Reflections on IRM UK’s Business Change & Transformation Conference Europe 2019 (BCT2019)

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My recent London visit was because I was speaking at the Business Change & Transformation Conference run by IRM. This was my third year and the event is certainly growing and attracted a wide range of delegates who were offered a correspondingly wide range of speakers and presentations to choose from.  I was speaking on a favourite topic of mine; how to build powerful teams by letting the team create its own values, rituals and language and it seemed to be well received; well, no-one ran screaming from the room anyway!

David Beckham, Senior Business Analyst, Aviva
David has spoken at the IRM UK Business Change & Transformation Conference Europe 18-20 March 2019 on the subject, ‘Creating Powerful Teams.‘ He will also be speaking at the Business Analysis Conference Europe 2019, which takes place 23-25 September 2019 in London. David is a member of the BA Conference Europe 2019 Advisory Board. This article was previously published here.

I also had the opportunity to network and had some great conversations with Adrian Reed, Steve Whitla, Hilary Scarlett, Liz Calder and Ian Richards, amongst many others! Added to that was the chance to see some very interesting presentations, ranging from ‘Leading from the middle’ by Adrian Reed, some very shocking and thought provoking statistics during Laura Da Silva Gomes’ keynote on diversity and it’s importance as a driver of change and last but not least ‘the magic of creativity’……….  The latter was a very thought-provoking presentation by a Professional Magician known as ‘Butzi’ who had some great insights into the creative process and how to access it throughout your life. It seems tragic but the concept of creativity almost gets educated out of people in modern societies and also tends to vanish through career progression as well. What I suspect happens is that creativity does not (unless you are in a creative industry/role) necessarily help you in the evolutionary death struggle that is work and therefore it gets ‘de-selected’ as a desirable attribute. In other words, in most jobs you get ahead by getting better at the same process; constantly re-inventing the process means it’s harder to get better at it, or at least the investment in effort begins to be out-weighed by the transient nature of the process. In these situations, creativity is actually an undesirable criterion as it introduces more chance of ‘not becoming an expert’, thus reducing your promotion prospects. Oh the humanity!

As a Business Analyst it can sometimes feel like creativity is a dying art; is the definition of accurate business requirements an art or a science? There are numerous techniques available for business analysis activity with a proven track record of success so why invent new ones? Surely there are set and effective ways of doing business analysis so why do we have to innovate or change things around all the time?

Well, you may not be surprised to know that I have a few thoughts on why creativity is hugely beneficial to the world of a BA.

  1. Just because it worked last time does not mean it is a nailed-on certainty to work this time. Different people, different processes and different products can all create a unique blend of circumstances that may require a new approach
  2. You don’t need a badge to be creative and sometimes asking yourself new questions can provide key insights that will enhance your career immeasurably. As an example, me standing up and presenting a seminar on “understanding the business problem using examples from Monty Python’s Life of Brian” to a group of fellow professionals that I’d never met at a major conference may seem unthinkably hazardous at first glance, but taking a chance and going for it seven years ago at the European BA Conference hugely accelerated my enjoyment of my career and the opportunities to make a difference that lie within my grasp. In fact, it’s fair to say that this blog wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t trusted my creative instincts; whether this has increased the literary value of Western society is a matter for debate…………
  3. Creativity promotes enjoyment/happiness. This doesn’t always hold true but it does in my case. I love playing with ideas in work and outside. Out of work one of my main hobbies is drawing and every so often I get a ‘creative’ flash that leads me to create something like my ‘Vitruvian Yoda’ sketch, or riffing on a similar theme ‘what if Vitruvian Man had Parkinson’s Disease?’ It can mentally manifest as an image of two different coloured lumps of plasticine being fired together at high velocity with the resulting SPLAT being the new idea…
  4. Creativity can be contagious. You might be creative in a field outside of work, such as art, poetry, crafts etc but with a little thought you can bring that into your work life. Asking yourself “What if….?” then “What’s the worst that can happen?” can be extremely empowering and instructive. Also if you are prepared to be creative (this making yourself vulnerable) you will be surprised at how many people will respect your attempt AND also start trying it for themselves!

So in summary The Business Change and Transformation Conference was certainly transformative for me! Hope to see you at the next one taking place in London from 16-18 March 2020!

David Beckham has spent his career working in Financial Services, initially at Norwich Union then subsequently with Aviva. He was a founder member of the Business Analysis Practice when it was formed within Aviva IT and has had two terms as the Practice Lead. He has worked on numerous large change programmes and has been heavily involved in building the capability of Business Analysis within the organisation over the last decade. He has presented at the European BA Conference on a regular basis and has had several articles published on Business Analysis topics. Despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2010 at the age of 43 David continues to relish his role as a Business Analyst and is a passionate advocate of the profession and the benefits it gives to organisations everywhere. Since his diagnosis David has been developing a series of seminars focussing on his recent experiences and regularly speaks on the positive power of change both on a professional and personal basis.

Copyright David Beckham, Senior Business Analyst, Aviva

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