Sunday, 23 August 2015

Do you Talk Collaboration but Walk Alone?

Prof Eddie Obeng's most recent blog post is an update of an article he initially wrote for Project Manager Today Magazine

It explains why collaboration doesn't just happen and then helps you work out what to do about it by setting out five clear principles

More at

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Cutting through the myths: NHS Scotland and QUBE by Mark Blayney

18 months ago, NHS National Services Scotland embarked on a change plan called QuEST. This created eight core objectives for new ways of working, one of which was innovation. It was decided to use QUBE to set up a steering group to see how an innovation framework could be developed.
     There were several reasons for using QUBE. The first is geographical spread – people based all over Scotland are involved, and travelling times can be extensive. Added to this there is job spread; clinicians, operations managers, and other people who might not normally communicate with each other frequently, if at all. And thirdly, the NHS is under pressure to use space more economically. Office space is at a premium and managers are encouraged to find other ways to meet. That space can be hard to find; so QUBE offers a solution.

“We are made up of six distinct business units that don’t have much to do with each other,” says Dr Tammy Watchorn, Head of Service Improvement & Innovation
in Clinical Directorate, NHS National Services Scotland
. “None of the team knew each other and we wanted to test the environment.” One of the problems with meetings can be getting everyone organised to be in the same place at the same time. "With QUBE we use ‘drumbeats’ – you set the time and place and it happens, regardless of whether everyone shows up or not. If they don’t attend, we can update them later; all of the work done is on the whiteboards for them to see. After eight weeks we had a framework that built trust and quickly felt like a natural way of working. We presented it to the executive team, who were impressed enough to give approval to further projects after the pilot using QUBE.”

“You’re talking to an older user, and I’m not a particularly tech-savvy person. I thought, if I can use it, then anyone can!”

Generally, there are two key challenges that can inhibit take-up; one is cultural, and one is technological. The cultural issue is that it can be hard to explain QUBE unless you try it out for yourself; and there can be resistance from people if they think it’s merely a sophisticated version of conference calling. “Once people have tried it, however,” Dr Watchorn says, “they quickly convert. I don’t think there’s been anyone who really hasn’t bought into it.” Technologically, the NHS is a huge organisation with different directorates, and some were more positive about allowing the new technology past the firewalls than others.

“So it would be wrong to say there were no teething problems,” says Fiona Genasi, Nurse Consultant in Travel Medicine for Health Protection Scotland. “But once everyone is there together, the possibilities QUBE offers become clear.” For example, several of the contributors to the project agreed that the necessity of face-to-face meetings, as opposed to meeting on QUBE, is actually something of a myth. “The CEO of NHS National Services Scotland visited the team on QUBE,” Fiona says. “Because of the ‘spin casting’ – where you go round the room and everyone has their say – people said things that you’d never dream of saying in a formal setting. For many of these people it would have been the first time they’d been in the room with the Chief Executive.” Jane McNeish, Senior Nurse Epidemiologist for Health Protection Scotland, agrees. Face-to-face is good, of course,” she says, “but actually QUBE brings some significant advantages by actually not meeting face-to-face.”
Another myth is that the technology will not appeal to the older user. “You’re talking to an older user,” says Jane, “and I’m not a particularly tech-savvy person. I thought, if I can use it, then anyone can!”

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Provoke, Inspire, Educate, Facilitate, Enable....

Pentacle was established to fulfill a quest.  To make the world see the reality of our World After Midnight - the 21st century world where change happens faster than we can learn at a global scale across millions of people.  

In the latest post from Pentacle's Founder and Learning director Professor Eddie Obeng he uses a video to explore the challenge people have in unlearning and relearning a new way to look at things and operate.

What do you need to unlearn?

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Q: How do you include someone who isn’t there? A: By using the fourth dimension with QUBE.

For nearly 30 years the University of St Thomas in Minnesota, US, has been holding The Forum on Workplace Inclusion, bringing organisations together to discuss issues of diversity and the best ways to make sure people at work feel included.

Last week the Forum faced the problem “how do you include someone who isn't there?”. Prof Eddie Obeng, the keynote speaker, was thousands of miles away at the time!

Prof Eddie Obeng, appearing as a qubot
with a live stream of his face, uses a
mirror in the qubicle to show the
audience what they look like on QUBE.
The answer was to think in the fourth dimension by adding QUBE, Pentacle’s revolutionary 3D learning environment. Eddie connected to the audience from a qubicle (virtual classroom) on QUBE, which meant that not only were they able to see and hear him present in real time, they were also able to interact and ask him questions throughout the session.

So did the audience feel included, even though the presentation was virtual? Here are some of the reactions:

If you want to know how going four dimensional can benefit your organisation, contact us or try QUBE for yourself.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Commuting Heaven?...or Hell!

Commuting heaven?  What tomorrow's urban transport systems might look like.  That was the header on the BBC News page yesterday.
The illustrations were stunning... but..

21st-century future - trains?




Yesterday during an NHS NSS review 'qall' on QUBE ( Kerry Russell said, "Isn't it about time we began to think of a world post meetings"  "A world where we do things differently much better, learn new things, get the work done and make decisions?"  "This is what I liked about working on QUBE."

About a fifth of the energy we use is used for transport - mostly to move people from homes (with computers connected to the internet)  to and from offices or schools  (with computers connected to the internet) or to and from meetings.

Any serious plan to re-balance the world that doesn't involve a radical rethink about moving electrons instead of people isn't really serious.

About a fifth of the average worker's time is spent in meetings of which a quarter of that time is completely wasted, according to Management Today.  Harvard Business Review warns us that for senior management, it's more like four-fifths spent in meetings and that doesn't even take into account the time spent getting there and back!  McKinsey's warn about the wasted time.  But worrying about time is not enough.  In our fast-changing, complex world, without new learning, how good is the quality of any decisions taken in these meetings?  How good is the perspective of any plans made in these meetings?

Any serious plan to build a world-beating 21st-century business or organisation that doesn't involve a radical re-think about how to integrate continuous, collaborative learning and working into the core of the enterprise instead of individuals working independently and meeting up periodically to share 'past sell-by-date' thoughts isn't really serious.

Join us and experience what working and learning does look like in the 21st century at our open inspiration event or just contact us to find out more.