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Biz Bytes

Author: The IT Psychiatrist

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Give your people the tools they need to do their job, and then let them do it. We sit down with thought leaders to explore why this is the most important element of being in business, and why the tools aren't always technology! Enable your people with the right tools and they will drive your business forward! Join us in a fun and honest conversation that has no jargon.
29 Episodes
Technology challenges are not isolated to one business (or country), they are global. Everyone is facing the same challenges in their own way.And there are so many solutions, practices, and frameworks available that it can be hard to know what to adopt.While the problems facing businesses aren't unique, there is a golden rule to consider - If you adopt everyone else's best practices, you will be an average business. The way Spotify solve their problems is not always going to work for a bank, so you should find what works for youTo successfully change you need to start testing different models, which is where prototyping is valuable.And rapid prototyping is even better But most important is to ensure you give you customers the tools they need.In this episode I talk to Justin Gregory about the challenges of digital transformation in an international context.About JustinJustin has over a decade in leadership positions with one of the foremost banks in South Africa. Having led teams for the bank’s award-winning digital business through to their industry-leading commercial division. He has a keen eye on how technology and digital solutions can overhaul and supplement behaviours while driving business needs and simplifying experiences for customers. Justin has a deep interest in disruptive and innovative tech, aligned with a pragmatic approach to technology reinvention and integration. This has allowed Justin to partner with and deploy these technologies within the bank. Understanding how digital and cultural change has enabled the business to grow and adapt to shifting markets and possible threats have been key pillars of Justin's career history.
Technology is one of the fastest changing industries in history. In the last decade we've seen new language, new standards, and new ways of working. For those who work in the industry the result is that we can't just sit on the skills we've learned and expect to stay at the top of our game.If you step out of the industry it won't take long before you're rusty. Employers and recruiters are very aware of this and are always looking for people who are developing themselves. To avoid the rust you must keep the machine oiled. That career gap on your CV isn't harmful, but it will help if you spent some time upskilling yourself. And if you're still in a job, seek out what skills you will need to solve tomorrows problems today. So take charge of your own destiny! Make yourself more valuable to the market by adding necessary skills. In this episode I talk to Chloe Piper about why Pivoting is not just for business, and the value a good recruiter brings to the table.About ChloeWhat do fitness and recruitment have in common? Helping people to become the best version of themselves. Having the right job is as important as having a healthy body and mind. That's the philosophy that Chloe has used over her 10 years recruitment experience, both internally and externally, and both overseas and locally. Established in Christchurch for the past 9 years, Chloe is now an adopted kiwi and combines her passion for technology and recruitment through her own business, XO recruitment
Start with the Heart.Friedmanism is dead. The idea that companies need to value profit above all else is giving way to the concept of values based organisation.Ensuring the values of your business are aligned to those of the people you've hired.The thing with values is that they aren't just about what's said, they are about action.If they aren't lived then they are just a statement.This is even more important in a VUCA worldVolatile, Uncertain, Complex, AmbiguousTo survive you need to be agile and resilient (but you don't need to pivot). And the only way to do that successfully is to have the right people.In this episode I talk with Dr Cherry Vu and Rob England about value driven organisations and why you should put staff first.About Cherry and RobDr Cherry Vu and Rob England are Teal Unicorn, partners in work and life, dedicated to Make Work Better: better results, better lives, better society.Their focus is management, and how the new ways of working and managing can unlock advancement to better work.They work mostly in NZ and Vietnam - consulting, coaching, and training. In Vietnam they focus at the executive level, and in New Zealand they work mainly within IT, always improving organisational performance and life.Together they wrote the book "The agile Manager (small a)". They offer online and onsite learning in new ways of thinking, working, managing, org change, IT, consulting, and selling.
Are we in the age of the startup?Driven by a desire to be more independent and make our own choices, people are starting to take control and we are seeing new businesses emerge every day.While 20 years ago it was individuals wanting to start a business, we now have teams who understand the ideas behind an MVP, how to do a side hustle.Success stories are everywhere.From Mark Zuckerberg to Uber, Elon Musk to Air BNBAnd more locallyXeroRocket labsBut for every success story, there are plenty that don't make it.New Zealand has a product market fit of one quarter of one percent.Or the equivalent of about 15 start-ups a year actually nailing it in to their market.  The risks are still the same and yet businesses are emerging every day, what's changed?How much of a role does Luck have to play in itAnd how to make sure you get the market fit?In this episode I talk with Andy Hamilton about what it takes to be a successful business.Andy is a Director of Ahi Innovation a consulting and investment company. About Andy:He's got plenty of experience investing in companies  – Icehouse Ventures, Blue Frog Breakfast, digital human company UneeQ, solar company Lightforce Solar, innovation agency Indigo, and Manaaki, an SME business support forum.  Andy has also advised plenty of companies, United Machinists, Tatou (agricultural worker career platform), Auxilio Pharmaceuticals and a Small Business Advisor to the Minister for Small Business, Stuart NashHis specialities include pattern matching, navigating the path forward for business owners and founders, networks, connections, governance & securing investment. 
When is a good time to look at the services and products you offer?Right now.Now is a the best time to look back and see what worked for you and figure out how to leverage thatOr what didn't go so well, so you can stop it.Remember that some of our best known brands originated in a crisis. But where do you start?What problems have you identified in your business? Look for the daily chaos - the things that are constantly resulting in you fighting fires.What do you want your target state to look like? And how far ahead can you see?Have you taken the time to map out what's working well? Unless you've done these 3 things you may find it challenging to move forward.In this episode I catch up with Rob Bull from the Brick by Brick podcast to talk about business improvement, and business survivabilityAbout RobYou have built a good business, some would even describe it as great. Because of this you have got big plans. There is just one problem - how to move towards this vision, and bring the team along while they are keeping the ‘business as usual’ jobs under control.Rob can help with that.Rob's focus is enabling your people, taking your teams from average to awesome and watching teams achieve things that they never thought was possible. And he loves to play with LEGO!Rob helps with Lean Implementation Programmes, Lego Serious Play Sessions, Workshops and Operational Excellence Reviews 
Ep 24. What's in a Qubit?

Ep 24. What's in a Qubit?


Imagine a world where complex problems can be solved in minutes instead of years.The good it would do - forecasting how to respond to extreme events, and preparing the legislation to deal with it.The bad it would do - uncrackable encryption cyphers become vulnerable, causing issues for securityThanks to Quantum computing, it's not something we need to imagine! Quantum computing ushers in a whole new world of possibilities.A world where computational equations are no longer +1, they are to the power of!The problems they can solve are endless, and it's with in reach of even the smallest companiesAnd then there's the possibility of irrefutable evidence, supported by distributed ledger, and the changes that can enable in society. Can the two emerging technologies work together to transform the way we think, plan, and do?In this episode I talk with Sean Muller about the opportunities behind Quantum Computing and Distributed Ledger.About Sean Sean has 26 Years of experience in helping companies use technology to achieve outcomes.For the last 6 years he has been helping companies disrupt internally using innovative technologies implemented within existing enterprises to help drive digital transformations.
The modern workplace has evolved over the last few decades. Supported by technology we have seen the decline of fixed office space, the rise of flexi-desking, and then the rush towards remote working. Those that are successful at this have learned that:Every business is unique, you can't emulate your way to successTechnology plays a part, but it is not the be all and end allManagers must balance visibility with flexibility - presenteeism isn't productivityWe need to create the right space for people, and then enable them to use itIf you aren't sure what's going to work, pilot it.Because the way we work is a combination of Workplace, Technology, and People.Success comes when we combine that with Trust, Accountability and Choice,Which is why in todays climate companies need to build an everyplace working strategy, not just a workplace strategy. Today I talk with Jo Monaghan about workplace strategy.About Jo: Jo Monaghan, workplace strategist and designer, is the founder of ‘The Flow Company’ whose mission is to ”build wellbeing into workplace strategy and design”.Committed to creating sustainable workplace environments that connect and inspire, The Flow Company puts people at the heart of everything they do.  Their purpose is to create environments that elevate people’s wellbeing by focusing on People first, then Place.  She is currently working with a number of clients on their everyplace working strategies, as our recent experiences show it’s not all about the office anymore but more about Choice, Flexibility and Trust.These are exciting times as Jo explore's new models for how and where people work that align with  business strategies and goals she is excited to be leading that exploration.
In the last episode I sat down with Norie Ape to discuss ideas on how to increase diversity in the technology industry. In this episode I catch-up with Hylton Stunnenberg-Southon to continue the conversation.An experienced digital leader Hylton takes the view that anyone can code, as long as we ensure they have the opportunity to do it.She challenges society to level the playing fields, especially at school and asks the question "Do we need have specific teachers for technology, or do we need to better equip the ones we have?Because different cultures place value on different things, we discuss:The need to get more mentors around the industry.How to make sure we take into account cultural commitments and values such as Faith and Family.Why we should be hiring for soft skills, not just academic skillsWe also raise the challenge to be talking about the different jobs available in the tech space, not just development opportunities. About HyltonBorn in the USA to a Samoan mother and Dutch father, Hylton has lived in Samoa, Fiji, Australia, NZ and spent her summers in The Netherlands in the first 9 years of her life, you could say that travel is normal to her! It is no surprise therefore that with Hylton’s diverse background she would be passionate about issues such as gaps that exist in the technology industry now; especially culturally. Hylton has played the role of a mentor both within her workplace and over the years through groups focusing on mentoring school kids of Maori or Pacific decent who are interested in exploring careers within the Technology/Digital industry.  
An abstract dream engineer passionate about increasing the number of Pasifika Women in TechThat's the LinkedIn tagline of today's guest, Norie Ape. Together we discuss some of the reasons behind why only 2% of New Zealand's technology industry is classed as Pasifika or Maori - despite those cultures making up 25% of the population.And the numbers get smaller when you add other diversity layers.So how do we solve this?Norie provides a simple view:Provide people with a pathway, and connect them with the opportunities. And remove the perception that you need to be a certain person with a certain skillIn a wide ranging conversation, we cover:The value of Cultural Intelligence (CQ) in your organisationWhy having the same crew solving problems will always result in the same outcomes.How, by virtue of having different thought processes, the conversation goes in a different pathWe also look at some big ideas:What role models do we have?Why does the industry prescribe a particular degree?How do we change the perception of tech to be more than just development?Because if we want the products and services across the country to be reflective of society, then we need better representationAbout Norie: Norie, a Samoan digital product owner from the Mighty Auckland, is a passionate Blues supporter with experience within the government and private sector. What she loves about her role is the continuous engagement between tech teams & business teams to iteratively design, test, develop, implement and measure the success of customer centered products and services. When she's not refining her list of places to brunch in Wellington City or trying to promote and increase the number of Pasifika People and Pasifika Women in the technology sector, you can usually find her testing out in workshops or office corners ways to open up technical and process designs to be more innovative by encouraging diverse thought patterns and processes OR sharing stories of how she went from Case Manager @ Work & Income with an Honors Degree in Foreign Policy to a Digital Product Owner. In short she likes hearing, sharing and experiencing awesome stories and life experiences to help unravel narly problems.
The last few decades have seen the emergence of the social enterprise. Businesses that create profit to deliver on pupose and leave a sustained impactFor New Zealand this means companies like Eat My Lunch, Kilmarnock, and Ecostore. These are companies who don't see profit as a dirty word, but as a way to do good thingsConstantly looking for tools to help them out but, unlike charities, these companies are not as constrained by budgets.And that's where technology companies need to show how to connect what they offer with impact and purpose. They need to provide solutions that are scalable and grow with the business.Showing how they can solve problems And above all, answer "what's in it for me"It's as much about values as it is value.Because people are motivated when it's clear that you are driven by more than just profitIn this episode I talk with Sheridan Jamieson about Social Enterprise and how technology firms could look to support them.About my guest:Sheridan lives a dual life as an independent consultant for his company, Seedling Consulting, and as Head of Operations at One Percent Collective. This experience combined with his time spent in the financial services sector mean he’s got a wide-ranging view of what ‘being in business’ means. Sheridan is passionate about social enterprise and grass-roots charity and wants to help purposeful and impact-led businesses to thrive.
DevOps.Its more than just the sum of it's parts - Development and OperationsIt's a software development approach that ensures that the people writing code are now responsible for the outcome of the design, not just throwing it over the fence to be someone else's problem.In a world where IT and the business they serve are increasingly aligned in their strategic goals, DevOps is becoming a way to ensure that software development is now a product and not just an activity.It's removes bottle necks from your delivery cycle in order to deliver faster outcomes for your customer, better. But where do traditional technology roles and practices fit? What do you do with the technology you already have? And how to you combine activities which are fluid with practices that are seen as bureaucratic?In this episode I talk with Jakob Diness, my first international guest, about DevOps and why you should treat technology like cattle, not a pet. About JakobBased in Denmark, Jakob is a Digital Business Consultant. He is an IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Expert certified trainer having been teaching ITIL courses for several years.As a consultant with BusinessNow his focus is advising large and medium-sized companies on their digital journey and transformation with ServiceNow as the central platform. Linkages to previous episodes:Ep 14. If you can't give certainty through change, give clarity - Christy LawBooks we reference: The Agile Manager: Dr Cherry Vu and Robert EnglandA Seat at The Table: Mark SchwartzFrom Project to Product: Mik KerstenThe DevOps Handbook: Gene Kim, John Willis, Patrick Debois, Jez HumbleAnd if you want to know more about the Phoenix Project, talk with Jacob Diness or James Gander at
Are you in the business of selling?How do most of your sales conversations go? Mostly good. Or mostly Bad?Why is that?Sure, you've got all the tools you need - A CRM, a lead management funnel, beautiful PowerPoint presentations,But tools are only one thing. Sales is built on one simple factor.Trust. What actions do you take to build trust with your audience?Are you talking to all the people you need to to make the sale?Are you solving customer problems, helping them see "what's in it for me"Or are you spending most of the conversation selling the message as to why your product is the best? In today's episode I chat with Alex McNaughten about techniques that make an effective salesman.About AlexAlex is the the founder of Sales Leaders where he looks to address the Sales Capability Gap, helping  ambitious companies and sales professionals (primarily in the technology space) solve more problems globally, through effective selling!Alex is passionate about the science of selling and accelerating the impact companies in the Southern Hemisphere make both locally and on the global stage! His motto is Be Positive - Confidence is Contagious! 
That system your business has been using for 20 years... how good is it?Sure, it might be working, but is it working well? And does it allow you to run your business in the most effective, efficient, and economic manner?Technology has evolved to the point we can do what we want from anywhere in the world, but many still don’t invest to enable thatJust like how we change our cars to suit our lifestyle, or our cell phones to get the better model, businesses should be upgrading their tech to ensure it is fit for purpose - it is no longer possible just to make do,. The technology is there, how businesses choose to use it will differentiate them from their competitors.We've seen the evidence of this through recent events- those companies which had moved to modern systems were able to recover faster.Those that are still on legacy systems didn't. My guest today is Sam Mitchell, and together we talk about upgrading and maintenance of technology and the impact it has on your business.
What does KFC running out of chicken have in common with how companies respond to a pandemic?Both rely on a business continuity plan to recoverWhether it's a pandemic, a natural disaster, or something that could impact your reputation, a business continuity plan (BCP) will show you what steps you need to take, who you need to engage, the messages you need send, and how you will recover your business.Because in the digital age, the world is watching, and how you respond will impact your reputationToday I talk with Laura Toplis about BCP.We explore:What elements should be consideredWhy a Business Impact Analysis is crucialThe need to keep your BCP up to dateAnd we discuss recent examples of where companies have handled a crisis well, and where they haven'tAbout Laura:Laura Toplis was the Business Continuity Coordinator for the New Zealand Ambulance Service and has developed a product from her experiences called BCP Builder – an Online Business Continuity Plan Template. BCP Builder helps small and medium sized businesses quickly design and build their own unique ISO22301-compliant business continuity plan, to be better prepared when disruption strikes to respond rapidly and recover confidently. 
Electric ferries.What's the first thing that popped into your head? Perhaps it was limited rangeBoats running around with a long extension cableOr significant downtime while the boat rechargedOr more expensive boats?How about this though:Quieter journeysLess operational pollutionFewer boats needed to meet the same demandNo downtime while boats rechargeA fleet that is dynamically managed to suit passenger demandA different viewpoint right?That last one is particularly relevant - despite a significant population increase, Auckland has only recently got back to the levels of public transport utilisation that we saw in the 1950sBut some of our infrastructure is in need of an upgrade, and the answer is electric ferries Because Public transport is no longer for people who don't have a carAnd it doesn't just benefit Auckland My guest today is Michael Eaglen. Together we talk about the techonological advances that make electric ferries not only possible, but the right choice.Michael Eaglen is co-founder of EV Maritime, a New Zealand maritime technology business focused on a zero emission and low emission future for the inshore commercial maritime industry.  Electrification and hybridisation is the fastest-growing sector in the global maritime industry and EV Maritime has found the niche in which to deploy New Zealand’s best specialised expertise.  EV Maritime takes the best of world-leading New Zealand talent, spanning America’s Cup designers, internationally-respected structural and electrical engineers, multi-award-winning boat builders and pioneering propulsion innovators and focuses their collective efforts on decarbonising the harbour cities of the world.  Their first project is electric fast ferries: they have developed ferries which can fully electrify the whole of the Auckland Transport fleet and, they believe, cement a vast global export opportunity perfectly-suited to the best strengths of the New Zealand marine industry.
If there is one thing that we can bank on, it's that Change is constnat And we also know that people will react in different ways to change. Uncertainty, confusion, and the age old question of "What's in it for me?" will play a role in how each person reacts to change. Which is why the messages you send around change are importnatYou need to respect boundaries, and be aware that the things we say (and sometimes the things we don't) will matter. And it's never the big things that catch you out, it's often the small things and if you get it wrong it is very hard to walk it back. So how to you get this right - especially when trying to deal with competing outcomes?Focusing on the outcomes you are trying to achieve, even when they might be in competition with each other,  is a critical stepElimating Jargon is also important, keep the message clear, concise, and void of any confusion.But what does a SCARF have to do with change? My guest today is a good friend and former colleague, Christy Law. Once upon a time Christy wanted to be an Astronaut. And like Apollo 13, she knows that in change, it’s not the big things that you need to watch out for, but the little things - or the things that seem little - that turn into the big surprises. An experienced change leader, Christy is a go-to for her pragmatic approach and her passion for building the next generation of changelings.In today's episode we discuss the approachs to good change .
Pivoting has been hotly discussed during Covid-19. If you Google: “Should I pivot because of Covid-19?” you’ll get over 84 million results.But not every change counts as a pivot.A pivot is a proactive strategy shift based on planning, preparation and market research with the focus on achieving business sustainability and growth. Done well, the benefits of a pivot can be long-lasting and transformational. But the decision to pivot should not be taken lightly – they can be difficult to pull-off.Pivoting indicates a change in direction, not an add-on or tweak. It’s not something that was already planned down the track and brought forward (that’s acceleration) or a short-term band-aid to sustain your business through a difficult period (that’s disaster recovery or business continuity).To be successful you have to have something to aim for, and that is why it's important you have to identify the problem you need to solve. If you don't have your problem clear then transformation is a wobbly path.If you are transforming but haven't figured out the problem you're trying to solve you have no market. and if you have no market, you can't scaleSo what do you do if your company is working well and solving a traditional problem, but enough pain points exist to solve new problems?That's when a pivot might be practical.My Guest today is Raechel Ford, co-founder of ilume, a New Zealand born leadership development company expanding into leadership development software. We talk about the journey her business has been on, the people that have helped her, and just how technology is enabling the business
What if you had the ability to build a test environment to help you identify where and how your business needs to change.Something which allowed you to model the business and identify:Who was doing whatWhich systems they were usingHow information impacted their output.And then provided the most important things for you to focus on? With a digital twin for your organisation, that's exactly what you can have. A digital twin provides a representative model of how your business operates which means you can interact with the model and guide better decision making.Because gut based decisions don't drive better outcomesIn today's episode, I talk with Neil Calvert about digital Twins.About my gust:Neil Calvert is the CEO and Co-Inventor of the LINQ platform at LINQ Ltd. LINQ is an infonomics enabled Digital Twin platform, helping business leaders and their advisors who are loosing sleep over the stress of authorising change they do not understand, to gain the knowledge needed to make evidence-based decisions faster than ever before and effectively communicate the impact on people, systems and finances to everyone in the business. With a background in spatial information, helping organisations create increased value utilising the information asset has seen Neil’s career evolve from mapping the globe to mapping the organisation. Based in Wellington, New Zealand, Neil enables companies and partners around the world to accelerate their digital transformation using the Digital Twin of the Organisation. Outside of work, Neil is a keen cook and practises Shaolin Kempo and Tai Chi. 
While it's possible for any company to transform, the adoption of new technology doesn't constitute digital transformation.And it's not a big bang deliverable.Nor is it something that you can copy from other organisations - each transformation journey is personal. Transformation is a series of iterative change that a business undertakes in order to shift their model.And it has nothing to do with technology - that is only the enabler, not the outcome. Transformation is a goal, not a deliverable. Afterall, you don't make a butterfly by sticking wings on a caterpillar.So how do you deliver successful transformation?Where should the CIO sit during change?How do you communicate to different audiencesAnd how do you know you're done?In today's episode, I talk with Owen McCall about digital transformationAbout OwenWhile a qualified accountant Owen has worked with and in technology for all of his career.  He is a passionate believer in the power of technology to not only fundamentally transform how we live, work, and play but also to deliver tremendous value to organisations.  With that in mind, the premise of all of Owen's work is that organisations should only invest in technology because they believe it will make their business better. This however is easier said than done. Through his work Owen continually witnesses organisations struggling to deliver value from their IT investments.  Wondering why this is, Owen has dedicated high career to understanding this phenomenon and supporting organisations to improve the value they receive from their IT investments.   Owen is  the author of High-Performance IT, a collection of short stories and unique IP that provides insights into IT leadership and delivering on the promise of technology.  A qualified accountant, Owen was a partner in Deloitte Consulting  for over 5 years and led Deloitte’s Australasian outsourcing business before returning to New Zealand to take up the position of CIO of The Warehouse Group.  He's  regular blogger and contributor to CIO and iStart publications, event speaker and judge of industry awards including CIO 100 and the NZ Hi Tech Awards.  
The technology industry has built a reputation of being direct and to the point, and while this works for some things it is not always successful - particularly when trying to sell the benefits of what we are trying to do to multiple audiences - from customer to front line staff, and from employee to executiveWe are all communicators, but communication doesn't come naturally to all of us. This can cause a simple message to be completely lost in translation as the person selling it fails to understand their audience... if they've correctly defined their audience. One of the tricks to good communication is to stand in the shoes of the person who will receive the message and ask yourself "what is the one most important action I need them to take away from this?"But it's more than just that: You need to be clear, consistent, remove confusion, and make no assumptions about what your audience understands.So where is the best place to start?My guest today is Eithne SweeneyEithne and her technical husband Myles run Wires Uncrossed - a communications consultancy that gives technical experts confidence to connect with each other and their customers. Over the past 12 years, Eithne has worked alongside technical specialists in some of New Zealand's largest companies, equipping them with the skills and structures to foster effective communication. Originally from Ireland, she had previously spent over five years working for large multinational organizations in China, where she helped teams overcome the barriers of language, culture and distance to build strong connections. She is passionate about removing the communication barriers that exist between subject matter experts and the generalists who work with them to achieve common goals. She lives for the magic moments where better soft skills lead to clarity, cooperation and collaboration. 
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