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The Essential Skill for Our Age

By Rod Collins

There is a common problem that imbues every one of our social institutions: We underestimate the full extent of how much and how rapidly the world around us is changing. Whether you are in business or politics or education or the arts, your world has changed dramatically—if not radically—just within the past two decades. Despite the fact that most of us cognitively acknowledge that we live in a time of accelerating change, we nevertheless emotionally latch onto a familiar mindset to interpret unprecedented and unfamiliar realities. This explains why many traditional leaders believe that we are transitioning from a “Third Industrial Revolution,”—sometimes referred to as the Digital Revolution—to a “Fourth Industrial Revolution” that will be defined by the Internet of Things, robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and 3D printers.

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Smart Hospitals – Part 2: Managing the Inherent Cyber Security Risk

by Dimitrios Gontzes

Becoming a Smart Hospital is not a utopic state. In my previous blog, I described what a Smart Hospital is and how tangible its defining assets are. In fact, hospitals are inevitably moving in this direction – they adopt new technologies and systems to enable them to respond to the increasing customer demands, achieve greater efficiencies and better react to regulatory standards and disruptive risks. Hospitals are also expected to experience great benefits from using an interconnected network of systems and devices – increased healthcare reach (through tele-health, tele-monitoring), cost and time savings, and enhanced quality of care. Furthermore, Smart Hospitals are likely to bring improvements in the areas of patient safety, medical and surgical abilities, and customer experience.

Smart Hospitals, however, seem to carry an inherent danger – the cyber security risk.

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Smart Hospitals – Part 1: Designing the future

by Dimitrios Gontzes


The term “smart hospital” might sound like another buzzword that businesses use, but the idea behind it is solid and, given the digital technology advances, very tangible. The introduction of Internet of Things, the development of sophisticated software and the need for more personalised care are pushing “traditional” hospitals to transform in terms of interoperability and legacy systems. The Smart mantra can be summarised in a simple question: “How do we leverage real time information to achieve clinical excellence and enhanced patient experience?” That’s essentially what Smart Hospitals are trying to answer.

In this two part blog I will first lay out what a Smart Hospital is and define the assets that form the starting point for implementation. The second part will focus on the benefits to the healthcare system, the inherit security and data protection dangers and the ways to protect organisations from them.

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Rethinking Values in the Workplace

By Rod Collins


In a recent global survey of more than 1,700 chief executive officers, researchers at IBM found that the CEOs identified empowering employees through values as an essential driver of high performance. When we think of values, what usually comes to mind are virtues, such as integrity, honesty, fairness, and trust. These virtues are the attributes that are generally reflected in well-meaning corporate mission statements. Unfortunately, in far too many instances, these values are more “talk” than “walk.” Despite management’s best intentions, corporate mission statements rarely become corporate behavior templates. Why, if values are so important to performance, do so many organizations have trouble walking the talk? Perhaps it’s because managers are focused on the wrong values.

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Delivering System Integration on a Bigger Scale

One of the biggest challenges in any sector is turning strategy into action and impact, knowing where to focus effort and in what order. Specialist commissioning in England is trying to reposition itself in the context of exponential development and innovation in precision medicine, health technology and novel therapies for rare diseases, the main focus of specialised commissioning as well as a system shift to population health risk management. Providers of specialist services are starting to respond to this challenge by designing new models of integrated care. One example is the Accountable Cancer Network involving The Christie, the Royal Marsden and University College London Hospitals. Earlier detection is a key aim of such models but even these innovators recognise the current provider networks need to be expanded, potentially beyond the health system, to do this really effectively.

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An Agile Specialist Commissioner to Deliver the 5YFV

One of the biggest challenges in any sector is turning strategy into action and impact, knowing where to focus effort and in what order. Specialist commissioning in England is trying to reposition itself in the context of exponential development and innovation in precision medicine, health technology and novel therapies for rare diseases, the main focus of specialised commissioning as well as a system shift to population health risk management.

The strategy and a number of the policies currently being consulted on call for a different way of operating to be more responsive to health technology innovation. The agile specialist commissioner is the future.

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An Epoch Change: The New Rules for How the World Works

by Rod Collins

We live in a new world with a radically different set of rules. This is not hyperbole. It’s a reality, albeit a reality that very few of the leadership elite want to recognize. That’s because this new reality is unpalatable to those who hang onto the traditional reigns of power, even as they find themselves increasingly powerless to hold back the acceleration of a technological Cambrian-style event that is rapidly rendering old ways obsolete.

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Digital Retail Banking Imperative

by Brad Arnold

Many hours of research has been published presenting evidence that ‘omni-channel’ and ‘digital’ initiatives should be at the forefront of retail banking transformation programs.

Presenting a seamless client experience across channels and enabling banks to interact with customers through progressive digital means offers revenue growth and cost reduction opportunities.  These include cross-selling products, new fee-based budgetary services, resale of non-banking products, marketing technology system consolidation, de-duplication of promotional strategies, and digital asset reuse to name a few.  But how do banks get there?

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Possible Advantages of Developing a Risk-based Approach to Border Management

by Dr. Marco Stefan, Aurélie Heetman, Quentin Liger, Mirja Gutheil and Jacque Mallender

What are the solutions developed by the U.S. to curb irregular migration? How can new technologies and data analytics improve strategic decisions in the field of border control? How can the U.S. experience of implementing strategic shifts in border management inform the decision-making process in the European context? How can it be tailored to address the challenges currently posed by the migrant crisis in the EU?

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An Agile Dilemma: Mindset or Method?

by Rod Collins

There’s an intriguing dialogue happening in the world of Agile software development that may be relevant for anyone interested in how business works in a rapidly changing world. For those readers who are not familiar with Agile, this innovative approach to creating software emerged out of a February 2001 gathering of seventeen software developers in Snowbird, Utah. Among them were Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber, the coauthors of what has come to be known as Scrum, and Ward Cunningham, the originator of the wiki, which became popularized with the explosive growth of Wikipedia. These software experts were frustrated with the cumbersome practices of traditional top-down management and set about to devise a better way to do their work. The result of their efforts was the crafting of the one-page Agile Manifesto, which is a set of four fundamental values that provide the foundation for a faster and more effective way to write software:

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Risky Business: Brexit’s Impact on Cybersecurity and Data Protection

by James Eager

Since 23 June 2016, many words have been dedicated to Brexit’s potential impacts on all things cybersecurity and data protection. Now that the dust has settled, cybersecurity and data protection experts have converged upon a selection of key risks through what appears to be a natural implementation of the Delphi method*. With added value provided by Optimity’s talented subject matter experts, this blog provides an essential guide to the implications of Brexit for the UK’s approach to cybersecurity and data protection, as well as for UK-based businesses.

Uncertainty reigns supreme

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How The Best Company To Work For Works

by Rod Collins

Each March, Fortune magazine publishes its annual list of the Best Companies to Work For. The list is based upon an extensive survey of a random group of employees from each of the applicant companies. The responses are converted into company scores that aggregate employees’ attitudes about management’s credibility, overall job satisfaction, and camaraderie as well as assessments of the quality of hiring practices, internal communication, training, and recognition programs. This past March, for the seventh time in the last ten years, Google (disclosure: the author is invested long) ranked #1 on the prestigious list.

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DAM's Next Wave Anticipates Our Connected Future

by John Horodyski

Everywhere we look, change is permeating businesses: the people, the processes and the technology. 

A common concern I heard at three recent content conferences was how to manage these changes and anticipate their effects.

But have we become so involved in the details that we failed to see the bigger picture of what’s coming our way? Have we become too focused on discrete technology advances without considering their effects on operating models? Have our processes become so complicated that we are incapable to nimbly respond? 

Digital asset management (DAM) is not immune to these changes. And while the future looks bright for DAM, we need to broaden our vision of DAM beyond just managing digital assets to viewing it as a critical component of the information ecosystem.

DAM's First Wave

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Are You Ready for the Second Wave of the Digital Revolution?

by Rod Collins

There are few business leaders who would disagree that we are living in a time of great change. In the brief sixteen years since the new millennium began, we have experienced more change than we saw in the last five decades of the previous century. Perhaps the author Tom Friedman captured this phenomenon best when he recently quipped, “In 2004, Facebook didn’t exist, 4G was a parking space, an app was something you sent off to college, LinkedIn was a prison, Tweet was a sound a bird made, and Skype was a typo.” None of these things existed a mere twelve years ago, and yet, each of these innovations is now a staple of our day-to-day lives.

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Can Blockchain Run Organizations in Auto-Pilot Mode (In a Secure Way)?

By Vipul Parekh

2016 is turning out to be the year of solutions for Blockchain innovation. The Wall Street Journal is predicting that investments in Blockchain technology will exceed $1 billion before the end of this year! Even though Blockchain technology itself is still in its infancy stage, the banking industry, FinTech, consortiums, and open source communities are all rushing to bring a number of use cases to life. We have seen a number of interesting pilots ranging from identity management, document management & notarization, trading platforms, and recently, the Ethereum blockchain community launched perhaps the biggest ever crowdfunded pilot with $150 million investment known as the Distributed Autonomous Organization (DAO). If realized successfully, DAO could create a well-functioned organization run not by humans but by a bunch of Smart Contracts.

What is DAO?

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Is Hierarchy Really Necessary?

by Rod Collins

Recently in two previous blogs, we focused on the groundbreaking research of Frederic Laloux into the history of organizational evolution and his identification of a revolutionary new organizational model he calls the Teal organization. This new model is a radical departure from all prior organizational forms because it eschews the traditional top-down hierarchy and prefers instead the dynamics of the peer-to-peer network. As a consequence, in Teal organizations, there are no bosses to give directions, make assignments, or hover over workers to make sure that things get done. Instead work is distributed among self-organized teams who decide among themselves what to do, who does what, and how things get done.

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Planning for Value

by Niamh Lennox-Chhugani

How do we realise the ambition of delivering better value healthcare systems through the Sustainability and Transformation Plans?

The Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) have been submitted. There will have been collective sighs of relief around the 44 footprints across England. Unlike many other strategic plans submitted in the past, there is an expectation that this is only a start of a journey. Momentum is expected to be maintained and evidence of early delivery will need to be seen at the next checkpoint in September or October of this year.

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Purely Scientific Versus Innovation and Pragmatism: The Way Forward for Evaluating Innovations in Integrated Care

By Christina Theodore

I recently attended the 16th International Conference on Integrated Care in Barcelona (#integrated care) and was excited by the different ways health and social care economies are striving to integrate care to make improvements in patient outcomes. However, as an evaluator of such models of care, I was disappointed at the lack of innovative and pragmatic approaches to evaluation.

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Doing DAM Right

Are You Already Doing DAM?

If you work with creative assets then yes, you are doing Digital Asset Management.

The question is whether you are doing it well.

Is finding, sharing, storing, protecting and publishing content a simple experience? Are those activities truly integrated into your overall business strategy? Mastering DAM fundamentals like metadata, workflow and governance is key, but much more must be considered to awaken DAM’s power to transform business.

Ten Quick Tips:

Make the Business Case

A compelling business case is critical for launching a program and keeping it strong over time. Maintaining buy-in 10 years in is as important as it is on day one. Know how to demonstrate DAM’s value to your business strategy.

Think Beyond The Here & Now

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