How to get motivated

How to get motivated – a guide for defeating procrastination

I think this is one of the most useful infographics I’ve seen in a very long time:

A Guide for Defeating Procrastination

Alex Vermeer:

Two of my recent posts were meant to highlight clear, actionable things we can do to defeat procrastination – whether it’s general life and environment changes or things that can be done immediately – based on The Procrastination Equation by Piers Steel.

They’re a bit long, and despite my best intentions to use as many of the methods from the book as possible, when I’m in the middle of procrastinating I don’t tend to go out of my way to look up a post, find a method, and implement it.

It needs to be easier; it needs to be as easy as possible!

So, I created a flowchart, to be printed in colour and posted somewhere visible, to help me actually use the anti-procrastination advice I so desperately need!

You can download the image from above (2560 x 1440px) or from Alex’s site (all the way up to 7100 x 5000px). To be able to read the text relatively easily, you will need to print it at A3 size or above.

Take a look, and see whether Alex’s tips help you as much as they have me when the need for additional motivation calls.

Battersea Power Station site

Apple to create stunning new HQ at Battersea Power Station

Apple is to create a spectacular new London headquarters at Battersea Power Station in a massive coup for the developers behind the £9 billion project.

The iPhone and iPad maker will move 1,400 staff from eight sites around the capital into what it calls “a new Apple campus” at the Grade II* listed former electricity generator.

Its employees will occupy all six floors of office space in the brick “cathedral of power”, which is being painstakingly restored after 33 years standing derelict on the banks of the Thames.

In a statement to the Standard, Apple said it was looking forward to the 2021 opening of “our new London campus” as staff relocate to “this magnificent new development at one of the city’s best-known landmarks”. It added: “This is a great opportunity to have our entire team working and collaborating in one location while supporting the renovation of a neighbourhood rich with history.”

This is such massive news for London and the UK as a whole, and I don’t think wish for a better use of the iconic (and beautiful) Battersea Power Station site.

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Blackberry logo

BlackBerry to outsource development of smartphones, to focus on software

“The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners,” CEO John Chen said in a statement. “This allows us to reduce capital requirements and enhance return on invested capital.”

BlackBerry has been setting the stage for such a move for a while now. It has already released one phone, the DTEK50 that was essentially a rebadged Alcatel phone and has started offering up pieces of its phone software for use on other Android devices.

Chen had said BlackBerry would exit the phone business if it could not make it profitable.

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The writing’s been on the wall for a while now, but even so it comes as a shock to see an organisation that was selling 15 million devices a quarter back in 2010 exit the handset development business altogether.

Slack banner

Did you know the origin of the brand ‘Slack’?

So Slack stands for ‘Searchable Log of All Conversation & Knowledge‘.

Can’t help wondering where they’d be if they’d stuck with ‘Linefeed’ as their product name?!

University of Zurich

University of Zürich – Sharing knowledge for 175 years…

Roberto Mazzoni, Head of User IT Services at the University of Zurich, describes how the university relies on IBM Connections today to share knowledge with students, faculty and office administrators. We also learn about VAUZ, an association of 5,500 students and faculty at the university. VAUZ uses IBM Connections to share ideas and execute plans that keep the 175 year old university modern and on the latest technology.

It was thrilling to hear Robert and his team describe the value they were obtaining from their IBM Connections ESN back at Social Connections V in Zürich a few years back, and it’s good to see this academic use case documented as an official IBM case study.

Whilst I have enjoyed working with a number of well respected universities in my time (including Cardiff, City and Cambridge), it feels to me as though further education and specifically student populations are under-represented amongst those reporting significant value from online communities at the organisational level. Clearly there are many many online communities on academic platforms such as Moodle, and well as specific use cases that utilise social media platforms such as Facebook, as well as the almost ubiquitous Slack channels.

However, hearing from Zürich that that Connections is supporting collaboration across 5,000+ staff and students gives me motivation to seek out more positive references in this area.

IBM Connections Cloud maintenance screenshot

Giving the wrong impression

IBM Connections Cloud maintenance screenshotLike many long-time IBM Connections Cloud users, my muscle memory was to access the site via the URL (the longest-lasting of the few brands that service has had over the years).

Sadly IBM has now retired this, and so seems to be the way to go (you may remember that my thoughts on that domain have never been particularly positive).  This is what you get when you arrive there – see the screenshot for full context:

Maintenance Window
In order to continue providing you quality service, we will be performing planned maintenance to the IBM Connections Cloud services on the following schedule

Now I’m not arguing that IBM doesn’t need to tell users (or at least organisation administrators) that there will be potential downtime in the near future, but it seems very curious to make this the ‘front and centre’ experience that all users see when going to the most obvious service URL. It appears to accentuate the fact that this isn’t an ‘always on’ service, and is something that I cannot imagine Google or Microsoft doing on their primary customer-facing home page for a paid service.

IBM Connections Cloud untrustedWhat makes this even more odd is that when the user then clicks on ‘Sign In’ to actually access their Connections Cloud account, they get a pop up that reads as follows (again, see the screenshot for context):

Leaving the IBM Web site
You are now leaving the IBM Web site. IBM makes no representations or warranties about any other Web site which you may access through this one. When you access non-IBM Web sites, even though they might contain the IBM logo and content regarding IBM’s products and services, such Web sites are independent of IBM and IBM has no control over the operation of non-IBM Web sites. In addition, a link to a non-IBM Web site does not mean that IBM endorses that Web site or has any responsibility for the use of such Web site.

Yep, you can’t make this up. This message actually suggests that the login to a customer’s paid Connections Cloud account is in some way untrustworthy. Again, hardly inspiring confidence in the service…

Now, I know there might be a better, more specific URL to use to login (Most likely, and some larger customers may have vanity URLs for their own Connections Cloud service. However, for the majority of accounts, including those new to the service, this is not a great customer experience.

Am I missing something? Is there a better route into Connections Cloud for the uninitiated?

Either way, I see no reason why this experience shouldn’t be improved for those that hit that URL themselves.

Speaking at MWLUG 2016: The Anatomy of the Perfect Use Case

I always feel a frisson of excitement when arriving at an airport ready for an international flight, and the anticipation is even more evident when it’s a long haul trip. And so it is today, sat in the BA lounge overlooking the tarmac of Heathrow’s eastern runway and T5 apron.

Heathrow plane watching

On this occasion I am delighted that it is Austin in Texas that’s the destination, and the purpose of the whirlwind 72 hour trip is to attend MWLUG for the first time. I first visited Austin back in 1998 to attend an IBM study tour, truly loved the vibe that the city has, and so I’m delighted to return once again almost two decades later.

MWLUG 2016

So what is MWLUG I hear (some of) you cry? The Mid West Lotus User Group.

Of course, Lotus as a brand is long gone, but the community and culture that surrounds the ICS products and collaborative vision definitely remain. MWLUG is a great example of the role and importance of the user groups in fostering and maintaining the community beyond the efforts of the vendor itself. From afar, I’ve always been left impressed by the efforts of Richard Moy and his team of volunteers in putting on such a professional event, as well as having the drive and determination to continue to look for new venues across the US – the scope has definitely widened far beyond the Mid West at this point!

This is my first user group event since leaving Jive, so I’m looking forward to meeting up with so many long-time friends after a couple of years away.

I’m also delighted to be presenting tomorrow afternoon at 5:45pm in session BP107, entitled ‘The Anatomy of the Perfect Collaboration Use Case’. This is a deck that I presented last Autumn at Social Connections 9 in Germany, but has been significantly enhanced based on the projects I’ve delivered since, as well as refocusing on the options available to IBM customers. Here’s the abstract:

Build it and they will come? By now, surely we should all be aware this is not the case.

Social and collaboration platforms need to provide demonstrable value, whether in productivity terms for the individual users, or in business value to the organisations involved. Therefore it is imperative that users know why they and how they should come together to use the platform in a strategic manner, to achieve a defined goal.

Join this session to hear why this means that platform owners and community managers must develop a roadmap of clearly defined and understood ‘use cases’, the factors and challenges that you need to consider, and how best to support the use cases within your deployment and launch strategy.

So if you’re at the event, please join me, or at least make sure you say Hi in the corridors of the Four Seasons, Austin. I always love to meet new community folks, particularly to hear how and why you’re deploying social collaboration technology to aid your business and support new ways of enabling your employees to connect and communicate.


A compelling new multinational insurance ESN case study

It’s always good to read a successful customer reference story, particularly when the organisation’s culture and productivity has truly been revolutionised by deploying a new internal community. 

UNIQA logoThis is definitely the case with this new case study, featuring UNIQA Insurance Group. Based in Vienna, UNIQA have grown incredibly quickly over the past decade, particularly via a push into Central and Eastern Europe.  This has left them with a number of substantial challenges in terms of communications and alignment across these varied markets and native languages:

Jive Software, Inc. today announced that UNIQA Insurance Group AG (UNIQA Group), a leading European insurance group, launched a new Jive-powered Interactive Intranet to strengthen strategic alignment and employee engagement across its global workforce. With this modern corporate communications solution, the rapidly growing company is cultivating a more transparent, unified culture, while gaining a better understanding of the reach and impact of its internal messages.

UNIQA Insurance Group AG (UNIQA Group), a leading European insurance group, launched a new Jive-powered Interactive Intranet to strengthen strategic alignment and employee engagement across its global workforce

Over the past fifteen years, UNIQA Group acquired several insurance companies during its push into Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The business is now one of the leading insurance groups in its core markets of Austria and CEE, serving more than 10 million customers in 19 countries. UNIQA’s 100 percent subsidiary, UNIQA International, manages 15 markets in the CEE growth region-most of which operate with different languages, cultures and other regional distinctions. The company’s international communications team struggled to efficiently deliver announcements and messages to various countries via email, multiple disconnected static intranets and expensive in-person meetings.

“As we expand, we’re striving to be a different kind of insurer. The cornerstone of our operations is companywide personal contact and direct collaboration amongst all employees throughout our countries and local branches,” said Gabriela Rusu, head of group communication at UNIQA. “Jive will bring us a big step forward in this journey by connecting those offices, and facilitating employee engagement and change management. We made the switch to Jive’s Interactive Intranet because we need a secure, cloud-based solution-with both powerful communications and collaboration functionality that save the organization significant time and money.”  

The interactive intranet-dubbed “UNIQAspace”-launched this summer to facilitate captivating communications that reach thousands of employees across all of the company’s markets. Underpinned by Jive, the solution makes it easy for executives to interact with employees through blogs and videos. People can ask questions, comment, share and discuss-opening up transparent dialogue between executives and country teams that fosters alignment around the company’s vision. UNIQAspace also provides consumer-style mobile apps with easy ways for employees to get company news, stay connected and participate wherever they go.

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I had the pleasure of working with UNIQA on the early stages of this project, and it’s been hugely rewarding to hear how well UNIQAspace has been received by their employees, and to see the transformational shift that is taking place in their international communications, knowledge-sharing and collaboration.

UNIQA are a good example of an organisation that has grown quickly, primarily by acquisition then followed by organic growth, where the existing centrally-published intranet and communications methodology simply hadn’t kept up with the demands of a relatively young, multi-national and multi-lingual workforce. Shifting to a open, transparent and collaborative work style via a cloud-based community has empowered employees, created opportunities for cross-team engagement, and ensured that all countries are representated, heard and understood.