Sunday, October 30, 2011

Innovating Our Way Through Lunch at Tech Jam VT 2011

     Recently, just this past Saturday I ate my way through the most innovative lunch and learn session I've experienced in years.  I sat near the front of a very receptive crowd upstairs in the recently vacated Borders retail space now hosting for two days the fifth annual Tech Jam VT.
     While eating we waited for what was soon to become a very unusual and informative learning session to begin.  Even though technical difficulties delayed the start, those waiting didn't seem to mind. The added time gave us all extra moments to talk to one another and mingle a bit with nearby exhibitors.
     We were there to listen to representatives from Google and Dealer.Com to speak and share insight on "Fostering Innovation in the Workplace"and hopefully learn some things to apply to our businesses and workplaces.  Organizers designed the session to be highly interactive with panelists briefly highlighting key aspects of how innovation happens in their workplaces followed by ample time for audience Q&A.
     The panel was brought to us by the organizers of the 5th Annual Tech Jam VT.  It featured Craig Neville-Manning, engineering director for Google New York and Matt Dunne, head of community affairs for Google (a former Democratic Gubernatorial candidate from Vermont).  The panel also featured Luke Dion, senior director of product development and Mike DeCecco, director of business development both from Dealer.Com the major sponsor of TechJam.
     Craig couldn't physically be there because of family obligations and the Nor' Easter pounding at that moment the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut areas.  Craig joined us by live audio and video  feed.  It really didn't matter and actually added to the vibe in the room.
     Luke and Mike from Dealer kicked off the session by highlighting how key aspects of their fast growing company culture and workplace supported their work in a "Google Lite" manner.  Through a combination of open collaborative work areas, meeting spaces, common areas like cafes, wellness spaces and yes even a full-size indoor tennis court and an open door management style they set the stage for innovative interactions at the core of their innovative work culture.
     Through a seemingly extraordinary focus on people, place and process Dealer fosters a spirit of openness, creativity and trust.  Bright high intensity colors and a sparse modern feel of the spaces echo the dynamic pulse of the business and cheerfulness of their team based approach to work.
     As their space forms the physical backbone of the business their Life program supports the softer side by helping employees eat healthier, exercise more and take care of their minds and bodies in a more holistic people centered approach.  Similarly they said "Their work culture is set up so no one is more special than anyone else".  They practice an open door management style where management's job is to provide the best inspiration and resources to their teams and quickly "get out of the way and to let them do their jobs".

Friday, October 28, 2011

Dear Klout, Can You Help Me?

Dear Klout,

My Klout score algorithms must be out of wack! My badge score has gone from the thirties, forties & now in the teens in the space of days? Should I stay with you if your algorithms create daily changes all over the map? Each day it seems I'm in totally different categories with back histories & trending showing completely different patterns. If the Klout Badge is to be trustworthy this shouldn't happen. Right?

However, if you're a dynamic ever growing social media tool this might be happening.  My question is if its unstable like it has been recently will badge holders like me go elsewhere?  You might explain on your website more in detail how and why things change so much.

Here's some details.....

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What Steve Jobs Means to Me and Us

    Losing Steve Jobs today is sad for so many.  I grew up with Apple first as an upstart hip some would say way out of bounds computer company in the early 80's.  My dad worked for IBM and was everything Big Blue.  So of course when I read about and saw early stuff about Apple, the two Steve's, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniack I was all ears.
    Steve and Steve inspired me then to think outside the box, that's its ok to innovate, heck you can even start something in your garage.  Maybe you didn't know how to run a business but if you had an idea,  ingenuity and a whole lot of chutzpah  you could imagine and act on making a better world.
     Today I am parent of 13 year and 11 year old boys and am so excited to share with them some of the interesting, game changing Apple products and tools so many of us seem unable to live without, our iPods, iTouches, MacBooks.  My boys ironically feel the same I did way back when about all of these things.  They're inspired as I am only for different reasons I think.
     Peering down into our new iTouch screen light lighting up their eyes and faces they see a world of possibilities I never dreamed of when I was their age.  As they dance circles around me showing intuitively how the iTouch works, where to find things in the interfaces and such, I say to myself under my breath, what technologies and how will they be living with them as they age and mature?
     How will they work?  Will there be "offices" as we understand them today? Will their kids when they are the same age as they are now and they're adults seem the same to them as they do to me?  Given what I've seen the answer is so far is a resounding yes.  Saying so cause the hair on my neck rise in excitement and my pulse quicken.
     Reflecting again on the passing of Steve Jobs and thinking about the world of possibilities before us, the sense of invention and inspiration surrounding us I can't think of a more fitting epitaph and legacy for this giant of technology and cultural change.  We owe so much to you and your drive to explore. We'll miss your unbounded passion, always surpassing the boundaries of the possible, seeking new places filled with invention, innovation and more gracefulness.

    Thanks Steve.