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A Year out of the Office

(Or Yikes! the world is changing!)

· community,community engagement,robots,AI,maternity

I recently returned to my job from maternity leave and the tremors of how much had changed in the space of a year are only just starting to settle. Either I was hiding under a fuzzy pregnancy blanket before going off, or things have changed quickly. I don’t think I was, I mean I remember being at work the day that labour started. Maybe when you are in the sea of change you don’t notice it so much, it takes a step back for whatever reason to see it. The question I have for you is this; have you noticed the pace at which things are changing, or is it just me?

Community not Customers

Packed lunches are so out. And, drinking fuel is in. Which is good as I don’t have time to make my lunch anyway and not being hungry feels great.

There is no better example than Huel for demonstrating that the private sector are into Community Building and Community Engagement, not just in a CSR sense, but as core to how they engage with their customer. Community Building is at the heart of their marketing strategies.

‘It’s not about selling something. It’s now about growing a community.’

Good Job


I think we might have done it.

Social Enterprise, Social Business, Doing Good – whatever you want to call it is firmly now in the mainstream. Sure, there is more to do. The planet is dying, the robots are coming (more on this later). Seriously though it looks to me that all companies now are being expected to provide some kind of offset for their impacts. They are doing this because consumers and tax payers are demanding it and so that they can hire and retain talented employees working for their mission and because they care obviously.


Not that this all happened in the last year, certainly not. It’s been years of back breaking work and advocating from the whole sector. I do think we’ve reached a more positive point than we’ve ever been in before and that’s worth celebrating.


We recently were involved in putting together a MOOC and would highly recommend catching up on it, especially if you are a corporate out there interested in doing good or better things in this world, duvets allowed. How Social Enterprise Enhances Supply Chains

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Welcome to the Learning Culture

Everyone is now officially up for learning. Yay! Online courses and the sharing of free and useful information seems to have uncontrollably blossomed. MOOCs, Universities, all kinds of different companies are all sharing freely their pearls of shiny wisdom. You can learn pretty much anything at a time that suits you online. Now. Like today.


Quality control – and the challenge of knowing which bits of the information deluge are best suited to your particular circumstance – now seems to be the hard part.


CEIS recently announced that we are bringing the Social Enterprise Institute to the UK, accessible, interactive online learning for businesses building impact. Find out more here

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

My phone now recognises my face. Take a minute to think about that for a moment. Wow.

Social media channels are no longer just a fun little thing that you do on the side. It’s a key part of work. Of life. LinkedIn is a way that you can connect with your colleagues, not around the water cooler with small talk but about stuff that drives you, motivates you and challenges you. Not just your existing colleagues, all the colleagues you’ve ever worked with and might work with in the future.

And by the way more people are on Facebook in the UK than are registered to vote apparently.

I can’t help feel there are lots of transferable skills here and what we’ve been doing in community development over the years - getting people in communities engaged and on board – is now being embraced beyond our bubble. Everyone wants to know how to change your company culture and for their products to be “human centred”. It seems like the skills we’ve got in creating positive change and putting people at the centre of that are more important than ever before.


Now how do you create a change in the workplaces in Scotland to embrace our robot friends, rather than feel threatened?

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I used to be on the innovation team at work. On one occasion we went mad with post its, competitions, ideas and prizes and although shared space was provided for it to happen year round it was difficult for the wider staff team who were kept really busy with the day job. But now, it seems everyone is in to it. It’s the thing.


I know the Scottish Government has invested in it with things like the CAN DO initiative. It’s the secret behind massive trillion-dollar companies like Google and Amazon and the how to make your services and company something that is relevant now and in the future. Oh that’s another word that appears to have taken the work place by storm. Future. I met a Future Living Specialist and I had to ask the man - that do you do? An engineer. Ah, oh okay. Gotcha.

A Catch up Culture

The pace of change in the workplace seems to have increased. I’ve been back 6 months and only now am I finding time to reflect and put my thoughts out there. I’m sure I’m not just catching up anymore from the time off. I think, everyone is catching up permanently.

I know friends have found it hard to balance life and family. Change is hard. Even if millennials don’t think so. I thought millennials were young things, but recently I looked it up. I am one. On the older side of the phenomena but still good to know.

My morning commute companion on the radio has changed for the better – and not just because she’s a female voice, Lauren Laverne has a feature while you were sleeping, which lets you catch up on music that’s been released overnight! Change and being on perma catch up seems to be inevitable. Goodness help me when I take my summer holiday. Now I know why the Japanese with their future thinking, advanced technology don’t take holidays!

Judith McVinnie

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All photos courtesy of Unsplash