Magpie with Luke Williams Social Media Innovation Officer at RNLI

Luke’s one-liner: Social Media team @RNLI, Stonewall Ally & geek. Loves: Lego, gadgets, cake, bitcoin, surfing & cycling.

5 phrases that describe your week so far

Google Cardboard – big feature of the week
Social Media management tools
Lots of Analytics
Networking – charity innovation meet-up (interest in the subject)

What’s been the big theme/subject of the last 12 months?

There’s talk about no longer needing digital specialists and dropping digital from job titles as digital becomes business as usual. I don’t agree. As the field develops the experts should be growing with it –sure digital marketing becomes marketing, but specialists should level up and grow with the field. Develop new skills like UX, big data analysis or programmatic advertising for example.

Where do you think all the ideas are coming from right now?

In short, all over the place: open source and collaborative projects. Academia, start-ups. The Third Sector is really good at sharing ideas at meet-ups and in online groups.

Ideas can come from anywhere. As an example, there is a process where anyone can submit an idea into the RNLI innovation pipeline. We have an Innovation Group and a process that helps anyone to develop their ideas to assess viability. So it can and does come from anywhere. We also regularly have open-to-anyone innovation challenges for staff to tackle .

What tech/product finally broke through in the last few months?

360 video. On YouTube, Facebook and with things like Google cardboard – it’s here already and going to grow. I think soon we’ll see 360 cameras built in to smart phones.

One thing we can’t ignore in the next 3 months?

Are you doing the right thing ethically? Using the Google tax issue as an example, no they didn’t break the law but was it the right thing to do? There seems to be a greater emphasis put on organisations and their ethics – driven by the press and public mood.

One trend you’ve seen that can be applied in a different sector?

Piloting and agile methodology in general business. As a charity, we have a responsibility to supporters to make the most of their donations so pilots can be a great way to ‘de-risk’ development of new ideas. Why couldn’t business iterate and use ideas like minimum viable product for shareholder benefit more?

One thing you learnt last week. And from whom?

Irrespective of the channel and message. sometimes the communications problem is not that you failed to share your message in the right way but that some people are ‘Insufficiently curious’. So what other ways might there be of engaging with that person? Heard this from Rosie Slater, CIO at British Red Cross. who spoke at charity tech conference and it really stopped and made me think.

Which is the next sector ripe for change?

Estate Agents. Online they just replicate what’s already in a shop window without any added value. The process of buying the house interplays with other sectors that could do with a change also! Where’s the Uber for housing? Sites like purple bricks aren’t there yet.

3 things/products you can’t work without?

1. Second monitor – having two screens, especially when working on analytics, allows me to much more quickly sort through the data and compare
2. Mobile; I can do a large amount of work on my phone – probably 70%of my job
3. Excel. There are many tools out there but I always come back to it. The level of control it gives means it is the best – especially when bringing in data from sources like Facebook analytics

The secret hack that you’re really loathed to share but must?

Go read: Richard Wiseman – ‘The Luck Factor’. I don’t believe in luck. There are chances and probabilities but it’s not about not being ‘lucky’ as a person. The “lucky” people that find £10 notes in the street are just observant and curious so they see what others miss.

What are you currently…?

Reading. What if? Randall Monroe. Serious scientific answers (from a NASA engineer) to silly questions, read it in 2 weeks straight – couldn’t put it down.

Clicking. Oliver Burkeman – This column will change your life.

Watching. Orphan Black. because it’s just a great sci-fi show.

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