Nottingham Building Society CIO Jack Cutts explained how changing the culture of the organisation through updated working environments and gamification helped the Nottingham become more modern and relevant for its customers.

Cutts was speaking at the Computerworld UK event Using Technology to Drive Workplace Transformation at Lord's Cricket Ground in London last week, on a panel which featured fellow CIO 100 members Martin Carpenter of the Peabody Trust and former Encore Tickets CIO Chily Fachler, along with CIO UK columnist Matt Ballantine.

Cutts said: "In the middle of 2011 we needed to move head office buildings. Communications had been an issue for us, with three separate buildings and staff spending 15 minutes walking to meetings, and we needed to be more efficient."

IT director since August 2006, Cutts said that he took control of the move having drawn out a plan of how he wanted the building society to look and how he wanted its staff to work. Cutts quipped the IT department wante to know what new toys they could sneak into the budget without anyone noticing, it was the CIO's job to envision the future working conditions of the organisation.

"We came out of the recession stronger than we went into it because we invested in people and strategy and moved on as an organisation during that period," Cutts said.

"But we needed to be a modern, effective building society, and more relevant to our customers, the market and our members."


Cutts said that aside from three executive directors, the building society got rid of individual offices altogether in favour of more flexible space, and made the move towards paperless meetings and a more digital culture by incentivising staff to steer clear of printers unless absolutely necessary.

"I hate people printing things off, I detest it," Cutts said. "All senior managers now have iPads. We set up a league table, and now you are ridiculed for taking paper into a meeting."

Cutts said that the system was gamified so that an individual's security card, which acts as their printing pass, was linked to a report of how many trees had been felled and a member of staff's environmental footprint.

The CIO and design technology

Cutts also said that in taking ownership of the project and looking at all aspects of design and working environments, his role moved far outside the realms of 'traditional IT'.

He outlined the example of water taps that dispense chilled water or boiling water for hot drinks.

"With around 200 people at our head office, we think we're getting the equivalent of about an extra 10 people a year just with instant boiled or chilled water taps," he said.

"It's not just about IT, it's also about design technology. Moving into a new space let's you reimagine everything about how you want your organisation to work."

Cutts closed his discussion on workplace transformation on the importance not making a separation between IT and the business. He said that rather than having customers, his department has colleagues in other roles that they don't want to let down, which has led to the technology department regarded highly by the mutual.

"IT satisfaction is marked over five categories out of 10 every three months," Cutts said. "And at the moment we're averaging 9.4 in helpfulness."