Startup Student #3: Advanced change management

Norms are going 180 and the future is more uncertain than ever before, now what?

“It is better to sleep on things beforehand than lie awake about them afterwards.” —Fr. Balthasar Gracian, SJ, Spanish writer and philosopher


Last week’s recommendations were all about rethinking assumptions and rebuilding products and systems to adapt to a world in crisis and beyond. This week breaks down what it takes for organisations to embrace and even design change in an increasingly uncertain world, with views and ideas from NASA and SpaceX to Adobe and Facebook.

If you have recommendations of your own around these topics, let me know in the comments.

Embracing change

🎧 NASA’s Steve Rader: Redefining the moonshot with diverse teams | Design Better
With organisations facing unprecedented uncertainty, diverse solutions and having a better grasp of key issues is critical to survival. The deputy director for the Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation at NASA shares experiences and lessons from literal moonshots on how to build organisations that effectively tap into diversity and manage the pressure to change.

Embrace vujade | Insignia Business Review
Adam Grant’s TED talk on original thinkers — and in particular one word, “vujade” — inspired me to write about what vujade means today, and what new norms can provide motivation to look at the digital economy and tech startup growth through fresh eyes.

The New Hot Startups Will Be Camels, Not Unicorns | Marker
A new animal to add to the startup taxonomy — one more suited to make it through a fundraising desert.

The illusion of certainty | Rory Sutherland
“Like Socrates, bees know how much they don’t know.” Given the challenge of making sense of the future, this short essay offers treading the line between deterministic and probabilistic interventions — a behavior inherent to bees.

Designing change

Investing in Figma: the Decade of Design | a16z
General Partner Peter Levine on Figma and the rising importance of design (and design-enabling platforms) in product development and organisations.

Opt In: Insights on Leadership in Extraordinary Times | Adobe XD Ideas
From the death of the designer in an AI-dominated world to its paramount importance to digital businesses, design leaders from Adobe, Amazon, Microsoft, and Twitter put together an essay collection on what it means to design and lead in this day and age.

The Nag Metric | Julie Zhuo
Former Facebook Product Design VP Julie Zhuo introduces a way to measure just how annoying features can be and how it can make for a more nuanced conversation in designing effective user interfaces.

🎧 Bringing digital from zero to one in Vietnam’s trucking sector | On Call with Insignia
Digitalisation needs more than technology. A case study with LOGIVAN founder and CEO Linh Pham on how they have been driving digital adoption among truckers and shippers — and how that will be affected by increasing supply chain diversification.

Esports and the Dangers of Serving at the Pleasure of a King | Matthew Ball
“As one VC put it, “Esports is as though Spalding owned the NBA, rather than the owners or players’ association. And eventually, Spalding would announce the game has three balls.”” Matthew lines up the key differences between sports and esports by design and the challenges it spells out for the latter.

Elon Musk's Internet for Everyone Is Coming Very Soon | Popular Mechanics
While social distancing and lockdowns have forced many people to spend their days online, the internet remains out of reach in a lot of rural areas. Regardless if Starlink comes in to save the day, the news offers a poignant reminder of the “spaceships” that enable our connectivity.

Instagram Filters Are Changing the Way We Think About Makeup | Teen Vogue
Exploring the possibilities of AR — in this case, with makeup — accelerated in a time of social distancing. “From group yoga classes to creative live streams, Geraldine notes that it will be interesting to see the long-term impact of the way this pandemic has fast-tracked our reliance on social media.”

From niche to norm edtech | The Ken
Social distancing has seen a tidal wave of adoption, especially in edtech — but will it really make a difference once lockdowns are lifted, and how can gains be sustained in the long-term?

Movie recommendation of the week: Joy
Before live streaming and the internet, there was the home shopping network. Joy traces the story of Joy Mangano, inventor with over 100 patents and entrepreneur whose unique salesmanship shaped HSN. Her story, even as it is portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence (who won a Golden Globe for this role), is particularly relevant in this time when companies and small businesses are facing tough times.


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