Last week, I talked about how we were redesigning our Trello board and that making a life size version of it helped us to think about our audience and the information we wanted to share.
Well, the life sized version is now fully digital and ready for the viewing public!
** Welcome to the Bromford Exploration Pipeline! **
I feel like Richard Attenborough in Jurassic Park here, but we’ve not reinvented the wheel or reintroduced dinosaurs from DNA found in amber fossils - all we’ve done is stay true to our principles of working out loud, but with a greater sense of connection between what we do in the Lab against Bromford’s transformation plan, principles and business.
I always get asked by curious friends and former colleagues ‘what exactly is it that you do?’ , ‘how does what you do have any relation to Bromford or housing?’ or ‘is it like Google and do you just play video games all day?’ Given the nature of what we do, it is very easy for people to fail to make the connection between something we’re talking about and the wider Bromford or housing picture. We’re guilty of the same in the Lab, especially if we are really into a concept and lose sight of the problem we are trying to solve.
Our old Trello board was a visual representation of all the concepts and ideas we were working on and what stage in the design process they were at. The new improved Lab Pipeline board has been built on those very same foundations, with areas for Discovery, Build, Test, Pilot and Results but the main difference between the old and new is the breadth of the problem definition.
On the old board, we had identified areas of exploration, but they were deliberately left very wide so as not to eliminate any possibilities of approaching it. In our latest offering, we have spent a lot of time looking at the areas that Bromford are looking to change under our 2point0 programme and have then given them a set of very specific problem definition statements, which we have framed as ‘How Might We?’ questions (big thanks to Simon for facilitating this work!) For Innovation and Insight, this is the best starting point, as we can go out and start working together to gather potential concepts and data that will help us to inform any tests or pilots we may want to build.
The new way of presenting information to the public shows these strong links between the work we are currently doing back to Bromfords’ vision so people don’t need to make the association themselves but more importantly, they can begin to get a sense of how this might improve their area of business and secure that buy in at an early stage. For us, that's crucial to the success of any potential concept, as if people don’t understand it, it just won’t work. It's also a great way of showing the world what we are up to - in a working environment where more and more people are remotely working, its an ideal place to go to find out the latest developments quickly and with ease.
Now you might be thinking 'why on earth would you publish everything publicly, for everyone to see?' Sure, anybody can see exactly what we are working on, what Bromford hope to achieve through 2point0, estimated timelines, nothing is hidden or off limits. What may surprise you is that we aren't breaking the mould here - in fact, several high profile companies such as Google, Adobe and even Gov.UK publish information publicly via Trello. The old days of R&D being shrouded in secrecy are long gone - its now a collaboration economy with transparency being the highest rated currency.
Don’t get me wrong, we will still be doing our usual horizon scanning and stuff that might seem a bit ‘out there’ and we have created another Trello board called the Lab Amazing Ideas area which is where you can find out more about stuff we are looking into but not necessarily ready to move on just yet. Once it's more mature, it will move into the pipeline and be given its very own 'How Might We' to allow us to begin the design process!
It's a very exciting time for the Lab and Bromford as a whole as we embark on this change programme, and whilst it has meant a slight tweak to how we do things, we’re still the same Bromford Lab - thinking about ideas that will be coming to an area near you in 10 years time! Plus I’m really excited about a more structured approach as it means I can indulge my geeky fascination with MS Project - something very satisfying about a critical path.....