In this episode, Jürgen talks about automation- how can we automate repeating tasks, so that we free up our time to do other, more creative things; things that we can’t delegate to software. I love checklists (as you can do with Workflowy or Process.st) for making sure that repeat processes are well documented and always carried out consistently. The next level of that, is automation. Listen to the podcast to find out the details.
Listen to the Podcast
Hi, I'm Jürgen Strauss from Innovabiz. Welcome to Episode No 53 of the InnovaBuzz Podcast - designed to help smart businesses with an interest in innovation become even more innovative.
Some of my highlights for this week have been moving into a new office area, and switching to a sit-stand desk. I’ve wanted to do that for some time and now have taken action. It’s still quite unusual, standing at the keyboard and monitor for most of the day, but actually I really like it already. As well as that, I’ve rearranged the workstation to face a west facing window, so that I have natural light on my face, making video recording much easier. The window has a vertical shutter which helps me manage the glare. It’s worked out really well.
I wanted to talk a little about automation today. How can we automate repeating tasks, so that we free up our time to do other, more creative things; things that we can’t delegate to software. You probably know that I love checklists (as you can do with Workflowy or Process.st) for making sure that repeat processes are well documented and always carried out consistently. The next level of that, is automation.
One of my all time favourite automation tools is Zapier. Zapier is a software service that allows you to easily connect web apps so that repetitive tasks can be automated. For example, one thing we do with Zapier, is that whenever a blog post gets published to the Innovabiz blog, that action triggers a Zap (the programs you build in Zapier are called Zaps), that posts that blog post to a variety of digital media channels, at different times and sometimes, as in the case of Twitter, posts it repeatedly, at different times of the day, so that different audiences might see it.
There are literally hundreds of apps that Zapier can connect, from the G-Suite of apps, to all the social media apps to email marketing apps, CRM apps, Todo apps, project management apps and many more.
I’ll be talking a lot more about automation and how we use Zapier in future podcasts.
Another automation tool that I really like is IFTT (short for If This Then That), which can connect many, although much fewer of the apps that Zapier connects to. One thing that IFTT excels at is connecting apps with some physical devices. For example, IFTT turns off the wifi on my mobile phone when I leave home or a designated office wifi area, thereby saving my battery. It can mute the phone at bedtime, automatically of course. It can trigger a text message or email message be sent to you if you miss a call. There are also other physical devices that IFTT connects to. One example, is that certain light switches can be turned on or off depending on the trigger (such as time or other event).
These tools can help turn a well structured process in your business, into an automated sequence of events based on certain triggers. That way, the people in the business can spend their time on more innovative things, creating new ideas and systemising even more of the business processes.
Another automation tool that I began using recently is my new artificial intelligence personal assistant Amy. Amy schedules meetings for me. What usually happens with meetings is that I’ll send (my imaginary friend Scott) an email, can we meet on Tuesday at 1pm. Scott will reply, no, I can’t do Tuesday at 1 pm, but I can do Wednesday at 9am. I’ll come back, no, that won’t work for me, and so it goes on! Amy will take all that off my hands, all I do is tell Amy: schedule a meeting with Scott next week. She’ll then offer Scott some times to pick from that work for me, and if needed, respond with alternative times until a mutually convenient time is found. Much quicker for everyone.
Of course, recently I had someone then ask Amy: “hey, can we use GoToMeeting instead of Google Hangouts?” to which Amy replied “I don’t understand the question, I’ll get Jürgen to discuss with you?” When I explained to that person that Amy was artificial intelligence and not a real person, he laughed and responded with “ah, that explains it. I thought she’s not the sharpest tool in the shed!”. But he did agree that it was a really neat tool, that saved everyone time. So, for those of you who schedule meetings with me via email, you’ll soon get to “meet” Amy!
Well, that’s all for this week. I do have some exciting news to share with you soon, but can’t let the cat out of the bag yet. Just visit one of the links in the shownotes, you may get a clue for what the big news is!
I hope you enjoyed this episode and that there was something of value there for you.
All the show notes for this episode will be at innovabiz.com.au/53, that is the numbers 53, innovabiz.com.au/53, there you’ll find the links and everything we spoke about in this episode .
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Until next time, I’m Jürgen Strauss from Innovabiz.
Remember, if you don’t innovate, you stagnate, so think big, be adventurous and keep innovating!