Category Archives: Uncategorized

Why flexible work is the future

Working on the beachThe nine to five, five day, working week is a modern construct. It was introduced by Henry Ford to his factory workforce in 1926, and become common practice in the US (and subsequently other parts of the world) after The Fair Labour Standards Act of 1938.

Ford favoured a shorter week (until then, six working days had been the norm) for purely commercial reasons. He was losing good employees, and found that a 40 hour week, worked in shifts, was the best way to optimise workers (who needed to be kept alert and motivated) with expensive machinery and power plants, which shouldn’t be left idle for too long.

Most of us in the developed world now live in a post-industrial age where knowledge-based products and services are replacing manufacturing. If your work can be completed over an internet or telephone connection, it’s less likely that you physically be in the office, or work specific hours. Yet we still rely on a way of working that was designed for the factory production line.

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The old curiosity pop up shop

3SpacelogoAs my mum would no doubt love to tell you, I organized my first free party aged 14: handing out flyers with our home address (and carefully drawn map) around my 1,800 strong comprehensive school.

Growing up in London through the 80s and 90s, there were plenty more free parties to go to (and organise). But at some point in the mid noughties there was a segue from after hours parties in secret locations to parties with a bit more purpose.

The best business events these days combine experimentation and inspiration with the spontaneity of the pop up movement. And yes, there’s often an element of 1990s rave culture (or 1960s hippy) thrown in.

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The Digital Champion’s Manifesto

Digital champions are your social superheroes

Back in October 2008, Gina Poole told me about the network of BlueIQ Ambassadors she had set up at IBM.

Gina’s mantra was this: when introducing something new (eg, social software), use volunteers to drive things forward. They will build momentum and consensus for you.

“Run a pilot programme. Get a few dedicated people on board – early adopters and enthusiasts. Make them the ‘poster children’ of your campaign. Make them the rock stars. Don’t just evangelise the project, say ‘look at what it did for this individual’: success breeds success.” 

Volunteers + enthusiasm = success!

Sounds great, right?

Today, every organization of a certain size needs digital champions. They may come under different names – software evangelists or community Continue reading

Hold fire on the BBC – our condemnation will only deepen the management crisis

BBC logo

Poor old Beeb. Damned if they do and damned if they don’t.  I can’t help agreeing with today’s article from Avaaz – there are plenty of BBC-bashers out there and many of them have a vested interest in the seeing the end of any public funding for the UK’s oldest and – still – most-loved broadcaster (which incidentally, celebrates 90 years of speech radio today). But we all need to consider the alternatives before jumping on the BBC-bashing bandwagon.

I firmly believe that the Savile scandal was the fault not of the BBC but of our culture in general at the time. As many commentators have noted, the Life on Mars mentality that prevailed during the 1970s was exactly that – a world away from the relatively progressive environments that our workplaces and institutions offer now.

Back in the late 1990s I was deputy editor on Trisha (produced by Anglia, then part of the ITV Network) when the scandal of fake guests on TV talk shows broke (it was easy for the tabloids to pick up on because they used the same models and actors for their own centre page spreads).

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Jimmy Savile: an extraordinary popular delusion

Three Wise MonkeysThe past is another country. Let’s not be nostalgic. The Jimmy Savile story is a case in point: it seems many who worked with him saw what he was doing but what they saw was too shocking to calibrate. They literally couldn’t believe their own eyes.

The  more he did it, the more he got away with it. We were stuck in a negative emotional feedback loop. Savile’s public image – that of celebrity, fundraiser and “national treasure” became increasingly powerful.

It’s a modern day version of The Emperor’s New Clothes – an extraordinary popular delusion. We like to think that if it happened again, we would speak out. I sincerely hope so. Photo: Crystal Pajunen

Monkeys with suitcases: glamping it up

Things have been a bit quiet on this blog over the past month but I’ve been holed up in a tent in the middle of nowhere. And very nice it was too. Admittedly they did have WiFi, but I wasn’t too tempted to use it. Kind of hard to think about anything else when it’s 38 degrees in the shade and the swimming pool/ beach/ ocean is calling.

The best thing about our stay at Tipi Algarve was the set-up: they do it all for you – tent, camp kitchen and everything else. “Glamping” is a literal mashup between boutique (glam) hotel and camping. A great way to have a reasonably comfy holiday without adding too many emissions to your carbon footprint.

Tipi Algarve is also a social business – the place operates very much like a community, with volunteers coming in from all over the world, and guests coming back year after year. To get a feel for it all, just check out their Facebook page – lots of photos, friendly updates and engaging content. (Nice one Calvin!)

How I got my stolen laptop back through Twitter

We had a break-in a few weeks ago, and I mentioned it on Twitter. I didn’t really want to moan too much, it was more a passing observation, as in “today I got up and found the window open…” but when a friend asked me how the burglar(s) got in, I used the h-word when referring to them (I know from my daughter’s primary school guidelines that “hate” is forbidden in the complex, multi-cultural world we live in).

Anyway, it was probably good that I got upset and angry as the person who had just bought my laptop online had found all my personal details and files and was also reading my Twitter updates.

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My Sofalympics: why I hardly left home during London2012

Like all obedient Londoners I watched the Olympics pretty much from my sofa, because that’s what I’d been told to do by the scarey Get Ahead of The Games ads (subtext: stay at home) and This is Your Mayor Speaking announcements at various games-critical tube stations.

When I did venture into central London it was eerily quiet: everyone was in Stratford. Either that or holed up at home, like meerkats who’d spotted a herd of stampeding elephants.

On the middle Sunday we went down to Brixton and got carried along in a sea of green and gold for ten minutes but otherwise everything – Olympic sentiment, patriotic fervour and Jess/Mo/Hoy/Wiggo fever – was experienced by osmosis through the wonderful medium of television and, of course, social media…so how did my “Socialympics” go?

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