As I flex back from South Africa last week I was listening to an interview on innovation, and there was interview with Microsoft Manager for Australia, and she talked about the change in culture they have implemented in the Australian offices. Switching to Activity based officers meaning that no one has a permanent seat or desk, you go in a morning and select a desk based upon the activity you are doing that day. As you may be on the road, you may be do activities that do not need you in the office, you maybe at other offices. She talked about it as a significant change in culture but it allows agility and focus to adapt your day and role based upon activities not a role.
This is the same I see in my own life and how I have discussed realtive to the Flexible Operational Team in the industrial space, these can only be achieved when people and the culture support an Activity Based thinking and Approach. In South Africa last week, I continued to see the evolution towards this thinking in mining, and food and beverage as I spoke with customers, many do not realise they on this path, yet their actions and ideas are heading in this direction.
This is no different in my life every day, I talk about my work life being in my back pack, with my lap top, IPad, mobile cell, and mobile wireless hotspot. Based upon the activities I have that day, meetings, calls, site visits, PowerPoint presentation preparations, technology knowledge catch up, interviews, strategy brainstorming, these are distinct activities require different modes of thinking, I choose the best environment and location for doing these.
This is very different to the way I worked 10 to 15 years ago in an office and defined role, today my activities and role change daily based on the situation and achieving our business goals and the contribution I can make each day to that, certainly my agility, and effective working time and delivery has increased.
This is the same for the industrial world and the changing approach I am seeing in the industrial place, where companies are going to the Flexible Operational Team, as mentioned a couple of weeks ago, can only be truly achieved when people are working against activities vs roles. Key to evolution is that there will be a management of activities, both planned and reactionary, which will be acted upon by the best person, or team in order to respond as fast as possible. This does not mean that people are assigned to a certain interface/ roles, they should be able to go to best location in the plant in order to execute that activity. This is why the whole operational control is evolving to a an aligned set of systems, that allow people to access, understand and take action in the most effective place possible.
Applications to Roles to Activities
Activities require a change in thinking:
· How align information and actions from different systems to enable a co-ordinated and assignable activity.
· How the UI changes to activities with the information, ability drill and understand and then the associated actions, which may require multiple people and certain procedure.
· Plus a culture that allows roles and people to be flexible to take on different activities in a must more agile process.
I will expect to see this activity thinking and approach accelerating over the next year but as I have said this means aligned systems, access, and contextualization in order to make it fully effective.