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Design Lessons from Big Tech
Design Lessons from Big Tech
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Overview

Love or hate them, there's no denying the impact of the big tech companies on our lives and world. From Amazon, Google, and even companies like SpaceX — these rapidly growing giants continue to transform, shape and influence almost everything. 

So what lessons can we learn from their experiences? How can we unpack their agile practices, inventive ideas, and use those approaches elsewhere? Well, this is by no means a definitive list but it points to some of the gems we've gleaned so far. 

This Playbook includes the following sections, select a heading to jump to that section.
TAKING THE PLUNGE
You've heard the stories - about how all of these companies started in a garage. So what were some of the early lessons behind their start up stories?
First Principle Thinking
Elon Musk often cites this model as a crucial tool to reframe problems and go beyond common assumptions. It's a potentially disruptive approach and a must when challenging the status quo.
Regret Minimisation Framework
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This simple and compelling model was the one that Jeff Bezos used to leave a good-paying salaried job and bet on Amazon.
COLLABORATION & WAYS OF WORKING
Beyond the processes, these agile companies have uncovered other important lessons to deepen collaboration and impact.
WORK PROCESSES
Software companies have led the way in reinventing the way we work and deliver on customer needs.
Musk's 5 Step Design Process
Elon Musk's 5 Step Design Process was developed from his work (and mistakes) at Tesla, and has been more consistently applied at SpaceX. It's transferable to a range of businesses and projects.
Amazon's Working Backwards
Amazon's obsession with customer-centricity means that they start and end there. Creating press releases and FAQ documents to test the value of the proposed project or initiative upfront, it also aligns the team if it does get to build.
DIBB Framework
Not keen on Musk's approach? Then you might want to consider this Shopify approach to building a data-driven culture of innovation and learning.
Psychological Safety
Google's Project Aristotle famously identified the key factor behind high-performing teams as Psychological Safety. Click into the model to find out more.
Agile Methodology
Agile methodology was born from software companies, click into this model to also explore Kanban, Scrum and other related models.
High-Velocity Decisions
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Bezos' model aimed to create a 'Day One' company, even as it was scaling to unimaginable growth. His decision model is focused on achieving a 'bias to action' and cut through beurocracy.
Lean Startup
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The Lean Startup captures modern tech startups that have been reflected in broader business - particularly of focusing on a Minimum Viable Product and working with quick cycles to better meet customer needs.
DevOps Mindset
A relatively recent addition to Agile methodology, this approach looked at the end-to-end process and breaking down traditional silos in organisations.
AND TWO 'LAWS'
Not really real 'laws' but these concepts do represent interesting observations and things to keep in mind that are related to the rise of technology companies.
Zawinski’s Law
A funny one to throw in at first glance, but it was a lesson from early tech companies – specifically from the days of Netscape.
Directly Responsible Individual
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Steve Jobs adopted this method across Apple to help foster greater accountability.
Moore’s Law
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And a model to help understand the driver behind our continued digital disruption – capturing the speed of technological advancement.
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