Data-based organisations

Picture the scene. We've created a multi-sheet Excel workbook, maybe with links into other workbooks, and it's used by a dozen people in our department. Gill who originally created the spreadsheet left the organisation years ago. But we've managed to keep it going, adding duplicate sheets where we weren't entirely clear how Gill's formulae and … Continue reading Data-based organisations

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

The middle of the journey

I'm currently reading Tim Harford's excellent new tome Fifty Things that made the Modern Economy. Based on his BBC Radio series, it charts ideas and objects that have created the world around us today. Some of them are obvious (the Light Bulb), some of them less so (the Billy Bookcase). In his description of the … Continue reading The middle of the journey

Finding the right space

Picture the scene. A modern office. Open plan. A bank of eight desks, two rows of four, facing each other. Screens, laptops. Six of the eight desks are occupied. Two are empty but with coats hanging over the backs of chairs, the workplace equivalent of a towel on a sun lounger. Five of the six … Continue reading Finding the right space

The trouble with saving cost

Back in my days at the BBC (an increasingly distant memory - it’s nearly 13 years now since I left) I was involved in a project that created the first full-programme online streaming service. It was back in around 2001, a time before YouTube if you can imagine such a thing. The service was aimed … Continue reading The trouble with saving cost

They’re people, not talent

What is it about corporate culture that wants to redefine anything personal as things inanimate? From Personnel to Human Resources to, now, "talent"... In a brief Twitter exchange with Simon Heath this morning it clicked for me why I have such a problem with the term. For the years that I have worked in media, … Continue reading They’re people, not talent

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

The importance of friction

Someone somewhere in Silicon Valley right now... Yeah, so like, what we wanted to do was to reinvent the brake. There's just too much friction invoked with brakes. Users don't want friction. They want frictionless. They crave frictionless. So we took the friction out of brakes. These are brakes re-invented. Stopping 2.0.  Because, like, who … Continue reading The importance of friction

The myths of disruption

A fascinating evening last night at the Hidden Edge Club's networking event at the rather lovely Soho Hotel. The theme - Competing with Digital Natives - and I was honoured to be part of the panel discussion exploring themes around digitization, and how traditional companies can react to competition from pure-play digital businesses (and particularly the big … Continue reading The myths of disruption