Three years ago we released the Algorithms Tour, an interactive visualization showcasing ten of our algorithmic capabilities. The piece briefly discusses the mathematical framing behind the capabilities and describes how they impact our business, yet does not offer much insight into the environment or strategy that allowed such capabilities to develop.
Today, three years later, we are launching a new interactive visualization. This piece describes the organizational structure, roles, and processes that allows algorithmic capabilities like those depicted in the tour (and many others) to organically emerge. It’s very different from the way most other data science teams operate. In the visualization a hand ( ) appears at various points to signal departure from the more traditional approaches used at so many companies. And, as the reader scrolls, seemingly chaotic data acts as both a medium to carry the reader through the piece and as a metaphor for the decentralization of ideas and the need to embrace ambiguity. At Stitch Fix, algorithmic capabilities aren’t so much designed or envisioned as they are discovered and revealed through curiosity-driven tinkering by data scientists. Our organizational strategies center on enabling this bottom-up innovation. Hence, we call this visualization “Cultivating Algorithms”. The resulting suite of capabilities is the work of the 125+ members of the Algorithms team, whose collective curiosity and innovation has created so much more than the sum of their individual talents.
See it here.