Monday, 31 May 2010

Twittering Meetings

I was talking to a colleague who described a recent meeting between two rather traditional multi-national organisations. On the face of it there was an imbalance in the meeting between the host company who had 6 people in the meeting, and the visitor who only had 4. You would expect therefore that, allowing for individual skill and experience levels, that the hosts would be in the stronger position – being in their own offices and having greater resources available.

In fact the opposite applied. The reason? The visitors were live twitter feeding the meeting back to their colleagues in offices across Europe. So while the hosts were drawing on the 6 people in the room, the visitors were able to draw the experience and knowledge of about 20 people all across Europe.

Now, there are a number of issues raised by this. One is a certain level of politeness, because while the hosts were talking the visitors were busy tapping away on Blackberries sharing information with other people (and no doubt doing other things). This could certainly be seen as rude. But then again I am of a certain generation, and I am told that to people in their 20s this is actually perfectly normal. There is also a question of whether the visitors were paying due attention to the discussion going on around them while they fiddled with their technology.

Another issue is about security, and whether confidential information about a high level meeting was accessible to third parties if they were in some way able to access the feed. An important issue, but one that is increasingly common anyway as use of ICT becomes ever more prevalent.

Certainly the consequence of the meeting was that the visitors were able to draw on evidence not actually available to the people in the room, and were able to have suggestions and ideas tested live by a wide community of people who would be effected by the decisions. In previous times, the decisions would have been made in the room, carved in tablets of stone (or at least memos), and then distributed to the masses. Now the people involved could have an input and course correct the meeting as it happened, without having to take time out from their daily activities. As a result, not only will the decisions made be more robust and tested, they are also more likely to be implemented because the people delivering them have been involved in their construction. Action started the moment the meeting wrapped up, rather than sometime after the minutes were written, circulated and then forced through by the project leader.

Now this is in a staid, traditional industry – not media, ICT or creative industries. As my colleague said, one party was in the 1980s, one party was in the 21st century. There are issues to be worked out, but I think we are going to see a lot more of this style of working. Of course one of the drawbacks is that only the people in the room were able to go on the post meeting celebratory bar crawl….

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Training Course Schedule

We are involved in an extensive schedule of training events over the next couple of months.
Firstly, our own Market Research in the Chemical Industry was a great success on Monday 10th May
16th to 20th May I shall be running the Complete Course in Purchasing Management in Cairo for Aztech
26th May I am running an event on Supply2gov for BIP Solutions in Leeds
27th May is an event on the Competitive Dialogue process in Manchester for BIP, repeated 10th June in Birmingham
I shall be running the SME Engagement programme covering Tendering and PQQs on 3rd June in Newcastle, 8th in Manchester, 16th Derby, 17th London, 22nd West midlands, and the 30th in the Black Country. So lots of opportunities to attend those.
As well as those there are a couple of in-house events before we move along to
the European Purchasing Masterclass in Vienna 5th to the 9th July.

I hope to see you at one of these events. For more details, leave a message or drop me a line.