Keeping it exciting at your Company

Hey everyone, I was sitting on this one for quite a while in draft. I even forgot that I had it sitting in my drafts folder until I was thinking about some stuff that we’re doing at CI. So here goes …

With the CDX2.0 conference wrapped up a couple of months ago, there is much to distill, process and chew on, not just from the sessions themselves, but from the conversations and interaction with the speakers post CDX.

To successfully create a strong and vibrant high-tech community, I think the business and technology communities should show support for events like CDX to squeeze what we can out of the speakers and presenters come to Trinidad and Tobago from more mature technology environments, we must absolutely carry the discussion beyond any single event.

That said, let’s getting started shall we?

There are lots of things bouncing around on my head coming out of CDX, but I wanted to start with my interview with John Biggs of Tech Crunch. (I’m actually really surprised that folks didn’t rush out to meet this guy, even if they didn’t attend the event, but that’s a discussion for another time)

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On the main day of the conference, I facilitated a discussion with John on "Side-stepping the Innovator’s Dilemma" – See Wikipedia article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Innovator’s_Dilemma.

TechCruch is a massively popular technology website that focuses on Startups. So, John, having interviewed hundreds of startups, would have a very interesting perspective on what Big Companies can learn from Startups to help then innovate internally.

John had some really interesting advice that I can summarize. He suggested the following for

  1. Internal Hackathons / Ideation sessions
  2. Internal Training + Hangouts
  3. Visit other companies, technology shows and Hackathon / Travel / See what’s out there

As simple as it seems, this is some pretty powerful advice. In fact, we’ve taken the advice to heart at CI and run our first internal Hackathon. Having freshly come out of taking part in Startup Weekend Trinidad and Tobago and the other executives attended the final presentations, we decided to run a CI startup weekend of our own. We attempted to tie in the hacking with projects that we are actually working on or thinking about working on.

I must say, this exercise was extremely productive and was some pretty solid advice from John. Not only was it super useful for CI as a company, but it was also exciting to be a part of. It was great to get an idea out and hack away at it for about a 24 hrs.

image

Just some insight into how we ran our Startup Weekend CI edition in case you wanna do something like this at your company.

  1. Cut off ‘Work-Work’ on Friday @ 2pm
  2. Run an ideation session i.e. everyone in the room does a quick idea pitch
  3. Ideas go on the white board
  4. After ideation, each team member gets 3 votes where we vote on ideas on the board
  5. Each member of the team votes
  6. The 4 best ideas get worked on
  7. Members are assigned to team
  8. We get a list of criteria of what we should present on: Basically things like the following Clearly state the problem; Support the problem with evidence; Clearly describe your solution; Describe your revenue Model; Describe growth / market potential; Summerize; Build a Prototype if you can

This takes about 2 hrs to run through if there are a lot of ideas. This was our first time though so it could get faster and we perfect the process internally.

On Friday after the


ideation session, we continued our research, get some of the base things going, but most people cut-out early. On Saturday we got the Office about 9am and started putting together our solutions and presentations. 3:30 we cut off, presented and had some drinks!

All in all, a great couple of days.

There are two other items on the list, that we’re working at. I’ve started implementing the second one, but we’ll need get some other companies in on the “Visit other companies” item.

Hope this at least gave you guys some ideas about what you can do to keep things exciting at your company.

Cheers.

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Posted in Caribbean Digital Expo 2.0, Caribbean Ideas, disrupt, Entrepreneurship, National & Regional Development, Personal Projects, Random Thoughts, Startup

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