Socitm #North18


Once again I had the pleasure of talking at this year’s Socitm North Conference. I had not expected to be involved as such and so it was all a bit last minute, yet one of the advantages of blogging (and being opinionated) is that there is always a pile of material to draw from.

The topic I spoke on was ‘We’ve got great tech, so what’s the problem? How do we address the lag between the pace of change in technology and the ability of our people to adopt it and adapt to it?’

This is an issue that blights all organisations that I have come across. Nobody seems to have cracked it and so it was worth an interactive session.

I talked about how, in my opinion, we are trapped into a way of thinking that prevents us from breaking out of these issues. This also gave me a cheeky opportunity to bring up my book, Paradigms Lost, which raises similar topics.

After fifteen minutes or so I posed six questions to the audience, they were sitting at six tables and asked each group to address one of them. The questions were:

  1. Sell the sizzle in the sausage – When I buy something it is for the experience. Does the fact that we bang on about the technology turn people off? In stead, should we focus on what it can do both for the user and their customers?
  2. Skills people possess – Outside of work, people are highly skilled. They look after the family finances, young and older people, lead scout groups, are councillors and have interesting hobbies. When they get into work they can come across as morons. What happens?
  3. They are not like this at home – Our houses are filled with technology. We have smartphones, smart watches, smart fridges and smart TVs. We talk to our relatives on the other side of the world with Skype and we control our heating with Hive. Why can’t we be like this at work?
  4. Enable or stifle – How much of this problem is caused by the way that we manage the teams and provide the IT services? Do we stifle people’s ability rather than allow them the creativity they desire?
  5. A fish rots from the head downwards – Apparently this is a Polish expression, one I heard used in parliament last week. How much do senior leaders set the tone in using tech? Do they do so in a supportive or destructive way?
  6. Just enough security – The NCSC says that it has foiled 1200 major cyber attacks this year. Cyber security is a real threat yet how do we get the balance right between enough security and too much.

The session went well and I’m looking forward to getting the notes from each of the tables. They may well give us the much needed breakthrough.

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