I live in North London. The down side of this is that my husband and I both work like dogs full time to be able to afford to live in a bog standard 1920’s terrace house, on a rat run through to the North Circular (that’s not the pitch they gave on the Estate Agent’s blurb). Those of you in the shires / regions can feel very smug about your conservatories, off street parking and intact wing mirrors.
There are far too many opportunities in our area for the kids – so we have no time for ourselves. Weekday evening social engagements have to be booked 3 months in advance and written in indelible ink on the family calendar (I know – it should be electronic). They require a complex review of childcare interdependencies. It’s really not worth the admin.
So how to keep up professionally with technology advances and have a network of contacts to challenge your thoughts? I am not sure that evenings out in London hotels talking to mainly white men in grey suits is the best way to keep your thinking fresh. Even white men in grey suits must agree that they are fed up talking to one another.
So here is a time efficient alternative – the contacts I made last week talking to people on the touchline at kids football matches, athletics training, swimming training, dog walking etc :
- An author writing a fictional book about an autistic girl working in IT. Should we be looking at workplace adjustments to encourage more people on the spectrum into IT and what are those adjustments?
- The owner of a leading open data consultancy. We talked about predictive analytics for health and social care – its too hard to for his company to make money out of.
- The head of information security at the post office that has enabled secure mobile working for post people. Talked about a risk based approach to information security
- Talked to a GP in Haringey about how she makes children’s safeguarding or special needs electronic referrals into her local council (to compare the user experience the one my team set up).
- Caught up with my friend from the NHS ante natal group I attended 12 years ago – she is now chief exec for the NHS digital innovator project (wow!). Talked about whether this will include social care innovations.
- Talked to a guy on the counter at Smyths toy shop about the difference in gaming habits of men and women, and whether this insight may shed light on the lack of women in IT.
- A goldsmith who works in Hatton Garden who praised Camden Council’s support for small businesses – cheering in this era of cuts.
- My son (10) is also part of my network – I found out today that cheap lenovo tablets now have a high quality built in projector for home cinema screening ( lot of uses at work too). Also that voice recognition now works – he never types he just talks to computers. Technology through the eyes of a child gives you a window to the future.
So what do you need to make this work: a child, active listening skills, inquisitive nature. Don’t make assumptions about who it is worth talking to. Even if you are an introvert – get out of your comfort zone and strike up conversations.
Next I need an effective filter so I can take some of these synthesised ideas forward!
The added advantage of park networking is that there is no alcohol at 10am on a Sunday morning so I am less likely to make a fool of myself.