Barry O’Reilly is the Author of Unlearn: Let Go of Past Success to Achieve Extraordinary Results and Lean Enterprise: How High-Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale. In this episode, Barry and Brian Ardinger discuss creating a culture of experimentation in enterprises and seeing everything as an assumption.
Barry came to the U.S. from Ireland and worked at City Search “putting people on the Internet.” He then joined a mobile games development company, which helped him develop an experimental mindset. After this, he moved to Australia to make next-gen content for E-learning in Southeast Asia. Finally, he joined a consultancy in London called ThoughtWorks, where he helped companies reinvent their portfolio management and learn how to fund and test ideas.
In Lean Enterprise, Barry’s first book, he highlights how to create experimentation in enterprises. Amazon does this well because the culture encourages cheap and fast experimentation. They can gather better data, unlearn existing beliefs, and learn new behavior which helps them break through and innovate.
In Barry’s new book, Unlearn, he says people recognize that they always have to be learning, but it’s tough to learn new things. The limiting factor is the ability to unlearn behavior especially when it’s made the person successful. Barry highlights the most bureaucratic regulated companies and describes how they are making amazing changes.
Barry also hosts Exec Camp, where execs leave their businesses for up to eight weeks to launch new companies that intend to disrupt their existing companies. It’s like an accelerator for senior leaders. They learn and unlearn new things about themselves. For example, the International Airlines Group came to Exec Camp, to launch six new ideas to disrupt the airline industry. They tested ideas with customers and had to unlearn the behavior of pushing ideas on customers. They soon began to see everything as an assumption. We believe that the way we solve a customer problem is the only way to do it, however, tech changes how we can solve problems. Individuals get disrupted, not companies.
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If you liked this podcast, try Ep 99 Ryan Jacoby with Machine, Ep 43 Ash Maurya, Author of Scaling Lean, and Ep. 20 Lisa Kay Solomon with Design a Better Business
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