Musings on designing experiences & (re)engineering complexity

Aug 2019

15 Minutes to Add Time

Describing an experimental workshop and a focused destination

In a few recent conversations about the goals for Avanceé, there has been the mention of a possible workshop series based around an existing client activity. Called “15 Minutes to Add Time to Your Life” it is a tech-focused exploration of using a tablet as the executive notebook or dashboard in order to gain efficiencies in relating to teams, or processing the outputs of managed teams. Challenging? You bet. While every leadership guru has something of the same pitch, what sets this workshop apart is a simplicity of focus — specifically on what is gained when an iPad or Microsoft Surface is used as the agent for behavioral change.

Does it work? Early returns are positive in this regard. One person who engaged in the workshop has almost completely removed themselves from relying on a paper file cabinet for colleague historical files (addressing a long-standing PII issue at that firm). Another has taken a smaller, yet no less insignificant step of using the iPad as a second screen when at their desk, but then taking it as the sole notebook (using Microsoft’s OneNote) when attending meetings. The light went off for them when they realized the ease at which they could organize smaller snippets of info, and then recall these via the on-device search. Again, these are small steps, but ones which add up to no more than 15 minutes of instruction — gaining more than 15 minutes back in time to dedicate to whatever needs the attention.

Can this work for anyone? Probably. However, in looking at a workshop series like this, the focus is on executive decision making and behaviors. Why this group? Because it is at this level were macro-decisions turn into a cacophony of tasks and expectations for others. By addressing their ability to make clearer and more effective real-time decisions, Avanceé is bridging the gap between the future they expect for the present, and their abilities to leverage what’s in their hands.

What happens after this session? That depends on the team. One executive turned a small segment of his team into an innovation-forward department. Meaning, they were to not only use the tasks in the 15 min workshop, but actively seek other ways in which time can be added to the days of those persons they are responsible for. Our conversations since have been about “lessons learned,” other applications/services which integrate into their workflows (or other workflows they weren’t as clear towards in their org), and other ways to see consistent innovative practices as the discipline of operations, not just a single/paradigm shifting event.

Will it work long term? No clue. Almost don’t care. The point is to move forward, and this focus enables many to carve out of their spaces the kind of perspective which is easily transferable to other areas of work and life. If it doesn’t work, it’s not because this was the outside person coming in with something they didn’t know of — this kind of workshop works best when the day-to-day is known and pursued in balance. From there, forward is the individual’s push, and the organization’s to cultivate.

If this comes to your org, how would you respond?