Saturday, 23 June 2018

Tongue-in-cheek project management definitions

I was having a clearout of old papers recently.
Amongst my Marks and Spencer stuff I found the amusing list of alternative definitions for project managers attached below. I wrote this glossary about 25 years ago, so now I suppose we could add:

Artificial intelligence
Machine learning
Big data
Virtual reality
Silicon roundabout
Working from home

Any offers offers for alternative definitions for these?

(Incidentally, in government projects 'SRO' is Senior Responsible Officer).

Friday, 22 June 2018

Innovation serendipity - how not to do it

At The Innovation Network we've often discussed how important the physical environment is to maximising the chance of innovating. Cloisters, staircases, coffee machines are common examples of places where people can be expected to have chance encounters and spark ideas off one another.

I've just listened to the Planet Money podcast episode #847 'Inventing Accidents'. That's accidental inventions - not inventing car crashes. The broadcast features several inventions that came about when individuals were looking for something else. Did you know the Super Soaker water pistol was accidentally invented by a NASA scientist?

Pagan Kennedy (yes that is her name) has studied and written extensively about serendipity. In the podcast she talks about 'engineering serendipity' being a myth and building special multi-million $ staircases are a waste of money.

The best thing you can do to bring about accidental innovations - hire the most diverse workforce you can find.

You can listen to the podcast (18 minutes) here.

KIN has a diverse and exciting set of innovation events scheduled for the summer and autumn. The next is the 'Building Trust with Blockchain' masterclass on 3rd July, hosted by PwC. Check out the calendar of events here.

Innovation Announcement: New Masterclass Event: LEGO Serious Play, 09 Nov 2018

Do you use your hands to think?

Creativity, ideation and design thinking are all important components of innovation and problem solving. However, it's often difficult to get the creative juices flowing without some external stimulus. LEGO Serious Play (LSP) is a high-energy creativity, communication and problem-solving technique. It enables faster and better decisions with more commitment from participants. It's particularly effective at releasing untapped potential (people always 'know more than they know they know') and latent ideas.

This is a hands-on, interactive Masterclass for KIN members that will show how to use all our senses, particularly visual and haptic (tactile). Using the metaphor of LEGO modelling, we will experience a new way of thinking (with your hands). This is underpinned by research into the neuroscience of groups and meetings. We will also explore contemporary leadership themes such as psychological safety, systems thinking, diversity and inclusion, authenticity, creativity and collaboration. These are all critical components of successful innovation. You will have the opportunity to tackle your own problems, unlock ideas and take these back into your organisation. LSP is being used in an increasing number of organisations – large and small, commercial and public ; this is an opportunity to experience using it first hand and understand how it and playful approaches can have a significant impact.

This event would be of particular interest to and benefit the following roles and functions:
R&D, Change management, knowledge managers, innovation specialists, strategy roles, operations management, Learning and Development, HR

The key learning points from this event will be:
A practical and engaging problem solving technique, novel idea-generation, team-building, inclusion techniques, the neuroscience behind team working

Full details can be found on this the KIN members' event page:
Masterclass: LEGO Serious Play'

Monday, 11 June 2018

Data paranoia

I received an invitation from one of our speakers at a past KIN Workshop to join Dock.
This technology offers to connect all our social media activity through the blockchain-enabled platform Etherium. The last thing I want is for all my digital presence, such as it is, to be more connected, despite the security that blockchain allegedly offers. 

The invitation cleverly/worryingly lets me know which of my contacts have already signed up for Dock. I had not given Dock permission to see my contacts, so I can only assume that it had done some clever stuff connecting me through the contacts of the person that had invited me. Blockchain may be 'secure', but the rest of it?

Paranoid, moi?

Steve Dale is running a KIN Masterclass 'Building Trust with Blockchain', hosted by PwC in London on 3rd July. KIN Members can get more information and register here.

Friday, 27 April 2018

'Fish where the fish are...' using engaging language to gain buy-in

I'm a big fan of David D'Souza of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development - his blog is always insightful. I'm also passionate about the use of relevant terminology and language when gaining buy-in for change. David's latest posting is right on the money....


I don’t care for your technical language. It has no interest to me. I care for your technical expertise that can help good things happen. I don’t pay you for an invitation to tour your world. I pay you to step into mine.
What do I see
A few weeks ago I spoke to someone who couldn’t get their senior team to back their wellbeing strategy. The senior team were, apparently, just not enlightened enough to recognise the importance of wellbeing. The senior team were, instead, too busy being worried about their teams being pushed to the brink and the danger of burnout and turnover.
I know…
As far as I was concerned the senior team knew what was going on and wanted a solution to a mutually identified problem. They just didn’t care for a conversation about an HR initiative or the dressing that they were being offered. A clear invitation to work with them on wellbeing was there – if they didn’t want to call it ‘wellbeing’ then quite understandably that was their right. It was also the least important thing going on.
They pay for help in their space. They get to choose the language. If you want to call it wellbeing behind the scenes then that’s your choice.
In L&D I’ve seen similar inclinations in the past
“The senior team want to mentor people on X”
Desirable response: Yay, how can we support that?
Actual response: Are you sure they don’t mean coach? We better explain the difference or the organisation is surely doomed
“The senior team want an away day”
Desirable response: I’m glad they want to invest time in their development, we can find a way to support that
Actual response: Didn’t they read our learning strategy where we talk about 70:20:10. Fools. I mock them from on high.
Any invitation to the party should be welcomed. If you want to work in partnership with people in an organisation – and not be somehow special and apart – then contact on their terms matters. If someone you want to get to know asks you to a party the correct response isn’t to say ‘In my expert opinion you are really talking about a get together’. It’s to ask ‘Sure, what can I bring?’
I’m writing this after seeing some exchanges from our Learning Development show yesterday where people were (healthily) challenging the language used within L&D. Making things accessible matters. Making a difference matters. The language probably only matters to practitioners, not beneficiaries. I’m not saying it is never useful, I am saying it should never get in the way.
Fish where the fish are. Don’t sit by the side of the lake shouting at the fish that they just don’t appreciate how much better it is where you have chosen to sit.