In the spotlight: Alice ter Haar

Alice ter Harr

We speak to Alice ter Haar, People Strategy and Delivery at Deliveroo, ahead of her conference session at the virtual CIPD Festival of Work on 12 June 2020.

Alice will be presenting on 'The flexy-work revolution - enabling a culture of high-performing flexible and remote working' in the Leading Through Adversity stream. ​

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
I’m the Founder of Badass Unicorn, a personal development consultancy that shares what Unicorn ($1 bn) companies can teach individuals about hyper-personal growth. I’ve built my business alongside working in People Strategy & Development at Deliveroo for four days a week.

We’re looking forward to your session on ‘The flexy-work revolution – enabling a culture of high-performing flexible and remote working.’ What do you hope delegates will be able to take away and apply in their own work the very next day?
Delegates will explore what flexibility looks like in the Coronavirus “new normal”. They’ll come away with key strategies to make flexibility work for both individuals and businesses they operate in.

What are your own experiences of flexible working?
As someone who’s been working four days a week as an employee and one day a week running their own small business, I’ve experienced at first hand the benefits of an alternative working set-up, which makes me a huge advocate.

What do you think are the most key factors that will need to be taken into consideration as we move into a new world of work post Covid-19?
There’s a lot of uncertainty about how life and work will change… but one thing that won’t change is the need for people’s personal lives and work to interconnect. Life – global pandemic or not – is stressful. And the more harmoniously and authentically we can bring those things together, the easier it becomes…and the better it gets.
  
What is your biggest piece of advice for anyone attending this year’s virtual CIPD Festival of Work?
Define your “North Star” vision….what would your dream job be in 10 years time? With this, you can take actionable, immediate steps that will empower you to get there. 

In the spotlight: Nik McKiernan

We speak to Nik McKiernan, Learning Development Programme Manager at Severn Trent, ahead of her conference session at the virtual CIPD Festival of Work on 11 June 2020.

Nik will be presenting on 'The very real reality of AI and VR in learning - delivering immersive learning experiences in practice' in the Supporting our People through Well-being and Technology stream. ​

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
I have a passion to equip people to be the best they can be. Whether that’s through the design of learning solutions, or directly through my role as a leader, fostering a culture of continuous improvement. I have amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience around learning and business improvement since I started off working life as an IT trainer (back in the days of DOS and Windows 3.1!). I’ve been especially curious to learn more about the brain, devouring any new learning on the application of neuroscience to learning and development.

Since I joined Severn Trent in 2006, I’ve spent many years as an internal performance coach, using lean techniques to help colleagues become equipped and curious to solve business problems every day. I’ve been in HR for the last 5 years as a L&D Manager, working across different business areas to design and implement capability development programmes.

I’m now honoured to be managing our exciting programme to set up the Severn Trent Academy, which will be a real game changer for our organisation. I’ve really valued the opportunity to explore the use of immersive learning solutions as part of our Academy programme investment. I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved over the past 18 months to develop engaging and impactful blended learning interventions using virtual reality, and linked to real business problems.

We’re looking forward to your session on ‘The very real reality of AI and VR in learning – delivering immersive learning experiences in practice.’ What do you hope delegates will be able to take away and apply in their own work the very next day?
I would love for people to feel encouraged to take a next step to turn any seedling of an idea for using immersive learning into reality – be bold, go seek out a worthwhile business problem with a friendly business sponsor!

There are some great resources out there to find out more about using immersive technologies for learning, and lots of accessible and stimulating case studies, so by sharing my learning I would like to inspire others to go and seek out and learn more – I’ve found it really encouraging how much people are prepared to share their experiences, which has helped accelerate my own learning journey.

I would like to leave some food for thought (and ideally for action) to consider how immersive learning could be further explored around personal effectiveness capability.

What is the first step to incorporating immersive learning into an organisation’s digital learning programme?
The first step is to start with identifying a viable business problem, where immersive learning could play a role. Identify a part of the business where there is appetite to try something new, so you can focus efforts together on finding the right business problem. It could be a topic where you already have learning solutions in place to take it to another level, or a completely new area where learning doesn’t currently feature, depending on how bold you want to be. Although I’d recommend avoiding areas where there is already saturation of business performance improvement activities, as it will be difficult to demonstrate what impact the immersive learning solution has made.

What do the most effective immersive learning experiences have in common?
An effective immersive learning experience will enable the following:
– influences emotional states through the stimulation of the senses in a way other types of learning modalities can’t reach!
– enables learners to practice in the context of a real-world environment, and to acquire, practice and apply information all at the same time thereby enabling a deeper level of learning.
– creates a safe learning environment, enabling repetition and practice without disrupting real operations or processes.

What is your biggest piece of advice for anyone attending this year’s virtual CIPD Festival of Work? 
Try and treat the event as though you were still attending in person, by giving it your full attention allowing time to prime your brain before each session along with time immediately afterwards to actively process what you’ve learned and start creating your action plan.

Oh and follow the joining instructions step by step, in case you need to test anything out before each session begins!

In the spotlight: Matthew Syed

Matthew Syed

We speak to Matthew Syed, Writer, Broadcaster and Thought Leader, ahead of his conference session at the virtual CIPD Festival of Work on 11 June 2020.

Matthew will be presenting on 'Leading growth and change - developing yourself as an agile leader to drive business transformation' in the Leading Through Adversity stream. ​

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
My Mother is Welsh and my Father is from Pakistan so I grew up in a household which was both ethnically and cognitively diverse. I have always been fascinated by the way people think and how that drives their behaviour when faced with complex problems. I have built on these themes in my books Bounce, Black Box Thinking and most recently Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking.

I write a comment column for The Sunday Times and a sports column for The Times each week. I am also passionate about education, am an ambassador for a number of school organisations and have written confidence building books for children: You Are Awesome, published in 2018, and a new one, Dare To Be You, which comes out this September.

Before becoming a writer, I was the England table tennis number one and was lucky enough to compete at two Olympic Games. I live in London with my wife and two young children and we’re currently juggling our work and business while trying to home-school as well as keep the kids entertained.

We’re looking forward to your session on ‘Leading growth and change – developing yourself as an agile leader to drive business transformation.’ What do you hope delegates will be able to take away and apply in their own work the very next day?
Agility and innovation, are underpinned by (at least) two conditions. First, you need a diverse group, rather than people who inhabit the same silo or have the same background. This provides scope for divergent thinking and the cross pollination of ideas. Second, this group needs to think and interact in a way that surfaces their ideas rather than supresses them.

Leaders have the power to build that interaction, to foster a growth culture through their own mindset and behaviours. For example, language can drive different thinking and behaviours – it can limit our perception of potential or instead encourage people to see success as a journey and to put in the effort to improve. Attitude to failure can either drive or block progress, so leaders need to emphasise the importance of trying something new and learning from problems or setbacks. Seek to make progress rather than aim for perfection. I’ll be looking at these in more detail as well as at other thinking and behaviours leaders can adopt and encourage to foster innovation and agility.

What is one key action you feel is important in preparing to lead growth once we’re out of the current climate?
It will be important to reflect on and capture what we have learnt during this time and use this to build stronger businesses and organisations. Many have shown that they can adapt and do things differently, removing what were previously thought to be barriers. The current climate has flipped many of our assumptions about how work is done, and shown that we can do things differently. So, keeping that openness to new ways of working and to adapting to meet changing customer needs will help organisations continue to grow and innovate.

What does an ‘emotionally intelligent leader’ mean to you? 
Innovation, breakthroughs and progress are typically achieved as a result of people coming together, learning and constantly seeking to improve. Emotionally intelligent leaders recognise this and will create an environment of psychological safety and humility in order to enable and encourage their people to be the best they can be, stretching them to develop and improve over time so that they, and the organisation, are constantly evolving.

What is your biggest piece of advice for anyone attending this year’s virtual CIPD Festival of Work?
Seek out and be open to diverse views that challenge your own assumptions and usual ways of thinking. It’s a fantastic opportunity to gather new ideas and see things from different perspectives, drawing on the collective intelligence of the CIPD community.

In the spotlight: Professor Simon Anholt

Professor Simon Anholt

We speak to Professor Simon Anholt, Founder of the Good Country Index and Independent Policy Advisor, ahead of his opening keynote at the virtual CIPD Festival of Work on 10 June 2020.

Simon will be presenting the opening keynote on 'Building good businesses - developing resilient workforces to thrive in uncertainty.'​

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and the Good Country Index?
I’ve spent the last 20 years advising Heads of State and Heads of Government in nearly 60 countries on how their countries can co-operate and collaborate more imaginatively and effectively with the international community. My approach is – to paraphrase President Trump – “no country last” (or maybe that should be “make the world great again”).  I launched the first edition of the Good Country Index at a TED event in 2014: the talk has been viewed more than 10 million times and the index is now in its 5th edition. It measures what each country contributes to the world outside its own borders, and what it takes away: a balance-sheet for the planet.

We’re looking forward to your opening keynote on ‘Building good businesses – developing resilient workforces to thrive in uncertainty.’ What do you hope delegates will be able to take away and apply in their own work the very next day?
I hope to explain how their actions and even their attitudes directly impact the state of the world and the future of humanity: to challenge that helpless sensation we all have of “little old me vs. great big world”. I want to explain what a good company is: not one that sacrifices itself in order to help people and places less fortunate than itself – because that’s an old idea that never really made much sense or even did much good – but one that successfully harmonises its domestic and international responsibilities, and creates better business as a result. I want to show how we can all help tackle the ‘grand challenges’ without resorting to activism, charity, petitions or even the conventional democratic processes.

What do you think we have we learnt over the past decade that can help organisations to focus and strengthen business strategies at this time?
That globalisation can’t be left to its own devices: it needs careful, collaborative and responsible management. And that involves companies and individuals as much as governments and international organisations. We have also learned how CSR is essential for companies, and is now long overdue for countries and cities too.

What is your biggest piece of advice for anyone attending this year’s virtual CIPD Festival of Work?
Remember that one of the finest qualities human beings possess (and one which appears to be in very short supply at this moment in history) is the ability to change our minds.