Future business success depends on ‘digitising’ and re-skilling humans. Here’s what it takes…

‘We need to digitise the human’, concludes Accenture in it’s report entitled ‘Harnessing Revolution. Creating the future workforce’.

Such a statement conjures scary visions of being turned into a cyborg or suddenly having a chip injected into my brain. But then, I have always had an over-active imagination … and it turns out, that could be a good thing. According to the views below, it means I might still be employable 10 years from now! 

Accenture’s report is a thoughtful piece, drawing together the strands of AI and machine-learning, digital and technological solutions, academic and occupational education and the general realities of business operations today. 

Change needs to happen long before we start work

What comes across very clearly is the need for us urgently to start revising what we value in the workplace – and for us to initiate what’s needed for that change far earlier than graduate recruitment drives.  Read More

Super Google-whacking & how to create a great brand name

I’d never heard of ‘Google-whacking’ until earlier this week. It took my good friend, Rob Jones, to laughingly draw the analogy between my frustrated search for the right brand name for our new business and Dave Gorman’s magnificent ‘google-whacking’ adventures.

If, like me, you’d never heard of Dave and his adventures, I recommend checking out the linked material here. It’s an amusing read and one which I know many startup adventurers will also relate to in part.

What I’m going to share below is how to choose a good brand name for your business – drawing on all the practical and expert advice and tips that I’ve recently been given in relation to our own quest for a name for our startup. Oh and yes, there will be some Google-whacks as well…

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15 top-tips for spring cleaning your business. What the experts recommend (Part 4)

This is the final part of my 4-part serious on spring-cleaning and taking stock of your business.

Here, I’m going to be focusing with my team of expert contributors, on our top tips for successfully taking stock of your business and what is helpful for moving forward. (You can find the other parts to this series, covering why and how you should review your business and what to prioritise, on merlie.co.uk)

So what are our top-tips?

There are 15 of them. Read More

Resources for spring cleaning your business. What the experts use and recommend (Part 3)

This is Part 3 of my 4-part serious on spring-cleaning and taking stock of your business. In Part 3, I’m going to be focusing with my group of expert contributors, on their favourite resources when they review their businesses. (You can find the other parts to this series, covering why and how you should review your business and what to prioritise, on merlie.co.uk)

So in your experience, what are the best resources for reviewing a business?

I asked each expert to identify his/her favourite resource(s). As you’ll see from the chart below, my contributors rely on a wide variety of helpful resources, ranging from online resources, advice from coaches, comparing notes with peers, advisory boards, social media, to app-based/digital management solutions, amongst others.

We’ll delve a little more deeply into some favoured examples of these resources in a moment. Read More

Priorities for spring cleaning your business. How the experts do it & what they advise (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of my 4-part series on spring-cleaning and taking stock of your business. In Part 2, I’m going to be focusing with my team of expert contributors, on what you should prioritise when you’re reviewing your business. (You can find the other parts on merlie.co.uk)

So what are the most important things to prioritise when reviewing your business?

I asked each of my contributors to identify their top 3 items to prioritise when it comes to reviewing business performance and deciding what to focus on in the months ahead.

As you’ll see from the chart below, their views were quite varied, Read More

Spring clean your business. How the experts do it & what they advise

Limber up and get out the feather duster. It’s time to take stock of your business and do a bit of spring-cleaning.

I was looking for some guidance on this topic myself. But I actually couldn’t find anything particularly helpful, beyond a fair amount of theoretical guidance and some out of date blog posts.

So, I asked a very broad cross section of business experts from my network for their practical tips on what to do, when to do it, and what are their secrets to doing it really well.

Here’s what they very generously shared with me. It’s a great feast of helpful information and resources, so I’ve split it into 4 parts. This is the first part and it focuses on how often, and the best ways, to take stock of your business and keep it on track. (You can find the other parts on merlie.co.uk). Read More

Be more startup. Why in-house lawyers should channel good entrepreneurs

How can you successfully lead an in-house legal team in 2017? And can technology help to solve some of the increasing challenges faced by those leaders?

It’s a good question. One that Nilema Bhakta-Jones and I addressed in part last week at the Alternative In-house Technology Summit in Oxfordshire.

It is something that over the last 10 years at least, we have almost endlessly debated between us and we’ve regularly shared our learnings, ideas and experiments. The conversation started out between just the two of us. Now we discuss that same question, those ideas and our experience, with so many different people and organisations. Change and innovation within legal services is something that we are both passionate about and this passion has driven many of our career choices since we first sat down together.

Here are some highlights of our on-stage conversation and the discussions that followed. (I will leave it to Nilema to explain why she blames BATMAN for many of the frustrations that in-house teams face… and if she doesn’t blog this herself, I will interview/interrogate her for a separate blog, so that you can see why she’s right and how BATMAN is to blame.) Read More

Why we all need to get more geeky and friendly, to future-proof business

‘Get geeky’ was the advice of a leading commentator on the future of professional services at an event I attended earlier this week. Yes, it’s ‘cheesey’, yet I still wanted to stand up and applaud.

Not because it was a revelation.

But because the real leaders of traditional sectors, including professional services, are finally, demonstrably, committed to harnessing technological solutions better, and because they are starting to forge a path where there previously wasn’t one.

And their achievements are being noticed and appreciated. Which is great. Although it’s unlikely to be enough. It’s only a step in the right direction.

Why? Read More

Those who truly change the world have a story. What’s yours?

So what’s yours?

How do you find it and then tell it?

For as Jeff Bullas says, in another of his insightful blogs, even the smallest idea can become a big story. The secret to success is in its telling.

And having a story, a really compelling one, takes you one step closer to customers, partners, investors and employees buying into you and your business, in preference to your rivals.

Your story is something that is fundamentally unique – because it is yours alone. And that makes it special. Tell it simply – and concisely. It’s not your life story or everything you’ve ever done. It’s your business story.

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Innovation is a practice, not a task

innovation-light-bulb
‘what is not innovation in the eyes of your customers is innovation that’s not worth shouting about’

There’s probably no better illustration of just how important it is to keep innovating than to consider what happened to Venice and the incredible empire that it built, and then lost. The story of what happened and what as business founders, leaders and change agents we can all learn from it, is well set out in the linked article by Piero Formica, first published in the Harvard Business Review on 17 January.

I’ve found that there are 5 essential things to remember when it comes to innovating successfully. I’ve set them out below. Read More