The CIPD Podcast #97 – A Look Ahead To 2015

The latest CIPD Podcast (and transcript) can be found here ==> and is worth a listen to hear what the UK HR Professional body has to say about the coming year. It lasts just over 21 minutes.

This page has the podcast embedded in SoundCloud.

If you don’t have access to this page then you can download the podcast from iTunes. Search for ‘CIPD’ on the iTunes Store.


In this podcast CIPD Chief Executive Peter Cheese explains the key themes the CIPD will be focusing on in the coming year and introduces 4 important thinkers discussing what they think is significant and cutting edge for the profession right now.

The Four Key Themes For CIPD In 2015

  1. The shifting context – continued uncertainty in the economy and the need to build more agile and adaptive businesses.
  2. The science of human behaviour – e.g. neuroscience, positive psychology and behavioural economics.
  3. Analytics – better numbers and being able to measure what is really happening in organisations around human capital.
  4. How do 1-3 apply to HR in terms of learning as a profession and how we build the right capabilities to be truly future-proofed?

Four Thinkers

  1. Nick Chater, Professor of Behavioural Science at the Warwick Business School, about the science of human behaviour and its relevance to HR issues.
  2. James Rule, Director of HR Solution Effectiveness at Thomson Reuters, who describes a scheme called ‘partnering for performance’ that embodies the idea of aligning talent within the business with opportunity and how they have used technology to achieve this.
  3. Arnab Banerjee, an HR Transformation and Technology expert, who describes the ways technology can optimise HR and his predictions for what will happen in this space.
  4. Rita Gunther McGrath, a Professor at Columbia Business School, who outlines why she believes that businesses should stop focusing on sustaining a competitive advantage and instead work towards identifying different opportunities and working in an agile way to take advantage of these opportunities.



Better If…

Make us better.

HR would be better if…
…we took the lead and placed people at the heart of our business strategy.

We would be better if…
…we shared our experiences with each other, learned together and openly collaborated to develop inclusive HR solutions that were fit for purpose.

I would be better if…
…I stayed informed on different external HR perspectives and trends to maintain the currency of my skills so I’m viewed as the go-to expert.

…you would be better.


Hacking The Hack


Between April and September 2013 I participated in the CIPD/MIX Management Hackathon.

One of the hacks I lead, Self-Build Job Roles, was recently chosen as a finalist in the Digital Freedom Challenge.

I’m obviously honoured and very pleased about that and I know that the team who worked with me will be too.

You can find out more about the Digital Freedom Challenge here.

One of the key criteria in the final judging for the winners of the Digital Freedom Challenge is how the hack is further developed, in response to comments and questions from the judges and my peers.

The questions from the Digital Freedom Challenge judges are as follows:

  •  How might the Self-Build Job Roles hack start as an experiment?
  • How could the need for a ‘system wide change’ be addressed in First Steps?
  • Is there a ‘quick and dirty’ version of the Self-Build Job Roles approach?

I’ve been giving these questions some thought; how can I hack my hack?

Below you will find ten simple and straightforward steps that could be used by functional managers who might want to experiment with the Self-Build Job Roles hack in their organisations rather than go for a full-blown implementation.


Step One – Identify Your Enemies. The hack addresses a number of barriers to adaptability. You can read more about these here. Look at each one in turn. Are any of them applicable to your organisation? If so then you’ve identified a need! Now you can use them to form the foundation upon which to build your experiment.

Step Two – Choose Your Allies. Identify one or two like-minded managers in your organisation and share your thoughts with them. Encourage them to get on board. You will need some cross-functional support and collaborator colleagues if you are to test some aspects of the Self-Build Job Roles hack.

Step Three – Sign A Sponsorship Deal. Sound out leadership and get yourself an enlightened executive sponsor to support your experiment. This person will become an important ally and catalyst for extending the experiment beyond your function.

Step Four – Hold A Coffee Morning. Gather together a small group of people from across your function – potential evangelists for the experiment. Have coffee. Share your thinking. Get them primed and on board. Have cake if it helps.

Step Five – Get On Your Soapbox. Take personal ownership and lead from the front. Make an announcement. Communicate regularly. Tee up the experiment. Be open from the outset. Be transparent. Use social tools, online communities. Encourage the people in your function to make comments, ask questions and write & record the story as it unfolds. Evangelise!

Step Six – Jam. Stop everything and put aside time to focus. Gather everyone in the function together for both Steps Six and Seven. It could be a face-to-face workshop, an online ‘jam’ or a combination of the two. Use a facilitator. Make use of the evangelists. Build upon your initial communications, add further details. Build the experiment. Some examples to collectively explore:

  • Outcomes of the experiment – be clear on what you all want, how you will measure (quantitative and qualitative), the time and resources required, the percentage of core role hours and hours that could be ‘flexed’.
  • The example activities set out in the Self-Build Job Roles ‘Solution’. What could be tested easily and quickly?
    • What is in your control? [Easy to include in the experiment]
    • What will involve others internally? [Could be included but will need support from your allies]
    • What will involve others externally? [Harder to do, unlikely to be included]
    • What will require additional work e.g. new organisation wide systems, policies or processes? [Exclude from experiment].

Segway in to Step Seven.

Step Seven – Simulate It! Rather than go for an immediate implementation use the opportunity of having everyone together to walk through and test the various steps of the Self-Build Job Roles hack:

  • The development plans.
  • The marketplace.
  • The flexing / augmenting process.
  • The self-build window.
  • The discussions e.g. with line manager, mentor, colleagues.
  • The organisational assessment of people choices.

Use the output from the simulation to help with the implementation of the experiment.

Share the Step Six and Step Seven stories, especially with your sponsor and allies.

Step Eight – Now Do it! Find the best way to make it happen easily and quickly. It might involve paperwork. It might involve a spreadsheet. You decide. Make the experiment a learning experience for the people in your function. Provide opportunities to ask questions, gather feedback and evaluate on an ongoing basis. Collect data. Oh, and don’t forget: everyone should continue to tell their stories!

Step Nine – And Relax. Pause. Review. Reflect. Look at the data. What has worked and what has not? What could be done differently? Has the experiment been a success, have outcomes been achieved and the barriers to adaptability started to break down? What does work feel like to you and others? Work with your sponsor to determine if the experiment should continue, its scope extended or expanded to other functions. Perhaps it will be canned if the experiment hasn’t gone well.

Step Ten – Play Again? Will the experiment with the Self-Build Job Roles hack continue? Are you and the people in your function ready for more? Are others in the wider organisation? Make your decision on the basis of Step Nine. Continue to evangelise and continue to tell the story whatever the final decision may be.


Collectively, these ten steps address the three questions asked by the Digital Freedom Challenge judges. If you have any comments on this approach or further suggestions I would be very pleased to hear from you! You can comment on the MixPrize website, contact me through Twitter (@KeithGulliver) or on this blog of course.

Hugo Barra and Loic Le Meur at LeWeb 2013 Paris

This is an engaging discussion on China, between Hugo Barra (formally head of Android at Google and now Vice President of Xiaomi Global) and Loic Le Meur.

This was Hugo’s first public appearance since he left Google.

The whole video is worth watching but I was captivated by the information shared by Hugo on social media and tech. companies in China (watch between 2 mins 25 secs and 19 mins 50 secs). He brings this to life with some of his own experiences during his first two months in China.

The key message here is: scale.

You will be amazed at some of the numbers!


Gary Vaynerchuk and Loic Le Meur at LeWeb 2013 Paris

The whole interview with Gary is very good and well worth watching (caution: the F Word is used a lot!).

However, I was particularly interested in Gary’s response to this question: You say you have hired 280 people in 2 years. How do you build a culture? How do you make sure that the people you bring in have the same views that you have, on social media, on Vaynermedia?

Go to 30 mins 12 secs and watch up to 32 mins 36 secs for Gary’s response, which is spot on in my view.

What do you think?


California Twittens


Last week I referenced this slide deck on Twitter:

@KeithGulliver “Silicon Valley Trends – LeWeb Nov 2013” by @loic ==> … via @SlideShare #leweb #paris this will get you thinking.

I’m not sure if my tweet did actually get anyone else thinking, but I was intrigued by this slide deck (yes, it’s sad I know 😉 ) which covers 25 Silicon Valley trends, illustrated with around 60 examples.


If you follow me on Twitter you’ll probably recognize my tendency to share quite a few tweets on themes such as Wearable Computing, AI and alternative New Currencies. Although they are all covered in this deck and I think there are clear connections to work and the workplace, they are not the themes that caught my attention on this occasion.

However, the following did set me off to do some further reading:

  • Mindfulness and Meditation.
  • Creating Communities.
  • Online Education.
  • A Collaborative Economy.
  • The Start-Up Is You.
  • The Way We Give.
  • Having Stuff Done By Others.

Working in the IT Industry I’m always on the look out for connections between new technical trends, the ideas behind them and their potential for impact on work and the workplace.

Real Talent Twittens stuff, eh?!

Potential HR Connections

This slide deck provides plenty for those of us working in the HR Profession to think about. I was familiar with some of the themes and examples but not all.

Here’s a summary of potential connections that came to mind as I was reading through the details.

  • On-boarding
  • Personal and professional development
  • Health and well-being
  • Coaching
  • Collaboration and the importance of communities, both virtual and physical
  • Sharing and connecting – people with people and people to resources
  • Engagement – of the employee and with the client
  • Organizational culture and values
  • Community support and ‘give back’
  • Tailoring investments to the individual and their needs
  • Tasks or project activities in the cloud

I Leave You With A Question

What other potential connections to work and the workplace can you see and most importantly how will we incorporate them in to our future HR thinking and actions?

Let me know if you have any thoughts. In the meantime my brain has made a loose connection between the title of this blog post and The Beach Boys. Time for some more thinking in my room perhaps 🙂 ?


A Few Notes

Below I’ve included a few notes (some shamelessly ‘lifted’) the website reference sources and some video links. I put these together as a set of ‘workings’ really, so they are a bit rough and ready and should be read with that in mind, but they will give you a good overview of the examples. The videos are well worth watching, they bring the individual examples to life in my view.

Mindfulness and Meditation


Description: Headspace is designed to demystify meditation. The aim is for it to be easy-to-learn, fun-to-do, and relevant to everyday life.




Description: According to the description of the app on iTunes, Lift is like having a coach in your phone giving you daily motivation, coaching, and prompting.

Video 1:

Video 2:


Creating Communities


Description: Well, it’s more than just an online company that sells shoes that’s for sure! Watch this video to find out more

I also came across this video from HBR which is fascinating ==>


Burning Man

Description: Burning Man is an annual event and year-round culture. The event takes place the week leading up to and including Labor Day, in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, where the Burning Man organization creates the infrastructure of Black Rock City, wherein attendees (or “participants”) dedicate themselves to the spirit of community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. They depart one week later, leaving no trace.

Video 1:

Video 2:


Summit Eden

Description: I would recommend watching the video on the website:

Digital Detox

Description: The Digital Detox is a tech-free, personal well-ness retreat where attendees give up their smart-phones and gadgets in exchange for four days of serenity and bliss.



Online Education.


Description: Coursera is an education company that partners with the top universities and organizations in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free.




Description: Codecademy is an education company that wants to rethink education from the bottom up. We do not want to open up universities. We want to open up knowledge.



Khan Academy

Description: Khan Academy is a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere.




Description: Udacity’s mission is to bring accessible, affordable, engaging, and highly effective higher education to the world.




Description: Watch the videos here ==>

Here are some other video links:

Video 1:

Video 2:


A Collaborative Economy.


Description: Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — online or from a mobile phone.

Video 1:

Video 2:



Description: Uber connects riders to drivers through its apps to make cities more accessible, open up possibilities for riders and more business for drivers.




Description: Lyft is a fun, affordable alternative to a cab. The mobile app features a simple user interface and real-time location mapping to deliver a friendly, background-checked driver to people’s location in minutes.



The Start-Up Is You.

Description: Upstart is a funding marketplace designed to provide people early in their careers with a slice of economic freedom so they can start a business, learn a new skill, or just pay off their student loans. The money comes from backers, who can also provide career advice, introductions or just the occasional cheer from the sidelines.



The Way We Give.


Description: “Sama” means equal. Samasource connects poor women and youth to training and employment in the digital economy.



Having Stuff Done By Others.


Description: TaskRabbit is an online and mobile marketplace that connects neighbors to get things done.



A Look At My Reflection

I recently reached a significant career milestone: twenty-five years of service* with my company, IBM; something that was recognised and celebrated.

I have been reflecting on this in the context of 21st Century careers.

How are people with long service at a single company generally perceived these days? Although I could be wrong, from what I hear and read I sense it is not always positive.

  • A dying breed from a different era?
  • A survivor?
  • A loser?
  • Lucky?
  • A blocker?

The list of ‘negatives’ goes on; I’m sure everyone will have an opinion, what’s yours?

The Adapter

Personally, I think I’m an adapter.

Adapting to change was something that was drummed in to me from the early years of my career. I was surrounded by people who had adapted, adapted and adapted again.

Embracing change was part of the culture then and continues to be so.

During my time at IBM to date I reckon that I’ve had at least four changes of career direction and performed twelve different job roles. It’s been a rich and rewarding route to HR!

It’s Your Career

Below is a generic list of things I have learned about careers over the years:

  1. Think about where you have come from and where you are going.
  2. Think ‘career matrix’ not ‘career ladder’.
  3. Build and maintain relationships.
  4. The most important relationship is the one you have with your manager.
  5. Be flexible: with progress comes change.
  6. As your own knowledge grows, share it to help others grow too.
  7. Everyone has something to share.
  8. View every day as an opportunity to learn something new.
  9. Look ahead and stay relevant.
  10. There are no boundaries.

Will any of these things hold true over the next twenty-five years, I wonder?

Consider These Two Questions

Here are two more questions I’m currently wrestling with:

  • What does ‘retaining talent’ really mean in the context of careers today?
  • Does anyone talk about ‘loyalty’ and ‘career’ in the same sentence any more?


* Yes I know it sounds a bit old fashioned, a bit ‘Civil Service’, but that really is how I see it!