A year of work in progress – day 166

Day 166 – 2 October 2014

Bob is someone I have mentioned a few times. He is the Managing Director of Accenture here in the North East and is passionate about skills and development. He’s worth taking to if you can get a moment with him but he is a busy man. I met Bob through Dynamo and we’ve been trying to get together for weeks now. This morning we finally made it with an early morning start at his office at Cobalt. I wanted to talk to him about how we can work together on apprenticeships as well as regional work on security and getting more women into ICT (yes I do see the irony).

Our big idea is to create an apprentice hub to serve the ICT Industry across the region, involving all sectors with a mixture of support and clearing. It is a very exciting idea. We shared our thoughts and agreed what we would do next. This is one of those things that we can talk about at next week’s NEICT meeting. Bob told me a story about how one of the cleaning staff at his office had left a note on his desk. It was in pencil and asked him about whether she could be considered for the apprentice programme he runs. Needless to say, she’s been through all the assessments and is now learning to program Java.

After this I went up to Newcastle University. A couple of weeks ago we visited their culture lab and I had a short discussion with the team working on a programme of self organised learning environments (SOLE). This is sometimes known as the school in the cloud. You may have heard Sugata Mitra talk about it. The concept is that by providing the right environment, access to materials and positive encouragement people can learn almost anything.

The reason I wanted to go back though was because I am fascinated by how these principles could be applied in a work environment. How can we create a self-organising work environment (SOWE)? How can the leadership team create the right environment and encouragement for the team to solve their own issues and improve service delivery? This would be truly transformational and turn command and control on its head. I met with James, a lecturer in education at SOLE Central.

I described the issues we were facing; ever increasing speed of change; current local government environment; flow of work; structures; traditional management approaches and silos. We talked around them to get a better understanding and then agreed that I would write a short paper which I would send to James and he could it take to Sugata. I think I’ll trademark the iShout app.

Back at County Hall, Pam had had to rearrange my meetings so that I could meet up with MP Helen Goodman. She wanted an update on Digital Durham and our plans for Teesdale.

I had my personal development plan (PDP) with my boss, Don.

Learning points for today: There is so much going on in the ICT industry and Dynamo is starting to come together; Graham cheers me up; static in your trousers is not a good thing (earth rod anyone?) and; culture change is much easier to describe than deliver.

Today’s enjoyment rating 9/10 – I need to keep going.

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