Reimagined , when its author, Dave Coplin, describes how he played with Xbox Kinect for the first time. After an hour of screaming commands like «Xbox plays DVD,» your seven-year-old loses interest and heads to the kitchen. «Microwave – make me tea», the order arrives, followed shortly by the cry: «Dad, the microwave».
The innocence of young people, yes, but it is also a sign of how we, as adults, are vaccinated for different ways of working. Children expect things to work naturally, we expect things to work as usual. Except that Coplin is trying to free us from our traditional office handcuffs, which range from the buildings we run every day to the way the administration is structured.
Although it is not a book about flexible work, they are enough, Coplin addresses the subject directly. Starting from the premise that successful companies are creative companies and therefore need creative people, ask yourself if the open plan office is really the environment in which to thrive.
Rather than seeing flexible work as a human resource advantage for dissatisfied employees, it should be a way to stimulate the business.
It is well documented that it takes 15 minutes to build a creative impulse and, every time we are interrupted, we return to zero. Public places such as cafes and trains, where we have no colleagues, the office phone and the urgent need to check e-mail are the perfect setting for real work. So instead of looking at flexible work as a benefit, providing human resources to dissatisfied employees should be a way to stimulate the business.
This change of culture is at the center Reinvented business , about the empowerment of each employee. After all, who better to meet the needs and expectations of your customers than the person who serves them every day? And what better way to keep that employee involved in the business?
This lack of commitment must not be ignored. Coplin cites a survey that found that 71% of American employees are «missing» or «actively disconnected» from their company. If you run your own company or are part of the management team, you may be afraid to find out exactly how this applies to your workforce – or to you.
Coplin makes another compelling argument for how many companies have become so driven by the process that they have forgotten what it is: meeting their customers’ needs.
Take Blockbuster. In the 1980s, it was perfectly set up to meet the basic need to entertain people in their homes with the latest movies, using the media of the time: VHS video.
Blockbuster’s reaction was to improve its processes, reduce late fines, but without addressing the fundamental question.
A few decades later, the world had continued. Netflix proved, with amazing efficiency, that people’s needs were best met by streaming the latest movies on the Internet. For a fixed monthly fee. Blockbuster’s reaction was to improve its processes, to reduce late fines, but without addressing the fundamental question of whether it still served its customers in the best way.
People, humble employees, tend to work similarly. We will stick to the old ways of working out of habit: Coplin cites the example of the QWERTY keyboard when there are particularly superior alternatives, such as the Dvorak look. Therefore, we will continue to send emails in exchange, despite the presence of social networks that do the job much better.
I should point out that the author is a Microsoft employee, not least the director of views at Microsoft UK, and there is a certain amount of «okay, he would say that, right?» He argues, for example, that «social» is the technology that will help empower employees, and the example of social technology on which it inevitably relies is Yammer, the company’s social networking technology purchased by Microsoft in 2012.
It is also difficult to break away from the fact that much of what it says – tying workers through social tools, accepting flexible work – can be done by adopting Office 365. Although Office is never named, the book would have benefited greater balance in the examples you give. Microsoft’s rivals like Google may not exist in this book.
But you better put those little irritations aside, because Reinvented business it is certainly not a political broadcast on behalf of the Microsoft party. Instead, 96 pages is a compact and captivating volume that could inspire business leaders to change the way they do things. Ignore their advice at your own risk.