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We’re now up to Episode 14 of our Digital Workplace Impact podcast, Paul Miller’s regular dip into the rapidly evolving world of the digital workplace, the future of work and other digital themes. We’re thrilled that the number of subscribers has continued to build and that we’ve been able to feature great thought leaders such as Brian Solis and Jean-Claude Monney from Microsoft.

We’ve already covered many different themes on our podcast, from usability to robots to office design. I previously looked at five things we’ve learned from the series and here are five more takeaways from “Season One” of Digital Workplace Impact.

Knowledge Management is undergoing a renaissance

Knowledge Management (KM) has been around for a long time but has been rather discredited, as it failed to deliver the benefits promised and became too associated with technology projects. In “Can Knowledge Management save the world?” we heard from two prominent figures in the KM world – Giovanni Piazza from KPMG and Jean-Claude Monney from Microsoft.

Listening to both guests, it really felt like KM is undergoing a renaissance, enjoying a new clarity about what it is and the contribution it can make. Giovanni Piazza describes KM as: “helping people find things and helping people find each other”, while Jean-Claude Monney adds the dimension of “programmatically embedding the enterprise knowledge into every deliverable”. Monney believes it helps in three ways: increasing productivity through operational excellence; driving innovation and finding ways to harness great ideas; and solving complex problems.

Monney talked about his involvement in a KM-driven initiative which made a contribution to solving the Zika virus. Can KM save the world? Perhaps not, but it has a contribution to make as the world changes at an ever faster pace – and it already makes a real difference to the enterprise.

We need to act now to dictate our own future

Digital commentator and futurist Brian Solis has one of the sharpest minds in the digital industry and it was fascinating to hear his take on the future of work and where we are collectively heading. In our episode “Brian Solis peers into the digital darkness and sees (the) light” he discussed the impact of automation, robots and AI.

Some of the potential challenges and repercussions ahead are indeed dark and Brian believes we have underestimated the power of information, misinformation and social networks on our everyday lives and the related sociological and anthropological impacts. We have been “blindsided” and don’t have the “infrastructure” to deal with the fundamental changes to work ahead. However, Brian describes himself as an optimist and says we do have the power to work through this and to dictate our own future. I came away with a sense that a far greater sense of urgency is required if we are to take control of where we are heading.

Digital workplace measurement must be meaningful and actionable

Digital Workplace Group has been measuring and benchmarking intranets and digital workplaces for more than 15 years, and two of our senior benchmarkers and consultants – Chris Tubb and Andrew Marr – were the special guests on episode 12, “How to measure a digital workplace”.

Chris and Andrew have used measurement as practitioners and also in hundreds of assignments for DWG.  I took away two key messages from this episode. Firstly, measurement is not always straightforward: it can be challenging to meaningfully link the analytics from your intranet or digital workplace with the strategic aims of your platform, such as engaging employees. Getting that link right is critical to success though.

Secondly, measurement must be actionable. If you measure, act on it. It’s got to be focused on solving issues and making improvements, often tied to very specific business processes. Too many people use measurement to show what they’ve done rather than to move things forwards. Chris and Andrew also gave many practical tips and tricks. As Paul Miller cautioned, this episode is for the “intranet and digital workplace nerds”.

Creating a great workplace experience is about achieving balance

The harmonization and alignment of digital and physical working environments is a hot topic, especially as workplace design continues to evolve and the Internet of Things presents new opportunities. In “Fusing the digital and physical workplaces” we heard fascinating insights from Karen Gill from Fidelity Investments and Ryan Anderson from Herman Miller, two experts in the field.

Listening to their thoughts, it struck me that so much of creating an overall compelling workplace is about getting the balance right across different factors, such as:

  •        space utilization and efficiency versus a great experience
  •        variety and choice versus standardization
  •        aesthetics versus the functional
  •        a vibrant place versus a quiet space

It’s clear that critical success factors include involving users, understanding the critical needs and working with multiple stakeholders from the start, and it was encouraging to hear how both Karen and Ryan are uniting Real Estate, IT and HR functions to deliver some genuinely exciting workspaces.

You need to try Working Out Loud to truly understand its value

“Working Out Loud” is a movement that has gained popularity over the last two years, but there are many who still don’t quite understand what it is or how it can be of value to them. In the episode entitled “Is it really noisy Working Out Loud?” we heard from Isabel De Clercq from Kluwer Training and Kelly O’Conor from BNY Mellon, who both live and breathe Working Out Loud within their respective organizations.

If you don’t know the first thing about Working Out Loud, this podcast is a good starting point. Isabel explained that the practice is about connecting with other people online and sharing your work, often when it is still in progress or in draft. Interestingly, both guests had experienced some initial resistance to the idea, partly because it is such a different way of learning and working. But what was encouraging was that once people had tried Working Out Loud for themselves, found it had a clear purpose and had experienced personal benefits, they became advocates of the practice.  

Subscribe to Digital Workplace Impact

If you’d like to listen to any of the above shows or the new episodes of Digital Workplace Impact we’re busy producing, then the best way to ensure you don’t miss any future shows is to subscribe. You can do this via iTunes as well as through Stitcher Radio or SoundCloud. Happy listening!

About the author

Steve-BynghallSteve Bynghall is a research associate, benchmark evaluator and knowledge manager for DWG. He is also a freelance consultant, researcher and writer specializing in knowledge management, collaboration, intranet and social business. Steve previously worked at accountancy firm BDO in a variety of knowledge roles, including managing its global extranet programme. He recently co-wrote a book on crowdsourcing with Ross Dawson.

Steve is passionate about being able to work from anywhere, and is occasionally seen in local coffee shops with his trusty laptop. When not working, Steve can be found exploring London with his family.

Connect with Steve on Twitter: @bynghall or on Google +.

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