Speaker Interview: Dr. Nicola Millard
Get to know the thought leaders sharing their insights at the Future Work Scenarios event (12 May, London) in our dedicated speaker interview series.
Independent Forums: What are you currently reading?
Dr. Nicola Millard: I generally have a fiction and a non-fiction book going at the same time. Currently I’ve got ‘Women Talking’ by Miriam Toews (soon to be a movie – can’t wait) and Lynda Gratton’s ‘Redesigning Work’ on the go.
Independent Forums: What is your favourite way to recharge?
Dr. Nicola Millard: I love sitting in darkened rooms watching a good movie or a great piece of theatre.
Independent Forums: Who or what has inspired you this year and why?
Dr. Nicola Millard: I’ve been following the ‘West End Understudies’ account on Twitter. It lists all the swings and covers who are on that evening in London’s glittering West End. I watch amazed at the talent and enthusiasm of these young people who are often covering multiple roles in a production and may have to swing into action at a moment’s notice (sometimes mid-performance). They get very little credit, but they are surely superhuman (especially since many hold down better paid jobs like programming and auditing during the day).
Independent Forums: What is your biggest source of motivation?
Dr. Nicola Millard: Apart from chocolate, I love to be curious about the world. I love discovering new things and getting my teeth into thorny issues with no obvious answers (which is why hybrid working is so fascinating).
Independent Forums: How would you describe a typical day?
Dr. Nicola Millard: I don’t have a typical day. That’s why I love my job! I could be talking to a local government authority in the morning and a large global bank in the afternoon – and they often have a lot more in common that you might think.
Independent Forums: What’s one thing about you that most people don’t know?
Dr. Nicola Millard: I’m (very distantly) related to the Australian outlaw Ned Kelly. There’s an uncanny resemblance if you put a bucket on my head!
Independent Forums: What’s one thing about your organisation that you wish more people knew?
Dr. Nicola Millard: That we do a lot of research and innovation. People just think BT is a boring old telephone company, that’s a long way from the truth!
Independent Forums: What habit have you picked up during the pandemic that you will maintain in future?
Dr. Nicola Millard: I have learned how to cook (I make a great gluten free chocolate brownie) and I always take a good, long walk every day (even if it is pouring with rain) - mostly to offset the effect of eating too many home cooked chocolate brownies.
Independent Forums: How has your perception about the world of work evolved over the past two years?
Dr. Nicola Millard: I am certainly challenging the need to travel a lot more. I once flew to Hong Kong for a 30-minute presentation. There is no way that I would do that now, especially since we’ve discovered that virtual presentations can work pretty well. The big bonus is that my carbon footprint (and work-life balance) has got a lot better in the past couple of years.
Independent Forums: Where do you see the biggest opportunity to transform the way we work?
Dr. Nicola Millard: I think we’ve learned that work can be rapidly redesigned when there is a crisis. A crisis is an amazing catalyst – but we can’t lurch from crisis to crisis, as that would be exhausting. I think we have an opportunity to take a good, long, hard look at work and redesign it to make it resilient as well as making it work better for people, productivity, and the planet.
Independent Forums: What are you most looking forward to at Future Work Scenarios 2022?
Dr. Nicola Millard: This is such a fertile area for conversations and discussions – so I am looking forward to having some great ones with some fascinating and brilliant people.
Dr. Nicola Millard will deliver a fascinating talk entitled 'From Automation to Zedonks: the forces shaping the future of work' at the Future Work Scenarios event on 12 May in London.
Register here to join the discussion.