Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Better Managing Interruptions (like this one)


 Emails, mobile phones, PDAs, instant messaging, social networks, blogs, Google, voicemail, podcasts and webinars are just some of the technology tools that are supposed to make us all more productive. Really? According to a recent Time magazine article,the writer states that "The Internet, conceived as a research and productivity tool, has become a weapon of mass distraction". 

 A recent productivity study of workers at two high-tech firms in California showed that workers "switched out" or were interrupted from their task EVERY THREE MINUTES on average. Also, a joint study by Microsoft and the University of Illinois found that it takes a person interrupted by email an average of 16 minutes, 33 seconds to get back to what they were doing. The impact? According to Gloria Mark, Professor of Informatics at the University of California Irvine, who is studying the effect of workplace interruptions and multitasking, there is a psychological cost due to the high frustration and higher mental workload of these interruptions on workers. 

 So is there any good news? Mark suggests that there are two ways to minimise interruptions - social and technical. Social in terms of having the discipline to limit time on tools like the internet to stay focused on tasks at hand. I'm sure we've all experienced how creative we get with our To-Do list when the office or home internet is down! 

 The second is technical in which workers are encouraged to BROADCAST WHAT THEY'RE WORKING ON through online networking tools such as Facebook, Linkedin, Plaxo and Twitter. These 'on task' interruptions are found to be beneficial and valuable - as long as they're appropriate and relevant to the topic or task being worked on. The irony that this information is communicated via a disruptive technology like a blog post is not lost on me. 

I hope that you found this 'interruption' useful in better understanding how to manage them. 

 Sources mentioned: 
* Managing Workplace Interruptions, BNET Useful Commute Podcast: http://blogs.bnet.com/intercom/?p=1837 (7 minutes, 30 seconds) 
* The Offline American by Lev Grossman, Time magazine, August 25, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

Moments of Learning


Creative Leadership Forum Moments of Learning are 2 hour monthly programmes designed as short introductory learning experiences offering managers a taste of new trends, new thinking and new leadership and management styles in the creative leadership, creativity and innovation space.

"Moments are not chalk and talk. They are short low cost high quality learning experiences" said Ralph Kerle, Chief Executive Officer, the Creative Leadership Forum."We have priced a Moment at $110 so rather than managers denying themselves the opportunity for professional development because of uncertainty of value or suitability of content, managers can use a Creative Leadership Forum Moment to quickly gauge whether the content is of practical use and then make a decision later to invest further in professional development either personally or with organisational involvement. Through these moments also, the Creative Leadership Forum gains a better understanding of what managers are seeking in the way of professional development. A win-win situation for everyone!!"

Upcoming Moments of Learning include the Theatre of Marketing, Creativity and Online Networking (Iggy Pintado) and the Experience of Invention.


September 2008's Moment of Learning

The Creative Leadership Forum, BNET Australia and Deloitte present:

The Sound of Leadership - featuring Dr Louise Mahler, Managing Director, Art of Business and Ralph Kerle, CEO, Creative Leadership Forum

Date: Sept 2, 2008
Time: 5.00pm - 7.00pm
Venue: Deloitte, 9th Floor, 225 George Street, Sydney

A 2 hour fun filled participatory workshop led by an international renowned opera singer and theatre director. Make your presence felt through sound. Hear yourself become a leader. Be aware of the sounds others are making when they communicate. Learn to lead through the sense of sound!!

The workshop will offer a powerful leadership development experience in which you will discover your own voice; learn to use it effectively to lead and to experience the application and importance of voice in storytelling, presenting, influencing and being heard.

Book Your Ticket Here!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Connection Chips and Missing People


 Last Sunday, I walked the annual City to Surf fun run in Sydney, Australia. The event encourages people to run or walk the 14 kilometre distance from the heart of Sydney to the famous Bondi beach for fun and to raise money for charity. This year, 70,000 people aged from 8 months to 80 years participated with A$1.1 million donations received. 

For the first time this year, the organisers introduced Timing Chip technology. Each entrant had to attach a plastic chip the size of a 25 US cent coin to their shoes - usually through their shoelaces. After stepping on a rubber mat at the start point that activated the chip and at the finish line that deactivated it, each of the 70,000 participants was monitored to more accurately track their individual progress, location and ultimately, time taken to complete the race. 

 The technology is not new as tracking devices have been used on livestock, pets and prisoners for a number of years. But... What got me thinking was that the week prior was coincidentally, National Missing Persons Week. 

The campaign website states that 35,000 people are reported missing each year in Australia. Although 95% are found within a week, research indicates that young people (around 20,000), the aged and those living with a mental illness are particularly at risk of going missing. 

 The Salvation Army cites studies that show that for every missing person, there is an average of 12 people who are affected by the stress of not knowing where they are, with the anxiety experienced by parents who have a missing child being understandably intense. 

 If double the number of missing persons in Australia per year can be tracked via a simple, non-intrusive device in just a few hours for a fun run, then is it worth considering this connection technology to ease/minimise the stress and anxiety of losing track of loved ones, let alone the cost of conducting expensive searches and tracing programs? 

 I understand that some may think that the pandora's box of privacy and 1984-style big brother syndrome immediately opens. But I wonder that in a world where you can find any information online and track a large mass accurately through inexpensive plastic chips, whether it's time to consider implementing such technology for those directly and indirectly at risk.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Online Networking - Good for Business


 We’re all familiar with the old cliché: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. Any business expert will tell you that networking is one of the best ways to advance your career whether you are currently looking or planning to find your next job. Networking is the art of meeting people or joining a group of people who share a common interest or goal. Business networking is defined as the means by which individuals and groups connect for the common purpose of conducting business. 

 What’s new about networking is that it’s just as important how you network as whether you network at all – and the technology is now available to facilitate more efficient and effective ways to network. With the emergence and rapid adoption of online networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Linkedin, networking has moved to cyberspace and online networking sites are now dedicated to connecting people via the internet. 

 So what is Online Networking? I define it as the ability to identify, develop and manage social and business connections via the web. The main benefit of participating in online networking is that you can take advantage of access that is unavailable with traditional networking. Online networking tools include the networks themselves - webs of millions of people who are just a few clicks away from receiving an electronic message from anyone within the network – and the application to assist in maintaining those networks. 

 Online networks for business such as Linkedin, provide business professionals with an unmatched flexibility to enable participants to make connections, share information and post inquiries at any time, from any place, across the country and across the world. It is THE business application that allows businesses to get – and stay – connected to their prospects, customers and partners. 

 Online networking is based on traditional networking in many ways. As a business, you want to promote your business, meet prospects, make contacts, build relationships, generate opportunities and close sales. As an individual, you should get - stay - connected to maintain your business profile, nurture centres of influence and join communities of interest. Just as prospecting, relationship & brand building and networking takes time in the real world, it’s the same online – only more effective and efficient. Outside of job search, it’s also a good support resource for day-to-day job concerns. 

Establishing a broad network enables you to turn to different experts or groups, depending on your professional challenges. You should network when you have a job, not just when you need one.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

That's 6.6 Degrees of Separation - according to Microsoft Research


A Microsoft research team has studied 30 billion instant messages sent by 240 million people in June 2006 and found that any two Instant Messenger (IM) users could be linked in 6.6 steps.

The research supports the famous 1969 study by Millgram and Travers that proposed that any two strangers are connected by only six degrees of separation. The theory inspired a play, a film, a game, and the sixdegrees.org website launched by actor Kevin Bacon.

"We've been able to put our finger on the social pulse of human connectivity - on a planetary scale - and we've confirmed that it's indeed a small world.'' Microsoft researcher Eric Horvitz said. "Over the next few decades, new kinds of computing applications, from smart networks to automated translation systems, will help make the world even smaller, with closer social connections and deeper understanding among people.''

Full Story in news.com.au: http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,,24130825-5005962,00.html

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Social Networking LIVE - Where the Hell is Matt?


I've come across some great YouTube videos in my time but this one really encompasses what I think the power of social media and social networking is all about. As at this posting, it's been viewed 8.3 millions times.

It made my day today and hope it makes yours. I think the whole world should see it at least once. Enjoy.