7 Reasons to Visit Riga

These past few days have been an interesting first trip to Riga, the capital of Latvia. I’m heading home today and giving a talk on social media in the workplace in London tomorrow. Shortly after that I’m heading to Louisiana with Neil Morrison before returning here to Latvia again later in April. There’s something about the letter L featuring large in my life just now. Enough already.

Something we have been focussing on in our work here is the importance of visual media, and as I enjoy writing occasional travelog type posts I thought I would use some of my photos to help illustrate my short trip here.

7 Reasons to Visit Riga

Number 1 – The Sun Rise

Sunrise over Riga

This is the view out of my bedroom window, taken just after the sun peeked over the horizon. You can see a church tower in the distance and snow on the roves. The temperature had been very mild until this weekend when a sudden cold snap returned.

Number 2 – The Architecture

Riga Cathedral

There are lots of interesting buildings here. This is Riga Cathedral, taken at night. It was built in 1211 and has undergone several modifications since. I was lucky to find a pause in people wandering through the square to get an uninterrupted view.

Number 3 – Design

I spotted lots of interesting design touches when I was out and about. This old door handle really caught my eye, I’m glad I don’t have a screw driver on me otherwise I might be taking a few of these home. And this restaurant chair has lovely curves, it feels good and is comfortable to sit in too. I’m a bit nerdy about these small things, and when done well – they make a difference.

Number Four – The Food

It’s a good job that Riga is an easy city to walk around, I’ve eaten dangerously well here and the subsequent strolls have hopefully prevented me from putting on too much weight.

Number Five – The Art

Riga is the 2014 European Capital of Culture and on this short trip I’ve barely managed to scratch the artistic surface. There is loads to see here and on my next visit I will have more time to explore what Riga has to offer. For now though, here’s a wonderful, modern interpretation of The Venus of Willendorf.

Venus of Willendorf

Number 6 – Kronvalda Park

Kronvalda Park is a small open space in the town centre. It has many pathways wandering through it and this pretty canal. I like open space in a city – it’s great for stretching the legs and clearing the mind.

The Canal in Kronvalda ParkNumber 7 – The People

I’ve let the side down here, no picture I’m afraid. Everyone from the border control guy, to the taxi driver, hotel and restaurant staff and particularly the people I’ve worked with, have been lovely. Friendly and attentive, and when we’ve worked together, curious, enthusiastic and helpfully challenging. I enjoy work so much more when it flows, and when we need to rethink and shift our perspectives based on emerging information. Thanks folks.

I’ve enjoyed my short time here and I’m already looking forward to returning. My work with employees of the Latvian Government on smart use of social media is useful and enjoyable, and after I’ve concluded my second visit I will share more of what we’ve been learning about.

HR Tech Europe 2014 – London Spring Warm Up

A preview post for HR Tech Europe – London March 25th 2014

You might not have me down as an HR Tech aficionado, and to some extent you’d be right. I’m much more interested in the human, less so in the resource – and the tech is…well it’s just tech, isn’t it? What I think tech should be, is an enabler for HR people to do the human bit to the very best of their abilities. Tech should be an enabler – instant access to information about an employee so that HR and the line manager can work with and develop that person, in a way that is good for the business and the person. Is that how HR Tech works? I don’t know, and I’m keen to find out.

So, on March 27th I’ll be off to the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre to catch up with the latest news and ideas from the world of HR Tech. There are two perspectives in particular I want to hear about.

First up – I’m keen to hear from Adrian Furnham on this:

HR Technology – Quantifying The Appetite For Social & Technological Change Inside Your Organisation

During his presentation Adrian Furnham will go beyond discussing the well worn how and why of change. He will look at approaches to monitoring, quantifying and managing the appetite for change inside your organisation, and offer insights on how to effect attitudinal change in people and organisations. 

I’m keen to hear from Adrian because beyond crystal clear and timely communication, and a chance to be involved on the cocreation of change, I’m not clear enough about how you manage the appetite for it. As for insight on how to affect change, I’m always keen to learn more about that.

I’m also really interested in hearing Neil Lewis from Nationwide, talk about this:

Implementing an HR Systems Transformation to Underpin a People & HRSS Strategy

An HR System Transformation Programme which will deliver an enhanced capability for HR and the business, and support the Group People Strategy. It will modernise and enhance the HR service offering for employees and line managers, whilst also enabling HR to function with greater efficiency and effectiveness. The Programme will provide Nationwide with a HR IT platform capable to meet current and future requirements.

At first I confess I thought a HRSS was something you got driven to your funeral in, but it turns out I was wrong, it is in fact Human Resource Support Services. My error notwithstanding – the reason I am interested in this talk is simply that I am a customer of Nationwide. Me and my family trust this company with some of our hard earned cash, so I am keen to learn about what they are doing to enhance the employee experience, as I believe this has a direct bearing on the customer experience.

There’s loads of other stuff going on through the day too. The full line up is here, and if you are around on the day – I hope to see you there. If you can’t make it – take a look at what’s on and if you’ve any burning questions and thoughts, drop me a comment and I will do my best to get you an answer or cover your point for you at or after the event.

Conversation and Curation

You might recall me writing about partnering a few weeks back? Well, I’ve some more progress on that front.

Meg Peppin and I will be facilitating a breakfast conversational workshop together on the morning of Day Two of this year’s CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition. We’ll have more news on the session and how you can get involved soon.

In addition, Meg will be blogging from the conference and I’ll be helping to curate the social media content for the CIPD on their new Tumblr site. I’m hopeful we can get lots of great pics and videos from conference guests and speakers, to go along with all the blogs, tweets and other great content that always emerges from this event.

I think the CIPD’s approach and commitment to using social media to engage at and beyond the conference has been evident for a few years now, and though I’m biased, I think it’s something their team (including Johanna Ratcliffe, Tom Paisley, Robert Blevin and Natalia Thomson) and the wider membership and blogging team do really well. They’ve had and get lots of encouragement from HR professionals such as Neil Morrison and Alison Chisnell, and they enjoy good support from the wider community, and from specialists including Gareth Jones and more recently, Perry Timms.

If you’re planning on being in Manchester on November 6th and 7th and coming to the conference – let us know and we’d love to get together for coffee and conversation. And if you’re planning on blogging from the conference – please get in touch as I’d love to help share your thoughts.