Thriving in turbulent (Digital) times

These are a few of the slogans flowing around Digital and Business Transformation and my reply in brackets. Digital is eating the world (Yes) The World is being disrupted (So what?) The future is too hard to predict (Not really) The overspill of digital technology is impacting every business. Scare stories abound and they don’t offer much of a solution. The reality is the internet has changed how you do your job. And it is going to continue to change how you do your job. If you don’t change someone who will change will put you out of business, or make your organisation seem too inefficient by comparison. Copying the work of the kid at the next desk doesn’t work. Learning together, open conversation and preparing and adapting to change does work. It is not the strongest businesses, nor the smartest, nor the one with the most money (though that helps) that succeeds. It is the ones that adapt to change fast enough. We’re running a workshop on this topic in a few weeks. If you’re interested in this you can find out more...

Candid: Mary Carty From Curiosity to Creativity

This was the fourth in our series of #Candid talks with the wonderful Mary Carty on the 22nd of October. Rowan Manahan who was in the audience kindly did this guest post for us. The Craft of Creation – Mary Carty A #Candid talk on by the ever-candid, crafty and bogglingly creative Mary Carty quickly evolved into a high-energy dialogue about curiosity. Mary pivoted the talk early onto that subject and immediately challenged the room to think about genuine curiosity and to ask ourselves why aren’t certain questions being asked in our world. She shared with us the question that she and Anne-Marie Imafidon asked themselves last year – “Why are there so few women in tech?” More importantly, they asked themselves, “What are we going to do about it?” And thus Outbox Incubator was born. That story of 115 young double-X chromosome geniuses coming through one big house in London is familiar enough to those who followed the rise of the Outbox Executives last summer. Mary took us behind the scenes into the world of “Fun. Free. Food” – which were the pillars on which Outbox was built. Suffice to say to ensure the smooth running of any future enterprise involving young women from the ages of 11 to 22, always ensure that there is a quiet, get-away-from-it-all staircase and a bounteous stash of hot chocolate and Mars Bars. Some of Mary’s other notable questions: “Have you ever seen a panel of VCs all smiling, all at once, all day?” “Why don’t we push against or find answers to the known unknowns?” “Why don’t you give yourself permission to be curious, really curious?” Take it from a woman who has...
Snails, Systems and Slack

Snails, Systems and Slack

Paul Quigley CEO of Newswhip wrote a lovely blogpost about the great Snail Derby of 1998. Faced with the problem of getting the Snails to race in the same direction, an innovative 6yo came up with Snail Trails.  Snail trails. Snail trails are not a product you can buy. Snail trails are a streak of water, placed in front of a snail using one’s fingertip. You see, snails prefer pushing themselves over wet surfaces than dry surfaces. My girlfriend observed that a simple streak of wetness leading directly from the snail’s current position to the finish line kept them on the straight and narrow, so to speak. Snail trails saved the day, and the snail derby of 1988 was a roaring success. Paul goes on to describe how you create snail trails for customer acquisition for SaaS businesses. There is a broader lesson for businesses in the use of technology.  Demming said that “A bad system will beat a good person every time.”  A snail trail is a better system. It’s a very clever use of lightweight technology to reduce friction in a process.  Good systems do that. They reduce organisational friction.  They drive better organisational conversations.   And the value of reducing friction in processes and conversations is very very large. One company that is building organisational snail trails is Slack.  I’m a very big fan of Slack. The value of what it’s is doing is rumoured to be up to $2 Billion. Double what it was worth 12 months ago. That’s part of the value that Slack is capturing. And it reflects a small portion of value that it is creating by building better Snail Trails. /Dermot...