One of my oldest friends is fond of using the word dischuffed. I met him when I was still living in the south of England. He hailed from the north so I assumed it was some Lancashire phraseology because I’d never heard it used prior to meeting him. Unconsciously, and probably by dint of spending a lot of time with him in my twenties, that word has become a part of my personal lexicon. I’ve seen it listed in the Collins dictionary recently and was a little surprised to find that it is a real word!
Today it’s proving very useful because I’m finding myself highly dischuffed by the fact that I left a Nokia phone charger (not so important) and my Moleskine notebook at the venue of a speaking gig that I attended yesterday.
That Moleskine notebook contains all manner of scribblings. There is a chapter of a novel that I was writing last year, countless business ideas and various other notes. That Moleskine is like my unconscious made material. So yes, very dischuffed.
Of more relevance to this particular blog, the notebook also contains the text of an article which I was quite pleased with. It was entitled Yabba Dabba Do! (Or, Don’t Believe The Vendors). I won’t say any more about it in case some kind soul returns the Moleskine and I can publish the piece.
So, to fill the space where that article should have been, I’m going to say a few words about the event at which I left the notebook. It was titled Local Digital Futures and was hosted at the Home Office in London. I gave three talks in the afternoon, but I also sat in on most of the other presentations so that I could get a flavour of what was happening inside the heads of local authority CIOs. It was fascinating – there are some great initiatives occurring in that space. The overall focus was on digitising previously customer-unfriendly service processes (e.g. applying for a Blue Badge), and making the interaction faster, more pleasant and – importantly in the current context – cheaper.
There were other initiatives too, around sharing technology platforms so that the wheel doesn’t have to be re-invented in multiple departments and multiple authorities. Naturally, the value of data was central to many of these projects.
In the middle of all these platform-type talks, I popped up in Room 13, delivering my piece about organising IT departments for responsiveness, service and continuous innovation. It went surprisingly well. If success can be gauged by the number of business cards that one hands out, then I should be happy.
The event produced a single epiphany – which is the point of this piece really.
Following my three 15-minute (TED style!) presentations, a number of audience members asked “How can I introduce autonomy (or values) into my organisation. How should I go about it?”. I gave some technical responses to the question based on psychology. However, on the way home I thought more deeply about it and realised that organisations should not be looking to third parties to tell them how to go about this. The most overwhelmingly important action that an organisation can take in respect of becoming more trichromatic is to think for themselves and to go for it.
Remember, trichromy is not a framework or a model. Of course, folk such as CXI (there are others) can help with knowledge or support or ideas, but key is that the organisation begins to ask questions like “How can we reduce control?”, “What processes can we lose and replace with employee discretion”, “Let’s start listening to our people and understand their values and ideas and give them the freedom to do it”.
Google were brave with their 20% time policy, as was Ricardo Semler in getting rid of managers at Semco, and so too were Zappos who attempted something similar. IT service organisations wanting to go trichromatic need to be courageous too.
In other words, lose the fear and start embracing the novel. Which takes us onto the other new post on this site today Fear and Loathing in IT Service.
Oh, and if any of the attendees from Friday’s event finds my notebook, please drop me a line at peter [ @ ] cxiservice.co.uk