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Delivering value
that is relevant to
humans and the planet,
today and in the future
P R E S E N T A T I O N V I D E O
Agents of
tomorrows T E C H N O L O G Y
B U S I N E S S
S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y
F U T U R E
T H I N K I N G
VA L U E F O R
H U M A N S A N D T H E
P L A N E T
We are a consulting boutique focused on the
development of growth capabilities, such as innovation
management, future thinking, and sustainability lead
innovation.
We have an integrated approach to design, business,
and innovation, delivering value where is relevant.
D E S I G N
Next Agents
We are thought-leaders in our fields
and we have partnered to help
organisations rethink value and traditional
ways to conduct business.
Based in Europe,
working in the world
Our experience comes from many other cultures that we
have been raised, educated, worked and lived in.
We have 3 locations across Europe: in Portugal (Barcelos),
Poland (Lotz) and Sweden (Stockholm), and we work across
the world to address systemic wicked challenges.
RAPID
LEARNING
CYCLES
Learn as much as possible here

to uncover problems early and make better decisions.
Consistently choose by the SSE MBA
students as one of the best
frameworks from the MBA’s
concentration in Innovation and
Entrepreneurship
Time
Knowledge
Decisions
Deadline
Fonte: Ulfe Elbaek
The management of
innovation uncertainty
Time
Knowledge
Decisions
Deadline
Fonte: Ulfe Elbaek
The management of
innovation uncertainty
Risk: Decisions
under uncertainty
10
Source: Radeka, K (2015). “The Shortest Distance Between You and
Your New Product: How Innovators use rapid learning cycles to get
their best ideas to market faster.” Chesapeake Research Press.
Identity what you don’t know
(knowledge gaps) and give yourself
time to learn before you commit to a
path. Explore and then decide.
© 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION
For exclusive use of licensee only. 11
Where It All Started . . .
● Dr. Allen Ward: lead researcher into the
Toyota Product Development System at
the University of Michigan.
● Described “Learning Cycles” and “Combat
Planning” in early development in this
booklet published in early 2004.
● Died later that year in a tragic accident.
● My job: develop a training in “Knowledge
Based Development” for teams at HP
based upon a training we had licensed.
© 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION
For exclusive use of licensee only. 12
Cost of Change for Hardware Products
Early,

Fast,

Cheap

Failure
Late,

Slow,

Expensive

Failure
© 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION
For exclusive use of licensee only. 13
Most Product Development Programs

Are One Slow Learning Cycle
Slow

Learning Cycle
Make decisions here
based on incomplete
knowledge.
Revisit those decisions here when
detailed product / process design
and verification testing uncovers
problems with the decisions.
Launch
Validation
Design
Concept
Definition
© 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION
For exclusive use of licensee only. 14


Rapid Learning Cycles Change When

and How Major Decisions Get Made
Rapid Learning Cycles
Learn as much as possible here

to uncover problems early and make
better decisions.
Maintain flexibility as long as
possible here since there will always
be some things that we

still need to learn.
Launch
Validation
Design
Concept
Definition
© 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION
For exclusive use of licensee only. 15
Pull Learning Forward to Make Decisions

Before Cost-of-Change Goes Up
Early,

Fast,

Cheap

Failure
Late,

Slow,

Expensive

Failure
Pull Learning Forward to Identify and Remove Obstacles
© 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION
For exclusive use of licensee only. 16
Push Decisions Later to 

Delay Cost-of-Change Increases
Early,

Fast,

Cheap

Failure
Late,

Slow,

Expensive

Failure
Push Decisions Later to Preserve Flexibility
© 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION
For exclusive use of licensee only. 17
Pull Learning Forward 

and Push Decisions Later
Rapid Learning Cycles
Push Decisions Later to Preserve Flexibility
Pull Learning Forward to Identify and Remove Obstacles
EXPLORATION LAUNCH
© 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION
For exclusive use of licensee only. 18
The last moment on a project’s timeline
when a decision must be finalized
to avoid major impacts
on downstream partners
Delay Decisions Until 

the Last Responsible Moment
© 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION
For exclusive use of licensee only. 19
Extensible Knowledge
Capture extensible knowledge so that
future program teams don’t have to
re-learn the same things.
Leverage extensible knowledge to
focus a team’s rapid learning
cycles on new ideas and product-
specific details.
… To Accelerate Future

Development Programs
Rapid Learning Cycles Build

Extensible Knowledge …
Launch
Validation
Design
Concept
Definition Launch
Validation
Design
Concept
Definition
© 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION
For exclusive use of licensee only. 20
The Rapid Learning Cycles
Framework in the Agile Universe
● Agile Software Development
● Software vs Hardware Development
● The RLC Framework Adapted from Scrum
© 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION
For exclusive use of licensee only. 21
“Agile” itself is problematic. . .
When leaders say “Agile” they
usually want:
●Fast
●Nimble
●Decisive
●Responsive, especially to
customer and business needs
●Cross-functional
●Fulfill strategic objectives in a
dynamic environment
When developers hear “Agile” they
think:
●“Agile Manifesto”
●Scrum, SAFe or XP
●Sprints with Backlogs
●Iterative Development
●User Stories and Epics
●Self-organizing teams
© 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION
For exclusive use of licensee only. 22
When HW Teams “Just Use Agile. . .”
Here’s what we observe across organizations:
● “Daily Scrums” are too often, create frustration.
● “Done-Done” is difficult to achieve except at smallest task level where the concept doesn’t add
much value.
● Teams can lose track of key dependencies.
● Backlogs blow up and the overhead of Sprint Review / Planning takes up too much
development capacity.
● Teams can waste a lot of time building prototypes when there are faster ways to learn.
● Teams still encounter late design changes, loopbacks, cost overruns, sourcing and
manufacturability issues.
© 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION
For exclusive use of licensee only. 23
The Lifecycle of 

Software/Services Products
16
Idea
Proof of
Concept
Alpha and
Beta Tests
Customer
Releases
Installation
Support
Development
Production
Post-Sales
Design &
Coding
© 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION
For exclusive use of licensee only. 24
The Lifecycle of Tangible Products
17
Idea
Proof of
Concept
Lab
Prototypes
Production

Prototypes
Mass
Production
Sourcing
Finished
Goods
Inventory
Distribution
and
Channels
Customer’s
Physical
Location
Support
Warranty
and Service
Development
Production
Post-Sales
End of Life
Disposal
Detailed

Design
© 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION
For exclusive use of licensee only. 25
What we need to learn differs by domain
Key uncertainties 

in software:
Will the customer like our product?
How long will it take to build?
How will the software interact with its
environment?
What types of mistakes will happen?
Key uncertainties 

in physical products:
Will the customer like our product?
Is our idea physically possible?
Which materials will work well?
Can this be manufactured in bulk for a
reasonable cost?
How will we source major
components?
How will we support it in the field?
© 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION
For exclusive use of licensee only. 26
Two Different Ways to Learn
19
Implement a provisional
decision à Test the
results and repeat
implementation if needed.
Experiment, prototype,
investigate à
Then make final decision.
OR
High cost of change Low cost of change
© 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION
For exclusive use of licensee only. 27
When and Where to Use RLCs
Traditional Project
Management
Rapid Learning
Cycles
Informal Tools
Agile Project
Management
High Cost of Change
Low Cost of Change
Low

Uncertainty
High

Uncertainty
© 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION
For exclusive use of licensee only. 28
The Best Place to Start
Coming in January 2022
N E X T A G E N T S . S E

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Delivering Value Through Future-Focused Innovation

  • 1. &
  • 2. Delivering value that is relevant to humans and the planet, today and in the future P R E S E N T A T I O N V I D E O
  • 3. Agents of tomorrows T E C H N O L O G Y B U S I N E S S S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y F U T U R E T H I N K I N G VA L U E F O R H U M A N S A N D T H E P L A N E T We are a consulting boutique focused on the development of growth capabilities, such as innovation management, future thinking, and sustainability lead innovation. We have an integrated approach to design, business, and innovation, delivering value where is relevant. D E S I G N
  • 4. Next Agents We are thought-leaders in our fields and we have partnered to help organisations rethink value and traditional ways to conduct business.
  • 5. Based in Europe, working in the world Our experience comes from many other cultures that we have been raised, educated, worked and lived in. We have 3 locations across Europe: in Portugal (Barcelos), Poland (Lotz) and Sweden (Stockholm), and we work across the world to address systemic wicked challenges.
  • 6. RAPID LEARNING CYCLES Learn as much as possible here
 to uncover problems early and make better decisions.
  • 7. Consistently choose by the SSE MBA students as one of the best frameworks from the MBA’s concentration in Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • 8. Time Knowledge Decisions Deadline Fonte: Ulfe Elbaek The management of innovation uncertainty
  • 9. Time Knowledge Decisions Deadline Fonte: Ulfe Elbaek The management of innovation uncertainty Risk: Decisions under uncertainty
  • 10. 10 Source: Radeka, K (2015). “The Shortest Distance Between You and Your New Product: How Innovators use rapid learning cycles to get their best ideas to market faster.” Chesapeake Research Press. Identity what you don’t know (knowledge gaps) and give yourself time to learn before you commit to a path. Explore and then decide.
  • 11. © 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION For exclusive use of licensee only. 11 Where It All Started . . . ● Dr. Allen Ward: lead researcher into the Toyota Product Development System at the University of Michigan. ● Described “Learning Cycles” and “Combat Planning” in early development in this booklet published in early 2004. ● Died later that year in a tragic accident. ● My job: develop a training in “Knowledge Based Development” for teams at HP based upon a training we had licensed.
  • 12. © 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION For exclusive use of licensee only. 12 Cost of Change for Hardware Products Early,
 Fast,
 Cheap
 Failure Late,
 Slow,
 Expensive
 Failure
  • 13. © 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION For exclusive use of licensee only. 13 Most Product Development Programs
 Are One Slow Learning Cycle Slow
 Learning Cycle Make decisions here based on incomplete knowledge. Revisit those decisions here when detailed product / process design and verification testing uncovers problems with the decisions. Launch Validation Design Concept Definition
  • 14. © 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION For exclusive use of licensee only. 14 
 Rapid Learning Cycles Change When
 and How Major Decisions Get Made Rapid Learning Cycles Learn as much as possible here
 to uncover problems early and make better decisions. Maintain flexibility as long as possible here since there will always be some things that we
 still need to learn. Launch Validation Design Concept Definition
  • 15. © 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION For exclusive use of licensee only. 15 Pull Learning Forward to Make Decisions
 Before Cost-of-Change Goes Up Early,
 Fast,
 Cheap
 Failure Late,
 Slow,
 Expensive
 Failure Pull Learning Forward to Identify and Remove Obstacles
  • 16. © 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION For exclusive use of licensee only. 16 Push Decisions Later to 
 Delay Cost-of-Change Increases Early,
 Fast,
 Cheap
 Failure Late,
 Slow,
 Expensive
 Failure Push Decisions Later to Preserve Flexibility
  • 17. © 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION For exclusive use of licensee only. 17 Pull Learning Forward 
 and Push Decisions Later Rapid Learning Cycles Push Decisions Later to Preserve Flexibility Pull Learning Forward to Identify and Remove Obstacles EXPLORATION LAUNCH
  • 18. © 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION For exclusive use of licensee only. 18 The last moment on a project’s timeline when a decision must be finalized to avoid major impacts on downstream partners Delay Decisions Until 
 the Last Responsible Moment
  • 19. © 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION For exclusive use of licensee only. 19 Extensible Knowledge Capture extensible knowledge so that future program teams don’t have to re-learn the same things. Leverage extensible knowledge to focus a team’s rapid learning cycles on new ideas and product- specific details. … To Accelerate Future
 Development Programs Rapid Learning Cycles Build
 Extensible Knowledge … Launch Validation Design Concept Definition Launch Validation Design Concept Definition
  • 20. © 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION For exclusive use of licensee only. 20 The Rapid Learning Cycles Framework in the Agile Universe ● Agile Software Development ● Software vs Hardware Development ● The RLC Framework Adapted from Scrum
  • 21. © 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION For exclusive use of licensee only. 21 “Agile” itself is problematic. . . When leaders say “Agile” they usually want: ●Fast ●Nimble ●Decisive ●Responsive, especially to customer and business needs ●Cross-functional ●Fulfill strategic objectives in a dynamic environment When developers hear “Agile” they think: ●“Agile Manifesto” ●Scrum, SAFe or XP ●Sprints with Backlogs ●Iterative Development ●User Stories and Epics ●Self-organizing teams
  • 22. © 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION For exclusive use of licensee only. 22 When HW Teams “Just Use Agile. . .” Here’s what we observe across organizations: ● “Daily Scrums” are too often, create frustration. ● “Done-Done” is difficult to achieve except at smallest task level where the concept doesn’t add much value. ● Teams can lose track of key dependencies. ● Backlogs blow up and the overhead of Sprint Review / Planning takes up too much development capacity. ● Teams can waste a lot of time building prototypes when there are faster ways to learn. ● Teams still encounter late design changes, loopbacks, cost overruns, sourcing and manufacturability issues.
  • 23. © 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION For exclusive use of licensee only. 23 The Lifecycle of 
 Software/Services Products 16 Idea Proof of Concept Alpha and Beta Tests Customer Releases Installation Support Development Production Post-Sales Design & Coding
  • 24. © 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION For exclusive use of licensee only. 24 The Lifecycle of Tangible Products 17 Idea Proof of Concept Lab Prototypes Production
 Prototypes Mass Production Sourcing Finished Goods Inventory Distribution and Channels Customer’s Physical Location Support Warranty and Service Development Production Post-Sales End of Life Disposal Detailed
 Design
  • 25. © 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION For exclusive use of licensee only. 25 What we need to learn differs by domain Key uncertainties 
 in software: Will the customer like our product? How long will it take to build? How will the software interact with its environment? What types of mistakes will happen? Key uncertainties 
 in physical products: Will the customer like our product? Is our idea physically possible? Which materials will work well? Can this be manufactured in bulk for a reasonable cost? How will we source major components? How will we support it in the field?
  • 26. © 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION For exclusive use of licensee only. 26 Two Different Ways to Learn 19 Implement a provisional decision à Test the results and repeat implementation if needed. Experiment, prototype, investigate à Then make final decision. OR High cost of change Low cost of change
  • 27. © 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION For exclusive use of licensee only. 27 When and Where to Use RLCs Traditional Project Management Rapid Learning Cycles Informal Tools Agile Project Management High Cost of Change Low Cost of Change Low
 Uncertainty High
 Uncertainty
  • 28. © 2021 Whittier Consulting Group, Inc. • rapidlearningcycles.com • USED BY PERMISSION For exclusive use of licensee only. 28 The Best Place to Start Coming in January 2022
  • 29.
  • 30. N E X T A G E N T S . S E