Tuesday, 31 January 2017

#hrdsummit17 blog 2

After the break I'm in one of the little offshoot theatres from the main exhibition hall listening to David Done, CEO at RHP Innovation, talking about Putting people at the heart of your business strategy. 

I had wondered how the acoustics might work with such a level of background noise from the Exhibition, and was pleasantly surprised to find that they were giving out headphones that streamed the mic feed and cut out a lot of the background noise. As my talk tomorrow is in a similar location this removes one worry for me. 

RHP are a housing association in London who seem particularly successful. I spent 12 years in housing and am interested in their journey around transformational change. 

The transformation at RHP highlighted just how far they had come. And yet I don't think they are unique in housing, as the outcomes he was quoting I personally contributed to at another place and we knew we weren't unique either. 

But RHP have won so many awards, more than my previous organisation did. What's different about their journey?

David said it's about people. Many housing associations were lucky in the early 2000s in that they got to start again, as a brand new organisation. They had a clear mandate for change and improvement, and the platform (and funding) to do so. 

He also said they chose how to define their organisation carefully. They chose, consciously, to be a service provider, and not a landlord. They also wanted to be innovative and the very best, not just in the housing sector but wider. They focused initially, though, on going back to basics and getting these right as a basis for the later improvements, and spent 4-5 years working on this. 

Then they focused on their Red Lines. Things they would always do. Things they would never do. Their values. 

These are interesting concepts and I'd encourage people to think about their own Red Lines. It might surprise you. How often do you share and discuss them?

He then talked about bringing people in from outside the sector, something I tried very hard to do when working in housing. I find it very frustrating when anyone in an organisation asks a new starter "which (similar company in same sector) have you come from?" - why does that matter?

Here's the RHP key points about transforming an organisation through its people:

I can't argue with that at all and well done to RHP for their success, but I am still uncertain that they are unique in the housing sector for this type of approach. However there are many organisations outside the housing sector who need to look hard at this type of approach. 

I've then wandered across to another mini theatre to listen to Bridging the Digital Skills Gap with Mark O'Donoghue from Avado. His opening remarks talked about how hopeless we have traditionally been at predicting the pace of change of future developments. He gave us a run through of how technology is developing, both in terms of real things and some imagined things that you didn't really have to stretch your mind too far to imagine as real already. 

He then moved into the implications for business decision making and it was mainly around having someone in charge of technology management deciding which new technology to switch to and implement and knowing when the right time is to do so. He showed an infographic that showed that many sectors aren't fully prepared for digital disruption. 


The obvious implication for skills is that the UK economy (and world economy) needs a massive influx of digital skills and he listed some of the roles you need to have in your organisation to facilitate digital transformation. Of these, I'd heard of maybe half. 

And I've actually seen none in any organisation I've worked with. 

Does that suggest those organisations need to change? Probably. It also suggests I need to broaden my digital horizons. 

He mentioned that to succeed digitally you need to be comfortable working with various iterations. Planning, learning, implementing, and repeating. So your product or service, digitally, will be version 3.0 or higher. Do your staff have the skills to wait for v3.0?

He summarised by saying digital disruption is coming and organisations need the leaders in place to assist this and who recognise that everyone and everything need to be digital and change the culture accordingly. 

Does this describe your organisation and its leaders and culture?

This has made me think quite a bit and I enjoyed the talk. 

Till next time...


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