In this spotlight, we dive into the success of Autodesk and how they have been able to take risks, without being reckless. This approach has created a culture of experimentation within the workplace, propelling them to solve complex problems as they build the right teams to scale at massive proportions. Buckle up as we ride through the role risk plays in leadership, learn from a team conditioned for experimentation, and see how managing vast amounts of data can provide insights on which companies to partner with to build a stronger data strategy.
Listen to the full story on the AWS Conversations with Leaders podcast
Risk isn’t about being reckless. It’s about innovation, exploration, experimentation and thinking of different ways to learn and develop.”
We calculate our risks, but they're still risks. Our company strives to be experimental. We are constantly thinking about our outcomes, and if we're not hitting them, it's a matter of just re-orienting. It's not about taking a risk that's so big you're going to put the company, team, or a product at risk, but it's really about taking the kind of risk that you can learn from and then build upon going forward.
It's about giving people the freedom to go and explore something, but also having expected outcomes.”
The Freedom of Experimentation
The freedom to fail mindset started about seven or eight years ago. We rolled this out to the team, emphasizing the idea of "failing fast" and that "it's ok to fail." As these words spilled out of my mouth, you could hear a pin drop as confused faces stared back at me. In one sense, they are correct. Who wakes up in the morning thinking, "I'm going to fail today." This approach wasn't motivating to a team stacked with successful players who wake up excited about their job. So, we flipped the script to express our intent in the phrase, "It's ok to fail, as long as you are learning and adapting.” Language is important. We decided to focus our language on experimentation. It's about giving our people the freedom to go and explore something, but also have expected outcomes. An attitude of, "we tried this, we were hoping this would happen, it didn't, what did we learn." This is the process of what it means to have the freedom of experimentation.
Data = Insights. How Are You Managing It?
The problem some companies run into is that managing their vast amounts of data can be overwhelming, and without tracking outcomes, efficiency can be an afterthought to keep up with demand. The most successful ways we've seen people start creating insights is with a pilot, thinking about a particular facility or aspect of that facility, and then trying to understand what they wish they could drive as an outcome. From there, it's a matter of looking for the data that supports that use case. This may involve creating a cross-functional team to wrangle data from disparate sources or create new data sources to deliver on the outcome. Then once you have success, you can find another challenge.
Building a Stronger Story by Enabling Tech and Acquiring Digital Twins
This year, we made our first billion-dollar acquisition, which my team drove. It was very exciting! We acquired a company called Innovyze. Innovyze is software that designs water systems and creates digital twins (a virtual representation of a physical object or system) of water ecosystems. What a fantastic time to be working in water. It's such a vital resource, and there's just so much work happening around the globe to fix problems and create opportunities for people in terms of how they get their water supply. We are connecting the Innovyze portfolio to the Autodesk portfolio, and we now have an end-to-end solution for water. There was almost no overlap in the two product portfolios, and we are quickly coming to market with an incredibly strong story. It's also an example of applying the digital twin concept to a very specific industry use case to create meaningful outcomes.
The most successful ways we've seen people start is with a pilot, thinking about a particular facility or aspect of that facility, and then trying to understand what they wish they could drive as an outcome. From there, it's a matter of looking for the data that supports that use case.”
About our guests
Executive Vice President, Architecture, Engineering and Construction Design Solutions
As executive vice president, Architecture, Engineering and Construction Design Solutions, Amy manages product strategy and execution for Autodesk’s 3D design portfolio including the Autodesk Architecture, Engineering and Construction Collection, AutoCAD family, Autodesk Revit, and more.