The first session, given by Isaac Wagner of Memorial Sloan-Kettering (MKS), told the story of how MKS began creating a data analytics team 5 years ago based upon a small investment from MKS leadership and how they refined their approaches to team and organizational structures to facilitate growth from 2 to about 50, with most of that growth occurring in the later half of the 5 years. After trying consulting-based models (including external consultants) and models embedding teams entirely within a department, they found that an organizational Center Of Excellence combining these two models worked best for them. The COE allows them to balancing specialists and generalist capabilities while obtaining buy-in from the departments that own the decision making process. Regarding team structures, they began with traditional Kanban techniques and discovered greater productivity through a Scrum method that allows for multi-disciplinary team with all defined roles and responsibilities with formalized deliverables.
The second session, given by Michael Bloem of Steelcase, described experiments that Steelcase have been undertaking to understand how the Internet-Of-Things, digital exhaust and analytics are creating new opportunities for workplace innovation and creativity. Here digital exhaust means the emerging data and metadata related to sensors and software tools used to book rooms. The experiments are human-centered and explore hypotheses related around gender and age preferences for various workplace configurations. Often these experiments identified unexpected preferences. For instance, one notable experiment identified that individuals often use a space just for the storage of their goods, that is, they immediately leave. From this, they were able to create a secure space for those individuals to leave personal items for 30-60 minutes, allowing others to utilize the resources instead.