Some have been more successful than others but above all this kind of approach always lacks in terms of true ambidextrous leadership — it serves more the existing business and existing ways of thinking and makes innovation as a second class citizen.

This is where Bill Scott really changed the game for me. When he first described his way of doing innovation that focused on small slices of products that had measurable ROI and how he organised his teams and rituals I was incredibly impressed.

But when he showed me the way he used that as a lever for organisational change, especially in such incredibly large organisations like the ones he has worked with and consulted I was floored. It was incredible insight, and not by a “speaker” but a doer. He’d done it, he managed to shift the tide and move the organisation.

He did it by focusing on a culture of learning (his own words). Since then I’ve had the privilege to work with others that share the same ethos (notably Rudi De Sousa & Jonathan Midgley) and it’s been a key part of the way we work at YLD almost since inception.

For a long time we were happy to help create great technology platforms to support initiatives similar to what Bill did, and we are trilled to help our clients go on a journey that uses methodologies that are normally associated with startups to produce value for enterprise clients.

This is where React, Design Systems, and Cloud Native have been instrumental for enabling this change. The ability to revitalise legacy platforms is finally here and it comes with incredible speed of development. It’s truly amazing how React made it so simple for developers to be productive in creating high-performing production-ready web applications. The tooling and the frameworks are so incredibly good and productive, that together with javascript being the most used language in the planet, things like IoT and mobile development migrate to web or web based platforms. This trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

With Design Systems we have the final piece of the puzzle. Unlike React, concepts like design systems are not as fleshed out and the frameworks and tooling are still very much in the wow phase. But the promise is so immense: The ability to iterate on products on components, and have product work so much closer to engineering is incredible. I don’t know if the existing tools and frameworks are the future, but I think this way of working will win. Just like javascript, sure it might be a big unknown but the sheer velocity, and ability to respond and react to consumers quickly is the killer app. It won’t be a decision, people will have to do it to keep up with the benefits it brings *their competitors*.

With Serverless, Kubernetes and CI/CD such as GitLab Inc. you can just instrument dynamic environments that join up all these pieces and allow developers to test and develop in isolated environments without any overheads, while continuously running critical business-readiness testing on these pipelines: Performance, Security, Compliance, Privacy.

Really excited about what 2019 is bringing us, and excited to host you all Friday for Design Systems London!