“Hey Google, open the pod bay doors…”

The Conversation is an international, non-profit publication of some repute in academic circles. Mainly because it takes research and knowledge from academic experts and applies it to contemporary issues in a relevant way. Jeff Volkheimer and I are pleased that they have published a recent article of ours on the film 2001: A Space Odyssey and its prophetic projection as it relates to voice assistants in consumer electronics and who they really work for. The upshot? Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa and that crowd aren’t working for you even though the companies make it look like they are.

The process of writing this article, and the editors at The Conversation (along with the internal ECU team) were so supportive and made writing this a pleasure. I look forward to more Conversation articles to come.

How to get people to work hardest for *you* (this time webinar style)

I am so pleased that the Australian Institute of Project Management Sydney 2018 conference rated this talk so highly. How do I know? I have been asked to reprise it via webinar. This time I am looping my research colleague Jeff Volkheimer in too. Though “project managers” are not in his title, like one the rest of us he is one anyway:
2tazob

The good thing about the proliferation of project management as a technique of doing anything is that it allows us to break up this idea that you need to manage a person to manage a capability or resource. The problem, of course, is that the skills development – formal and informal – around this isn’t given the attention it requires. Especially not in the softer skills (communication, emotional intelligence, etc) space.

Projects are, by definition, discreet endeavours. They have a beginning and an end. Do they lend themselves to the infinite game? Sure they do. Because the relationships, capabilities, skills and resources in one project don’t necessarily disappear into the ether when you are done. Rather they are part of the invisible network that ties more and more people together and enriches all the subsequent projects we work on.

Authenticity and how to project it

I was overwhelmed by the amount of interest in authenticity as a topic of thought and discussion during a recent public lecture I held at ECU’s Learning Hub on the main streets of Bunbury, Western Australia. People from all manner of business and walks of life attended and discussed what authenticity means, how culture plays into it (national and organisational) and how important knowing yourself is as part of the equation. Thank you to ECU for supporting the intellectual life of the CBD and making me feel so fortunate to have this opportunity in the South West.

Authenticity Talk

Halloween in America and Australia

I was recently interviewed by ABC Radio Goldfields and again by 6PR Perth – listen to the podcast here – about Halloween, its origins and the differences in the celebrations in the USA and Australia.

From a research perspective, one of the fascinating aspects of the holiday are the commercialisation and secularisation of religious holidays; and the communities of consumption that gather around them.

Halloween is only moderately successful in Australia and has no where near the reach as it does in North America. However, the creative outlet, community and social release of Halloween is expressed slightly differently at the same time, through the Australian obsession with the Melbourne Cup Race.

People dress up, they spoil themselves, they gather and the celebrate. Some might say the Melbourne Cup doesn’t have the religious basis of Halloween – but then those people might never have visited Melbourne, Victoria.

How to make someone work hardest on your project

I was pleased to give a presentation at the Australian Institute of Project Management national conference in Sydney last week on the above topic. The theme was “People, Precision, Performance” and the focus of many presentations were the softer skills of management. Communication, support, leadership, influence and stakeholder management. What is becoming more apparent is that while project managers in various industries (construction, tech, business development, finance and so on) have the hard skills to do the job, managing the personalities and communities is a prized capability and one, not every project manager has. As an Institute I work with regularly in my role at ECU, I have found the AIPM staff do have those skills and are reaching out to further develop project managers in these areas regularly. If you’re down under, no matter which aspect of PM you are involved with, they are worth checking out.

AIPM