This month we have taken the opportunity to throw back to an article we posted exactly a year ago. It is as relevant, even more so now, as it was then,  as AI appears to be the “centrepiece” story in the media for Business right now.

 

Last year we interviewed Mrs. Angharad Holloway, head of Talbot Heath School about the importance of preparing for tomorrows jobs that are not yet here today and giving younger generations the skill-set required to deal with the technological changes in future industries.

“According to the World Economic Forum (January 2018) and the Future Of Jobs And Skills report, 65% of children today will end up in careers that do not exist yet”

Whether our ever growing technological advancements are something that fill you with excitement or dread. The big question is, are people ready? Do we have the tools and training in order to embrace AI and future technologies into our day to day lives in the workplace?

 

Do we even understand it or how it is going to affect our work or our chosen industry? 

 

AI and other advancing technologies can be a daunting idea for people of all generations!

With the retirement age extended and people working later into life, workforce’s can become a magical multi generational group where different skill-sets and attitudes can really help teams to cross-skill and even up-skill collaboratively.

Some may worry their job could be taken over by AI and others may simply wonder how they will adapt to using it. What does it look like to your business and how will you move forward in implementing it when necessary?

 

(Angela Piromalli — Founder and Owner of Rock and Angharad Holloway — Headteacher, Talbot Heath School —  from our article back in June 2018)

 

The importance of providing support and training and plenty of opportunities for your team to Up-skill and gain confidence in change is more necessary now than ever. Mrs Holloway highlighted this point last year that seems to be as relevant now as it was then.

 

“The ability to adapt and embrace change is critical. It could be approaching tasks in a different way, adopting a flexible mind-set and seeing challenges as an opportunity and not a threat. The future is not about learning for AI, bots and automation. It is about learning, confidence and communication.”

 

Our team recently attended Social Media training from our one and only Fleur in order to keep our Online presence flowing after she leaves to embark on the next exciting step in her journey.

At RISE we try to consistently train and regularly attend Networking events such as “Startup Grind”, “Women in Tech”, “Resilience Training” and “Wellness Wednesday” that has just launched at Barclays Eagle labs to constantly develop in order to keep Relevant and Knowledgeable in our industries.

Interestingly enough, with our Social Media training, we found that we struggled more with our Self Confidence in our ability rather than the actual process of posting on Social Media.

Using our “soft skills” we are able to support each other and help each other gain confidence in areas that we had no previous experience in, collaborating as a team to cross-skill rather than outsource.

 

To quote our previous article, Back in 1998, Papert said:

“The skills that you can learn when you’re at school will not be applicable. They will be obsolete by the time you get into the workplace and need them, except for one skill. The one really competitive skill is the skill of being able to learn. It is the skill of being able not to give the right answer to questions about what you were taught in school, but to make the right response to situations that are outside the scope of what you were taught in school.”

 

This idea was also highlighted previously by Mrs Holloway:

“We need to explore the importance of soft skills,” she highlighted. “We have a system where everyone is judged on tangible data and how people perform in an exam, under time pressure. Everything is linked to exam performance, which is narrow minded and aggressive.” 

 

The importance of Communication, Self Confidence and being able to learn from criticism are great ideals to teach our younger generations, as well as the Technical user side of learning, and are ultimately, necessary tools in helping us to move forward and “not get left behind” as things advance.

 

“The future is not about learning for AI, bots and automation. It is about learning, confidence and communication. Critiquing has to be standard within education. People need to be able to fail.”

 

So I guess the question now is, how do we obtain a balance between learning the Technological skills we need to move into the future whilst adopting the necessary “soft Skills” in order to progress together, as a Collaborative Community.

 

At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.

 

We had a chat with Mark Gracey who is a Data and Privacy Compliance Expert and spoke all things compliance, GDPR and the transition of working for yourself…

 

 

RISE: What is your name and your job title?

 

Mark: Hi, I’m Mark Gracey – I never know what to put as my job title as I run my own business, guess “owner”, but I tend to introduce myself as a data and privacy compliance expert, so maybe I need a job title that fits that…

 

RISE: What was it like jumping from being employed to working for yourself?

 

Mark: Generally I found the transition very easy, but once you get under the hood of running your own business you quickly realise its much more complicated than just delivering the service – you have to be the marketing manager, the accountant, the sales person and so on, but it’s very exciting knowing you’re in charge but some days quite daunting too. I love the fact that I call the shots – the success of the business depends on me and that’s very empowering. It’s hard work for sure, but I absolutely love it.

 

RISE: Since May last year do you think the world of compliance and GDPR has dramatically changed? Are we all WAY more accountable?

 

Mark: Data protection compliance in general hasn’t changed – we’ve had a comprehensive data protection law since the late 90s, but what the GDPR did when it came in last year, amongst other things, was to remind businesses that data protection compliance exists and is important for all businesses no matter what size or sector. It also raised awareness amongst data subjects (customers, employees, etc.) too, meaning they’ve been reminded that they have certain rights (and some new ones) and can challenge organisations about how their data is being processed.

 

As for accountability – well on the one hand we’ve always been accountable for our own compliance, but what the GDPR has done has raised the bar somewhat, with the new accountability principle which means it’s not just good enough that you think you’re compliant, you have to prove it too. It’s a big deal, particularly as we come round to the anniversary of GDPR enforcement – businesses have to prove they’re compliant now, next week, next month, next year… not just last May.

 

RISE: For those interested in getting into compliance, where would they start?

 

Mark: There’s a number of routes to compliance. There’s obviously the legal route, where you can study law and then specialise, but having a law degree isn’t a prerequisite. You’ll need an interest in law and be able to understand legal concepts and it will help in being able to translate complex laws in practical application.

My route into compliance came about 20 or so years ago. I’m a “techy” by nature (I have a Computer Science degree) and was working in the Network Operations Centre of a well known internet service provider and had the opportunity to move into the legal team and act as a “translator” between the legal team and the techies. That began my career in internet regulation, telecoms regulation, content liability and of course data protection (I became a data protection officer when the 1998 Act came into force). So I’m not a lawyer by trade, although I do have a Masters Degree in Computer and Communications Law.

 

RISE: Is there any advice you would give to businesses now we’re nearly a year on after GDPR has been enforced?

 

Mark: Make sure you’re still compliant. The GDPR requires you to review your compliance and so you shouldn’t think of GDPR compliance as just something you did back in May 2018. You’ll need to look at everything again, perhaps not in as much detail as you probably did last year but you need to (a) make sure your documentation, policies and employee training is up to date, etc. and (b) that your internal processes for dealing with day to day compliance still work (e.g. dealing with breaches, subject access requests and other individuals’ rights, etc.) You should also be keeping on eye on developments in the data protection and privacy as guidance and approaches to enforcement can change over time.

This is the focus for a new e-book I’ve produced which provides a framework for managing ongoing compliance or a 10 item checklist of things to check you’re still doing right.

At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.

 

Trisha Lewis

 

 

We had a chat with Trisha Lewis who founded her own Communication Coaching business to discuss what it takes to be a leader and what the big fear of public speaking is all about.

 

 

 

RISE: What is your name and what is your ‘title’?

 

Trisha: Trisha Lewis – Communication Coach – my own business – just me!

 

RISE: A ‘Communication Coach’ can you describe to us what this entails and what a normal day in the life of Trisha looks like?

 

Trisha: I help people communicate better! That’s a bit simplistic I guess – but it is the ultimate goal.  That might mean communicating better with themselves, their team or their audience. Communication is a foundational skill and once you start unpacking what it involves, well – it’s a fascinating gift to unwrap!

There is no such thing as a normal day – which kind of suits me! I have developed good multi-tasking skills and I have a fair bit of energy – even at my age!  I am constantly curious and like the aspect of my work which involves meeting so many fascinating people as well as finding ways to communicate with and grow my network. I rarely say no to an opportunity to get to know someone or brainstorm a possible collaboration.  Oh – and I am also writing a book!  All this means my days have a pretty random quality to them.

However – I do try and put a little structure around the randomness.  If I have a day with no client coaching sessions or company workshops/talks etc… then I will often start early by walking down to my favourite coffee shop – laptop in bag.  I like to work with a little buzz around me rather than silence.  I will then make sure I do at least 30 minutes of business development before getting stuck into blog writing, social media engagement or book writing.

Then there will be days when I have clients coming to my home based office for coaching or I am going out to deliver talks or workshops to groups and organisations. Oh – and some days that mean a very early start or evening trip out for a networking event!

 

RISE: We’ve chatted in the past about this but can you outline what Imposter Syndrome is and how you begin to tackle this?

 

Trisha: I will share with you the definition I give in the introduction of the book I am currently writing!

A nagging feeling of self-doubt that feels real but does not stand up to scrutiny. A feeling that you are on the outside looking in but ‘they’ all have the right to be there. A feeling that if you do not work very hard at being loved, clever and perfect – you will be thrown out into the wilderness by a jeering crowd of haters who have discovered just how useless, bad (or both) you ‘really’ are. A feeling that when people do praise you – they are going to regret it as soon as you leave the room or put the phone down.

 I could delve deep here – but hey – I want people to buy the book!  Having said which I do give a lot of free tips in the various blog posts and videos I share!

In brief – you tackle it by getting real! You equip yourself with a good dose of knowledge about what it is – and what the symptoms and consequences are – and then you use some tactics that involve pressing pause between feelings and actions, talking with others to reveal that you are not alone and ‘bigging yourself up’!

There is no cure – it is not an illness! What you do is become more aware of the signs and quicker at pressing pause!  Again – much more in the book – or for now on my YouTube channel (plug!)

 

RISE: Why do you think that public speaking is such a huge fear for so many of us?

 

Trisha: Ah – again I could go on! So I will try to keep this brief…

Actually I used to be very shy when I was younger – belief it or not!  They do say a lot of actors have a shy streak!

The fear is the same as any kind of fear – fear is a powerful force for all us humans! We are wired to see the negative – it is a survival tool that can get triggered off in an unhelpful way these days! There are rarely sabre-toothed tigers to watch out for.  It is a mind-body thing – and it is far worse when you keep sending signals to your brain that you are afraid – because then your body responds even more – and a viscous cycle is set up!

The main tactic involves getting ‘out of your head’! You need to be present – remember that it is about them not you – and they are not out to get you!

Our biggest fear is often fear of rejection and fear of judgement – again down to ancient wiring! If you acknowledge what is going on and get rational about the reality of the situation (no tigers) you calm you body and brain down!

I also think people get hung up on an idea that they must be like someone else – some version of a good speaker that they have in their head – but isn’t them! The more you try to be like someone else the worse the fear gets.

You also need to be at one with your content – plenty of preparation and a sense of excitement about what you are delivering.

Again – loads of tips on my YouTube channel (did I already mention this?!)

 

RISE: As a member of a community like YATM, do you think these ‘safe spaces’ give a platform for those that wouldn’t normally want to speak or share knowledge?

 

Trisha: Definitely!  I love spaces like YATM.  As the host of events like this it is crucial to create an atmosphere where people realise that no question is daft!

 

RISE: How useful is communication and the understanding of this in the marketing and PR world?

 

Trisha: Massively useful!  Maybe I would say that – but it is true. There are 2 particularly crucial aspects to good communication that are needed for marketing and PR – connection and clarity.  Connection involves resonating with your audience and building trust – and clarity involves the audience being able to ‘get’ your message and know what to do next!

 

RISE: What path have you taken to get you to where you are today? What advise would you give to someone else looking to do something similar?

 

Trisha: Wow! I am old! I won’t give you my life story!  In brief – I have embraced life – the good and the bad.  I have never stopped wanting to learn and I am curious!  When things felt wrong – I changed them and when things felt too comfortable – I took up new challenges!

Whilst I had a number of different mini careers and the job of bringing up a family – I had a constant passion for acting.  It was my career as a professional actor (theatre not TV!) that led me along a random path to various connected opportunities – all involving masses of communication and trust building skills!  I built a good reputation as a speaker on a ‘non-business’ circuit – but decided I wanted to rise to the challenge of using my combined skills and experience in the business world. Just under 3 years ago I took the plunge and up my coaching business. What a learning curve!

I had to be prepared to keep pushing myself over the obstacles and not retreat! I also had to rewire my brain a bit – blending the creative with the business/sales side of things – not easy!

The main constant throughout has been my instinct that offering value, listening and relationship building would be the most effective way to grow – and I am glad to say my instinct was correct.

At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.

 

 

We spoke to Lee Hill the Managing Director at Insightful UX about the definition of User Experience and getting into the industry.

 

 

 

RISE: What is your name and your role?

Lee: Lee Hill MD Founder of Insightful UX Ltd

 

 

RISE: What does user experience really mean?

Lee: For me user experience is about figuring out a way to help people utilise things better, when it comes to our clients this is websites and the products and services they offer.

 

 

RISE: What are the most common mistakes with websites and apps that people make?

Lee: The most common issue we see is that websites are built based on the assumptions that the business owners, marketing people, designers and developers know best, instead of finding out from the end users i.e. potential customers how best to develop a website for them. Its scary, we often see the slightest assumption made when building a website can have grave consequences to how it is then used by real customers. We see this all too frequently unfortunately. This means that a website that could be amazing for a business may be failing, due to a few small snags that nobody understands or is aware of. We love spotting and fixing these things as the commercial gains for our clients are often incredible.

 

 

RISE: Your business has expanded and developed dramatically since you started, could you tell us a little bit about this journey?

Lee: It’s been fun, emotional, scary, hard, enjoyable and immensely rewarding. Year one was me working full time whilst Chris my co-director worked behind the scenes, by year two Chris and I started to expand the team with George Beverley joining us as a director. Year three has been us really trying to find our place in the market. Its been really hard, but we are now setting the foundations that I feel will see us grow and more importantly be able to service our clients with a stronger way.

 

 

RISE: If I was a customer with you what would my journey with you look like?

Lee: Typically we will start by auditing your website, current marketing channels and channels you are not using, along with competitor activity. This allows us to produce a prioritised action plan. Phase two then involves feeding in insights from real customers to help improve websites, marketing and or products/ services. Its here that we can really help our clients stand out from the crowd and dramatically increase their profits which we have done and have had the pleasure of seeing client’s grow and develop using this process.

 

 

RISE: If you were to give advice to someone starting up a new business with a digital platform what would it be?

Lee: Before you invest, make sure there is a need for it. Often we see tech first and humans second. If you focus on people’s needs and can do this better than the competition, then you have a chance of success. Even then it’s not easy, it requires focus and often big pots of cash. This is where investment is often required and that’s why we are now helping clients by providing investment decks to help secure funding. Our investment decks are unique as we validate the customer need within this process. This gives everyone confidence that the idea/ business will work.

 

 

RISE: As a business owner what would you say to a young person looking to get into UX or digital marketing?

Lee: Digital/ tech is the unknown frontier, it is there to be explored and pushed. So don’t be fenced in by existing practises, push boundaries and challenge thinking. Also with UX don’t assume you know the answers, test, research and repeat this process again, again and again. Markets, people, competitors are always changing, so you need insights to be able to stay ahead of the game. You may have heard the saying that if a business is not growing its dying. Well I don’t think that is true. I would say if a business is not constantly evolving it will die. So focus on keeping your brand relevant and you will be rewarded. If anyone is ever looking to get into digital/ UX point them our way. Always happy to grab a coffee with people who need some guidance and to show them the realities of our day to day lives. Its not all cool tech and creative wizardry. The day to day can be formulaic, involve lots of number crunching (which I love but others don’t), managing clients and admin. But those moments when you uncover a real nugget of insight that you know could be a game changer. for a sector or for a client. The hard work is worth it.

At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.

Gordon Fong – Co-Owner of Kimcell Ltd.

 

We spoke with Gordon Fong the Co-Owner of Kimcell Ltd about hosting, servicing and the security of your networks.

 

 

RISE: What is your name and your role?

Gordon: Gordon Fong and I’m a co-owner of Kimcell Ltd as well as director of other X-Net consultancy businesses.

 

RISE: Tell us more about Datacenta Hosting?

Gordon: Datacenta is a Managed Hosting Provider that works with local businesses and government agencies.

Whilst we provide most things when you think of a traditional Internet Service Provider (ISP), such as ADSL lines, domain name registration, email hosting and web hosting, we actually focus on businesses that want to work actively with a technical partner. Datacenta takes on the routine management of their servers and applications 24 hours a day, so they are freed up to work on their business.

 

RISE: What should someone look for in a web host i.e. reliability, speed, storage, clarity?

Gordon: It comes down to getting the realistic level of service for what your business really needs. We are all different, but very few of us reading this are Amazon and have that level of budget. Nobody should be oversold to though. Are you happy to deal with a web portal, or do you want to talk to real people?

I know that was not a technical answer to the question, but service means a lot more. Competing in the commodity space is not for me.

 

RISE: What do you see as the main difference for a company that is driven purely by price i.e. happy to pay £50 a year on hosting, as opposed to company that is looking for a much more robust hosting solution?

Gordon: The value of the website and sales that it might bring has to be proportionate to the service spend.

If it is there to provide some contact details, then you don’t need to spend a lot as your Google Business listing will give that if all else fails. You’ve got your Google Business listing, right?

If it is a full e-commerce website that is pulling in tens of thousands of pounds per month, then even paying a few hundred pounds per year hosting doesn’t match the importance of it to the business.

Things fail. Google fails, Amazon fails, Facebook fails, there is a risk of failure no matter how large that business is. Microsoft’s Azure platform failed that then took out a load of high-profile websites.

With that in mind, be prepared, have options with different suppliers.

 

RISE: How do you look at website security today? Do you see the UK in a vulnerable space?

Gordon: I don’t see the UK as especially different to anywhere else. I will say that security is an on-going process and needs continual attention just like updates your desktop computer or your smartphone. Don’t assume when you have taken delivery of a website or have set it up yourself then that is it.

Installing an SSL Certificate so you get a nice green padlock when visiting your WordPress website makes it no more secure if you have left a load of old plugins around that you were trialling but decided not to use. That padlock counts for nothing if your admin password is weak or the software is out of date.

Someone has to spend the time to sign up to and read the alerts from the software suppliers that form part of your system. If there is an update, you need to take a backup, apply the update, test it and accept it or rollback if there is an issue. Either you do it, your website supplier does it, or your managed hosting provider does it but there is a time and cost associated with that.

A plain web hosting provider will rent out some infrastructure space but will not know what you do with it or care less, unless it impacts other customers.

 

RISE: If there is a website that is behaving slowly and loading takes a long time, how much could be down to where it is hosted?

Gordon: It could certainly be down to the hosting infrastructure. If you are on a shared server with tens or hundreds of other customers, then you take your chances and hope they don’t have busy websites at the same time.

It could be that you pay for a guaranteed level of network traffic and computing resources. Or, it could be something with your website application and plugins playing up.

I’ve had instances where one of our own websites was slow at returning pages. We rewrote a database query in a different way and that improved things massively. It’s easy to blame the hardware or throw more CPU at a problem but it’s just as common that developers make mistakes or have room for improvement.

 

RISE: What is your one tip you would give to a growing company who is looking at a hosting company that is more than just paying a monthly fee to a place they have no idea where they are being hosted?

Gordon: I would say consider what your increasing needs might be as you grow and consider who is going to manage that. It might be someone in-house who performs a pick-and-mix from the Internet every couple of years, or do you want to build a relationship with a supplier that you can have a conversation with, who will gain intimate knowledge of your business and systems, who can then propose more efficient and more cost effective approaches.

 

RISE: What would your advice be to anyone looking to get into the technology industry like you have?

Gordon: There are plenty of free online services that you can use to create websites and online services. Do it for a personal project or local community that you are part of. Learn some things along the way, no doubt you will make a few mistakes along the way. That all adds to your back story in your job interview.