What do you intend to do to keep your employees intellectually stimulated and engaged even if their routine jobs may be relatively routine and mundane?
My answer is PReDICTT.
Yes, that’s right. It’s no typo. I mean PReDICTT. It’s the acronym for a unique program I have initiated: Peers Reflecting on Developments in Current Technology Trends.
The idea behind it is simple. In our roles as technology individuals, we are consistently exposed to technology and innovation trends, some directly related to our work endeavors and some seemingly unrelated. These trends make us wonder what their influence will be in the days to come. Some examples include Bitcoin, self-driving cars, the Internet of Things, millennials in the workplace, etc.
We often wish for a forum where we could learn more about these trends and share our own ideas and thoughts with others in an open, candid, non-judgmental fashion.
The PReDICTT program gives the team an opportunity to periodically engage in some creative brainstorming and sharing of ideas distinct from our day-to-day responsibilities. It offers the opportunity to view the world through a telescope rather than the rear-view mirror or windscreen for a change.
A key premise is that “innovation thought,” even unrelated to normal line of work, makes individuals more effective in whatever they do.
This program is comprised of “open mike” sessions at a regular cadence, where volunteer and guest speakers share their thoughts on a technology and innovation trends and their likely implications. The requirement for speakers is not that they be experts in the topic but that they feel passionately enough about it to be willing to share their ideas related to it with their peers.
In this program, even as we bring innovation thought to the fore with a regular cadence, driving positive downstream impacts, we also strive to:
Enhance communications with employees and partners
Enhance employee motivation and skills for presenters
Enhance the image of our IT organization with partners with forward-looking topics
Provide the opportunity to recognize individuals who step outside their primary job responsibilities
We have had many interesting sessions spanning the gamut of innovations and emerging trends:
Security in the era of BYOD
Steganography and Cryptography
The changing forms of money (e.g., Bitcoin) and what it means for us
Ubiquitous Internet: balloons, drones
Autonomous vehicles, driverless cars
Future of computing
As intended, all are presented by volunteers. What is even more stimulating is the excellent exchange of ideas following the presentation, which often spills over into our vibrant Yammer group with lots of thoughts on how these can impact what we do on a daily basis and our marketplace.
The PReDICTT keywords reiterated at every session are:
Share and participate
Develop and grow
Ideas and innovation
Passion and fun
I would strongly encourage CIOs to launch initiatives like this to engage their employees in innovation thinking, as I call it.
Since 2011, at Xerox, Deepak Seth has served in several IT architecture and strategy leadership roles including on the IT separation management office tasked with separation of company’s IT organization between Conduent and Xerox as part of a corporate spinoff. He currently has the mandate for managing IT organizational risk focused on developing and implementing an organizational risk operating model, and management process.
He is a passionate advocate for innovation, R&D, and strategic discussions related to the adoption of Cloud solutions, API Microservices, predictive analytics, collaboration tools, blockchain, and other nascent technologies into the enterprise to develop new opportunities and applications.
Prior to Xerox, he has led several global initiatives for leading Corporations (including Bausch+Lomb, BlueCross BlueShield etc.). He has extensive experience in sales, finance and information technology in Asia, Africa and the Americas.
Deepak is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee and the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta and has pursued further studies at the Simon School, Univ. of Rochester and Johns Hopkins University.
Deepak is an avid blogger and has contributed a number of management and current affairs articles to publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, the Times of India and The Pioneer. His observations and comments on Innovation and Strategy have been published in the Harvard Business Review and the McKinsey Quarterly. He is a very strong advocate and avid contributor to Xerox’s Yammer social engagement platform.
Deepak enjoys public speaking and has spoken at several forums – most recently being at Saunders College of Business- RIT and at the Memorial Art Gallery (both in Rochester, NY).
Deepak is strongly committed to giving back to the community and his community engagements have included serving as a Community Member on the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle Editorial Board; as President of Jain Society of Rochester and founding Board Member for DIAL (Development of Indo-American Leaders).
The opinions expressed in this blog are those of Deepak Seth and do not necessarily represent those of IDG Communications, Inc., its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies.