Monday, 7 August 2017

'Will video make text and writing obsolete?'

Here's an irony...
I've been doing research in preparation for the Autumn Knowledge and Innovation Network workshop 'Now You're Talking - the language of workplace communication'. 

I came across this recent blog post 'Will video make text and writing obsolete?' 
The irony that the posting uses text rather than video will not be lost on you. Josh Bernhoff raises some interesting observations about of mixed-media communication and which are the most effective tools. We will be exploring these and others at the workshop on 20th & 21st September.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

The intersection of Design Thinking and Knowledge

An ex-colleague from the World Bank, Arno Boersma, has written a useful article about how Design Thinking can be applied to knowledge sharing.

I agree that trying to convince workers and managers that 'KM' is a worthwhile endeavour is counter to the principles of Design Thinking and futile. Design Thinking ensures that we don't develop 'solutions' without fully understanding what the problem is and why it's a problem. Greg Satell's post on this is a great read I've been convinced for a long time that part of the problem is vocabulary. Rather than invent a new acronym 'KDT', we should promote design thinking skills and techniques as part of existing learning and development processes. Similarly, Systems Thinking; whereby problem solving is addressed holistically.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Design Thinking - not the panacea for innovation?

'What should I title this post?' That is how I used to start writing blog posts. 
Of course if I were to apply design thinking to this problem, the question should be 'what would the reader want to do having read about this topic?' The title would be the last thing, not the first. Since completing a Stanford MOOC on Design Thinking, I've been impressed with the approach. The process is sometimes summarized as: define, research, ideate, prototype, choose, implement, and learn. 
If you are not familiar with Design Thinking, this description from Digital Tonto, will give you a good idea.

'What makes design thinking so effective is its relentless focus on the needs of the end user. Instead of starting with a set of features, it begins by asking what the final experience should be and then works to define a solution. Designers develop products through a series of prototypes and continuously improve and refine them through testing.
So, for example, instead of developing a mobile phone by asking, “what should the keypad look like? A design thinking engineer would start by asking “What does the user want to do with the phone?” In a similar way, a design thinker wouldn’t start designing a doctor’s office by asking where the waiting room should go, but by asking, “what is the purpose of the waiting room?”
As Apple has demonstrated, design thinking can be tremendously helpful when you’re working with mature technologies that are well understood. Unfortunately, they’re not much help when you’re venturing into the unknown to, say, find a new cure for cancer or develop a new approach to artificial intelligence, which may be why Apple has gotten bogged down lately'.

This extract is from Greg Satell's article 'Here's Why Your Innovation Strategy Will Fail'. 
Satell suggests, illustrated with case studies, that a wider variety of 'paths' to innovation are needed. However, many organisations have a single approach, perhaps vested in Research and Development. 
Unsurprisingly, Apple features strongly in the article. It's interesting to consider how Apple set out to disrupt existing technologies and service providers, before considering what product innovations might serve that purpose. As we all know, the iPod, iPhone and iPad resulted. Great examples of design thinking. The big question for Apple is that it's 10 years since their last truly groundbreaking product innovation. It's highly likely that their autonomous vehicle, by the time it's available, won't be the only player and they may already be playing catch-up.
This revealing article on The Verge uses the history of the iPhone development as a lesson in how this disruption was planned by Apple. What innovation path are they using to maintain their preeminence?

Post Script: Another path to innovation I was reminded of is Systems Thinking; an extension of Design Thinking that attempts to take account of the increasingly interconnected and complex world. See

Source: Mapping Innovation by Greg Satchell

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Doing Conference Speaking Not Badly - David D'Souza

David D'Souza is without doubt, the most interesting, relaxed and compelling speaker I have heard.
I say heard rather than seen, as on both occasions, he has held the audience's attention for an hour without slides or notes. This is how he does it.

In typically modest style, David calls his post

'Doing Conference Speaking Not Badly'

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Recess for workers?

My Knowledge and Innovation Network colleague Steve Dale recently highlighted an excellent article by Greg Satell entitled We need to educate kids for the future, not the past. Here's how...'

The importance of 'recess' (or break time) during the day is as important at work as at school. We are seeing the same erosion of time to socialise with work colleagues as teachers who have to cram timetables to 'get through' the curriculum (my daughter is a teacher). At work, this results in missing opportunities to co-develop ideas, widen personal networks and build relationships. The designers and architects of new-build offices do recognise the importance of social workspace, but this is often not reflected in our work-day calendar. I recall talking to a very senior individual at BP some years ago, who scheduled his entire Friday morning every week, just to informally go and talk to people. Unfortunately few of us can get our PA to ensure our diaries are kept clear like that.

When planning KIN events, especially our quarterly workshops, we carefully design-in the social aspects. The dinner the evening before (a bbq in the summer), an open bar, a fun activity designed to get people connected and an informal, relaxing environment. The significant break times scheduled during the day for networking are inviolate.

Greg's ideas for changing the school system make so much sense. I fear that, like the difficulty of clearing our work diaries to add a 'recess', the demands of educational testing and teaching to outmoded curricula, will meet much resistance.