We're gripped with Olympic fever here in the UK during London 2012
as you might expect. Today has been a particularly special day (4 golds, 2 silvers and a bronze so far) for Team GB taking us to our best result in over a century, but one of the highlights was a brilliant interview on BBC Breakfast TV this morning with Dave Brailsford
, the Performance Director who has revolutionised British Cycling, the team that's leading our medal charge. It has some great messages for any business that I wanted to share, so I transcribed his words with some help from my new iPhone's voice recognition.
Dave masterminded the Cycling team's amazing success in Beijing, and put together a plan to win the Tour de France in 5 years, but actually did it in 2 and a half, when Bradley Wiggins won
in such emphatic style just days before these games started. Even though the rules were changed, seemingly to make it more difficult to win as many medals, in this Olympics on road the British team has won 1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze, and on track 7 golds, 1 silver and 1 bronze. An amazing performance. On the BBC News
this morning Sally Nugent
asked Dave - how do you ...
Back on 26 April I was asked to present "5 Key Challenges for the ISV CTO and How to Beat Them!" at a Ciklum seminar for ISVs
that intended to deliver a hype-free conversation among CTOs, Chief Technical Architects and other key executives grappling with the journey to the cloud. My slides for the session (see below) are already on Slideshare
, but they are mostly visual, so I decided to do this comprehensive (that means long right? - Ed) blog write up following the slide sequence as a companion piece. I was in good company, because the other speakers were Jimmy Gasteen of Precursive
, Liam Hogan of OpenText
and Melissa di Donato of Salesforce.com
. My pitch was intended to do three things:
- Give my perspective on the current state of the Cloud landscape
- Offer my 5 key challenges for the ISV CTO in moving to the Cloud
- Leave the audience with some practical ideas to take action straight away
The current IT landscape is pretty cloudy. IT providers are branding whatever product they have that happens to run in a datacentre somewhe as "Cloud" ...
Earlier this week I joined a discussion group improvising on a theme around Richard Sennett's book Together
and his recent RSA talk
. I understand the book explores the nature of cooperation, the evolution of cooperative rituals through history and the politics of the tribe versus the complexity of modern society. Haven't read it - it's now on the long list. The Everything Unplugged: Learning Conversation
group meets in London every Wednesday at 10:00 at the RFH
Level 5 to discuss wide ranging topics from creativity to the learning process. This week's discussion on Sennett was titled "In a Dialogic Way
" echoing Miles Davis
. I was intrigued on three counts:
- I miss the kind of wide ranging conversations we used to have several years back at London's CreativeCoffee Club (which I founded with Toby Moores) or when the London Social Media Cafe/Tuttle Club was in its energetic heyday at the Coach and Horses or the ICA.
- The topic of cooperation is vital to the the collaboration solutions I work with and I wanted to learn more about Sennett's take.
- I don't often have philosophical discussions about dialectic argument versus the dialogic ...
Some of you may know that Sir Ken Robinson is a hero of mine. His 2006 TED talk on education, that I've blogged about before, is inspirational. Track down and read his book Out of Our Minds. Until doing some research on another topic I had missed completely this October 2009 Toronto, Canada event at which he spoke - Artscape's third Creative Places + Spaces: The Collaborative City conference.
Sir Ken talks about collaboration in the 21st century and creativity as an operational idea, which you can plan for and make happen systematically.
Here are some quotes from his talk:
"Creativity is an operational idea. You can plan for it and make it happen systematically"
"We need to make innovation a habit"
"Politician's say the trouble is you can't define creativity, and I say the trouble is YOU can't! That's the problem"
"We need to teach creativity in education just like numeracy and literacy"
"It's a key operating principle for the next phase of development in the 21st century"
"Creativity Is a step on from imagination"
"it's applied imagination"
"Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value"
Back at the end of February I was struggling to complete a post about Social Media Week
London, and I put a plea out to Twitter for some motivation (or to be shamed in to finishing it). @iamcreative
aka Helen Harrop
used her art as an incentive and promised me one of her doodle's if I published that day. I did, and the Doodle dooley arrived and appropriately it was about something called the Do Lectures
, which had somehow passed me by completely. On investigation I discovered what initially looked like a kind of TED
with a Welsh accent.
A little more investigation showed that this was a gathering of speakers and people who can make change happen, sponsored in 2008 by Cardigan Bay clothing company howies
out of their Earth Tax
- they pledge to give 1% of their turnover or 10% of pre-tax profits (whichever is greater) to grass-root environmental and social projects. 2009 and 2010 have been funded by Wales. Attendees camp at fforest farm
and the lectures have run in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The schedule for September 2011 just happens to be published today at 17:00. Their website tells me they were started
from a conversation between David . ...
The last week or so has confirmed my belief in, to quote Douglas Adams
' great character Dirk Gently
, "the fundamental interconnectedness of all things"
. Don't panic! Let me explain a series of events that all tie together with connections and communication and a lot of other Cs that say something about the amazing period of history and business environment we are living in.
We've just started working on a new website and community project for Anne Marie McEwan
's "The Smart Work Company
". I've been a huge fan of Anne Marie's approach since we first met at Tuttle
and then participated in one of the sessions at the inaugural November 2008 Amplified event
at NESTA. It was "#22 From conscripts to followers - new forms of leadership and organization
" triggered by these posts
from Euan Semple
and I about the effect of social media tools on the traditional business hierarchy, decision making and culture. That passionate discussion falls in to the heart of what Anne Marie's company is all about - challenging the status quo, breaking down silos and finding new ways to work. It's a joy to be working on the design and messaging of a site ...
A touch of Zen?
What has an elevator pitch got to do with Zen? Well good presentation is all about learning to let go of your inhibitions and achieving absolute focus on the objective by keeping things simple, eliminating all the distracting detail along with the bad communication habits you might have. So take the Zen approach to pitching. Penny Jackson and I put together some communication exercises and questions for entrepreneurs, start ups and mobile developers to workshop the "pitch" topic at Over The Air 10 some 4 months ago. We did the workshop version back on September 11 (see handout below). Here's our blog version.
What is an elevator pitch?
Well, the Wikipedia definition says:
"An elevator pitch or elevator speech is an overview of a product, service, person, group or organization, or project and is often a part of a fundraising, marketing communications, brand, or public relations program. The name "elevator pitch" reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver an elevator pitch in ...
A few months back on the 19th of November 2009 NESTA
, as part of their Silicon Valley comes to the UK sequence of events, televised a discussion called "Social Media: A Force for Good?
". The panel was our very own national treasure, actor, QI
master and twitterphile Stephen Fry
, Biz Stone
the Founder and Chief Executive of Twitter
, and Reid Hoffman the Founder and Chief Executive of LinkedIn
(you can see what they said below). The proceedings were moderated by NESTA's own Chief Executive Jonathan Kestenbaum
, and in his introduction he said:
"It feels like there was never a world before Twitter"
Well 4 years ago today, this was the first ever tweet from Jack Dorsey (via Mashable
As Biz Stone alludes to in the NESTA session, the idea of using some form of SMS messaging between groups came out of a brainstorming session while they were all working on something else that was going so well for ODEO
. At first they dropped the vowels from the name in common with a trend for web 2.0 services started by Flickr. Today four years ago was when they started testing....
Last Wednesday evening, 3rd March, London Wiki Wednesdays
got rebooted for 2010 and beyond, with a varied selection of great 5 minute presentations and me doing MC duty as usual. We were hosted by Alek Lotoczko
and our friends at NYK
. Actually, it felt like the old days
. As you can see from our wiki
, there was a bit of a hiatus between November 2008 and October 2009 and then to this month, excluding several informal meetings down the pub. The key issue has been the time and energy it takes to get venues and sponsors
(anyone interested, please see me
afterwards). However, we've decided to get things moving with a full meeting every two months (on the first Wednesday of the month) with informal meetings in between.
During my intro
the group agreed to broaden the topic out from just wiki related projects, to wiki plus all things enterprise 2.0 - social media tools applied to business. We will, however, retain our London Wiki Wednesday
branding, rather than changing to 2.0 Tuesdays or some such. Somewhere in the handovers I also mentioned the 2.0 Adoption Council
and 2.0 Adoption Community
. On the night ...
Last Thursday in Durham FutureStory
launched as part of the North East Economic Forum
. I've already blogged about
why I've got involved in this joint initiative between Lucy Parker's Talent and Enterprise Taskforce
and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills
(BIS). The BIS press release
on the day started like this:
"Business leaders in the North East today (on Feb 18) urged young people to proactively research local industries so they can rise to the challenge of getting a job in tomorrow’s global economy. In return they pledged to help local schools and colleges play an active role in plotting the North East’s economic future."
The NEEF annual conference was a fitting forum for promoting this new initiative. Adam Boulton
of Sky News introduced a series of speakers focusing on the regeneration of the region which has moved from its industrial heritage of mining and steel to housing the UK's largest car exporter, the National Centre for Excellence in Plastics, and a whole host of low carbon initiatives. During the day we heard about huge off shore wind farms, a national training centre for Green Collar Workers that is in the process ...