Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Gadgets

I'm having a relaxing evening now after an exciting day mostly spent in Auckland at a Microsoft Tech Briefing. A great experience for me as I had the opportunity to be part of the key note speech. I happen to work for an up and coming NZ bank and I was able to present some of the experiences I've gained from my time in the bank - from being a member of a 20 something project team in 2001 - before the bank establishment - to the present day: an organisation of 700 with a 6 month profit of $11m.

The experience of being part of the key note was enlighting in itself. The nervous energy beforehand, the videos, sound, lighting, the 900+ people in the room, being part of a team that consisted of some much brighter people than I, it was great. And I still have Wellington and Christchurch to come over the next 2 weeks! What a buzz! I've never spoken to so many people before. For better or worse, the nearest thing to it in my memory is being 14 and being asked to recite a poem at my uncle's funeral. He was a very popular person and the church was packed. As sad as the event was I still remember the energy of the occasion clearly.

Of the event itself, and the reason for this posting, was the cementing in my mind of the importance of Vista's new gadgets. Jeremy Boyd of Mindscape demonstrated a remarkable gadget for the approval of Vista Dreamscene videos on a community site (can't find it - maybe they haven't put it live on the net?). This particular gadget used the capabilities of WCF to securely connect to a service and perform an operation. Working as enterprise architect at a bank you can imagine my interest. I've been harping on about this at work for a while now and recently noticed a blog post from someone I've met that used to work as a banking consultant at the Microsoft Sydney office, (James Gardner). It's just a matter of time... will we get there first?

The question of who get's there first was actually one of the main themes of my presentation. Looking at the way in which innovation can occur. Looking back on my historical work experiences I can now see how large corporates fail so often at delivering innovation. They start off so nimble and quick and then slow down to a near grinding halt. Achieving change becomes increasingly difficult because of the burden of process and competition of people. Does it have to be this way?

I'm sure I'm going to post more on this but it seems to me that there's a lot to be learnt from the field of R&D in traditional high risk, high reward industries and the application of R&D to service based industries. I know the potential margins haven't traditionally been seen as high enough to counter the cost but I think the time is right. I believe the risk reward matrix is increasingly favouring small experimental developments to highlight problem domains and visualise potential solutions. If we just manage to do those two things we'll be making downstream project delivery so much better (let alone considering the commercial benefits).

I strongly feel that the opportunities for applying technology are stronger today than ever before. It's the technologists who are currently creating the business models of tomorrow, not the business school graduates.

In the meantime, I recommend following JB, JD, and Andrew at Mindscape - they are a clever bunch of guys. I'm sure they'll go far.

2 comments:

JD said...

Thanks for the links and kind words Bohdan.

BackgroundMotion is not currently live but we're aiming to have it up soon, we'll keep you posted.

It was great meeting you,

- JD

James Gardner said...

Hi Bohdan,

Lovely to reconnect with you - I've now been away from Microsoft (and from AsiaPac) for a year and a half, but have been following your bank with great interest.

On the question of getting there first, it seems to me that your institution is one of the few that would have sufficient agility and vision to do it.

But I do wonder if it is necessary to be cautious about the gadget/widget platform choice. Ideally, I suppose, one would wish to get the largest possible user base by releasing against *all* available widget/gadget environments.

That is clearly a bigger coding exercise, but there doesn't seem to be much point in building an amazing solution if there aren't that many people around to use it...