Entuitive Co-op Diaries: Kostubh Agarwal
At Entuitive, we have a great team of creative, collaborative, and advanced people, and that includes our talented co-op students. In this post by Kostubh Agarwal, Innovation Specialist, we hear about which projects he worked on and what he learned this summer in our Toronto office. Take it away, Kostubh!
I was extremely excited to join Entuitive and work in the beautiful downtown office with its views of the CN Tower, yet I didn’t really know what my role entailed or what it meant to be an Innovation Specialist. To me at first, it was just two buzzwords put together.
Quickly I noticed that Entuitive was a forward-thinking company. I was constantly greeted by young people who were eager to learn, leverage technology, and advance their careers. Apparently, these qualities are quite rare in the AEC industry.
Within the first week, I was building a webapp for the sustainability department.
In my downtime I spoke to co-workers and scoured Entuitive’s Idea Hopper. The Idea Hopper is a platform for employees to share problems, ideas, and prompts they believe the company should work on or employ. Within a short period of time, I had a shortlist of 8-10 posts related to design-aids, IT security, and webapps. With the help of Blaine Jansen, Daphne Tsang, Connor Barr, and Stephen Cohos, I was able to further narrow my shortlist scopes based on my skills and alignment with the company’s objectives.
The first scope I took on was related to preventing the theft of design aids. I quickly learned that the AEC industry is very tight knit. No one escapes the industry; they simply move from company to company. As such, it is common practice to take design aids from one company to the next. To prevent the theft of intellectual property, with Designer Chris Weckesser’s help, I was able to piece together a script to limit the accessibility of a design aid to Entuitive’s local network.
During my co-op term, I was also extremely lucky to work on Entuitive’s IMPACT challenges. IMPACT is a Dragon’s Den style pitch competition. Teams are allocated resources to go through a 3-month Research and Development (R&D) phase to develop and test a thesis and MVP (minimum viable product), before pitching it to Entuitive’s senior leadership team.
In fact, most of my time was allocated toward conducting R&D for the Reality Capture submission and the Thermal Performance Analyses Database for the building envelope team.
My coworkers, Connor, Daphne, Stephen, and Blaine gave me a lot of freedom to learn and grow from any mistakes. As such, my time at Entuitive was a phenomenal learning opportunity. Below are the three biggest takeaways for me:
- Have tight feedback loops. Frequently seek user input and feedback from the earliest stages of development. Work alongside your end-users, don’t disappear with a scope, work in isolation, and return a few months later with a deliverable.
- The problem a person states is not necessarily the problem they experience. People often have difficulty understanding and communicating their own problems. The problem described to you in the beginning is very often different to the problem you are required to solve by the end. It is important to question assumptions and statements.
- Build something concrete, quickly. Understanding that true feedback, progress, and learning can come when you begin to build something. Back and forth discussion only has limited benefit. Building a concrete solution provides insight into the nuances and constraints of a problem that are otherwise unavailable. Additionally, people are much more eager to give feedback and criticism when they have something concrete in front of them. In every case, I was better off building something (even if it was misguided), then iterating it.
Today I can confidently describe my role as an Innovation Specialist at Entuitive:
Innovation Specialists work to advance and improve the operation, as well as the quality of products and services of a company by leveraging technology. Innovation Specialists operate on a longer time-horizon, as the scopes they address are ignored by the sector of employees who work on billable projects. They are willing to experiment and are ok with failure.
If you are a student who likes to learn and work with smart people, I encourage you to reach out to Entuitive. Feel free to reach out here if you have any questions.