Corporate observations – times of change for climate change

Climate Change

Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change

I don’t often talk (blog) about personal opinions on global matters like Climate Change, but in the spirit of Blog Action Day and climate change on the agenda I thought I ought to.

As the topic of climate change edges rapidly higher on everyone’s agenda it seems we can no longer avoid it or push the environmental snooze button.

With marked increase in media attention, hype and all to frequent evidence of climatic catastrophes, the full consequence of our man-made actions are forcing conscientious people to pay attention.

Focus and attention is no more obvious than right at our company – UBM. This is not an sucking up exercise to gain brownie points (or Wiki points for that matter), it’s merely something I’ve observed over the course of ~12 months. I love observing people, habits, cultures and adaptation from influence. I guess I can self-confess to being obsessive about observation and working out behavioural impacts and reasononings. Anyway, over the last two years I’ve noticed many changes in my immediate work space vacinity. Some of the changes are subtle some profound but overall I believe it’s making an impact albeit minuscule in the grand scheme of things. And its impact is not just at work but home too.

I want to dedicate this Blog Action Day post to three sets of people:

  1. The company ‘environmentalists’ – for commissioning the company initiatives and enforcing them and irrespective of their own personal agendas,
  2. My colleagues – who’ve adapted really well to the cultural changes and partcipated unreservedly and finally
  3. Me – for committing time to write this post and present my obbservations (see below).

So on with my obsessive observations then. At my work (UBM Live) here are 10 areas where I’ve observed changes (environment and economical): see a few snaps below

  1. Lift antrums – automated light on/off switches
  2. Toilets – automatic on/off lights switches and manual time sensitive bathroom water faucets
  3. Fewer paper waste bins as well as dedicated paper-only waste bins
  4. Waste separation buckets for better recycling (plastics, cups)
  5. Sugar sachets replaced with dispensers (less waste) in our canteen
  6. Email signatures discouraging pointless printing of emails
  7. Better optimised websites for print versions aimed at reducing uneccessary paper wastage.
  8. Facilitiy provision to encourage commuting by bicycle and ride-to-work schemes to encourage cycle commuting
  9. Centralised ‘Climate Day’ initiatives aimed at making employees more aware of its waste production and its effects on the environment
  10. First exhibition to be awareded carbon neutral status in Europe.

Naturally there is always room for improvement. So whilst we’re making fantastic in-roads into reducing our waste and there is more room for improvement:

  1. Continue to make improvement to cycling to work culture perhaps by offering incentives for employees
  2. More senior management encouragement of healthy social events aimed at Corporate Social Responsibility
  3. Lift cancel button (LOL) – just had to say that
  4. Environment awareness campaigns and better disposal monitoring.

With our company’s collective effort we’ve managed to save a huge amount on wastage (tonnage) in 2009. These initiatives stand testiment to UBM’s committment to its corporate responsibility at protecting the environment in the fight against climate change.

As part of the company-wide initiative our bloggers are supporting Blog Action Day (on Climate Change) so why not check out my colleagues’ post too.

If you would like to read similar posts on this subject from some of my colleagues, please click on any of the links below:
FSE fire’s Weblog
These Digital Times
TheSecurityLion

If you would like to read similar posts on this subject from some of my colleagues, please click on any of the links below:

Blog Action Day: bike facilities

Blog Action Day: bike facilities

Blog Action Day: waste bins

Blog Action Day: waste bins

Blog Action Day: automatic stopping faucet

Blog Action Day: automatic stopping faucet

Blog Action Day: light sensor

Blog Action Day: light sensor

Blog Action Day: sugar dispensers

Blog Action Day: sugar dispensers

Blog Action Day: waste sort

Blog Action Day: waste sort

Never stop discovering – the power of being social

Getting social with an organised bike ride

Getting social with an organised bike ride

I’m not one for blogging about being social because I think it’s just human instinct that’s inherent within you or that you develop over time. However I was struck at just how much you do discover when you bring social into the mix.

The bike

When I’m not at home enjoying time with my kids or at work I ride bicycles. I often ride to work commuting with all my work gear (laptop, clothing, books, etc) and at the weekend too. At the weekend I’m either racing or riding socially (or training to win races). Anyway enough about my riding, the point is whether on or off the bike I like spending time speaking with different folk. And it’s amazing what you can learn as I found out on my bike on Sunday.

The guy

This weekend I was lucky enough to meet a guy (David Green) who was over to the UK on a short break. While cruising a gentle gradient on bikes I asked David what he got up to when not turning pedals? He went on to tell me he was an internet entrepreneur. “Wow!” I said, “… what sort of stuff are you involved in?” I curiously probed.

The deal

Fifteen minutes later (and nearly involving a crash) he went on to tell me how in 2007 he was involved in a VoIP business that went bust and that he was now bringing content to cyclists in a ‘new – for the audience – digital format – an e-magazine publication. He procures local journalists (aka local riders and racers) to generate the content, either through writing, taking photos, tweeting or filming which he then collates and includes in a bi-weekly digital magazine, Florida Racing Magazine. It’s a really simple idea and very little risk and no (very little) associated production costs. Furthermore, the local contributors are more than happy to contribute (cyclists are vain) their content to the magazine to then see it distributed to a wider audience. For consumers there are not costs for them, they simply provide an email address and the magazine finds its way to their inbox. Better still, you could access the e-magazine directly from the website.

Florida Racing magazine e-zine

Florida Racing magazine e-zine

The pros and cons

Like all ideas there’s more than one side to it. It’s a neat idea for a couple of reasons:

For the distributor:

Viral – readers can share it with their friends
Sponsors love it – they are literally quing up to advertise
Give back to the community – through free (or subsidised) inclusions
Low risk – no risky financial commitments
Socially healthy – inherently social with community involvement
Exciting area to operate in

For the reader:

Niche and relevant content – content the cyclists want relating to their beloved sport
Current – as it happens content (albeit maximum two weeks old at any given time)
Visually lead – cyclists love pictures period
Self-promoting (and for their sponsors too) – they all love a bit of exposure
Viral – I can share it with my friends (mandatory Social Media ingredient)

The real weakness I can identify is the medium it’s distributed in… and that’s all. In a world where ‘content is king’ the only other issue is the level of appropriateness for its audience. Cyclists are tactile and like physical magazines. A field study of the said readers would surely reveal mountains of old magazines stacked to the ceiling in the bathrooms of cyclists’ across the country (I can confirm this).

So what did a discover?

Never underestimate the discovery power of being social no matter the context is. Keeping searching, probing, looking, asking… you’re sure to discover something that has meaning.

Typographica’s food for information design

Typographica sketch

Typographica sketch

I don’t visit art exhibits however today I attended a UX Field trip event ,organised by Alice, exploring local art. Today’s visit took us to the Kemistry Gallery, in Shoreditch London to see Typographica (11 September – 31 October). I walked away feeling inspired by the cleverly curated collection of photographic pieces. I enjoyed the company of like-minded folks from our local London UX/IA social group http://london-ia.ning.com too.

The journal (Typographica) was founded by a 25 year-old Herbert Spencer, who went on to become one of the most influential British communication designers and typographers. Typographica’s pioneering content included concrete poetry, avant-garde type experiments and photo-documentary, all highlighting Spencer’s ability to fuse images and words in meaningful new relationships, and featured the work of, among many others, Dieter Rot, Robert Brownjohn and Alexander Rodchenko.

We spent time admiring and ‘seeing’ the many visual stories of snippets from 32 publications (two 16 part series: Old and New series) presented as re-prints around the gallery. I particularly enjoyed Hernert Spencer‘s “Mile-a-Minute” edition as well as his “Piet Zwart” piece. Robert Brownjohn’s “Street Level” was seriously inspiring too. I managed to take some sketch notes of interest bits. It gave me a chance to think a little harder stand-out snaps… one in particular was about the “juxtaposed, accidental or design” question posed after a photo appeared of a shop sign ‘ACCESSORIES’ with the first ‘C’ lying at an odd angle provoking that very question (juxtaposed, accidental or design).

After the viewing we spent some time catching up on studies, work and our mobile worlds… with special attention being played to the new social network iPhone/Android app, Foursquare.

Typographica Exhibit

Typographica Exhibit

Typographica Exhibit

Typographica Exhibit

Nine Essential Characteristics of Good UX Designers (Fred Beecher)

Fred Beecher writes a great post covering what personally use as guiding principles of good user experience design. Fred's characterises nine essential elements a designer should posses to make a good user experience designer:

  1. Moderate Familiarity with Business, Deep Familiarity with Your Business
  2. A Deep Understanding of Human Psychology & Research Methods
  3. Competence in the Basics of Graphic Design
  4. An Awareness of and Interest in Technology
  5. Verbal & Visual Communication Skills
  6. The Ability to Quickly Learn a Subject Matter Area
  7. Mediation, Facilitation, & Translation Skills
  8. Creativity & Vision
  9. Passion

Read the full post: Nine Essential Characteristics of Good UX Designers