Meta: developing this blog

A quick post on developing the blog:

  • I’m slowly adding my notes from earlier learning opportunities – mainly these are notes from formal talks and lectures.
  • Turns out I have been capturing these notes on and off since 2010 so might take me a while to get up to speed
  • I’m trying to date the entries as per when the learning happened… so in some cases the entry date and publication date will be adrift by many years!
  • Soon I hope to start adding in more general learning points, for example personal reflections or post-activity retrospectives
  • I might also adopt a looser approach to capturing learning as I go  *tips hat to Weeknotes*
  • As you can see I’ve stripped out any bells and whistles and gone for simplicity, readability and focus on written content.
  • And – if you’re interested, I use a full WP install on some personal hosting provided by TSOhost.  Currently a vanilla install of the “First” theme by Themehaus but I’ll probably start tinkering with the code of that at some point.

Sharing my learning

I’m planning to start sharing my learning in this site – so that over time it builds into a record of learning that I can refer back to. I’ll also try to tag and label it so that it can potentially be useful to other people!

I’ve been capturing my learning for a while, and have found it useful to use the following simple format:

* What it was (description of the learning)
* What I learned (the key point I took away)
* What I will aim to do differently as a result (if possible)

There’s quite a backlog of stuff to publish so it will take me time to get through it.

Some things worth noting:
* I appreciate that some courses (etc) can contain copyright information (and it isn’t always obvious what is / is not protected at the time) so if you think I’ve inadvertently reproduced something without sufficient permission or attribution, please contact me and I’ll happily take it down.
* The lessons I capture from talks (etc.) are absolutely not intended to be direct quotes from the individuals giving the talks – instead they are a summary of what I learned.
* The publication date of an entry won’t necessarily match to the date that the learning occurred.

Defence digital masterclass @ Barclays Rise

What it was:

The first Defence digital masterclass, with various speakers on digital themes, hosted at Barclays Rise, Shoreditch, on 4 May 2018

What I learned:

Artificial Intelligence:

  • The AlphaZero AI algorithm learns from blank slate, does not just replay earlier human learning
  • Human beings already have symbiotic relationships with dogs, possibly we can see future relationship with AI?
  • Key valuable skill at the moment is being able to analyse convolutional networks
  • Future AI will not be evil but may do terrible things purely in trying to help
  • The UK 4G network is expanding to 99% coverage
  • AI is difficult to define… Douglas Hofstadter ” AI is whatever hasn’t been done yet”
  • Loose definition of AI: systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence
  • General adversarial networks, train the forger and the tester at the same time. Can be used to optimise at scale and pace.
  • Neuromorphic computing: chips that mimic brain function by only firing the ” neurons” when relevant, enabling high computational power with low electrical power
  • The lower power consumption may be a clue, from a macro (physics) perspective, that the chip is using more brain-like processes. Current traditional AI architectures tend to use many orders of magnitude more power than a human brain.
  • ‘Centaur chess’ where humans are supported by machines. Have beaten the best humans and best machines. Implies that human-machine partnership and process may be key to military success?

Different scales / types of digital transformation in businesses:

  • Business model transformation,
  • Customer experience innovation
  • Operating model transformation

Thirty five percent of P&G products come from outside the company via its innovation approach
Many innovative large companies are sustained or accelerated through government contracts and investment; it’s not the case that innovation only comes from private investment
Military rituals are similar to agile rituals?  Could be a useful alignment.
DEFRA are using machine learning to read incoming documents, identify the name and address etc, and direct the document within department

What I will aim to do differently as a result:

  • Develop our model for digital transformation in defence, and to think about the technologies that underpin it
  • Think about business and process transformation as part of the model
  • Think about the working environment.
  • Make better connections outside MOD… we need to move to an ‘outside in’ approach

SLS/FLS MOD engagement event

What it was:

Talks and conversations with senior leaders and alumni of development schemes, mainly from within defence, at the Ministry of Defence on 5 March 2018

What I learned:

  • Action Inquiry: Every moment is an opportunity for development, experiment, reflection
  • Exploit your competitive advantage
  • Seek out role models
  • Who you work with is more important than what you work on
  • Need to be sharp and concise on commissioning the right work from the right person
  • You can’t afford to have an off moment, especially when in large groups
  • Have respect for the people in your team; that means preparing properly when speaking to groups
  • As an introvert you need to be an actor, and build in recovery time on your own
  • “Positive deviance” – the ability to challenge and do things in New ways. Leaders need to be able to observe and enable this behaviour
  • In the second year of the schemes there is more onus on self organising networks. There is not an anchor – it becomes a fight to stay in contact with people.
  • Need to challenge the other people in your cohort, if they don’t contribute they are taking a place away from others who wanted to be on the scheme
  • FLS makes you better able to succeed at SCS interviews as it helps you frame your style, think about the emotional impact, talk about your corporate contribution
  • End of scheme reviews are in December January

What I will aim to do differently as a result:

  • Try to pursue partnerships with specific individuals who are likely on a similar development journey as me
  • Look up the “two pies” approach (?) that was mentioned
  • Make a concerted exploration on doing a secondment to industry
  • Practice being more precise in commissioning work from others
  • Take more time to prepare for speaking to the team
  • Gather contact details for others on development schemes and try to maintain the network

CIPR case study – Best Use of Social Media

What it was:

Review of a case study from the CIPR Awards for social media campaigns – MSL Group’s campaign -“Always #LIKEAGIRL”

Source: http://bit.ly/1GxUMn2

What I learned:

Key points from the campaign:

  • Activity was based on solid research insight (confidence plummeting at puberty).
  • Activity was very much in line with the grain of the brand’s previous activity i.e. supporting women and aspiration
  • Turned a well-worn pejorative on its head.
  • Global message was managed seamlessly across continents.
  • Campaign created an empowering call to action which has potential to become a movement.
  • Campaign harnessed celebrities and social media influencers.
  • Content yielded a very large number of earned media placements (approx 1900)

What I will aim to do differently as a result:

Use insight and research to understand pain-points and concerns for the target audience.

Make sure activity is in keeping with and strengthens any existing brand values or history.

As a potential creative avenue, explore common uses of language around the audience or topic and see if these can be subverted or challenged.

Think about whether a campaign can generate a movement which has life beyond the campaign.