Any book about management or managing organisations has to be sound in both theory and practice, management is after all an applied activity. Hence in launching the book I thought it important that the audience heard from both senior practitioners and academics. This is your opportunity to hear what everyone had to say – or if you were there on the night you can listen again and capture the ideas that you may have missed first time around!
The evening commenced with an introduction from Professor Tom Jackson, Director of the Centre for Information Management (CIM) at Loughborough University, who outlined the work of CIM and how this thinking influences it. You can see Tom here explaining how CIM correctly predicted the outcome of the 2015 UK General Election: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djz0C-y6tqY
Tom handed over to Alan Thompson, President of Toshiba Europe. Alan explained how Toshiba used the ideas to ‘get away from being triggered into action by failure’ and built a collaborative culture to align organisational capability with customer needs and wishes. See Alan here: https://youtu.be/gnQ02jMdcgc
Mark Chadwick, Head of Business Improvement at Fusion21 spoke next. Fusion21, a social enterprise with a national reach and a head office on Merseyside, appears as a recurring case study in The Intelligent Organisation having adopted and tested many of the ideas. Citing the assertion that ‘Information is our most important asset and our greatest weakness’ and the benefits inherent in integrating the organisation and the information system into a coherent whole, Mark reflected on the challenges and opportunities this has brought to Fusion21. https://youtu.be/CryIuuw2iTk
Proceedings continued from the global challenges of Toshiba, through the social enterprise of Fusion21 to Northumbrian Water Group where James Robbins describes himself as Chief Intelligence Officer. In this clip, James outlines how he is utilising the ideas of The Intelligent Organisation suggesting that the work is forecasting the end of the IT department as we have known it: https://youtu.be/ohJeC19wqmw
Marking a shift from the practice to the theory, Keith Elford was then invited to conduct an interview and ask some testing questions about the thinking underpinning the book. Keith, an independent consultant himself, challenges the notion that ‘information is the organisation’, a challenge defended through an explanation of how the flows of information create the structure. The conversation reveals how the critical characteristics of an organisation can be identified from something as prosaic as the expenses process. See it all here: https://youtu.be/xG639ADXW5A
Closing the formal part of the proceedings, our host Tim Chapman, Director of the ARUP, London Infrastructure Group, explained the need for engineers to embrace the breadth, creativity and curiosity displayed in The Intelligent Organisation and apply it to their engineering which, for Tim, is the basis of how civilisation works. https://youtu.be/na_2nLoo2AI
Now if you really want to complete the experience you should perhaps get a glass of wine and some nibbles and engage in conversation about this for an hour or so!
My thanks to everyone who contributed to a great event.