The CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition (ACE) opened this year with Peter Cheese’s welcome, inspiring as always. Using a quote from Lincoln, he said “the best way to predict the future is to help create it”. He says HR needs to be principle led, evidence based and outcomes driven. We need to focus less on the rules and more on treating employees as adults. We are seeing a shift away from ‘best practice’ – something that has dominated the HR sphere for years - and a move towards appreciating that organisations can develop their own range of complex business models created from within their own cultures. If we continue to apply standard approaches we are not encouraging innovation, so it’s good to hear the CIPD striding ahead of the times and giving us a profession to be proud of.
Martha Lane Fox’s keynote speech was fantastic. She talked through her tenacity as a 24 year old female in the world of tech (back then still a very geeky world, not ‘geek-chic’ like it is today). Not only did she create Lastminute.com, she had to sell the concept of the internet to everyone she met, in a time when people didn’t realise the potential of the internet, or believe that people would trust putting their credit card details into websites. We take it for granted now, but back then it was inspirational.
She went on to say that technology can be used for so much good, and that if we use all the technology available to us today, we would be 50% more effective. The simple truth is, we are not efficient at using what we have. Don’t worry about the robots coming to take our jobs, the technology today is good enough to see 50% of us doing something different – hopefully putting our time to better use and being more innovative and creative.
The speeches by Peter Cheese and Martha Lane Fox really set the scene for the rest of the conference for me. A thought-provoking and inspirational day one.
Roll on day two!