Friday Faves – What We’re Reading This Week

Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive.

Think Before You Tweet in the Wake of an Attack

“…misinformation and fear spreads like wildfire…and research suggests it gives terrorists exactly what they want.”

Emilio says: Within moments of the explosion early Monday morning, Australian time, Manchester reverberated quickly on social media. The attack, captured by a crude video taken with a mobile phone, broke soon after on morning TV. I noticed how there was a great deal of restraint over how it was all described. None of the reportage labelled it as terrorism that early, thankfully – although the circumstances seemed to point in that direction. By midday, after the facts were confirmed and the casualties were counted, the world was in collective condemnation and social media was filled with outrage over the senseless killings.

I give this piece a thumbs-up because it gives a timely reminder that the media have a deep responsibility – and by ‘media’ it includes everyone on social media, not just the traditional media outlets. Our responsibility is to ensure that we check facts and sources first before we post or repost, that we do not contribute to the propaganda of terror by spreading fear and chaos, that we do not undermine law enforcement efforts by handling information and leads carefully, and that we should exercise utmost sensitivity toward the victims and their families.

Instead, we should use our social media presences to be part of the solution in times of attacks, crisis and tragedy. For instance, I love how Manchester locals created #RoomforManchester shortly after the explosion, offering a safe place to those who were stranded, needed a lift or accommodation, or just someone to talk to. It is initiatives like this that proves social media can be, and should be, a power for good.

Readhttps://www.wired.com/2017/05/think-tweet-wake-attack/

The Australian Gaming Industry Is Being Neglected And The IGEA Wants To Know Why

Joel says: If you actively follow the Australian games industry you may have seen during the week Interactive Games & Entertainment Association CEO Ron Curry sent an open letter to Minster of Communications and the Arts, Mitch Fifield, asking why the Australian games industry is being neglected when it comes to funding with funds mostly going to Australian film and TV. This is putting an incredible amount of strain on our local game development studios resulting in almost no development occurring on major AAA titles in this country.

Last April, Department of Communications and the Arts received the report on the future of Australia’s video game development industry and there’s still been no resolution from the government. Yes, that’s now coming up to a 400 day wait on a response. Yesterday, Greens’ Senator Scott Ludlum met with Fifield during a Senate Estimates session and questioned him about the content from Ron’s letter. He mentions having read the open letter and being interested in some of the facts Ron spoke of (which is one small positive I suppose). He also admits to having the report mentioned above ‘somewhere on his desk’ but can’t provide a clear estimate on when we can expect an answer from them further regarding the funding support. The full 13 minute long video can be viewed above.

While i’m not a game developer, I am passionate about games and the Australian games industry so it is incredibly disappointing to see our government having such a disconnect with the industry. It’s one of the most popular forms of entertainment worldwide currently bringing in billions of dollars in revenue. Funding could even get game development programs into schools to assist in teaching children STEM principals in a practical way that could keep them engaged longer, as games are a highly familiar medium with 98% of homes with children under 18 having video games in them.

Hopefully the great work of IGEA and Scott Ludlam can get through to the government how much Australia’s game industry needs their support because at the moment there continues to be a massive disconnect between them still seeing video games as a childish less important form of entertainment compared to TV and film, and Ron’s presented data that demonstrates this is just not the case.

Readhttp://press-start.com.au/news/2017/05/24/australian-gaming-industry-neglected-igea-wants-know/

Are Companies Ready to Rethink the Way They Do Business?

Nat says: Sustainability is relevant to all of us, but it is something we seldom think about on a day-to-day basis. It is quite easy for us to point the finger at ‘big business’ and say they need to do a better job at reducing their carbon emissions, or ensuring that the making of, or the waste from, their products does not contribute to problems of man-made climate change. However, we seldom think about the role we play as consumers in our contribution towards the problems of sustainability. Businesses cannot exist without our trade, so whatever harm they have on the environment is something we as individuals collectively, and actively, contribute to.

As part of their re-thinking business series, The Guardian asks us to provide suggestions for what it is they should be covering in terms of businesses creating and embracing sustainable business models. I find it quite astonishing, and somewhat heartbreaking, when I hear of businesses who disregard the importance of sustainability. I once worked in an organisation who had a sustainability department yet at the same time the top executives made investments into companies who were directly involved in deforestation for palm oil, which contributes to biodiversity loss and threatens species such as Orangutans. The words “business”, “climate change” and “sustainability” seem like empty rhetoric these days (or dare I say – false news), but if we continue on the current projection we are on, it is not the climate that will be changed, but rather, us as humans. We cannot live (or do business!) without the climate. Click the link and submit a suggestion for how you think The Guardian can tackle this vital issue we all collectively face.

Readhttps://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/may/09/air-pollution-deforestation-drought-business-sustainability-renewables-circular-economy-open-thread

The Role of Chatbots in Your Digital Workplace

Anne says: There’s a plethora of articles being published weekly on AI, robots and big data. A high proportion of them are concerned about the impact on our current workforce: loss of jobs etc etc. Notwithstanding these issues, there are also some innovative ways that AI can be integrated into current contexts.

Enter the chatbot.

This article focuses on the customer journey and reviews strategies where chatbots and live customer service agents (i.e. real people) work in tandem to achieve a more streamlined customer experience. And of course, there’s the warnings about using chatbots inappropriately resulting in a damaged customer experience (and we all remember the early days of voice automated systems).

There’s a couple of examples – including a video from Staples, a US stationery retailer – where chatbots support customers in a number of contexts. Radisson Blu hotels have introduced Edward, a virtual assistant that uses Interactive Text Response (ITR) via mobile SMS to help customers to self-serve. Edward can provide directions and tips, allows guests to check and request hotel amenities (such as towels or room service), get information about local bars and restaurants, and even express complaints – simply by sending a text message.

While these examples of chatbots are customer facing, I believe there are many opportunities to introduce chatbots within organisations to enable staff to self-serve, manage and more effectively streamline many repetitive and tedious administrative tasks.

A valuable comment to consider before deploying your first chatbot:

Jim Bowes, CEO and co-founder of Manifesto, says:
“My advice would be: understand your audience, carry out user research and test a prototype of a bot with real users before rolling it out to customers.” (or staff).

Readhttp://www.mycustomer.com/service/channels/where-should-chatbots-contribute-to-the-customer-journey

And if you want to explore a little further – there’s more ideas in this article: https://thenextweb.com/opinion/2016/12/09/3-reasons-2017-year-develop-company-chatbot/

Here’s My Radical Candour About Radical Transparency

Jakkii says: I attended a talk by Tim Buesing this morning on ‘Designing Your Transparency‘ during which the book, ‘Radical Candor‘ was referenced, then coincidentally happened upon this piece shortly afterwards. The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon is alive and well!

During the talk, Tim referenced a number of examples of increased transparency (honesty and openness), from product design to whole markets. He touched on some interesting points, and noted that transparency is an inside out process – needing to start internally within organisations – and that it doesn’t happen on its own, but rather needs to be consciously understood, designed, implemented and audited to really take hold. These points ended up serving as a great segue into this discussion from CEO David Politis on the journey towards transparency at BetterCloud, where he comments:

It’s eye-opening to see what it takes to be transparent, as well as the incredible benefits and unforeseen challenges that come with it. I now understand why very few companies truly do this.

David, a clear fan of the number three, offers his must-haves to create transparency:

  1. Trust
  2. Time
  3. Buy-in

The benefits of transparency:

  1. Gives everyone a sense of purpose
  2. Lets leaders share the burden with the organisation
  3. Encourages employees to reciprocate the transparency

And the most surprising challenges of transparency:

  1. It’s hard to set expectations and remain consistent
  2. People start making their own assumptions
  3. It can create an emotional rollercoaster

I found the second challenge to be particularly fascinating: the idea that being radically transparent could actually have people start making assumptions, though the author goes on to explain that these assumptions largely come about when there are unexpected or unanticipated gaps in information, i.e. gaps in transparency. Essentially humans being humans, as we tend to make these assumptions anyway, even if we’re not overt about them or even consciously aware of them.

Overall, the key point is that being consistently transparent as an organisation is hard work, and I think this is true for us as employees endeavouring to ‘work out loud’ and share more as well.

What’s your experience of transparency in the workplace?

Readhttps://www.linkedin.com/pulse/heres-my-radical-candor-transparency-david-politis

On the subject of working out loud: another reminder this week that working out loud week is coming up June 5-11. Learn more on the WOL Week website.