Well, that’s been an interesting 12 months. Some reflections on the year in no particular order…
Back in 2016 I thought I was going to write a book. As it turns out next year I might well appear in two, but it’ll be no more than a chapter in either. The book’s concept, the metaphor about how my kids play with Lego, seems to be strong. But I don’t have the time or the inclination to stretch it out to fifty thousand words, and no bugger would ever read them anyway.
So rather than write about a theory, I’m putting it into practice, and trying to experiment and tinker as much as I possibly can. Whether it’s the CxO priority cards, the podcast, games with Lego, the #globalcanteen or whatever else, I’m trying to do what I espouse, rather than just talk about it. And do you know what? It’s a blast.
We are now nearly at episode 100 of WB40, with a thriving online community sitting alongside an amazing list of people we’ve interviewed for the show. The regular session with Chris on a Monday night is one of my week’s highlights. Even if his chair is ludicrously squeaky.
We’ve recently launched The Flexible Movement with Pauline Yau, and the second season of DrawPod is in production now too. This all is then turning into an idea that Chris and I are going to work with more in 2019 called Podcast-Powered Projects.
As much as I steer clear of thinking I have any particular specialism, thinking about how people work together, and the role that technology may have in helping or hindering that teamwork, is a recurring theme.
Alongside that package of models, I’ve also created a workshop format to actually help teams identify how they can help themselves. More of those for the year ahead.
I’ve also realised this year that rather than coming up with a succinct answer to the question “What do you do?” (which I’ll never manage), coming up with packaged “products” – the CxO Cards, the workshops and so on – is helping me to get what I do across to people when what I do remains nebulous and complex.
Minimum time to market
I have realised that freed of the shackles of working in a big corporate I can take an idea to some sort of tangible manifestation within hours, days at most. It’s sort of Minimum Viable Product, just rarely do my things involve writing any software.
The CxO cards are a case in point. The idea came about from a piece of work with a client. The execution took a day, and the physical printing came through thinking laterally about how I could use Moo.com’s business card printing services.
The recent #globalcanteen stuff was just a matter of trying stuff to see what happens. Maybe that should be my new mantra – Try things and see what happens.
IT stuck in a loop
Meanwhile, I look to the world of information technology and struggle to see much change in the seven years now since I left a role leading an IT team.
It’s becoming all-encompassing. It’s becoming terribly depressing. And it seems to mark the end of modern Britain as we regress to petty-minded nation states.
I’m kind of reconciling myself now by…
My Irish passport arrived in November, after months of having the forms knocking about at home. I’m not Irish. I’m still a Londoner and a European. This way I (and my kids) keep our rights to live and work across the 27 forward-looking nations that make up the EU.
In the autumn I was invited to become a Forbes contributor. I’ve not contributed as much as I would like to, but I think that it will develop more in the New Year.
Names Not Numbers
Given there was no Silicon Beach this year, I was able to go to Names Not Numbers in Oxford in September. It was an incredible event. Sadly, I hear probably, the last.
The big out-of-work thing this year was our adventure in Namibia. It was an incredible three weeks.
The terror of pipelines
In my year notes from last year, I wrote…
“I don’t think I’ll ever escape from the feeling that at any point it could all fall apart, that work could dry up. But conversely, I’m more and more confident that it probably won’t, and that’s just the lot of being a small business.”
To the clients and partners I’ve worked with this year, a massive thank you…
Wei at Align, Steve at MHCLG, Glyn at the Cabinet Office, Rupert at Binary Vision, Cate at PUSH, Dave at Global, Mark at Domo, Mark at Hable, Peter at the University of Suffolk, Richard at Harvey Nichols, Suzy at Abcam, Gary at the London Irish Centre, Sian at The People Space and Jon at Baxter Thompson.
To the people who’ve recommended me – particularly Matt D, Max and Adrian – cheers people!
To all of the listeners and contributors to WB40 – thanks for all of the amazing feedback.
To Jeanine – thanks for all the help with the Housing gig. Hope to work with you again in 2019.
To Chris W – time to grease that bloody chair again.
And to you – thanks for reading! I’m available for weddings, bar-mitzvahs and change and transformation consulting including much Lego.
Merry Christmas, and all the best for 2019.