On Monday, March 30, 2009, we hosted the first Indianapolis Productivity Summit. Each of the four 90 minute sessions drew more than 30 attendees for an interactive discussion on ways to work smarter.
The first session, Managing Email Productivity, not only drew in the crowd and shared a new perspective on email, but earned some notoriety in the blogosphere. Attendee Jason Bean wrote a post about just one of the recommendations on email for EveryJoe.com (Reversing Your Email Composition). This got picked up by Kevin Purdy of the massively popular site LifeHacker.com. Dozens of people have commented on these two posts and carried the discussion forward.
Our second event, Power Modeling – Self Training was one of the more challenging sessions. Complex workplace systems, whether they consist of software tools, corporate protocols, official procedures or other systems for filing, maintenance or client service, are often a source of major frustration and a lack of productivity. Analytical tools are needed to identify these challenges and bring mental models about systems closer to the actual nature of how they work. Power Modeling is a set of techniques for enabling individuals to conduct this analysis process on their own and effectively train themselves to better use existing systems.
The most lively session of the day was Workplace Productivity Tools. Topics included an organizational scheme for documents, meetings, workplace coordination and social media. The group became especially engaged in a conversation about the appropriate role of announcements. This is a difficult area for productivity, because a routine announcement can be communicated in far less time via a medium like email, whereas an extraordinary announcement (such as employee commendation or unfortunate news) probably requires some dialogue. With meetings as a major source of workplace frustration, all organizations need tools for managing these events to maximize productivity.
A Continuous Improvement Primer ended the summit. Large-scale change models such as Six Sigma, Lean and TCO are not only a fashion but an essential component of modern business. This event provided a broad overview of some of the major trends, along with historical context, advantages, disadvantages and perspective.
Over the next few weeks, The Methodology Blog will review these sessions in detail both for those who could not make the summit and to further support the attendees. Thanks again to everyone for participating in the Indianapolis Productivity Summit!