Intelligent Head Quarters http://www.intelligenthq.com Business intelligence innovation network for growth education change Fri, 31 Oct 2014 07:00:56 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 What Is Lean Social Business ? http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/43856/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/43856/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 07:00:56 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43856 lean social business

Maybe you have heard about lean manufacturing and lean operations, but now there is a relatively new concept emerging with a view to doing social business in a lean manner.  Traditionally lean manufacturing or lean …

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lean social business
What Is Lean Social Business ?

What Is Lean Social Business ?

Maybe you have heard about lean manufacturing and lean operations, but now there is a relatively new concept emerging with a view to doing social business in a lean manner.  Traditionally lean manufacturing or lean production focuses on making sure that the production process reduces waste and delays as far as possible, and looking at ways to add value. The same process is now being applied to social business. As Emotional Economy explains:

“For years business analysts and process consultants have been focusing on the work of creating value in our Enterprises and mapping and extending flow…where everything happens as it should in our processes.”

Interestingly however, Emotional Economy picks up on the fact that many of these endeavours have focused on looking at what is wrong and trying to fix those areas rather than working on the process of “extending flow”. As explained by Emotional Economy the problem with this is that efforts to become leaner only focus on problems along the way rather than root causes of problems. This has meant that the desired value of doing lean business has often not been achieved for customers.

Emotional Economy asserts that social business has a goal of creating social good and creating new value, not simply “fixing problems”. The fundamental concept behind this approach, according to Emotional Economy, is that there is an initial focus on the “why” rather than what or how. This means that there is an up front focus on people collaborating and looking at possibilities based on their strengths. This is a very different perspective than focusing on mistakes, problems or errors in processes. Emotional Economy argues that social business is based on “relationships and emotional connections” between people, and not just on flow for customers or employees. It is a known fact that this is better achieved when people are happy at work and engaged in what they are doing.

All of these factors have led Emotional Economy to propose Lean Social Business which they consider to be an approach that starts with the “why” before looking at how improvements can be made. According to this organisation, this leads to the possibility of building excellence and exceptional flow, and enabling entities to consider how they innovate on the basis of this to meet new opportunities that may arise. They explain that some of the core questions that have to be asked to operate Lean Social Business effectively are those that question the purpose of the organisation and the individuals within it, who they are, why they are in the business in the first place and what their opinions are of the world and their place within it. This is important because in the opinion of Emotional Economy this provides a more holistic starting point from which to build engagement.

In being able to answer these types of questions, Emotional Economy believes that “true flow” can be achieved in the work place. This is because people are better able to connect at a deeper level to “the why of their work”. This provides a greater sense of meaning and purpose and allows greater opportunities for collaboration based on an understanding of shared meanings as well as what value means to the organisation as a concept.

According to Emotional Economy this is important because they argue that there is evidence that has been presented that demonstrates that Business Process Management, Lean and Six Sigma projects do not meet their objectives because they do a poor job of engaging the employees that are involved in them. Or as Emotional Economy explains it, they do not “engage people from the heart”. They use figures and statistics to appeal to the rational but nothing to get people to buy in emotionally or to feel connected with the work. Emotions to tap into, argues Emotional Economy, are kindness, joy, giving, autonomy, purpose, mastery and sharing.

By working on appealing to these emotions they opine that it is possible to create greater value for customers and shareholders.

Initial pilot efforts of this approach in Australia have proven to be successful to the point where Emotional Economy’s client encouragingly won an award for innovation in its sector, so it seems these types of new approaches can be very effective and worth considering.

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A Bank for the Future http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/a-bank-for-the-future/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/a-bank-for-the-future/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 07:00:00 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43741 A Bank for the future Intelligenthq

The Green Investment Bank was launched two years ago.

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A Bank for the future Intelligenthq
A Bank for the future Intelligenthq

A Bank for the future Intelligenthq

The recent financial crisis and subsequent lengthily economic downturn is all too fresh in many people’s minds, even now. There have been calls for banking to operate in a manner that is more beneficial to both the taxpayer and the environment, rather than continuing to favour some employees with large bonuses and financing companies that focus their businesses on the extraction of fossil fuels. Many people believe there is a better way.

Two years ago the Green Investment Bank was launched,  in October 2012, with a mission to accelerate investment in UK green energy infrastructure. In 2014, the GIB is considered to be the most active green investor in the UK and have mobilised £3 of private capital for every £1  invested in green projects.

In this article, we reviewed a paper entitled, A Bank for the Future – Maximising public investment in a low-carbon economy, written by James Leaton two years ago, that outlined the thoughts that have been about the development of a Green Investment Bank (GIB). Such a bank would need to gain the respect and credibility of other financial institutions and the private sector, but, argues Leaton, it would demonstrate the UK Government’s commitment to the “Green agenda”.

As explained by Leaton, everywhere in the UK can benefit from the opportunities that a greener approach could bring. Indeed, Leaton argues that the banks under state control could be brought on board with green ideals. One such approach suggested by Leaton is that of siphoning off money from so-called “fat cat” bonuses to invest into the green bank. Leaton explains that the Royal Bank of Scotland already has a precedent for providing assistance to small and medium sized businesses and in renewables, and that this experience could be highly beneficial for the green bank. Banks have the power to influence society and promote good through their actions. There needs to be change, argues Leaton, since the last financial crisis:

“…Cost the UK £129 billion in annual GDP and increased the structural deficit by £93 billion.”

Off the back of this, Leaton claims that specifically RBS should be reformed into a bank that promotes the green agenda and which sets a precedent for a low carbon policy framework, leading to a more sustainable economy. Indeed Leaton argues that it is the role of banks and the Coalition government to do precisely that, focusing on the longer term, rather than on short term profits which lead to similar meltdowns in the economy to that which we have recently experienced. The reason for the selection of RBS is that the government has a significant shareholding in the bank.

As Leaton points out, experts have specified that a minimum of £200 billion should be invested in UK energy infrastructure over the course of the upcoming 10 to 15 years. In particular, the environmental goods and services industry is forecast to be able to provide 50,000 jobs each year, but only if the GIB can actually deliver the growth required in a low carbon economy. There are plenty of worthy opportunities for investment. Leaton points to offshore wind power, clean tech industries, electric vehicle infrastructure, high speed rail and also the underwriting of energy efficient “green deal” contracts.

Clearly the GIB would require significant support from the government to achieve this. One area of support that would be beneficial, according to Leaton would be the provision of a clear mandate. The GIB would also require solid governance to really be able to focus on the green agenda. In particular, a focus on the longer term and really investing in products and services that can deliver change and growth in the renewables sector is considered by Leaton to be likely to lead to the GIB having a good chance of success.

Leaton takes the position that if the new Green Investment Bank is provided the support that is needed in terms of management and resources then it has a high chance of success. In particular it is argued by Leaton that certain functions will be required to achieve this, specifically the enablement of risk sharing, providing a “benchmark standard for green investments, the ability to support research and development and the capability to attract global expertise in green areas and banking. It will also be necessary to be able to provide a central position for the government in terms of enabling it to develop policies that are coherent with regard to green financing.

This would lead to the UK being able to benefit from better energy security, green jobs, improved efficiency and energy costs that are more stable. All of this would have the potential to increase the competitiveness of the UK. It could also have the very desirable consequence of reducing carbon emissions.

24 months after the launch of GIB, what has been done ? The following video explains how GIB developed over the past year:

Two years after its launch, the need for making some kind of assessment is felt. Yesterday (October 2014) a new report from the Aldersgate Group, was released urging the Government to increase the power and remit of the Green Investment Bank (GIB) to ensure it provides the necessary support to the UK’s growing green economy.Written in the form of five Q&A with leading industry figures, the report provides the answers to whether the GIB has been a good idea; what its biggest achievements have been; what they would change about it; their vision for the GIB in 2020; and what should be in the 2015 General Election manifestos.

It seems that the GIB is here to stay.

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Transforming William Blake´s Cottage Into A Centre For The Imagination http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/saving-william-blakes-cottage/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/saving-william-blakes-cottage/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 07:00:08 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43933 Rachel Searle and Will Harvey in front of Blake´s cottage Intelligenthq

I first came across the poetry of William Blake in 1989, when studying at an American High School. I was enrolled in an english literature class, and one day we were introduced to William Blake´s …

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Rachel Searle and Will Harvey in front of Blake´s cottage Intelligenthq
Rachel Searle and Will Harvey in front of Blake´s cottage Intelligenthq

Rachel Searle and Will Harvey in front of Blake´s cottage Intelligenthq

I first came across the poetry of William Blake in 1989, when studying at an American High School. I was enrolled in an english literature class, and one day we were introduced to William Blake´s “Songs of innocence.” As I read “The lamb” that simple poem struck me like a blow.

William Blake was an English painter, poet and printmaker, in sum, a polymath, that lived from 1757 to 1827. Most of his life, he lived in London, except for three years, spent in Felpham. He moved there to take up a job of illustrating the works of William Hayley, a minor poet. It was in a cottage located in Felpham, that Blake began Milton. The preface to this work includes a poem beginning “And did those feet in ancient time”, which became the words for the anthem “Jerusalem”. Blake´s poetry became almost forgotten until Alexander Gilchriststarted working on his biography in the 1860s. Many have argued that Blake’s thoughts on human nature greatly anticipate and parallel the thinking of the psychoanalyst Carl Jung.

Blake´s three years spent in a cottage in Felpham, left a marvelous impression in his soul as he found the town more spiritual than London: He wrote about Felpham:

“[The town of] Felpham is a sweet place for Study, because it is more spiritual than London. Heaven opens here on all sides her golden Gates; her windows are not obstructed by vapours; voices of Celestial inhabitants are more distinctly heard, & their forms more distinctly seen; & my Cottage is also a Shadow of their houses. “

Blake is now widely recognized as one of the most extraordinary english poets, but strangely, there isn´t yet any place dedicated to his oeuvre and to celebrate his legacy. An opportunity to solve this lack appeared recently as the cottage where he lived in Felpham, which has been in the ownership of one family since 1928, came recently into the market. A group of local citizens from Bognor Regis, that are collectively called “The Big Blake Project” decided to start a fundraising campaign to acquire it, with the goal of transforming it into a Centre For the Imagination.

Big Blake Project

The Big Blake Project is a local affiliated organisation to the Blake Society that arose in Felpham joining various people passionate about William Blake´s poetry. The Big Blake Project was firstly founded by Rachel Searle. She was later on joined by five more people.  These are Mark Searle, Will Harvey, Abby Wilkinson, Jackie Dowling and Barney Dowling.

This group works in partnership with other local organisations to create an appropriate celebration of Blake’s legacy. They aim as well to bring genuine regeneration of the area of Bognor Regis. The Big Blake project has operated until now under 4 different streams:  The Big Blake trail,  Big Blake arts, Blake’s Cottage and Golgonooza. One of the most interesting initiatives done by this group is the Blake´s trail. If you visit Bognor Regis, you can follow stickers that will lead you to walk along the Bognor Regis seafront to Blake’s cottage, visit St Mary’s Church and see the Blake memorial window.

The group´ s latest goal is to fund-raise enough money to help buying the cottage where Blake once lived. Once purchased it will be managed by an independent trust called Blake Cottage Society. If they manage to buy the cottage, they plan to transform it into a “centre of imagination”, a hub fostering creativity and innovation.

Intelligenthq went to Bognor Regis to visit Blake´s cottage and Rachel and Will Harvey, which gave us an interview about their extraordinary project:

Everyone can contribute to the campaign of saving Blake’s Cottage, just by participating in a Indiegogo campaign that the group launched entitled: let´s make a visionary home for blake. If the cottage is achieved, Bognor Regis will have a place to put in practice what  Blake prophetic words once said:

”The mutual forgiveness of each vice, such are the gates of paradise. And I know that this world Is a world of imagination and vision. I see everything I paint in this world, but everybody does not see alike… “

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Video Conferencing Solutions For Secure Interaction http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/video-conferencing-solutions-for-secure-interaction/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/video-conferencing-solutions-for-secure-interaction/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:00:52 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43927 video conference

Hackers have become the newest bogeyman in the world of business and security. After the hacking and identity theft that took places in several top-ranking retail stores, including Target and Home Depot, the need to …

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video conference
Video Conferencing Solutions For Secure Interaction

Video Conferencing Solutions For Secure Interaction

Hackers have become the newest bogeyman in the world of business and security. After the hacking and identity theft that took places in several top-ranking retail stores, including Target and Home Depot, the need to out think and disarm hackers grew even more in recent years. With the increased connectivity of the digital era, the chances of being targeted are higher than ever, and the stakes are massive: your funds, consumer information, and a brand name are all at stake. So when your business implements video conferencing as its latest tool to stay connected, security should be a prime consideration and appropriate steps should be taken to keep unwanted visitors far away from your meetings. Here are some of the most effective measures being implemented in video conference security, what they can do for you, and ultimately how to sustain your system’s integrity.

Top-Rate Encryption
Some of the security concerns for your video conferencing platform can be handled by the software developers. It’s the goal and responsibility of your software providers to develop a stable, efficient, and ultimately watertight build. After hackings of retailers and E-mail servers alike, the need for upgraded security has to begin with the coding itself, where developers are working to implement extensive encryption measures for all audio and video data. According to How Stuff Works, most video conferencing providers have security protocols that function on a 56-bit or 128-bit system. The latter is considered more effective and tremendously difficult to crack because of its high amount of code variations. As more and more developers see products falling victim to hacking strikes, the reliance on base coding to provide secure encryption will certainly increase. Some video conferencing models are considered open-source, which allows for modification by the software’s end-user. If your company has tech-savvy staff, you can search out these companies and begin to make your own updates as needed. One of the biggest names in open-source secure video conferencing, Blue Jeans, has also started to implement advanced firewalls in its program builds.

Settings for Security
Often times, security can trickle down to you and your command over your video conferencing platform. Much like any other computer or device usage, your primary concern should be safeguarding any and all information that passes over the network. To do this, you should keep a firewall active on your laptop or desktop computer, and regularly run scans for viruses or malware. Once you’ve satisfied this basic requirement, you can begin to use some of the more personalized features in your video conferencing software. If you can, enable specific privacy settings to prevent unauthorized users from joining your video conference. If not done correctly, you might find some unwanted voyeurs in your meeting. In fact, the New York Times has reported that this sort of hacking has happened before. Another setting that’s tangentially related to unauthorized access is the concept of notifications for entrances or exits. On many current conference builds, there is no automatic alert for anybody attempting to access your meeting or take control of a vacant webcam. In some systems, you may be able to spot the red light that indicates your webcam is active, but in others, you may be entirely in the dark. If your program is open-source or proprietary, attempt to remedy the problem by placing specific passwords to enter the conference. If your program is not proprietary, you can attempt to modify the files yourself and create custom alerts for visitors. In addition, you might also try your hand at manually configuring the conference’s IP address and other information, which will only be hosted for a limited time and further protect your transmissions, as Tech Republic suggests.

Physical Protection
Sometimes, the simplest countermeasures are the most effective. As Telepresence Options states, an old trick developed by webcam users involves a post-it note being placed over the camera’s lens, preventing it from capturing any visuals whatsoever. You may choose to switch the platform you actually use for your video conferences, as Windows tends to be more vulnerable to viruses and other malicious files because of widespread use and simplicity in coding. Platforms such as the Mac OS iPad, or even Linux-based systems are considered safer options, and may be less troublesome when interacting with core system files, should you choose to perform any open-source modifications to your product. When setting up your Internet, choose appropriate Wi-Fi connections, and never connect yourself to an unsecured hotspot or network.
Security and producing countermeasures against hacking may be one of the most fluid industries in business, but there are several time-tested methods that have the potential to turn an exposed system into a sealed vault.

Cooperation between your security or software provider and your own usage is vital to keeping your data secure and intact. With a bit of common sense and a healthy dose of forethought, you’ll be well on your way to running the Fort Knox of video conference programs.

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How to Build Social Capital for Aspiring Social Entrepreneurs http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/how-to-build-social-capital-for-aspiring-social-entrepreneurs/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/how-to-build-social-capital-for-aspiring-social-entrepreneurs/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 07:00:02 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43904 social capital2

“Social capital” means fame, goodwill or recognition you have amassed because of your work, achievements, professional network or social activism. Traditionally, social capital meant goodwill an entrepreneur – or any individual, for that matter – …

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social capital2
How to Build Social Capital for Aspiring Social Entrepreneurs Intelligenthq

How to Build Social Capital for Aspiring Social Entrepreneurs Intelligenthq

“Social capital” means fame, goodwill or recognition you have amassed because of your work, achievements, professional network or social activism.

Traditionally, social capital meant goodwill an entrepreneur – or any individual, for that matter – has gathered from various segments of society. But in the Internet age, social capital also includes goodwill and reputation an entrepreneur garners from social media, or more generally, from every digital platform.

If you are an aspiring social entrepreneur or startup developer, here are 10 easy yet effective ways to build social capital before embarking on the actual business bandwagon.

1. Have Not One, But Several Social Media Pages

To build social capital, you need to be social. We are not talking about just saying ‘hello’ here and there, vanishing for a few weeks, and then coming back when you feel like it. You should formulate an effective social media strategy in which you open – and maintain – pages on more than one platform. At a minimum, you must have a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter…and Pinterest if you have time.

2. Engage Your Friends and Followers

Once you open the pages, maintain them. Dr. Maurice Dawson, a Fulbright Professor of Information Systems at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, suggests that you post relevant content, information that improves people’s lives entertains them or educates them. If friends and followers see you posting value-adding information, you could boost your social capital over time, strengthening your moral authority over them. The idea is to provide good information consistently, so people can see you as a trusted of education and information they can rely on.

3. Follow What Is Going on in Your Area and Industry

Educating others is good, but educating yourself is better. Familiarize yourself with your niche, your industry or whatever interests you. Learn as much as you can, read and find out the key trends that are shaping your industry. That kind of research will pay off exponentially later on when you embark on your business career, because you would know exactly what works, what does not, and what rivals are doing.

4. Cultivate the Company of Prominent People

Don’t waste your time with the wrong people – online and offline. ‘Show me your friends, and I will tell you who you are,’ says the axiom. The idea here is to amass social goodwill by forming solid ties with prominent personalities in your niche. That way, you can indirectly benefit from their social capital whenever they mention your name or refer you to their friends and business contacts. Don’t reinvent the wheel; just copy what the best are doing, and you could be on your way to business stardom, too.

5. Surround Yourself With Other Social Entrepreneurs

Arel Moodie, TEDx Speaker and Best Selling Author, recommends that we surround ourselves with other entrepreneurs if we want to simultaneously gather social capital and boost our business aspirations. The good thing is, when you hang out with other similarly minded people, their expertise and talent spread on you, thus expanding your own knowledge. You, too, share your inner potential with them, thus completing the virtuous circle you can use one day to advance your respective businesses. The idea of crowdsourcing is similar, although it applies to a large group of people – a crowd, that is.

10 ways to build social capital Intelligenthq

10 ways to build social capital Intelligenthq

6. Convince Others You Are the Best – or One of Them

You can quickly garner social goodwill if you consistently produce top-quality content, share good ideas with followers, and are seen as a rising star because you work with prominent people. To convince others you are the best – or one of the best – you need to work, work and work. No talk – just work. Prove your excellence through hard work, and before you know it, others will give you the accolades you need and want.

7. Do Good Offline

Doing good is excellent online – but so it is offline. Doing good is good for your karma, which is not a bad thing when it comes to social capital. Accumulated much goodwill through volunteering and charitable activism can also translate into online recognition, because the people and organizations you helped also have an online presence – and they would be more than happy to return the favor you initially granted them.

8. Establish Thought Leadership

Establish thought leadership by writing a book, giving a speech, penning several blog articles or mentoring others. All these activities serve to set you up as an expert in whatever field you choose, as long as it fits nicely with your future business aspirations. Remember that people generally ascribe expertise and intellectual authority to someone who writes a book or delivers a comprehensive speech or presentation on a topic – and does so not just once, but several times.

9. Think About Social Entrepreneurship

As an aspiring entrepreneur, you are probably thinking about business ventures only. That is okay, but following the philosophy of Ashoka, don’t forget about social entrepreneurship. This world also needs smart, competent and poised people who want to improve the lives of millions through social activism. Earlier, we said you can build social capital by doing some good offline. Here we are saying you could actually take the path of social entrepreneurship altogether, building an organization – nonprofit or business – focused on social welfare.

10. Let Others Shine

Humility is the gateway to stardom, so let others shine whenever you can. As much as possible, mention others in your social posts, blog articles and other messages. Shedding light on other people’s work will benefit you, not only in terms of social goodwill, but also in terms of personal connections you could use offline to jumpstart your business.

Final Word

As a budding social entrepreneur, you should cultivate your relationships offline and online, at all times, and wherever possible. Always provide relevant and value-added content, and your peers and followers gradually will elevate your status in the industry.

Don’t forget also to put the limelight on others – they will return the favor in due course.

 

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Criterion: Changing the Rules Of Markets http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/changing-the-practices-of-markets-criterion/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/changing-the-practices-of-markets-criterion/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 07:00:42 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43854 Criterion: Changing the Rules Of Markets Intelligenthq

Have you ever wondered how people could go about changing the practices of market systems, and the strategies that could really sustain change over time? Criterion Institute is working on answering these questions and others …

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Criterion: Changing the Rules Of Markets Intelligenthq
 Criterion: Changing the Rules Of Markets Intelligenthq

Criterion: Changing the Rules Of Markets Intelligenthq

Have you ever wondered how people could go about changing the practices of market systems, and the strategies that could really sustain change over time? Criterion Institute is working on answering these questions and others through recognising that markets and market systems are actually social and cultural constructs that are possible to be changed if the right activities are carried out.

The organisation is exploring leadership styles, organisational models and skills development that can lead to change, as well as how to work within the current system that is designed to support the status quo while driving market systems change.

In pursuit of answering these lofty but important questions, the Criterion Institute has launched the Leaders Shaping Markets initiative. The initiative was instigated in 2012 and has a primary focus on creating and providing support structures for a community of individuals that work on changing the way that systems that underpin the current economic markets operate. It is believed that by changing the functioning of systems, social change can also be delivered.

The following video documented one of those encounters:

The Criterion Institute believes that in the past efforts in this regard were spotty and the work to date has been pushed into the margins, or has not been understood. According to the Criterion Institute this has led to missing “a number of opportunities for large scale social change.” Through connecting the different leaders and experts that are able to provide input the Criterion Institute believes it has a chance at succeeding where others in the past have failed. What Criterion is trying to achieve is perhaps best outlined by Ariel Schwartz of Co.Exist. As she puts it:

“Criterion is trying to rebrand the idea of systems change, and change a few major systems – like the rules that govern the entire economy – along the way.”

Put this way the scale of the task may at first seem somewhat overwhelming. But as of 2012 when Schwartz analysed the work to date, 50 leaders had already signed up to get involved with taking action, with a remit of developing a language and identity for system change.

The group was also tasked with coming up with ideas through which this sort of change could be generated. Indeed, according to Schwartz, Criterion has so far looked at areas such as how churches help to bring about social change, how gender is valued in investing and what this group of leaders can actually do as a network to bring about change in the economic markets.

According to Schwartz the group of people that Criterion has built up is formidable, and it includes programme managers, entrepreneurs and philanthropists among others. It is also partnering with universities to look at how past activities have worked to amend market systems and bring about both social and environmental outcomes that were positive. Through examining these case studies it is believed that it may be possible to develop a framework that can be used for illustrating the contribution of different practices to altering market systems.

Taking a somewhat provocative stance, Schwartz explains that Criterion ran a campaign to attract attention with a goal of branding systems change. The slogan for this campaign was: “We made this shit up, we can change it.”

The organisation is also proposing interesting changes that could really impact thousands of lives. For example, once such venture according to Schwartz is called the “Church as an Economic Being Initiative.” This initiative proposes that if 1,000 churches were to invest in microbusinesses in their communities by providing just four micro loans, “tens of thousands of jobs” could be created.

Interestingly though, the organisation does not see itself as a deliverer of change, but rather as the ideas person. Its goal is to come up with high level ideas that could drive change if someone else implemented it. Yet taking this first step of coming up with blue sky ideas is obviously critical to driving change in the future with market systems.

Meanwhile, Criterion continues to carry out ethnographic research as well as to hold dialogues and debates in different cities such as London, New York and Berkeley, seeking to collaborate to develop ideas that have the potential to drive real and lasting change. It remains to be seen if the organisation does come up with big ideas that can really generate change to long established systems.

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Is Philanthropy Going Global ? http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/philanthropy-gone-global/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/philanthropy-gone-global/#comments Sun, 26 Oct 2014 07:00:30 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43846 Puck magazine cartoon from 1901

Understanding different peoples’ attitudes and behaviours towards charity and carrying out charitable acts has long proven to be a subject of interest to academics and researchers. In particular trying to understand why this varies between …

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Puck magazine cartoon from 1901
Puck magazine cartoon from 1901

Puck magazine cartoon from 1901

Understanding different peoples’ attitudes and behaviours towards charity and carrying out charitable acts has long proven to be a subject of interest to academics and researchers. In particular trying to understand why this varies between different countries and why philanthropic acts vary from one place to another is an ongoing topic of interest, not least for Wesley Longhofer (2014) of Goizueta Business School at Emory University. In 2014, Longhofer set out to understand this in greater detail, also looking at how globalisation may also have an impact on this type of behaviour and activities. An example of differences and change in this is given to be that of the existence of foundations, which Longhofer argues were once primarily an American type of entity, but which are now spreading throughout the world. Accounting for these kinds of changes is somewhat challenging.

Longhofer describes two cross-national studies that were carried out into philanthropic activity. The first used a “World Values Survey” to look at the importance of contextual factors. Such factors include areas such as trust, natural disasters and religiosity and their role in philanthropic acts. This study examined the extent to which these factors had an impact on people joining charitable organisations in 35 different countries. The second study that Longhofer reviews looked instead at the spread of grant making organisations in 100 different countries in the 35 year period between 1970 to 2005. This led to Longhofer finding that both studies firmly place charitable activities and philanthropic acts in a so-called “global moral order”. This moral order is explained by Longhofer to “champion virtue” and this view sees voluntary associations, including foundations and charities as being important actors for driving solutions to global problems.

As Longhofer puts it:

“The privatisation of state services, upsurges in private wealth and the heightened visibility of humanitarian crises have likely played important roles.”

As Longhofer (2014) puts it, other researchers have other explanations. For example, Longhofer describes how Hammack and Heydemann suggest that global philanthropy expansion has been driven by events such as the fall of the Soviet bloc. Longhofer explains that these researchers present a view that suggests that this activity led to efforts to improve civil society through both NGOs as well as non-profits. At the same time it is argued that the fall of the Soviet bloc led to an increased acceptance and understanding, and consequently a rise of individual rights. However, overall Longhofer explains that these areas are not well studied and therefore not well understood either.

In particular one of the findings of Longhofer was that global culture is important in shaping philanthropic activities among individuals and organisations. In this regard Longhofer noted that philanthropic acts are spread at least in part due to the fact that organizational structures that they are embedded in are globalizing, so this in turn leads to the globalization of philanthropy. The important point to note here is that organisations and structures that are globally based provide “an important source of empowerment and legitimation for philanthropy that is organised. At the same time however, Longhofer found that the relationship between world society and global philanthropy is not one way only. It was also found that foundations those organisations awarding grants are not “ordinary actors”, rather they are commonly made up of prestige ant elites that help to “guide a liberal and progressive world society”.

In addition Longhofer reviewed the role of the global humanitarian system and how this operates between countries. Longhofer’s findings somewhat support the idea that the Soviet bloc breakdown has led to more charity at least in the sense that he explains that the humanitarian system has grown both in size and scope since the end of the Cold War. However, one of the problems identified by Longhofer of studying this area is a general lack of information about humanitarian organisations, particularly with regard to numbers of people and budget size.

The encouraging point about the study of Longhofer and similar studies is that charitable acts and philanthropy appear to be growing, whatever the reasons. They are seen as an important way by which to demonstrate reciprocity and social solidarity. It will be interesting to see if in the future academics and researchers become better able to pinpoint the reasons why charity and philanthropy spreads so that these can be leveraged for further growth for the benefit of those in need.

Another example contributing to the debate of philanthropy in current times, is the following talk, given by Katherine Fulton. In it, the scholar traces the new future of philanthropy — one where collaboration and innovation allow regular people to do big things, even when money is scarce. Giving five practical examples of crowd-driven philanthropy, she calls for a new generation of citizen leaders.

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How To Use Instagram For Social Business http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/instagram-for-social-business/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/instagram-for-social-business/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 06:00:14 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43852 instagram-art

While the giants of social media like Facebook and Twitter have been stealing all of the social networking thunder, Instagram has been rising up through the ranks and is becoming a widely accepted tool for …

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instagram-art
Instagram for Social Business

Instagram for Social Business

While the giants of social media like Facebook and Twitter have been stealing all of the social networking thunder, Instagram has been rising up through the ranks and is becoming a widely accepted tool for social business. This has led many businesses to start looking at how Instagram can be used to improve their marketing strategies.

According to Gabriel Hubert (2013) writing for Our Social Times there are very good reasons for this. That’s because photos considerably increase interest and interaction from people. As noted by Hubert, photo posts have been shown to up the interaction rate by 39% compared with other posts. This has led companies like Starbucks, MTV, Nike and Red Bull to start including Instagram in their marketing strategies to work on reaching a proportion of the 90 million monthly active users (as of 2013). If this was not enough to encourage businesses to get on board with Instagram, Prescient explains that 57% of users go into their accounts on a daily basis. As well as this, 43% of accounts post more than one time per day. Brands that have already started with Instagram post approximately 5.5 times each week, states Prescient, and: “The top 50 brands on Instagram have an average of 722,000 followers and around 1.5 million Instagram posts mention the top 50 brands.”

This is all very well, but some business owners wonder how Instagram should best be managed. Prescient advice argues for posting photos that are brand relevant for customers. An example provided of this is that Whole Foods Market posts photos about healthy food, but also of store events and their sustainability measures. It is also explained that just as with other forms of social media marketing it is necessary to engage with followers which means leaving comments on their photos and liking what they post. Prescient suggests that quality is better than quantity in terms of the number of followers that a business has, so it is important to focus on building up a base of people that are really interested in your business and posts.

Writing for Social Media Examiner, Brian Honigman (2014) explains that another step that businesses can take is making sure that they add videos. As highlighted by Honigman, as of 2014 only 4% of Fortune 500 companies had started using video on Instagram for social media marketing. By getting in there ahead of other companies, businesses have an opportunity to stand out from the crowds. Indeed, it is shown by Honigman that a Forever 21 video campaign had received hundreds of responses having only been posted for less than two weeks.

Introducing Video on Instagram from Instagram on Vimeo.

Honigman suggests that a consistent style is important in building up followers. This means determining what types of pictures or videos work and largely sticking to that approach in a manner that is consistent and recognisable so that followers are able to associate it with your brand. If Instagram used to be limited to the use of an iphone or smartphone, there are now various alternatives that let you use your computer such as gamblr. Gamblr will allow you to program and optimize your use of instagram as a branding/marketing resource for your social business.

On the subject of branding, making Instagram work for your business means understanding what you need to do from the perspective of your brand to grab attention. In this regard National Geographic is a good example. As this organisation could not have used mobile photo uploads to attract followers, given the focus of excellence in photography in its brand, so it has steered clear of this approach. Additionally it “takes advantage of the fact that Instagram captions don’t have a character limit.” Honigman explains that each caption is similar to a brief magazine commentary rather than a simple caption for a picture and that is consistent with what National Geographic followers might possibly expect from this brand. Meanwhile, Honigman also suggests asking for user generated photographs by carrying out activities such as the running of competitions to get people to interact with the brand.

Hubert (2013) argues that whatever you decide to do on Instagram you should track and monitor it. In particular this means monitoring areas such as follower statistics and interactions generated by different photos posted. This can lead businesses to improve what they do on Instagram to better prompt engagement by continuing with what works and dropping what doesn’t. Particular areas to track according to Hubert are Hashtags, volume of photos shared, likes and comments as well as reach.

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Is “Disruptive Innovation” A Devastating Machine Promoting A Perestroika Of Capitalism ? http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/the-disruption-machine/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/the-disruption-machine/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:00:04 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43859 disruptive innovation

Article written by Maria Fonseca and Paula Fonseca The disruption advocates have become something of a machine. “Disruption is everywhere!” they tell us, driving fear into our hearts that everything we know and love is …

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disruptive innovation
Image by Dinis Guarda

Image by Dinis Guarda

Article written by Maria Fonseca and Paula Fonseca

The disruption advocates have become something of a machine. “Disruption is everywhere!” they tell us, driving fear into our hearts that everything we know and love is sure to transform beyond recognition. Disruption is driving change and bringing about new paradigms and ways of thinking, or so they say. But now people are starting to question this concept in its application to absolutely everything. For example, according to Jill Lepore (2014) reporting for The New Yorker the concept of disruptive innovation has been over baked by many. As she puts it:

“Disruptive innovation is a theory about why businesses fail. It’s not more than that. It doesn’t explain change. It’s not a law of nature… It makes a very poor prophet.”

In the view of Lepore and many others the concept of “disruptive innovation” has been used to explain how change occurs. This is as much asserted in business schools as everywhere else, she argues. And now these theories have been applied to other areas that have nothing to do with business or the goals of organisations. Actually, it is implied that in some cases disruptive innovation should not have been applied. For example, as Lepore explains, doctors need to meet their obligations to patients, teachers to students and journalists to readers. These are obligations, she purports, that have nothing to do with earnings. Doctors must provide a high standard of care, teachers a high standard of education, and journalists need to ensure to be factually correct. This is argued to be fundamentally different to the obligations that business managers have to staff.

Indeed, Lepore explains that disruptive innovation has been proposed as a theory of change both looking back at the past, and showing that disruption has caused change throughout time, as well as looking to the future, and showing that disruption will continue to drive change. Lepore argues that it has been suggested that many things that people own are the result of disruptive change. For example, smartphones and their apps have been shown to have created disruption for many industries such as in travel, transportation and music, among others. However, Lepore points out that not everything is suited to “disruptive innovation”, though disruption is called for by many advocates of it in all fields.

Clayton M. Christensen, a renowned scholar from Harvard, was one of the firsts to have written extensively on the subject of innovation and disruption.  Clayton wrote The Innovator´s Dilemma , which was first published in 1997. His book put forward the idea that companies place too much emphasis on customers’ current needs, when they should rather adopt new technology or business models to meet customers’ not yet stated or future needs. Christensen called this disruptive innovation. Christensen focused on the idea that disruptive innovation might lead an industry to the selling of a cheaper product with lower quality over focusing on their regular customers, and that this innovative new product would eventually “devour an entire industry”. According to Lepore, since Christensen’s book “The Innovator’s Dilemma” was published this has led to everyone jumping on a disruption bandwagon with the appearance of conferences about disruption, seminars on this topic and even consultants to help drive disruption.

The hype around disruption has led to an excessive focus on disruption, opines Lepore, who says that this implies that “the time has come to panic as you’ve never panicked before.” Indeed, she points out that some journalists have taken this to an all new level, arguing that disruptive innovation has now become “devastating innovation”. The concept behind this is that young, fresh start up companies are “ruthless and leaderless and unrestrained” and that such companies seem small and insignificant and the danger of them is not realised until it is way too late. In her own industry, Lepore compares the Times and BuzzFeed as examples of an established organisation threatened in this devastating manner by a new-ish start up applying “disruptive innovation” as a strategy.

Another way to read this phenomenon is through the eyes of Jeremy Rifkin’s latest book: The zero marginal cost society. In his book Rifkin traces a new type of economical system resulting from an abundance of goods and services that are increasingly cheap:

“This is the first new economical system to emerge since the advent of capitalism and socialism in the early nineteenth century. It is going to dramatically impact our lives. The precipitating agent, the trigger is something called : zero marginal cost.”

Marginal cost can be defined as the cost of producing additional units of a good or service, if fixed costs are not counted. While economists have always welcomed a reduction in marginal cost, they never anticipated the possibility of a technological revolution that might bring marginal costs to near zero, making goods and services priceless, nearly free, and abundant, and no longer subject to market forces. Could the phenomena of zero marginal cost, be the result of the entrepreneurial drive of looking for ways to make cheaper products, the result of the famous “disruptive innovation” that Christensen so well described premonitorily in 1997 ?

Fast forward to 2014, the “disruptive machine” has became so threatening to all that you can even take an online MOOC on surviving disruptive technologies. The course, offered by coursera, mentions how it aims to equip individuals and organizations with resources to survive ( based on a general model of survival) when confronted with disruptive technologies that threaten their current way of life.

Going back to Lepore’s article, the author argues that the concept of disruptive innovation has been jumped on and taken way too far, and this is problematic, given that it is grounded on evidence and assertions that she explains to be “dubious” in the first place. While Lepore’s arguments are sound and writing is engaging, it seems unlikely that her commentary will stop the incredible Disruption Machine that appears to have taken over the world. Given the extent to which people have embraced the ideals of disruption and its concepts as a driver of change, there is a lot further to go before people calm down about the idea of disruption and start searching for other alternative models.

It is important though to understand that what disruption brought to a certain extent was that it revolutionized a whole traditional way of doing business that focused on competition and profitability. The disruptive machine, turned into a devastating one, is now affecting both startups and corporations. If some are trying to cope by quickly learning “survival” techniques, others are embracing the reality that classical capitalism is undergoing a “perestroika” and it is redefining itself. “Capitalism is under attack” is the initial sentence of an article published last month (september 2014) by McKinsey and Company entitled : Redefining capitalism.

Some alternative models of doing business, are the ones described by Jeremy Rifkin, such as the ones that privilege collaboration, sharing and the collaborative commons. These, have already gained momentum. It will be interesting to see what will be left in the landscape of doing traditional business after the hurricane of disruption has calmed down.

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People Centered Economic Development http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/people-centered-economic-development/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/people-centered-economic-development/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 06:00:21 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43848 P_CED

One of the buzz trends of our contemporary “business” days is the idea that people need to be the new focus, and centre of a business that entitles itself to be social. There is something …

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P_CED
People Centered Economic Development Image by Intelligenthq

People Centered Economic Development Image by Intelligenthq

One of the buzz trends of our contemporary “business” days is the idea that people need to be the new focus, and centre of a business that entitles itself to be social. There is something warming about the idea that people might actually be placed first in the process of economic development. It is important to remember that this idea didn’t just came up recently with the sudden use of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, that triggered an immense revolution on the way business is done.

To put people at the center of economic development is precisely what the concept of  People Centered Economic Development attempted to do, by considering people at the core of progress. The concept of People Centered Economic Development has been in operation for more than 15 years and while it began in the USA in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the organisation moved to the UK in 2004. Jeff Mowatt is one of the most important advocates of this concept and the director of the organization. P- CED is now a profit for purpose organisation in the UK, which allows it to be able to invest profits for social purpose as well as to conduct small business. Any money that is made is re-invested into purposes that the organisation’s management chooses.

On the core premise of people being central to economic development, the organisation asks a question that seems obvious: “At first glance it might seem redundant to emphasise people as the central focus of economics. After all, isn’t the purpose of economics as well as business, people?” But as the organization sees and we all have experienced, if people are to some degree automatically a core part of business and economic activities in other ways they are not. Clearly, it can be seen that the capitalist model does not lead to benefits for everyone. Definitely some people are rewarded with considerable benefits, however,  according to the “People Centered Economic Development” theory, in fact, the traditional capitalist system doesn’t bring benefits to all. After all, as it points out, more than one billion people are left hungry. This hardly puts people at the core of economic development if a very sizeable proportion of the world’s population does not have sufficient food to eat each day. We don’t even need to go that far: It’s a common discussion nowadays that the current generation is less better off than their parents one. Over the last decade wages stabilized while life costs have skyrocketed, particularly in cities like London or New York.

The premise of People Centered Economic Development,  and they were pioneers in raising these kinds of questions, is that it tries to figure out solutions. Problems like the ones highlighted previously are solvable by taking a slightly different approach and putting people central to the economic development approach.

People Centered Economic Development advocates for businesses to do things differently. It persists with the idea that businesses should operate for profit, but rather than creaming off that profit to make just a few people very rich it is proposed instead that a minimum of 50% of profits should be given to “stimulate a given local economy instead of going to private hands.” Legally there is nothing to stop businesses from doing this if their mandates and relationships with investors are set up accordingly to do so.

People Centered Economic Development argues that profits can and should be utilised more effectively than they are at the current time. Rather than targeting “traditional investment and profit outcomes” it is suggested that by giving half of their profits away to create dozens of new organisations, more jobs would be created. This, it argues would be beneficial for everyone, not just the few lucky individuals at the top of the chain. It is also opined that this would create a more equitable system that could work to reduce human misery and suffering through changing the flow of wealth and working to get rid of issues like poverty and hunger. This is essential, it argues, especially given that there are more than enough resources for everyone, but they are just not shared equitably.

Overall the focus is on long term and permanently sustainable solutions, putting the neediest people first in priority, rather than continuing to overlook or ignore them. The approach is considered to be bottom up. People Centered Economic Development practices what it preaches and does not expect other organisations to take steps that it is not prepared to take itself. With regard to social purposes, the organisation’s largest concern is poverty relief and child care reform in the countries that formerly comprised the USSR. This is achieved through creating ties based on friendship and common ground with countries that were part of the Soviet Union. It is the firm belief of People Centered Economic Development that an approach that it describes as “soft power” for pursuing international relations is the most optimal for building trust, understanding and peace, and the organisation has focused on this strategy right from its outset. As People Centered Economic Development puts it, “Peace is our business.” People Centered Economic Development specifically selected the former Soviet Union region to provide support to.

It seems like a long shot to change a system of profitability that is so embedded in the capitalist principle, but maybe through showing what can be done with sustained efforts People Centered Economic Development can achieve this.

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Studying Business At The University For Peace http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education/the-university-for-peace/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education/the-university-for-peace/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 06:29:23 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43850 UPEACE-campus

There have been many initiatives to promote peace but perhaps none more inspiring and educational than the University for Peace. It seems only appropriate that such an institution is mandated by the United Nations and …

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UPEACE-campus
The University for Peace

The University for Peace

There have been many initiatives to promote peace but perhaps none more inspiring and educational than the University for Peace. It seems only appropriate that such an institution is mandated by the United Nations and located in Costa Rica, a country that does not have a permanently standing army. You may be imagining the University of People to be a new initiative, but actually the organisation has been running since late 1980, established as a treaty organisation by the UN General Assembly. The mission of the university in essence is:

“To provide humanity with an international institution of higher education for peace with the aim of promoting among all human beings the spirit of understanding, tolerance and peaceful coexistence, to stimulate cooperation.. and lessen obstacles and threats to world peace and progress…”

Despite being established by the United Nations, the organisation wanted to attain academic freedom and so it was set up with its own charter, with a view to not being subjected to the regulations of the UN, and consequently being able to achieve a greater level of innovation. Education, training and research are considered by the University for Peace to be paramount in developing a framework for peace and progress and reducing conflict. The University is funded by donor governments as well as foundations and institutions that wish to support the University in achieving its mission.

The University for Peace offers an interesting diversity of educational programmes primarily grounded in the central concept of peace. Some examples of courses offered include: Gender and Peace Building, Media, Peace and Conflict Studies, International Law and Human Rights, Urban Governance and Peace and Environment, Development and Peace. In the case of the latter it is possible to specialise in Environmental Security and Governance, Sustainable Natural Resource Management, Climate Change Policy or Sustainable Food Systems.  In addition to the masters programmes there are also various short term courses, such as Business and Human Rights and a doctoral programme that has a goal of offering its participants “a holistic and interdisciplinary understanding” of issues related to peace and conflict as well as strategies for driving peace. There are also online education options, study abroad programmes, an undergraduate credit building programme and partnership programmes in place, all with a perspective on and a view to working towards a peaceful world.

Getting accepted onto a University for Peace programme requires applicants to have already completed a four year undergraduate degree such as a BA or BSc. One commonality between all students accepted is that they are able to demonstrate an “outstanding” academic record of achievements. It is also preferable where possible that individuals that apply are motivated and hardworking and have a year of experience in a related field. Cross cultural experiences and a background of international studies is also considered helpful to get accepted to the university. If you want to go to the University for Peace to further your academic studies you can expect to have to complete an online application, provide transcripts that demonstrate academic achievement, send letters of recommendation and also demonstrate a good level of competence in the English Language in order to get accepted.

As a not for profit organisation the University for Peace has a limited ability to provide financial assistance to students, and this assistance, where offered is based on merit. The university has an “administrative fee” of $2,500 which is charged to all students, regardless of whether or not they receive financial support. Tuition fees for an MA programme sit at $17,000 for the academic year of 2014 to 2015, and it is expected that approximately half the fee is paid to confirm enrolment and the other half by October 2015. Of course, this does not include the mandatory administration fee. Some students get a tuition waiver if they come from countries of the UPEACE charter or if they have studied at a partner university. This includes a wide range of universities in countries from around the world, such as universities in Ethiopia, Turkey, the USA, Switzerland, Monaco, the Republic of Korea and Japan, among many others. UN employees, Costa Rican citizens, professors from partner universities and documented refugees benefit from a 50% tuition waiver.

If you want to advance a career in driving peace around the world, then what better place to start than the University for Peace in Ciudad Colon, San Jose?

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Little Guide to Online Reputation For Social Businesses http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/little-guide-to-online-reputation-for-social-businesses/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/little-guide-to-online-reputation-for-social-businesses/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 06:00:34 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43743 guide to online reputation Intelligenthq

Everyone, even those that do not use the Internet all that much have an online reputation. That may be surprising for some to know. After all, maybe you keep your privacy levels at the highest …

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guide to online reputation Intelligenthq
guide to online reputation Intelligenthq

guide to online reputation Intelligenthq

Everyone, even those that do not use the Internet all that much have an online reputation. That may be surprising for some to know. After all, maybe you keep your privacy levels at the highest possible settings, and don’t allow your friends to tag you in pictures and so on. Nonetheless, you have an online reputation and it is well worth keeping it managed. That applies not just to organisations but also to individuals. That’s because if you go for an interview, your new employer will almost certainly check out what they can find out about you online. This means that keeping your online reputation under control is important.

If you are leading a social business, using various social media platforms, it is necessary to consider your online reputation, both the one of your business and the one of yourself as an individual.

According to David Amerland it is important to be able to verify your own identity in the semantic web. Information may be up there online about you and it may or may not be true. A picture of someone online and a name or a short profile are insufficient for the search engines to be able to determine trust. However, Amerland argues that it is better to build up a reputation over time through developing a profile based on activities and engagement. These activities can help to build up a reputation that is “hard to get and easy to lose” according to Amerland. Using a real name is one way that you can help to build up a reputation.

One activity that Google attempts to carry out is “reconciling identities across different social networks”. It does this for a number of reasons, perhaps the most important of which is data verification so that the organisation’s search engine is able to return trustworthy replies based on search queries entered. The more information that is available about you online, the easier this is for Google to do, and the more accurately it can return a useful search. Steering clear of spam is a third reason that Google does this. Google verifies identity in a variety of different ways. It looks at email addresses, writing styles, connections and sentiment profiles, among others.

Infographic little guide to online reputation

Little guide to online reputation

All of this means that information about your identity online is gained from a number of different sources. One, according to Amerland is “Influencers”. You may follow a person on one social network and another and Google may be able to tell this even if you use different names on the two social network profiles. Likes and dislikes are another way by which to identify you, as are email addresses, contacts and network connections. Many other data sources are used such as your IP address and location, devices used, comments posted, what you engage with online in terms of websites, contents, subject matters and interests and more.

Your online reputation is becoming increasingly important, as Amerland points out. For example, it is possible in the not-too-distant future that banks will use online reputation to determine who to lend money to, and job eligibility could be determined by online reputation. These are just two examples of how online reputation may gain importance in the months and years ahead. This means having an accurate and true online reputation that reflects reality is important.

Writing for Forbes, Jayson DeMers (2014) explains that it is necessary to understand what is being said about you online, and this is especially true for social businesses. There are some really helpful tools that DeMers suggests for doing this. These include Tagboard, Hastagify.me, SocialMention and TweetBinder. These tools provide the opportunity to search on social media networks and provide information on what is being said about you and your business. The long-running tool Google Alerts can also be useful for this. With this tool it is possible to set up regular notifications of when your name or your business name is published online, and these notifications are delivered to your email address.

DeMers also believes that it is necessary to respond to what is said about you online. However, as he puts it: “This is where you’ll want to tread very carefully.”

Where a response is appropriate it is recommended to do this quickly, to make sure that your view as well as the view of the author is taken into account by as many people as possible reading the information. Deleting the comments is not necessarily recommended as it can be seen as an admission of guilt or covering up a problem. Responding professionally is considered essential. In some cases this may involve contacting the author and asking them to remove the content.

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Positive Money : Explaining How “New Money” Is Made Through Debt http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/positive-money-explaining-how-new-money-is-made-through-debt/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/positive-money-explaining-how-new-money-is-made-through-debt/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 06:00:47 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43752 still from video by positivemoney.org

Article written by Paula Newton and Maria Fonseca Where does money come from ? How does the system of money work ? What is money after all ?  Positive Money is a movement that tries …

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still from video by positivemoney.org
Positive Money : Explaining How "New money" Is Made Through Debt

Positive Money : Explaining How “New money” Is Made Through Debt

Article written by Paula Newton and Maria Fonseca

Where does money come from ? How does the system of money work ? What is money after all ?  Positive Money is a movement that tries to investigate some answers for these questions, and that searches for a money and banking system that works for society and not against it, which the organisation asserts that the current situation has the unfortunate disadvantage of doing. Positive Money suggests that the current financial system that we are in has left people with the worst debt levels through history, a level of inequality that is worsening and unaffordable housing. The organisation affiliated with sister organisations in almost 20 other countries and is, as it puts it:

 “…campaigning for the power to create money to be used in the public interest, in a democratic, transparent and accountable way, rather than by the same banks that caused the financial crisis.”

Positive Money has set itself up as a not for profit organisation, and it is currently based in London. The organization was founded by Ben Dyson in 2009, resulting from Ben Dyson´s disillusionment with mainstream economics. Ben decided to actively look for solutions, which lead him to campaign for a proper understanding of how money works as the first step in fixing a failed banking system. That was the reason who caused him to found positive money, as he explains in a podcast published in BBC 4.

Through Positive Money, Ben now spends his time working with MPs, think tanks, charities, academics and unions to promote a better understanding of the real issue with debt-based money and fractional reserve banking. Ben is a co-author of Modernising Money along with Andrew Jackson. He originally studied Development Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, University of London) before spending two years collaborating with other three people and growing a start-up business in the financial sector.

The way that the organisation sees it, money is created by banks who make loans in order to achieve this. This leads to a situation where the only way to get extra money into the economy is to rely on borrowing from banks, which has led to a situation where we are faced with mortgages and sizeable personal debt. When people get loans they spend the money that they took and this leads to the idea that the economy is doing well, meanwhile, debt is going up. Indeed Positive Money argues that if there is £100 in your bank account then someone else will be £100 in debt. Positive Money asserts that when debts are paid off money disappears. This has the consequence of leading to a recession, and an encouragement of personal debt in the economy to avoid this.

House prices are another major issue according to Positive Money. They explain that while this has partly been brought about by there being more people than houses, in fact house prices have also been elevated due to the new money that banks created in the run up to the financial crisis. House prices increased faster than wages. This leads to more people renting and those that are poor passing their money to those that are already richer. The winners in this situation according to Positive Money are the banks, since they will benefit from larger mortgages given over longer periods.

According to Positive Money, in the years prior to the financial crisis, banks created a lot of money by making loans, and in only seven years they doubled the amount of money and debt in the economy. This money was used to push up house prices (31% went to residential property and 20% to commercial real estate). Most of the rest went to the financial sector and to markets that imploded when the financial crisis hit. This led to the debts becoming unpayable and the financial crisis. Jobs are also affected. That is because according to Positive Money, when banks create money it leads to a boom, and people get jobs and feel as if they are getting richer due to credit and loans. This can lead to untenable levels of debt. At the same time, Positive Money argues that when banks are able to create the money of a nation everyone ends up paying higher taxes. The reason for this is that the proceeds from creating new money go to banks not taxpayers. Taxpayers end up in the position where they pay for the cost of the financial crises that banks cause.

What needs to be done ?

Positive Money seeks to change the growing gap between the richest and the poorest people in society. It also aims to reduce the destruction to the environment due to lower resource consumption. Fundamentally, allowing banks to create the nation’s money is considered to be un democratic by Positive Money. There are three steps proposed for Positive Money to be able to change this situation. The first is taking the money to create power away from banks and giving it back to a democratic, transparent and accountable process. The second is creating money free of debt.Positive Money’s proposal is that the state could create money, free of debt. Finally, the third is to put any new money created into the real economy and not back into financial markets and property bubbles. The following animated video explains these three proposals :

It is a valiant cause and it remains to be seen whether Positive Money is able to drive the change it seeks. If it does we could be in a very different financial situation, one that may just benefit us more than our current system.

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“The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms” by Nassin Nicholas Taleb http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/the-bed-of-procrustes-philosophical-and-practical-aphorisms-by-nassin-nicholas-taleb/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/the-bed-of-procrustes-philosophical-and-practical-aphorisms-by-nassin-nicholas-taleb/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 06:00:02 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43783 Nassim Taleb Intelligenthq

“The Bed of Procrustes” is an excellent book written by Nassim Taleb. That doesn´t mean that most of the readers would like the book. However, I think you should take the risk of buying and …

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Nassim Taleb Intelligenthq
Nassim Taleb Intelligenthq

Nassim Taleb Intelligenthq

“The Bed of Procrustes” is an excellent book written by Nassim Taleb. That doesn´t mean that most of the readers would like the book. However, I think you should take the risk of buying and reading the book. Why? The book is well-written and has a lot of thought provoking “food” for our mind.

Dear reader, you probably know the author or, at least, some of his books. Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a Lebanese-American writer and scholar. He worked before as a hedge fund manager for more then two decades. Now, his work focuses on questions around randomness and uncertainty and he is author of well-known non-fiction books like the “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable” and “Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder”. His books were translate in more then 30 languages. Taleb is known to be thinker with sharp words and complex character, as can be accessed in the following video.

One of Taleb´s most influential book is “Black Swan”. “The Black Swan” is an opus magnum, a lengthy work that explores in depth one single idea: how the extreme impact of certain kinds of rare and unpredictable events trigger humans’ tendency to find simplistic explanations for these events retrospectively. The book is widely known all around the world .

“The Bed of Procrustes” on the other hand, is a relatively unknown book  with a few dozens of pages and approaching many subjects.The title refers to a violent stretcher from Greek mythology who abducted travelers and forced them to lie in a special bed.  In his own words the book “contrasts the classical values of courage, elegance, and erudition against the modern diseases of nerdiness, philistinism, and phoniness.” In his introductory essay, Taleb writes:

“We humans, facing limits of knowledge, and things we do not observe, the unseen and the unknown, resolve the tension by squeezing life and the world into crisp commoditized ideas, reductive categories, specific vocabularies, and prepackaged narratives, which, on the occasion, has explosive consequences.”

I believe that “The Bed of Procrustes” will divide readers between the ones who will love it or hate it.  Personally  I am very fascinated with this book that certainly can provoke intense emotions on his readers. He uses sarcasm and can seem arrogant, but whether we like it or not his books are thought provoking, and well researched. They will stay in print for a long long time.

“The Bed of Procrustes” is one of his less well-known books. It is a tiny book of aphorisms (aphorisms are a short form of writing that holds deep meaning) about subjects around chance, human behavior and life in general. The aphorisms challenge and entertain the readers at the same time. A great part of the aphorisms are about many of the ideas expressed in his longer books like “The Black Swan”. However Taleb also writes about subjects like love, ethics an friendship. Many of the aphorisms attacked some of my preconceived notions and, probably, of most of the readers of the book. One can even have one surprise or two and perhaps will be offended as sometimes the aphorisms aren´t very nice for the reader. Let me give you one example of what you can expect in the book: “The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary”. Most of  the readers of this article probably have a monthly salary like me. In a way, I think the  author is right. The monthly salary is a “carrot”. We trade our freedom, and search for ourselves and a desire to live with creativity, for security, which our recent times have already shown us that isn´t as “safe” as we would normally think so. Even if the trade-off is what we think, the phrase of  Nassim Nicholas Taleb makes us think about our options.

He says (from my point of view) a lot of things that we tend to forget like “I find it inconsistent (and corrupt) to dislike big government while favoring big business – but (alas) not the the reverse”. Many of the aphorisms are inconvenient to a lot of groups.  One of his favorite targets are university professors (I am one of them :) )  in particular, and academia, in general. Please, appreciate one of his “pearls”:

“Academia is to knowledge what prostitution is to love; close enough on the surface but, to the non-sucker, not exactly the same thing”.

Overall, it is an excellent  book that you can come back to many times. I believe that the reader can find different layers of interest with each new reading. “The Bed of Procrustes” can be seen as a very good and old red wine that we can enjoy slowly. I think it is worth the risk of reading it. Even though not all people like really good old wine,  I don´t think there is anything wrong about it for the rest of us – more red wine for the rest of us. :)

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How Social Media Reflects The levels Of Narcissism and Empathy in Society http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-media-posts/how-social-media-reflects-the-levels-of-narcissism-and-empathy-in-society/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-media-posts/how-social-media-reflects-the-levels-of-narcissism-and-empathy-in-society/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 06:00:10 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43739 Nenufar. Photo by Dinis Guarda Intelligenhq

Do you use facebook ? If so what do you usually do ? The advent of social media and websites such as Facebook and Twitter have led many to question how online relationships have influenced …

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Nenufar. Photo by Dinis Guarda Intelligenhq
How Social Media Reflects The levels Of Narcissism and Empathy in Society

How Social Media Reflects The levels Of Narcissism and Empathy in Society

Do you use facebook ? If so what do you usually do ? The advent of social media and websites such as Facebook and Twitter have led many to question how online relationships have influenced offline relationships. It has also led to studies of self perception and the perception of others. One recent study along these lines was carried out by Dr. Tracy Alloway, an academic at the University of North Florida.

It was reported on in Science Daily in 2014. Alloway carried out a study into adult Facebook users between the ages of 18 and 50, and in total 400 were questioned on their use of the site. It was found that the use of some features was linked to selfishness, while other Facebook activities encouraged empathy.

Participants in the study were asked a variety of questions. These included the number of hours per day they used Facebook, how often they update their status and how they rate their own profile picture for attractiveness, cool, glamourous and fashionable. It transpired that most of the participants in the research were single and that they used Facebook on average two hours per day. Whether male or female they had 500 or so friends, and 89.5% were included in their own Facebook photographs.

Interestingly, narcissism was looked at as part of the study. The study’s participants were asked to complete a standard narcissism survey. Looking at this and comparing it with Facebook behaviour it was uncovered that for males, the photograph chosen for their profile picture was an indicator of narcissism. For females both the profile picture and the regularity of updating were considered to be indicators of levels of narcissism. As explained by the study, narcissists have an elevated opinion of their level of attractiveness and they aim to share this with the world. The profile picture allows people to draw attention to themselves. The Science Daily write up of the study explains that Alloway said:

“Every narcissist needs a reflecting pool. Just as Narcissus gazed into the pool to admire his beauty, social networking sites like Facebook, have become our modern day pool.”

Narcissism differences could be seen between people of different genders, according to Alloway. In particular, men showed that they were more narcissistic in the narcissism test. However, women were found to be more likely to say that their profile picture was more glamourous, cool and physically attractive. Women more commonly updated their profile picture more regularly than men. Women were found to do this once every two months, while men were likely to update their profile picture only once every three months. Alloway’s study indicated that this could mean that females that are narcissistic might be more likely to use Facebook as a “reflecting pool” than men who show narcissistic tendencies.

Empathy

The study did find that Facebook was not just a narcissistic reflecting pool however, and that other activities carried out had no links to narcissism. How often people posted photographs of themselves was not found to be tied to tendencies towards narcissism. Additionally the number of friends that participants had was not found to have a link to narcissism. This indicates that there is more to Facebook than it just being used as a tool for narcissism. Empathy could be seen by some participants using Facebook. For example, tendency to use Facebook for chat purposes was found to be linked to participants in the study that demonstrated “higher levels of Perspective Taking”. People that showed empathic concern were found to be more likely to use chat. In particular, males were found to be more likely to have an ability to put themselves in the position of another using empathy, while females achieved lower scores in this regard. The study did uncover some other interesting findings. One was that for women the watching of videos posted was linked with the extent to which they were able to identify with the distress of another person.

Empathy has been studied lately as an important aspect of the human nature. In the following video, an animation published by RSA Shorts, Dr Brené Brown reminds us that we can only create a genuine empathic connection if we are brave enough to really get in touch with our own fragilities.

Overall, the study determined that there were some traits of narcissism that could be identified by looking at how people use Facebook. To a lesser degree it was possible to see empathic tendencies linked with Facebook behaviour. However, in summary it was noted that social media is mostly just used as a tool for staying in touch with other people near and far, than for promoting oneself.

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Guide to Pinterest For Social Businesses Part Two http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/guide-to-pinterest-part-two/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/guide-to-pinterest-part-two/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 06:00:07 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43747 Guide to Pinterest for social businesses part 2

Useful tools and tips for social businesses using Pinterest

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Guide to Pinterest for social businesses part 2
Guide to Pinterest for social businesses part 2

Guide to Pinterest for social businesses part 2

Pinterest is one of the most important social media websites for advertisers wanting to gain a respectable return on investment on their social media marketing campaigns, as we saw in part one of this series. In part two we will explore the tools and tips that experts have suggested for driving a successful Pinterest campaign that grabs and maintains the attention of Pinterest users.

Marla Tabaka (2014) of Inc makes some helpful suggestions that can be implemented into these campaigns. What are her most interesting tips ?

1. Make calls to action

One suggestion is to do everything possible to evoke emotions by using words that make the post seem enticing to others. Another great opportunity that can be taken on Pinterest is using tutorials that teach people how to do something. On Pinterest this can be done using video, checklists or infographics. A call to action can help to drive results, either by getting customers to repin, comment or “click here”. In fact, as Tabaka explains: “A call to action increases engagement by 80 percent.”

2. Use videos

Videos are particularly engaging according to Tabaka. Your videos should be short, and you should clearly describe what is the content of your videos. Never forget to add a “Pin Me” Notices in Video Outtros. Overall, tutorials are believed to have among the highest rates for click throughs.

3. Make sure to feel in your “About section”

Other helpful tips offered by another author, called Bunshoek are making sure that your “About” section includes keywords for your business. Pinterest also provides the useful option of allowing you to verify your website, explains Bunshoek, which assists with your ability to be seen in the search engine. Boards should also be named with Pinterest, and instead of using the titles that Pinterest will automatically suggest. If you use them you have an opportunity to increase your use of keywords. Popular boards being shown above the fold is another great tip offered by Bunshoek, as is using keywords in pin descriptions, meanwhile hashtags can also help to make your pins easier to find for users.

4. Schedule your pins

According to various writers it is important to schedule your pins so that they reach customers at the right time of day. Recent data suggests that  early in the morning and late at night and in particular on a Saturday morning are the best times to share your pins.

5. Use SEO

Krista Bunshoek of Wishpond argues a strong case for making sure that search engine optimisation (SEO) approaches are adopted on Pinterest as well. There is good reason for this since according to Bunshoek: “70% of people on Pinterest use it to get inspiration on what to buy. This compares with only 17% of Facebook users who do the same.”

Of course, getting people to buy products mean being able to get them found on the Pinterest website, and this is where SEO comes in very handy. This is particularly true given that according to Bunshoek the search box is one of the most used features of Pinterest. For this reason, people need to make sure that the search engines can find your products and services. For starters this means making sure that your privacy settings are set up in such a way that they are completely open making your pins easy to find by anyone.

6. Link your pins back to your site

Linking back to your own site is another tip that should not be forgotten.

As can be seen, while starting out on Pinterest may seem overwhelming to someone who has not used it before, there are many benefits of doing so and many opportunities to use tools to make it easier. Are you on Pinterest yet? If not you should now be equipped to get started.

 

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Guide to Pinterest For Social Business Part 1 http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/guide-to-pinterest-for-social-business-part-1/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/guide-to-pinterest-for-social-business-part-1/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 06:00:50 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43745 guide to pinterest for social business part 1

Why Social Businesses Should not ignore Pinterest and how to get started

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guide to pinterest for social business part 1
Guide to Pinterest For Social Business Part 1

Guide to Pinterest For Social Business Part 1

Pinterest has rapidly risen up through the social media ranks and is now a major player among social networking websites. Businesses that first dismissed Pinterest as being yet another social media site that should just be ignored need to sit up and think again. And many organisations that have cast aside Pinterest as being a fad maybe need to look at the figures and reconsider. The website brings excellent potential for marketers to draw attention to businesses, and in addition the site is offering even greater potential for returns on investment than some of the bigger players. If you are running a social business, Pinterest can be an excellent resource. In fact, looking at the figures, Marla Tabaka (2014) of Inc reports that as discovered by Sprout Insights:

“Pinterest’s share of social media referrals soared from .68 percent to a whopping 26 percent in just one year, generating more than 400 percent more revenue per click than Twitter, and 27 percent more than Facebook.”

It is also worth knowing that as Tabaka (2014) explains, people that click through from Pinterest advertisements are considerably more likely to buy than those that click through from other social networking sites. Indeed, from Pinterest, 10 percent of shoppers referred are more likely to actually make a purchase. This means that Pinterest may have smaller numbers of users right now than the social media greats of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but advertising funds invested is money well spent.

As with all social media marketing activities, one of the challenges is that too many businesses take the approach of “pitching” to their Pinterest followers. This is an approach to be avoided. Other types of approaches should be used to gain engagement from potential customers. It is important to realise that unlike some other social media websites like, for example, LinkedIn, on Pinterest people are on the website for entertainment purposes. They are not interested in being sold to. Rather they want their attention to be grabbed by creative and educational pins. This means that businesses thinking of working with Pinterest need to make sure that fascinating facts, figures and also humour are all a very necessary part of marketing via Pinterest. Given the highly visual nature of this particular social media medium a certain level of visual appeal and an ability to “stimulate the imagination” is also important to gain the attention of followers. Otherwise they will be fickle and click away from your pins.

Guide To Pinterest For Social Business (part 1) Intelligenthq

Guide To Pinterest For Social Business (part 1) Intelligenthq

What are the main steps to be taken with Pinterest:

1. Open a business account

The first step to be taken with Pinterest is creating a business account. Some businesses made the mistake of creating a personal account when starting out on Pinterest, but this can easily changed to a business account, and there are good reasons for doing so. One such reason is the benefit of good analytics that help you to assess the success or otherwise of what you are doing on the site. Other business features are also provided specifically to help organisations to drive success via Pinterest. Another initial step that businesses need to take is that of downloading the Pinterest button from a page called “goodies” and putting it on your business website.

2. Plan a strategy on how to use pinterest

Before just going ahead and starting to pin anything up, it is best to have a game plan. Tabaka (2014) explains that some of the most interesting pins that businesses can post are those that inform about the industry in which they work. For example, infographics that outline consumer behaviour or about the particular product or service can be interesting for the users. Developing an infographic about a particular business problem such as time keeping might be an option. Checklists are also a good option to generate interest. An example provided is that of a company that provides products for new babies creating a helpful checklist that could be used by new parents that they could use. Another option might be a travel company providing a packing list for those considering going to certain destinations.

3. Think about being visually appealing

Being visually appealing is (almost) everything on Pinterest and Julia Campbell (2014) of Maximize Social Business explains how this can be done with either free tools, or some resources that are low cost. Campbell’s personal favourite is Canva.com which she argues is easy to use and offers good graphics. While some of the templates provided cost $1, most are free. This tool allows the creation of presentations, social media graphics and blogs, all of which can grab the attention of users. Quozio.com is another good option. This tool formats text that you put into it in an interesting and appealing way. There are many templates to choose from. Meanwhile Pinstamatic.com provides the chance to create good graphics, calendars, location maps and photos. Pinstamatic allow you, if you enter the URL of a website in the box provided and Pinstamatic, to take a snapshot of the website that can be pinned to whatever pin board you would like to use.

There are also many other tools. Pinwords.com provides beautiful text for images; UseChisel.com allows the ability to “write thoughts on photos”; Recitethis.com meanwhile provides the chance to “turn a quote into a masterpiece.

Besides the tools that Campbell recommends you can use your own imagination and photoshop, if you are considering when starting a Pinterest campaign.

You can use as well Pinterest´s helpful templates for free. It also offers infographic creators that can be helpful if you do not have the graphical skills to do this for yourself.

 

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HacKIDemia – Innovation and Social Change Through Play http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/hackidemia-innovation-and-social-change-through-play/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/hackidemia-innovation-and-social-change-through-play/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 06:00:52 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43749 image from workshop organized by Hackidemia

Ever wanted to be a kid again, even for just one day? HacKIDemia is a ground breaking organisation that offers that chance to some degree, by helping you to encourage your kids to use play …

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image from workshop organized by Hackidemia
image from workshop organized by Hackidemia

image from workshop organized by Hackidemia

Ever wanted to be a kid again, even for just one day? HacKIDemia is a ground breaking organisation that offers that chance to some degree, by helping you to encourage your kids to use play to generate change. Highly interactive in nature, the HacKIDemia website offers workshops that allow the ability to learn by playing with robotics and electronics. There are videos that show the change and experience that the company is driving throughout the world, and in addition to this there are eve events where parents can come along with their children and meet like minded people. And why would they? Well, HacKIDemia claims to: “Design workshops and kits that help kids use curiosity, empathy and play to change the world.”

It has already achieved some considerable degree of success with HacKIDemia activities taking place globally. From the United States, to France, India and parts of Africa, to name just a few, HacKIDemia might be described as an organisation that is really taking off. Given that children love to play, the concept seems sound. Indeed, HacKIDemia states that:

“Learning by doing and playing comes natural to children as they have an innate curiosity. With HacKIDemia hands-on workshops we try to encourage and develop that curiosity and give them tools to transform their dreams into reality.”

As HacKIDemia puts it, the sooner they start the better. There is also no age limit so the fun can be had by “kids” of all ages. There is the possibility for children to order a HacKIDemia “Maker Box” to help with the creative process and drive learning forward. The kit includes electronic sensor guides as well as booklets that help with encouraging children to take part in science and telecommunication projects that stimulate their learning through the creative process. An array of wires, circuit boards and other gadgets are also included.

AfriMakers

Stefania Druga founded HacKIDemia convinced of the idea that change can be achieved by generating learning that is supported through doing and playing. Druga’s other enterprise is AfriMakers, a project that provides makers in the developing world the opportunity to be able to come up with solutions to their issues through creativity and collaboration. In this latter endeavour she has been to eight African nations, helping them to create and design prototypes for solutions that deal with local issues like access to clean water, information and electricity. She achieves this through training local teams of makers, and the solution is touted to “succeed where larger top-down schemes fail.”

One way that HacKIDemia achieves its goals is through speaking at specific conferences in the developed world to inspire change. Stafania Druga will speak soon at an event named “Meaning Conference”. Meaning is a annual event that started in 2012,  that addresses the challenges of 21st century economics, looking at ways in which debt free prosperity can be achieved, as well as social innovation through technology (or not). The conferences provide a chance to consider important development concepts such as conscious business, organisational democracy, purpose and vision and business that is genuinely driven by values. This conferences address the values that HacKIDemia believe are essential in 21st century leadership. According to HacKIDemia these include mindfulness, compassion, resilience and empathy. The conferences achieve their goals through driving inspiration, allowing people to make helpful connections and offering workshops that allow the time and space for the creativity needed to drive real change in organisations. Such conferences provide Druga a platform for her visionary views.

As the song goes, children are our future, and generating the depth of creativity to try to solve difficult problems that the world faces from an early age is admirable. It will be interesting to see if events like the recent Maker Camp in Berlin really do prompt an interest and desire in children to start to look at the world in a new way, perhaps leading to them growing into adults that are less profit focused as a hard and fast rule and who are more creative and considerably more aligned with the goals and ideals of social entrepreneurship. One thing is for sure – Stefania Druga is having considerable success in extending the HacKIDemia concept on a global scale. Maybe this can drive the change the world needs to really start to become more equitable for all.

 

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Degrowth: A Movement That Anticipated The World Of Today ? http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/degrowth-a-movement-that-anticipated-the-western-world-of-today/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/degrowth-a-movement-that-anticipated-the-western-world-of-today/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 06:00:23 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43660 degrowth feat img

Article written by Maria Fonseca and Paula Newton It is no news to anyone that a growth-based economic and social system as the one we inherited from the past cannot and will not have a …

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degrowth feat img
degrowth feat img

How the “Degrowth” Movement Anticipated What We Are Experiencing In The World Today

Article written by Maria Fonseca and Paula Newton

It is no news to anyone that a growth-based economic and social system as the one we inherited from the past cannot and will not have a future anymore. Inequality, global warming and the destruction of nature are significantly on the rise. Businesses are also changing and in their transformations they evoke  innovative new social economical models that seek alternatives to the exclusive paradigm of material growth.

“Degrowth” is an interesting concept that pioneered the search for alternative economical systems. Degrowth was launched as an activist ideal in 2001, with the main concept being to challenge materialistic growth.

What is Degrowth and what can degrowth teach a social business ?

The word “degrowth” is taken from the French word “decroissance”, which literally means “reduction”. The concept is starting to take hold in academic literature and focuses on the re-politicising of discussion around socio-environmental issues. Degrowth is a subject discussed by Federico DeMaria, Francois Schneider, Filka Sekulova and Joan Martinez-Alier in 2013 in their paper: What is Degrowth? From an Activist Slogan to a Social Movement. The paper by DeMaria et al. has an aim of improving the definition and understanding of degrowth.

Explaining degrowth, the authors acknowledge how: “during its short life, degrowth has been subjected to diverging and often reductionist interpretations.” Eager to put this problem straight, the authors argue that while degrowth does share some commonalities with sustainable development, people advocating degrowth do not wish it to become taken on by supra national organisations such as the United Nations or the OECD. Rather, degrowth proponents initially wanted to drive radical change, specifically in the area of socio-ecological transformation.  According to the authors this makes degrowth “a critique of the current development hegemony”.

To better understand degrowth, the authors explain that commonly the subject is seen as trying to bring about the downscaling of production and consumption in industrialised countries. The reason for doing this is given to be achieving environmental sustainability as well as social justice and improving peoples’ well-being in society. It is considered to be a “noneconomic concept” which is difficult to understand in some ways, since reducing production and consumption would indeed be an economic concept.

However, degrowth is perceived as requiring the cutting back of energy and materials throughout to reduce the demand on natural resources and the ecosystem. At the same time, the concept aims to “challenge the omnipresence of market based relations in society”. According to those pushing for degrowth this would require a much more solid type of democracy which would deal with issues that are currently not addressed by democracies in societies.

Degrowth also requires a redistribution of money between north and south, as well as between present and future generations. There have been questions raised about how good Baby Boomers have had it, and how this has caused problems for upcoming generations that will be working much longer to support the aging population. Additionally, degrowth supports concepts such as that raised in Ecuador where there was a campaign to save the Yasuni area of the Amazon rainforest, where the president of the country asked for money from other countries and if this money was delivered then the oil would remain “in the soil”.

Degrowth is becoming attractive to a diverse range of people, argue DeMaria et al. (2013). This makes it able to generate a wide range of different ideas and provides it with the ability to come up with strategies at all levels. The usefulness of the concept is that it looks at areas as different as urban planning and housing, financial systems, food systems and agro ecology, climate justice, cooperatives, meaningful employment, alternative energy and international trade. It does not just focus on economic growth per se, and nor is it considered by the authors to be a simple suggestion to decrease GDP.

Degrowth is also appealing to many because it does not merely accept commonly held beliefs such as that which suggests that in order to pay back debts it is necessary to grow. Nor does it suggest that “everyone is in the same boat”. Rather it does hone in on the differences and conflicts between people and at different levels. Activists in this area are focusing on trying to get the issues back into the political arena to drive a new level of debate on the subject. Overall, DeMaria et al. see the subject as being innovative and coherent despite the widely varying strands of focus, because all of the areas of emphasis are compatible and complementary, in their view. The diversity of people interested in this area leads to debate that is constructive and able to drive continuous improvement both at the theoretical and practical level, in their opinion. They believe that the differences, diversity and conflict in the subject are what will keep it alive and continuously evolving into the future.

Millennials and meaningful employment

One of the main concepts of the degrowth movement when it first appeared in 2001, was the need to downscale the production and consumption in industrialised countries. One decade after its launch, that downscaling is not any more an empty concept, but a reality to many of us, particularly to the millennial generation. Recent data has already shown us how in the West, millennials, that form the major part of the working force nowadays, are less wealthy than their parents’ generation.

In an article published in 2013 in The New York Times, Annie Lowrie writes :


“The millennials’ relationship with money seems quite simple. They do not have a lot of it, and what they do have, they seem reluctant to spend. Millennials are buying fewer cars and houses, and despite their immersion in consumer culture, particularly electronics, they are not really spending beyond their limited means.”

As we all seem to be experiencing one way or another, we are already living “degrowth”. What is interesting  though, is that even though “material degrowth” comes as a painful reality to many of us, particularly the millennial generation, as Adam Smiley Poswolsky says, writing for fastcoexist  “millennials want to work- and despite being shackled by debt, recession, and the jobs crisis-they aren’t motivated by money”. As he says, “young people today want to do work with purpose”.

“Degrowth” and post developmental economical models

How to deal with this reality ? Nowadays it is important  to understand what kind of new economical possibilities are possible beyond the materialistic growth model of doing business. What the concept of “degrowth” brings us,  as Kristin Laufenberg has highlighted in an essay entitled “Degrowth through a Post-Development Lens” is that:

“degrowth is in direct contrast to economic systems such as capitalism or sustainable growth”. Degrowth, she writes, shares more common ground with a “post-development perspective in advocating for a fundamental transformation of society that will challenge the very notion of what an ‘economy’ is, as well as the dominant discourses which shape our perception of reality.”

 

quote about degrowth by Kristin Laufenberg Intelligenthq

quote about degrowth by Kristin Laufenberg Intelligenthq

Conclusions

What are the conclusions to be taken when appropriating the concepts of “degrowth” to the landscape of social businesses ?  The digital darwinist reality of the business world of nowadays, brought to us by the digital environment, is that no one will ever grow in the sense of before anymore. The business models that used to work in the past, have changed radically, particularly in the west. Social Businesses though, are operating in the real field, a field with a mixed reality where different economic models coexist.

A possible way to deal with this conundrum, is on one hand to find the true meaning behind your wish of doing “business” and on the other hand trying to innovate by experimenting with new models of doing business, that involve collaboration and sharing.

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How Millenials Bank Through Pictures http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/how-millenials-bank-through-pictures/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/how-millenials-bank-through-pictures/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 06:00:12 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43654 How millenials bank

Millennials bank differently. It shouldn’t come as a great surprise. After all they are rarely seen without their smartphones. As Dan Kadlec (2014) of Time explains, they are using that smartphone not just for “Whatsapping” their …

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How millenials bank
How Millenials Bank Intelligenthq

How Millenials Bank Intelligenthq

Millennials bank differently. It shouldn’t come as a great surprise. After all they are rarely seen without their smartphones. As Dan Kadlec (2014) of Time explains, they are using that smartphone not just for “Whatsapping” their friends or taking selfies to post on Facebook, but they are also using them to manage their lives without having to speak to people. And by using pictures. Indeed, according to Kadlec, the mobile generation would prefer to do everything with pictures rather than using words. This extends to their banking requirements and they would prefer to use pictures than words for depositing cheques and paying bills too. This is achieved by using the camera function of the camera. AS Kadlec explains:

“Nearly nine in 10 young adults are never without their smartphone, and a similar percentage say the camera function is among the most important features.”

And Kadlec argues that this has important implications for the banking industry. Millennials have high expectations of mobile from businesses and often this is not met. For example, opening up a bank account online is a tedious and time consuming process, and banks have been guilty of being particularly slow to improve what they do. As a result, Kadlec suggests that a bank that was to focus on using image technology for banking, such as using facial recognition or fingerprint identification, reducing the need for account numbers and passwords would be a “big winner”. This to is the case not just for younger generations but actually for others too, as mobile banking is proving popular. As explained by Kadlec, only 12 million people had used mobile banking in 2009, but as of 2014 that figure was scheduled to hit 45 million.

Mobile banking is catching on fast. In the American market, a study carried out by a Mitek survey of Millennials unearthed some interesting findings in this regard. Eighty percent of this group use a mobile banking app at least once a month, and 34% have deposited a cheque through taking a picture. As well, 54% would be open to paying for goods using their smartphone as a wallet rather than using credit cards. Meanwhile, 45% were found to be interested in paying bills by taking pictures if that technology was available, and 21% of those surveyed already do. More than a third had switched their bank account to a bank that had a mobile app rather than one that did not, and a staggering 60% of millennials were found to believe that in the upcoming five years everything will be done on mobile devices and most of it through the use of images rather than words.

In 2014, The Financial Brand reported on a study carried out into millennials and their retail banking habits by FICO which offers even more insights into how millennials do their banking. Importantly, millennials were found to be less loyal than other customers, and more open to switching to get their needs better met. Millennials are also more likely to bank with large banking corporations rather than other banks. It was found that in the USA 68% of millennials use a national bank. This figure is significantly lower for Generation X at 55% and at 43% for Baby Boomers. Millennials switch because they do not like issues that occur with ATMs where these may be inconveniently located. They also do not like high fees, and this was found to be an important reason for anger with banks.

Other findings about millennial banking reported on by The Financial Brand are that digital channel marketing is essential social media, direct mail and email. Television is also still an important marketing tool for attracting millennials. They are more likely also to use a mobile app than other generations, and if they do use a mobile app they were generally found to be more loyal and more satisfied with their bank overall. Interestingly they would like to be able to communicate more with their bank through texting, such as for situations where there are suspicious charges or for the purposes of credit limit warnings. The study found that use of text could be very good for banks being able to build brand. It perhaps should not come as a great surprise that when millennials are happy with their bank they will refer others to it.

Other sources though, say that millenials are increasingly uninterested in classical banks, and that the banking industry should be prepared for great disruptions as you can access in the following infographic, done by Scratch. In general, all the studies indicate that great disruptions will happen in the banking industry, both with millenials, and the next generation, generation Z.

The Millenial disruption index. Infographic done by Scratch

The Millenial disruption index. Infographic done by Scratch

 

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quote by Seth Godin http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/quote-by-seth-godin-6/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/quote-by-seth-godin-6/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/quote-by-seth-godin-6/ The post quote by Seth Godin appeared first on Intelligent Head Quarters.

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4 Stories of Social Businesses That Are Revolutionising The World http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/4-stories-of-social-businesses-that-are-revolutionising-the-world/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/4-stories-of-social-businesses-that-are-revolutionising-the-world/#comments Sun, 12 Oct 2014 18:47:12 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43708 4 stories of social businesses Intelligenthq

Social Businesses are revolutionizing the world. But what is a social business and what is it that distinguishes it from a common business ? A Social Business was first defined by Muhammad Yunus, as a businesses that is …

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4 stories of social businesses Intelligenthq
4 stories of social businesses Intelligenthq

4 stories of social businesses Intelligenthq

Social Businesses are revolutionizing the world. But what is a social business and what is it that distinguishes it from a common business ? A Social Business was first defined by Muhammad Yunus, as a businesses that is created and designed to address a social problem and bring benefit to society overall. Throughout the world,  young entrepreneurs are truly transforming our planet right now, bringing innovation, creativity and the will to address society´s problems with innovative ideas. In this article we let you know about four projects that are truly transforming our world:

1.Transforming the world through play, empathy and education

Stefania Draga is bringing technology and education to places without proper training, educating kids all over the world to dare to invent ways to solve the problems of the world. Stefania is a former Googler and graduated from an international Erasmus Mundus master of Media Engineering. In 2012, she launched Hackidemia: a global network that designs workshops and kits enabling kids to use curiosity, play, and empathy to solve global challenges.

Stefania Draga

Stefania Draga

In Nigeria in a workshop called Hackidemia Afrimakers, hackipedia trained 300 children to make energy with waste.

Workshop in Nigeria done by Hackipedia

Workshop in Nigeria done by Hackipedia

2. Inventing technology that revolutionizes governments

David Gorodyansky invented in 2005 AnchorFree. AnchorFree is the creator of Hotspot Shield, a virtual private network provider that is commonly used for Wi-Fi security, Internet privacy and circumventing censorship.

David Gorodyansky

David Gorodyansky

Egyptian revolution of 2011

Egyptian revolution of 2011

In 2011, AnchorFree’s Hotspot Shield was used extensively by protesters during the Arab Spring when Middle Eastern governments began blocking access to video sharing and social media websites. It was used by more than one million users during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.

3. Transforming the healthcare sector

As a teenager Elizabeth Holmes was terribly frightened of blood tests. Holmes dropped out of Stanford at 19 with a convicted mission to transform healthcare. She started her own startup, called Theranos and invented a test that uses  just a single blood drop.

 Elizabeth Holmes

Elizabeth Holmes

The test gives results more quickly and cost a lot less then the conventional ones.

Theranos single drop blood test

Theranos single drop blood test

4. Bringing light to the world

Sam Goldman and Ned Tozun met when taking a Stanford cross-disciplinary course called Design for Extreme Affordability. In 2007, they founded D.light Design, a company specializing in affordable off-grid lighting. D.light designs, manufactures and distribute solar light and power products throughout the developing world. They aim to empower the lives of at least 100 million people by 2020.

Sam Goldman and Ned Tozun

Sam Goldman and Ned Tozun

Their lamps bring light and hope to millions of people throughout the world.

D.light´s lamps

D.light´s lamps

 

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