I started to write this post as my train left London following two packed days at this year’s BCI World event. I figured that this was as good a time as any to capture my experience and thoughts whilst it’s fresh in my mind! However, I decided that I could do with a couple of weeks reflection because these conferences tend to get you quite pumped and excited and then you go back to normal. I did have a go last year at trying to describe what goes on at the event but in fairness I did only attend the exhibition and the gala dinner and this year I attended the full programme so hopefully I can more observations this time.
The first thing I should say is that the opening and closing speakers, while not topic-related, were superb and everybody appreciated them. The conference set up and organisation was well received by everyone I that spoke to and so a big thank you to the BCI for organising such a worthwhile event.
Not so Cyber-Savvy
I decided in advance that I would dedicate my first day of the conference to attending all the cyber-related presentations and panel sessions. You can see in a recent post, this evolving concept and practice is an area which I feel there is a bit of a gap in our/my understanding so it made sense to make this my focus.
This first thing I picked up is that much like the term Organizational Resilience, we still don’t fully know what cyber actually means yet (other than a general consensus that it has negative connotations). Indeed, even in Drew Gibson’s session on his research findings, it indicated that we're still quite far away from totally grasping the term. That said, I was initially surprised to see in a room full of resilience professionals sit so quietly! Not a single individual (including myself) could confidently offer an interpretation to the presenters when we were asked to provide a definition. Likewise, in my last post on cyber I requested views on the term and there wasn’t a single person who came forward to share despite the fact that thousands of individuals had visited that particular post to read it. It’s quite clear to me that there is a lack of confidence on this one. Nevertheless the presenters and panellists did do a very good job in how they approached it. Although, I did ask the panel about how non-tech BC Managers should deal with rising tide of Cyber and where I could find the most useful reference points but after 10-15 minutes of vague explanation all I could gather was “google it”. It seems that this is still very much a dark art for us resilience folk!
People are nice…
Over the last 12 months I’ve benefited from some generous support from our more experienced professionals whenever I’ve found a particular resilience subject quite difficult to get my head around. I’m please to say that during the conference I was constantly witnessing presenters and panelists staying behind after their sessions to continue discussions and even contributing to other sessions when they were sitting in. It was great to see the willingness and continued enthusiasm of these individuals. All you really have to do is ask. I actually approached Steve Wooley from Microsoft following his presentation for further guidance on the message he was trying to get across and he kindly sat with me and explained some of the more technical elements of his discussion. What an absolutely gentlemen! The good news is that Steve is not alone and if you reach out for advice or guidance to most of our senior colleagues they willingly oblige. Don’t be afraid to get in touch with them, they don’t bite!
At BCI World 2014 I took individuals (particularly the junior professionals) on face value for wanting to get involved in our thought leadership and simply assumed they were a little shy because of the stronger personalities in our field. However, if I’m being honest I think i've got it wrong. It might be with the best will and intentions and during the height of conference enthusiasm but actually very few of the enthusiasts I encountered that year decided to go on to contribute whatsoever. I couldn’t figure out why this was and still don’t understand. At the end of BCI World 2015 I stood and talked to a few senior colleagues and it seems that for the BCI to progress and mature we need to encourage those enthusiasts to actively get involved.
So I’ve decide to set some objectives for between now and next year’s event to those that have thought about getting involved but for one reason another haven't. They are as follows:
- Help coordinate a local BCI event
- Submit a presentation for a speaker at BCI world
- Contribute a paper to the BCI Working Paper Series
These are the objectives that I hope any junior pros will set. I genuinely do believe the old guard are stepping up thanks to the likes of Steve Mellish, Ken Simpson and Martin Craddick but they can only show us the way. It’s for us to proactively get involved.