Thursday, 5 November 2015

CIPD Conference Blog #6 of many

So Day Two arrives and I'm a bit tired. 

Blogging and tweeting for about ten hours non stop yesterday and then attending the CIPD Press Dinner and then not getting home till midnight made me a little fatigued. Waking up at 5am and not being able to sleep was perhaps always going to happen. 

Anyway, three coffees, two ibuprofen and one Lucozade later and I'm ready to blog. 

Although I am on the lookout for exhibitors with the massage people on their stand. I will visit those stands today. 

In fact, even if there are no massage people BUT the exhibitors themselves are willing to give me a quick shoulder massage then I will happily give them some publicity via this blog and Twitter. 

Yes, I'm THAT shallow. 

What yesterday taught me was how effective our new digital world now is, and watching the #cipd15 Twitter stream was incredible at many points. Attending a conference is now just as much about what happens digitally as what happens in person, and that's amazing. 

So it was a good choice for me to open up day two by attending Dave Coplin's session on outsmarting the digital deluge. He was talking about outsmarting technology and making the best of our relationship with it. 

He started by talking about how we let technology run our lives and to an extent ruin our lives. And from someone who works at Microsoft, that's a big statement. 

He suggested that we need to learn to cope with it all. 

Technique one, from Coplin, is skimming. Learning to quickly scan the deluge of information we get to get a broad understanding of it without going into detail. 

Technique two is snacking. Learning to be able to dip in when appropriate and not spend too much time consuming digital information. 

Technique three is multitasking. Learning to do other things as well as obtaining information digitally. 

The multitasking bit resonates. As I'm blogging this conference, I'm having to multitask. Write, listen, digest, and scan the environment (digitally and in real life). It's hard, but it can be done if you focus properly. But Coplin suggests that each time one gets distracted you lose 23 minutes on average. And how often does that happen per day?

Coplin went on to suggest that the more data we have, the better our decision making can be. But we need to know what data we want, how we will use it, and to be able to get it and focus on it. When you can do that, you can start to accurately predict the future. 

Our problem is that we will be faced with a potentially unmanageable sources of data in every aspect of our lives, but if we can manage that then we can make our lives so much better. 

Some of the scenarios that Coplin explained came straight out of Terminator, Star Trek or any sci fi show you'd care to mention. But the technology is there and he showed how we can use the technology to improve our performance. 

Again some sporting analogies came out here, echoes of Sir Clive Woodward yesterday in using technology and data to drive better decision making. But it's happening. 

I already live my life digitally and use my iPad to run many aspects of my life. I have a work colleague who does the same with his Apple Watch. And the pace of change is increasing. 

Coplin went on to talk about us making a simple choice though. Given what we are about to do, can technology help? If it can, great. If it can't, don't use it. You'll be able to navigate your way through the digital deluge and survive and succeed. 

How often do we subconsciously make that choice, and make the wrong one?

I'm guilty myself. Too often. 

He also talked about creating a culture of flexible working where workers can make a choice about where and when the most appropriate place and time is for them to complete the task in hand. That place and time may or may not be in the office between 9am and 5pm. 

Now I think I'm already doing OK on this one, but I come across a LOT of people who don't think in this way. 

Coplin finished by challenging us to use technology as a platform for success. I wonder though how many people use it as an anchor to prevent them being their very best?

Till next time. 

Gary