For most of this month everything has been gray. An area of low pressure has wedged itself over the North East and while other areas of the country have been basking in temperatures in the high teens, up here it was been cold and wet and gray.
The weather has been gray, the sky has been gray, the land has been gray and the mood of the people has been gray. Quartz Gray.
Today Neil and I were on one of our trips again. This time we went to see a leading mobile provider’s new offices in Leeds. We also took the opportunity to meet up with some NHS colleagues to talk about their office productivity tool migration. Avoiding trade names can be hard.
But today the sun was out. The weather was crisp and cold.
It took us a while to find the first place we were going to. It didn’t look far on the map yet there was nothing on the outside of the building to tell you that you had arrived. Once inside we were given a brief explanation of the steps they had been through to get to a more modern way of working. They started way back in 2004 by bringing all their sites together into a single campus. In 2007 they introduced the technology that allowed flexible working and two years later they started a better ways of working programme to change their business culture and mind sets.
By 2011 they had removed many of the paper based restrictions that were holding the business back and found ways to mobilise their data. Today they are focussed on intelligent building control. Clearly these things take time.
Neil and I really liked some of the things they were doing, especially around how they used furniture to nudge people’s behaviours. Some rooms could not be pre-booked for example, while others had no power supplies or less comfortable chairs. We also liked their library where all of the technical manuals were kept. It was a place for quiet reflection.
As for the NHS, we are now much clearer as to the way forward.
Our trip was nothing like a wet weekend in Leeds. It was very useful.
I like Leeds. It is a northern city yet more built up than Newcastle. The only thing gray about today were the buildings around the station. Quartz gray buildings.