Sales Innovation Expo 2017 – They loved me…

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak at the Sales Innovation Expo in London.

I had a great time at the expo, seeing all the different stands and what people had to offer, everything from CRM solutions, to marketing products, from dressed up folk selling their products to various speakers sharing their knowledge.

So what did I talk about? – well I shared a a few insights into how you should think like a customer, walk like a customer and talk like a customer. Well, not in that order and technically, not in that style. I shared my insights in how you should understand the customer and what they see as value. I shared some insights into Lean Thinking (no plug for my blog!), and most importantly, a few case studies. Case studies with results and proven ROI – but using these principles you can also use to make a good return on investment.

I won’t go into the whole presentation, but below is the Lean Thinking cycle I shared.

For those who don’t know what Lean is, it’s the elimination of waste. Waste is what we can identify in a process, and can be categorised into one of seven categories. I’ll share more in future blogs, but for now, there’s a couple things to remember, one is to understand your customer and what they want. What they really really want.

Back to the Expo, and the Sales folk were out in force. But there were one or two who i thought could have put more effort in…

But then, maybe that’s their style. Minimalist. Met some great people, and lots of opportunity. Not sure if there was one, but would’ve been great to see a networking type of event embedded – something like where you have 5 mins to pitch what you do, and then for others to rate you 1 – 10 in terms of a) how they could collaborate with you or b) if they know someone who’d be really interested in what you do. This would then develop so many opportunities for people to get involved, and most importantly share ideas with each other.

That was another one of my slides, and you may have seen it on twitter. You may be clever, but you don’t always have to have the answers. Go and talk to others. Go and collaborate. Go and listen to other people and what they are doing. Go and figure out what your customer really wants and how you working with others could provide that.

Go figure.
Go Do.
Just Do it!

Tech is the way forward!

Last week, the Tech Nation 2017 Report by Tech City was released.


It provided some great insights and reading (Images have been taken from Tech City)


Now, if you haven’t had the opportunity to read it – I thoroughly recommend you search for the report, download it and have a good read. Hopefully the image above encourages you to find out more.

For me, it’s a great read – for a number of reasons.

  1. It shows the importance of ‘Digital’
    1. The digital era is well and truly here. There’s no denying it. We have to make sure we’re not only on-board but have fully adopted it.
    2. It’s only going to get bigger and bigger – look at the figures in the image above… look at the figures in the report…. £97bn from Digital Tech Industries contributed to the UK Economy… let that sink in for a moment.
    3. People are learning more and more – this shows in the average salary. My daughter who is 10 is learning how to code! She’s even coded her first game.. admittedly it’s no Angry Birds, but i’ll let her learn and give her time.
  2. IT’s not just London
    1. This was also mentioned via a tweet by Tech City. It’s true…
    2. Look at cities outside of London – Manchester, Reading, Birmingham, Nottingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Milton Keynes.. they’re all investing, attracting and enhancing their offerings to Tech Companies.
    3. And Tech Companies are finding London expensive.. well, when you have to pay £6 for a beer, you know it might be a good time to look elsewhere.

I’ve traveled around the World. There’s alot of cities who have their Digital Eco-system in place. And they’re known for it. But many more cities around the World are rapidly developing.

Going to be a little bias here.. but Atlanta in the USA….  Georgia Tech are assisting with the cities phenomenal growth!

Then there’s Tel Aviv in Israel. Huge.. and I mean HUGE! Start-up community.

If you, your organisation, company, establishment, family, friends, colleagues are still thinking, What is Digital? – you need to hurry up!

Hack 24 – 2017

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to go to Hack 24 – it’s a 24 hour Hackathon held in Nottingham.

It was my first time in attendance. The event itself has being going on for 3 years, and talking to some of the folk in the room, it’s been going from strength to strength.

So what is Hack 24?

Well… it’s organized by the great folk at Tech Nottingham (supported by a number of other local communities). A number of companies and organizations, sponsor the event, provide challenges, etc… then some of the greatest minds around the city apply for tickets (limited spaces!), and arrive at the Grade II listed building in the centre of Nottingham. 

They are presented with the challenges and then form teams to work on the challenges. They have 24 hours to work on them! 

There’s various prizes to be won… from £2,000 in cash, to another prize where each member of the team walks away with an Amazon Echo.

I personally think this is a great way to have the local tech community become more engaged in real-life challenges that companies and organizations face. Not to give too much away, one of the challenges was around Fake News…. 

I’m sure more will be published by Hack24 guys on social media and their website, which i’d encourage you to go and visit/see. Also, might be an opportunity for you to get involved in next years Hack 24.

And Hackathons are a great ROI (Return On Investment) – either if you are a coder/developer/attendee, there’s not only the prizes I mentioned, but the opportunity to learn. You’re in teams, and it’s okay if you don’t know anyone, there’s folk there to help you either find or form a team. Best way to learn from others and increase your knowledge. 

Then, if you are a company/organization – think of the great minds in and around the city who are wanting to work on your issue/challenge and provide you with some great insights and develop something amazing for you. All in 24 hours!!! 

In this day and age, first to market, speed of development and quality of product are key to success… and these types of events sure do help. 

So what were the results? – well, it was all very impressive!

My favourtie was this…

That’s right. Some really clever folk managed to do some coding, to detect fake news… create a ‘Donald Trump’ that then reacts and acknowledges it’s fake news. 

Coding and Creativity. All in 24 hours. 

CEO + Ideas = Success

Over the years, I’ve placed a heavy emphasis on how important it is to have good leadership that can drive you and the organisation forward.

It’s critical that they not only show you the vision, but assist you along the path.

You could say, I was lucky in that aspect. Not only my immediate manager, who was Vice President of IT Leadership, but my CIO and CEO (Chief Executive Officer) were all in support of the Innovation work that was happening.

My CIO (Chief Information Officer) would often share his vision, what he would like to see happening and this was all from feedback which he’d receive from Leaders within the business and also, what the other CIO’s of major organisations were looking into.

With that leadership, we were able to develop ideas. Ideas which then went onto a pilot or proof of concept phase – using the Lean Startup methodology, we’d really work on them in a fast manner – Learn Fast, Fail Fast.

If it wasn’t going to work – that’s fine.

Let’s learn from it.

Learn and move on. Learn, why didn’t it work – and if changes were needed, make them then move onto a new test, new pilot or something new. We didn’t keep pushing the same thing until it worked. We made sure we had something that worked, that we could let the customers pull from us.

When I support and talk to other organisations, one thing is key… Leadership. They need to support. They need to be behind any new innovative ideas, technologies or thought processes.

Elements Of Business Success And Profits: A Good Ceo And Good Id

You can look at some of the top companies in the world, and how their leaders and CEO’s talk about ideas. How they talk about innovation and either new technology or something new, that will drive the business forward and achieve success.

Shadow of the Leader

This is something I picked up from GlaxoSmithKline.

It’s very much what it is. Whatever the leader is like, the rest of the organisation will be like that. Because that is the shadow he casts onto them.

If the CEO/Leader is innovative, driving change and wants the company to be a success… that shadow will be on everyone below him, and then they’ll cast it below them. The organisation then will be successful.

What kind of shadow do you have?

What kind of shadow do the leaders in your organisation have?


Is Innovation a ‘Buzzword’?

Recently, i’ve been seeing the word ‘Innovation’ randomly appear in people’s job title. 

At first I thought, that’s great – they’re innovating. When asking them for details, it’s more about they are looking at some new ‘things’. 

Asking them what process they are using, and they’re not sure. 

This then made me think, is the word ‘innovation’ a buzzword, that’s appearing everywhere – and attracts interest from a wide audience. It must be right? The more the word is used, along with other key words, will definitely attract interest. 

Aren’t we all looking for innovators? 

Aren’t we all looking for the next Steve Jobs?

Aren’t we all looking for the next Facebook?

So the word, Innovative/Innovation/Innovator etc… are being used more and more. Rightly or wrongly, they’ll definitely get the attention of people. 

 Moving on from people using it, I recently saw it being used for a renowned Indian singer artist’s tour name. Why it’s innovative, i’d love to know. 

I can understand shows like the below being called it.. 

By the way, i’m not promoting the above… it’s just an example, which i understand. 

Then there’s companies who are innovative… who have proven to be innovative, and have the right to use the word… 

Well… i’m sure we’ll be seeing more of the word in examples where we may have thought it couldn’t be used. 

Maybe, that’s innovation in itself.

Samosa Social Media

Do you sometimes feel, there’s quite a few social media platforms out there and more and more are popping up all the time?

The other day, I was trying to explain to a local business owner why they should be all over social media.

They’ve got the usual Facebook page, which they update, as and when they get time.

I suggested, have they looked at taking photo’s and posting them to Instagram?

Also suggested, perhaps making a few short videos, and posting them onto a YouTube channel.

Maybe engage with some younger folk, via Snapchat.

The response – if i’m doing all this, who’s going to do the work?!

Absolutely right! – who is going to do the work.

Well, there’s a few options.

  1. Understand the Social Media Channels that work for you.
    1. Not all will be as effective.
    2. There’ll be some key ones that’ll really work for you
    3. Some may not be worth exploring
    4. Those that work – schedule 15-20 mins a day, to share engaging content
  2. Good Quality Content
    1. People will only watch, listen or read if it’s engaging.
    2. Videos and Photo’s always work well.
    3. Understand what it is you sell (service, products, etc..) and tailor the content accordingly.

Not everyone needs to be on Snapchat. Not everyone needs to be Periscoping.

But there are a few more platforms you should be on, than the usual Facebook page you have.

Not sure how they all work?

Well, I found this great picture describing Social Media with a Samosa! (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a Samosa!) – it’s very much tailored for an individual, but you can learn from it and apply it to a small/medium size business.

samosa social media