Intelligent Head Quarters http://www.intelligenthq.com Business intelligence innovation network for growth education change Mon, 01 Sep 2014 17:34:54 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/intelligenthq-series-on-social-entrepreneurship-foundations-part-2/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/intelligenthq-series-on-social-entrepreneurship-foundations-part-2/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 06:00:20 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43255 Skoll foundation

The Skoll Foundation

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Skoll foundation
Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Skoll Foundation

Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Skoll Foundation

The Skoll Foundation

The Skoll Foundation is one of the leading organisations in driving social entrepreneurship forward for the benefit of all. The foundation was set up by former president of eBay, Jeff Skoll in 1999 with a view to pursuing peace and prosperity in a sustainable world. This is achieved by supporting social entrepreneurs that create innovations that improve the world for the better. The Skoll Foundation works to help these entrepreneurs extend their reach as well as strengthen their impact and improve society as a whole.  To date the organisation has awarded $413 million which has comprised investments to 87 organisations and 108 social entrepreneurs. The money has gone to five continents. Within four years of the organisation’s launch it had already brokered a partnership with Oxford University’s Said Business School to set up an academic centre focused on education in social entrepreneurship.

The Skoll Foundation has an admirable mission and values and knowing what these are helps to understand the thoughts and concepts that sit at the heart of the organisation. Its mission is:

“The Skoll Foundation drives large scale change by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs and the innovators who help them solve the world’s most pressing problems”.

Its values include seeking leverage to achieve a “whole lot of good” from its investments of time and resources. They also include respect for the individual and community, individual and collective responsibility, tough-minded optimism and innovation within the organisation as well as in the social entrepreneurs assisted.

The organisation’s approach seeks to cultivate the social entrepreneurs that have the potential for a high level of success. The organisations and entrepreneurs that are supported by the Skoll Foundation are those that are able to create large scale change with difficult social problems. It is the belief of the Skoll Foundation that timing is very important in driving this change, and they look for what they call an “inflection point” which is the moment when changes that are made by social entrepreneurs can lead to an outsized impact. Consequently, the organisation uses a 4-I model. The four Is are: Issue, Innovation, Inflection Point and Impact Potential. All of these areas are assessed and evaluated when considering supporting a particular social entrepreneur.

Financial resources are at the core of the support that is provided to further social entrepreneurship.

Grants and Other Financial Opportunities

The organisation uses grants, equity, debt and various other financial instruments to drive change. One grant offered is the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship. Change areas that have benefitted from this particular grant include issues such as deforestation, education, healthcare access and treatment, smallholder productivity, food security, sustainable markets and sanitation. However, the money is not given to just anyone. As Skolll explains:

“Skoll social entrepreneurs are innovators who have developed, tested and proven their approach”.

Consequently the Skoll Awards are not for programmes that are very new or at an early stage. They are for those that have proven chances of significant success. Indeed one criterion is that applicants need to have a track record of at least three years with demonstrable results that are documented. The Skoll Foundation assesses this and then partners with the organisation or entrepreneur to replicate or scale their impact. Another option is Program Related Investments (PRIs). These offer social entrepreneurs capital at rates that are below the market with a goal of furthering a charitable purpose.

The Skoll World Forum

The Skoll Foundation is as well behind the Skoll world forum, a yearly event that assembles more than 1,000 distinguished delegates from the social, finance, private and public sectors to convene in Oxford for three intensive days and nights of critical debates, lectures and work sessions concerning ways to innovate accelerate and scale the best solutions to social challenges.

The following video, called “Dare to Image” resulted from the latest Skoll Forum. In it various people tried to imagine how the world will  look like in 50 years and brainstorm ideas on what to do.

Work in specific areas

The Skoll Foundation has some specific areas of focus. Deforestation is one important one and the goal is to slow it down or stop it as far as possible by focusing on policy or market and community approaches. Providing opportunity to people to enhance their economic status is another. Making sure that aid is more accountable and transparent and that it can really bring about development that is sustainable is another. Projects that seek to provide access to healthcare to those that do not have good access is an important goal. Water management transformation for people and agriculture is another focus area that is important to the Skoll Foundation. Promotion of peace is another. By targeting these areas, among others, the Skoll Foundation has the capability by working with social entrepreneurs to bring about large scale transformational change in people’s lives, bettering their situation permanently.

 

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Move On From A Relationship Gone Sour At Work http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/move-on-from-a-relationship-gone-sour/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/move-on-from-a-relationship-gone-sour/#comments Sun, 31 Aug 2014 06:00:59 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43247 sour relationship

Move on from a relationship gone sour Relationships are often difficult in all areas of life, not just at home. In fact, working relationships can be among the most difficult relationships of all. Working relationships …

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Move on from a relationship gone sour

Move on from a relationship gone sour

Move on from a relationship gone sour

Relationships are often difficult in all areas of life, not just at home. In fact, working relationships can be among the most difficult relationships of all. Working relationships between people can become frazzled especially with the problems that we face in the work place every day. The continual stresses and challenges can add up and cause pressure that leads to relationships going awry. This can lead to working relationships turning sour in some cases. In other cases, working relationships may be difficult from the get go. However, turning this around is important for effective functioning at work.

Having good relationships at work means that you will be more productive. That makes it important to try to turn negative relationships around into a more positive situation. Writing for the Harvard Business Review, Amy Gallo (2014) suggests that it is often easier to simply ignore the problem and bury your head in the sand rather than dealing with a difficult problem head on. Commonly people will try to avoid the issue rather than end up in a confrontational situation. However, it doesn’t have to be that way.  And dealing with the situation can generate many benefits that make it worthwhile to address the problems.

Amy Gallo explains that there are different kinds of relationship problems. Some relationships are simply non-existent, and Gallo argues that this can occur when people are in a rut. These are called “over-competent” relationships, and in this situation often people do not get past a “Hi, how are you doing?” However, the other side of the poor relationship at work scale is characterised by people having continual problems with one another, with either one or both sides feeling as if they are walking on eggshells (Gallo, 2014). These relationships are classified as “over challenged”. Understanding exactly what is happening can help to enable the individuals in the poor working relationship to address the situation. Gallo argues that in some cases people do not share information with each other, or alternatively they keep track of the wrongs that the other has done.

Amy Gallo offers some steps that can be taken to put the working relationship back on course. One is losing the idea that you are always right. Gallo says:

“When you’re hooked on the idea that you’re right you can’t start to repair the relationship because the issue of who is at fault becomes a distraction”.

The advice given when you feel sure that the other person is wrong is to imagine that person with a sign on them that says “I am wrong”. This allows you to move forward, and lets you feel as if you are right without taking it out on the other person. Another good piece of advice offered up by Gallo is that people need to face the future rather than going over every problem that ever occurred and getting angry about it. Of course this advice is given for all kinds of relationships. The problem is that if you focus on the bad things that the person did in the past, in your eye, you will find that the issue grows and becomes more challenging to deal with. It is better to let the past go and focus on a positive and productive future.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Gallo offers up empathy as another solution. Being able to see the other person’s point of view and understanding why that person feels that way is important to being able to build any kinds of relationships. Understanding what guides those feelings and perceptions in that person is helpful in being able to truly understand them. Additionally, getting away from each other’s territory in the office is also recommended as a way to break the ice. Indeed, Gallo suggests going for a coffee or out for lunch to discuss matters of mutual interest, such as a shared goal. This can help to break down some of the barriers that may exist as well as looking to the ways in which you might work more positively together in the future.

Finally, when working on rebuilding the relationship it is better to show people your intent than tell them. If they see that you are genuine and you do what you say you will, trust will start to build between the pair of you.

Additional resource : infographic on improving wellness at work

Infographic done by http://www.confessionsoftheprofessions.com/

Infographic done by http://www.confessionsoftheprofessions.com/

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The Promising 3.0 World of Ethereum http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/the-promising-3-0-world-of-ethereum/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/the-promising-3-0-world-of-ethereum/#comments Sat, 30 Aug 2014 06:00:16 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43240 The Promising 3.0 World of Ethereum Intelligenthq

Ethereum is a revolutionary concept that is being developed by a 19 year old hacker, named Vitalik Buterin, and it is set to transform a number of different facets of the way in which we …

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The Promising 3.0 World of Ethereum Intelligenthq
The Promising 3.0  World of Ethereum Intelligenthq

The Promising 3.0 World of Ethereum Intelligenthq

Ethereum is a revolutionary concept that is being developed by a 19 year old hacker, named Vitalik Buterin, and it is set to transform a number of different facets of the way in which we do things, according to its founder. At its most basic level, Ethereum is described on its website as being:

“A platform and a programming language that makes it possible for any developer to build and publish next generation distributed applications”.

Ethereum uses “Ether” described as its “cryptofuel” to power the applications that are built on this decentralised network. It is explained by the company’s website that Ethereum could be used for codifying, decentralising, securing and trading anything. Examples that are given include voting, domain names, financial exchanges, crowdfunding, company governance, contracts, intellectual property and smart property. Ethereum uses “Ether” as the payment type. This is a unit of currency like bit coin. This is divided down into smaller units of currency. The names of the different units are finney, szabo, babbage, lovelace and wei. One ether is the equivalent of 1000 finney, and 1000 szabo makes one finney, and so on. The vision of the currency was outlined by Vitalik Buterin and associates in 2013 and early 2014, and it is anticipated that the currency will be released later on this year, or early in 2015.

As explained by Klint Finley of Wired (2014) Ethereum is different from the other cryptocurrencies. In an interview given to Finley, Buterin sees Ethereum as being:

“An online service that lets you build practically anything in the image of bitcoin and run it across a worldwide network of machines”.

Further, while today it is considered to be a platform that stores money and moves this around, according to Finley, Buterin sees it as a system that can be used to develop all kinds of other systems in the future, such as social networks, data storage systems and securities markets. Ethereum is a platform that makes it possible for any developer to write and distribute next-generation decentralized applications.Borrowing the concept of distributed consensus and cryptographic proof that makes cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin so effective in trustless payments, Ethereum extends the use of these technologies to trustless agreements. This allows developers to easily build innovative new product.

In terms of its functionality, the system could use so-called “smart contracts” which would be able to distribute funds according to agreements. Financial tools on the platform could include joint savings accounts, financial exchange markets or trust funds. The goal is to design the software in such a way that no one is able to cheat it (Finley, 2014).

Buterin’s visionary ideas about Ethereum came to him in 2013 when bitcoin prices went through the roof. At that point Buterin decided to leave university and he spent his time after that travelling around the world, going to various bitcoin meetups and getting involved in open source projects, all of which eventually led to the development of Ethereum. The concept behind this Ethereum approach is that most services currently are centralized and people have to rust those that are running them. Examples provided of this are when you post pictures on Facebook, and when you put money in the bank. However, this trust is often misguided, and the model does not always work. However, with Ethereum the idea is that users do not need to trust developers with any personal information or funds. It addresses the trust issue and provides the opportunity for new types of applications to be developed that had not been conceived of in the past.

In the following video, Buterin explains what ethereum is:

Ethereum has also been described as a publishing platform that is decentralised. However, it is more than that. It is considered to be a network for providing power to Ethereum based contracts. There are some challenges that are anticipated at the outset, and Finley explains that Buterin and his associates are aware of these. There are concerns that “the Ethereum blockchain will quickly grow to an unwieldy size if it gains widespread use”. Additionally security is thought to be a concern at the current time. For obvious reasons Buterin and his team want to get the security right, and for this reason it is explained by Finley that currently the organisation is launching a test network ahead of rolling out the end version. It is anticipated that there will be a lot of bugs at the start. Nonetheless, the project is exciting and could bring sweeping changes to all kinds of different areas. Buterin was recently awarded a USD 100,00 grant awarded by the venture capitalist and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel fellowship program, just to develop the Ethereum project.

Ethereum’s ultimate proposal that is that its users will be in control and not the government or big companies, explains Finley, which is very appealing scenario to many. It will be fascinating to see how this all plays out.

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Guide to “Good” Investing http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/guide-to-good-investing/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/guide-to-good-investing/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 06:00:45 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43208 good investing

What is Impact Investing and how to implement it

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Guide to "Good" Investing Intelligenthq

Guide to “Good” Investing Intelligenthq

Investors are becoming more socially aware and this is a very positive step, leading to their ability to be able to make what one could call as supposedly ‘good’ investments. But to understand precisely how to do this, to drive positive change, can be quite challenging for people and companies, and really measuring social and environmental impact alongside return on investments financially can be almost impossible. This is a subject explored by Cathy Clark (2014) in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Good investing, argues Clark, involves quite simply investing money with a view to achieving not only a financial return but also a social impact.

Primarily, Cathy Clark recommends a book called The Power of Impact Investing, written by Judith Rodin and Margot Brandenburg.  The book is based on a major effort that was undertaken to drive a new investment movement, and the book is focused on trying to get people involved in that effort by understanding why as well as how investing should be ‘good’. The emphasis is on the use of investment by third parties (not government or philanthropists) to be able to solve both social and environmental problems. It also reviews the challenges faced in trying to invest in places like Southeast Asia and Latin America and how learnings from investing in different places can be used to assist with challenges in completely different places.

The book starts by citing the experience of Ron Cordes, that having built a successful investment services fund in the US, sold it in 2006 by 230 million dollars, having decided to contribute to Society, by setting up a Foundation. After a while he realized that his approach to philanthropy had to change, as he aimed to see more results. He decided to tackle social and environmental challenges with the same strategies as he had used in his entrepreneurship: by seeking solutions that would be self sustaining and replicable. He became aware that more was achieved if he would put the funds into innovative social entreprises being developed by others. Cordes gave a talk in a TEDx event, explaining his process, and his story can be seen as an example of Impact Investing.

What is Impact Investing

Impact investing is defined as a form of socially responsible investing that can serve as a guide for various investment strategies. According to the definition of the Global Impact Investing Network :

“Impact investments are investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate a measurable, beneficial social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. Impact investments can be made in both emerging and developed markets, and target a range of returns from below-market to above-market rates, depending upon the circumstances.”

Impact Investing can be defined as well in a more straightforward way as: “investments that intend financial returns and social and environmental benefits.”  

Five Steps leading you to make “Good Investments”

The Good Investor provides excellent advice on how to carry out the practice of ‘good’ investment. This is offered in a step by step approach that enables investors to be able to handle the situation in such a way that they really offer impact investing. At the outset it is recommended that:

“Investors in the early stages of setting up a fund will need to spend a little time thinking about what they want to achieve through their investments, and about their mission, focus and approach”.

This means looking at the types of sectors to target and the kinds of groups that the investor wants to benefit. It also means consideration should be paid to the direct impact on beneficiaries as well as the wider impact on communities and society as a whole. Carrying out this research means understanding what the true impact of the investment will be and making sure that it really helps the beneficiaries without doing damage in some way to other stakeholders. Following the planning stage, The Good Investor advocates screening and mapping to make sure that applicants for the investment are able to understand what they need to do to make a successful application. This requires a focus on looking at whether organisations have a well-developed mission, how much impact will be created, and what the governance is like. Potential profits also need to be examined and a transparent approach is necessary.

Following this it is argued that an Impact Analysis should be carried out. This requires looking at risk to understand how likely it is that the desired impact will be achieved. This requires examining areas such as feasibility and whether or not the applicant has a compelling and evidenced approach. It requires developing an impact plan to understand how impact will be generated. In particular when looking at impact generation, The Good Investor recommends exploring the direct impact on beneficiaries, the wider impact on the community, the sector and society at large and the impact for the investor, since the investment does also have to be beneficial for the latter too. The investor may be able to assist with delivering impact if they have a network or expertise that can add value, so this should also be considered.

The third step is making the investment decision and arriving at a deal. The Good Investor argues that this involves “Weighing the four parameters of impact risk, impact generation, financial risk and financial return”.

Coming to an investment deal meanwhile requires developing objectives, understanding how oversight and reporting will be achieved and developing measures for protection. Once the deal is set up it has to be monitored and evaluated and this is the fourth step. This helps the investor to understand if the investment is achieving its goals or not. It requires the investor to monitor both the reporting and the quality of information provided, as well as verifying any results and considering how the investment is likely to perform in the future.

Finally, the fifth step is impact investor reporting where true picture of results is provided to the investor. Following a robust process of which due diligence is a part is likely to be very beneficial for good investing and it is recommended to follow this process.

Additional resource: Infographic by Intelligenthq on the five steps for a “good” investment.

Infographic done by Maria Fonseca Intelligenthq

Infographic done by Maria Fonseca Intelligenthq

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Hillary Clinton quote http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/hillary-clinton-quote/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/hillary-clinton-quote/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/hillary-clinton-quote/ The post Hillary Clinton quote appeared first on Intelligent Head Quarters.

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Muhammad Yunus quote http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/muhammad-yunus-quote-2/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/muhammad-yunus-quote-2/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/muhammad-yunus-quote-2/ The post Muhammad Yunus quote appeared first on Intelligent Head Quarters.

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Muhammad Yunus quote http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/muhammad-yunus-quote/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/muhammad-yunus-quote/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/muhammad-yunus-quote/ The post Muhammad Yunus quote appeared first on Intelligent Head Quarters.

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Next Generation Working Life http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/next-generation-working-life/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/next-generation-working-life/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 06:00:30 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43205 future of work

"Action rather than talk, meaning rather than profit."

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Next Generation Working Life Image source: The future show

Next Generation Working Life Image source: The future show

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future” John F. Kennedy

It is no secret or surprise that we are moving through a period of phenomenal change at the current time. This has impacted all areas of our lives, but nowhere more so than in our working world. One of the biggest changes, arguably is the move to a completely networked society. According to the organisation Ericsson this has led to many other knock on changes. Indeed, in its recent report “Next Generation Working Life”, Ericsson argues:

“The digitisation and information flows are putting pressure on organisations to be organised differently. This will fundamentally change working life and the activities we engage in”.

One of the changes as Ericsson sees it is that there will be a blurring of all of the boundaries between working and private life for individuals. Indeed this can already be seen and has been seen for quite some time. With the advent of mobile phones that have been able to connect to the internet, workers have been expected to not just take calls but also in some cases deal with emails after hours. This means that people are continually drawn into work. While that has been negative in some regards, with people feeling as if there is “no escape” from work, it has also offered considerable opportunities too. One such opportunity is the ability to work flexibly both in terms of hours and place. This means that people can work across varied locations very effectively, when managed and organised properly to do so. It allows people to be able to freelance more effectively as well. Another fundamental change is that organisations realise that creativity is the way in which competitive advantage will be achieved, and consequently many are working towards finding ways of being more innovative to be able to keep up in a fast moving environment.

All of this has led Ericsson to propose eight themes that show how working life is adapting. According to Ericsson these themes are:

Quest for meaning – people want to work for and buy from companies that have authentic values. This means companies have to focus on hiring the right people that share those values, and show employees how their contribution really makes a difference.

From tasks to missions – employees and organisations need to place emphasis on creating value rather than worrying about when, where and how the work is completed. This can be more cost effective for businesses and more motivational for employees. It makes it more challenging to recognise achievements however, and those that need structure and guidance may find it hard to be able to thrive in these new environments.

Cultural gravitation – people want to identify with their companies and want to work for companies with a sense of community. One of the challenges with this that Ericsson highlights is that there can be integrity issues between individuals and the organisation. On the plus side a greater cultural identity with an organisation is motivating and retains staff.

Two-way flexibility – in the past organisations have been taking advantage of flexibility by having employees working longer than before, but now employees expect flexibility and freedom at work. Employees need to be clear about what they want and be good at setting boundaries to be able to succeed with this. Setting this up in the first place can be a bit time intensive for organisations

Do-ocracy – in the new working environment people will take more responsibility for dealing with problems and working towards their goals. This can be a very stimulating type of environment to work in, especially for those that have an entrepreneurial spirit, argue Ericsson. However, such a culture does need careful guidance to make sure that people are all pulling in the same direction.

The power of serendipity – an open minded culture will exist that will encourage good ideas and people will meet a wide diversity of people. This is good for some but challenging for confidentiality and also for individuals that are introverted.

The exchange place – interpersonal exchange that leads to meaningful results will be a key feature of the future work place. On the down side this may mean that organisations have to cede some control, and again, introverts may not enjoy it.

Consumerisation – people will be able to choose the equipment that they use and work within their own individual needs and preferences. They will not want to work within strict IT policies that do not serve them.

 

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7 Tips for Being Better at Finance http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/7-tips-for-being-better-at-finance/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/7-tips-for-being-better-at-finance/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:00:11 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43019 money box

When you’re running a small business in any sector, the pressure is on to get everything right and for directors in particular to have an extremely broad range of skills and aptitudes. It helps to …

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7 Tips for Being Better at Finance Intelligenthq

7 Tips for Being Better at Finance Intelligenthq

When you’re running a small business in any sector, the pressure is on to get everything right and for directors in particular to have an extremely broad range of skills and aptitudes. It helps to be creative and show excellent leadership skills to be able to motivate your staff or colleagues but in the end what really matters is the bottom line.

Financial planning and money management will always play a pivotal role in the way a business operates and the way it is able to develop. So for business bosses there is always a lot to be gained from getting better at finance. Here are some tips on how to do just that:

1 – Keep learning

Whatever kind of business you are involved with running or trying to expand, a healthy dose of financial savvy can always be helpful and potentially very significant indeed. To this end, learning about finance and accounting should be viewed as a work in progress, whether you’ve been in business for five decades or five minutes.

2 – Focus on invoicing

As a small business or a provider of any kind of service, there is every chance that your operation will feel the pinch whenever cash flows are squeezed or slow down for any reason. Invoicing and the processes you have in place around this key element of the financial management process are therefore very important. Priority number one in this context should be sending out your invoices at the earliest possible opportunity. By doing so, you significantly improve your chances of being paid early or on time by your clients.

3 – Plan ahead

Deciding on the finer points of a financial plan that looks months or years into the future is not always easy or even possible. But, knowing what you intend to do with income as it appears on your balance sheet can help you keep your company’s progress heading in the right direction. In the context of financial management, the aim at every stage should be to leave as little to chance as possible and having plans in place for good, bad or indifferent outcomes can help a small company survive and thrive.

7 tips for being better at finance Intelligenthq

7 tips for being better at finance Intelligenthq

4 – Pay attention to details

Not every business leader or company director has a natural tendency to pore over financial detail but every element of a budgeting scenario can make a big difference to the whole. By understanding every aspect of what is going on in financial terms at your company, you stand a much better chance of being prepared to deal with challenging situations and of being ready to seize on potential opportunities.

5 – Be clear with clients

For many small businesses, financial headaches emerge in ways that could have been avoided by better communication and clarity around certain key issues. It is therefore good practice to be as clear as you possibly can be about your financial terms are in any given situation, so that there is little or no scope for disagreements that could cost your company money later down the line.

6 – Balance optimism with realism

It is good for any business manager or company director to be optimistic about what the future holds and what might be possible. But, when it comes to financial management, it is important to temper that positivity with prudence and a solid sense of realism. In simple terms, this equates to doing more of what works for your company and less of whatever proves costly, even if it doesn’t match up to the dream scenario you once had in mind.

7 – Be careful when borrowing money

This final tip could apply in virtually any situation of course but in the context of business development it is particularly important. Getting the balance right between borrowing too much or too little can be the difference between success and failure. Generally, the aim should be to borrow only what you need rather than what you are able to access. Although, finding routes to finance at vital moments presents its own challenges for small businesses at present but there are new funding alternatives emerging as ever-more viable options all the time.

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Investing with a Gender Lens http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/investing-with-a-gender-lens/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/investing-with-a-gender-lens/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 06:16:38 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43199 genderinvesting

Women have traditionally had less access to capital for a variety of reasons. There is growing pressure to change this situation and to help women to get ahead. There are people that want to address …

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Investing with a Gender Lens. Illustration for Intelligenthq by Meowycat and Maria Fonseca

Investing with a Gender Lens. Illustration for Intelligenthq by Meowycat and Maria Fonseca

Women have traditionally had less access to capital for a variety of reasons. There is growing pressure to change this situation and to help women to get ahead. There are people that want to address social imbalances that women face by offering women increased ability to gain access to capital, increasing the level of equality that is experienced in the work place and developing new products and services that really serve to improve the situation that women and girls face.

Writing for Stanford Social Innovation Review on this subject matter Sarah Kaplan and Jackie VanderBrug (2014) discuss some of the issues and progress that has been made. They highlight that:

“Across a wide spectrum of society there is growing recognition of the central role that women play in the world economy”.

In fact, they explain that in a speech given by Hilary Clinton it was demonstrated that studies show that GDP increases are possible if women have the same access to employment opportunities and credit that women have. This realisation has led Kaplan and VanderBrug to suggest that there is an increased focus on gender in investments, and that this is called “investing with a gender lens”. Jackie VanderBrug,  who is a leader in the emerging global field of gender lens investing and a founder of the Women Effect Investments Initiative, gave already various talks explaining what is investing with a gender lens, and how it can be implemented. One of such talks, took place in SandHill , in a TEDx event.

What is Gender Lens Investing?

Gender Lens Investing means that investors use gender as a category of analysis when making investment decisions. Thus, when making a decision, investors do it through one or more of three primordial investment goals or “lenses”:

  • Investments that increase access to capital for women entrepreneurs and businesses that have women in leadership positions
  • Investments that promote gender equity in the workplace by investing in private sector companies with leading gender policies that also extend across their supply chains
  • Investments that augmentate the number of products and services that benefit women and girls by directing capital to socially responsible businesses that develop and offer these products and services

A practical example of this is an example given by Sarah Kaplan and Jackie VanderBrug when outlining the work done by an organisation called Root Capital. Even though the organizaiton did not commence by emphasising gender, it found,  through its work in Nicaragua, that women have significant challenges. As a result it launched an initiative called Women in Agriculture with a focus of helping women to create impact. This helps women to gain access to land ownership as well as empowering women that are middle managers in the enterprises supported,  according to Kaplan and VanderBrug. All of this drove Root Capital to focus more heavily on industries that are female dominated, and has helped the organisation to expand the variety of products and services that are offered, as well as to broaden its market.

Is gender investing too pink ?

Kaplan and VanderBrug are careful to suggest that investing with a gender lens steers clear of approaches that are “too pink” or situations where engaging in these approaches may lead to organisations being viewed as selling out. Rather the approach takes a middle line and helps organisation to better understand gender and improving financial outcomes which are tied to gender. However, there is not one “fit all” approach. What Kaplan and VanderBrug do argue however is that there are three approaches where a gender lens can provide value to improve financial and social returns of investment. The first of these approaches is getting access to capital for women. The second is workplace equality, and the third is offering products and services that benefit women. Some opportunities may target all three of these approaches at the same time.

Aiming for Gender Equality through access to credit

Looking at the issue of credit more closely it is estimated that women have a collective credit gap of $320 billion. This is the difference between what they hope to get and what they are able to access. This can lead female run companies to be unable to find investment. Part of this is argued to be that the system is set up to be more accessible to men, but it is also argued that more investment is given to men, even if pitch content is completely identical. This means that there are biases in the investment world that work against women and that favour men.

All over the world workplace equality is a significant challenge. In many cases there are no women at all on the boards of organisations, even though as Kaplan and VanderBrug explain that evidence demonstrates that financial returns of organisations with women on the board are higher. Strategies are being put in place to address this, such as looking at pay equality, recruitment and retention of women as well as promotion of women. In these cases investing with a gender lens can mean taking steps to specifically help women. For example, Coca Cola has a goal of empowering five million female entrepreneurs across its value chain by 2020. All of this can really make a financial difference for organisations.

Finally, creating products and services that improve the lives of women is also an important step. It is argued that in this case designing with women rather than for women can be helpful. This means actually seeking out gender requirements to be able to produce products that will really benefit women. This leads to increased sales due to greater uptake of products and services because they appeal more to the market that needs to use them. Clearly, this too has significant benefits for both organisations and women. It is early days, but hopefully these innovations in approach will redress the balance.

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Best MOOCs for Social Entrepreneurs http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/best-moocs-for-social-entrepreneurs/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/best-moocs-for-social-entrepreneurs/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 06:00:03 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43191 best moocs social entrepreneurship

Ever heard of MOOCs? If not then you might want to get researching, as MOOCs provide excellent opportunities for learning and in many cases this education is free. MOOC is an acronym that stands for …

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Best MOOCs for Social Entrepreneurs Intelligenthq

Best MOOCs for Social Entrepreneurs Intelligenthq

Ever heard of MOOCs? If not then you might want to get researching, as MOOCs provide excellent opportunities for learning and in many cases this education is free. MOOC is an acronym that stands for Massive Open Online Course and even when courses are not free they are often low cost. MOOCs aim to provide unlimited participation in education, bringing educational programmes to people that might otherwise find them to be inaccessible for a number of reasons. MOOCs often have many, many students in each class, but even this in itself does not dilute the learning experience. Rather, it adds to it as MOOCs frequently use online learning forums that other students participate in too. Getting exposure to the ideas of other students that hail from a very diverse range of walks of life can add significant value to the educational experience. There are also a very broad range of different types of courses to choose from, varying from Vehicle Dynamics to Sabermetrics 101 to Advanced Cryptology. There’s something for everyone.

The good news for social entrepreneurs is that this means that MOOCs are available in social entrepreneurship as well. Such courses enable aspiring social entrepreneurs that want to build their knowledge a chance to do so. Courses aim to help would be social entrepreneurs to drive social change and put together plans for expanding their endeavours. For example, a Social Entrepreneurship MOOC from the Copenhagen Business School is designed to help people with a mind for business to be able to create social change through using their skills to innovate and solve difficult problems.

The Copenhagen Business School MOOC defines social entrepreneurship as “the discovery and sustainable exploitation of opportunities to create public goods”. Social enterprises are defined as “hybrid organisations” between the profit and not for profit sectors. Those on the course are required to form groups with others attending the MOOC to identify an opportunity to drive social change. In this case the groups will develop a business model and put together a business plan. Ultimately that plan will be submitted and the project may even get funded.

Ashoka is an organisation that seeks to encourage social entrepreneurs in their activities. This entity is also a firm advocate of MOOCs to help social entrepreneurs to be able to get underway. On this subject, writing for Forbes, Nabeel Gillani and Amit Jain (2013) argue that a link is provided between the online world of MOOCs and the real world outside, stating:

“The opportunity to engage MOOC participants offline extends beyond business strategy and will only become more common in the future”.

MOOCs provide many opportunities for social entrepreneurs to build up their skills and knowledge for free. They provide the ability for students to be able to learn about almost every aspect of business to get underway with social enterprise. As raised by Nabeel Gillani and Amit Jain, MOOCs are not without their challenges however. One problem is that student retention and engagement rates can be low, and this can lead to a degraded educational experience. However, in terms of the diversity of students that do attend and stay involved, this can lead to students being exposed to a very wide range of different points of view as well as a wide and diverse network that can enable opportunities to be taken from studies and put to work in the real world – just as the Copenhagen Business School is doing with its students.

A respected social entrepreneurship MOOC is also offered by the University of Pennsylvania. This course focuses on social innovation and entrepreneurship either for-profit or not. There is an “open track” and a “signature track”. The “signature track” is similar to the Copenhagen Business School programme and students working on this track create a plan for an organisation which they then get feedback on later. The open track focuses more heavily on strategy and planning tools that a social entrepreneur will need to be equipped with in order to be successful. With a focus on practical applications the benefits of this type of course are of course, considerable. Additionally, when students on the signature track do exceptionally well they will be offered a scholarship to go to a mountain retreat in the USA to develop their idea. This is an excellent opportunity for any would be social entrepreneur. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to investigate the world of MOOCs.

Another amazing resource for social entrepreneurs is Khan Academy. Khan Academy is a non-profit educational organization created in 2006 by educator Salman Khan to provide “a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.” Its website features thousands of educational resources, including a personalized learning dashboard, over 100,000 practice challenges, and over 6,000 micro lectures via video tutorials stored on YouTube. Khan Academy provides valuable resources for social entrepreneurs such as playlists of videos on youtube on finance, economics, computer science, and everything you could possibly think that can help you in your social entrepreneurial project.

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Social Media for Social Entrepreneurs http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/social-media-for-social-entrepreneurs/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/social-media-for-social-entrepreneurs/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 06:00:40 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43180 social media for social entrepreneurship

Just like any other kinds of entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs can benefit from social media use to further their aims. Of course this means that social entrepreneurs need to understand what social media is for and …

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social media for social entrepreneurship
Social Media for Social Entrepreneurs

Social Media for Social Entrepreneurs

Just like any other kinds of entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs can benefit from social media use to further their aims. Of course this means that social entrepreneurs need to understand what social media is for and how to leverage benefits from it. Social media can be very powerful but only if it is utilised in the right ways. Gaining the attention of people and building an audience are two of the challenges that social entrepreneurs face according to Meera Vijayann (2013) writing for The Guardian. Additionally, getting a sufficiently broad reach to be able to get people engaged in what they are doing is another challenge that social entrepreneurs have to overcome. A social media presence can make all the difference, argues Meera Vijayann, and she explains how a study by Peter W Roberts showed that successful enterprises commonly have an established social media presence. Vijayann has her own learnings from use of social media to share.

One of the biggest challenges specific to social entrepreneurs, according to Vijayann is:

“Most emerging enterprises focus on promoting their organisation instead of the cause. While the former is necessary it fails to make a personal connect”.

The reason for this, she argues is that when people understand the cause they are more likely to be able to recall information about the venture. Social media can be used to achieve this, especially if content goes viral. When there is a cause it is common that people remember them and this is more likely to lead to content being shared.

Another challenge is that organisations commonly focus on the person behind the social enterprise rather than the organisation itself and what it is trying to achieve. Vijayann provides an example here to illustrate this of Selco online where the founder Harish Hande is well known but the attention has been diverted away from the organisation’s excellent efforts with solar energy. This means that social entrepreneurs need to go to great efforts to make sure that they stick to the organisation and the problem rather than the personalities behind them.

infographic done by seeincolors.com

infographic done by seeincolors.com

Another recommended approach by Vijayann is for social entrepreneurs to use social media to show how they collaborate with others in the same sector rather than competing with them. This has the benefit, she argues, of showing synergy and dialogue between online communities that drives interest among social media users. Working in partnership can be more effective in promoting shared goals and targets to greater numbers of people, which ultimately increases the exposure that your social enterprise has on social media networks. Partnerships also provide additional validation for your cause, which helps to attract interest and maintain it too.

As with all social media use by business, Vijayann argues the need for engagement rather than talking at the audience. This means not just sending out adverts for help to those that follow or like your pages, but actually getting involved in a two-way conversation with people. This shows your interest and keeps the conversation going.

Shannon Houde writing for Triple Pundit also concurs on some of these points. In terms of engagement and drawing people in, Houde states that language is important. Using the right words, even if they are not the most obvious right words for your social enterprise is necessary to attract the attention of social media users. Additionally, Houde suggests that monitoring traffic is essential. This is critical because it helps to see what is working on social media and what is not, enabling you to be able to make tweaks and changes to what you are doing to drive greater success on these platforms. Houde also proposes the use of a social media schedule so that you know what you will post when. Of course, this schedule needs to be flexible enough to be able to change if something timely arises in the news that needs to be posted. Another recommendation from Houde is to outsource work on social media sites or use online managers. In some ways this can be a very positive step because it means that social media experts work on your sites and social media activities. However, if you decide to do this a word of caution is necessary. You need to make sure that the person looking after your social media truly understand the messages you want to transmit, otherwise you could that your social media doesn’t quite match what you are trying to achieve.

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Crowdfunding for Education http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/crowdfunding-for-education/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/crowdfunding-for-education/#comments Sun, 24 Aug 2014 06:00:40 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43173 crowdfunding for education

Crowdfunding is a relatively new concept that many people are already familiar with. You have an idea. You put it on a website like Kickstarter. You market it to as many people as possible and …

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crowdfunding for education
crowdfunding for education

crowdfunding for education

Crowdfunding is a relatively new concept that many people are already familiar with. You have an idea. You put it on a website like Kickstarter. You market it to as many people as possible and you raise the funds to be able to take your idea forward. However, crowdfunding is also now being used for other activities. Interestingly for those that want to stay in education but cannot afford to do so, it is being used by students to raise the funds to be able to continue with their studies. This innovation is offering people the chance to continue education that may not have otherwise had the opportunity to do so.

Financing University Fees

Perhaps the best development of all in this is that a new website, StudentFunder has a goal of providing the crowdfunding source for students that need to raise money for their studies. Writing for the Times Higher Education supplement in 2013, Elizabeth Gibney explains that:

“StudentFunder aims to become a ‘one stop shop’ for those in need”.

Explaining further how it works, Gibney reports that StudentFunder is effectively an open source platform that helps students that do not have other financial means to be able to get through their studies, such as career development loans, family backing or scholarships. In this way it is possible for students to find the funds that they need for either tuition fees or maintenance or both. In addition to this, donors to students can feel comfortable knowing that their money goes directly to the university. Of course, for those familiar with the concept of crowdfunding they will know that people do not donate money for nothing and they expect to get rewards for doing so. In this case rewards are offered that can range from a simple card to say thank you through to a bespoke research project when significant funding is offered. One additional benefit for students of going through StudentFunder is that, as Gibney explains, once a student reaches 30% of their funding goal the organisation approaches the university to see if it can match the total. Yet another opportunity is that peer-to-peer loans can be offered through the system at rates that are lower than the market. StudentFunder was launched in November 2012 according to Elizabeth Gibney, and since that time it has received three applications per day. At the time of writing, Gibney reported that three students had got to their goal for funding.

Financing Research Projects

Writing for Crowdfund Beat, Lucy Zang argues that crowdfunding has been largely overlooked for the purpose of educational funding needs. There are some websites that help schools to get resources that they need through crowdfunding but there has been less focus on the student side of things. However, some websites have evolved that allow students to get financial aid for their research projects. For example, Zang writes of a site called Experiment that provides scientist the chance to get funding for their research. This is only good for some types of students because the type of research supported tends to be traditional scientific research rather than other types.

CrowdFundEDU is another website that focuses on the student’s need for funds to be able to continue education. Commonly the emphasis on this website is to enable students to be able to find the money to be able to pay for tuition or student loans. However, there are some other innovative uses of this website too, such as companies using the platform to further education projects that they want to progress.

Another interesting project is incite, the Crowdfunding Community for Education.

In a world where it is more difficult to get financing than ever before following increased regulation after the world economic crisis, students may need to be more creative than ever before about how they get the money that they need to keep studying. Crowdfunding offers promising opportunities for students to be able to achieve this. However, wannabe students will need to be savvy about this tactic following all of the same recommendations that entrepreneurs have when using these sites to raise money. In particular, a focus on marketing of the crowdfunding campaign is essential to be able to achieve crowdfunding goals. Nonetheless those students that take the plunge and try this approach may find that their education funding problems are solved.

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Intelligenthq Series on Collaborative Finance Part 1 http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/intelligenthq-series-on-collaborative-finance-part-1/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/intelligenthq-series-on-collaborative-finance-part-1/#comments Sat, 23 Aug 2014 06:00:51 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43167 Collaborative Finance Intelligenthq

Democratizing Finance, Money and Banking Through Collaborative Finance

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Collaborative Finance Intelligenthq
Intelligenthq Series on Collaborative Finance Part 1 Intelligenthq

Intelligenthq Series on Collaborative Finance Part 1 Intelligenthq

Recently a lot attention has been given trying to understand how technology is enabling a whole new phenomenon of person-to–person and crowd–driven funding, lending, currency and investment services. These services, according to various experts, promise to decentralize and democratize the access to finance, money and banking. The umbrella term that is being increasingly used to name these operations is collaborative finance.

What is Collaborative Finance

Collaborative finance is an exciting new concept that allows individuals to be funded without a financial institution such as a bank being involved in the traditional way. This new way to proceed to informal financial transactions is now possible due to the latest advances in and peer-to-peer on line platforms.

The term collaborative finance was first approached in the book  “MacroWikinomics: rebooting business and the world”, written by by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams. They write:

“A new movement is beginning, and it ‘s inspired by the public anger at a host of things, from the behavior of Wall Street and massive bank bonuses to the widening gap between the interest rate offered to savers and the rate charged to borrowers. It ‘s enabled now by the growth of mass collaboration via the Internet.”

This new idea was born from “collaborative consumption” which is also known as the sharing economy. The concept behind collaborative consumption is that people can share what they have to help other people out. One very simple example of this is car pooling where individuals share rides in cars to cut the costs for everyone that has to make the same journey. However, the advance of the internet has led to many applications of this idea being developed online, and one famous example of this is Airbnb where people rent out their spare rooms.

Characteristics of Collaborative Finance

Collaborative finance leads to the possibility of informal financial transactions to be able to take place. The possibilities for achieving this type of transaction have been vastly improved by the advent of social media websites and peer-to peer online platforms, according to site CollaborativeFinance.org. Such interactions are flexible and adaptable and are particularly appealing to those with lower incomes as the means of achieving collaborative finance means that it is often cheaper per transaction, making these options highly economic and attractive to many. Peer-to-peer decisions are made between borrowers and those borrowing money in terms of purpose of the loan, collateral needed to secure the loan, interest rates, maturity periods and debt rescheduling.

collaborative finance Intelligenthq

collaborative finance Intelligenthq

There are a number of benefits of collaborative finance that mean that it is appealing for low income households, states CollaborativeFinance.org. One such benefit is that there is no need for a license for suppliers, and another is that collateral is frequently not required. This is important because low income households may well not have collateral that is required to secure more traditional forms of financing, making it impossible for them to access funds. Instead of collateral there is peer pressure to repay, and those that borrow tend to be in the same community as the people that they are borrowing from. This localised approach means that community pressure is more achievable. It has been found that these types of approaches are good for achieving high repayment rates.

CollaborativeFinance.org explains that one form of collaborative finance is created through microfinance. This is excellent for very poor families as it offers them the opportunity to be able to gain access to good financial services that they would otherwise not be able to reach. This provides them the opportunity to save, get insurance policies, raise credit and deal with fund transfers. The goal is to assist poor people to get out of poverty. Traditionally this is a business area that has not been touched by banks since

“Either these entrepreneurs don’t have the capital or cash to back the loan. Or as the large banks argue, their credit needs are too small”.

Microfinance has benefited from social media websites, and organisations like Kiva provide micro lending through social approaches. There are also social lending sites, or peer-to-peer lending sites that remove the need for financial intermediaries.

Rebuilding Trust Through Collaborative Finance

Rachel Botsman (2014) also describes some of the benefits of collaborative finance. In particular, Botsman focuses on the trust and hate issues that exist between consumers and the banks, most common in Generation Y and younger. For example, Botsman argues that figures show that 71% would prefer to go to the dentist than listen to a bank, while 33% think that they do not need a bank at all.There is a general lack of understanding in society regarding what banks do and a move towards trusting other people more than large corporations. This may have been fostered by the economic downturn around the world, which it could be argued was created by these very same large corporations. All of this, writes Botsman, has driven people towards websites like Lending Club, Prosper and Society One. Indeed, social lending by 2025 is argued to be likely to have grown tremendously. Lending Club and Prosper issued $2.4 billion in loans in 2013, says Botsman, and growth in this area especially in the USA can be seen to be phenomenal.

All of this bodes exceptionally well for those that have been traditionally excluded from finance and kept in a resulting cycle of poverty. Maybe this has the power to really change the world.

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Is Social Media Transforming Behaviours And How We Work ? http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-media-posts/is-social-media-transforming-behaviours-and-how-we-work/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-media-posts/is-social-media-transforming-behaviours-and-how-we-work/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 06:00:27 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43159 digital-native

As the astute already realise, we are currently going through a period of tremendous change. This is affecting all aspects of our lives. We are finding that technology is driving more and more of what …

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How Social Media Transforms Behaviours And Will Transform Work

How Social Media Transforms Behaviours And Will Transform Work

As the astute already realise, we are currently going through a period of tremendous change. This is affecting all aspects of our lives. We are finding that technology is driving more and more of what we do, which affects all aspects of our life. Some might say that social media and mobile devices are the biggest and most fundamental change in society yet, though of course there were many others before such as the printing press and the industrial revolution, to name just a few. But either way, digitisation is creating a fundamental change in paradigm for many people and the way in which they live their lives. As Brian Solis (2014) argues:

“Technology fundamentally changes how people communicate, discover and connect…Specifically it affects how we learn, how we buy, how we work and how we influence and are influenced”.

Solis explains that we are guided by our “digital appendages”, namely our smartphones and tablets. But it is not these devices that change us, but our own behaviour, he opines. In particular, Solis believes that this will change how we work, and there needs to be a mind-set change in this regard, as well as to how we market and how we sell. While our life paradigm may have changed, the principles that guide this behaviour are antiquated according to Brian Solis.

Solis explains that while computers, laptops, mobile phones and even the internet have not fundamentally transformed how we behave, in fact social networks and social media have. Solis argues that all of our previous change was still managed in a “command and control” style and all of it was guided to drive productivity. However, changes in social media and mobile and particularly the two combined as well as cloud and real time data has changed all of this. It has led to a transformation in the working world. And Solis believes that the decisions that we make now will impact what is possible (or not) in the future.

The ones behind the way work will change in the future, are the digital natives, the ones most affected by social media. The following video, reviews the impact of social media in the way we communicate, and demonstrates how all of us, both the digital natives and the digital migrants are still discovering the digital world with fascination:

How Social Media Is Transforming Work

In Solis opinion digital natives are turning upside down the way people relate to work. If in the past people always build on “legacy investments and operational procedures” to define how the new technology would fit in to the current world of work,  this process nowadays should be turned around. We need to visualise what the future will bring and what will be required of organisations, rather than rely on the tried and tested ways of the past. Those organisations that do this will be giant steps ahead of those that rely on legacy concepts and building on the old ideas. Indeed, Solis opines:

“We need to plan and build for the future… see the human drivers behind how people use technology in their personal lives”.

In Solis’s mind this will lead to greater collaboration and engagement. And it requires understanding “digital natives”. It is argued by Solis that only this intrinsic level of understanding will really enable businesses to be able to visualise, engage and scale the required infrastructure that will be necessary to be able to adapt the world of work and meet the needs of customers. Solis explains that the only way that this can be achieved is in understanding how “digital natives” work, and what we can learn from them. The main point being made is that if organisations are not proactive about this then they will naturally be reactive, and being reactive means being on the back foot all the time. It means building on old structures rather than understanding the new structures and developing those from the start.

Clearly there is much change to be made in the work place so that the impending future needs of workers and the work place as well as customers are met. Obviously a wide and far reaching approach may not necessarily be possible all at once, but as explained by Solis it is certainly necessary to change the overall approach, by understanding what we do not know about the future and trying to make sense of it before going ahead and building architecture that is ineffective and grounded in the ideas of the past. Only in doing that in a proactive manner will organisations truly be able to achieve their full potential, and both retain their employees and increase the numbers of loyal and engaged customers that they serve. As Solis writes:

“We have to understand how people’s behavior and expectations are evolving. With technology now part of the fabric of life and with innovation a constant, solving for behavior actually depends on making our future more human.”

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The Intelligent Series On The Robot Economy Part 2 http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/the-intelligent-series-on-the-robot-economy-part-2/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/the-intelligent-series-on-the-robot-economy-part-2/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 06:00:26 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43140 robot economy 2

The winners and losers of the Robot Economy

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The Intelligent Series On The Robot Economy Part 2

The Intelligent Series On The Robot Economy Part 2

The winners and losers of the Robot Economy

As we have already seen, robots are coming and they’re coming soon. They will change our economy and the world of work for good. That’s not necessarily a bad thing and the working environment may well become more interesting as a result. After all, mundane jobs will be done by robots, leaving more inspiring opportunities that robots cannot solve to people. TIME magazine recently explored who would be the winners and losers in the new robot economy. We can already see this to some extent as TIME explains. Examples given include how airport ticket counters are now “manned” by machines rather than by people that help them check in. Also, people search online for holidays rather than taking a trip to the local travel agent’s office. Machines, robots are slowly but surely taking the place of people.

Writing for TIME in 2013, David Von Drehle explains that people do still have a distinct advantage over robots in many regards. Not everything can be mechanised in this way, and there are some decisions that it is difficult to programme robots to be able to make effectively. For example, in the world of distribution, Drehle argues that even if robots can be programmed to drive trucks shipments can be very challenging:

“Every shipment presents a new piece of an ever changing puzzle: how to pack all sorts of stuff from long steel rods and bundles of lumber to barbecue grills and light bulbs neatly into outbound trucks”.

The problems are different every time, making it difficult to be able to pre-prepare a robot to be able to handle them. However, as Drehle explains, on the other hand robots have advantages over people, such as, you probably won’t come across a robot taking a sick day or wanting vacation time at short notice. Or getting into conflicts with other robots on the team.

Drehle presents information provided in a study by MIT and Harvard economists which has looked into how the economy may be restructured and how automation may impact on the employment of people. This study has shown that jobs that can be pinned down to a set of rules that follow logic or statistical models then the job could be replaced by a robot. According to the study this includes jobs such as frying burgers, printing boarding passes or filling out tax returns. These types of jobs will be the losers in the robot economy. Equally it has been shown that robots could be used in jobs like teaching, sales, nursing, journalism and stock trading.

However, some jobs will survive the so called “Great Restructuring” (Drehle, 2013). According to the study, the jobs that will remain will be those that focus on:

 “Solving unstructured problems, working with new information and carrying out non-routine tasks”.

Any jobs that cannot be programmed and require creative thinking will not be able to be performed by robots. As Drehle explains, robots will be unable to do activities such as devise corporate strategy, fix plumbing problems, design buildings, or even do something seemingly fairly straight forward such as style hair. This means that hairdressers, plumbers, architects and CEOs should be safe from robots for the time being.

Robots and people will work as collaborators

While all of this seems exciting and imminent, actually as Drehle explains it can take a long time to be able to programme a robot to carry out certain types of activities that for people are seemingly fairly simple to perform. The example provided of this is harvesting fruit, which a researcher at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University is trying to do. This has been a slow and laborious process, and in fact the researcher, Sanjiv Singh is finding that robots and people are more likely to work as collaborators than robots completely replacing people. In his eyes Drehle reports that robots will take on jobs that are mindless, risky and unclean while people will still need to carry out the more challenging tasks.

The time when robots replace people to carry out dull tasks is already on us to some degree, and this will continue in the foreseeable future. Humans will continue to collaborate with robots in the short to medium term. However, Drehle points out that the time that robots replace people altogether may well still be a long way off. There are many questions to be answered such as what happens when machines fail, and there are no answers to these difficult challenges yet.

Additional resource: Video made by Discovery channel mapping the impact of robots in society.

The Intelligent Series On The Robot Economy Part 1

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Dont take anything personally – Don Miguel Ruiz http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/dont-take-anything-personally-don-miguel-ruiz/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/dont-take-anything-personally-don-miguel-ruiz/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/dont-take-anything-personally-don-miguel-ruiz/ The post Dont take anything personally – Don Miguel Ruiz appeared first on Intelligent Head Quarters.

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IntelligentHQ Highlighted in 2014 Short Entreprises Startup Insider Series http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/intelligenthq-highlighted-in-2014-startup-insider-series/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/intelligenthq-highlighted-in-2014-startup-insider-series/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 13:36:11 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43108 Perseverance Elon Musk Quote IntelligentHQ

2014 Short Enterprises Insider Series is a project sponsored by the Clinton Foundation

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Perseverance Elon Musk Quote IntelligentHQ
2014 Short Enterprises Startup Insider Series Highlights Intelligenthq

2014 Short Enterprises Startup Insider Series Highlights Intelligenthq

IntelligentHQ and its publisher ZTUDIUM were recently highlighted in the 2014 Short Enterprises Insider Series, a project sponsored by the Clinton Foundation. The article reviews all the work done by Ztudium and its websites, and holds an interview with Dinis Guarda, the CEO of Ztudium, conducted by Aishik Barua who writes:

“(IntelligentHQ) is the first is a one-of-a-kind hub of information for all kinds of technology and business related to the digital world. “

Short Entreprises Intelligenthq

Short Entreprises Startup Inside highlight IntelligentHQ

He include the words of Dinis Guarda the Founder of Intelligenthq and Ztudium in his vision for the company and website:

“We believe that digital reputation is the new business currency. Therefore, our platforms explore solutions and resources for professionals, companies, businesses schools and financial organizations around the world that need more personal branding. We identify ways to promote them and their businesses through our premium and specialized platforms.”

Short Entreprises Startup Insider Series was founded by W. Michael Short, who is an entrepreneur, and the founder of Short Entreprises, a public affairs and development consulting firm based in Central Upstate New York. He is in the Clinton Foundation  20/30 Leadership Council.

Founded in 2011, Short Entreprises is a firm that  focus on innovative sustainable development practices, helping firms to find effective leveraged resources, mutually beneficial partnerships, and collaborative opportunities.

The firm has already assisted other companies and projects gathering over $5 million in development related grants, incentives, and equivalents for a varied group of clients interested and developing noteworthy projects that address key social, environmental, and community challenges, working mainly with social enterprises, real estate developers, commercial property owners, public agencies, community & economic developers, colleges & universities, small businesses, as well as non-profit organizations. Short Entreprises provides their clients with trusted and recognized excellence in guiding complex and high profile development projects. Short Enterprises received the Best of Syracuse Award in 2013.

The company´s CEO, W. Michael Short, is a thought leader in the startup and social business digital world and is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the Maxwell School of Citizenship Public Affairs. He also completed a Graduate Fellowship at Syracuse University’s, Martin J. Whitman School of Management with funding from the Kaufman Foundation, Gifford Foundation and Imagining America,  while serving in SU’s Office of Community Engagement Economic Development as deputy director of a public/private/nonprofit community coalition working to revitalize the 9th poorest neighborhood in the United States. W.

Michael Short is part of the board of Clinton Foundation 20/30, which is a project from the Clinton Foundation dedicated to empower and provide a network for emerging leaders prepared to contribute and build a better world by, for, and in the year 2030.

Short Entreprises runs a publication entitled Short Report that launched in May 2014 the International Startup Insider Series, to feature the next generation of promising startups and growing businesses from around the world. The aim of the series is to highlight intriguing startups and includes Q&A’s with startup founders. Articles also feature insights and lessons learned from entrepreneurs around the world.

 

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Guide to Gamification Part 3 http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/guide-to-gamification-part-3/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/guide-to-gamification-part-3/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 06:00:00 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43068 gamification

Applications of Gamification

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gamification
Guide to Gamification Part 3

Guide to Gamification Part 3

Gamification is an excellent asset to business and understanding its concepts can engage customers and lead to increased customer business. In Parts 1 and 2 of this series we have reviewed what gamification is and what the specific concepts of it are that really work in driving customer behaviour. In this final part in this series we will look at some different applications of gamification.

Perhaps the most obvious application of gamification is that of driving brand loyalty, as explained by Vaughn Highfield on the Total Customer. One of the problems as Highfield sees it is that it can be difficult to engage with the millennial market, and that gamification can offer the “golden goose egg” that gets people in and interested. Vaughn Highfield argues that the already old ways are not working however, stating of clubcards used by the likes of Tesco and Boots that:

“The only incentive here is about collecting and accumulating points. The reward, your discount on the next purchase that you make, or a handful of bigger benefits if you spend stratospheric amounts”.

Vaughn argues that this concept is out of date, though of course it would be interesting to know what Tesco, Nectar and Boots have to say about that, given that at least in Tesco’s case, the clubcard has been lauded by industry pundits as one of the biggest drivers of Tesco’s success. Indeed, it is argued that these forms of gamification are so tired that they get people to switch off and that the benefits are not really good enough to draw people in.

What Vaughn Highfield votes for instead are activities that draw in the millennial market. This means giving out rewards that are actually worthwhile, in his view, and he argues strongly that it is this that will draw customers in and drive brand loyalty in the end. One factor that is particularly important is giving customers a reward that they actually want. For example, if Tesco gave a customer money off coffee when they don’t actually drink it, that would be an irritation for that customer rather than a reward. It would be an annoyance that would not lead to brand loyalty. One option that gets around this is argued by Highfield to be when customers choose their own rewards. Of course in the case of Boots customers can indeed do that. It is explained by Highfield however that a better approach still is getting customers to get feedback based on their behaviour such as sharing stories on social networking, or rewarding them for sustainable behaviour.

While brand loyalty is one practical application of gamification it is by no means the only one. Another very important application can be found in the education industry. As Rachel Jones of Create Innovate Explore points out:

“The prevalence of technologies at the fingertips of our learners has had, and will continue to have impact on the way in which we try and engage them in their learning and encourage them to make progress”.

Gamification has become increasingly achievable with the use of the internet and mobile devices, argues Jones. It is possible to build games that lead to engagement that drives progress in learning for students. Learners can get badges for rewards, and they can take roles and take risks in order to learn. These applications of gamification are equally applicable to all kinds of students, and perhaps surprisingly at all levels of education. That is because as Rachel Jones explains, people are naturally competitive and they want to succeed. Gamification in education encourages them to do exactly that, and it keeps people involved, engaged and motivated in their learning. It is perhaps easier to do this for younger children, but it is possible to achieve it at all levels with some thought and insight applied to gamification strategies.

Brand loyalty and education are two examples of where gamification can be used to get customers engaged, but there are many more. Gamification clearly has many highly relevant applications to encourage people to interact with organisations and to make progress with tasks or activities. This has led to great success in the case of many businesses. Does your business use gamification techniques yet? If not, perhaps it is time you got started.

To conclude I would like to invite you to see the following video of a TEDx talk given by Gabe Zichermann, who is an entrepreneur, author, and public speaker, a thought leader on gamification. He is the chair of the Gamification Summit and Workshops, and is co-author of the book “Game-Based Marketing, where he makes a compelling case for the use of games and game mechanics in everyday life, the web and business.

Guide to Gamification Part 1
Guide to Gamification part 2

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Guide to Gamification Part 2 http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/guide-to-gamification-part-2/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/guide-to-gamification-part-2/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 06:00:31 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43086 Guide to ramification part 2

What Works?

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Guide to ramification part 2
Guide to gamification Part 2

Guide to gamification Part 2

In the first part of this series we reviewed what gamification is, how it works and what the different components of it are. We examined how it can be utilised to get customers to behave in certain ways that are beneficial for the organisation, and how customers can be rewarded for this behaviour by the organisation when they achieve certain “levels”. Understanding what really works is essential to being able to implement effective gamification that brings about benefits for an organisation, and that will be the subject of Part 2.

The following Ted Talk, Yu-kai Chou who is an entrepreneur, speaker, and ramification pioneer, explains how gamification works and how it can be used in the future to make the world a better, more sustainable, and more fun place to live our lives.

Games developer Tadhg Kelly (2012) has 20 years’ experience of producing games, and has an intricate knowledge of how gamification works and how the principles of games can be used to drive customer behaviour. He offers consultancy to people who need to better understand how gamification works. Writing for Tech Crunch in 2012, Kelly presented his view of what works and what doesn’t and some of it may be surprising. So, what does work? Well, in Kelly’s lengthily experience, what he has found to work are the gamification concepts of validation, completion and prizes. Each of these will now be explained in turn.

Validation is a concept that is used to let a person know in some way that they are popular or right. It provides a user with a feeling that their behaviour is liked in some way by others. This concept is practiced in many ways in gamification. One is up votes and another is likes. On Twitter, retweets and follower counts are argued to be particularly important in this regard. When users create content or share information and are rewarded with a like or a positive vote, this provides validation to the person that what they are doing is important or helpful or that they are liked by others for what they are doing. As Kelly argues:

“Validation is one of the strongest drivers of long-term quality engagement because it helps communities form”.

Of course, as he also explains, validation does require that at least to some extent the creation of content/service is out of the hands of the gamifier and this can lead to a certain level of discomfort for some organisations or in some circumstances.

Completion is the second big gamification technique that Kelly believes is highly effective. One clear explanation for this is the sense of satisfaction that a person gets when they complete all of the details in their profile on a website. As Kelly opines, when the progress bar goes up to 100% from 80% this makes people feel as if they have achieved something. Equally, it is dissatisfying to leave a toolbar at 60% complete, or in fact at any figure less than 100%, so this motivates people to take action. Kelly warns against the completion technique of “invite your friends to join”, as people do these days see this for what it is, which is a lame attempt to get individuals to do marketing for organisations. Kelly’s argument is that this leads to people feeling that they are spamming their friends and they do not like to do this.

Prizes are the third aspect of gamification that Kelly is confident works. Examples such as air miles and reward points are fine examples of these. When people get sent vouchers for money off products because they have built up lots of points on a clubcard they feel good about that, and they feel happy that they get to benefit as a result. Kelly finds however that once organisations start with prizes then they tend to have to continue. After all taking prizes away means taking away a benefit that the customer had before, and this is not something that makes a customer feel very positive about an organisation.

To some degree it may be argued that the gamification should be kept simple. If it requires too much explanation it is likely to turn people off. It is also likely to be particularly unappealing if people have to work too hard to get points or prizes. Keeping it simple means the game is easy to explain and easy to understand. Some organisations however do not heed this advice, but unfortunately their gamification activities are more likely to fail.

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Unknown author quote http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/unknown-author-quote/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/unknown-author-quote/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/unknown-author-quote/ The post Unknown author quote appeared first on Intelligent Head Quarters.

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Carbon-connect AG: Contributing to a Greener Future http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/carbon-connect-ag-contributing-to-a-greener-future/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/carbon-connect-ag-contributing-to-a-greener-future/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 12:04:05 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43078 greener future

The gloomy reality of global warming is no breaking news to anyone. Global warming is threatening our planet, as it is transforming the usual seasons that we have grown accustomed to, and is endangering species …

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greener future
Carbon-connect AG: Contributing to a Greener Future Intelligenthq

Carbon-connect AG: Contributing to a Greener Future Intelligenthq

The gloomy reality of global warming is no breaking news to anyone. Global warming is threatening our planet, as it is transforming the usual seasons that we have grown accustomed to, and is endangering species all over the planet. The beautiful faces of the Earth as we know it, with its coasts, forests, farms, and snow-capped mountains will inevitably change, if nothing is done. Climate change affects everyone.

Worldwide, scientists, politicians and the common citizen are figuring out ways to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions to minimize their impact on the environment. Various programs trying to find solutions to the problem of climate change have been established, particularly after the Kyoto protocol agreement, that even thought it was written in 1997, had to wait until 2005 to be put into practice.

Carbon-connect AG is a Swiss based company that has been making valuable work in this area, as it provides firms with ways to cut their carbon emissions wherever possible. In addition, carbon-connect AG advises their clients on ways to implement various strategies that compensate a carbon footprint.

What is Carbon-connect AG?

Carbon-connect AG  was founded by Pascal Freudenreich and Walter Wirth in 2013, with the clear goal of providing individuals and companies with simple solutions that contribute to climate protection. The company’s vision is to support high quality climate protection projects that will make our future and the future of our children more livable. Carbon-connect AG thus aims to contribute to an ideal shift in society towards a knowledge-based, low carbon economy, by becoming a world leader in carbon offsetting, project development & carbon management services.

The company is the result of Pascal Freudenreich’s enthusiasm and commitment to make a contribution towards a solution of the biggest challenge humanity faces in 21st century. Pascal Freudenreich, a Swiss citizen, started his career in finance, after having lived 10 years abroad (in the USA and Germany). He then returned to Switzerland in 2007, to be a partner for a financial company in Zurich. When he was introduced to the voluntary carbon market, around 2012, he became very inspired by its opportunities. He and his team thus developed the original idea of creating products such as climate friendly labels: carbon-neutral car, carbon-neutral activities, carbon-neutral company and the climate friendly website label, to provide individuals and companies with engaging products that contribute to the compensation of the greenhouse gases. Their latest label: the climate friendly website works not only by supporting high quality climate protection projects, as Carbon-connect AG also plants one tree per person who buys the climate friendly website label. Their goal is to plant 3 million trees within the next years, with the help of supporters and customers.

Carbon-connects website, states the mission of the company which is:

“To demonstrate environmentally and socially responsible entrepreneurs the most efficient way to make their processes or an entire company carbon- neutral. Through targeted support of high-quality climate protection projects our customers achieve an image improvement and take a pioneering role in the preservation of the environment.  We create a WIN-WIN situation: win for our customers and a win for the environment and society.”

The services provided by the company are varied including:

  • Online Carbon Footprint Calculator
  • Climate friendly & carbon-neutral labels
  • Strategy concerning Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Each climate friendly label has its own PR/marketing package

In the company’s website any individual or company can apply for a certificate as a climate friendly website, and/or a certificate as carbon neutral, which is attributed to either an individual, car, household or company. The process is simple: with the tool of the carbon footprint one calculates each one´s carbon emissions, and can then choose to become carbon neutral, by choosing a carbon compensation project. The client can opt for a varied selection of climate protection projects that are environmentally friendly, which are certified and validated.

Image source - Uninewsworld.org

CIKEL Brazilian Amazon REDD APD is a project sponsored by Carbon-connect AG. This project aims for the cancelation of the planned deforestation activities and decision to instead conserve the forest area and continue limited forest management activities in the area. Image source – Uninewsworld.org

Another example is the Gloria Hydroelectric Project, which is a small run-of-river hydroelectric generating plant in the north of the Republic of Honduras. The goal of this project is to use the waters of the Bejucal River to generate energy. The goal is to have a total installed capacity of 6.090 MW and an annual generation of 35.21 GWh. The communities that will benefit directly and indirectly  from this project are the towns of La Gloria, Las Flores, El Satal, Satalito, El Porvenir, El Diamante, and Nueva Esperanza, as the plant will proportionate various employment opportunities  and increased development and economic activity in the region.

To better understand how carbon-connect AG operates one needs to understand what is carbon offset, as it is through this concept that carbon-connect operates.

What is carbon offsetting?

A carbon offset is a compensation in emissions of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases made as a way to counterweight for and to offset/compensate an emission made elsewhere. When the number of carbon offsets obtained is equal to an individual or organization’s carbon footprint, that person or organization is carbon neutral.

The reasoning behind the carbon offset market, is that the GHG emissions become mixed in the atmosphere over time even though they are produced and discharged in some other place. Carbon offset offers therefore varied alternatives both to individuals with unsustainable behavioral choices and to public reputation of businesses, willing to recuperate their reputation. These can therefore “declare themselves carbon neutral” when purchasing enough offset credits to equal their cumulative GHG emissions.

The following video illustrates how cabon offsetting operates:

How Carbon-connect AG works

Carbon-connect AG provides their clients with ways to integrate environmental protection and sustainable management profitably in their business processes, by establishing a system of offset payments. Those payments are established through the expert advice of a team with a wide range of skills and experience and with broad knowledge in providing services in the carbon credit industry. A way to achieve the status of carbon neutral in your organization might be by providing financial support to projects that reduce the emission of greenhouse gases in the short- or long-term. These can be renewable energy, such as wind farms, biomass energy, or hydroelectric dams. Other alternatives are forestry projects, or energy efficiency projects, the destruction of industrial pollutants or agricultural byproducts, or the destruction of landfill methane. From a corporate perspective the most popular carbon offset projects are the ones of energy efficiency and wind turbine projects. carbon-connect AG is developing and supporting worldwide carbon offset projects such as substituting fossil fuels with renewable energies, forestry projects and applying energy efficiency measures.

In 2013 carbon-connect AG established a partnership with the Marussia F1 ™ team. In 2013 Marussia F1 ™ Team, thanks to its partnership with Carbon-connect AG, is now carbon-neutral and has successfully offset the Marussia F1 ™ Team’s entire carbon-footprint for 2013.

These and many other successes have established Carbon-connect AG as one of the leading ones in the carbon market. As we all know, global warming and its subsequent climate change dramatic effects are maybe the most important challenges for the 21st century. It is thus mandatory to prevent pollution and to educate citizens and companies to use resources in a more sustainable way.

To invest in a green future is not any more a utopian dream but a mandatory obligation to everyone. Efforts like the ones made by companies like Carbon-connect AG are thus very important.

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