Resources and Reference Material

Interviews, articles and case studies

Case Studies

Deep-dives into client stories

Scaling Innovation Means Descaling Work

There’s been such a huge response to my post on people working with McKinsey & Company, Bain and other big consultancies regularly reaching out to ask if their recommended strategies ‘make sense to me?’ that I decided to write up a case study—based on my own real experiences—on why Scaling Innovation Means Descaling Work

It’s my top insights on how and why starting small is the best way to realize BIG initiatives and make a BIG impact. My report details:

  • Why the traditional strategies to scale innovation fail to deliver, cost companies millions, and cause them to fall further behind market leaders
  • The 7 mistakes companies make, plus how to avoid them and systemize innovation throughout your entire organization (rather than a single initiative or team)
  • Deep dives into four case studies from the finance, airline, government, and SasS industries
  • How my 1% system saved money, scaled innovation and delivered business results 400% above expectations—especially in highly regulated, complex operating environments.


Moving to Outcome-Based, Product-Centric Innovation

The Airline Tariff Publishing Company (commonly known as ATPCO) is a privately held corporation that engages in the collection and distribution of fare and fare-related data for the airline and travel industry. ATPCO works with more than 450 airlines worldwide, and it supplies more than 99 percent of the industry’s intermediated fare data to all the major airfare pricing engines. ATPCO realized that it need to respond to the rapid rate of innovation in the regulated and often bureaucratic airline industry. This case studies share how with support from Barry they reinvented their approach to portfolio management, shift to outcome-based bets and moving from project- to product-centric delivery and organizational design—doubling their product release rate and reducing the cycle-time on strategic initiatives by 115%.


Value Engineering

Value Engineering is an outcome-based approach to product strategy and lean portfolio management that favors learning via rapid experimentation, and using the information you gather to inform further product investment decisions. Developed by Barry O’Reilly, author of Unlearn and Lean Enterprise, and co-written with AgileCraft, this white paper will teach you:

  • The importance of shifting organizational mindset to think in bets and small experiments instead of static long term plans
  • How to place a focus on outcomes rather than output
  • The scientific steps of hypothesis-driven development
  • How to avoid the “danger zone” where 60%–90% of ideas do not improve the metric they were intended to improve
  • The best ways to get started now with Value Engineering in your organization


Unlearning How to Write a Book

I’ve found it fascinating the number of people who have asked me exactly how I accomplished this feat. How did I attract the attention of a publisher? How did I manage to run an international consultancy practice, maintaining personal commitments and protecting family experiences while finding time to write a book? How did I muster the discipline to put fingertips to keyboard each day and physically write the book?   It wasn’t easy. But I did it, and you can too.   In this brief piece, I’ll outline for you my own writing journey, which required me to unlearn what I thought I knew about writing books. If you have any questions about the writing or publishing process I haven’t addressed, please feel free to reach out and ask. And please share your own experiences too. I’m happy to provide any additional insights I can to help you, and others write that one book that’s in us all.


Interviews, discussions and debates

Creating A Culture of Experimentation on Boss Level Podcast I share how organizations—and the people that lead them—can transform their culture to tackle uncertainty and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable in search of new information to challenging existing behavior and thinking for better decision-making, action and extraordinary. I also highlight insights from my newest book, Unlearn.


Learning To Unlearn on This Is Product Management Podcast Product managers need to constantly learn new skills to stay competitive in today’s environment. However, according to Barry, it’s even more important, and more challenging, to unlearn the outdated skills that are holding them back from embracing modern best practices such as continuous experimentation. Find out why and who, you must learn to unlearn.


What is Hypothesis-driven Development, and Why It Matters on Agilists Master Toolbox Practicing Hypothesis-Driven Development is thinking about the development of new ideas, products and services – even organizational change – as a series of experiments to determine whether an expected outcome will be achieved. The process is iterated upon until a desirable outcome is obtained or the idea is determined to be not viable. We do not do projects anymore, only experiments. Barry explains why and how to get started. 


How Product Leaders Accelerate Innovation on IoT Product Management Podcast Barry shares his background and how he helps startups, scale-ups and large organizations capitalize on rapid-changing trends in IoT. He drives into his “Connected Learning Loop” and how Barry applied it on a project with the London subway to save millions of dollars and walks us through a smart coffee maker example he help develop with one of the world largest coffee sellers. 


Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable on Developer On Fire Barry’s shares his top tips for delivering more value including; staying curious—when you encounter something you think is not right, ask “why do you think that” with curiosity,  why you need to design opportunities to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and how to start small and feel successful quickly.


Behavior Change for Women Leaders On this Women’s Leadership Success radio podcast, Barry sheds light on how behavioral changes can affect the progress of women in business with host Sabrina Braham MA MFT PCC. This podcast shares secrets that can help you “unlearn” certain behaviors for more success and discover useful ways to advance your career.


Becoming a Lean Enterprise on Software Engineering Radio Barry O’Reilly defines a lean enterprise as a complex adaptive system composed of a common purpose, that manages to keep innovating while keeping its existing products in the market. O’Reilly talks about the idea of scientific experiments and the build-measure-learn loop popularized by the lean-startup method. He shares his experiment of an online wine seller using Twitter. He further discusses the challenges for enterprises trying to do something similar and introduce the three-horizon model, to manage innovative, growing, and new products. As an example of a successful lean enterprise, O’Reilly talks about GOV.UK, the British government’s new website.


Tools and techniques to accelerate innovation

  • Innovation Portfolio Mapping: One of the first exercises I run with executive teams is mapping their business portfolio to visualize current work in progress and how it aligns to the overall business strategy. Without exception, every time I run this exercise the gap between current state and desired state is far wider than every executive believed, hoped or even imagined.
  • 10 Principles of Business Transformation: Transforming organizations, teams or even yourself is challenging. There’s no one-size fits all method to achieve success. It’s a combination of hard work, persistence and patience. The most successful enterprises are continually experimenting to learn what works and what doesn’t. They focus on meeting customer needs by clarifying goals, shortening feedback loops and measuring performance based on outcomes, rather than outputs. Here’s how to start.
  • Improvement Kata: Four steps, and a scientific way of achieving aspiration or outcomes.


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