The value of experimentation
There are two well-known failures that led to a life-changing breakthrough and a ridiculously simple product that has been ridiculously successful. Failures aren’t always failures.
- ‘I know 99 ways to not make a lightbulb.’
- How many sticky notes would you guess have been used? That data isn’t readily available. But since their accidental invention in 1968, a conservative guess might be approximately a bazillion.
Unless your business sells a regulated commodity, like electricity, or you enjoy a monopolistic or oligopolistic position in your market, you experiment. In fact, your business may be a series of experiments. It happens all of the time. You can refer to this as course correction, corrective action or whatever you’d like, but the bottom line is that it can all be characterized as experimentation.
IQ Inc. provides software engineering, testing and quality assurance services. We work with very large companies, across a variety of different industry verticals, contributing as integral members of your team on mainstream development efforts, or in a project capacity.
Our clients come to us with what they want to accomplish. They rely on IQ to respond to those needs and determine how to best accomplish the product roadmap objectives. That requires that we are always on top of best practices, understand new technologies and apply them appropriately and discern technology-based market trends that are emerging and can be applied on behalf of our clients in order to preserve their technology leadership position.
In order to go beyond ‘fingers on keyboards,’ IQ encourages its technology teams to learn new technologies and applications of those technologies. This means experimentation, and we encourage that.
We encourage employees to experiment, and to do it in a way that ultimately will benefit our customers. That means that we have to impose a bit of structure on the experimentation. So we ask that our employees submit proposals in the follow format:
As a <type of user> I want to <some goal> so that <some outcome>
Not a lot of structure, but enough to force the proposer to think beyond What the experiment entails, consider Why it’s potentially important to our customers, and How to accomplish the outcome.
This particular experiment involved utilizing the mainstay of any self-respecting technical team – the foosball table. We are seeing an increasing demand for creative and novel ways to collect multi-dimensional data, in a way that integrates a variety of different sensors and enables the ability to go beyond data collection and enable analysis and characterization. By placing sensors in the goal, on the men, on the field and mounting a camera above the field, this experiment proved that IQ was able to collect a variety of data, structured and unstructured, and built first-hand experience with:
- Sensor integration
- Building an open data platform
- Computer vision
- Machine learning and data analytics
- A web and mobile application to report on and interact with the data obtained
The out-of-pocket cost of this experiment? $183 in materials (we already have the foosball table). The payback? Not sure yet, but potentially priceless when we encounter an opportunity that requires the collection and analysis of multidimensional data, and a case study that documents the expertise that we gained as a company.
IQ Inc. can help
IQ Inc. possesses decades of experience in assisting its clients in implementing their product roadmaps and ensuring that they are always at the technological leading edge. If you think that IQ can help you reach your development goals now, or in your near future, please contact IQ for a free consultation about your needs and how IQ can help you execute on your product roadmap.