An ecological perspective on collaboration for developing intelligent solutions
Unlike the scientific advances of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the technological developments of the 21st are increasingly exercises in broad-church collaboration. With increasing complexity of solutions comes an increasing need for diversification of skills and speciality. The advancement of technology is perhaps better seen as the product of the overall functioning of the technology and research and development sectors as a whole. The delivery of these technological advances to industry and society relies on collaboration with the services industry also, without whom the necessary cultural change would not occur resulting in a lack of adoption. Nowadays, few successful tech or R&D projects succeed without substantial collaborations and partnerships. Horizontal scale, achieved through healthy partner ecosystems, is critical for success.
Comparison to Ecological Systems
A healthy model for technological advancement through collaborative structures and the commercial benefits derived from them perhaps most analogous to a well-functioning ecosystem. Ecological systems are comprised of many actors, occupying different niche spaces in a constant state of dynamic equilibrium. Some compete (which is healthy) whilst others collaborate mutualistically or symbiotically. There are both generalists and specialists, each without whom the system would converge towards a less productive and more unstable state.
Ecological actors in these systems can be grouped both taxonomically or functionally, that is to say by both what they are and what they do. Their positioning in niche space is described by the position they occupy along n number of functional axes, and the degree of competition and collaboration they experience depends on their degree of overlap and direct and indirect effects they have on their neighbour in this space. Together they act to produce ecosystem functional outputs that are valuable; in natural systems this might be carbon lockdown, in technology this might be innovative solutions to high value problems.
Proven Success of Broad-Church Collaboration
One example of where The Data Analysis Bureau has been collaborating heavily in this way is our flagship (no pun intended) R&D project, developing and deploying deep learning into control systems for round the world sailing yachts. The aim is to deploy an artificially intelligent autopilot to the boat to increase safety, improve performance, and allow the skipper to sleep more and allocate more time to higher level tasks such as strategy and navigation.
Our efforts have focused on developing solutions that will either mimic a sailor (i.e. a digital twin) or learn and develop its own strategy. This is a highly complex project, requiring collaboration across industry and academia, notably between The Data Analysis Bureau, Jack Trigger Racing, Imperial College London, WisConT, and NKE Systems. Between us we cover IoT sensor and hardware automation, professional sailing, machine learning specialists, and a world class academic institution. So successful has this collaboration been that we were selected to present at the IoT Solutions World Congress in Barcelona, and hope to return this year with new developments.
Growing and Cultivating our Collaboration with Digital Partners
Following this philosophy of collaboration, The Data Analysis Bureau is actively growing it’s collaboration with other partners across industries. In order to successfully deliver truly innovative projects, it is vital for us to understand where our competencies start and end and recognise our degree of specialism. Understanding this, we are then able to engage with partners to build strong collaborations, built upon our mutually beneficial strengths, and find new partners where we can benefit from their skills.
It is within this optic that we have enthusiastically engaged with the rich ecosystem of digital agencies who bring their deep understanding of brand and client requirements, creativity, as well as an existing technical competency trusted by their clients.
At The Data Analysis Bureau, we recognise that we are the new kids on the block, but we bring a specialist expertise in developing machine learning for artificial intelligence solutions to add value to our partners. Working together, we can develop and deliver truly cutting-edge solutions that deliver real value to our customers.
We are excited to see the new range of projects that our partners can now explore and look forward to future collaborations. Get in touch with the team to find out what it means for you and your customers!