Connecting for 70 years - and growing stronger...

June of 2018 had been a hectic month for me.  Let me attempt to list the things I got to touch in June to set the context for this post:

  1. My special times inside Kerala's IT SME Life...journeys via contributions to SME entrepreneurs. I had two retainer clients, one each in Kochi and Kozhikode who kept me clued in to the SME's journey. 
  2. Nipah scare in Kerala made some of my past clients reach out for help - to ensure they managed this scare staying within the freedom + responsibility approach that we had got them to take. 
  3. Last month of my term as Volunteer Secretary of NIPM Kerala Chapter - four programs to plan - Young Managers Contest, Corporate Citizen Award,  revamping Legal Update and Annual General Meeting
  4. Annual meetup of Citizen Science enthusiasts at Thrissur for deliberations on technology and crowd sourcing enabled Bird Monitoring in Kerala - will blog about this soon as this meeting made the early 40's brain in me to take up an online course in R - as it would help me create visualisations from my own ebird data 
  5. Last but not the least, my annual trip to US of A which now has ReUnions, birding and SHRM Annual included. This is my third year as an official SHRM blogger - excited as always to expand my world by being part of an elite gang of HR minded professionals who breathe social media
The months activities gave me a lot of opportunities to delve deeper into a subject which continue to intrigue me at all times. That subject is about possibilities that exist in human connections - a myriad of questions start flowing through my mind whenever I delve on this topic. This post I will devote to one particular question -  How can HR minds create a design for connections?

I got to delve deeper into these questions and possible answers at the 70th Annual Conference of the society of human resource management - SHRM or the shrm18. This years venue also gave me an opportunity to reconnect with my school mate and fellow CMS college cricket team mate and his lovely family who are now settled in the Windy City.

Conversations about this conference started off very early via the blog squad powered by SHRM's social media team which comes up with unique ways to empower and enable the #shrm18blogger squad - with over 100 pre conference blog posts! 

Here is a list of posts that struck a chord somewhere within me - sharing this as it will provide a recap of shrm18 as well.

  1. A call against structure by my good friend and master connector - Steve Browne 
  2. An excellent take by my fellow SHRM India blogger Kavi Arasu
  3. Quotes from SHRM18 by fellow blogger Kiran Ali who hails from Pakistan 
  4. A Millennial's take on shrm18 
  5. Possibilities for HR by Katrina Kibben - whom I wish I had connected for an #shrm18Selfie 
  6. Common stuff among differences - by my new friend Julie Ann Sullivan
So, now it's time for me to list my take aways / pointers for thoughts from SHRM18 - here goes:

1. Large conferences as Collaboration platforms - SHRM has been showcasing the possibilities that exists for collaboration among multiple stakeholders. Imagine 22k attendees, 700 HR Vendors and select speakers all under one roof. This collaboration has resulted in business success for SHRM as well - clearly making it Win-Win situation. This year the WFPMA has joined forces with SHRM - another feather in the collaboration cap for sure - watch out as this exciting global journey unfolds.  I'm delighted about this as the National Institute of Personnel Management, the largest body of HR folks in my country is also part of the WFPMA - opening up possibilities which my fellow members from NIPM's Kerala chapter can use as catalyst for learning. 
2. SHRM annual is to me a successful case of Marketing and HR collaboration - presence of over 700 HR service providers cannot be an accident. This year has broken all records for attendance - showing the success of this collaboration between functions which are seen to be at loggerheads inside many organisations - as this Fast Co Article tried to portray (or did it?) many years back.
Feels great to see that my function has moved ahead and is continually in a 'thinking' mode these days.
So HR leaders in the US have definitely been successful in designing the annual conference as a platform for fostering human connections over these years.
I tried capturing some of these connections moments from the conference and posted them in this Facebook album. 

All this brings me to more questions which I shall be attempting to find answers to during the next few months before I head to Las Vegas for my sixth SHRM annual conference soon.

1. What are the Design thinking elements which if copied will help create similar platforms for human beings at a State and country level
2. Can Crowd-sourcing be used as an enabler to expedite such human connections at a scale which will place human beings at the core as businesses and society grow?
3. Can Open Data be a catalyst for such connections?

Looking forward to your views.


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