During the E 2.0 Organization Next Workshop, I asked participants to create people who live in the various futures we explored. Over the next few days, I will be talking the answers to their questions and writing little day-in-the-life stories about some of the people who might populate these possible futures.
Today I start with Richard, a reinsurance sales person who lives in the Corporate Lifeline future.
Richard prepares for his sales review. He will be conferencing in from his hotel room. Again. He isn’t sure why they still have meetings like this, as the relationship management system integrates everything into a nice, neat package. Richard can easily see which customers need attention, and his team leader can see if he needs attention or not. Richard doesn’t need attention. He is at 103% of forecast with six days left in the quarter.
The pico-projector built into Richard’s PMD (Personal Multifunction Device) projects his workspace on the wall. Seemingly disorganized patterns constantly grow, change associations, come to the fore and dissipate. As the meeting time approaches, Richard watches his team slowly coalesces like fireflies around the sales data. The team and the data start of overwhelm the display. The attention management software is making Richard’s priorities clear. For the next 30 minutes, he needs to focus on this meeting.
Through the glow though, Richard can still see the customers he needs to close. Wireframes of next steps become faintly visible as he wands over his customers. Since the meeting hasn’t started yet, Richard figures he should at least spend a few minutes thinking about the next customer encounter. Within fifteen minutes of the meeting’s conclusion, Richard will be talking with one of his most important customers—one that both his company and their government partners want to make sure is well cared for. Richard’s reinsurance products will help shift the risk associated with the client’s Bolivian rainforest reclamation projects. There is little precedent for the kind of work the client does, so it’s up to Richard to understand the context of the transaction very well, or risk exposing his own firm to undue risk.
At precisely 10am the mound of fireflies representing team members, the data they need and the processes they will employ bursts onto the projection like a supernova. From a near singularity of intense light, a meeting overwhelms the display: A clear agenda, interactive video chat windows for each participate, a drag-and-dropable repository of the data required for the meeting, along with a set of processes (like brainstorming, voting, prioritization, knowledge disseminations, etc.) that can be invoked by dragging them into an execution space.
After the obligatory preliminaries of recognizing achievement, reiterating the need to end the quarter with strong results and the reiteration of the priority to pay close attention to clients that are working through volatile market issues, the agenda ends, but the meeting does not. Brad, the meeting conjoiner and account lead, smilingly adds:
“Well, it seems like we are all out of agenda items. I know it doesn’t seem like we really need these meetings with all of this access to data, but we have to remember we need to see each other, recognize we are a team, and, like today, recognize special achievements.”
And with that, where the agenda used hover, an almost goofy picture of Richard smirks back at him, and seemingly, everyone else in the meeting.
“We thought it was important to recognized Richard’s achievement. He has consistently delivered on quarterly results, as he already has this quarter, and he has one the highest customer satisfaction numbers in the company. We are proud to provide Richard with this stock award and reputation bump that I’m sure will get him noticed when people look at their movers and shakers widget this afternoon.”
Richard blushes, and as much as he appreciates technology, he is glad that between the camera and the display technology, the blush will likely be washed out and invisible to his fellow team members. Richard does appreciate that in this overly scheduled, data intense environment; his employer can still manage to surprise him.