Top contributor of 2017, Sam Marshall

Reading one of Sam Marshall's articles gives his readers an opportunity to step back and see the topic at hand in full: both the good and the bad. Marshall willingly gives praise when called for, but tempers any praise by noting where there's still room for improvement.

As founder of ClearBox Consulting, Marshall works with businesses to improve internal communication and collaboration. While technology plays a major part in this, Marshall recommends starting any technological change or project by answering the question: what do employees need? 

Let's Talk About the Employee Experience

What’s your proudest accomplishment — professional or personal — of 2017?  

2017 marked 10 years since I set up ClearBox Consulting. I’m proud to have grown a company that is all about making people’s working lives more productive and more satisfying. 

What unrelated skill or piece of knowledge has helped you with your current work?

As psychology student I did field work on baboon behaviour. That’s all I’m saying.

What conversation would you like to see your industry have in 2018? 

We need to talk more directly about the Employee Experience. The term is gaining traction but so much of what we do as ‘work’ now happens digitally and there’s a massive debt in terms of how neglected it has been. The discussion isn’t just technology investment, but the processes and mind-set to say, “We care about how productive our employees are and how demotivating it can be when simple tasks feel hard.”

What trend or story will you be following in 2018?

Augmented reality (AR). It has been bubbling under for some time, I expect exciting use cases in 2018. The time is ripe for some real practical uses now, with Microsoft’s HoloLens, Google Glass’ re-launch and potentially Apple with ARKit all orienting themselves towards enterprise rather than consumer applications. The price-performance barriers have been addressed, and in a work context it matters much less how geeky someone looks if they also have a hard hat on or a screwdriver in their hand.

If you could give 20-year-old you some advice, what would it be?

Don’t wait for other people to market what you do well. Oh, and don’t mess with time travel.

Speed round!

  1. Name one tech trend you got wrong: AI. I thought it was growing steadily but was suddenly hyped; I now see it has made real leaps forward.
  2. If you could switch places with someone else for a day, who would it be? Jack Ma. He’s a brilliant businessman and understands a population that is so different to my own experience.
  3. What one song always puts you in a good mood? "Lust for Life" by Iggy Pop. It plays in my head when I cycle down big hills. I’d also like it to be played at my funeral.