3 Digitization Skills to Reinvent How You Work

My Work is LeanMcKinsey & Company’s latest “Next frontiers for lean”, celebrates one of the biggest idea in the past 50 years, lean management. Lean has transformed operations, prompting even service industries into re-engineering its processes. But, McKinsey reports, ” it has not reached its full potential”.

It has not reached you. Yet. But when it does, you will never think of work in the same way. And that mobile device in your pocket…it will become your personal intelligence system.

Sophisticated companies are turning to digital technologies, predictive analytics and behavioural psychology to get an edge in maximizing productivity.

The great thing however, is that you and I, the knowledge worker, are leading the most transformative revolution in the workplace.  Our BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) movement has literally wrestled modern workflows out of the IT department. 80% of senior executives own 3 or more personal mobile devices. And that’s good. It means our pocket personal intelligence system stays with us, even if we leave the workplace.

But what if you and I acted like a sophisticated company and started applying basic lean techniques to our own work style. Imagine predicting layoffs within your organization. Think what you could do if you could anticipate patterns of behaviour patterns. Imagine redesigning your flexible work style if you had the basic tools.

Well, here’s your roadmap to modernizing your personal development curriculum. Here are my top 3 basic tools we can adopt to stay ahead and join the upwardly mobile crowd:

1. Become aware of the power of behavioural psychology: Take the Predictable Irrationality IQ Test from Dan Ariely and get the Pocket Ariely app for better decision making

2. Learn basic personal analytics. Personal analytics can be a bunch of things. Start with Google Analytics and if you have a personal website. Get the free basic training for Google Analytics here with the guys at Conversion XL. If you don’t have a website, start with your Facebook data (and discover what advertisers like about you….) with Wolfram Alpha Personal Analytics For Facebook. You may not like what you see but you will see how others view you. That’s a big head start.

3. Get a cloud based office with Google Apps for Work. If you are an independent mobile worker, you are likely already using these cloud based work, communication, storage and collaborative tools. But if you are an employee, you have access to the most powerful and flexible collaborative tools to work from anywhere. Moreover, reclaim control over your reputation, your contacts, your work, your privacy and your data. For $80 / year, it’s time to rethink who owns your workflow.

In 2015, we are going to hear a lot about flex and mobile work. We are also going to read a lot more on productivity, layoffs and work transformation.

That’s why modernizing your own personal development curriculum should be your secret action plan for 2015. In the meantime, sign up to my newsletter so you can discover the tools and skills  for your mobile work style.





A Digital Eye for Your Home, Business (or Family), Anywhere With Dropcam Pro

Dropcam ReviewWith my cloud office, I can work / live in Toronto, Montreal or anywhere with excellent espresso bars. But who keeps an eye on my home or office when I’m gone. Insurance policies often no longer cover damages resulting from floods or hot water tank leaks. Hmmm. That’s why I checked out these next generation of video monitoring systems to address my 21st century problem.

My Perfect Video Monitoring System Should Allow Me to:
  1. View my video camera anywhere with my iPhone, Android, iPad or any computer;
  2. Receive email or text alerts of any detection, and allow others to receive notifications and viewing privileges
  3. Connect through Wi-Fi
  4. Walk through a simple setup, even for non geeks and grandparents
The Test

I tested a few video monitoring systems before choosing a winner:

  1. Lorex Digital Wireless system (399.99$CDN): Good for outdoor use but too complicated to install and did not meet my criteria #1, 2, 3 and 4.
  2. Belkin NetCam HD: Great price (129,00$CDN), easy to set up, even with an iPad. Great customer service, even on Sunday. All 4 criteria were met. The big issue for me was NetCam HD’s inability to connect with Apple Airport Express Wi-Fi base station. The quality of the video streaming was a little blurry, but hey, it worked.
  3. Dropcam Pro: This is by far, my top rated gadget of the year for the business nomad (219$CDN). Let me explain.

Why Dropcam Pro:

  • HD video premium quality: you can see clearly
  • Top audio quality: you can hear footsteps
  • 60 second setup: yes, it’s true
  • Mobile (iTunes & Android) apps to watch free live streaming, anywhere in the world (with Wi-Fi, of course)
  • 130 degrees field of view
  • High powered infrared night vision
  • Zoom in 8X
  • Motion and audio disturbance alerts via text or email messages, instantly (with settings preferences)
  • Share or delegate alert notifications: share the fun. Include friends or family on video monitoring duty
  • Compatible with Apple’s products, such as iPhone, iPad, Mac, Airport Wi-Fi base station
  • Optional cloud recording with 7 or 30 days subscription service ($99 to $299 annual subscription pricing)
  • Activity recognition included in the subscription service: Dropcam learns your motion patterns so to limit false alerts
  • Location awareness based on where you are
  • Responsive customer service.

Dropcam has a great support team. When I first completed my setup, I could not understand why I had this translucent and backwards “Hello” appearing during my night video. I emailed a screenshot of this problem to Dropcam support. Within 10 minutes, I had a gentle reminder to remove the protective seal off my video camera.

The ultimate seal of approval came from my parents. They now have a sump pump channel on Dropcam.  All in all, Dropcam is the perfect Wi-Fi video monitoring system. Don’t leave home without it.

Dropcam Pro

Evernote Premium Gets It Right With Business Cards Scanning

Best Way To Collect Business Cards with Evernote The core reason why I run a cloud office is to work anywhere. Working anywhere means you are going to meet a lot of cool people and collect plenty of business cards. Think of the last conference you attended. How did do you keep track of everyone you met while on the move? And who logs all of your business cards?

When it comes to my cloud office, I ruthlessly look for ways to simplify my workflow. It’s easy to get lost in the learning business when you are in the knowledge business. I choose apps that are easy to learn but powerful enough for remote work. Evernote is one of my essential core cloud office apps. But last December 2013, Evernote Premium upped the ante by simplifying the business card scanning workflow into a powerful business intelligence tool.

This is how I now organize my collection of business cards with Evernote and my iPhone:

1. Configure your initial settings on your Evernote app on your iPhone and/or iPad: Go to Evernote App > Settings (upper left) > General > Camera > Business Cards > Save Contact Info to Contacts (optional) and/or Select Notebook to save all contacts (I prefer this option because I do not want to add all my Evernote contacts to my iPhone. I can easily find them later in Evernote). In this setting panel, you should add your LinkedIn contact info (recommended otherwise, what’s the point in collecting business cards). I also recommend you complete “My Contact Info so you can easily forward via email, your own contact info on the spot.

2. Take a picture of your new contact’s business card with your Evernote app on your iPhone (Android – not yet). Select the business card feature after taking a picture in order to scan and optically recognize the characters on the card.

3. Choose if you wish to email “My Contact Info” to your new friend. This feature instantly emails your contact information to your new contact. Your new contact will remember you with this workflow.

There are plenty of benefits for choosing Evernote Premium to scan business cards. Evernote will contextualize your new contact according to the date and event entered in your calendar. Evernote will OCR your contact info and will locate your contact on LinkedIn immediately. Think of all the business cards you collected and quickly forgot how you come across this new person. Evernote will even link your previous notes or research to this new contact, thus becoming a powerful business intelligence tool.

Finally, here are a few additional resources and quick silent video to show you how fast this workflow can work for you. Good luck and remember everyone!!

How to Eliminate Piles of Business Cards from Networking Events

Evernote Can Remember Every Business Card You Collect

3 Tips on How to Use Evernote for Business Pros

Evernote for Business

Evernote for Business

Do you ever get the feeling there are too many apps and software to learn in this wired life? For many of us, the cloud and digital technology are not making our work easier, but rather adding a whole new layer of performance anxiety. I actually suffer from “FOMA” (fear of missing apps).

Fear not. As a newly minted Lean Analytics “Udemy graduate“, I learnt to keep the workflow simple. That was hard for a lawyer. Basic and repeatable steps. Learn. Then iterate. Ok, let’s apply this to Evernote.

Why Evernote? It’s the Go-To Swiss Army knife of all apps. It’s “Remember Everything”. I would add “Find Everything”. I use Evernote to gather:

  • my research, reports, news, including information stored on the web or as a pdf document
  • business cards
  • my handwritten notes
  • my reminders
  • all my scanned receipts, ebooks, membership information
  • manufacturers’ warranties

Evernote is free but if you jump in as a Premium subscriber (which I am since 2011), all your notes (including your handwritten notes) becoming searchable, even offline.

In the video below, I will show you 3 tips on how to use Evernote in business. This video if for knowledge professionals, like lawyers, business advisors, consultants, who are always on the run.

Specifically, I will show you how to use Evernote to:

  1. collect and highlight all of your web and pdf research (and find it, even if you are the most disorganized person in the world)
  2. scan your business cards with Hello Evernote or Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner (or any scanner for that matter – but it’s just so damn easy for the Evernote ScanSnap)
  3. set your Reminders