Many books have been written about Agile software development, while Agile Innovation is one of the few books that shows you how to innovate using an Agile mindset.
The authors slightly alter the second value of the Agile Manifesto, replacing “Working software” with “Working innovations.”
That’s fine because Agile Innovation is about rapid-cycle, iterative development rather than getting it perfect. Instead of a 100-page business case, put a working prototype in the hands of your customers and get customer feedback: Does the prototype work the way you intended? What’s the next step in design?
I also agree when the authors state that teams should complete a rough prototype within two months. When I see a software team work for three months or more without producing working product or even a minimum viable product, those project always fail.
The book provides four new habits that companies should embrace so there’s an environment that will foster the development of prototypes in two months. The second habit resonates with me: The work process must be modified so teams can deliver incremental versions of working products and obtain customer feedback. Then, iterate again.
Throughout the book the authors tap into the deep wisdom of the Agile community and apply Agile principles to innovation.
Because Jeff Sutherland designed the Scrum framework as an object-oriented framework, the authors are able to reuse Scrum for Agile Innovation. Sure, they call it an “Idea Scrum” and the product backlog consists of ideas, and the output of the sprint is an incrementally validated business case; still their Scrum Framework works in iterations and elicits values like working innovations.
As you’d expect, the book also showcases the authors’ creative chops. Coauthor Moses Ma developed an approach called multivisioning, a way to continuously generate ideas by shifting perspective while you brainstorm.
Moses took the concepts from one of my favorite books, Applied Imagination, and combined it with the thinking of Leonardo da Vinci who believed to solve a problem you should learn to see it and structure it in many ways.
There’s a section about Jungian archetypes. We see that Steve Jobs and Leonardo da Vinci are the magician archetype. I especially enjoyed reading da Vinci’s letter to the Duke of Milan; a job application of sorts describing Leonardo’s ten magical skills.
Truth is, Leonardo was the ultimate magician, for his spirit conjured to life his beloved bronze horse five hundred years after he envisioned the bronze beauty.
I don’t have time to write about all the stories and innovation concepts in the book, except to say you’ll enjoy reading the story of Leonidas and the mythic 300 and how it inspires innovation.