#CIPDNAP2015 Northern Area Partnership Annual Conference

Posted: June 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

Creating an amazing workplace… through well-being and engagement: improving performance and the bottom line


It’s a bit of a tall order to look into the future and confidently predict what the next dimension for social media is.  As the Social Media & Engagement Adviser to the CIPD and a known commentator on the future I ought to be able to though right?

Of course I can.  Well I can give you my best interpretation on this.

But let me first ask you what do you want to know?

is it: –
what tools and technology we will be using?
where will be using them and what part of our anatomy will they be attached to?
will it be some hybrid FaceChatGramTweetr+ thing?
security controlled or more underground than before?

I’m going to keep the title of this conference in mind and here’s my predictions then…


Next dimension social media will fall into these categories

C I W A (C into what’s appening)

> Communities of choice, curation and convergence
> Innovation-led influence-creating in-crowds
> Whole-person wellness wirearchies
> Artistic artisan aggregations


We jump on social platforms, connect to people and before we know it BAM!  We have 1,000 of followers and following.  There’s noise.  There’s abundance.  There’s relentlessness.  We’re now starting to be aware of what Clay Shirky calls “not an information overload problem, but a problem of filtering”.  We will run two channels in the social media of the near future.  Outward, loud platforms like Twitter and Instagram.  But in them we’ll create more communities.  We’ll bring more people to oases of information in a sandstorm of stuff.  We will make choices about who we really want to connect to in a deeper more togetherness sense.  We will form clans within the tribes.  Teams within the crowds.  We will converge on those who inspire, illuminate and ignite in us.  We will curate with and for them.  I’m doing this myself.  A 98 strong community of practitioners called the iPractice.  A gathering of like-minded but differently opinionated souls.  We’re a working force but not a workforce.  So it will be in the social media work-based utilisation of the future.  People may be employed or not by a company but within we will find those cross-divisional representatives and we will organise around and with each other.  We will converge to think, learn and do.

Expect the winning social media tools to be the ones who take the noise level from over-loud concert to parlour room concerto.  From Glastonbury and the O2 to the Nags Head and Rock City.  Either part of the giants of now like Google and Facebook or startups on the fringes of these.

Want to be in the future?  Get community minded.  With staff, leaders, partners, suppliers, academics, apprentices, social activists, researchers, reporters.  Alliances not acquisitions will be the cultural make-up of a future of work more communal than corporate.


Innovation has been the buzz word for ages.  Without it being really valued or leveraged or unleashed iMHO.  It’s now time to see the act of innovation become the more crowd-sourced entity in work that we see in entrepreneurialism and social change through Kickstarter and Indiegogo.  We hear and experience loads of micro improvements that would have made the Kaizen Chiefs of Toyota scream with delight.  Tiny things that can make a difference to efficiency and most importantly effectiveness yet they’re not always captured, aggregated or utilised.  Until social platforms, voting and hackathons made them an accessible and deployable thing inside organisations. I am currently in the thick of a retailer hackathon internally reshaping communications by the people for the people.  it’s exciting, illuminating and likely to stick.  Influence – by this I mean decisions and ability to decide and act – is moving along the food-chain in organisations from a power-holding few to the real people in the front lines of service, build and maintain.  Social media is far from trivial in this manner as it has huge potential and massive scale and accessibility.  We do need to address the digitally detached and make sure they can be brought in and also bridge to the real world of people conversations and actions to make sure they are turned into actionable interventions and new lines that keep an organisation sharp.  So this is the in-crowd is the new way to redefine coolness at work.  The coolness of active participation in shaping what matters.  BYOD?  Not Bring your own Device.  Bring your own DESIGN.  A design for work.  A design for life.


Wellness – we’ve got a phenomenon on our hands of self-designed ailments which are not even some super strain of bacteria used in chemical warfare like anthrax.  Instead we have high-stress or low-fulfillment lives equalling coronary disease, low levels of physical fitness and issues of the mind.  We have removed many bacterial strains of illness but our next frontier is the removal of those we’ve created.  If this is the case, then we start with a whole person, educated, empowered and enabled to look after themselves.  Be it diet advice, fitness routines or understanding of emotions.  This is already a key deciding factor in many people’s choices of who they join to work wit – will they look after me and help me look after me?  Much of this though will come through that community element I described earlier.  We will use technology to gee each other up on the fitness plans; share cooking tips and diet support.  We will become a wellness wirearchy.  We need to take this WAY more seriously than now.  Sciences are helping us with the bigger diseases but our sad stressed out working regimes are counteracting these advances.  Let’s use social tools to help each other be well, in all dimensions.


Aggregations are the future.  Not acquistion. Coming together doesn’t have to mean solely owned.  The future isn’t ownership it’s shared/rented/responsive – or so many believe.  Ownership hasn’t really bred anything other than capitalist greed and whilst allowing for choice, the disparity and the 1% is increasingly bizarre to see in a world where we’re supposed to be fairer through the acquisition of increased IQ.  Maybe not enough EQ though?  Anyway, where this will be disrupted is in the growing sense of making, artistic craft and a return to bespoke alongside corporate conglomeration (initially) and potentially replacing the formal locked-in structures for aggregated partnerships.   Love em or loathe em for tax policies and employee tracking, Amazon’s Market Place?  A masterstroke.

Let’s also take Elon Musk at Tesla as a disruptive force.  He has created high-end elegant and functional electric cars.  He has made all his engineering available online as open-source “code”.  His view?  Electric cars won’t disrupt the conventional fossil fuel manufacturers unless there’s critical mass.  So he wants people to copy his work.  He wants to aggregate a force for change not through acquisition but through mass,convergence, coming together.  He’s an artisan at present but with scaleable ambitions.  Artistic skills and the ability to create, imagine, construct are a more valuable commodity than we realise.  Just look at how quickly Julie Deane and the Cambridge Satchel Company took off?  Handmade in Britain.  An entrepreneurial success story and blueprint for the future.  Even in my own home county of Northamptonshire, handmade shoes are the vogue and even Doctor Martens have returned some manufacturing from overseas.

The next dimension of Social – oblivious to whatever cool upstart creates the next great platform or app is

> Communities of choice;
> Innovating-crowds;
> Wellness wirerachies; and
> Artisan aggregations.

Amazing workplaces created by HR professionals who C Into What’s ‘Appening

A future most social.


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