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- Paul Miller, DWG’s former CEO and Founder, turned Chief Creative Officer
What happens when two DWG CEOs – past and present – sit down together in the DWI studio? A conversation that sparkles with insights to tempt digital workplace pioneers and practitioners everywhere.
Known as an inspirational and unconventional leader, as well as an industry visionary, Paul Miller founded DWG more than 20 years ago, never wanting to head up a ‘normal’ company but going on to steer the team from strength to strength. Paul passed on the CEO leadership baton at the end of 2022 to become DWG’s first Chief Creative Officer.
In this episode of Digital Workplace Impact, Paul joins new DWG CEO and podcast host, Nancy Goebel, to share some of his learnings as CEO as well as uncovering a few of the surprises he’s encountered along the way. The pair discuss his leadership blueprint for unlocking a freedom ethic, while making the creative process fun, rewarding and valuable, and Paul looks forward to future plans to grow DWG’s ‘creative DNA’.
Add into the mix Nancy’s inciteful reflections, a good dose of humour, and discoveries from across the years, and this is a glorious podcast treat for the start of the new year. So, be in the company of CEOs and join us for a great listen from two of DWG’s leading mavericks.
Show notes, links and transcript for this episode:
[00:00:00.410] – Paul Miller
When you think about the role of technology in work, it’s about freedom, the freedom to connect. I mean, when we think about bringing better digital workplace services to the front line of work, to the logistics that delivery drivers, the health workers and so on, where you think about bringing information, knowledge, connection, relationship to them, it’s about freedom. It’s about liberation. And I think that sort of runs through our industry when it’s kind of purring along at its best.
[00:00:38.890] – Nancy Goebel
Hello and welcome. This is Nancy Goebel, Digital Workplace Group CEO and your host for this episode of Digital Workplace Impact. Early in the year, many of us are thinking about our professional development goals alongside our business priorities. And at a time when the digital workplace industry is undergoing change acceleration, one might say it’s time to unlock your leadership maverick. And who better to learn from than Paul Miller, who, after 20 years, has turned over the sea arraigns to me so that he can introduce creative DNA into the culture of DWG, one that touches not only our team, but also our members and our wider circles. Join me now in conversation with Paul for what started as a conversation about what he’s learned in 20 years as CEO, plus a few embarrassing CEO secrets into something much more powerful. In fact, I’d say it’s a leadership blueprint for unlocking your freedom ethic while making your creative process fun, rewarding, and valuable. And as always, digital workplace impact is brought to you by digital workplace group. Happy listening.
[00:02:06.250] – Nancy Goebel
So, Paul, I can’t believe we’re back in the studio together. It’s been a while. I think our last conversation probably had to do with the predictions for the Digital Workplace in 2022, and certainly there’s been lots happening in and around DWG since then. And one of the things that certainly pops off the conversation for me is the idea that DWG celebrated its 20th anniversary last year with you, of course, at the helm as CEO and founder. And when we look back at DWG’s first 20 years, I think others around us would say that you’ve been known as both an inspirational and unconventional leader as well as an industry visionary and, of course, a social entrepreneur. And I think you’ve operated that way long before many other entrepreneurs did. And so I’d love to explore a little bit about your leadership philosophy, just reflecting back on those 20 years, and then talk a little bit about how you’ve helped shape the industry. And then, of course, you have a new role, which is really exciting and a first for DWG along a series of other firsts over the years. And so maybe we can reserve a little bit of time to talk about that as well.
[00:03:41.030] – Paul Miller
Well, yes, hopefully I can live up to your intro, Nancy.
[00:03:48.490] – Nancy Goebel
So I think that the best way to do that is to talk by example. And so over the years you’ve been quoted as having said that you never wanted to create a normal company. So let’s start with what you meant by that.
[00:04:05.380] – Paul Miller
Well I think it’s sort of connected to my approach to work generally from when I started work. And this is not going to be a kind of chronological tour through my working life. Nobody would want that. But I think what I was always driven by was a desire for more freedom in work. So I’d started off, you know, this I started off as a journalist and ended up as a city editor with Reuters back in the mid eighties. And even though I had what I would call a good job, I kind of found it stifling. So what I wanted to get for myself was freedom in work. And so I left and started speech writing, ghost writing, and one thing led to another and I ended up creating a communication consulting company and launching a magazine. But I think when I think about not wanting to create a normal company, it was really trying to create an experience of freedom that I then started to experience myself personally. I always remember that I was in a cafe in Notting Hill in the mid-80s, having left my day job back in the days when there really weren’t many people not kind of doing what you’d call a sort of regular nine to five.
[00:05:33.340] – Paul Miller
And I was working on a sort of early Spectrum computer, writing a speech, and I was kind of waiting for somebody to sort of tap me on the shoulder and say, what are you doing in this cafe? Just get back to work but they didn’t. Then what happened was I created a consulting company called in the 90s called the Empowerment Group which actually was a normal company and in a way aped what I thought, if you like proper companies did. So we had offices and staff and quite a sort of rigid hierarchy in the company and I actually found that it wasn’t very enjoyable. So again, another desire for freedom. And when what started off as the Intranet Benchmarking Forum came into existence in the early 2000s. I wanted to kind of again follow this freedom ethic. And for me, what a non normal company means is things like we had a blend of employees and freelancers, right from the start. So that idea of the hybrid workforce was something that was with me right from the word go. The other one was that it was a remote first company. Instead of having leased offices, I took the company and started it from home and then went into a co-working space, one of the first co-working spaces in London.
[00:07:07.470] – Paul Miller
And so there was always this sense of looking at what works rather than what you’re supposed to do. So I think that’s my kind of philosophy, if you like, towards a non normal company.
[00:07:21.870] – Nancy Goebel
Yeah. And so you’ve also been known for saying that you can blur boundaries when you focus on relationships, where does that fit into that overall philosophy that you were talking about Paul?
[00:07:39.150] – Paul Miller
That whole blurring boundaries I think I love, and I think I love it again, it sort of gets back to this idea of freedom. And one of the things that I did when I started working for myself in the mid 80s was I was blurring life and work and saying, actually the experience of freedom that you get in the evening or the weekend, you can have throughout the day. So I think the blurring boundaries really informed the way that IBF and then the digital workplace groups worked. For example, one of the things that we’ve done, and your and my story gets from this, people who were clients ended up becoming part of the company. You and I first met when you were running the intranet digital workplace at JPMorgan Chase. So we met in that, if you like, client situation. And then after you left, it was obvious that we should work together. I think of about the number of people in DWG who used to be clients. Chris Tubb, ex-France Telecom, Andrea Brandt Adobe, Helen Day was at Boots. The list goes on. And I forget who used to be clients customers.
[00:08:59.550] – Paul Miller
So I think this blurring of boundaries is really big for me. And I think the other way that it and we saw it very much during the Pandemic was that we’ve always, I think, as a company, wanted people to bring their preferences in, how they live into how they work. Always remember Lou Kennedy before she left and went to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and she was climbing in some mountains somewhere while also working on project for one of the clients in New York. And there was always that sense of people can be wherever they want to be because actually it’s going to bring out the best in all of us. So I find blurring boundaries quite exhilarating. And I think, in a way, what we’re doing now in moving from as we have from me as CEO to you as CEO, and the way you and I have spent weekends together kind of preparing for this, being both friends and colleagues, it’s the excitement of blurred boundaries.
[00:10:07.670] – Nancy Goebel
That sounds like another way of exemplifying this notion of the freedom experience, because sometimes we put such tight boxes around what work relationships must be like, should be like. And when we think about the wider digital workplace and the experiences that we’ve seen come to life through the Pandemic, it’s really catalyzed this notion of bringing your whole self to work. And your relationships are really core to that, and how you present yourself in those relationships and how you operate. It creates a sense of freedom. When I think about how we have navigated not only being work colleagues, but the mentoring relationship that we share, the friendship and more.
[00:11:02.790] – Paul Miller
Yeah. And I think that helps us when life presents challenges to us in our own personal lives which happens constantly across the business. I notice how the trust, the relationships carry us through that and I think that makes for a more exhilarating way of working. I also think this freedom aspect is also inherent in our work. I mean, intranets, where we sort of grew out of and still do work in, can seem quite sort of prosaic and often get quite belittled inside an organization. But as we know, every large organization needs to have a fantastic modern intranet. But actually when you think about the digital workplace, when you think about the role of technology in work, it’s about freedom, the freedom to connect. I mean when we think about bringing better digital workplace services to the front line of work, to the logistics, the delivery drivers, the health workers and so on, where you think about bringing information, knowledge, connection, relationship to them, it’s about freedom, it’s about liberation. And I think that sort of runs through our industry when it’s kind of purring along at its best.
[00:12:32.160] – Nancy Goebel
And so every business has its opportunities and challenges. Life isn’t rolling through with rose-colored glasses. So I think it’s important to get some insight into how you and the leadership at DWG have approached problem-solving because I think that can also be something that sets an organization apart like DWG.
[00:13:03.830] – Paul Miller
Well, I think an example of it in my mind and I can’t remember the details, but it was about it was in 2007, might have been 2006 and we were supposed to have a member meeting at Nokia in Finland, in Helsinki and I can’t remember why. There was some travel issue that meant that the meeting had to get pulled and so we started experimenting with this technology that a couple of our members had been using called Webex. And so we did a kind of desktop sharing with Cornelis van der Brugge at Nokia and he started sharing his desktop with a whole bunch of people or members who were in Webex. And actually it was like being there and there was a sense of I don’t know quite what this is, this whole live tour thing, but it’s something and it’s working. And I think it was a good example of taking something that at the first glance is a problem we can’t get to Nokia in Helsinki. Everybody wants to get there, et cetera, et cetera and actually looking at where’s the opportunity in it. I think, in the same way, I’d say when you and I were taking what had been a UK entity and a little bit of activity in mainland Europe and trying to bring it to the US market, which at that time was worth 25% of the world’s economy, and despite forecasts otherwise, it’s still worth pretty much the same amount.
[00:14:51.120] – Paul Miller
It wasn’t like a kind of breeze and it took a lot of effort, adaptation and a lot of organizations really give up when they’re trying to break into the US. Because it’s tough, as we discovered, you have to incorporate in the US. You have to go through various jurisdictions, but once you get there, it’s worth it. And I think that’s an example of navigating problems through agility and persistence. And I think of you’re also going to get in any organization, people who no longer fit with the company and inevitably over 20 years you get that. And one of the things that I think we’ve always been good at is trying to deal with those things as quickly as possible and in as effective way as possible. It’s never easy, it’s one of the most difficult things in business. But I’d always remembered management maxim from Peter Drucker about getting the right people in the organization at the beginning and making sure that the people stay right. So I think those are some of the aspects of navigating challenges. There’s usually a way through them.
[00:16:14.140] – Nancy Goebel
And I’ve often heard you talk about balancing patience and persistence and coming out of the other side of a challenge or a problem. Often it’s been my experience that it is DWG at its best in the sense that often these problems translated into innovative new practices. So whether it was standing up, that first online meeting before those were being done on scale anywhere, when we were early adopters of Webex ditto for working with David Sacks at Yammer to reposition Yammer in order to be able to have companies talking to each other, not just intra company discussions.
[00:17:06.150] – Paul Miller
Well, you, you know, the story of that one, which was, was we, we’d started at the these 24 hours. So we took the Nokia experience and said that was fantastic, why don’t we run the whole thing for 24 hours? And I think people in the company thought I would kind of was tripping on mushrooms or something because it was like he’s really lost it now. But actually we got Microsoft to sponsor the first one and we created this thing called IBF 24, Intranet Benchmarking Forum 24 and Yammer, which had just started, came on and David Sacks came on and did a little kind of demo of Yammer. And after that I said to David it’s great that you can use Yammer within your own organization, but what about if you could use it a little bit more broadly in a kind of if you like, a confidential community? And that then allowed us to take Yammer and all credit to David, to take in add a whole layer of new services onto it.
[00:18:18.100] – Nancy Goebel
Fantastic. So Paul, I have to ask you what are the things that surprised you during your time as CEO? Anything?
[00:18:30.850] – Paul Miller
Surprise me. I think I’ve been surprised that I don’t spend a lot of time looking at intranets and digital workplaces. It’s my sort of little guilty secret. I do spend some time looking at them, but I’m not in on the detail. And I thought to myself, that would cause problems for me. But actually what I realized, one of the things that surprised me is that it, I think, has helped me gain a a wider perspective, because it’s like looking at a horizon. You know, just because you’re not right next to the mountain and just because you’re 10 miles away looking at it doesn’t mean you can’t have a view on what’s happening. So I’ve been quite surprised by this perspective and pattern recognition that comes from not getting too much into the details. I think I’ve also been surprised that, I mean, when I started talking about this term digital workplace back in I think it was about 2009, and just sort of threw it out as a kind of well, there’s a physical world of work, and there’s a digital world of work, and you’re always working in one of these two places. I didn’t think that the industry that was really looking for a way of framing itself would pick that term up so strongly.
[00:20:13.210] – Paul Miller
And I think my final surprise, there’s probably others, is that you can actually grow and develop as a company without falling into what I’ll call kind of traditional practices. You can kind of maintain that sort of freedom DNA, and still grow and service, you know, the hundred or so companies around the world that we’ve had these sort of deep relationships with. I mean, I think of people like EY, Adobe, must be 15 years we’ve been working with them, and then members who and clients who leave like AT&T and then come back. It’s kind of remarkable to me, really. I don’t know how it happened.
[00:21:00.880] – Nancy Goebel
Just thinking about some of the names that you’ve just shared also makes me think about something I heard you say once upon a time that I think surprised you and surprised us knowing you as well as we do inside the DWG team. And that is that you actually love large organizations. And when you think about your early start with IBF, that’s almost surprising, but not surprising at the same time. What did you mean by that?
[00:21:30.030] – Paul Miller
Yeah, well, it’s a really odd thing because I spent a few years working for Thomson Newspapers and then Reuters, and so not a lot of time actually working in a large organization. And I don’t know, there’s something about their culture and their reach that I find there’s a kind of energy around large organizations. And when we think about the sort of political and social geography of the world, one of the things that we’ve seen in the last ten to 20 years has been at times, the kind of overwhelming influence that large organizations can play. But I do think it is a reflection of their power, their reach, their influence. I think there’s a statistic that about 2 billion people in the world are actually working for organizations of medium or large sizes. They really have a deep impact on the way that we live. But for some reason, I’ve never wanted to stop what I’m doing and go and work for them, even though there are definitely quite a few of them where I thought, god, this organization is so fantastic, I could work here. I had that experience at Ikea, remember being over at their headquarters in Sweden, which actually is really difficult to find because unlike all the Ikea showrooms and warehouses that are very easy to find, the headquarters that is supposed to be subservient to the retail side of the business.
[00:23:28.660] – Paul Miller
And there was just something about the culture there and the atmosphere there. And I thought, god, this organization is so good, I could work here. I didn’t. But yeah.
[00:23:38.220] – Nancy Goebel
So Paul, you’re always just such an interesting person to to chat with, not just because I’ve worked with you for so many years, but the way you look at the world and and of course our industry in particular. So maybe we can turn our attention to talk a little bit about things on more of an industry level for a bit. So sitting here today, how do you see intranets and digital workplaces? You’ve had an opportunity to dip in to some of these large scale organizations, as you’ve said, even flirted with the idea of working for some of them, like Ikea. But when you look at the intranets and the digital workplaces per se.
[00:24:26.410] – Paul Miller
Well, I think the thing is to not get too fixated on the thing itself. So what I would say, and this will sound kind of counterintuitive, is that digital workplaces don’t really exist. It’s a word that frames a whole range of interactions between human beings in work using technology, synthetics intelligent systems. And so what I would say is that if we’re looking at the future of that thing that we call the intranet, call the intranet or the digital workplace, don’t get too attached to its current configuration. So, for example, when we think about I mean, everybody’s very kind of agitated and with some reason with ChatGPT and intelligent systems and intelligent AI. And of course, we’ve got to remember that the Luddites in the early 1800s were getting very worked up about the arrival of technology at the start of the industrial age because they felt that it was going to replace jobs. And to some extent it did replace some jobs, but it also created the industrial revolution and actually created a whole lot of work that didn’t exist. So what I would think about is almost seeing the digital workplace more like a kind of atmosphere that flows through the organization.
[00:26:06.310] – Paul Miller
Think of it more like something that’s a living system that’s evolving. So when you bring I mentioned frontline workers because I think it’s something that it’s an area that still requires a lot of attention, but when you start to bring richer data, knowledge, empowerment, services, agility to that group you’re creating a healthier, more vibrant and more dynamic organization. I think it’s possible to think of the digital workplace less about the technology and think about its evolution. Thinking about it more like a forest than a factory, more like a living system than a machine, more like an organism than an organization, and start to understand that you are improving and increasing the health, the vitality, just as you would with any human beings. Human beings come in all shapes and forms, but I think we all know that some human beings are in kind of healthier state in the deepest sense of the word than others. And we want probably as organization to try and move towards that, because I think that creates healthier organizations, it creates healthier communities in them and creates healthier impact on their environment.
[00:27:41.290] – Nancy Goebel
So if the digital workplace or things like the intranet within that are really another way of thinking about an atmosphere or a living system, then how do you see technology and work?
[00:27:58.250] – Paul Miller
Well, I think it’s going to keep becoming more intelligent, more adaptable, more agile. But I do wonder whether actually the new phase will be just more immersive. So there’s so much going on at the moment with virtual reality, augmented reality, the metaverse. So one of the things that I think we’ve all hoped for we might not like it when it arrives, but I think we’ve all kind of aspired to it is that we spend an awful lot of our time in virtual environments, whether it’s Teams, Webex, Zoom. But what would it be like if we really had a visceral experience of being together that’s kind of not physical, but isn’t as digital and two dimensional as it’s been if it was a lot more experiential? Obviously, we’re getting things coming out of the gaming environment and these virtual worlds. I think the other one is. I’m very interested to see where the kind of machine starting to understand what we’re intuiting or what we’re looking for. And providing that information will take us from being in what I feel has been a very clunky and clumsy phase of technology and quite hard work, really, into something that seems a lot more part of our ongoing experience.
[00:29:43.530] – Paul Miller
I think that’s something that let me think of what a kind of example of that is. There’s a lot of talk at the moment as to how do you bring physical meetings and virtual meetings together, because you’ve got people still, I think, trying to work out where they’re actually going to work. But what about if it really didn’t matter where people were? So you’ve got some people in the physical environment, but then you could actually get rich, three dimensional, holographic tactile versions of people. I think we’d probably kind of sounds like it sort of freak us out, but I think it probably would become a lot more normalized than we think. So I’m hoping that the and thinking that the technology is going to become more immersive. I also think there’s a level at which biology and synthetics become part of this. And I think that’s just human kind of inventiveness.
[00:30:46.830] – Nancy Goebel
And I think everything that you’ve highlighted here just puts an exclamation point on the constancy of change. Whether it’s on a technological level as it becomes more experiential, less singularly, task-focused solving for one thing, creating an atmosphere even in those alternate worlds and more. And so in a time when change is moving more rapidly and we’re entering spaces that didn’t exist before. Do you think there are any evergreen priorities for the digital workplace?
[00:31:26.890] – Paul Miller
Well, yeah. And what occurs to me when you because, I mean, throughout my working life and I’ve been through quite a lot of management periods and used to interview kind of management gurus in my time as a journalist and the idea that the only constant is change. I think one of the things to think about is not everything changes. Some things don’t change. So, for example, you and I were together when we had our first in-person meeting in New York in June hosted by Estée Lauder. We had colleagues and clients there from Liberty Mutual, Coca-Cola, Fidelity and the relationship quality, the human interaction, the durability of culture. I think it’s really interesting to think about what is it you don’t want to change? Do you want to see trust deteriorate inside your organization or do you want to place it at the highest place inside the organization? Do you want to develop relationships, meaningful relationships and authenticity inside the organization? So I think there’s really quite a lot of things that I would say we don’t want to have change and I think they’re probably to do with kind of human connection, human attributes.
[00:32:54.720] – Paul Miller
I forgot what your question was.
[00:32:56.360] – Nancy Goebel
So we were just talking about evergreen priorities. And I think alongside what you’ve shared, Paul, there are some things that members always come back to when we’re doing our live benchmarking, whether it’s for in-person member meetings like the one in June or others that we’re doing virtually. And I’d say among the additional evergreen priorities are clarity and approach from a governance standpoint. I think now more than ever, digital workplace teams are under heightened pressure to be able to deliver metrics in a world of opinion, as you coined the phrase once upon a time. But also things like search our perennial issues as we create more content and capability. Having employees and leaders find their way through all of that as part of their digital experience of work continues to be a challenge as well. So these are the things that are really fundamentals for the digital workplace that as the change paradigm continues to intensify, these things become even more important. I guess one of the other things I’m thinking about as a lead into talking about your new role is the idea of looking from the outside in. And in a lot of ways, I think you are an example of a leader who started lots of different movements in our industry circles.
[00:34:40.010] – Nancy Goebel
Introducing benchmarking where people said that couldn’t be done. And then you think about the fact that we’ve created almost 800 evaluations over the years. So in my mind, that constitutes a movement or catalyzing the shift in focus from intranets to digital workplaces and of course, most recently planting seeds around rewilding work. And I think it would be interesting for our listeners to hear a little bit about your creative process and how these ideas blossom.
[00:35:20.800] – Paul Miller
Well, I think one of the things maybe it’s because of my early days as a journalist, one of the things I like to do when I’m talking to people in our industry is to pick up patterns. I call them areas of organizational neglect, things that are stressing organizations out that they don’t even realize are problems until you come up with a solution. So I mean, the intranet is a solution to a problem of fragmentation and I think at a sort of meta-level are moving from separation to connection. And I think organizations are constantly wanting to connect better and overcome fragmentation. What I do try and do is look for things that I just think are going to be quite fun and interesting that also solve problems or will animate people and get them interested. So, for example, one of the reasons why Shimrit Janes and I wrote the book Nature of Work: The new story of work for a living age with the idea of the organization as a living system is that I just couldn’t get that enthusiastic about writing another book about how technology was going to get smarter. And I wanted, if you like, a bigger idea and an idea that would animate me.
[00:36:53.430] – Paul Miller
So my creative process is often to try and think of things that I think are going to be fun, rewarding and valuable. I mean, the reason why we did the 24s was that I thought that would be amazing. Imagine going around the world for 24 hours looking at different intranets and digital workplaces. Wouldn’t that be fun to connect people like that? And also, wouldn’t it be useful? I think it’s the same experience. That means that we love going to member meetings. I’m not going to be at the one at Coca-Cola in Atlanta in April. But wouldn’t that be I know it’s going to be fantastic and people will come together and you’re at the home of Coca-Cola, an iconic US and global brand. And I think my creative process is to think of things and see if there’s going to be interest in them. Sometimes they don’t work. I remember one thing that didn’t work was everybody I think this was in about 2009, and people were like, well, what’s the value of an intranet? We’re asking for all these high levels of investment. But what is an intranet’s value. And so we came up with a model methodology and worked with economists and we did an evaluation of the value of the British Telecom BT intranet and it turned out it was worth about 2 billion a year.
[00:38:24.930] – Paul Miller
And the problem was that the number was so high that it really was implausible. If we’d said it was worth $300,000 or something, I think it would have been okay. But once you actually started to look at it and so it was like we’d actually answered a question that people had got, but the service really didn’t have it’s like, OK, what do we do if it’s worth 3 billion? Because we’re certainly not going to spend 200 million a year on it. So it’s great that it’s worth 3 billion, but that means it’s believable? So some of the ideas don’t go anywhere.
[00:39:01.290] – Nancy Goebel
But I think the freedom just to come back to our theme, to start this conversation, to experiment, is critically important. And inherently that means that you need to be comfortable with the fact that not everything will be successful. There has to be room to play around with ideas that have merit and allow them to evolve and grow and to dip into that creative space as a learning process as well as to be able to have fun and have a rewarding experience and ultimately to make it valuable. And knowing when to stop and to move in a different direction has to be part of that equation.
[00:39:52.450] – Paul Miller
[00:39:53.860] – Nancy Goebel
And so the creative space is one that is what you are known for in many ways. And this year has been a pretty big pivot for DWG because of course, as of the first of the year, I succeeded you as CEO for Digital Workplace and you stepped into a brand new role as Chief Creative Officer. And so for those who may not be familiar, what exactly does that mean?
[00:40:27.270] – Paul Miller
Well, interestingly enough, on my first day of work as the chief creative officer, I had this sort of sense of, oh, this is this is fun and exciting. But I also had this real sense of kind of loss because I’d spent 20 years as CEO. And I knew, obviously, the transition was exactly what the company needed and all of that. But there was a sense of oh, my God. Just a kind of sense of both lightness and loss. What I actually then quickly came over that because I tend to move through things quite quickly, but Chief Creative Officer is that a few people in the company had said completely get that it’s time for a change in leadership in the company and so on. And it’s going to be really important that we continue to be a really creative company. So I felt that one of the things that I should have is a role to in a way that kind of play to my own strengths. Chief Creative Officer but it also refers to what I think of as perhaps a kind of maybe playful, provocative side to me, which is consulting companies don’t have chief creative officers or creative directors.
[00:41:43.660] – Paul Miller
Ad agencies do, brand agencies, marketing agencies, but consulting companies tend to not have that. But I think they should because I think they’re fundamentally very creative businesses and should see themselves as creative businesses. So for me, creativity is about making sure that the DWG team stays as creative as possible, but also that our key clients and members remain as creative as possible, and that our industry is creative. And I would hope that the effect of this would be to popularize or legitimize the idea of having a Chief Creative Officer at PwC, EY, Accenture, et cetera. And that is an area that gets some focus and attention in the future.
[00:42:43.910] – Nancy Goebel
And it’s still early days, it’s only second half of January. Have you mapped out your top priorities in year one of this new role?
[00:42:57.610] – Paul Miller
Yes, I think it’s to not well, one thing is to not rock the boat with lots of creative ideas, but to actually try and introduce a kind of creative DNA into different people and different parts of the company. So having one to one calls with different people in different parts of the company and to be, if you like, a creative influence, rather than, hey, I’ve got a great new idea, you should stop doing this, you start doing that. So I’d like to ensure that we have a drip feed of written and audio and visual material. I’m hosting a new program and podcast, which is going to have a YouTube site to it called Rewilding Work, which will be coming out in the next few months. And I’d like that to start to add the kind of dimension to what we’re doing of this concept of rewilding work. And I like terms that aren’t bounded and aren’t too defined. So I’m hoping that we can have that. But also that our key relationships inside DWG, our members and clients, feel that through let’s maybe call it coaching or mentoring, the creative conversations that I’m going to be having with those individuals helps them sort of get out.
[00:44:29.130] – Paul Miller
Of the day to day of their work and just have a bit of time to kind of reflect on where they’re going and for us to kind of feel like, actually, this is really starting to increase the creative DNA of DWG as a company and as an influence.
[00:44:50.830] – Nancy Goebel
Gosh, I’m sitting here pausing and thinking about how quickly our time has gone by. Paul, in our final moments together, any final reflections, thoughts, parting advice you’d like to offer, especially with your new hat on as Chief Creative Officer?
[00:45:13.590] – Paul Miller
Well, just that one of the things that, you know, Nancy and I’ve seen in the our industry is full of mavericks, people who are very hard working, and the industry and the community has a real bond. We could see that in June in New York, and we see that every time we get online. And I would say that organizations are in a state of a lot of confusion about where they’re going, how are they going to deal with climate change, how are they dealing with social political change, how are they dealing with issues around social justice? What’s their role in the world? And I think the people in our industry, the people that we work with on a day-to-day basis, have got a real combination of 2020 skills. I call this decade the decade of courage. And they are very courageous people, and they are changemakers, and they’re people who are making an impact. And I would just encourage them to keep bringing that maverick, hard-working community bond. And remember that the marketing person in me has to say that, as DWG says, don’t journey alone.
[00:46:37.630] – Nancy Goebel
What a perfect way to cap off this conversation. Paul, thank you so much for coming back into the studio, and I’m sure we’ll pinspot other opportunities like this one to come back together for more conversation, especially as you get deeper into your new agenda as Chief Creative Officer at Digital Workplace Group. Thanks again, Paul.
[00:47:04.220] – Paul Miller
It’s been a pleasure, Nancy. You always bring out of me things that I didn’t know I knew, so I learned through the questions. Thank you.
[00:47:14.730] – Nancy Goebel
Digital Workplace Impact is brought to you by the Digital Workplace Group. DWG is a strategic partner covering all aspects of the evolving digital workplace industry and boutique consulting services. For more information, visit digitalworkplacegroup.com.
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