This morning, we woke up bright and early and hightailed to East London’s ExCel Centre for Future Decoded – Microsoft’s future business and tech exhibition. With some fantastic speakers, a loaded exhibition floor and cool venue, it’s clear that Future Decoded – now in its second year – will be back next year, and bigger than ever, if this year was anything to go by. We spent a morning listening to some of Microsoft and partners’ key speakers, and the key message seems to be digital transformation through empowerment of every organisation and individual. In other words, productivity (and, surprisingly, not Windows 10). Here’s what we mean. Storytelling The day was packed full of impressive keynotes, but it began with Microsoft’s Chief Storyteller, Steve Clayton, taking to the stage to introduce himself as the day’s host. As well as introducing Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO to the stage, he spoke briefly about the future of technology and business in a general sense. In the main, he described the workforce as “unengaged”, explaining that to help people be more satisfied at work, there would need to be a “digital transformation”. Microsoft is keen to demonstrate how its technology is helping to transform people’s lives, but before they did that at Future Decoded, they brought out Richard Reed, boss at Innocent Drinks (the smoothie guys) to try to tease out how to engage a workforce. 7 Things He Found to Be True… Reed’s presentation was characteristically charismatic; based pretty much entirely around a 7-point plan his organisation use to ensure high engagement: The Longaberger Company
- Keep the main thing the main thing. In other words, if your company makes baskets, working out of the building above is a great idea.
- Think entrepreneurially. Our favourite quote was: “If you’re 70% sure, go for it.”
- Create a community. Reed made it clear that at Innocent, community wasn’t just some ethereal concept, it’s actually directly linked to pay, promotion, training etc. Basically if you’re an amazing person, you’ll do very well there. They also make sure to get rid of rubbish people who don’t share your company values. Reed pulled out a fantastic quote by Apple’s old Head of Talent, Dan Walker, explaining “I’d rather have a hole than an asshole.”
- Start small, think big. Every idea has to come from somewhere, so be open to criticism and feedback, regardless of who’s dishing it out.
- Work the details. Another great quote from Reed, here: “It’s not the elephants that get you but the ants”, or, the devil’s in the details.
- Ethics help – the best, young, talented people care about the world and everything in it. They’re socially aware. If you want to fill your company with great people – and why wouldn’t you? – make sure you’re reflecting strong ethics internally, as well as externally.
- Listen up. An obvious one, but using social media and listening to your employees and customers is vital.