Friday, October 12, 2012

Building Business Value through next generation technology!

What a pleasure to listen to Pip Marlow, MD of Microsoft and Tim Reed, CEO of MYOB - both incredibly forward thinking and innovators in their field.

Here are some of their key points with some interesting messages and ideas for all of us!


We need to explore the constraints that we have about our work environment. Pen and paper have been replaced by mouse and keyboard.  The new generation coming in to the workplace will expect computers and technology to be more like us.
As business we need to leave Australia a better place than we found it.

Productivity today is growing today more slowly than in the seventies.
The further challenge is that we don't have the working population to replace the aging population.  So we have to think innovatively.  We need to know what are the mega trends that will have an impact on us?

Remember - innovation does not come from technology.  People do the innovation and the technology is just the platform.

As an example: NSW police had as primary job directing traffic.  Then more traffic lights were installed.  Now computers look at traffic flows.  This has enabled the NSW police to move on to doing higher level tasks.  That is what is known as disruptive innovation.

Think about what Microsoft has done with Kinect technology which has been a game changer in that the body is now the controller.  Gesture and voice are used with the connector and this has wider implications beyond the realm of gaming.  Now we can look at patient files without surgeons having to scrub in and out.  It is being used in ways we never thought of even for rehabilitation purposes.  It is changing the way we are think about collaboration on projects and in different languages.  Innovation is occurring here and now.  Artificial intelligence is on its way!

Think of the first phones and think of the smart phones and what we can do on them.  Think of twenty years time and what will be possible..

These are the 4 mega trends to be aware of

1. Mobility

There are approximately 11 million smart phones in Australia.  Initially we used the phone for voice.  Now it is the least used function on our phones.  We can now work anywhere any time.  We are able to get the information when we need it.  The device even knows your location to give additional functionality. 
The new world is an terconnected world filled with Linkedin members and Twitter users.  .  Your next customer can be anywhere in the world.  Websites are being replaced by Facebook pages.  There are different ways of reaching customers and just look at how this has impacted retail.
Suggestion get your Klout score.
Look in to People 123 this gives you a digital footprint and you will be able to see who your customer influences. 

2. The Cloud
Not the weather forecast.
The cloud is the democratization of IT. The Cloud allows for every business to have access to computing power that they never had before and that used to be taken care of by an IT department, can now be done in the Cloud.

3. Big data

This mega trend takes the amount of structured data in your CRM and in other databases and matches it to other databases to understand customers.  Data is the next oil and the. more we mine this, the more profitable companies will be.
As an example, it provides tools for us to know when to buy energy and when to use our solar panels - and when we can sell our energy back to the grid.
There will be far richer consumer experiences that will be created through this mega trend.

4. Workplace of the future  
Be at the edge of the next generation workplace.  A workplace with no fixed office and no fixed desk.  Work is a thing you do and not a place you go.  The workplace will engage  everyone and will be activity based working, that is managed on outputs and not inputs. Such as Are you driving customer satisfaction and are you driving sales. 
Microsoft no longer has landlines on desks.  This enables people to be out with customers.  The company has given back real estate and increased employee engagement by five points.  Remember - Unhappy employees cannot drive Customer satisfaction.

This is the productivity challenge:
We have to be a knowledge economy.  Leaders will need to think differently and will need to disrupt. 


Mobility is profoundly changing the way in which we work.  This trend started with email that enabled us to be more productive. And now there are different devices that will have different applications. 
MYOB won't rebuild their system on a mobile device.  They will select particular functions that people will need when they are about and about.  There is no point in doing a payroll application for mobiles but people will want to check their accounts on line.

Mobility is creating a collision between personal and business applications.  That has happened already for SMEs.
MYOB makes good use of Yammer because Social is changing the way we work.  And that is what Yammer does.  I tis for people of all ages and it allows for an idea exchange.  People submit ideas and leave comments for the development team.  Ideas come in from the clients and MYOB is able to deliver far more to what they need.

The Cloud is enabling us to deliver infrastructure at a fraction of the cost.  It can expand and extend your organisation.  Work flows will move across team members, and you can have access to accounts that are up to date.  It will also allow subject and trusted experts to see in to organisation and provide guidance and assistance.

The reminder is You need to use your change management skills.
This is seen where larger businesses are slower to manage that change in to the Cloud.  It is up to us to make the change easier. 

How often to you go to a bank any longer?  We do more and more on line. 
We have to find ways to automate tasks so that there is time for people to work on higher level tasks.  
Productivity is not about working longer hours.  We are low on the scale as compared with  other countries.   We cannot stay in the industrial relations part of this debate and we need to move in to an innovation debate. 
The rate of productivity is declining because of our current education sector. 
We need to think about the training and the university system.  Education is a continuing thing and ongoing activity.  We need to develop and deliver courses around what industry needs and make them digestible to what people really need.  We need skills for this century.  There needs to be a tighter connection to the workplace from the school. 
Give the kids digital ink!  Pull down the walls of the classroom.  In the tertiary space use distance learning. 

By not getting women in to the sciences and computers and  we are also missing out on so much participation.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Another extract from Better, Best, Brilliant!

I am so excited that "Better, Best, Brilliant - your essential guide to brilliant design and delivery" is finally available!  The book provides trainers with some incredible insights in to the foundations that you need to have in place for sessions that shine and also sets out some session plans for trainers who want to take learning experiences to the next level.

1.       Base your training on self-directed workgroups
There is substantial research emerging in the school sector that students who have access to a computer with a browser and access to Google, are able to educate themselves well.  
The implications of this for adult learning are also immense and surely reinforce that the trainer is not at the centre of the training process.
Create the opportunities for participants to learn on their own:
1. Provide projects with instructions so that participants can do research on the internet to find the appropriate information.
The project can be extended as you send them out to find subject matter experts in the organisation and from the outside whom they interview to learn more and understand how this knowledge is applied in working environments.
2. Set open ended challenges using problems that do not have easy or readily available solutions.  Create clear directions and guidelines and then set the group off on a pathway that opens them to suggesting exciting and innovative solutions.
An excellent framework to train them on in order to resolve the challenges is the one proposed by the Institute of Creative Problem Solving:

2.       Pilot or trial of the session

If it is a major roll-out of a key program or process, it is sometimes worthwhile running a trial version so that you can receive the feedback and make necessary inclusions or exclusions of content or of delivery.  There are often areas where ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ and by designing and delivering a trial session, you become more aware of where adjustments need to be implemented in terms of the needs of the participants or their team.
If the program is highlighted as a pilot version, the lessons learnt are easily accumulated and fed back to designers and trainers to ensure that there is continuous improvement. 
There is nothing worse than having trainers deliver a program that is already ‘set in stone’ and cannot be manipulated based on on-site requirements and student needs or relevance to the business.
Ask for honest and constructive feedback to enable you to make the relevant changes – and keep ears open to listen to these suggestions and recommendations.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Finalist in the AITD National Training Excellence Awards for 2012!

And here is why I am so excited that we have been nominated as a finalist for the AITD Excellence awards for Excellence in a Resource - we were nominated for our development of the WORKVILLE portfolio for the Certificate IV in Training and Development.  

1.  Management Consultancy International has taken a major step forward for trainers completing their Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, one of Australia’s most important vocational qualifications.  This qualification underpins the successful outcomes for students in all sectors on the economy – and yet there have been barriers to entry, low completion rates and concerns about the quality of the standards of delivery.  The innovative resource developed by our MCI team has had a significant and demonstrable impact on completion rates of participants and has encouraged entrance in to the program from trainers new to the profession.  

2.  The resource takes a giant step away from traditional assessment tools that are usually designed in the format of ‘tick and flick’ or as long theory-based assignments.  

3.  The resource is not filled with ‘bells and whistles’ – it is simple, effective and creates the possibility for all types and levels of trainers to complete this essential vocational qualification in a fun and focused way. 

4.  The resource removes the barrier to entry by making use of a story format and students are welcomed in to the simulated environment of WORKVILLE. 
The MCI resource ensures that as participants become more involved in the story, they are motivated and energized to complete the evidence, even where there is repetition of certain elements.

National Average for the completion Certificate IV in the education field, as suggested by research from NCVER (May 2011) is about 46.5%
Completion rate of students at MCI prior to the introduction of the Story format assessment tool was approximately 82%.
Since the introduction of the assessment tool using the WORKVILLE format, the completion rate has soared to over 90% and in dedicated groups such as Flight Centre and John Holland, it is often 100%.