How strategy can be learnt even by a computer (and why you should too)
If you are involved in any form of product development an understanding of strategy is important in any decision you make in a competitive environment. But we learn very little of this from our day to day training. Very little situational awareness beyond 'gut feel' is ever part of our education system. This talk hopes to combine two inspirations. The first one is Simon Wardley and his mapping techniques. I share how his techniques and thought processes can help you in your decision making whether directly building products or managing large teams. Then I share my passion for tech from two angles - a fascination of the new wave of A.I. algorithms of the last few years plus a love of the game Starcraft. These two recently combined with Deepmind being able to beat top e-sport professionals not by being faster but by being smarter. This forms a background to my talk as I show even a computer can learn strategy. A sprinkling of Sun Tzu's Art of War along the way to demonstrate the power of these algorithms.
Outline/Structure of the TED talk
Provide a definition of strategy based on Simon Wardley and his mapping techniques. Look at what strategy is and how it is important in modern day product development.
With those definitions in mind and how they are important then overlay how Deepmind (https://deepmind.com/blog/alphastar-mastering-real-time-strategy-game-starcraft-ii/) applied high level strategic thinking to beat e-sports professionals. Will demonstrate the importance of situational awareness. This will be done by visuals (almost certainly video) Will mix in some strategic thinking from Sun Tzu's Art of War to highlight the high functioning thought processes going on.
The take away is to believe that strategy is not a "you have it or you don't" ability but something we can all learn and apply in our day to day business to a positive effect. And also incidentally the power of Deep Learning (technically Reinforcement Learning in this case) Bonus you develop a passion for Starcraft!
Prerequisites for Attendees
Some understanding of product development. Will discuss certain Deep Learning and A.I. technologies and while I explain some A.I. concepts little prior knowledge is assumed though beneficial. A knowledge of computer games is also probably helpful but not necessary. I try and make this relevant to people doing the actual building of products (developers/testers/XD) to those making decisions around large programs of work.