Posted in Courses, Design Thinking, Innovation, Interesting Tools

Design Thinking the Art & Science of Innovation

I recently had the pleasure of completing a Design Thinking Course that was recommended by my manager at Capgemini. Normally I would be inclined to take more technical courses so this was certainly different….

The key motivation was that at Capgemini employee’s should think outside the box and help come up with ideas that are novel for our clients. Design thinking is particularly strong for any form of human centric problem solving, it helps accelerate innovation to create better solutions for challenges facing business and society.

The course was based on IDEO’s design thinking approach and they provided a very comprehensive methodology whilst helping us solve a real-world case study. What was really interesting was how we could collectively come up with insights that were founded on observations and experiencing the process was great… what was more encouraging was that I found myself in the winning team (makes things even more fun)

Design thinking starts with people and we apply creative tools, like storytelling, prototyping and experimentation to deliver new breakthrough innovations.

When doing observations, it’s good to look at extreme cases and then based on fact based observations coming up with insights that are authentic, non-obvious and revealing. This needs to be followed by framing opportunities and this becomes a springboard for ideas and solutions.

Whilst at the course we came up with this novel thinking and more recently as part of an AIE project at Capgemini we were again able to make this leap making this a very powerful and credible approach.

The following a you tube video that was recorded whilst we were having fun doing some field research for one of UK’s most innovative brands:

Posted in Courses

Learning Scala and Gaining Commercial Experience

So… I am now into week 5 of the Coursera course on Functional Programming Principles in Scala. It’s been hard work so far as I have had to learn a lot more about functional programming.

Week 1 was really a challenge as I had to get my head around recursion. Particularly the coin counting assignment which I eventually figured out. What’s really been fascinating is that once you start “getting” Scala you realise how powerful the language really is. One starts to appreciate it’s elegance and expressiveness.

My initial reason for learning Scala was to understand Spark better as I see Spark as a key component for many Big Data Solutions. Spark is written in Scala and hence I felt the need to learn Scala.

Having learned the foundations of Scala, I am now debating on next steps. I have a number of choices either getting a role where I can do some hands on coding or building my own software product. Ideally, I would prefer the former provided I have a good team of people that I can work with. I also joined the Slack chat for Spark and there is a nice channel dedicated to Scala Algorithms (Scala_viz)

Coursera is yet to launch the Spark and Scala course but when it’s on I think it will be a really good course.

In terms of the Coursera course, I would highly recommend it. It’s challenging but you really do get a lot out of it particularly if you have not programmed in a functional manner previously.

In terms of gaining experience with Scala, there seems to be a shortage of Scala developers that have a few years experience. However, for the newbies, it’s the classic chicken and egg situation where it’s hard to find a junior role that will provide sufficient commercial experience. The great thing about coding is you can still build your own App or contribute to an open source project.