A year of experimentation #MIT #MITSloanFellows #TEDx #DigitalTransformation
I started my 2017 halfway of an amazing experience, being part of the MIT Sloan Fellows Program 2017. I was in Barcelona on my way to Istambul, Singapore, Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur, and Bali, to visit South East Asia for the first time and transform businesses I never worked with before, like Dairy Farming, Food Preservation, FMCG, and logistics. It was a real stretch to be able to identify where I can provide value and new ideas, but it turned out working well thank you to an amazing team and hosts. This experience was part of a course named Leadership Lab run by Peter Senge and his team. I might say I thought I was ready to face these challenges, but the tools the course provided were definitely an eye-opener since I was more prepared to take advantage of the experience.
I got the idea of naming this journey an “experiment” or “experimental activities” from another course named X-LAB run by Don Sull and Neil Thompson, and runs Business Experiments. I understood how lucky I was to have the chance to experiment during my year at MIT. Thus, I decided to keep experimenting after MIT too!
I left MIT with the same idea I left Carnegie Mellon years ago, to expand my horizons, moving somewhere else, joining a new company, or working for a different industry. At that time, I moved to New York and joined Goldman Sachs immediately after finishing my masters. This year I realized I needed more time to figure out what to do, and I spend the summer working on a project backed by MIT and the Inter American Development Bank to leverage Blockchain to register assets to enhance financial inclusion. I experimented with hypotheses on the technical, financial, and economic side, and had the chance to experiment coding to use some APIs myself. I also started thinking about my entrepreneurship curiosity.
I spend the Spring semester with a team of curious people working on a Blockchain based securitization idea, under the New Enterprises course led by Bill Aulet. I had an idea of what is needed to learn to pitch, to go outside and accept a NO, and to start over and over again, failing fast and learning a lot. I found myself leveraging my experience running conferences and other initiatives to tolerate uncertainty about time, resources and how this will end, and of course, to be resilient, but like never before. I also helped a number of aspiring entrepreneurs to land their ideas, hopefully, some of them will thrive soon.
I spent months meeting with people talking about Blockchain, discovering perceptions and serving (first unintentionally and then intentionally) as an evangelist. I started delivering workshops, talks and participating of events about my views about Innovation, Digital Transformation, and Blockchain. I delivered a TEDx about one of my favorite projects: Latin American Women in Technology Conference. You might know delivering a TED Talk is not a trivial thing. Even myself, as an experienced speaker, had a hard time complying with the requirements to be on top of that round shaped red carpet. But the outcome was priceless.
Finally, I started identifying patterns on organizations on the journey to transformation, from leadership and high-level decisions, as I experienced discussing cases at Bob Pozen’s Corporate Boards class and Global Markets, National Politics and The Competitive Advantage of Firms with Simon Johnson. I already knew and confirmed how technology not only enables but drives change with the MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research team at T-LAB. The patterns I found are of course about the ability to reinvent businesses, and leverage experimentation to validate their hypotheses. Years ago, with less disruption and competition, making decisions and experiments was already risky. Today, deciding to leave products and services to be a platform or any other change on the business model needs to be fast. Picking a new business model and destroy value to move forward and generate new value is, of course, a risky move, even more if that new business model will evolve and change drastically in less than, let’s say, 3 years. Those changes need resilient leaders and collaborators, ready to experiment. Hope you can find the space to experiment soon. Happy 2018!
#Experiment #MIT #MITSloanFellows #TEDx #DigitalTransformation
This article was published here too: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/year-experimentation-bigideas2018-natalie-gil/