Jörg Kress: Red square

Tags: django, djangocon

An enterprise success story. He works for sky tec. Red square was made for BMW. So he won’t show real production data as Audi and friends might be watching :-)

Red square is for all employees of BMW to share ideas. All. Irregardless of position in the company. The idea came from senior management, so having senior management support for the site was not a problem. The project manager made the choice for Django and he was high enough in the hierarchy to make that choice.

Red square is an anonymous social network for idea creation and refinement. The goal is focused open innovation. The problem with open innovation is often lots of noise and not a lot of signal. It is for employees of BMW, so it is focused. In a big company like BMW, cracking silos, so cracking the walls between the various departments, is a problem you have to solve. And you need barrier-free communication, so anonymity is important as nobody will contradict the boss if he posts a wrong idea as he’s the boss.

Brainstorming: you need an uninterrupted flow of ideas. So they don’t allow negative ratings on ideas, only positive. Only comments on ideas can be downrated.

It is quite an unexpected application. “How did you get that approved?”:

  • It was a pilot.
  • It was allowed to fail.
  • It stayed focused.
  • Backed by senior management.
  • It used as much existing infrastructure as possible.

Why Django?

  • Good for iterative development?
  • Provides sustainable imperfection :-) You can keep parts of the system in an im-perfect way and it doesn’t fall over.
  • Good enough.
  • Coherent.

Success factors:

  • Happy users! We listen to them.
  • No major fails.
  • Trusted by users.
  • Trusted by the departments!
  • They could run on a shoestring-budget.
  • Focus. Reluctant to add new features.

They can measure their success: other companies also want it. BMW wants more of it. Users demand other systems to work just like red square.

Thanks a lot to all Django developers!

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My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.

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