Category Archives: Business

Tips for creative or innovative thinking at work

This isn’t the ideal environment for creative or innovative thinking. Photo: Michael Loke on Flickr 

During some recent presentations on innovation and technology trends, I’ve been asked for day to day advice, techniques and tips for creative or innovative thinking at work.

In summary, creativity or freshness comes from breaking habits, which are often unconscious behaviours – those things we do without even thinking about it. So here are 10 ideas for breaking habits to foster more creative or innovative thinking at work:

1. Meet customer facing staff, e.g. sales, front line support. Carefully listen to their anecdotes. If you don’t usually speak directly to customers, you’ll probably find the stories revealing. I’ve seen CIOs’ jaws drop when listening to customer service staff.

2. Read different publications. Whether it’s news websites, social platforms, newspapers, even the trade press of a different skill (e.g. legal press if you work in IT). You’re seeking different opinions to your usual ones. Continue reading Tips for creative or innovative thinking at work

Digital best practice: Release regularly

One of the best practice digital principles we talk about at Endava is regular rollouts to users. The more regular and automated you can make them, the quicker you can provide additional functionality to your users.

Amazon

Amazon’s release to live every 11.6 seconds. This was the mean average for weekdays during May 2011. During that month, they had up to 1,079 production deployments per hour. Continue reading Digital best practice: Release regularly

Our visit to London’s latest innovation area: Plexal

“The Totem Pole” (real name) by the entrance to Plexal – impressive in reality

This morning I went on a tour of Plexal with a few colleagues from Endava. Plexal is an innovation area based in part of the former Media Centre originally built for the London 2012 Olympics.

The CEO of Plexal, Claire Cockerton, took us around. Claire founded Innovate Finance after working at Level39, the Fintech accelerator.

Plexal has been designed around the metaphor of an ‘Innovation High Street’. You walk into Plexal half way down the ‘High Street’. The reception desk transforms into a bar in the evening. The High Street has several glass fronted offices on the ground floor, intermittently separated by open desk areas acting as communal areas. Offices range from large (a couple of dozen desks) down to one-person pods the size of old public telephone boxes.

Communal areas also serve as fixed, large desks for organisations wishing to rent a permanent desk and leave a few monitors in place. There are coffee machines and kitchens dotted around, essential for start-ups. The whole place is designed and finished immaculately (the offices which are not still under construction). Once finished, Plexal will cater for 800 people. At the moment it’s just over half full. Continue reading Our visit to London’s latest innovation area: Plexal

How to improve all your business metrics through digital best practices

This article is a summary of the keynote presentation I gave at the Nimbus 90 Ignite event in London on Monday.

Modern businesses need to become more engaging, responsive and efficient. To achieve this, they need to focus on stronger digital deliverables, agile processes and automate much more than they do today.

Many businesses still struggle to define what digital really means, so we have come up with 12 “best practices” which include:

  1. Business Focussed Solutions (not technical)
  2. Self-service (for everyone)
  3. Try stuff (Fail fast/ learn quickly)
  4. (Very) regular releases
  5. Easy to use and regular multi variate testing
  6. Value dashboards
  7. Easier integration (e.g. APIs)
  8. Multi-device
  9. New business models (e.g. marketplace, sharing economy…)
  10. Culture of Innovation
  11. Bots/ automation
  12. Two way conversations

When we start a workshop with a customer, we focus on each of these digital best practices. We then challenge existing processes or applications. For example, we might ask the sales team how customers can self-service themselves, or how many customers are frustrated that they can’t use a specific app on a mobile or tablet device. Continue reading How to improve all your business metrics through digital best practices

Five trends from The Future of General Insurance event

Describing key insurance trends at The Future of General Insurance event
Describing key insurance trends at The Future of General Insurance event

This week I spoke at The Future of General Insurance event about our latest Insurance Industry Technology Trends report at Endava. Here’s a brief summary of the presentation.

Endava works in many industries, and we can see what companies outside of insurance do really well, that insurers can learn from. We have found 20 ‘trends’, of which we covered five most relevant ones to general insurers at the conference:

  • IoT (Internet of Things) are slowly redefining how consumers perceive ‘insurance’
  • Moving to mobile first interfaces
  • Using social media
  • The use of digital marketing in the insurance industry
  • Building self-service into systems

Continue reading Five trends from The Future of General Insurance event

Points to consider when designing your next mobile app

Percentage of people who have disagreements with their partner due to their mobile phone usage, by age from Deloitte Mobile Consumer 2016 report
Percentage of people who have disagreements with their partner due to their mobile phone usage, by age

According to Deloitte’s Mobile Consumer Survey 2016 report, mobile hasn’t just reached saturating point (over 80% of the UK now owns a smartphone – and still annually growing at 7%), it’s become embedded in our day to day (and night to night) lives. We don’t just own a smartphone, we let it take over our lives – foregoing sleep or partner and friends asking us to put the thing away.

Here are the highlights and takeaways (all are UK statistics, from 3,251 respondents) from the Deloitte Mobile Consumer 2016 report:

  • 10% of smartphone owners check their device immediately on waking up, with over two thirds of us checking our phone within 30 minutes of rising.
  • 43% of us check our phones within 30 minutes of going to bed.
Suggestion: next time you want to spend time with your family or friends, forget your phone from Deloitte Mobile Consumer 2016 report
Suggestion: next time you want to spend time with your family or friends, forget your phone
  • Half of smartphone owners aged 18-24 check their phone in the middle of the night (most of whom check the time, instant messages, social media notifications or email). If you’re not in that age bracket, it’s still 48% for 25-34 year olds, 37% of 35-44 year olds and 27% aged 45-54.
  • Next time you’re out with friends in a restaurant checking your email, or supposed to be out with the family, or just crossing the road, remember the two graphs above.

Continue reading Points to consider when designing your next mobile app

UK small businesses and charities still not digital

Six stats from the Lloyds UK Business Digital Index 2016
Six stats from the Lloyds UK Business Digital Index 2016

For many of us who work in the digital industry, we take it for granted that we can use services such as Facebook, JustGiving charity fundraising and email services. According to a survey released this week by Lloyds Bank, only half of UK businesses and charities have the necessary digital skills to improve their business or fundraising.

The number of charities who accept online donations has doubled since 2015 – from 24% to 53%. But even those charities struggle with other digital skills such as email campaigns, using mobile correctly and other optimisation. And back to the figure of 53% of charities accept online donations – this highlights how 47% do not. Continue reading UK small businesses and charities still not digital

Hedge Funds – the latest crowdsourcing industry

Good at math(s)? Then help others earn lots of money through a crowd sourced hedge fund algorithm
Good at math(s)? Then help others earn lots of money through a crowd sourced hedge fund algorithm

Good at maths? (For my American relatives, colleagues and readers, “Are you good at math?”) If you are, then the latest crowdsourcing industry might be lucrative for you… hedge funds.

Websites such as Quantopian, Numerai and Quantiacs allow anyone to create algorithms to make hedge funds more successful. When I say anyone, you’d need to be pretty good at maths and the Python programming language before even starting. Continue reading Hedge Funds – the latest crowdsourcing industry

Designing Self-Service From the Start

PremierInn Check In email - a good example of customer self-service
Premier Inn Check In email – a good example of customer self-service

One of the features of “a digital project”, is that the end user can become self-sufficient without needing to call the organisation offering the service or product. We call this self-service.

The first Internet services had a thin veil of self-service features, enabling companies to experience the cost savings of letting users perform common tasks.

Once this Return On Investment was proven, one of two things happened. Many organisations left the systems alone, stopped any further investment and patted themselves on the back.

Other companies redesigned the service to allow the maximum possible self-service touch points to maximise the future return on investment. They redesigned the self-service experience from the start. Continue reading Designing Self-Service From the Start

The Coolest Digital Industry to Work in

It's ok - photo of the list of what's ok at GDS featured as bullet points in this post
How did government become the coolest digital industry?

Think of the top three industries that seem cool to work in. I’d be surprised if you are my age and listed government as a top three coolest digital industry. But working on digital government projects seems to have become cool.

So cool, that last week Matt Cutts of Google fame announced that he will be leaving Google for the US Digital Service. Matt Cutts was the head of Google’s spam SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) team, and built up a large following across social media channels from webmasters around the world. There are forums set up to discuss every detail of his speeches and YouTube videos, to try to outsmart the chief enemy of SEO spam. Continue reading The Coolest Digital Industry to Work in