Intelligent Head Quarters http://www.intelligenthq.com Business intelligence innovation network for growth education change Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:08:55 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 How the Internet of Things Changes Business Models http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/how-the-internet-of-things-changes-business-models/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/how-the-internet-of-things-changes-business-models/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 07:00:41 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44417 Abstract illustration with logistics infrastructure

There has been great discussion about how the Internet of Things will change so much, but less of this has perhaps been devoted to how business models may change than might be expected. This is …

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Abstract illustration with logistics infrastructure
Abstract illustration with logistics infrastructure Image source: www.kerlink.fr

Abstract illustration with logistics infrastructure Image source: www.kerlink.fr

There has been great discussion about how the Internet of Things will change so much, but less of this has perhaps been devoted to how business models may change than might be expected. This is the topic of a recent discussion by Gordon Hui (2014) writing for the Harvard Business Review. As Hui explains the likelihood of change to business models is huge, and the changes may be quite transformational. Hui argues that it will be necessary to rethink what “value creation” and “value capture” mean in this context. Starting with value creation, Hui explains that this involves:

“…performing activities that increase the value of a company’s offering and encourage customer willingness to pay.”

Value Creation

This is considered by Hui to be central to current types of business model. Under this type of model, value creation involves companies competing with each other on features and innovation in this regard. This is followed by competition on price. However, Hui believes that with the Internet of Things products are not released in the same way. That is because as he explains, it is possible to make “over the air updates” that can be sent to customers regularly. That means that organisations can respond to customer behaviour much more quickly than in the past, transforming the idea of a feature against feature competition between organisations. Additionally the fact that products can be connected with one another, according to Hui provides the opportunity for value creation in areas such as analytics, forecasting, process optimisation and customer service.

Hui summarises the value creation changes by arguing that in a traditional product mind set, the customer needs focused on are existing needs, and production reacts to what customers want. In the Internet of Things, however, it is believed that it will be possible to address customer needs in real time, and to predict needs. The product offering in the past would have been a stand-alone product that becomes outdated over a period of time, according to Hui. In the new scheme of things such products would be regularly refreshed so that they do not become obsolete and also linking them with other products will create synergy and usefulness. As well as this Hui argues that in value creation an “information convergence creates the experience for current products and enables services.”

Value Capture

Turning to value capture, which Hui defines as being the “monetisation of customer value”, it is argued that in the past companies have captured value by setting the right price in order to get the maximum profits possible from sales of each product unit. Organisations have sought to make themselves more competitive by controlling key points in the value chain according to Hui. Hui argues that the path to profit will not revolve around selling the next product, but rather will focus on enabling recurring revenue instead. Control points will not be IP ownership and such, but will rather be more likely to be ways to add personalisation and build network effects between products. Additionally capability development will focus not just on core competencies and existing resources and processes but instead on understanding how other organisations in the same ecosystem make money.

In particular, Hui argues that in the Internet of Things there are more opportunities to expand control points. Personalization and context that is achieved through information gained over time is less likely to make the customer want to change provider. As Hui puts it, they become more “locked in”. At the same time, Hui believes that growing internal capabilities will be less important than looking at how potential partnerships can be leveraged so that partners working on the same opportunity can create long term success for both. The company can no longer be seen as a vacuum according to Hui.

Taking it back to Michael Porter and the strategies of competition, Hui opines that the strategies outlined in this classic book of differentiation, focus and cost leadership are still in existence today. However, he also believes that these strategies cannot be seen as being separated from one another, and they are becoming increasingly connected. It is Hui’s belief that companies will have to bear this in mind when pursuing success in a world of the Internet of Things. It remains to be seen whether he is right.

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Is Google Glass Going Nowhere ? http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/is-google-glass-going-nowhere/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/is-google-glass-going-nowhere/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 00:10:37 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44407 google glass

Did you know that it has been more than two years since the launch of Google Glass? But are we all walking around with Google Glass attached to our heads? Apparently not. Writing for the …

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google glass
Is Google Glass Going Nowhere ?

Is Google Glass Going Nowhere ?

Did you know that it has been more than two years since the launch of Google Glass? But are we all walking around with Google Glass attached to our heads? Apparently not. Writing for the MIT Technology Review in 2014, Rachel Metz explains that Google Glass has not been a great success putting it mildly. In fact she argues that it is “going nowhere”. Indeed, Metz points out that:

 “It’s still not a finished consumer product. It’s not even close to being something people yearn for, at least not beyond the Glass Explorers who each paid $1,500 for early access.”

Google is not done with Google Glass, argues Metz, but at the same time a number of other companies have stopped being committed to it. For example, Twitter is reported to have stopped creating apps for Google Glass. Metz also explains that even the product’s early adopters did not find it to be particularly useful for very much, and to boot, it tended to disturb other people around them, the fact that a person was wearing Google Glass. In fact, the Glass seen on the faces of others has been found to be rather provocative to some, who term Google Glass’s early explorers as “Glassholes”.

Google may not have succeeded with its Google Glass product, but the concept behind Google Glass is not going anywhere according to Metz. There is plenty to be encouraged about by Google Glass and the ideas behind it. However, there is a goal to make the technology less noticeable and consequently less annoying to others. While as Metz explains, Google Glass juts out from glasses frames and sits right above a person’s eyeball, immediately obvious to anyone that person comes to contact with. It is not possible to forget it is there because it is in everyone’s face. Less obvious solutions are being worked on according to Metz. For example, Lumiode is using LEDs to try to achieve this. In the future it could be possible for a Lumiode product to be built into a pair of smart glasses and eventually to fit into the frame. A less obvious solution like this would be more palatable for many.

One problem that still needs to be solved in the eyes of Metz is that of power. The problem is that smart glasses need a battery pack that will allow a person to use them for a day at a minimum, without the overt batteries that can be seen in the Google Glass product. This is challenging to achieve – after all think how long your phone stays charged when it is continually being used. Google Glass has however, been working in this area and achieving some success, argues Metz. Specifically rechargeable batteries produced by a company like Imprint Energy would allow batteries to be concealed in the frames of the glasses, hiding away a good degree of the bulk. At the same time, Metz suggests that power harvesting would also be useful so that the batteries can keep charging through the day.

Metz points out that Google has worked hard to try to make Google Glass appear to be more fashionable. It has even teamed up with Luxottica, a company excelling in this area, whose brands include Oakley and Ray-Ban. Google also tried to get an improved frame for Google Glass by getting designer Diane von Furstenberg to create more attractive frames. This has allowed a range of different colours and frames to choose from for Google Glass wearers. This does, as Metz suggests, sound somewhat banal, but people have to be comfortable wearing Google Glass around to be able to consider buying it, so it is pretty important. The end goal is that customers would be able to select a frame that they would normally pick and the Glass would be a part of that.

Metz believes that good looking frames are simply not enough to bring in more customers. The fact that there is a computer on the person’s face that is really obvious and distracting is a major drawback, and Metz argues that no amount of style in a set of frames will fix that. The point is that the technology really does have to become part of the frame itself. While in part if the numbers of people that wear Glass increase could make them seem more normal, there is still a long way to go yet for Google Glass.

 

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The Fairshare Model: Turning Middle Class People Into Mini Angel Investors http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/the-fairshare-model-turning-middle-class-people-into-venture-investors/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/the-fairshare-model-turning-middle-class-people-into-venture-investors/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 07:00:13 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44395 Fairshare model

The fairshare model is a new suggestion that provides a performance-based capital structure for companies that raise venture capital via a public offering. It was been proposed in 2014 by Karl M Sjogren, who is …

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Fairshare model
The Fairshare Model: Turning Middle Class People Into Mini Angel Investors

The Fairshare Model: Turning Middle Class People Into Mini Angel Investors

The fairshare model is a new suggestion that provides a performance-based capital structure for companies that raise venture capital via a public offering. It was been proposed in 2014 by Karl M Sjogren, who is writing a book about this interesting idea. The vision is compelling, and its core idea is the following, as outlined by Sjogren:

“Middle class investors will be able to make venture capital investments on terms comparable to those that professional investors get.”

There are a number of goals behind this idea. One is that this will provide the opportunity for entrepreneurs to increase their access to capital. The second is that it will create liquidity for angel investors that support private companies. The third is to create an option for middle class investors to be able to become mini angel investors. Sjogren suggests that the target for the fairshare model should be companies that have already raised a round or two of investment from angel investors and that need $5 million or more in venture capital. It is proposed that there is no limit on the amount that can be raised, and that it is designed to raise public capital for a venture-stage company. It is also suggested that there should be two classes of stock. These should be investor stock and performance stock. While both would be able to vote, only investor stock would be able to trade. Performance stock could change to investor stock based on performance. It is also envisaged that there would be approval from each class of stock for board member election, change to conversion criteria, compensation plans that involve investor stock, changes to capital structure and acquisition matters.

What are the differences from the conventional investing model ?

When comparing the fairshare model with the conventional cap structure it is explained that under the conventional cap structure, a value for future performance has to be set when a company issues new stock. Additionally if there is complexity, the purpose of that is to favour pre-IPO shareholders rather than public shareholders. Conversely the fairshare model has a low risk of overpayment for IPO investors, and post-IPO valuation is shared with performance stockholders too. It is believed that this helps to address the current problem of valuation with the conventional model. Sjogren explains that when equity financing occurs this means that the issuer and investors have to set a value for future performance, and this is challenging to achieve in a rational manner because it requires the need to value undelivered performance. What this fundamentally means is that the conventional model and the fairshare model differ in terms of how they deal with uncertainty. With the fairshare model uncertainty is moved. The conventional model creates certainty in the area of ownership interests which are set at financing. Meanwhile there is uncertainty around whether performance will be delivered and just how valuable that will be. Meanwhile the fairshare model has uncertainty regarding how much performance stock will convert. However, there is certainty around when performance has been delivered, and the value of that is apparent.

What all of this means is that currently VCs are able to side step the valuation problem and buy in at a higher valuation. If the valuation does not increase enough, investors with price protection are able to get additional shares for the money that they put in initially (Sjogren, 2014). This leaves the valuation risk to be firmly placed with the public investors as they have most to lose, have no price protection and suffer from the fact that an IPO valuation is speculative.

What are the challenges of the fairshare model ?

Sjogren acknowledges that the fairshare model will have its challenges. It requires that many people support the idea and that they make a lot of noise about it so that others get involved and also lobby for it. There is also the problem of the so-called “ponderables” which need to be debated. These ponderables include how performance can be defined and who should define it, how it should be measured and who should measure it, how the rewards should be allocated and who should administer them. Tax and accounting implications also need to be clearly addressed. In addition, just the challenge of simply progressing through the change from the current situation to the new way of being will provide issues in itself, but it is thought that it is achievable.

Sjogren states that this middle will, “boldly go where no capital structure has gone before.” Will you go with it?

For more information about the fairshare model please check the following power point:

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Is Your Business Ready For The Social Age ? http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/is-your-business-ready-for-the-social-age/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/is-your-business-ready-for-the-social-age/#comments Sun, 14 Dec 2014 07:00:50 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44391 Is Your Business Ready For The Social Age ? Illustration by Maria Fonseca

Review of book "A world gone social"

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Is Your Business Ready For The Social Age ? Illustration by Maria Fonseca
Is Your Business Ready For The Social Age ? Illustration by Maria Fonseca

Is Your Business Ready For The Social Age ? Illustration by Maria Fonseca

Social has changed the world, and this is the topic of a new book written by Ted Coine and Mark Babbitt called A World Gone Social. The fundamental question that the book asks is: How ready is your business for the social age? The authors argue that social has transformed the way that businesses already work and how they will work in the future. They suggest that social media has changed the way companies innovate, market, scale, build teams and serve customers. The book claims to provide the tools needed to be able to adapt to this brave new world of social through offering stories, analysis of actual situations and providing guidance and recommendations. It advocates an open paradigm of working with collaboration with partners, other collaborators and even competitors. It is argued that “nimble” organisations will outdo their competitors.

According to the book , there should be a better way of doing business. This is grounded in the fact that the business environment has changed. For example, it is explained that businesses used to have a lot more control, but that now roles have shifted and consumers can talk about what they like. Consumers want to be heard by companies. At the same time, what employees want has also somewhat changed. Employees now tell companies where, how and when they want to work. Overall, thanks to social everyone is better informed, and social can be used to make a stronger impact.

Social age and transparency

Ultimately, what is it that is driving all this radical changes happening in society and business ? According to Coine and Babbitt its a very interesting and unexpected concept brought to us by social media:

“The biggest challenge the world has seen since the Industrial Age is not social media. It is transparency.”

As secrecy looses its appeal it brings major changes for organisations in the eyes of the authors. Instead of focusing on price, products and services organisations need to prioritise gaining trust, and this is argued to be the biggest competitive advantage. This focus on transparency and trust will be difficult for some businesses, argue Coine and Babbitt. But they also explain that this is the only way to be able to succeed in the future. This means being able to engage employees, customers and prospective customers and discuss the issues that they face and their interests. It is this that will build trust and loyalty in the Social Age, and Coine and Babbitt believe that this will lead to them also becoming brand advocates for the organisation.

Is social media driving the social age ?

According to the authors, what is driving all of this is social media. The book explains how some leaders of business are stuck in the past and do not understand what they need to do to adapt for the Social Age. It assesses the situation of employees and customers being more able to voice their opinions than in the past, and it shows how social has already created disruption. Subsequently it describes how large is “dead” and how organisations need to think small instead in order to survive in the longer term. One subchapter of this section of this book is entitled “We’re Already Surrounded by “Nano” , conveying the strong metaphor on how we have to rethink our dreams of scaling and being the next big corporate dream.

The book introduces as well the concept of OPEN (Ordinary People Extraordinary Network) as a means for developing business success and transforming business models. Later, the book reviews how leadership should work in the new social world and how businesses can change customers into ambassadors and drive socially enabled teams. The final section of the book examines the future for social business, reviewing return on investment and next steps to be taken.

A change of paradigm

As Coin and Babbitt point out, the Social Age is already upon us. Making comments that suggest that social is a fad is misguided – social is not hype, rather it is a change in paradigm that is here to stay. Deciding not to change is also misguided, and being afraid to lose control is pointless, because control is already lost. Leaders need to wake up and change, argue Coin and Babbitt, and nowhere is this truer than with the digital natives, the millennials that now comprise much of the workforce. Organisations that want to attract top talent need to nurture a new social and collaborative, open environment. Those that do not adapt will die according to Coin and Babbitt. Indeed as Coin and Babbitt put it:

“Less and less gets past those socially enabled workers every day. They are more aware; we are held more accountable.”

The message is clear: wake up and change or cease to exist. It will be interesting to see which businesses thrive and which fail.

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Grants And Opportunities for Social Entrepreneurs http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/grants-and-opportunities-for-social-entrepreneurs/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/grants-and-opportunities-for-social-entrepreneurs/#comments Sat, 13 Dec 2014 07:00:30 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44386 social entrepreneurship Image resource: Berkeley University

Social entrepreneurs often have amazing ideas that they believe can change the world – and which probably can, but getting them funded can be a challenge. There are all too many projects out there seeking …

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social entrepreneurship Image resource: Berkeley University
social entrepreneurship Image resource: Berkeley University

social entrepreneurship Image resource: Berkeley University

Social entrepreneurs often have amazing ideas that they believe can change the world – and which probably can, but getting them funded can be a challenge. There are all too many projects out there seeking their first funding to get underway, or monies to advance their idea further. For social entrepreneurs there is the additional challenge of making sure to get the project idea funded by a like-minded person or entity that understands the social importance of the idea, rather than trying to drive it solely for profit. The good news is that there are grants out there that are awarded by like-minded bodies, for social entrepreneurs in the know. Some of these are explored here.

An important grant scheme that social entrepreneurs should definitely consider is that offered by the Skoll Foundation. The organisation aims to further its own mission by:

“Deploying capital through a combination of philanthropic grants, equity, debt and other instruments.”

The Skoll Foundation considers grants to be a particularly important area in its investment approach. Using practices adapted from top venture investors the organisation takes what it describes as a “phased approach to grant making”. The Skoll Foundation then works with those organisations to help them to figure out how they will achieve the objectives for the grant. To date the organisation has invested in excess of $150 million in social entrepreneurship. One of the prerequisites for making a grant award is the ability for the organisation to be able to make a large scale impact in specific areas where they consider social change to be needed. For example, these include deforestation, education and economic opportunity, effective development, healthcare access and treatment, smallholder productivity and food security, stabilisation, sustainable markets and water and sanitation. Another prerequisite for winning grant is the concept that the Skoll Foundation would be able to partner with the organisation to be able to scale their impact. Coveted Skoll Awards are given out every year, and are suitable for regional, national or global programmes. Those that apply do need to have three years of experience at least with results that are proven. New initiatives that are less than three years old need not apply.

Another organisation that offers opportunities for social entrepreneurship is the Schwab Foundation. Again, the organisation operates at a regional and global level, and it argues that it aims to:

“Highlight and advance leading models of sustainable social innovation.”

The Schwab Foundation aims to build up a community of leading social entrepreneurs. This means that while the organisation is not offering a traditional grant system, it does give social entrepreneurs the opportunity to make critical contacts that could lead to the award of a grant. The way that it works is that the organisation goes through a through process to identify social entrepreneurs and it does this through making site visits to social entrepreneurs and getting outside expert reviews. Today there are 250 social entrepreneurs in the network that it has created. The process requires candidates to submit an application form along with additional information like financial statements and a CV, among others. Then the site visits and other due diligence occur, as well as interviews with the candidate and other relevant parties. Finalists are selected before the Selection Committee decides on the winners.

Those that want to apply to be a part of the Schwab Foundation Network have to demonstrate a range of different factors to the Selection Committee. Their activities should bring about transformative social change through innovation. This innovation could be a new product or service, a new distribution or production method, new labour supply, reformulation of an existing product or new organisational structures. The organisation must be sustainable financially and in terms of its proven track record. Again, start-ups need to look elsewhere, as the Schwab Foundation Network will not accept organisations that have less than three years of operations under their belt. The endeavour must have a proven social and/or environmental impact. It is explained that social enterprises work to create societies that are more inclusive and this needs to be demonstrated in the application. In addition to these factors the initiative has to have spread already beyond its initial location and be scalable or adaptable to other parts of the world. The person leading it must also be considered a suitable ambassador to be able to operate at the World Economic Forum, so leaders must demonstrate gravitas and be knowledgeable.

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What Can Libraries Teach Businesses About Innovation ? http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/what-libraries-can-teach-businesses-about-embraced-innovation/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/what-libraries-can-teach-businesses-about-embraced-innovation/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 07:00:20 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44361 New Library in Birmingham

Article written by Maria Fonseca and Paula Newton The speed of change is extremely fast, and one type of organisation that the digital revolution has affected arguably even more than many others, is libraries. With …

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New Library in Birmingham
New Library in Birmingham

New Library in Birmingham

Article written by Maria Fonseca and Paula Newton

The speed of change is extremely fast, and one type of organisation that the digital revolution has affected arguably even more than many others, is libraries. With new types of electronic readers, as well as content being available online rather than in hard copy version, libraries have the capacity to be able to transform considerably. Perhaps technology could even make libraries obsolete. But are libraries adapting for the future? The answer to this question is yes. The ways libraries are adapting to the future is by embracing innovation, which can teach valuable lessons to social businesses. In this article we will review how academic libraries can renew themselves by embracing technology, how a public library located in the Netherlands used marketing and retailing techniques to attract massive amounts of public, and how some libraries decided to transform themselves into Fabrication Laboratories, helping the general public willing to participate in the Makers Movement.

Academic Libraries as an engaging space 

Writing for Fast Coexist, Brad Lukanic reviews the ways in which academic libraries are adapting for what lies ahead. Indeed, Lukanic explains that libraries at academic institutions are finding ways to refresh what they do and how they do it to meet the needs of the people that use them and to embrace new technology. In academic settings perhaps more than in any other, libraries encourage creativity and innovation, as well as collaboration to enhance learning for all. Lukanic explains how people thought that with the arrival of the Internet and the digitisation of print that libraries would simply disappear and become pointless places, but in fact academic institutions are taking the changes as an opportunity to form into “intellectual centres… catalysts for discovery, learning, collaboration and scholarly breakthroughs.” However, it is Lukanic’s belief that libraries cannot do this in a homogenous way. Rather, he believes that academic institutions need to come up with their own vision for learning in the future and how the library should support academia.

Hunt Library, NCSU

Hunt Library, NCSU

Aligned with some of the points already mentioned above, Lukanic suggests that libraries need to have places within them to “engage”. In the future, he says these spaces will be needed to encourage breakthroughs and advances. Meetings, presentations and simply casual collaboration need to be encouraged in the library of the future. This is a different paradigm from the quiet, somewhat staid view of the library of the past, which was a place of silence and individual study, and it is both an interesting and innovative concept. Again, Lukanic is eager to express that each university has to consider its own needs in this regard.

Some may have a greater need for these types of engagement spaces than others, depending on the goals of each academic institution. It is a common belief of many that technology should be embraced in every aspect of libraries.  89% of college students already use smartphones as well as laptops and tablets. In Lukanic view this means that libraries need to be able to adapt to embrace these different types of technology and to allow students to be able to take on board different kinds of learning opportunities allowing them to access all kinds of information networks. It is additionally argued by Lukanic that students need to not only be able to access this information, but also to be able to create and disseminate knowledge with ease as well. This is quite an innovative idea, especially given that libraries of the past most certainly would have frowned on the use of telephones in the library.

Flexibility is another important component of academic libraries of the future according to Lukanic. In particular, as he rightly suggests, libraries need to be able to effectively handle any future changes not just of technology, but also of pedagogy. To be able to properly meet the needs of student learning this will be essential. It will not just be about current needs but what people will want in ten or twenty years’ time, and how these needs can best be met. Involving students and staff in helping to design the libraries of the future will be helpful in best understanding needs and providing libraries that offer the range of services that are necessary for the future.

Adopting Retail Design In The Public Library – The Nieuwe Bibliotheek

Almere, a town in Netherlands, decided to solve the problem of declining visitors of the town’s library by  doing something quite innovative. Having researched what were the needs and desires of a new type of  library users,  in 2010, Almere opened the Nieuwe Bibliotheek, a very social space that adopted the looks of a bookstore more than a library. The New Library was designed by exploring retail and merchandising design concepts. Some of the methods adopted were to display books face-out to catch the eye of browsers,  and to train staff members in marketing and customer service techniques. The library is also a Seats2meet (S2M) location where patrons are empowered to help one another in exchange for free, permanent, co-working space, and they utilize the S2M Serendipity Machine to connect library users in real-time. The space has a nice reading garden, a cosy coffee shop, and hosts an extensive events and music program, a gaming facility, a reading garden and more. The New Library was a major success with a usage with over 100,000 visitors in the first two months. It is now considered one of the most innovative libraries in the world.

The New Library in Almere

The New Library in Almere

Exeter Fab Lab

Some say that libraries will transform themselves into Makers Workshops sooner or later. The first public library based Fab Lab in the UK just opened six months ago in Exeter. The UK’s first Fab Lab, is based at the newly refurbished Exeter Library.  The Fab Lab, or fabrication laboratory, is a low-cost digital workshop equipped with laser-cutters, 3D printers and scanners, Computer Numerical Control (computer controlled) router, 3D milling machines, electronics bench and programming and design tools. Users of Fab Labs can  “make almost anything” by attending workshops at the Fab labs, or just developing their own projects.

Fab Lab Exeter

Fab Lab Exeter

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How The Crowd Is Truly Transforming Business http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/how-the-crowd-is-truly-transforming-business/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/how-the-crowd-is-truly-transforming-business/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 07:00:20 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44356 How the crowd is transforming business Intelligenthq

These days it is hard to be able to escape information about how important “the crowd” is in enabling people to get things done. From crowdsourcing to open innovation for software creation, the crowd is …

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How the crowd is transforming business Intelligenthq
How the crowd is transforming business Illustration by Maria Fonseca for Intelligenthq

How the crowd is transforming business Illustration by Maria Fonseca for Intelligenthq

These days it is hard to be able to escape information about how important “the crowd” is in enabling people to get things done. From crowdsourcing to open innovation for software creation, the crowd is making an enormous difference to so many peoples’ lives. Just how much of a difference it is making was the subject of a recent presentation by Jeremiah Owyang (2014) who considered how business models may differ in the future based on the power of the crowd. Focusing largely on the “Collaborative Economy Honeycomb” Owyang points out how the crowd is influencing a wide variety of different areas such as money, goods, space, food, transportation and services. Business models in all of these areas can be seen to be transforming.

Goods

Looking first at goods, Owyang demonstrates the range of different organisations that are using the crowd to be able to transform business in this area. For example, Craigslist and eBay have been instrumental in changing the access that people have to different products. eBay enables regular people to literally be able to set up an online shop of their own, selling goods. Meanwhile Craigslist allows the opportunity for people to share and exchange a wide range of different services and products. Owyang explains that Techshop also has the impact of empowering the so-called “maker movement” that inspires people to build products rather than buy them, encouraging innovation. Meanwhile Pleygo provides people with the opportunity to subscribe to a Lego set rather than owning it. This reduces waste because it means that people send the sets back when they are finished rather than throwing them away when their children become too old for these toys. Additionally Yerdle provides neighbours the chance to gift goods rather than buy them.

Food

Owyang explains that in the sphere of food changes are also being made. Feastly connects those that love to cook with those that are adventurous about their eating to enable “social dining” at the cook’s house. This is thought to drive an authentic eating experience. There are a wide range of different organisations transforming the food industry in similar ways to this. Some other examples are Blue Apron, and Munchery, and then there is also Kitchen Surfing.

Screenshot of website Feastly Intelligenthq

Screenshot of website Feastly Intelligenthq

Services

The realm of services is also transforming tremendously as a result of the cloud. Looking at this more closely, it can be seen that websites like ODesk and Elance provide people that need services such as writing, developing, marketing and accountancy (among many others) the opportunity to place their job to crowd to see what types of response they get. This can lead to people being able to source work from providers on different continents. Meanwhile simpler tasks can also be purchased through websites like TaskRabbit that allow people to post more basic opportunities for services. Perhaps even more meaningfully, Helparound offers peer to peer support for people in the diabetic community. The services helps people that get suck without a glucose metre, test strips or glucose, so that no one finds themselves unexpectedly in trouble.

Transportation

Turning to transportation, Owyang points out that the crowd has also transformed the situation here. Services like Uber and Hail for example allow people to be able to more easily access taxi services when they need them, by connecting them with people that offer taxis who are looking for jobs. There are many different transportation areas tackled by the crowd. One interesting one is “Boatbound”. Boatbound provides a Peer 2 Peer boat rental opportunity allowing people to rent boats rather than own them. The reasoning given for this? People that own boats have been found to only actually use them 17 days a year. This way people can share the boat purchased and there is less wastage as a result. Meanwhile Pronto offers a bikes and helmets service in Seattle. This is similar to the so-called “Boris bikes” in London.

screenshot of website Boatbound

screenshot of website Boatbound

Space

There are many different interesting crowd solutions changing the game in “Space” as well according to Owyang. Notably of course, AirBnb allows people to rent out their spare rooms. Owyang also says that this service has extended to dining. Meanwhile WeWork provides office space on demand to those that need it, saving up and coming entrepreneurs from having to rent expensive office space on a long term basis, which may not be necessary for them.

Money

Last but not least money has also been impacted. Owyang points out that the crowd has led to the creation of 200 different currencies! But it’s not just currencies of course. Innovative organisations like Kiva provide micro opportunities for people in developing countries to gain access to finance that they may not have otherwise had. And don’t forget crowdfunding websites that allow many more new projects to get off the ground. The following video, explains how Kiva works:

How Kiva Works from Kiva on Vimeo.

Conclusion

There is no doubt from the information presented that Owyang is right. The crowd is truly transforming business. As Owyang points out people are empowered to get what they need from each other and that is why the crowd works. It is also bypassing the inefficiency of corporations, and driving a need in organisations to demonstrate why they are relevant anymore. This is leading to business model change that is driving a greater level of resiliency and profitability overall.

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The Bracken Bower Prize http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/the-bracken-bower-prize/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/the-bracken-bower-prize/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 07:00:47 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44327 bracken bower prize

Rewarding young writers researching the business trends of the future

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bracken bower prize
The Bracken Bower Prize Intelligenthq

The Bracken Bower Prize Intelligenthq

Rewarding Young Writers Researching The Business Trends Of The Future

The Bracken Bower Prize is a prize that was initiated by the Financial Times and McKinsey & Company. It was named after Brendan Bracken who was the chairman of the Financial Times from 1945 to 1958 and additionally Marvin Bower who was the managing director of McKinsey from 1950 to 1967. The prize seeks to reward the best proposal for a book that focuses on the challenges and opportunities of growth, and the winning proposal should be forward thinking. The prize is somewhat based on the principles of the Business Book of the Year Award also launched by McKinsey & Company and the Financial Times, and it seeks to get promising young writers to research excellent ideas for future business books. Bower and Bracken are seen as individuals that put in place the foundations for the success of their respective organisations in the present day.

If you’re wondering what the prize entails, well, aside from the prestige associated with winning such a coveted award, the author or co-authors of the selected book proposal will be awarded £15,000. The prize is to be awarded to young writers that are able to identify and analyse the business trends of the future. What do you have to do to get selected for the prize? Well, the requirement was to submit a book proposal that is no more than 5,000 words in total. The book proposal had to include an essay article that discussed the argument, scope and style of the suggested book. There also needed to be a description of the final book’s structure once it is finished, which could include chapter headings and a bullet pointed description of what would go into each chapter.

The very first prize, awarded in 2014, was to be for a book that seemed as if it will be likely to:

 “Provide a compelling and enjoyable insight into future trends in business, economics, finance or management.”

The blurb about the prize points out that those authors that were likely to be shortlisted would be those that suggest that they will write a book that is ground breaking, or that looks at existing business challenges in novel ways. Creativity, knowledge, originality and style in particular are sought. Not everyone or every book proposal is eligible for the prize unfortunately, and as the FT points out, authors had to be under 35 on November 11th 2014, the day when the prize was due to be awarded. The author was able to be an existing published author, but the proposal made for this prize had to be for a completely new book, and the proposal was not allowed to have been previously submitted to a publisher. People submitting for the prize were welcome to co-author a submission, and all applicants were expected to submit a biography. The biography needed to emphasise why the author was qualified to write the book that they proposed to, and all highly thought of proposals were to get published on the FT.com.

Womenomics in the Muslim World

Three books were shortlisted for the prize, but the one that won was by Saadia Zahidi. The book proposal was to write a book about Womenomics in the Muslim World. The proposal explains that there are 800 million women in the Muslim World. A female education is becoming more normal and women are in the world of work in the Muslim world. It is reported by Zahidi that 40 million more Muslim women are in work than a decade ago. This represents a considerable break from family tradition and in some cases also shunning cultural pressures. It also represents a growing group of consumers. Overall the book argues that economics trumps culture.

Two other books were shortlisted. One was by Alysia Garmulewicz and focused on the subject of 3D printing. This book proposal showed that the book would explore the issue of how 3D printing would be likely to bring considerable change to the economy. Meanwhile, a book proposal called “One Level Up” by Jenny Palmer which discusses how university does not really prepare people for life in the real world, aside from in fields like medicine and law. The book proposal described a book that would be focused on six principles that would help to drive an individual’s career, including building a personal network and being smart about politics.

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The Young Foundation: Fostering Social Entrepreneurship http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/the-young-foundation-fostering-social-entrpreneurship/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/the-young-foundation-fostering-social-entrpreneurship/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:00:35 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44319 The Young Foundation Logo

Structural inequalities pervade our society and do not need to. At least, that is the position of the Young Foundation that has a remit for dealing with such problems. Indeed, The Young Foundation states that: …

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The Young Foundation Logo
The Young Foundation Logo

The Young Foundation Logo

Structural inequalities pervade our society and do not need to. At least, that is the position of the Young Foundation that has a remit for dealing with such problems. Indeed, The Young Foundation states that:

“We harness the power of social innovation to tackle the root causes of inequality.”

This is a big remit, but the Young Foundation believes that inequality is detrimental to the economy and the wellbeing of individuals, having a negative impact on communities, self-worth, relationships and even aspirations. As such, the Young Foundation is striving to create a society that is more equal. This is achieved through working with both the public and the private sectors.

Structural inequality is one aspect of the work that the Young Foundation does. The Young Foundation explains that the UK is the world’s fourth most unequal society. Recent research suggests that the have and have nots are becoming even more distant from one another than in the past. This has created inequalities in the areas of income, social and cultural recognition, respect and power, and the Young Foundation believes that this all influences what different groups in society have come to expect of their lives. However, the Young Foundation challenges these differences stating that they are not inevitable consequences. Rather the organisation is seeking to better understand the nature and form of structural inequalities and looking for change that will impact everyone.

Education

Youth and Education is another area of concern for the Young Foundation. It is explained that young people have to navigate an increasingly complex world, and that they need to be empowered and resilient to be able to handle it. The Young Foundation has operated for 60 years to help young people become more fulfilled and reduce inequality faced. This has included setting up the Young Academy which offers specialist capacity development and risk capital to social enterprises that work in the area of improving the attainment of young people in England.

Health, Wellbeing and Ageing

Health, wellbeing and ageing are also areas of focus. The goal of the Young Foundation here is to really understand the people that they support and look at ways to help these people differently that improve effectiveness. For example, one intervention, the Citizen Driven Health activity seeks to help elderly people in their homes to become more socially connected to better avert health problems. The organisation is also tackling food environments to try to cut back on obesity and to get food businesses to pursue not just profit but also health.

Social innovation and investment

The organisation has carried out work also in the area of social innovation and investment. This has included publishing research to grow knowledge as well as supporting social entrepreneurs and social ventures to increase their impact on society. Specifically the disruption of unequal outcomes is encouraged, and those ventures and entrepreneurs that are supported are those that can scale smartly and quickly. Creativity and innovation is also important in this area, particularly with finding new financing models that are more sustainable and that offer greater value.

Gender Inequality

Since gender is rife with inequality, this is a key area of emphasis for the Young Foundation as well. Specific areas looked at include the fact that women earn less, have less decision making power regarding their own lives and experience greater levels of violence in all areas of their lives. The Foundation also reviews stereotypes of cultures that exist and works to challenge these. In particular a project on Our Genders Future seeks to expose the root causes of such inequalities and propose realistic alternatives that could be implemented instead.

Urban spaces and Inequality

There are many other areas of focus too. For example, The Young Foundation is of the belief that cities tend to nurture inequality and massive wealth can co-exist alongside poverty. The Foundation believes that this is unsustainable. The organisation advocates for interventions that transform the situation. In addition it works with social venture, providing Accelerator programmes as well as a Transition Project to help these ventures to get underway and established. Innovation is also encouraged, particularly in the area of creating large scale impact. Aside from this research is also performed to better understand people and what they want and need.

In its 60 years of operation the Young Foundation has delivered great things. We can only hope that it will continue to do so for the next 60 as well.

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Unlocking The Sharing Economy http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/unlocking-the-sharing-economy/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/unlocking-the-sharing-economy/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 07:00:09 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44320 sharing economy

A recent report by Debbie Wosskow commissioned by the British Government

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sharing economy

sharing economyThe sharing economy highlights many exciting new ways of doing business. This has bred micro-entrepreneurs who are able to raise money from the assets they already have and own. The sharing economy has led to many interesting new ideas. For example, there is no need to own a car – rather individuals can share through a car club. This has led to the creation of some fascinating new business models and also opens up choice for the consumer. All of this is the topic of a recent report called “Unlocking the sharing economy,” by Debbie Wosskow (2014). The report was commissioned by MP Matthew Hancock, the Business Minister, to develop recommendations for how the UK could lead the way in this new and rapidly developing sector.

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Most relevant findings of “Unlocking the sharing economy”

Wosskow highlights that any disruption brings risk. It is explained that there is a need to protect consumers, and also that operators need to be treated equitably, especially so as far as regulation is concerned. Trust also needs to be increased in online transactions as well. Indeed, Wosskow argues that there is much to be done if the UK is to truly become a leader in the sharing economy. For starters, Wosskow suggests that the government needs to look at itself and make sure that it uses sharing effectively to use government resources more effectively. Regulations may also have to be changed to make sure that they fit with the new ways of working. Start-ups have to be supported argues Wosskow, by driving innovation and sharing what works. In addition, the sharing economy needs one consistent voice so that benchmarks and standards can be set. This will help people to be able to understand what they should expect when they contract these types of services.

Recommendations

The report by Wosskow came to conclusions that allowed it to make recommendations both generally and by sector. Generally speaking, Wosskow encourages innovation through an innovation lab and supported by Nesta and Innovate UK. This would undertake activities such as researching how sharing models can improve service delivery in the UK and see how cities and local areas can adopt sharing approaches. To increase trust in online transactions, the government needs to open up the Gov.uk Verify that it has in place for private sector services. Additionally she recommends digitising criminal records checks. Another set of recommendations is found in the area of government procurement, where it is suggested that the government should include sharing economy platforms to use car pooling and other options rather than just sticking with traditional services. Insurance in the sharing economy is another area that must be addressed, argues Wosskow.

As well as the recommendations mentioned above, Wosskow outlines how the government has to help the digitally excluded get online so that they are able to benefit from the sharing economy. Tax concerns also need to be taken care of so that sharing economy users have to understand how much tax they must pay. It must become easier to book government assets according to Wosskow so that these may also be shared. Importantly, the sharing economy needs a trade body to be able to flourish. A kitemark for sharing platforms should be developed with minimum standards so that consumers know what to expect.

All of these recommendations would contribute to a sharing economy that would have the opportunity to boom. However, Wosskow also argues strongly for specific sector recommendations as well. For example, looking at services like AirBnb it is argued that people that rent rooms through services like this should not be subjected to regulation that applies to businesses renting out 100 or more rooms a night. However, minimum standards do need to be set. Other recommendations in this area include lifting the ban on subletting so that tenants can rent their spare rooms more easily. Additionally, the government needs to undertake other changes like clarifying the employment status of people who use online platforms to find work, argues Wosskow. Drivers should be allowed to profit from offering ride shares, and car club parking bays should be offered to facilitate one way trips more effectively.

All of these changes would really shake up the sharing economy in a good way. It would enable it to be able to achieve everything it possibly can. It can only be hoped that the recommendations are implemented quickly so that the sharing economy can grow and thrive.

Image source: Map created by Love Home Swap, of the most exciting Sharing Economy companies around the world – from carpooling in Cairo to skill-sharing in Sydney – and the business leaders behind them.

 

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How Disruptive Innovation Is Leading Us To A Post-Capitalist World http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/how-disruptive-innovation-is-leading-us-to-a-post-capitalist-world/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/how-disruptive-innovation-is-leading-us-to-a-post-capitalist-world/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 07:00:23 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44310 Flavours Orchard by Vincent Callebaut Architecture Intelligenthq

Believe it or not the perestroika of capitalism has already started! But first, what is disruptive innovation? One definition of disruptive innovation is that it is: “An innovation that helps create a new market and value …

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Flavours Orchard by Vincent Callebaut Architecture Intelligenthq
Flavours Orchard, a project to a green city in China, done  by Vincent Callebaut Architecture Image source - http://aasarchitecture.com/

Flavours Orchard, a project to a green city in China, done by Vincent Callebaut Architecture Image source – http://aasarchitecture.com/

Believe it or not the perestroika of capitalism has already started! But first, what is disruptive innovation? One definition of disruptive innovation is that it is:

“An innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades) displacing an earlier technology.”

Indeed, disruptive technology can be understood as a “technology progress/innovation that lets a product reach a new frontier. It could be also applied to the behaviour of people and it would eventually change the system currently in place.

Imagine that you are able to sustainably grow by yourself 60% percent of your own food. You can deduct that 60% from the sales in this industry and multiply by X people. If everyone was doing it that would probably hurt capitalism. Now, imagine this approach taken with  other products, goods and services as well. Then, imagine that the rest of your needs will be produced at zero marginal cost. Some technologies are doing that today and more tomorrow. I am not sure that our old friend capitalism would survive, but eventually it would change and adapt. This is a very short summary of what Jeremy Rifkin’s idea, “zero marginal cost” is, and it is a view shared by many.

Now, going a little further, imagine that a country, a big country with a lot of economic power, adopts this disruptive behaviour with a view to achieving full autonomy in all sectors. Saying, “Thank you” “to all its old business partners it would say: “We have everything we need and we are not interested anymore in buying your products,” and eventually it would say: “We can help you for free as well”. This is going to be hard to swallow for capitalism.

Maybe this sounds like a sci-fi movie, but if you consider how nowadays new thinking patterns and behaviours are emerging little by little everywhere in the world at all levels, it is not sci-fi. In fact it sounds that it might actually be possible, particularly if you consider the following technologies:

  1. Internet will soon be thought of as a basic human right as much as water is. Disruption created by progress in this domain will make it available for free.
  2. Learning with the MOOCs is already a widely known fact. MOOCs are mostly free and give great opportunities to everyone to develop their competencies.
  3. Energy will soon be able to be produced by all. One example is biogas. Did you know that we have the potential to produce energy by going to the toilet? There are already many projects around the world working on this. Another exciting possibility is that we will soon be able to produce energy almost for free with third generation organic solar cells.
  4. The multiplication of 3D printers to be used by everyone will allow everyone to build objects, like glasses, shoes, bicycle parts and more.
  5. Foods – by using more permaculture and new agricultural techniques such as those advocated by the Rodale Institute and urban-gardening it could be possible to produce more and better for less work.
  6. Down the line nanotechnologies and humanoid robots could have a role to play. Nanotechnologies  will help us to recycle all minerals commodities and to transform them into new materials with new properties. Meanwhile, humanoid robots will replace the notion of work and the need to work to live.
  7. Biomimetic technologies will also be a part of this new paradigm.

Those technologies are sustainable and will help us to produce all that we need at zero marginal cost – this ultimately means for free.

How to make a fair transition ?

Now the question is how to insure a fair transition and how would it be beneficial to all? I guess we should be able to surpass the consumeristic mind-frame and the idea of success by the acquisition of money and think about other ways of occupying our time than working. The opportunities to occupy ourselves in more creative and fulfilling ways are incommensurable. We just need to take the intelligent options that serve our needs and tastes.

So, today there is the emergence of an “antagonist” group to the consumeristic one that is gaining momentum. These people changed their mind set both by necessity, choice or raised awareness.  Even though they are currently still considered  a “marginal” group, they are visible and gaining a voice in contemporary society. They come from diverse groups such as the populations of unemployed, particularly the unemployed youth as well as unemployed seniors, or those that are outside the system (not registered in an unemployment office). On the other hand, we have the new thinkers that want to change the world, the ones that are just disillusioned by the current system. Then we have also the ones that I call “community of actions” which are not necessarily considered as a marginal group. They are the ones that like to do things for the benefit of all, on a voluntary basis and for free.

How Disruptive Technologies Promoted Urban Gardening in Detroit

For example, let’s look at the city of Detroit and its inhabitants that do urban gardening on the land that was abandoned due to the closure of many factories. Let’s discuss this group in link with this subject. It doesn’t seem that the effort to surpass their old mind-sets of consumers (with a goal of accumulating money) has been unmanageable, or that it has created chaos in society. Rather, it seems that the authorities of Detroit are less under pressure to feed their citizens with soup. Now, what we see with this example of urban gardening in the city of Detroit is that the action was born from a crisis, but the technology that helps this new system to emerge (internet) was not born from a crisis. Being able to share knowledge (how to garden) and to diffuse a “let’s do it together” message to create buzz in the city has created this disruption. We have seen a “communities of actions” taking life without generating chaos or crisis, with the help of technologies that were already present, so it doesn’t mean that disruption equals crisis at all.

Now, be careful, I am not saying that everybody will have to garden in the post-capitalistic society, but what I am saying is that with technologies, there are some perspectives for living in a post-capitalist system without any chaos. Therefore, I come back to the idea of gardening. If you garden and produce a lot more that you can consume yourself, what will you do with that surplus? Most of the time, you will share it with your neighbors, your friends and family. This is the idea of “zero cost marginal” with the help of disruptive innovations.

A World without money ?

Now, I do think that it is difficult to imagine today that we could live without money, especially those that have accumulated mountains of it. In addition, it is true that the concept of properties would have to evolve. This is fundamental, but I think this is quite simple ultimately. We could imagine depending of the type of object, to have a kind of, “utility right” in order for example, not to lose your home from one day to another because someone mean would decide to take it over. But ultimately, the loss of the property concept would be compensated for by technology’s progress. That would lead to a top quality concept of home, infrastructure and society, based on participation in a “conscience of the community” with the appropriate technology and tools. This would be certainly be the biggest “surpass action” to achieve. Nevertheless, there needs to be forerunners to this to be able to get to that point one of those is probably the “unconditional basic income” which was submitted to vote in Switzerland. It didn’t pass on its first attempt.

Finally, the closest disruptive technology that will force us to surpass ourselves will be the coming of humanoid robots.

A recent article published on BBC.com introduces this question.  But for me that is just the beginning. Even today, highly skilled jobs are supposed to be at no risk according to this study,  i.e. not replaced by robots. This conclusion seems wrong. It would mean that we should be all highly skilled to ensure that we have sufficient income to support our life. The fact is that we cannot all be highly skilled. This will be the king of possibilities to achieve in a post-capitalist society. We must only be highly skilled to have a job in the future to come to compete with robots that will in any case work for free.

Romuald Reber

 

 

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How to Innovate Your Social Business Model http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/how-to-innovate-your-social-business-model/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/how-to-innovate-your-social-business-model/#comments Sun, 07 Dec 2014 07:00:12 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44308 Innovate your business model Intelligenthq

Innovation is the key to progress, or so they say. Innovation is also extremely important in a business that is a social business. But innovation is hard to do, and many business owners do not know …

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Innovate your business model Intelligenthq
How to Innovate Your Business Model Intelligenthq

How to Innovate Your Business Model Intelligenthq

Innovation is the key to progress, or so they say. Innovation is also extremely important in a business that is a social business. But innovation is hard to do, and many business owners do not know where to start. Greg Satell (2014) of Digital Tonto offers some helpful advice in this regard about how to innovate your business model that can be very useful for social businesses. Satell offers advice in five not-so-easy steps that business owners can undertake to become innovative.

Xerox example

Transforming a business model is sometimes critical to survival. Satell explains that this was indeed true in the case of Xerox, demonstrating how this organisation developed amazing technology that no one wanted to buy. A brainwave was had at Xerox and the company started offering machines to rent. The rest is history. But how can you change your business model innovatively to succeed?

Stop Planning and Start Preparing

According to Satell the first essential step is to stop planning but at the same time start preparing. Planning was great in the post-war years, argues Satell. A group of people at the top carried out strategic planning exercises. Then a plan was developed and people lower down began implementing the strategy. However, things have moved on. The strategic planning process is flawed, argues Satell. Not least because by the time the strategic plan starts to get disseminated to the team it is already out of date. Satell instead opines that preparing is better. Planning creates opportunities for early decision making but preparation for what is to come creates the abilities and competencies to be able to succeed. It is this that provides the flexibility and adaptability that organisations need to be able to innovate.

How do you create, deliver and capture value?

The second step advocated by Greg Satell is to: “Think about how you create, deliver and capture value.” As Satell explains, a business plan carries out copious projections and estimates but this is not needed for a business model. Instead, a business model requires simply understanding how value will be created, delivered and captured. Satell believes that those that can leverage these three factors will be best prepared for innovation. One of the challenges outlined by Satell in this regard is that business models need to be continually changing for the organisation to be able to succeed. That is because business models are no longer lasting for very long. This requires questioning of how value could be delivered or captured in a different way.

Produce a minimally viable product with a business model canvas

The third important step to be able to innovate business models that is proposed by Satell is the goal of producing a minimally viable product with a business model canvas. The minimally viable part is important because it allows a speeding up of the development process. These types of products as Satell explains do not “set the world on fire” but they do launch in time to be able to meet customer needs. The problem with developing an all-singing-all-dancing product is that project timelines become extended and by the time the product gets to market customers are already looking for something else. Minimally viable products address this problem by cutting back on development time and getting a product out there in the market at the time that it is actually needed and relevant. It can then be iterated on if need be. The business model canvas is an approach developed by Alex Osterwalder that can help to achieve this.

Scaling in a smart way

Scaling smart is the fourth step underlined by Satell. The problem is that introducing scale is hard, and if it is not done in the right way it can mean the end for a business. The challenge is, as Satell explains that bringing in more people and resources to be able to meet demand for the product often leads to performance degrading. Satell argues that instead of focusing on employee handbooks and rules, it is instead better to put the logic of the business model out there among employees for all to understand and then to let the team figure out how goals can be achieved. He states that there is no denying that this is difficult, but at the same time this is what needs to be done to succeed.

Are you ready to fail?

Finally, preparing to fail is the last step. While it may seem to be rather negative, knowing how to fail and then how to get back on your feet again is essential to succeed in a business world of continual change. As Satell points out, all business models will ultimately fail. This is not something to be mourned, rather business owners need to be experimenting with new ideas all of the time. In this way getting ready to fail is essential.

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Moving from the Internet of Things To The Internet of Everything http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/moving-from-the-internet-of-things-to-the-internet-of-everything/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/moving-from-the-internet-of-things-to-the-internet-of-everything/#comments Sat, 06 Dec 2014 07:00:06 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44305 Internet of Everything. Image source:cloudtweaks.com

“More relevant and valuable connections will change the world.” Or at least, that is the viewpoint of Cisco’s Chief Futurist Dave Evans (2012), discussing the importance of the Internet of Everything (IoE) and what this …

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Internet of Everything. Image source:cloudtweaks.com
Internet of Everything. Image source:cloudtweaks.com

Internet of Everything. Image source:cloudtweaks.com

“More relevant and valuable connections will change the world.”

Or at least, that is the viewpoint of Cisco’s Chief Futurist Dave Evans (2012), discussing the importance of the Internet of Everything (IoE) and what this will mean for us all. Importantly, as Evans clearly points out, despite the developments of the past 50 years and with tremendous improvements in communications, medicine, science and more there are still some very basic, fundamental problems that remain with the human race. Not least of which is the fact that the human race has itself nearly tripled in the past 50 years. Evans details these well-known problems as being hunger, access to drinking water and disease. Additionally the global financial system has demonstrated itself to not be as stable as we thought. Climate change also threatens our existence in many ways. Evans suggests that when used effectively the Internet has the capability to help us to deal with many of the issues we face in society today.

The four components of the Internet of Everything

As we all know, currently we are entering the age of the Internet of Things. As of the time of writing his paper, the Internet was thought to connect to between 10 and 15 billion devices, but this represented just 1% of the things that could possibly be connected to the internet. The Internet of Things is explained to be the “networked connection of physical objects,” offering greater value to organisations that welcome the Internet of Everything. Evans outlines how areas like processing power, context awareness and energy independence can all be improved on through the Internet of Everything.  As explained by Evans:

“As things add capabilities like context awareness, increased processing power and energy independence, and as more people and new types of information are connected, IoT becomes an Internet of Everything.”

The Internet of Everything in itself is explained to be a network of networks where billions/trillions of connections create both new opportunities and new risks.  Evans argues that the Internet of Everything has some important components. What will be those components:

People: If currently people connect to the internet using devices and social networks in the future it is explained that connection will be possible in other ways, such as swallowing a pill that can report on the health of the person’s digestive tract to a doctor. People will become an important part of the Internet of Things in this way, providing feedback to the Internet.

Data: Naturally, data is another necessary component of the Internet of Things. This data will be gathered and streamed to a central source, and will later become information rather than just raw data. This will allow for more intelligent decision making in the future.

Things:The third component is things, such as sensors, consumer devices and others that will be able to sense data and become aware of their context. These will be able to transmit data as a part of the Internet of Things.

Processes: None of this will happen without the fourth component of processes which will help these other components interact with one another to deliver value.

Evans proposes that all of this has huge potential for dealing with some of the most challenging problems that we face. He believes the Internet of Everything will allow us to be “better stewards of our finite resources” working more effectively within our environment to conquer climate change. Since the Internet of Everything will allow a better ability to predict long term weather patterns it is argued that farmers will be able to plant seeds that have the best chance of flourishing in the most inexpensive way, and this will provide food to those in areas of none. Smart sensors will also be able to improve drinking water by detecting leaks and problems and enabling them to be fixed. While all of this might seem a bit like daydreaming, Evans asks that people think about what is really possible if the Internet of Everything is used to its full potential.

Of course, as Evans rightly points out there will be barriers to achieving all that could be. These may be well known ones such as privacy, security and reliability, but other problems may require discussion and regulation to overcome the social and political impact of the internet of everything. There will also be a need for technical barriers to be overcome so that issues such as powering the tiny devices can be achieved. But if the barriers can be overcome the change possible will be phenomenal.

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The Rise Of Self-Employment http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/the-rise-of-self-employment/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/the-rise-of-self-employment/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 07:00:15 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44269 self employment

Did you know that there is an organisation that has been set up to use behavioural insights to stimulate recruitment and growth among the self-employed? Well, there is, and its name is the RSA. RSA …

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The Rise Of Self-Employment Intelligenthq

The Rise Of Self-Employment Intelligenthq

Did you know that there is an organisation that has been set up to use behavioural insights to stimulate recruitment and growth among the self-employed? Well, there is, and its name is the RSA. RSA stands for Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce. It has a belief that anyone should be able to have the liberty and power to be able to transform ideas into reality, or as they put it, the “Power to Create”. The organisation sports a 27,000 Fellowship and carries out research with a view to developing a society where creative power is distributed, where concentrations of power are confronted and where creative values are nurtured. Aside from solid research it also uses practical experimentation to realise its targets.

Benedict Dellot (2014) explains that self-employment has been increasing in the UK since the millennium. He explains that figures show that there has been a 30% increase in the numbers of the self-employed and that one in seven of the workforce is now self-employed. It is projected that if the figures continue to rise in this way then the self-employed could outnumber the public sector workforce. That’s good news in many respects but the problem is that only 3% of those people hire anyone. And that’s a problem because the economy needs small businesses to prop it up, by creating jobs. Dellot argues that this is even more important to help those in the margins of society like those that do not have many qualifications, recently unemployed people and migrants. According to Dellot, all of this means that we need to take a different approach to the situation in order to boost employment in these small businesses and by sole traders.

Dellot advocates using behavioural insights to go about this. Behavioural interventions could help businesses take on employees, assuming they have the money to do so. This requires dealing with some of the barriers. Reducing risk by pooling that risk is one approach so that employers can hire employees collectively. Being able to access workers in this way and allow sharing of employees also cuts back on this risk. Dellot also believes there is a need to move from a position of stimulating demand to boosting supply by encouraging talent to get involved in these small businesses and helping them to understand the options to do so.

These barriers are more tangible than the barriers that Dellot argues exist in the mindset of business owners. Dellot believes that it is this mindset that leads business owners to believe that the risk of taking on employees is higher than it actually is. These fears are believed by Dellot to be based on inaccurate assumptions, but nonetheless they hamper growth. There is also the problem of a lack of self-efficacy among business owners, argues Dellot. The way that this works is that employers feel reluctant to take an employee on because they do not feel confident in being able to grow their business sufficiently to support that employee. Mindsets can be tricky to change but by changing the messages and stories that are associated with these factors, Dellot believes it is possible to achieve. Cognitive biases also create barriers. One such issue here is short termism which is thought to be created by myopia. Another is social proof – for example, Dellot explains that business owners may be more likely to take on staff if they regularly met business owners that have ambitions of growth.

The six tribes of self employment Image source: RSA report -  The self employers

The six tribes of self employment Image source: RSA report – The self employers

Recommendations for Self Employment

The RSA has made a number of recommendations that can be put in place to improve the situation of a lack of employment in these small businesses, or by sole traders. One is that employee sharing is put in place where businesses can share employees. Another is creating host employers such as housing associations, further education colleges and other local institutions. These would help business owners with areas like HR tasks. Another interesting recommendation is to introduce freelance vouchers to help small, upcoming businesses be able to work with freelancers. Small business careers fairs could be run by universities and business groups to help bring to the attention of graduates the opportunities available. Randomised control trials could be carried out of business support interventions, and information curators could be appointed to frame messages for business owners. There are many recommendations and others include introducing an opt-in for wage subsidies that businesses would lose if they did not partake of it. Random meet ups could also be held between business support groups and local authorities to introduce new viewpoints to them.

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Managing Cultural Change http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/managing-cultural-change/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/managing-cultural-change/#comments Thu, 04 Dec 2014 11:53:30 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44298 Managing cultural change Intelligenthq

In today’s business world, organizational culture both empowers and challenges companies. A culture that supports strategic and operational goals can fuel performance and inspire innovation and diversity. If the culture opposes the company’s strategy, however, …

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Managing cultural change Intelligenthq
Managing cultural change Intelligenthq

Managing cultural change Intelligenthq

In today’s business world, organizational culture both empowers and challenges companies. A culture that supports strategic and operational goals can fuel performance and inspire innovation and diversity. If the culture opposes the company’s strategy, however, the results can be catastrophic. Many business leaders understand that culture plays an important role in their businesses, but most have difficulty understanding how to use culture to improve performance.

According to 84% of 2,200 global participants in the 2013 culture and change management survey, culture is critically important to business success. The findings suggest strong associations between the success of change programmes and whether culture influenced the change process. There is a clear difference between the way companies view culture and the way that they treat it. Less than half of participants saw their companies’ effectively managing culture and more than half said a major cultural overhaul was needed.

The challenges of cultural change

Changing an organisation’s culture is one of the most difficult leadership challenges. That’s because an organisation’s culture comprises of an interlocking set of goals, roles, processes, values, communications practices, attitudes and assumptions.

The culture and change management survey picked up on three obstacles in particular that prevent successful organisational change: employees being asked to make too many changes at once; companies not having the capabilities to sustain change; and managers attempting to implement change without inspiring an input from lower level employers.

From the employee perspective, 44% of those surveyed did not understand the changes that they were being asked to make and 38% did not agree with the changes proposed by the organisation. If an employee sees a change as something that opposes the company’s culture, this will make the initiative much harder to implement successfully.

Leaders often make the case for major change on the sole basis of strategic business objectives such as ‘we will enter new markets’ or ‘we will grow 20% a year for the next three years.’ Such objectives are reasonable but they rarely reach people emotionally in a way that ensures genuine commitment to the cause. People respond to calls to action that engage their hearts, as well as their minds, making them feel as if they’re part of something significant.

Hewlett-Packard´s example

Hewlett-Packard seems to be following this principle in their transformation efforts. They have sought to activate a strong personal connection between HP and its employees, by drawing directly on the company’s cultural history and traditions. Through symbolic gestures such as tearing down the fences that surrounded the executive parking lot and moving top executives into cubicles, the company has reinforced the original ‘HP Way’ ethic, in which the quality of the work is as important as one’s position in the hierarchy.

In any major change initiative, it is the job of management and the people affected by the transition to figure out how to harness the strong cultural attributes of their company to build momentum and create lasting change.

Persuading people to change their behaviour won’t suffice unless formal elements – such as structure, reward systems, ways of operating, training and development – are redesigned to support them. Done well, this will substantially increase the speed, success, and sustainability of an organisation’s change initiatives.

Cultural change management plays a vital role in helping an organisation achieve its business objectives. Acknowledging change is required and getting the necessary support to make it happen is the first step. However, this can only start at the very top.

 

 

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2015: Welcome to the Anthro-Eco-Bio-Stellular-Tech-Droid Convergence, Where Science Fiction and Social Needs Collide http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/2015-welcome-to-the-anthro-eco-bio-stellular-tech-droid-convergence-where-science-fiction-and-social-needs-collide/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/2015-welcome-to-the-anthro-eco-bio-stellular-tech-droid-convergence-where-science-fiction-and-social-needs-collide/#comments Thu, 04 Dec 2014 07:00:41 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44291 smescience.com 2

My six year old son looks up from his dinner plate and asks, “Dad, in Star Wars does Darth Vader go back to the light side of the force?” For a moment I am taken …

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Tianjin Eco City Image source: Smescience.com

Tianjin Eco City Image source: Smescience.com

My six year old son looks up from his dinner plate and asks, “Dad, in Star Wars does Darth Vader go back to the light side of the force?” For a moment I am taken back by his question. I enthusiastically think, “how insightful” for him to think about Darth Vader’s fate, “Did he get that thought from the movie?” In my geeked-out state I try remembering what had happened to Darth Vader before his death. I quickly bring myself back to reality, remember that my son is only six years old, and try not to “over-analyze” the simple question. I tell my son “yes, ultimately Darth Vader did go back to the light side of the force, after realizing his love and compassion for his son Luke was stronger than the power of the dark side.” My son was satisfied with the answer. After a few more mouthfuls of dinner my son went on to tell an elaborate story about Jedi’s, light sabers, the origins of the universe, and time travel. His eyes were wide as he lit up when talking about his rendition of Star Wars, a fictional movie that for all he knows could be a real as apple pie. What’s amazing is that my son has never fully watched the original Star Wars movies. He has, through some cosmic osmosis, pieced together the main elements of the storyline. Equal credit should be given to George Lucas for creating a story which lasts; and for commercial giants like LEGO and Disney which have creatively taken a timeless story and invigorated it for the next generation in new toys, games, movies and television shows.

My six year old son knows nothing about cassette tapes, Walkman’s, VCRs, dial-up Internet, xerography, record players, MS-DOS, or MTV. In fact, these once shiny and cool new innovations may also be a distant memory for those of us that grew up with them. Although technology comes and goes, the power of imagination, the spirit of innovation, and desire to evolve never gets old. Imagination coupled with ingenuity and hard work spark technological change. In fact, looking back on innovation, what we once thought of as science fiction has become our reality. Futuristic movies and books like Star Wars, Star Trek, Fahrenheit 451, 1984, and 2001: A Space Odyssey has planted seeds within millions of people which have sprouted novel ideas and products that now transcended generations.

The first Star Wars movie was released in 1977 and nearly 38 years later it continues to captivate our youth’s imagination. Although humans do not yet have light sabers, Jedi skills, or spacecraft capable of hyperspace, we seem determined to push ourselves until we get there.

Recent disclosure of the U.S. Navy’s deployment of a prototype 30-kilowatt-class Laser Weapon System aboard the amphibious transport ship, USS Ponce, in the Persian Gulf for testing is one signal that humans continue to push the limits of technology for destructive and peaceful means. Lasers were once ideas and conceptual algorithms written within the notebooks of research physicists.

Today lasers are in medical, retail, telecommunication, gaming, military, intelligence, security, manufacturing, and entertainment applications. Lasers have led to advancements in 3D printed metals, polymers, and other materials for a diversity of applications ranging from aerospace to fashion. This kind of leading edge use of lasers in manufacturing is supporting innovation in companies like Nike and GE as they evolve their products and manufacturing environments to be more efficient, resilient, and sustainable. Another signal of human ambition reflects the enormous economic costs and impact on human life we are willing to incur to pursue our Star Wars fantasy.

On October 31, 2014, SpaceShipTwo, the Virgin Galactic spacecraft that cost an estimated $400 million to develop, crashed over the Mojave desert in California, killing one of the two pilots. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic told the media that the company would learn from the tragic event, however that he would also “like to see the dream [for humans to experience commercial space flight] living on.”

It seems we cannot leave well enough alone. We push the limits of science, technology, and the human spirit. We seek to conquer our fear of the unknown. In the process we tinker, meddle, and compete. But our unrestrained sense of wonder and fascination occasionally yields welcomed surprises. Our achievements in advancing science and technology have brought us places we never thought possible and have deepened our knowledge of the earth and the universe so that we may come to understand the origins of life, and pursue more intimate relationships our physical and metaphysical world.

Anthro-Eco-Bio-Stellular-Tech-Droid Convergence

We now occupy the “Anthro-Eco-Bio-Stellular-Tech-Droid Convergence,” a schizophrenic reality where science fiction and social needs collide with each other. The upside of this convergence is that right now, more than any other time in history, we have the knowhow, capabilities, and technology to solve some of the world’s toughest challenges impacting human health and the environment. The downside is that we simply don’t know where to begin, or how best to mobilize and direct our intellect and resources in a manner where everyone wins.

An underlying question remains. “Why?” and not just the philosophical question of “why are we here?,” but “why do we feel compelled to pursue, let alone discover, the answer to this question in the first place?” The origins of life and fate of humans is an enigma. Ultimately we are our own worst enemy. On one hand we push the limits of science and space allowing our inner child to self-realize a rendition of George Lucas’s space opera. On the other hand we are social and emotional creatures desiring love, compassion, and interaction. We want truth and have an innate need for survival. We will stop at nothing to achieve both. The challenge for this generation is to reconcile our technological capability with the collective will, intellect, and needs of 7+ billion people on earth. After 10 years of space navigation and at a cost of $1.58B we can land a robot probe (Philae) on a comet (Rosetta) which travels at speeds up to 135,000 km/h, yet we struggle to mobilize on critical concerns closer to home: curtailing greenhouse gas emissions in the face of global climate change, eradicating global poverty and hunger, ending human trafficking, and defeating a host of diseases from cancer, to multiple sclerosis, AIDS and Ebola.

This is not to say that there are not millions of people dedicated to “home-based” missions of enormous consequence; there are. This is also not to suggest that humanity should not have Richard Branson’s who dream and bet big on humanity’s future; we definitely need them. The point here is that we need, borrowing from George Lucas, to strike a “balance in the force.” Scientists are predicting that the earth will get warmer and more populated in the next few decades. The projected impacts are bleak: dramatic shifts in weather patterns, increased intensity and severity of storms and natural hazards, and more constraints on life-critical infrastructure and natural resources including energy, water, and food.

There is no shortage of needs which we should funnel our creativity and intellect toward addressing. The challenge is for this generation to prioritize our needs from our wants, individually, and as a collective society. Embrace the “Anthro-Eco-Bio-Stellular-Tech-Droid Convergence,” for it is an amazing time to be alive. As we develop a more resilient built-environment, deploy robots in deep space, maneuver drones to deliver our mail, and mimic nature to design more sustainable products, we will also continue to evolve a deeper understanding of ourselves, and our place in the universe. But let’s also not forget about our underlying responsibility, to be conscious stewards of our place and time on earth. The fate of the earth and humanity are one in the same. Only by working together can we bring back a balance to the force. Together we must rediscover the power of trust, prioritize our collective goals, and jointly pursue a sustainable future.    

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4 Steps To Preparing Your Own Financial Fire Drill http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/4-steps-to-preparing-your-own-financial-fire-drill/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/4-steps-to-preparing-your-own-financial-fire-drill/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 14:25:22 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44279 Fire Drill

The credit crunch has been steadily chewing up folks at home, and they’ve been busily trying to crunch numbers and find ways to cut spending. The thing is, trying to cut back on spending when …

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Fire Drill
4 Steps to Preparing Your Own Financial Fire Drill Intelligenthq

4 Steps to Preparing Your Own Financial Fire Drill Intelligenthq

The credit crunch has been steadily chewing up folks at home, and they’ve been busily trying to crunch numbers and find ways to cut spending. The thing is, trying to cut back on spending when we’re already in a financial crisis can be a lot like trying to put out a fire when you’re living in the house that’s going up. We can get a little too focused on the fire and what’s burning, overlooking some otherwise obvious means of putting it out more quickly. That’s why we have fire drills. So that even when we’re panicked, we can still follow some steps that have been drilled into us and get out safely, letting the professionals sort the fire.

Unfortunately you can’t call the fire department in to put out any home fires with your finances, but you can follow your own financial fire drill and find ways to save more than £500 a year. All it takes is making sure you and your finances are prepared. Follow these four steps to get started.

1.  Make sure you know your monthly expenses and categorise them properly.
Far too many of us just lump all of our monthly expenses into a big breadbasket, never considering that some things are far more important to our financial health than others. For starters, mortgage and rent payments are the single most important thing we pay for each month. Without a roof, there’s nowhere for us to sleep, and hard sleepers aren’t what most employers want filling the employment line. Of equal importance is our food, but in a pinch most of us could get a job in a restaurant or café where we’d at least get one or two meals a day. Then there’s keeping the lights on and the water running. While you could maybe go without the lights, taking a shower isn’t as easy to skip. After that you’ve got transportation to consider. Nothing else you have or do with money is as important. Even if you have a car payment, there’s enough public transport available that you could likely sell it and just take the tube. Those are your essential expenses, and in most cases, you can’t easily cut some of them and save money while you’re at it. They’re also an important part of a balanced budget, which everyone should have.

2. Prepare a fire list of the things you need to pay, and make sure you have six months of that money set aside.
Most of the time people talk about having three months of salary saved up each month, and while that’s good stuff, it’s not everything. Three months of salary that’s not managed is a lot like throwing water everywhere but on the financial fire your fighting. In that case, you’ll already lose a month figuring out what to do, and then just have two months saved up. Instead of that, take a hard look at what you need to spend money on, which we covered in step one. Then make sure you have six months of that money saved up. Then you can then make a needs list of the things you’d like to have, such as a cell phone, or the occasional binge purchase you might be making out of habit. If you want to save up six months of that too, then have at it. You’ll end up with more money to work with no matter how you look at things, and in a financial fire, you’ll want as much money on hand as you can possibly have.

3.Think about your minimum hire and what you’d earn.
Few of us like to think of it in terms of the worst-case scenario, but that’s what fire drills are all about. When Wall Street crashed in the States, do you know what many of those investment guys did when they ended up on the street? The ones who got back on their feet ended up taking shifts in the bars they used to frequent. For them, it was a case of working from nothing, or leveraging an asset in the form of loyalty they’d built up with a business, and asking for a part-time job. These guys were movers and shakers until things came crashing down, but they held on, and when things picked back up they were in the game again like nothing ever went wrong. That’s what you need to be prepared to do, and knowing how much you could realistically earn, doing that will help you plan out your finances over the months it may take you to get right again.

4. Make a list of the things you could sell in a pinch.
This is perhaps the most unpleasant part of this task, but it’s something you should seriously consider. Let’s say you have a lovely £700 iPhone 6, but you could get by on that old £50 Nokia you never recycled or donated. That’s at least £450 worth of phone you could quickly dispose of in a fire sale, and while that would be a nasty loss, you’d also be able to make a budget food shop for a family of three for about four months with that money. You’d miss your social chats and life conveniences the iPhone provides, but at the same time you wouldn’t go hungry. The same goes for that super sound system you have in your living room, or that massive new Samsung wall sized TV you splurged on with your last bonus. All of these are things you can do without when things go sideways, and if you’re quick, there will be no shortage of less prepared people willing to take these things off your hands. Also, when you’re shopping, you might consider saving a little money and buying something less expensive, which just builds your overall savings.

By following these steps, you’ll make sure your finances are tidy, and be prepared for even the worst sorts of financial downturns. You won’t need to rely as much on credit or credit cards, and you’ll be stable enough that you aren’t going to have any frightful shocks if things don’t work out the way you imagined they might. Obviously none of us wants to be in financial hot water, but by making sure we’re prepared if things go sideways, we can really turn things up a notch and come out of the worst with a smile and a laugh.

The best part is that by seriously considering how bad things could be, you’ll be that much more motivated to save a little extra. This will help protect you from the worst that could happen. You’ll build up a tidy nest egg or retirement along the way, which is just another piece of the financial puzzle you should be thinking about when managing money.

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Nine Characteristics For A New Way Of Work http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/nine-characteristics-for-a-new-way-of-work/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/nine-characteristics-for-a-new-way-of-work/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 07:00:22 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44255 Image source: Future of Work PSFK

Our current post industrial era has seen dramatic changes happening to what we define as “work”. One of the things that mostly impacted work has been the rapid pace of technological innovation.  How will “work” be in a …

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Image source: Future of Work PSFK
Image source: Future of Work PSFK

Image source: Future of Work PSFK

Our current post industrial era has seen dramatic changes happening to what we define as “work”. One of the things that mostly impacted work has been the rapid pace of technological innovation.  How will “work” be in a decade or twenty years ? How can we redefine what we understand as “work” so as to serve our current needs ? There have been many who have tried to find answers to these questions, and one of these is Stowe Boyd, the lead researcher for the “future of work” at GigaOm Research.

Boyd is a man who has spent the past 15 years researching and understanding social tools to help people understand their impact on business, society and media. In particular, over the past few years he has spent his time focusing on the growth of the social economy and the future of work. From his background as a programmer his core focus has changed and he now considers himself to be a “socialogist.” You might be wondering what a socialogist is. Boyd explains that it includes:

“Advocating new societal and business policies based on the rise of social tools, with a healthy dose of social criticism and future studies in the mix.”

Boyd  played a key role in the building and spreading of critical ideas, such as social tools, hashtags, work media, publicy, the post normal era and socialogy. This has led him to present at a variety of conferences and events such as Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, GigaOM, SxSW and TEDxMidAtlantic. He heads research into social business and the future work at GigaOM Research.

Shifting into a new economical order

It is Boyd’s belief that we have moved into a volatile postnormal stage in history. He suggests that this age could bring chaos, populist movements attacking the old economic order, and 3D printing. He also believes that this latter point will drive a more “local economy”. Boyd believes that some of these patterns can also be observed during times of major change in the past – such as the chaos and attacking the old economic order. He suggests that volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, are all prevalent currently, leading the world economic order to become very unstable. Boyd likens this to what happened in developing nations after the Second World War when European governments withdrew from their colonies, leading to many new nations emerging. Boyd compares this with the current leaders setting policy suggested to by corporations.

Boyd suggests that this could lead to all kinds of radical changes. It is suggested that people will move into artisanal manufacturing during these times ahead. Such a trend is already a reality with the Maker´s movement gaining momentum. Boyd envisions as well that:

“A new caste of millions of artisanal product designers [ will be] building small runs of 3D printed products, sharing designs and selling through a social web, using low-cost machinery and sidestepping the control of large corporations.”

Nine characteristics for a new way of work Intelligenthq

Nine characteristics for a new way of work Intelligenthq

A Manifesto For a New Way Of Work

In light of all of this turmoil and change, Stowe Boyd has proposed a manifesto for a new way of work. This is also grounded in two major premises. One is that employee engagement is low, and that less than a third are actively engaged. The second is that business leaders want productivity improvements to remain competitive, but that automation on its own cannot achieve this. The transition that is about to happen will be as big as the industrial revolution according to Boyd. This has led him to the production of his manifesto, named A New Way of Work.

A New Way of Work embraces a number of different core themes. One is that dissent (as opposed to consensus) will be the best way of getting past “groupthink” and driving much-needed creativity and innovation. Boyd suggests cooperative behaviour rather than collaborative behaviour will be needed, with cooperative work patterns taking precedence over collectivism. Creativity will rise above tradition, and autonomy will become normal. This latter point is a paradox according to Boyd, given the level of connection and interaction we have with one another. Hyperdemocracy will take the place of oligarchy, and Boyd opines that today’s businesses are oligarchies where few drive the work of many.

A leading point in the manifesto is “fast and loose” instead of slow and tight”. What Boyd means by this is that companies need to be “looser” in nature, quickly developing voluntary associations into autonomous teams that are needed to drive innovation and provide a supportive environment for the highest performers. Other important manifesto features are a move to laissez faire rather than entrepreneurial since the future is unpredictable. A laissez faire system would allow a greater level of experimentation rather than one strategic plan that may be based on an incorrect idea of the future. The manifesto also suggests hyperlean rather than the top down approach that currently operates, and small and simple rather than large and complex. Perhaps unsurprisingly, open and public will be the new way of things, and of course this is already occurring. Finally emergent strategy will replace deliberate strategy.

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A Compendium For The Civic Economy  http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/a-compendium-for-the-civic-economy/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/a-compendium-for-the-civic-economy/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 07:00:37 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44259 Compendium For The Civic Economy Intelligenthq

Nesta has been carrying out many activities to help innovate and bring about change in our society and economy. One such activity has been the production of a book in 2011 that Nesta calls, A …

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Compendium For The Civic Economy Intelligenthq
Book cover of the book: Compendium For The Civic Economy

Book cover of the book: Compendium For The Civic Economy

Nesta has been carrying out many activities to help innovate and bring about change in our society and economy. One such activity has been the production of a book in 2011 that Nesta calls, A Compendium for the Civic Economy. In producing this book, Nesta believes that it brings together case studies of a civic economy that is rooted in ancient traditions of the economy but that also innovates by using new organisation and connecting and investing approaches. The book puts itself into context by explaining that it was developed in the wake of the global economic downturn, and with rising social issues that need to be resolved. As people began to understand what had really happened in the economic financial crisis at least some have started to question the way that we were operating before and have looked towards more sustainable approaches.

The book attempts to achieve three main aims. The first is to demonstrate that the civic economy is already part of society and it helps provide resilience in the community. The second is to show practically how leaders in local communities work to improve places and their economies, regardless of whether they are public or private. The third is to show the potential of the civic economy to regenerate places and improve lives. According to Nesta the civic economy has been in existence for many years, at the outset mainly in the form of cooperatives, but that now, more than 100 years on, the civic economy is again rising in precedence. This change is grounded in the fact that there is a need for a different economic development model. It is thought that the civic economy serves to provide real progress to problems, and that it also demonstrates how people should communicate and collaborate.

The civic economy has the ability to transform the shaping of places, looking beyond bricks and mortar to other ways in which regeneration needs to occur. There is a need, to produce a more sustainable recovery, and this is challenging with scarce resources. This leads Nesta to argue that:

 “All those working to improve localities across the UK can be, and need to be, civic entrepreneurs.”

They go on to explain that everyone needs to take a part in making sure that ventures like those described in the compendium are able to emerge and thrive. But what are those ventures? Well, here are some examples:

Arcola Theatre – this is described as an “open house for new ideas” in London. The initiative has been run through the help of many volunteers. It has an audience that its 60% local, from Hackney and Islington. The project combines acting and environmental engineering to upskill young people and help migrant groups as well as creating a community asset at the same time. Through its work it improves eco-awareness. The organisation is now comprised of three interdependent components – a theatre, a charity that offers community and training programmes and an energy company. It achieved all that it did through inclusive programming, outreach and entrepreneurship.

Brixton Village – this was an initiative to re-start a social market in London. In Brixton Village, one in five shops were vacant prior to December 2009. At that point 20 vacant shops were revitalised. Previous efforts to regenerate the market had failed, but the introduction of Space Makers Agency, which is a social enterprise managed to turn this around. The organisation did this through the use of a personal network, clear goals and excellence in social media. All of this helped to develop a new market place for local people (and others) to enjoy. Lessons learned from this were that by getting people participating and re-using existing assets that still had potential a lot could be achieved.

Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company – in this example a tutoring centre was created on the high street in New York behind a store that sells superhero outfits. During 2009/2010 2,077 students were helped. There are 800 volunteers, and the organisation published 90 books in 2009/10. From this project lessons learned were that creating an atmosphere of magic potential (the non-profit organisation named 826NYC helping young people with their writing skills was hidden behind a “trick bookshelf) can remove barriers to joining in. Additionally by using collective capacity the organisation was able to grow and co-produce tangible products.

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What Will Impact The Future Of Education ? http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/what-will-impact-the-future-of-education/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/what-will-impact-the-future-of-education/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 12:32:12 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44251 Future of education

The future of education, particularly business education is something that concerns people everywhere. Many people are raising questions about just exactly what the kids of tomorrow will be taught. One such person is Anant Agarwal. …

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Future of education
What Will Impact The future Of Education ? Intelligenthq

What Will Impact The future Of Education ? Intelligenthq

The future of education, particularly business education is something that concerns people everywhere. Many people are raising questions about just exactly what the kids of tomorrow will be taught. One such person is Anant Agarwal. Writing for Forumblog.org (2014) Agarwal points out that what we decide to teach children will have a considerable impact on all aspects of society including areas as diverse as financial services, technology and health. People need to get involved in the debate so that our future can be shaped in the way that we want it to be. Agarwal believes there are a number of major factors that will impact on the future of education. Each of these is now outlined in greater detail.

MOOCs

Technology, as one might expect is considered to be likely to have a very large role to play in shaping the future of education. Agarwal suggests that one of the major factors is the development of Massive Open Online Courses, otherwise known as MOOCs that enable the bringing of education to the masses. This opens up a greater range of education options to people regardless of their background, argues Agarwal, himself a professor who is the CEO of edX. edX is the MOOC that was set up by Harvard and MIT. MOOCs are beneficial because they are flexible and open source. Agarwal believes that in the future:

“You could go to university having done the first year of content online. You could then come and have the campus experience.”

The benefit of MOOCs is not limited to an increased number of subjects to study. As Agarwal highlights, the technological developments allow education to be “virtualised on a mass scale”, allowing low-cost learning to be delivered to countries in Africa and Asia. Agarwal hopes that such MOOCs remain non-profit ventures so that call can benefit in the future.

However, not everyone agrees, and Professor Tan Chorh Chuan of the National University of Singapore argues that while MOOCs are largely beneficial there is a challenge in that the “heterogeneous nature of education” is not necessarily accounted for, especially in developing nations. Tan suggests that this could be a negative situation for local education institutions. It is suggested that the best way to address these types of challenges is to adopt a “symbiotic approach” where MOOC providers work directly with universities in Africa or Asia to make sure that learning materials are suitably set in context.

The unification of standards is a subject debated at the highest echelons of the education system. Some believe that if there is globalisation of education then there should equally be a global set of standards. Again, Tan disagrees, and is of the opinion that diversity will be compromised by taking such an approach. Differentiation, he argues is better to be able to equip people in different countries with what they need from their education. Additionally he points out that a standardised approach could create problems with having a sufficient level of experimentation for developing new ways of providing education and understanding learning.

A New Type of Polytechnic

Another educator, Dr Shirley Ann Jackson, President of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute argues that a new model is needed, says Agarwal. This is proposed to be the idea of the “New Polytechnic. This would be an approach where governments, businesses and universities would work together more collaboratively to use technology and networking to drive education forwards. The new way needs to consider data, according to Jackson. The New Polytechnic would take a cross-discipline, cross-sector and cross-regional approach to education and its corresponding data. Jackson questions how accessibility will be gained to education by the 60% of the world that is not online (Agarwal, 2014).

Commoditization

Commoditization is a factor that also needs to be considered in education’s future. Agarwal points out that while technology has indeed made education more accessible, there is still the need for education to get access to funding. There are suggestions from some educators that universities could potentially disappear altogether, with individuals going into the workplace and getting training when they need it via informal means to deal with their educational needs. However, it seems very unlike that universities will be abolished – rather Agarwal suggests that some students will choose the alternative approach outlined instead.

Some, including Jackson argue for a sense of balance and not getting too carried away. After all, the technology that exists is considered to be unlikely to replace the concept of students in classrooms, at least in the short to medium term as socialisation is also an important aspect of the education system. Nonetheless there are most certainly great changes afoot, and deciding the direction to take is a very necessary step.

The next video, a little documentary on the future of education,education innovators like Dr. Sugata Mitra, visiting professor at MIT; Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy; and Dr. Catherine Lucey, Vice Dean of Education at UCSF share their thoughts on what education will be in a recent future:

 

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Is There A Formula For Intelligence ? http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/is-there-a-formula-for-intelligence/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/is-there-a-formula-for-intelligence/#comments Sun, 30 Nov 2014 17:43:37 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44248 Is there a formula for intelligence ?

What is Intelligence ? Why is this question important in the context of social businesses ? Intelligenthq has published already various articles approaching this fundamental question from various points of view, such as what links business and intelligence, intelligence …

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Is there a formula for intelligence ?
Is There A Formula For Happiness Intelligenthq

Is There A Formula For Happiness Intelligenthq

What is Intelligence ? Why is this question important in the context of social businesses ? Intelligenthq has published already various articles approaching this fundamental question from various points of view, such as what links business and intelligence, intelligence and leadership and intelligence and innovation.

What is intelligence seems like an obvious question with a straightforward answer: But if you think about it for just a moment you will realise that this seemingly innocent question is much harder to answer than you at first thought. Look up “definition of intelligence” on an Internet search and all kinds of results will come up. For example, there is logic and abstract thought. There is also the ability to be creative and solve problems. Being self-aware is considered to be intelligence, as is understanding and being able to communicate. Intelligence is also a concept that can be argued to be both conscious and subconscious. And that’s not even considering artificial intelligence which is basically machines that are intelligent. In an editorial statement produced by 52 researchers in 1994, intelligence was defined as follows:

“A very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience.”

It is further explained that intelligence is not limited to learning information, but rather it involves being able to better understand surroundings and the situation that we are in. It is concerned with being able to make sense of the situation and being able to determine what to do as a result of being in that situation. As already alluded to, intelligence in humans is seen to be different from intelligence in other life forms and from artificial intelligence. It can be argued that human intelligence gives us the ability to learn, understand, reason and recognise patterns, which in turn leads to being able to think and experience. Animal intelligence is hard to define because understanding intelligence between species raises a lot of difficult challenges of measurement and comparison for researchers. Intellect can define widely according to species, and even plants have some sort of intelligence as they adapt to their environment and what they experience.

An equation that defines intelligence ?

The question of what is intelligence has kept many great thinkers busy over the millennia. For a start, the meaning of intelligence has not always been the same throughout time and it might be argued that context influences what intelligence is. Indeed, Alex Wissner-Gross points out that over time, as innovations have changed and grown and as we have increased our understanding of the physical ability to swim and fly, what means by intelligence has changed. In fact, Intelligence has been the subject of a recent Ted talk by Alex Wissner-Gross (2013) who has raised all kinds of questions about our concept of intelligence.

Wisner-Gross argues that in fact there is an equation for intelligence and that this is ["F = T ∇ Sτ"]. In the mind of Wisner-Gross this equation helps to factor out different threads that impact on intelligence. F is seen as “to maximise future freedom of action (keep options open) while the strength of T and the diversity of possible accessible futures, S, up to some future time horizon, tau”. While this is quite a complicated idea, the point that he is trying to express is that intelligence likes its options open. He also questions the role that goals play in intelligent behaviour. But is a mathematical equation really able to predict human intelligence, and can it predict artificial intelligence? This is the points that Wisner-Gross set about to answer with his Ted video, providing examples that are best enjoyed through watching the video. He also suggests that if we could start all over again with intelligence, then one of the best ways things to do would be to build artificial intelligences or to better understand human intelligence and the way in which this seeks to “maximise future freedom of action and avoid constraints in its own future”.

Intelligence is what you do with information

Another question asked by long-time television producer, responsible for Blackadder and Spitting Image, questions what intelligence is also. Lloyd suggests that intelligence is in fact not what we know, as is commonly perceived, but rather what we do with that information. This can be likened to the knowledge of how to split the atom. It is helpful to know this information, but it would not be intelligent to use this information to blow up innocents with an atom bomb. Lloyd suggests that the information that all people should have is how to treat each other properly. This, argues Lloyd would demonstrate intelligence, rather than simply knowing lots of information. Perhaps it is this point above all that we should take away from the answer to the question: What is intelligence?

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Playing The Game: The Overpaid CEO http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/playing-the-game-the-overpaid-ceo/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/playing-the-game-the-overpaid-ceo/#comments Sat, 29 Nov 2014 13:56:41 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44115 Playing The Game: The Overpaid CEO Intelligenthq

What are the benefits of over paying CEOs ? What are its detrimental aspects ? If you run a social business what is your position regarding this controversial topic ? There have long been calls …

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Playing The Game: The Overpaid CEO Intelligenthq
Playing The Game: The Overpaid CEO Intelligenthq

Playing The Game: The Overpaid CEO Intelligenthq

What are the benefits of over paying CEOs ? What are its detrimental aspects ? If you run a social business what is your position regarding this controversial topic ?

There have long been calls to curb exorbitant so-called “fat cat” pay. While employees may receive a yearly pay rise that does not even cover the cost of inflation, CEOs often receive packages that run into the millions. This has led to an increasing monetary gap between rich and poor, with previously considered “middle class” people running into financial difficulties. While workers up and down the country are simply fired, CEOs are given pay-off packages that would cover one person’s salary for a year many times over. CEOs frequently receive a healthy bonus even if they have performed poorly. The media has enjoyed highlighting such individuals and bringing them to the attention of the general public, and all of this has been the source of great controversy. Many have started to question the role of the super managers payments,  on the widening inequality of our current times. One of these, was Thomas Piketty, in his book Capital for the XXIst century.

Writing for Democracy in 2014, Susan Holmberg and Mark Schmitt argue that the problem of the overpaid CEO emerges from the nature of organisations themselves. An organization which is still just interested in increasing the profits is obviously very different from another one that aims for combining profitability with social good, which is the case of a social business. In mainstream businesses monies are diverted away from the organisational greater good, this activity of giving massive salary packages, bonuses and pay-offs to CEOs causes other difficulties. In particular they explain that:

“The greater cost may be the risky behaviour that very high pay encourages CEOs to engage in, especially when pay is tied to short-term corporate performance.”

This leads to situations where CEOs undertake activities that are not particularly strategic in the longer term to show that they have achieved everything that they were supposed to, meaning that they get to take home a massive economic reward.

History of CEO Pay

According to Holmberg and Schmitt the massive jump in CEO pay started to pick up speed in the 1970s, and that this trend continued until the 2008 financial crisis. It is argued by Holmberg and Schmitt that some of the largest increases occurred during the 1990s when growth rates of CEO salaries were exceeding 10%. Indeed, it is quoted that between 1978 and 2012 CEO pay increased by a massive 875%. Of course regular workers did not experience such a tremendous growth in their wage, or even anything like it.

In the USA at least there have been various attempts to address the problem of executive pay. For starters in 1934 the Securities Exchange Act requires “shareholder proxies to report compensation of the corporation’s top three executives,” (Holmberg and Schmitt). Additionally, Holmberg and Schmitt explain that since the New Deal companies also have to cite what they pay for consulting on compensation. Another approach that has been utilised is the tax code. As outlined by Holmberg and Schmitt this was used as early as the 1950s to try to curtail these phenomenal salaries. However Holmberg and Schmitt also explain that the tax code impact on executive pay did not really get a handle on the problem until the 1990s. However, this led to performance related pay to be introduced which allowed organisations to use this loophole to boost salaries for CEOs still further.

What are the arguments in favor of CEO high pay?

One argument that is often made to justify the enormous pay packets that CEOs take home is that these CEOs are worth what they are paid because they add that amount of value to the organisation. It is argued that a great CEO offers tremendous value and as a result should be compensated accordingly. However, this is very difficult to measure in reality. As argued by Holmberg and Schmitt in most cases it is the work of the CEO’s team that allows this performance to be achieved. Of course, the CEO leads these people to success, arguably, but there are also a great many other factors that have a bearing. This leads Holmberg and Schmitt to argue that CEOs are paid for luck rather than performance.

The detrimental aspects of overpaying CEOs

Ultimately, as Holmberg and Schmitt point out CEO pay of this nature is detrimental. It is caused by CEOs having too much power over the way in which decisions are made in such firms, argue Holmberg and Schmitt. It is explained by Holmberg and Schmitt that the problem is not just the fact that the public finds it distasteful. Rather it creates tremendous economic inequality that is damaging in society. It drives risk and rewards “fraudulent behaviour”. And CEOs should be motivated to take risk, explain Holmberg and Schmitt, but actually they are not motivated to do so at all – after all a drop in the share price will impact what they take home. So it could be argued from this that CEOs are not really motivated to do their jobs. There is no doubt that something has to change. But until the way the system is set up changes, it can be seen that it is unlikely to do so.

In the following video, Thomas Piketty proposes something that could bring a solution to this dilemma. Whether that will happen in the near future is a question yet to be seen.

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