The people in the team are the secret ingredient to the success of a team. Give a great idea to a mediocre team, and they will screw it up. Give a mediocre idea to a great team - they will either fix it or develop something better. We are forming the “Brain Trust” (idea stolen from Pixar), everyone in our group is part of the Brain Trust. We are here to troubleshoot research problems collectively.

Failure is not a necessary evil; it is not evil at all. It is a necessary consequence of trying something new. Do not wait for things to be perfect before sharing them with others. If there are people in the team who hesitate to share ideas, we lose. It is not enough to merely create an open environment to ideas from others but to have an active, continual process that engages the collective brainpower. When there is a disagreement with someone, there is a reason. Our job is to understand the reasoning behind their conclusion. There is nothing quite as effective as shutting down an idea as thinking we are right. There are no stupid questions, in fact, “stupid questions” are probably the most important because they question something fundamental which we have assumed as obvious. Also, carefully crafting a message to downplay or hide problems will not solve the issue. Show early and show often or fail early and fail often. Odd unexplainable results, unknown behavior, research code/experiments failing to work right are all a normal part of the research. It will be pretty when we get there, but it will not be pretty along the way, and that is how it should be.

Our goal is to do fundamental research and create incredible products. The Brain Trust will meet weekly on Mondays to discuss the problems we have in research to work together and help each other while we also learn from each other. Brain Trust meeting is not a group presentation. We want to hear the problems and struggles and work collectively to fix them. Brain Trust is a safe environment to share problems/issues without being judged and discover new insights. The comments offered are on the topic and is not about a researcher. To facilitate the Brain Trust meeting, create a single page document describing the current issue/research problem at hand with figures if possible and update Asana at least an hour before the meeting to give enough time for others to review the document. Let us explore fundamental concepts and create outstanding research findings.

The first conclusions we draw from our successes and failure are typically wrong. Measuring the outcome without evaluating the process is deceiving. Our process will continually evolve. Our goal is excellent products (research/code) and not the process.