Friday, October 23, 2015

Startupbucks (aka Starbucks) the OaaS Innovation Incubator

As I was momentarily pausing from working on a presentation, I leaned back and noticed that there was quite a bit of “business” occurring in my local Starbucks.  There were a lot of enthusiastic conversations with a collection of open laptops, notebooks, tablets, and more being used to share, illustrate, and note ideas.  This wasn't the first time I’d seen this same level of engagement in a Starbucks. 

Then something occurred to me.  I was witnessing an incubator of business, non-profit, and personal ideas being generated and matured.  Of course some people are there for just a coffee and a chair to relax.  Others are there for a quick pick-me-up for the day or remainder of the day.  Alternatively, it was clear that Starbucks was this place where business was happening, where new ideas were being generated, where collaboration was happening, and where progress was being made.  It was an incubator of innovation! 
That’s where it occurred to me, Starbucks was part coffee shop and part office-as-a-service (OaaS) incubator.  I therefore have redubbed Starbucks to Startupbucks!  The first part of the name (Startup) is a place where new ideas come to life and blossom surrounded by the aroma of coffee beans.  The second part of the name (bucks) is coincidentally where hopes for financial reward is part of the innovation dream.   I wonder how much business has been conducted in Startupbucks and much money this translates into?   Next time you are in Starbucks, take a look around.  Are you seeing the same thing that I am?  Finally, thank you Starbucks and the many coffee shops like you for providing us this OaaS that makes a great incubator of ideas and haven for progress!    

Sunday, October 18, 2015

How can Portugal be a Technology and Business Leader on IT thru Agile practices?

The following is an article written based on an interview with Mario Moreira:   

Portuguese Companies have to combat risk aversion and rediscover their Vision of Discovery

This perspective is by Mario Moreira who specializes in Agile.  He was the keynote speaker during the first ScrumDay held in Portugal.  The initiative focuses on Agile and Lean approaches, where it promotes a philosophy of continuous adaptation to accelerate the ability of organizations to respond to change, as did the Portugues in the time of discoveries.  

Author of the book Being Agile: Your Roadmap to Successful Adoption of Agile, a blog on Agile Adoption, broad experience in this area, and a Vice President of Client Engagement at Emergn, he argues that Portuguese companies have to change their risk averse culture and improve adaptation strategies toward constant changes of the market, in order to maximize the opportunities for success in a global competitive landscape. And this is Agile, a concept which includes a set of adaptive concepts and software development methodologies that Mario Moreira came to Lisbon to help publicize and demonstrate at this event where in the morning featured presentations and afternoon joined the participants in a think tank.  

"At one point in history the Portuguese were the greatest explorers in the world and this was because we had the right mindset. We did not just go to India like everyone else," he stresses. "We decided to take some risks, to try something new with the awareness that we could bring great benefits. We need to recover that mindset," adds Mario Moreira."
To get there, we need to circumvent the risk averse culture constraining the Portuguese, because "the market is increasingly competitive and customers are demanding changes every day," said this expert, "considering that companies - in Portugal and the world - must increasingly be prepared to face these changes, trying to adapt to them, and this is where Agile can help."

The method gives flexibility to organizations to adapt to new inputs in the course of projects and promote the involvement of various actors, such as the client. Scrum fits this universe, as a framework for organizing and managing complex processes.  It is an alternative to traditional models, which are guided by a budget, a deadline and a chain of rigid decisions, together with a set of initial assumptions that are maintained throughout the project.

Mario Moreira argues that a market dominated by small and medium enterprises, as the Portuguese, the Agile philosophy makes even more sense because they are smaller companies who feel more pressure to respond on time to market requirements and its customers. They have less room to fail in terms of resources and too much competition.   

The original Portuguese version can be found at