My research interests

deckhouseAfter lots of walking and dieting over the last few days, I’m tired and needed a day at home and some time catching up with my domestic chores. I also have a huge and growing backlog of work reading.  I try and keep up with several broad areas of research, a sample of which I’ve listed below:

  • Personal knowledge management and productivity
  • Happiness at work
  • Enterprise knowledge management, communication and collaboration
  • The evolution of the enterprise desktop, mobile working and devices
  • Work life balance, especially as it applies to different generations and people with chronic health conditions (like me)
  • The negative correlation between ever increasing hours worked and effectiveness at work (and home)
  • The research currently going on in think tanks promoting reduced working weeks for business, social, sustainability, equality and personal reasons
  • Consumerization and the trend towards employee self sufficiency
  • Workplace design and the evolution of the workplace
  • How leading edge companies motivate, retain and enable their employees
  • Mavericks at work (like me) and how to manage them, or not
  • Innovation at work, particularly how innovation is enhanced by relaxation, meditation, working out of doors, walking meetings
  • High performance teams and how they collaboration
  • The changing nature of work and especially the evolution of knowledge work, automation and the rise of smart machines
  • What the largest technology companies in the world are doing, especially in terms of cloud infrastructure and software

Keeping track of all of this through, scanning, reading, sense making, curating and communicating takes up a lot of my time, much of this time spent in Cafes, walking and cycling, and that’s how it went today.

My day started with meditation, followed by a smoothie made from a protein shake, coconut oil and raw potato starch, it’s my own formula, it’s great and keeps me going for 2-3 hours.

Then I walked to Caffe Nero, which is the best place in St Annes for an early start, good music, Diet Coke and a relaxed atmosphere.   A typical research session goes like this.  I kick back in a comfy chair next to the window (I like light in the morning) get my laptop out and do a quick scan of what’s happened overnight on Twitter, Email, Facebook and my RSS feeds.  I deal with anything urgent and then I read on my iPad mini for about 90 minutes.  I do all of my reading in Instapaper, most of the articles I read I flag to my @steveisreading twitter feed, good articles get saved in Instapaper folders, the best get saved into Evernote.  I have Instapaper folders for videos I want to watch, blog posts I want to write, and actions I need to take.  Once I’m exhausted from reading I relax with a game of Sudoku.

Today I had so much reading to do that I then moved on to the Deckhouse Cafe on St Annes Pier, it’s a lovely place, small, friendly and with great views.  They know me well there and I get a drink and Bacon and Eggs, exactly the way I like them for just £2!  After an hour there it was time to move on again.

2013-12-28 12.28.10I damaged my knee walking in the Lakes a couple of weeks ago so I decided I would walk through the Dunes for a couple of miles, this is great fun and also seems to work wonders on strengthening the knee, without taxing it too much.

I walked for about 90 minutes in all and listened to Daniel Suarez’s new book, Influx, I love Daniel’s books which are great Techno Thrillers, but also incredibly well researched. They push the boundaries of current technologies and so act as work research in their own right.

Today is washing day and I did two loads before leaving home this morning, I then had the ironing to do this afternoon. Before I got stuck in I popped round to see Chris for an hour and we talked about walking UK and foreign trails, retirement and the changing nature of work.  I was touched that he said the pinnacle of his work as a project manager was when he worked for me about 10 years ago.  This was also interesting because it was when I was working with Chris that quite a few of the research areas I described above really started to become important to me.

Back home the ironing provided the perfect opportunity to catch up on some TV, and consistent with the theme of this post I watched two SciFi shows, Helix (about the next phase in Human evolution) and Intelligence (about high performance teams and the merging of Human and artificial intelligence).

2014-02-23 08.15.51Then it was time for some family time eating Sunday Lunch, before some family TV time.

As always I will be finishing the day off reading in the bath by candle light (I make my own candles and there’s nothing so relaxing and sleep promoting).

My current night-time book is about the amazing achievements of the Roman Empire and Julius Caesar in particular.  After decades of reading science fiction I don’t read it much now as I spend so much time immersed in technology.  My current focus is historical fiction and fantasy.

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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