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Behind the Scenes at Whitelee Windfarm

The day started off at 8am sharp with a visit to Whitelee Windfarm for a behind the scenes tour with Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.  We met at the visitors centre high on Eaglesham moor overlooking Glasgow to the South.

Considering it’s the Easter break there was a good crowd hungry to find out all about the towering turbines that dominate the skyline (you can even see them clearly as you walk down Buchanan Street). First of all we were bused out to meet engineers on-site in the shadow of turbine 72 (extremely tall when you stand underneath one of them) and heard first hand how the turbines and the windfarm operates – here come the factoids:

  • They are stabilised underground by 8m of concrete, which is attached to bedrock
  • From base to tip of blade, they stand 145ft tall
  • They are in use for approx. 98% of the time
  • Whitelee until recently was Europe’s biggest windfarm
  • The site has 140km of road which is floated on the extensive peat bog
  • The farm generates enough electricity for 300,000 homes
  • The turbines automatically rotate and blades angle depending on the direction and speed of the wind
  • Whitelee is opening a purpose built public mountain bike track in May

When I left home at 7.30am the morning was quite pleasant but high on the moor it was a different story, it felt pretty arctic and extremely windy, a very good location for the turbines – trust me!

It was very interesting but we were all glad to head back indoors after our tour for a welcomed coffee, bacon roll and some good networking.

…I’m sure there are many more ‘geekie’ facts and lots of fun stuff to see and do at the visitors centre and farm so best get your boots and jacket on and go and explore for yourself. It offers fantastic panoramic views across the central belt, north up Loch Lomond and south and west down the Ayrshire coast – excellent photo opportunities. Below are a few pictures I’ve taken during recent visits.

Thanks to Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, Siemens and ScottishPower Renewables for a great event and insight into something that is ever increasing in our landscape.

Photographs by Julian Westaby

Humans and Computers

At the recent April Communications Breakfast, which marked the event’s 3rd Birthday we were joined by guest speaker Douglas McGarrie of IBM.

Douglas, IBM’s CTO and Technical Leader in Scotland covered the subject ‘Humans and Computers’.  Computer systems are now being developed to interact with human beings in new and interesting ways and we wanted to find out how.  This new technology is known as ‘Cognitive Computing’ – which is about a machine using techniques so it can ‘think’ like humans and understand natural language.  Because computers can cope with human complexities this enables people to make better decisions in areas such as health, education and finance.

Douglas then explained that IBM has developed it’s own cognitive computing system called ‘Watson’, which was recently put to the test on the US game show ‘Jeopardy!’ Watson was pitched against two serial quizmasters who have a track record on the game show and it was able to beat both of them because it thought and behaved like a human brain – “scary thought!”

There are several examples of how these systems are being applied to real world situations and across many industries, and Douglas had a couple of intriguing videos on hand to demonstrate this.

It’s a very exciting new world of technology and is a far step from ‘Programmatic Computing’ – traditional IT we have all come to know and use over the last few decades.

Given Douglas has spent time in leading technology countries such as the US we really did get the latest ‘low down’ on this new emerging world of cognitive computing that we can all benefit from in the years to come.

Find out more about Watson

Thank you to everyone who completed our survey during the event, we have had some great suggestions for future topics and we will publish your feedback soon.  Congratulations to Lynne Last of National Australia Group who won the champagne in the prize draw – Cheers!

Pictures courtesy of Great Scot photography

Are you fully leveraging your LinkedIn network?

If you’ve invested time in setting up a LinkedIn profile then you want to make sure that you optimise your chances of gaining the best possible advantage from the network you build on the platform don’t you?

I hear you say “The obvious answer is yes” but you’d be surprised at the number of people who undermine their profile and online standing at the first hurdle!

Let me expand a little, to do this I need to provide you with some hard facts:

Monthly Invites

Last month I received 39 LinkedIn invitations to connect and, as I advise during my LinkedIn training sessions, I am discretionary about the invites I am prepared to accept.  I have broken down the 39 invites into categories in the chart below.

LinkedIn-1

Default Invite

Of the 18 default invites received I only accepted 2, which is just over 11%.  The senders are in the same locale, we share mutual connections and we can all hit connect button in error. Therefore, I gave these 2 people the benefit of the doubt and accepted their invite to connect.

Done Business With

I accepted 100% of the invites from people who said they had done business with me – because they had and very recently. These invites came from people who have attended my LinkedIn for Business training course.  I am glad to say that my advice hadn’t fallen on deaf ears and they were well crafted and personalised invitations.

Friend

I accepted 50% of the ‘Friend’ invites because half of them came from people I have a connection to, however I have followed them up with a few tips on how to use LinkedIn to prompt their future endeavours to be more personalised – after all that’s what you do for friends isn’t it!

It doesn’t take much to greatly increase the chances of your connection invites being warmly received:

Personalise Your Invite

As is evident from the figures above the majority of people just don’t do this.

Handing over the initiative to the recipient is a risky strategy. Hoping that the potential connection will recognise your name or connect on blind faith alone is a sure fire route to undermining your digital profile and online standing.

The fact that so few people personalise their invites means that when you do you will stand out from the crowd.

Adding a personal note on every single connection request will massively increase your chance of building your network in a credible and likable way.  It’s very refreshing to receive an invite that someone has so obviously taken the time to tailor specifically for you.  This tip isn’t just about being unique, it’s also about building rapport and engagement. By doing this you make it easy for the person you’d like to connect with to accept your invite.

LinkedIn-2

Be Explicit

LinkedIn only allows 300 characters in an initial invite, so always be succinct.  Be clear about how you are linked no matter how tenuous, is it via:

  • Work
  • Colleague
  • Follow them on Twitter/Blog
  • Met at a networking event
  • Friend
  • Shared connections
  • LinkedIn Group

LinkedIn-3

Let them know why you want to engage, this is more relevant if you have never interacted with the person. If you go the extra mile to explain how you have found them and why you think they are interesting the person on the other end of the request will want to connect with you.

If you want to optimise your profile and grow your network to leverage LinkedIn to your best benefit come on our LinkedIn for Business training course where you will learn how to:

  • Generate more leads
  • Increase customer share
  • Engage targeted industry professionals
  • Build credibility
  • Research specific market sectors
  • By-pass the gate keeper

More information about our courses is available here