Iterating unknown vectors
As a co-operative, we focus on forming mutually beneficial and lasting relationships, both within the co-op and without. Our projects are the results of a shared insatiable curiosity for what can be uncovered, tested, and improved. Discovering ideas and building them through partnerships has given us confidence in our power to unearth what really matters to our clients. It is a painstaking and joyful effort.
During a recent internal workshop, we reaffirmed the trust in our innovation capabilities, particularly in the extended reality (XR) realm. Since then, we have developed sales packages, which can balance out the co-op’s current tendancy towards generalising projects into products. While we are progressing these long-term projects into further stages, such as medical trials, we wish to embolden new ideas with our skillset.
Materialising ideas, digitally
Over the years of creating augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) applications, we have witnessed a range of novelty trends leading to dead ends. We could not help but wonder how gimmicking reality offers any possibilities beyond what we can do without XR already. We turn to our mission statement, “to enrich human potential”, and settle for nothing less.
We acknowledge, however, that a whole new set of capabilities have become available only recently, with headsets such as Magic Leap One, Hololens 2, and Varjo XR-3. We relish working with XR-3 and its remarkable affordances. These include laser-sharp eye and hand tracking, as well as the seamless merging of digital entities with the user’s physical environment. All this and more has just gained an uncharted scaling power due to Varjo Reality Cloud, which removes bottlenecks in real-time multidevice deployment, including to handheld devices.
We have been learning the applications of XR in close collaboration with experts in their domains. Thanks to this approach, our insights into the needs of users and other stakeholders evolve organically, in tandem with the software.
The possibilities for strategic innovation with XR are ripe. It is increasingly feasible to go beyond tiresome contrivances with new ideas, and take a fresh look at existing use cases, some of them only recently having entered larger scale deployments. With an increasing number of enterprises acknowledging the unique benefits of XR, and current forecasts consistently placing Compound Annual Rate of Growth (CARG) at around 60%, we dare all pragmatists to innovate their processes to make them more efficient and enjoyable.
Where products and services meet
Our new sales packages are split into self-contained stages which reflect the progression of a working relationship, hence minimising the risk on the client’s side. The packages represent small time commitments organised around needs-driven modular deliverables. This appears to change the timescale we usually operate in, which often spans months or even years.
Products need time and pressure to mature. Often, at their inception, the efficacy of the idea can only be anticipated, so the assumptions and direction of design should be validated as early as is practical. Inevitably, the findings will highlight the changes of direction needed in order to meaningfully progress the idea. Fortunately, a project can be shipped in stages, collect real data from early on, and increase the chances for its long-term success. While a product’s viewpoint is holistic, it can materialise incrementally.
Services can be employed to investigate, troubleshoot, refactor, or even architect, but most often their scope is intended to be local. However, some innovations can affect adjacent departments, for example when establishing a new workflow with MR simulations and collaborative reviews. Thus, despite being seemingly localised, a service can gradually uncover and address non-obviously related use cases, potentially even resulting in ‘a side product’.
Every promising idea needs a thorough, incremental evaluation at each stage of its development. After all, no one wants to find themselves on this list — years past the deadline, vastly over budget, and with nothing to show for it.
Here the trajectories of products and services intersect. In fact, our longest running projects grew from requirement gathering engagements and prototyping services. We have been learning the applications of XR in close collaboration with experts in their domains. Thanks to this approach, our insights into the needs of users and other stakeholders evolve organically, in tandem with the software. Now, with our partners, we also extend ourselves towards productisation of ‘the side products’.
Value-testing the waters
We reflect on our Social Value Policy methodically when selecting further business partners and clients, reviewing them against 10 Key Performance Indicators that capture our company values. The policy allows for 6 consecutive quarters in a social value dip, i.e. underperforming on our KPIs. After 18 months of non-compliance, we only have another two quarters to change the trajectory or else, as per the “Self-Destruct 🔥🔥🔥” clause, the co-op must fold and distribute its assets to an organisation that meets our policy requirements.
We have not yet been in the position where we call an existing engagement into question due to the KPI outcomes of a review. With this pre-contract assessment as a safety measure, we are comfortable in pushing the boundaries of what a tech co-op can do, and how we can continue the search for our place on the R&D market.
Trust in our process
Every promising idea needs a thorough, incremental evaluation at each stage of its development. After all, no one wants to find themselves on this list — years past the deadline, vastly over budget, and with nothing to show for it. We aspire to carve ambitious pathways towards bold and human-centred innovation. As we open ourselves up to shorter pieces of problem-solving and prototyping work, we tune into the interlinked service-product perspectives of our partners and clients. Social value is at the heart of our drive to pursue technical excellence.
If you have a goal in mind or a challenge you wrestle with and have the sense it could be addressed with XR, hesitate no further: tell us about your idea.