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Energy transition is agile work | First Light

In early 2022 Thoughtworks began working with First Light, an Oxford-based fusion research company. In pursuit of a breakthrough in sustainable energy, the company relies on technology that can keep pace with its research findings and ideas. Our partnership is helping First Light adopt agile practices, scale-up their facilities, and grow their organization.


First Light was established as a research start-up from Oxford University to prove the theory of achieving fusion power through inertial fusion. Its mission statement ‘Powering a world worth inheriting’ neatly sums up its goal: to develop a more sustainable, less polluting source of energy for the world. Fusion-based energy emits no greenhouse gases and is powered by readily-available fuel sources (hydrogen and lithium), giving it huge potential for the energy transition. 


Inertial fusion uses the inertial confinement of fusible materials. This is achieved by ‘firing’ a projectile into a specially designed target, containing the fuel, that creates the immense pressure and temperature needed. First Light has demonstrated fusion using this technique and is now testing these targets at a number of worldwide pulse-power facilities to demonstrate the key capabilities needed for commercial energy generation.


While theoretical physics and engineering underpin much of what the First Light team do, software also plays a major role. This led to First Light inviting Thoughtworks to become a consulting partner, establishing a multi-year agreement with us to provide advisory services as part of their working groups. 

Our goal is to help First Light with their ways of working around software engineering, and advise on how they can retain agility while continuing their research activities, that are part industrial prototype, part science experiment, and as such, maintaining flexibility and a low cost-of-change is key. Already big fans of agile practices, they are eager to learn from our expertise in this area. 

"Agility is a vital component and ethos at First Light. To solve the complex scientific challenges associated with inertial fusion in the simplest – and fastest – way possible, our technical work programme must allow our teams to adapt quickly to new information and learnings.”

Thoughtworks has been working with First Light’s Agile Working Group since January 2022, and we look forward to continuing our journey together in the pursuit of a new, game-changing energy source.

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