Innovation and Bureaucracy

This is the second of a series of interviews I will be conducting with members of the Machine Commons supplier Collective. Subscribe to the site to be alerted about future posts.

Steven Boylan is a co-founder of trt:labs, a Berlin based startup focusing on Innovation through Virtual / Augmented Reality and AI.

Trt:labs is also part of what they call an ‘innovation cluster’, offering their clients the experience of a large consultancy with the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of a startup.

How’s business in the pandemic era - have you felt much impact?

“Well, VR took a backseat, because, well, obviously passing glasses from one person to another has been, umm, cancelled!”

“2020 started really strong but everything is now on pause. Clients keep pausing projects. It’s just difficult times.”

“For one of the big innovation departments we’re talking to, we had a demo date setup - every month the secretary sends me a ‘postponed’ email.”

“That’s the story. Every month people are interested but they keep postponing.”

“There’s just a red line: VR was not corona safe.”

Tell me about what you do.

“We do innovation as a service. We basically do what we can do for the price of an AI Engineer. We can do a full analysis to see where tech can play a role in innovating their services and then help them create an MVP and bring it to market.”

“We take these really ethereal concepts and outline pragmatic ways forward for clients.”

"Just because you have an AI programmer doesn’t mean you have someone who knows how to bring an AI solution to market.”

I have heard that one before.