Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category


Post by Ian Gee.

We believe that Tech will not only reshape how OD is practiced but inevitably it will impact on the types of skills, training and background that the practitioner of the future will need. In this blog we provide a few examples of how we might do things differently taking advantage of what Tech offers us.

With thanks to the Urban Dictionary, here are some definitions:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is about ‘outsourcing our cognition to the machine’ if you use the ‘personal assistant’ on your smartphone you are already making use of AI. HR tech systems use AI, with algorithms to interrogate big data; the aim being to find predictive patterns to enhance decision making.

Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR & AR) VR is ‘a cyber world where the ugly can be beautiful, the weak can be strong, the old can be young, the poor can be rich, boys can be girls and no one really minds!’. ‘AR blurs the line between what’s real and what’s computer-generated’. With AR, users continue to be in touch with the real world, while interacting with virtual objects, whilst with VR, the user is isolated from the real world and immersed in a fabricated world. 

Gamification The process of turning the world, into a computer game. “Work doesn’t feel like work anymore Harry. It feels like they’ve got me jumping through hoops with these bonus points games. But games are games right? Bring it on!”

Now let’s have a look at how OD can make use of these technologies. These are our initial ideas and we are sure you will have your own ideas – please share them in the comments section.

Globalisation/ New Market Entry/ Business Uncertainty

Many of today’s businesses are looking to trade globally, enter new markets and or are managing a high degree of uncertainty about the future. – Use tailored algorithms to provide real time information for continuous business planning and strategy development processes. AI can carry out companywide sentiment analysis (that is, scan blogs, emails, social media comments etc. about your company and rate them in terms of support etc.), understand market share, employee turnover, pension liability, etc. Build computer based AR/VR simulations that could be used to ‘imagine the future’. Developing a ‘Tower of Babylon’ providing an immersive experiences of different cultures without the need for travel. The opposite is also true. An AR/VR simulation giving new market employees the chance to understand life at HQ.

Regulation, Ethics and Compliance

We live in a world where ethics and compliance failures can put a company under the spotlight and cause massive reputational damage. – Use big data to understand your companies pattern of compliance and non-compliance identifying potential hotspots. Develop VR/AR scenarios that allow employees to act in both an ethical/compliant and non-ethical/non-compliant way, so they can understand the difference and experience the consequences of their actions. 

Organisation Complexity

Organisations face increased complexity in the market place, ways of working, understanding customers, managing stakeholders etc. – Develop a ‘complexity dashboard’ using AI to do the thinking for you and only share with you what you need to know in a format that is easy to understand. At the same time inspires people to incorporate ‘algorithmic thinking’ detail-oriented thinking about methods) into their ways of working. 

Change Overload, Tracking Outcomes and ROI

Organisations can become addicted to change! More than ever we need to track the impact of change and provide evidence of the ROI. – Use algorithmic thinking to identify what changes are critical and will have the biggest impact and use AI to track change and calculate ROI. 


Diversity, in all its forms, is a differentiator in the 21st Century workplace and marketplace. – Track diversity using AI to identify stumbling blocks, talent management issues etc. Identify the positive impacts of diversity through a real-time algorithmically driven ‘Diversity Index’. Use VR/AR to provide employees with the chance to be someone different and experience the workplace from their perspective. Gamification can be used to give points and prizes for employees who are building a culture where diversity flourishes.


Effective leadership is critical to the success of organisations. – Use Ai to understand past leadership success and failures and track the conditions that allow success to occur. Provide a VR/AR experience that lets employees stand in a leader’s shoes and understand the complexity of the role.

Mergers and Acquisitions

70% of M&A activity fails to add value, yet we continue to do it in the same ways. – Use big data to Identify potential targets. Use AR/VR simulations to test integration plans. Gamify integration plans by offering points and prizes for those helping to realise the value of an M&A. Develop an internal ‘stock market’ where employees can invest in ideas related to integration.

Change Management and Culture Change

Successful change management and culture change are still problematic. – Use AR/VR to provide experiences of the positive and negative aspects of your current culture and proposed future culture. Gamify change by developing airline style levels of reward for supporting change, providing points and prizes for ideas and behaviour change. 


Getting the message out there continues to challenge organisations. – Use AR/VR to provide experience of the impact of communication and test how the cascade works. Use a ‘pay it forward’ form of gamification to reward effective impactful communication.

In the comments section it would be great to get your thoughts and comments about this. If any of you are technologically mind and would like to explore any of this in more detail, we would be happy to have a Skype chat or meet for a cup of tea…..



Guest Post by: Carole Grimwood

Let me start with an immediate reassurance that this isn’t a political blog. I don’t want to disengage readers straight away! I do however want to talk about last month’s Labour leadership election. Whatever my views about the outcome I have found the way the Corbyn campaign engaged a previously disaffected group of people has been both interesting and instructive and I think there are is some interesting learning here for OD and HR colleagues.  I wonder whether others agree?

Values – The campaign awakened the interest of a group of people who previously felt disenfranchised because they considered their situation was not being addressed and perhaps most importantly their values were not previously represented in the political system.

Voice – It underscores the importance that people place on being listened to; having a voice, and being ‘done with’ rather that done to’. The notion of crowd sourcing questions for Prime Minister’s Questions is an extension of this.

Authenticity – Corbyn’s victory also exemplifies the importance that people are placing on what they perceive to be openness, integrity, straight talking and the absence of spin. This is perhaps about more authentic and empathetic leadership. We’re reading a good deal about at the moment about a shift away from heroic leadership in favour of more collaborative models. I particularly like what ‘The 21st Century Public Servant’ the recently published by the University of Birmingham has to say about this

Social Media – By August this year The Guardian was reporting a significantly higher use of all the key social media platforms by the Corbyn campaign. The #jezwecan was being shared once every 25 seconds at that point. Remember that this was also acknowledged to be a significant factor in Obama’s victory. Its remarkable though that when we talk to clients about using social media as part of their internal communications strategy for engagement and to support transformation programmes, there is still, more often than not, a notable reluctance. Is this because decisions are being made by people who are not using social media themselves and who lack confidence in it and don’t understand of its potential.

It seems to me that there is much transferable learning here for the world of employee engagement particularly in terms of switching on the disaffected:

  • Understanding why people are not engaged at the fundamental level of their personal values;
  • Listening to people and encouraging them to have a voice
  • Enabling people to actively participate;
  • Providing a different kind of leadership that is seen as authentic and worthy of trust
  • Communicating with them (not to them) using the media that that they use which means exploiting social media.

With these points in mind there is an outstanding issue to be considered and addressed. In engaging the disaffected – has this leadership election process created a whole new group of disaffected people? And if so can they be re-engaged? In the employee engagement arena it has to be about raising the total level of engagement and this will inevitable require flexibility of approach.

I’m interested to know whether you see the same or different lessons?