Women in Business Series: Helen Palmer
Question 1: What is your name, explain your business in a paragraph please?
My name is Helen Palmer, I am the founder and Director of Questo.
Questo helps organisations with change, helping organisations from two perspectives. From the top down to design and plan the change; and the bottom-up helping individuals be more ‘change savvy’ and make change for themselves and how they see themselves at work.
At Questo, we advise, design, coach and teach.
Question 2: What do you think is the biggest #technology factor affecting your #business in 2017?
“A common technology factor in the work I do is collaborating digitally across organisational boundaries. It is often a challenge working with different clients across different tech platforms. I need to recall multiple logins and passwords, multiple setups, multiple organisational and team preferences for how things are used – things that are rarely written down. It can be challenging to remain effective and focused in such circumstances.
Question 3: How do you use your Surface in your business?
My Surface Pro, is my main computing device. It’s lightweight, I love the long battery and can work in a variety of places with it, like on the train with it on my lap or cafes. I use it literally like a digital Notebook – I particularly love the application OneNote, and the way the device can be held like a tablet really helps with this type of usage. I teach and do presentations, sometimes even removing the keyboard and holding the device like a tablet with the digital pen ready to do live interaction with the audience.
Question 3b: What is your favourite feature of the Surface Pro/Book and why?
I love the ‘touch’ aspect of the Surface Pro. I have had issues with Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) in the past, so it’s important not to have to rely on a mouse. When on a moving train or plane, being able to swipe to turn pages is great. I’m also a big fan of ‘inking’ too, particularly for free hand note-taking and highlight text in documents and notes.
The Surface Pro feels like a serious business device, particularly as I can use the Microsoft applications in which I have 20 years of valuable documents I can open and re-use.
Question 3c: Would you recommend the Surface Pro/Book to other SMB owners?
I’d highly recommend the Surface Pro to mobile workers needing a light powerful device, and those who do presenting or classroom teaching who want to add a little magic to what they do.
Question 4: What do you think are important digital literacy skills for SMB’s?
I can name four important digital literacy skills for SMB.
1) The ability to sort through the noise of all the applications and devices you could use, to find the ones that provide you with functional assistance you really need. Vendors and suppliers will want to push options on you, get some professional help if you are unsure to figure out which ones are really worth your time to learn and use. The learning factor becomes particularly significant with hosted software where you have no control on what updates and changes they make to their interface – this may require constant re-learning.
2) The skill of note-taking. Just because you can get an application like OneNote doesn’t mean you suddenly have better note-taking skills. You might find it easier to capture what you write, but organising your thoughts into something meaningful you can re-use later is an additional skill.
3) Being able to ask qood questions of data you can access; being able to manipulate data sets to answer questions (Pivot tables in Excel can be powerful); and understanding how data can be misinterpreted – and avoiding these traps. In a world of big data possibilities and the internet of things – knowing how to be smart with data will be increasingly important in the decisions you make in your business.
4) Organising your information. It’s an old but undervalued skill to set up a filing system. In this day and age it doesn’t literally need to be a filing system, but simply knowing what categories or tags you can consistently and meaningfully use to organise stuff so you can find it later. Don’t rely on your mind to remember what stuff is in a large pile. Email Inboxes are a classic place to start some better organising behaviour.
Question 5: How would you encourage more women to use tech in their business?
- Get professional help to figure out what technology will really help your business.
- Set boundaries and honour them about when you don’t need to use or be connected to technology. Some tech can suck up your precious time and attention for no gain.
- Do collaborations with safe-to-fail people (that is not-clients) and explore using many of the free collaborative tools. There are interesting possibilities of the tech, and the social practices you following in using tech, that you might expose and harness for good.Check out some of the other articles on Tech Coach HQ on Women in Business and #Technology.
This post was brought to you by #SurfaceLife #Ambassador, Megan Iemma from Tech Coach HQ.