Corporate Hacker(s)

Hacker-5

Do it, do it fast, do it often

Read also on the same subject my other article (in french)

As Innovation manager in a corporate, I nurture a hacking mindset within a group of “champions”. Why is hacking mindset so important within an innovation culture?

What is a Coporate hacker?

A hacker is someone smart but with creativity. Thinking from a different point of view at a given problem gives new original solutions.

Hackers are smart. That’s the starting point. However they leverage the self-learning to establish a new standard that puts the creativity at its highest level. Engineering is not the only way to develop things and necessary qualities are not necessary learned at school.

The Hacker principles

  • Do it, even imperfectly

Don’t try to deliver something perfect the first time. First iteration are always unfinished. At that point we can connect that to Lean Start-up with its very fast iteration and feedback from the customers. It is really important to see things, to test things to validate.

As Corporate workers we have learned to plan everything. To be sure that everything will be delivered and established as planned. If we failed then we are not good at delivering. That’s something that is inverted by the Corporate Hacker mindset. Corporate Hackers should be allowed to deliver incomplete product, test it and learn from feedback to iterate and reengineer their product. As Project and Product manager, I have developed Human Interface mainly on card box thanks to Bill Baxton method of sketching User Interface. Is it imperfect? Definitely. Does it give you more info than weeks of coding? For sure. What is the best solution in terms of ROI and OTD? I let you decide.

  • Deliver quickly

That’s the second point of Corporate hackers. They have to deliver quick and often. One can understand that concept in the field of IT but be sure that it is not only IT related. I have myself experimented that kind of methodology in a B2B electronic device development project with a great success. If you are able to deliver quickly, then you are able to sustain the effort to test functionalities o your product, iterate, learn from customers feedbacks etc…

  • Break your work

If you do things imperfectly, if you did it fast, you will break you product often. It is easier to throw away a day of work than a week. So admitting that you can look ridiculous at a first glance is key. Accept that your work can be criticize.

 

Pasteur is a hacker, Dyson is a hacker, Edisson is a hacker. We all know what all their stories are about today. They all did something complicated with limited resources.

Hackers are that kind of people. Be sure that you can do things, wonderful things without any resources. At that point you can connect it to the popular concept of Jugaad Innovation. If you have the appropriate mindset, you can be a hacker and find an innovative solution to a given goal. Not only each problem has a solution, but each problem has many solutions.

A Corporate Hacker?

In a corporate, you have hopefully smart people. So you have the basics. However it is a duty for you to allow your team to stop asking permission to do things. If you want a corporate hacker culture, then allow your team to stop playing with your corporate rules. Asking about permission is the good way to never deliver.

This is a very important fact and step to establish an area within your company where teams can play their rules: A sandbox, within a special HR process to recognize their efforts and results. This is really important to set a frame where your hackers will work. Establishing this frame will free their mind and develop the consciousness of your management of the initiative. Call it whatever you want. Some call it “Corporate Incubator”, come call it “Corporate Accelerator”. In a way you don’t care, adopt the hacker philosophy and create it. You will be learning by doing yourself.

Hacks for you

  1. A very important step not to underestimate is to identify the potential hackers within your company to create and aggregate organically a community. If you can, establish a communication tool among you on Slack or Yammer or whatever tool you have. Connect your community, encourage people to help other. It will first create a real mindset of intrapreneurship and also it will create “virtual” debt among your hackers that will unlock situation later.
  2. Let the things go. Meaning that as manager you have to admit that some projects will succeed without your help. Your job as innovation manager is to establish the environment that will allow your hackers to success.
  3. Read the Lean Start-up (by Eric Ries) and Sketching user experience (by Bill Baxton).

 

 Are Corporate Hackers a special kind of Intrapreneur? Are they intrapreneur?

Do you see more hacks to share? Want to share your comments? Let’s go!

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