One look at Jed Cawthorne's presence on social media and it will become quickly clear: his interests spread much farther than new digital workplace trends or the latest information management debate. Whether it be military tactics, fencing, space exploration or Star Wars, Cawthorne brings an enthusiasm and curiosity to all subjects, which includes his contributions to this site.

When not serving as director of business technology strategy and knowledge management for one of North America's top 10 banks, Cawthorne is an active AIIM member, a valued speaker and moderator at industry conferences, and always looking to improve his fencing parries.

'Not All Organizations Can Be Cutting Edge'

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

My team built a system on a new platform they had not worked with before, in a very, very short time from being informed of the need, to the go live date. They did a fantastic job, as did the enterprise technology team that provides the platform and supported our learning. Personally, if I had not had my network of colleagues and contacts we would not known that the platform we used was even an option, so for me it's a great example of networking in a large organization.

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

I have been doing a lot of soft skills work with my team, using tools like Strengths Finder 2.0 and 16 Personalities. I guess we might considered these to be unrelated to the deep technical skills we use day in day out, and it has helped building up their knowledge of how to work together, how to work in bigger collaborative groups across our division, and how to maximize their own strengths when dealing with others

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

I would like to see some acknowledgement that not all organizations can be cutting edge. For every digital workplace that has Amazon Alexa Skills, for every deployment of sophisticated chatbots, and for every organization that can go all in on Office 365, there are countless more that cannot; due to regulatory frameworks, due to the inability to make employees put apps' on their own phones, or due to the nature of an organizations business.  We need to have conversations about helping and enabling the organization, that for whatever reason, lag behind the technology curve.

Learning Opportunities

What trend or story will you be following in 2018?

The continued development of conversational user interfaces aka chatbots. This has been a big interest for me in the last quarter of 2017 as the technology matures, and is definitely something I will be watching with interest in the new year.

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

Don't take unsolicited advice from 50 year olds!

Speed round!

  1. Name one tech trend you got wrong. Linux on the desktop! Although as more services move to the network / cloud, perhaps ...
  2. If you could switch places with someone else for a day, who would it be? Elon Musk.
  3. What one song always puts you in a good mood? "Promised You a Miracle" by Simple Minds.