How Technology Can Increase Collaboration And Build Trust


This post is an shortened version of a plenary talk delivered in Cardiff for the Wales Audit Office  Depending on your age it’s likely that the two things you were not taught in school were: a) how to collaborate effectively and b) how to use technology to connect and share with others And yet these … Continue reading How Technology Can Increase Collaboration And Build Trust

The Smartest People Will Never Work For You


Joy’s law is the principle that “no matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else”. Bill Joy, the computer engineer to whom it’s attributed argued that if you rely solely on your own employees, you’ll never solve all your customers’ needs. It’s a quote that’s never been more true. Joy … Continue reading The Smartest People Will Never Work For You

a short post about death


Even during the most pivotal moments of our lives we are only a few minutes away from being digitally distracted. Twelve to be precise. We check our phones for new messages every 12 minutes.  Four weeks ago today we were just arriving in Ubud, Bali on day six of a planned 3 week trip. Within … Continue reading a short post about death

Why Do We Hate Our Offices?


If you are working in an office today you will be interrupted – or you will interrupt yourself – every 3 minutes. And what’s worse is it will take most of us up to 23 minutes to recover from that distraction. If your boss lets you, go home. Walking out the office door is likely to be … Continue reading Why Do We Hate Our Offices?

What If We Replaced All Our Managers With Robots? 


Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done Peter Drucker Management is the greatest inefficiency in any organisation. Many of you will be familiar with the work of Gary Hamel , but his explanation of how management ‘spreads’ is always helpful. Typically a small organisation might start off … Continue reading What If We Replaced All Our Managers With Robots? 

How To Kill Doomed Projects


The challenge for managers in the “can-do” culture of business is to distinguish between belief as a key driver of success—and belief as something that can blind managers to a project’s ultimate failure – Isabelle Royer  It’s always easier to start something new than it is to stop doing something. Many of our organisations are … Continue reading How To Kill Doomed Projects

Why We Are So Bad At Defining Problems


If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions. – Albert Einstein I don’t know whether Einstein ever used those words. It may be just like the Henry Ford “Faster Horses” quote – something perfectly phrased and also perfectly true that … Continue reading Why We Are So Bad At Defining Problems

Does Regulation Really Stifle Innovation?


Last week I did a presentation to a group of managers when the issue of governance and regulation ‘getting in the way’ of innovation came up. People often think regulations stifle innovation, new business and services. They assume that regulators are there to control and curtail what they want to do. “We are so heavily … Continue reading Does Regulation Really Stifle Innovation?

The No.1 Problem With The Digital Workplace


“Collaboration is an essential skill of the digital economy. And yet how to collaborate productively is hardly ever taught either in universities or in the workplace.” – Gerry McGovern It’s only a couple of months since I posted Why We Don’t Collaborate, but a few things I’ve been reading and observing make it a subject … Continue reading The No.1 Problem With The Digital Workplace

Four Factors Hindering Transformation


The problem with good service design is that you don’t notice it. It’s only when you experience truly bad design that you appreciate the good stuff. That’s why so few organisations are design led. They focus on designing out the bad rather than designing in the good from the beginning. Earlier this week I ordered … Continue reading Four Factors Hindering Transformation

Why Story Will Always Beat Statistics


Data is not fact and fact is often just a hypothesis anyway. We humans design how data is created and we humans are the ones who interpret data and draw conclusions from it. Therefore, data will always be inherently fallible – Gerry McGovern Many of our organisations attempt to illustrate the achievement of their purpose … Continue reading Why Story Will Always Beat Statistics

How To Avoid Corporate Initiativitis


We’ve never felt so busy at work, and never been less engaged. 90% of people say they expect to find a substantial degree of joy at work, yet only 37% report that they do. Many of our organisations remain afflicted by: Initiative-itis: The condition of mistaking busyness for productivity Vanity Projects: Things that only got … Continue reading How To Avoid Corporate Initiativitis

How To Kill Ideas


We were asked a really good question last week with the visit to Bromford of the Disruptive Innovators Network. How long should you spend on an idea? In the early days of Bromford Lab we had a 12 WEEKS MAX rule. If we couldn’t get an idea up and running within that time – it should … Continue reading How To Kill Ideas

What We Can Learn From The Oldest Companies in The World


Shigemitsu Kongo, a Japanese Buddhist temple builder, formed his construction company Kongo Gumi in in 578 AD. His company built relationships with their customers that lasted for 1,400 years, surviving through many wars and natural disasters,  just like their temples. It wasn’t technology that nearly killed the company, but cashflow. The oldest company in the world … Continue reading What We Can Learn From The Oldest Companies in The World

Is It Time To Rethink Industry Awards?


Award schemes have become a form of media. They exist to generate income for an organisation through a combination of entry fees and overpriced chicken dinners – Stephen Waddington It can sometimes feel like there is an industry awards ceremony for every night of the week. A Google search for ‘housing awards’ will get you … Continue reading Is It Time To Rethink Industry Awards?

Lessons Learned From Five Years of Failure


Sometimes the execution of the idea doesn’t need to be the best to succeed. In 1989 a video game designer called Gunpei Yokoi changed the world with the launch of the original Nintendo Game Boy. It took gaming out of the hands of geeks and paved the way for the industry to become the most … Continue reading Lessons Learned From Five Years of Failure

Why We Don’t Collaborate


Everyone says they love collaboration. Our open offices are designed to encourage collaboration. We recruit for people who are collaborative in nature. The digital tools we use are aimed at fostering greater collaboration. We promote the benefits of collaboration , or even co-creation, with our customers and service users. Collaboration has replaced innovation as the … Continue reading Why We Don’t Collaborate

The Social Sector Must Rebuild Trust Through Equal Partnerships


This is a edited version of an article originally written for Inside Housing There is a growing realisation that many of our social institutions and public services have run their course. Communities need something different from what’s currently on offer. We could be at the tipping point, the moment when future relationships between citizens and … Continue reading The Social Sector Must Rebuild Trust Through Equal Partnerships

How Good Company Culture Can Go Bad


Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write. One of the best hours I spent this week was with our Governance, Risk and Assurance Team. There – I said it. Joking aside, the relationship between governance and innovation is an important one.  As I wrote in my last post – for an organisation to support innovation … Continue reading How Good Company Culture Can Go Bad

Creating The Right Culture For Innovation and Change


I’m not sure I buy into the concept of organisations having a culture of innovation. After all, innovation is a process consisting of four things: Having an idea that solves a problem Doing something with that idea Proving that it delivers new value for people Translating it into reality and making it part of the … Continue reading Creating The Right Culture For Innovation and Change