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Blue Door Podcast – Access all episodes

Welcome to the Blue Door Podcast, brought to you by O2 Business, where we discuss technology that can help organisations bring out the best in their people and their customers.

We’re focused on discussing market trends, the culture and mindsetthe technologies that make a difference and the lessons that can be learned. We interviewed senior leaders from some of the largest organisations catering to the UK as well as across the globe. 

So open that door, come on in and let’s begin.  

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Latest episode:

Episode 21: ‘Smart cities: When 1+1=3, the value of data analytics.


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Read the blog here.

This week we return to the topic of Smart Cities. I talk with Geoff Wappett, head of O2 Motion, who’s been speaking with councils, businesses and other organisations to understand the benefits of Smart Cities – expediting movements of vehicles, people and things, sustainability and environmental opportunities and much much more.

So open that door, come on in and let’s begin to take a closer look at how Smart Cities can help make better decisions for people, places and technology.

  • The skills required of the analysts of the data collected
  • More Smart City use cases for population movement data, and data collected by IoT sensors
  • How data can support retailers with the regeneration of the high street
  • How the insights from collected data has the potential to improve council services, reduce cost and improve efficiency.

This week’s guest:

Geoff Wappett, Head of O2 Motion at Virgin Media O2.

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Three core areas to enable a dynamic workforce:

  • People: Freedom, flexibility and fulfilment: Re-imaging work in the age of the dynamic workforce
  • Places: Talent, tools and space: New workplace strategies for a dynamic working world
  • Technology: AI, automation and collaboration: Why tomorrow’s talent is human + digital

Our market research on The Future of Work: Dynamic working: the research

Episode 20: ‘Evolving your workplace culture: finding what works for your work’

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In recent episodes of the Blue Door Podcast, we have talked about People, Places and Technology – three newly published O2 whitepapers that together consider the Digital Workplace of the future.

This week we focus on a discussion that ties the three topics together – workplace culture. Culture reinforces, and many ways may even overwrite the intent in policies, and it’s what gives a workplace and workforce it’s essence and character. It’s typically a mixture of encouraging people to be creative, rewarding trying new things, learning and evolving, numbers focussed, or encouraging of a competitive nature. But like anything, too much of one thing can be a bad thing, so finding a balance is critical.

At a time when public and private sector organisations are wondering how to redefine the workforce, we look at culture in some more depth. We brought together a panel for our Blue Door event in October 2020 that included:

Janine Chamberlin, Director, Enterprise Sales Talent Solutions at LinkedIn

Jon Conn, technology Director at RFU

Paul Jacquin, Partner, Board Member and Advisor, Taptrove Ventures and Randstad Innovation

Catherine Leaver, Human Resources Director at O2

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Three core areas to enable a dynamic workforce:

    • People: Freedom, flexibility and fulfilment: Re-imaging work in the age of the dynamic workforce
    • Places: Talent, tools and space: New workplace strategies for a dynamic working world
    • Technology: AI, automation and collaboration: Why tomorrow’s talent is human + digital

Our market research on The Future of Work: Dynamic working: the research

Episode 19: ‘The Future of Work: Technology, supporting the employee experience

From AI and boss bots, to the new job roles of tomorrow’s economy, this week we focus on how we need to look at the technology needs to help support the employee experience.

    • What tasks will we be using our virtual AI assistants to complete?
    • What will be the impact of ‘bot bosses’ as they start to displace middle management?
    • How do you manage and plan for the up-skill and re-skill needs for new types of job roles that are emerging?
    • What is the effect technology and Digital Talent will have on the green economy and a company’s sustainability credentials?

To discuss these, and more, we welcome back Dave Cornwell, Head of Solutions at O2.

Three core areas to enable a dynamic workforce:

    • People: Freedom, flexibility and fulfilment: Re-imaging work in the age of the dynamic workforce
    • Places: Talent, tools and space: New workplace strategies for a dynamic working world
    • Technology: AI, automation and collaboration: Why tomorrow’s talent is human + digital

Our market research on The Future of Work:

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This week’s guest:

Episode 18: ‘Future of work: People. Empowering your most valuable assets.’

Enabling freedom, flexibility and fulfilment to deliver better productivity.

This week, we welcome back Ant Morse, Head of Digital Solutions at O2 Business, to join me for another episode in our future of work series.

Last week we covered the topic of talent, tools and space: new workplace strategies for a dynamic working world. With that focus on the physicality of space, this week we move on to the core focus of People. So let’s begin to take a closer look at the opportunity to enable freedom, flexibility and fulfilment in the age of the dynamic workforce.

    • How practical is the notion of a four day week?
    • Do employees really know best?
    • What can HR teams do to accommodate the workers who want to return alongside those who want to continue working remotely?
    • What impact does a business’ working model have on recruitment and retention?

Access our Future of Work series whitepapers here:

Access our market research on The Future of Work:

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This week’s guests:

Episode 17: ‘Future of work: Places. How organisations are rethinking about where people are able to be their best’

This week, we welcome back Chris Early and Lucy Clayton, as they join me for another episode on our Future of Work series. We’ll be discussing our new white paper – Talent, Tools and Space: New workplace strategies for a dynamic working world.

    • What impact will flexibility have on the business?
    • From an operations perspective, how do you accommodate people who want to be in the office really early? Or potentially late at night?
    • What does that mean for utilities, energy, lighting?
    • What about the impact on sustainability?

Access our Future of Work series whitepapers here:

Access our market research on The Future of Work:

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This week’s guests:

Episode 16: ‘Smart investments – Technologies for a greener, connected and sustainable future’

This week we discuss sustainability. As our energy demands, goods consumption and population continue to grow, organisations are looking at the conscious changes they can make to take social responsibility for their impact to planet and community.

Our Blue Door Expo panel discusses the role that technology plays in supporting sustainable business models and the benefits this can deliver.

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This week’s guests:


Episode 15: ‘Data driven insights: finding the algorithm within’

This week we look at the topic of data. We consider what the right tools like, what true data driven insight can achieve, and the opportunity for individuals to understand the real value of their data.

It’s expected that every human on the planet will be creating approximately 1.7Mb of information every second. And with new low powered networks and IoT devices, that information will continue to grow. But just like the kitchen draw that collects unconnected ‘things’ how do you ensure you’re connecting the right data sets to tell a story that helps you define strategic and tactical actions?

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This week’s guests:

    • David Jones, Senior VP of IT at AEG
    • Chaminga Chandratillake, Chief Analytics Officer at Sainsbury’s
    • Louise Maynard-Atem, Innovation Specialist, Data Exchange at Experian
    • Davin Crowley-Sweet, Chief Data Officer at Highways England


Episode 14: ‘Cyber security: protection at what cost?’

This week we focus on the human aspect of cyber security.

It’s a topic that demands a careful balance – ensuring there is protection of an organisation’s data, people and things whilst minimising the impact to employees, customers and citizens who just want to be able to do what they need to do.

We listen to an expert panel from a Blue Door panel discussion held in October 2020. During it we discuss the key aspects of designing and developing a cyber-security approach that keeps people at its centre.

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This week’s guests:

This week’s discussion facilitated by:

Episode 13: ‘As offices open, what do employees and senior leaders really want?’

This week in our future of work series, we discuss some of the findings and analysis of a recent O2 Business survey that looks at how employee expectations have evolved during the pandemic.

With input from over 2,000 UK desk-based workers it looks at what the future for the office worker looks like as we start to open the doors of public and private sector buildings. We look at what’s needed from a culture and mindset to meet the changing expectations of employees. Plus, we’ll look at how the seven personas identified in the research provide an indication of how HR, Ops and IT will have a clear focus on defining new people, places and technology needs.

This week’s guests:

Episode 12: ‘Smart cities: what they mean for you’

This week we explore the key items from a panel discussion on the topic of Smart Cities.

    • What makes them work?
    • What needs to happen to make the smart city a reality?
    • What are the opportunities and pitfalls?
    • What effect has the pandemic had on Smart City progress?

This episode includes extracts from our Blue Door Expo panel session from October 2020. Want more?

This week’s guests:

Episode 11 – Embracing change: the opportunities from disruption

In another of our Future of Work series, this week looks at the pandemic’s impact on organisations, and the opportunities created from disruption.

At Blue Door Expo in October 2020, we put together a group panel discussion whose aim was to answer a number of key questions:

    • What effect did the forced changes have on organisations?
    • How did organisations adapt?
    • What has worked, what hasn’t?
    • What has it meant for recruitment?

O2 Business’ Katy Liddell facilitated the discussion, and started by asking Robert Gordon, CEO of Hitachi Capital, what effect the forced changes they had on the business.

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This week’s guests:

Episode 10 – Climate action: the journey to net-zero by 2025

This week we discuss climate action and the goal of net zero.

You may know about O2’s own commitment to achieve net zero in its own operations by 2025 announced in March 2020. This week I caught up with Tracey Herald, Head of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at O2, to find out more about our progress.

The discussion considered the changes that individual organisations can make, the importance of collaboration and partnerships, bringing your suppliers along on the net zero journey, as well as the effects of the pandemic on the targets already in place.

We kicked off with a fundamental question: What does ‘net-zero’ actually mean?

This week’s guest:

Episode 9 – Industries in evolution and a country in change with, British Sugar, Accel and Bell Research Labs

What part will new technologies play as we embrace this digitally connected era?

This week we consider the part that Industry 4.0, private networks, robotics, data analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and connectivity will all play in the evolution of traditional organisations as we embrace the digitally connected era.

We join a panel discussion with:

    • British digital retailer
    • The producer of about two-thirds of the UK’s quota of sugar British Sugar
    • Venture capital firm Accel
    • The industrial research arm of Nokia, Bell Research Labs

This week’s guests:

Episode 8 – Right tools, right person, right place

This week we join a panel discussion providing market insights and predictions from businesses that are creating the next evolution of devices, services, solutions and connectivity platforms – Nokia, Cisco, Microsoft and Samsung.

We consider how the way we connect with other people, devices, places and things continues to evolve, and what we’re expecting to see over the next five years.

 This week’s guests:

Episode 7 – Diversity and inclusivity: Representing every community you’re a part of

This episode is part of our ‘Lesson for Leaders series’, and looks at diversity and inclusivity, trust and reputation. During Blue Door Expo 2020, we brought together a panel of leaders to explore the corporate responsibility of every organisation to not only be fair and trustworthy, but to create an environment where every employee feels comfortable to be their whole selves, as well as providing representation and support to the communities they serve and are a part of.

This week’s guests:

Episode 6 – The workplace of the future and the need to embrace innovation

This week we continue our ‘Future of Work’ series. In this episode we take a closer look at the physical workplaces of the future, as well as how innovation and the approach to improving services is evolving.

We’re joined by Chris Early (from 14:09), Telefónica’s Estates and Development Manager, who explores how desk-based workers need for offices will evolve over the coming years.

And we’ll be talking with O2’s Head of Digital Solutions, Ant Morse (from 1:01), about the role that innovation plays in keeping businesses and brands relevant in the future.

This week’s guests:

    • Chris Early, Estates and Development Manager at Telefónica
    • Ant Morse, Head of Digital Solutions at O2

Episode 5 – Future of work: Digital workplaces and 5G private networks

This episode is our first in a series focused on the future of work. We talk to Dave Cornwell, Head of Solution Design at O2 about digital workplaces, including the tools and capabilities that are enabling today’s hybrid workforce to work from wherever they need to be.

We also hear from Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, who introduces the topics of Industry 4.0 and 5G Private Networks. Two topics that we’ll be exploring in more depth over the coming weeks.

This week’s guests include:

    • David Cornwell – Head of Solution Design at O2
    • Tommi Uitto – President of Mobile Networks at Nokia

Episode 4 – The value of strategic Partnerships – Paul Pomroy, CEO of McDonald’s UK&I

This week, O2 CEO Mark Evans is in conversation with CEO of McDonald’s UK and Ireland, Paul Pomroy. They were talking between the second and third lockdowns in the UK, and reflected on what it has meant to run an internationally recognised brand in 2020.

They discussed leadership, managing and motivating staff, adapting to new ways of working, the importance of strategic partnerships, adopting new technology, as well as about being ready for what comes next.

This week’s guests:

    • Mark Evans – CEO, O2
    • Paul Pomroy – CEO, McDonald’s UK and Ireland

Episode 3 – The mindset for developing high performance teams

In this week’s episode we join Eddie Jones, Men’s Head Coach at England Rugby and Mark Evans, CEO at O2 as they discuss the actions and mindset for developing high performance teams.

Eddie Jones’ reputation is legendary. He guided England to the 2019 Rugby World Cup final, having masterminded the 2016 Grand Slam and a second successive Guinness Six Nations title in the initial two seasons of his six-year contract. In October, he led England to Six Nations victory once again, in this uplifting though fragmented tournament.

O2’s CEO, Mark Evans, met up with Eddie at England Rugby’s training home at Pennyhill Park, in Surrey. Their discussion recorded in October 2020 spanned rugby, leadership and the business lessons that can be taken from the world of sport.

Episode 2 – Building back a stronger Britain

5 pillars to build back a stronger Britain and Blue Door Award winner ENABLE Scotland 

In this week’s episode, you can hear Jo Bertram, Managing Director at O2 Business, share her thoughts on five pillars that will support the recovery and re-imagining of business in Britain.

We’re also showcasing one of our Blue Door Award winners as we talk to Sudeep Chaterjee from ENABLE Scotland, an organisation whose mobile-first approach has transformed communication and engagement, further enhancing the quality of their care to more than 1,000 disabled people they support across Scotland.

This week’s guests:

    • Jo Bertram – Managing Director of O2 Business
    • Sudeep Chaterjee – Director of Group Technology for ENABLE Scotland

Episode 1 – Driving innovation; maintaining relevance in a world of digital noise

This week’s episode focuses on innovation, not just for the sake of trying new things out, but innovation for the sake of survival. 

Consumer attitudes are changing at an accelerated pace. Access to information, insights and opinions has never been so easy or quick. Social platforms can amplify a voice with just a few clicks. The need to maintain relevance in a crowded digital world has never been more important. 

Our panel discussion from the Blue Door Expo looks at the challenges being met by industries from retail, finance and high street businesses through to public sector and infrastructure organisations. 

Our panel comprised of: 

    • Simon Reed, Head of IT Service & Operations, Suffolk County Council 
    • Andy Burton, CTO of The Very Group 
    • Louise Hunter, Corporate Affairs & Marketing Director at Northumbrian Water Group 
    • Phil Scully, CIO, Costa Coffee 
    • Karl Liriano, Head of Innovation, strategy and architecture at O2 

Preview episode – How we turned Blue Door Expo 2020 into a virtual event

In this first, preview episode of the Blue Door Podcast, we look at how we turned our annual Blue Door Expo into a virtual event in 2020, and discuss the background to some of the technology that we used. 

The Blue Door Conference is one of the highlights of O2’s business calendar, bringing together around 700 attendees from businesses around the UK to discuss the topics that spark debate, encourage creative solutions to complex situations, and prepare for a future that embraces change. 

This annual event is normally held at The O2 in North Greenwich, which left us with a challenge for 2020. Could we recreate the experience of The O2 in a new, online digital platform? 

Host Danny Hicks talks with Stuart Warrington from Superla, the company who we partnered with to develop Blue Door Expo 2020. 

Series links – Blue Door Podcast

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