Friday, November 17, 2017

Meetup: Leaders in Tech, Reading

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural Meetup of "Leaders in Tech: Reading" at Austin Fraser's offices in central Reading.

Billed as a group "for CTOs, CIOs, VPs, Heads of IT and other senior technology leaders to get together and discuss current tech trends", this first event was a 20 minute whistle-stop tour by Andy Smith on the "What, Why & How of Whole Enterprise Agility".

Preparing a blog post interviewing the speaker prior to the event was genius - giving an insight into what to expect that the event.
The central Reading venue works perfectly for me (and many others, based on conversations I had) - just a short bus trip from work and handy for the station for that late train home.

Greeted in the impressive lobby of Thames Tower, we were guided up to the 11th floor offices of Austin Fraser, where drinks and hors d'oevres awaited with the opportunity to meet the other attendees before the event.

Unlike I've experienced at some of these sort of events, the hosts made a great effort to engage the attendees before the presentation - getting conversations started so that everyone was comfortable and the "wall-flower" effect was minimised.

The presentation itself was held in the break-out area between the foosball tables and the putting green, underneath a hanging garden (I kid you not). Austin Frasier have clearly taken to heart the need to provide a work environment that will appeal.

Andy started with a little history, comparing enterprise organisation in the 20th Century (slow, regulated, competitive) with what's emerged in the 21st - fast, distruptive, collaborative enterprises, where millennials demand a vibrant working environment whilst expecting to move at least 4 times before they're half way through their 30's.

He discussed the "Elastic Band of Culture" - and how unless agile transformation is invoked across an entire organisation, then those business functions not involved will only be a drag on those others.

There were so many things to take away from Andy's talk, but it could all be distilled into one soundbite:

"Organisational Agile is a change in the mindset and culture 
for a whole organisation."

After the presentation, the Q&A session turned into an excellent round-table discussion of the issues raised - lots of interaction with and contribution from the attendees that lasted longer than the presentation itself.

Finally, more networking and casual discussion (as well as more drinks and nibbles) rounded the evening off.

All credit has to go to the Austin Fraser team for hosting this event and making it a success - I'm going to be going again. 

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