The significance of paper

In the recent episode of Malcolm Gladwell's excellent Revisionist History podcast, there was a fascinating revelation about the significance of filling in paper forms in a conversation after the show between Gladwell and Tim Harford (from about 43 minutes into the recording). The short version: doctors in the US in some states have had to … Continue reading The significance of paper

Trump cards

Over the course of what I self-deprecatingly refer to as my "career" I've worked in and with a large number of different organisations in a very varied number of industry sectors. The sociologist in me finds learning about new organisations utterly fascinating, and quickly being able to pick up the nuance of a new setting … Continue reading Trump cards

Maslow’s hierarchy of User Needs

One of the most often cited bits of psychology that haunts the corridors of organisations and management training is Abraham Maslow's 1940s theory of human motivation, The Hierarchy of Needs. As with any well established model, there is critique, but nonetheless it forms a useful and popular way of visualising what it is that motivates … Continue reading Maslow’s hierarchy of User Needs

Service Design Workshop

Some quick notes on a workshop session that we ran this week to help to get people familiar with Customer Journey Mapping in a short and interactive session. Overall objectives Get a group from across our organisation's support functions (HR, L&D, Health & Safety, Comms, Tech) and some key people from across the rest of … Continue reading Service Design Workshop

It’s all about the people

So according to extensive research published yesterday by Microsoft as part of their annual Future Decoded jamboree, digital transformation is a matter of changing people and behaviours rather than merely technology. Wow. Who knew? But here, it seems to me, is the rub. The sort of decision making in organisations that chooses Microsoft to provide … Continue reading It’s all about the people

Blindly Following Rules

Every year to accompany the Silicon Beach event, those speaking are asked to contribute to a book that is distributed to all attendees. Here's my contribution... A good friend of mine and I enjoy a heated debate. She’s an accountant with opinions. I’m a gob-shite. We both like a glass or two of red with … Continue reading Blindly Following Rules

The ubiquitous inbox

Back in my later days at BBC Worldwide in the early 2000s, I commissioned a piece of research to look at the habits that our staff had in their use of file storage and email. The work, looking back, was relatively unusual. I brought in a social scientist to do a piece of ethnographic research … Continue reading The ubiquitous inbox

Change as an design challenge

Yesterday marked the formal start of user research in the latest project, a business change programme to help the people in a government body to take advantage of new cloud-based collaborative technologies.There's a lot that has been done in the UK public sector over the past seven years to instil agile approaches into the way … Continue reading Change as an design challenge

Driverless trains

If we are on the cusp, according to the likes of Elon Musk, of all being whisked around in the comfort of autonomous vehicles, why aren't our train systems already ubiquitously automated? Whilst I have no doubt that driving a train is a challenging task, presumably without the need to actually steer surely the challenges … Continue reading Driverless trains

All in a glance

At the end of my street is the reasonably busy road that links the suburbs of Teddington and Kingston. At peak times the traffic can pass slowly, sometimes queuing in one or both directions. Even at non-peak times there is a constant flow of cars in both directions. Taking a right turn North out of … Continue reading All in a glance