Intelligent Head Quarters http://www.intelligenthq.com Business intelligence innovation network for growth education change Wed, 01 Oct 2014 14:32:18 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Guide to Collaborative Finance – Part 4 http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/guide-to-collaborative-finance-part-4/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/guide-to-collaborative-finance-part-4/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 06:00:48 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43569 Guide to collaborative economy part 4 - peer to peer insurance

When our network of friends are our insurance

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Guide to collaborative economy part 4 - peer to peer insurance
guide to collaborative economy p 4 Intelligenthq

guide to collaborative economy p 4 Intelligenthq

This is a Part 4 of a Guide we are creating in the IntelligentHQ Series on Collaborative Finance. Collaborative Finance is an umbrella term that assembles together various processes of money exchange happening right now that are revolutionizing finance.

Peer to peer insurance

Peer to peer finance has been taking off, but one fairly recent development is its move into the realms of insurance. As the P2P Foundation explains, peer to peer insurance can mean that your friends and family agree to cover part of the damage if there is an insurance claim, and that this has the ability to cut back on a great deal of your costs of insurance. In some cases it is argued to be possible to make up to 50% to 70% reductions on insurance costs by taking this approach. It’s an interesting idea and it is already being put into practice.

One company that offers such a type of insurance is Friendsurance, according to The Economist (2012). It is explained that:

“Large claims are still covered by normal insurers with whom the firm has partnerships. But the cost of smaller claims, which would normally be paid by a policy holder as part of a ‘deductible’ amount are shared within a small circle of friends.”

The way it works is that these “friends” could be actual friends and sign up as a group, or they could find one another via the Friendsurance website. The way it works is that some of their premiums are then put to one side to settle small claims. If anything is left over at the end of the year then that is divided up between the friends. The company offers legal-expenses insurance, as well as household and personal liability insurance. Why would people sign up? Well, as explained by Friendsurance, it means that the quality of risk can be reduced since groups are self-selecting, and friends are more likely to be transparent with one another. This cuts back on the risk of fraud. In addition The Economist describes how friends are unlikely to put in small claims, perhaps because they are more concerned about what their friends would think or because they do not want them to be negatively impacted, while traditional insurers face large costs for small claims.

The Pragmatist also explains the concept of peer to peer insurance, and how it works. It is argued that peer to peer insurance would mean that an electronic platform would be needed that could offer direct insurance contracts between people that are insured and different investors. Each of these people would get a small amount of the total premium, but each would only have to pay out small figures if there was a loss. This means that risk is spread among many investors. Additionally it has the impact of removing the middleman so making fees cheaper overall.

Another example of a to-be peer to peer insurance company according to Pragmatist is jFloat. This is a platform that does not appear to have launched at the current time. The idea behind it is that users will be able to pay their premiums into “floats” which will be comprised of people that are family and friends, or similar people based on a survey by the website.

In the following video, jFloat’s founder, Kim Miller, explains how his company works:

The group will allow membership to people or it will deny them. When a member has to deal with a claim below a set figure then the money for that will come out of the pool. The group decides whether it will carry on or not if all the money from the pool runs out. The group can then choose to shut it down if they wish to do so. There will be an algorithm which will calculate for the group how much each person will need to put in to help it get back up and running again to be able to insure the group effectively. Again, the goal is that claims that are unreasonable or unnecessary are put off by the use of these methods.

Many of the big insurance companies have not yet jumped at the chance to get involved in such types of insurance. But that is not necessarily a measure of how successful it is likely to be, since in many cases larger companies have not been involved in other types of collaborative finance either. It remains to be seen how this industry develops and if people are eager to get involved in yet another type of peer to peer financing.

Guide to Collaborative Finance (part1) – Introduction
Guide to Collaborative Finance (part2) - Peer to Peer Lending
Guide to Collaborative Finance (part3) - Social Saving 

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The realities of the African banking market http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/the-realities-of-the-african-banking-market/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/the-realities-of-the-african-banking-market/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 00:01:15 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43562 africa

Many are looking to Africa as a major powerhouse to come for producing massive returns in the banking industry. Indeed, according to The Economist (2013) the unfortunate reality is that while many banks are consequently …

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The realities of the African banking market Illustration by Maria Fonseca

The realities of the African banking market Illustration by Maria Fonseca

Many are looking to Africa as a major powerhouse to come for producing massive returns in the banking industry. Indeed, according to The Economist (2013) the unfortunate reality is that while many banks are consequently expanding in Africa very rapidly, the results have not yet been forthcoming. Indeed, The Economist explains:

 “… the costs of building networks of branches and of investing in growth mean that such returns remain in the distant future.”

There are many reasons why Africa is a target for investment for the banking industry. Just looking at the figures for numbers of account holders provides this. While The Economist reports that World Bank figures show Mauritius having 80% of its population over the age of 15 with an account “at a formal financial institution” as of 2011, the fact is that in many countries less than 20% of this population has an account. Countries where less than 20% of those aged 15 or over have an account include Gabon, Mauritania, Tanzania, Cameroon, Congo, Sudan and Senegal. Meanwhile countries with between 20% and 40% of the population holding an account include Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, Angola, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Kenya just tops 40%, and South Africa shows just over 50% having an account. This leaves a vast majority of the African population without an account at a formal financial institution. And many see this as a very large market that is just waiting to be snatched up.  That’s why banks have been adding branches up and down the continent, in the hopes of securing some of this enormous market.

In addition to this, The Economist (2013) explains that Africa has an unexpected advantage in terms of technology in the banking industry there. That is because Africa is not plagued with legacy systems that organisations have to try to make work with new technology. Rather, in Africa banks are being built from the ground up and don’t have these headaches to contend with. According to The Economist large regional banks are grabbing these new technologies with both hands to focus their attention on this market. Examples of organisations doing this include:

“South Africa’s Standard Bank, which operates in 18 countries in Africa; Ecobank, a Togo-based pan-African bank with businesses in 32 countries; and Nigeria’s United Bank for Africa which is in 19 countries.”

Industry experts argue there is good reason for this. It is explained by The Economist that banks in Africa are able to get their costs down to 30% of their income. This is unimaginable in “developed” countries where companies in most cases cannot get their costs down below 50% of their income. It is for this potential profitability margin as well as the giant potential market that many regional banks in Africa are expanding at an incredible pace.

The approach to winning over customers in Africa is different. It is expected that clients will be met face to face to attract their business. A branch network is critical to achieving this so that the cash can be collected. The problem is that being able to achieve this, argues The Economist, requires banks from the outside to purchase local banks, or alternatively take a branch by branch approach to building up a network of banks. In the shorter term this approach is also quite costly. The acquisition approach is also argued to be no cheaper, according to The Economist.

An alternative option to growing business in Africa for some, says The Economist, is that taken by Citi. This company has plumped for an approach that is described as “top down”, by focusing on assisting governments to sell bonds and then subsequently offering banking services to the largest organisations in each country. According to The Economist this approach has been very effective because the geographical reach is very large, but the amount of infrastructure needed to achieve it is very little. The banks taking this approach have few of their people actually on the ground in Africa. As might be expected and explained by The Economist, some banks are taking a mixed approach which varies in different countries. Ultimately as The Economist argues, the risks may be considerable but the winners “will be those who have been ready to live with the risks”. It remains to be seen which retail banks will win Africa by taking these risks.

Additional resource: Infographic

africa-mobile-infographic

 

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How Much is Enough? The Seven Elements For A Good Life http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/how-much-is-enough/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/how-much-is-enough/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 06:00:59 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43552 how much is enough

A question perhaps not asked often enough in capitalist societies is “How Much is Enough?” The world we live in is a place where there is growing inequality, where many only subsist at the lowest levels …

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How Much is Enough? Intelligenthq

How Much is Enough? Intelligenthq

A question perhaps not asked often enough in capitalist societies is “How Much is Enough?” The world we live in is a place where there is growing inequality, where many only subsist at the lowest levels of society. They earn the minimum wage. At least there is a minimum wage now in many countries, but what you can access with the minimum wage is not enough as well. One of the problems that has led to this coming about, according to some economists, is the idea that we have an insatiable desire for the material and for money. As Larry Elliot  reports, writing for The Guardian:

“Economics, a narrowly focused discipline in which there is no distinction between wants and needs, has driven to the end of a cul-de-sac.”

The question of how much is enough was  the subject of a book by Robert and Edward Skidelsky. What led them to write this  book was an essay written in 1930, by the great economist Keynes, that predicted that over the next century, income would rise steadily, people’s basic needs would be met and no one would have to work more than fifteen hours a week. Why was he so wrong? According to Robert and Edward Skidelsky the real issue at stake here is that wealth is not – or should not be – an end in itself, but a means to ‘the good life’. The writers, that are father and son, trace the concept from Aristotle to the present, showing  how far modern life has strayed from that ideal. They reject the idea that there is any single measure of human progress, whether GDP or ‘happiness’, and instead describe the seven elements which, could make up the “good life” and what would be the policies that could realize them.

7 elements for a good life Intelligenthq

7 elements for a good life Intelligenthq

According to Larry Elliot from “The Guardian” while there may be short term steps that need to be taken to get the global economy back on its feet, there are much more sweeping reforms that also need to occur to make sure that the world becomes a saner place to live in. These reforms need to start with how we measure progress, explains Elliot. One of the main challenges at the moment is that we measure progress by looking at statistics like per capita incomes, but the book points out that in fact it would be much more effective to measure what are explained to be the “seven elements of the good life.” These seven elements are health, security, respect, personality, harmony with nature, friendship and leisure.  It is pointed out that in the UK for example, the UK per capita income has doubled since 1974, but in fact we have no more of the basic goods than we did in 1974.

Elliot disputes this particular point. He explains that while job security as a whole is much weaker than it was in the early 1970s, a lot of the other factors are much improved. For example, he cites that less people die of lung cancer than in the past, so health has improved. Equally friendship still exists, and is as important as it ever was. In addition, he argues the point that the UK is more of a tolerant and respectful place than it ever was in the past.

Nonetheless, Elliot does agree that the book has important merits. He states that we live in a place where there are on one side of the scale workaholics that have far more money than they know what to do with or in some cases will ever be able to spend. On the other hand there are millions of people that do not have work and who struggle on a daily basis to be able to survive and pay for the very basics that they need to subsist. He also explains that in the middle of all of this there are what he calls “debt slaves” who are close to only just subsisting themselves. These are the people that are always worried about meeting mortgage payments. Elliot explains that the Skidelskys believe that it is possible to improve on this, and he says it is difficult to refute this point.

As Elliot explains, the book has many merits. It discusses how the “good life” that they explain is so important can be achieved. Different ideas include having a basic income for citizens and having a tax on expenditures. It is also argued that there should be more restrictions on advertising with a view to reducing the level of consumerism. As Elliot puts it however, there is less focus on how all of this should be enacted. But the question of how much is enough remains. As Jo Confino (2014) of The Guardian summarises the problem succinctly:

“The current economic system has created great wealth and brought hundreds of millions of people out of abject poverty, but in its search for continuous growth, it is increasingly becoming a destructive force that is stimulating climate change, resource scarcity, growing inequality and biodiversity loss on an epic scale.”

The debate continues. How much do you think is enough?

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What Jobs Will The Social Media Generation Have? http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-media-posts/what-jobs-will-the-social-media-generation-have/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-media-posts/what-jobs-will-the-social-media-generation-have/#comments Sat, 27 Sep 2014 14:00:42 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43547 What Jobs Will The Social Media Generation Have? Intelligenthq

The young people and children that are growing up today will at least in some cases be likely to have different jobs than those of use that are already in the workplace. One could call …

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What Jobs Will The Social Media Generation Have? Intelligenthq
What Jobs Will The Social Media Generation Have? Intelligenthq

What Jobs Will The Social Media Generation Have? Intelligenthq

The young people and children that are growing up today will at least in some cases be likely to have different jobs than those of use that are already in the workplace. One could call them Generation Social Media, or Generation Z. These are considered to be those that were born after 1995. As explained by Chelsea Varney of Brand Watch they:

 “Would never have seen a cassette, they’d snigger at a game of offline Scrabble, and wouldn’t believe that people once had to rush home to receive a phone call”.

This generation has never really known a time when the internet did not exist, and Varney refers to them as “digital natives”. Research that Varney presents suggests that there are going to be many changes in the workplace that will impact on the kinds of jobs that these people are likely to have. The research comes from Wagepoint and suggests that 65% of children just entering school at the current time will be likely to work in positions that do not currently exist in organisations. To show how this is already changing, Varney points out that Wagepoint’s research shows that the top 10 in demand jobs of 2010 were not even in existence in 2004. These include jobs like Social Media Manager and App Developer.

According to the Wagepoint information there will be all kinds of interesting jobs that do not even exist now. One such job might be “Vertical Farmer”. Such a person would focus on growing crops that rise upwards to leave greater space on the ground. Meanwhile a “Climate Controller” would do exactly as the job title suggests, removing the need for a weather forecaster at the same time. Other interesting job title predictions focus on health. For example, Varney explains that a Nano Medic will create and monitor small implants used for self-medication. Meanwhile a Memory Augmentation Surgeon would work to help older people to preserve and improve their memories.

According to Dr Michael O’Neill (2014) writing for the Metropolis magazine it is not just job titles that will change. The working environment also will be very different to today. It is argued by O’Neill that rather than seeing the structure, consistency and order that a Generation Y person might see, they will instead be more likely to encounter complexity, ambiguity and chaos. There will be an overwhelming array of choices, argues O’Neill, and this will make it harder for them to get their jobs done because they will be continually distracted by their environment.

Writing for Business Insider, Emmie Martin (2014) points out that Generation Z will be looking for different things. They will, according to Marin be more entrepreneurial and less focused on money. They will also be more eager to work from home. One important difference is that they will “crave honesty” and they will want the leaders of their organisation to demonstrate this. Leaders will have to show both honesty and integrity to be able to win them over. Generation Z will also, according to Martin, be less interested than others in the past in a traditional working week that runs from nine am to five pm Monday to Friday. That is argued to be because they do not feel bound to being at a specific place every single day. Rather, if they think they can get more work done from home, then they will be more likely to be interested in that. Interestingly, despite their having grown up surrounded by technology they will also be interested in talking face to face, avoiding instant chat and making an actual personal connection with others.

Could you imagine yourself as an Elderly Well-Being Consultant or as a Body Part Engineer who creates living body parts for transplants? What about as a Waste Data Handler who disposes of data waste in a responsible manner, or an Avatar Manager who designs and manages holograms of virtual people? Maybe you’d rather be a Child Designer – a person that works to design children that will fit the requirements that parents have of them. It may all sound a bit “out there” but this world is coming soon, and it is very real for the people of Generation Z. Watch this space!

In the meanwhile, check out this infographic on generation z:

GenZ_Infographic_large_web

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Pathways To Scale Impact Investing http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/pathways-to-scale-impact-investing/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/pathways-to-scale-impact-investing/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 08:40:45 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43541 scaling

Investing in social business that can scale and solve some of the world’s most difficult problems like access to water, energy, housing, health and education can be achieved in many ways but there is none more …

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Pathways To Scale Impact Investing Intelligenthq

Pathways To Scale Impact Investing Intelligenthq

Investing in social business that can scale and solve some of the world’s most difficult problems like access to water, energy, housing, health and education can be achieved in many ways but there is none more effective than business, according to Mike Kubzansky and Paul Breloff (2014) in a recent commentary on the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

One of those ways is through impact investing. As explained in the book The Power of Impact Investing, written by Judith Rodin and Margot Brandenburg. Impact Investing is based on a major effort that was undertaken to drive a new investment movement But how to measure if the potential investment is real ? Does Impact Investing really have impact ?  Business leaders and Stanford GSB alumni shared their insights about this at the 2013 Social Innovation Summit at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and produce the following video:

 

Can Impact Investment be scaled ?
According to Kubzansky and Breloff, people want to invest to have impact, they argue, and to identify and measure the potential scale of enterprises that can have real impact. Measuring this impact can be a real challenge as some of the approaches used such as looking at the number of people served are wholly inadequate for understanding real impact. Sometimes such measures miss the real story that is important and do not understand the ways in which difficult challenges are being solved.

Kubzansky and Breloff argue that dealing with difficult social issues requires looking at the bigger picture. They state that it means understanding the indirect pathways that can lead to scale, including scale through copycats and competitors that improve what the initial entrepreneur did and take the innovation even further. Sometimes these copycats and competitors may even replace the entrepreneur that had the idea in the first place.

Kubzansky and Breloff liken these types of effects to ripples or “pinballs”, and argue that these are equally as valuable for scale as other types of direct scale with the initial entrepreneur that had the idea in the first place. However, as they explain, measuring this type of impact can be particularly challenging.

Some investment companies are already starting to try and understand these issues.  Omidyar Network and Action Venture Lab are examples of two such organisations. In investigating further they state that:

“Over time we’ve learned that there’s a long nonlinear thread that runs between early-stage investment and its eventual social impact.”

The reasons that they give for this are associated with the pinball effect. They argue that organisations do not survive, while others meet with difficult competition. Still others do not get the proposition right and never quite make it. This leads them to conclude that generating sustainable social impact requires taking into account not just the initial innovator but a whole range of other players. They argue that scale may often be achieved not just by one organisation acting alone, but rather by several organisations acting together to create the impact. Examples provided of this are mobile money, contract farming and microfinance, all of which have scaled and are providing impact to millions of people already.

Direct pathways to scale are explained by Kubzansky and Breloff to be when an organisation develops and grows in size independently of any others. The organisation may seek financing to help it to scale its impact, but it will essentially achieve it alone. It may also be acquired by another organisation that goes on to scale the impact further, but this too is considered by Kubzansky and Breloff to be direct impact and scale. This is argued to be the more difficult of the approaches, and indirect scale is opined to be easier.

On the subject of indirect pathways to scale Kubzansky and Breloff explain that one way to achieve this is to “inspire copycats” who launch a similar product or an improved product that is based on the product or service that was originally launched by the innovator. Alternatively, another indirect pathway to scale is explained to be when an innovator has the effect of inspiring a competitive response to what it is doing in an existing player in the field. The product or service may not be similar but it competes nonetheless. The competitor may even only be prompted to reduce prices or to leverage an opportunity that was not considered such in the past. These types of pathways to scale can lead to vast impact.

While their importance is becoming increasingly acknowledged, Kubzansky and Breloff describe how indirect impacts are often ignored. They explain that this may be because they may not be immediately obvious, since they are “nonlinear and slow-burning” on occasion. Additionally it can be hard to forecast these types of impact in advance since it is difficult to know how different players will react in response to change in the industry. Perhaps the biggest reason is the problem that investors do not necessarily want to have copycats and increased competition.

One way or another impact investing has come a long way in these last years. A recent report from the Global Impact Investment Network and jp-morgan mentioned that the world’s 125 leading impact investors will raise their commitments by 125% this year.
The scaling of social innovation that impact investing will bring will happen sooner or later.

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How Social Labs Are Transforming The World http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/how-the-social-labs-revolution-are-transforming-the-world/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/how-the-social-labs-revolution-are-transforming-the-world/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 10:14:13 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43534 social labs rev

You’d think that a planning-based approach might be best for solving some of the world’s most difficult social issues. From global warming to child malnutrition, surely an approach that works through concepts, meticulously planning the …

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How Social Labs Can Help The World On A Global Scale

How Social Labs Can Help The World On A Global Scale

You’d think that a planning-based approach might be best for solving some of the world’s most difficult social issues. From global warming to child malnutrition, surely an approach that works through concepts, meticulously planning the approach before putting it into action would be the best for solving complex challenges? But Zaid Hassan thinks differently. Zaid Hassan is the author of “The Social Labs Revolution”. The idea behind his vision for social change is that rather than planning which he argues brings high chances of failure, a better strategy is experimental social labs where trial and error and prototyping are utilised to tackle complicated problems in the world today.

Explaining the concept of social laboratories for the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Zaid Hassan (2014) points out that current approaches are failing to come up with solutions to difficult social problems. While there have been a lot of initiatives, and a lot more people are willing to invest in them than in the past, the major problems such as health, access to finance, education and dire poverty remain. While we are constantly told that things are getting better, Zaid Hussan argues that:

 “It’s difficult to escape the persistent feeling that while our problems are already big and bad, they’re in fact getting bigger and badder.”

He opines that it is difficult to believe the rhetoric that things are getting better, and that the world seems like a dark place.

The answer to this, opines Hassan, are social labs. The author also runs a website with interesting resources and information about social labs. Social labs have been developing for the last two decades, and many have been involved in working on projects ranging from removing the world of poverty, looking at ways to make water sustainable and trying to solve difficult climate issues.  Social labs are run by scientists, academics, activists and entrepreneurs, but they are also of a mould that we do not necessarily understand completely yet. These people are stepping up and creating social labs globally.

Hassan describes social labs as having three primary characteristics. The first is that they are social. They are born of “diverse participants” who work in a team to create change. Indeed, Hassan opines that it is the diverse nature of these stakeholders that makes the labs social. The second characteristic is that the labs are ongoing and experimental. They are continually trying to solve the social problems of the world through working on different iterations of their solutions and creating prototypes. They work through trial and error rather than through a planned and structured project based approach. They learn from the errors that they make and further adapt the solution. The third characteristic is that they are systemic. As Hassan points out, what this means is that they look at trying to tackle the root cause of the problem rather than addressing the symptoms or just addressing one part of the problem.None of this is easy. Just the part about getting a bunch of diverse people in a room to talk is hard, and it becomes even harder when you try to get them to start working together.

Additionally, an experimental approach can be difficult. It requires focus and long term commitment to continuing to iterate. There is no project that the person moves on from once the work is done. Rather the experimenting continues. As well, focusing on root causes is much harder than working to come up with solutions to mask symptoms.

In illustrating his points, Zaid Hassan writes about the Sustainable Food Lab, a social lab that he argues fulfilled all three criteria. Its goal was a valiant one: to make the global food system more sustainable. With such a broad remit the lab required participants from different sectors from all over the world. There are participants from the World Wildlife Fund, Unilever and the Nature Conservancy. The following video explains how the Sustainable Food Lab works:

There are even government operatives from the Netherlands and Brazil, two countries that are very different. The participants traveled to different parts of the world to review current food systems and different aspects of the food industry. It then reflected on this and devised initiatives for prototyping. The lab has achieved considerable success, not least that as Hassan explains, “sustainability is well entrenched on the radar of global food companies”. Food sustainability has been promoted from a niche concern to a well understood widespread concern of many. Now that is some considerable progress, so maybe Hassan just might have a valid point.

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The Circular Business World Of The Networked Economy http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/the-circular-business-world-of-the-networked-economy/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/the-circular-business-world-of-the-networked-economy/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 06:00:01 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43527 new york

The Network Economy is going to be big, they say. It is already well on its way, they say. We’re experienced a fast change from an industrial economy to an internet economy and now we’re …

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The Circular World Of The Networked Economy

The Circular World Of The Networked Economy

The Network Economy is going to be big, they say. It is already well on its way, they say. We’re experienced a fast change from an industrial economy to an internet economy and now we’re entering the Networked Economy. There has been much talk of the Networked Economy. But do you know what that really means? Do you know how it will change the world? The MIT Technology Review (2014) has attempted to explain all, to answer some of these questions and more.

First things first: let’s look at what the networked economy is. The MIT Technology Review defines it as being:

“An emerging type of economic environment arising from the digitisation of fast-growing, multi-layered, highly interactive, real-time connections among people, devices and business.”

This leads nicely into the next question that is “what’s driving it?” In their view social networks have helped by improving collaboration between people, and at the same time business networks have created what they call “frictionless commerce”. This, along with the Internet of Things has increased the connectivity and the number of devices that are hooked up is estimated to grow phenomenally in the upcoming decade. Indeed, the MIT Technology Review explains that these will grow from 900 million connected devices in 2009 to in excess of 26 billion by 2020. That everything and everyone can be connected in a network is argued by the MIT Technology Review to be transforming “everything”.

Another popular question that is answered by the MIT Technology Review is what businesses need to do to succeed in such an economy. The answer is a relatively simple one: businesses must be connected all of the time. There will also be a greater need for collaboration and customisation. In particular, the MIT Technology Review specifies that there will be a need for businesses to truly engage with both external and internal business networks for success. Another important factor in success will be the ability (or not) to be able to handle and leverage the convergence of networks that were previously distinct for business and consumers.

The MIT Technology Review explains that SAP has worked to review the places where the Networked Economy will have, or is already having significant impact. Three areas were identified. These are: earning customer loyalty, enabling open innovation and enhancing resource optimisation. Looking at the customer loyalty area first, of course we have already seen how earning this loyalty has been aided by the Networked Economy and businesses are already able to offer more customised experiences, personalised to you. Regarding open innovation, some forward thinking organisations have already embraced this approach. It brings a redefinition of the employer-employee relationship. Knowledge is becoming more important than geographical closeness, and open innovation allows organisations to find that knowledge anywhere in the world. On enhancing resource optimisation, it is argued by the MIT Technology Review that the Networked Economy will offer the ability to manage resources more efficiently. It is argued that hyperconnectivity will help to achieve this.

However there are challenges that must be faced to bring about the Networked Economy. The MIT Technology Review explains that information is key to the whole process. Ownership of that information then becomes a critical question. Questions around this topic are about intellectual property, privacy and security. These could cause issues that could slow up a move to the full Networked Economy. It is argued by the MIT Technology Review that to begin with organisations should focus on looking at projects that will offer quick wins that bring considerable gains in efficiency and that lead to a cut in costs, as these will be very beneficial. The interesting thing of the networked economy is that it is accelerating the adoption of circular business models around the world.

There will be many ways in which businesses will have to change to truly embrace the Networked Economy. This may involve dealing with some unpleasant growing pains. However, it is also asserted that the problems that businesses face in gaining involvement in the Networked Economy will be vastly outweighed by the benefits that they experience when they arrive, with the organisation stating that, “the opportunities for both efficiency and growth are tremendous”. This will provide much better use of what we already have to drive results. The last question one could ask is, “Is your organisation getting on board with the Networked Economy?” The answer is that it needs to, and fast.

Additional resource: infographic about the networked economy

Infographic done by SAP

Infographic done by SAP

 

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Working Practices for Inventory Management http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/working-practices-for-inventory-management/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/working-practices-for-inventory-management/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 11:23:15 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43521 Inventory management

Inventory gets a bad rap. It’s almost as if it gets blamed for everything that can go wrong. The hardest thing for a small business owner to realize is that it’s not the inventory itself, …

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Inventory management
Working Practices for Inventory Management

Working Practices for Inventory Management

Inventory gets a bad rap. It’s almost as if it gets blamed for everything that can go wrong. The hardest thing for a small business owner to realize is that it’s not the inventory itself, but in a lot of cases the stock keeping practices that allow inventory to get out of control, leading to shrinkage, haphazard ordering practices, and dead inventory.

If You’re In a Hole, Stop Digging

Take a deep breath and step back. This is fixable. Whether you have a little problem or a big one, the best time to get on it is now. Don’t cancel your incoming orders, but do start taking positive steps toward getting your practices in shape. Shrinkage due to theft is a $13 billion dollar a year drain, according to the National Association for Shoplifting prevention, and it’s a problem that can wither even the healthiest small business. It’s time to modernize your stockroom, and in doing so bring your storefront and your back office along for the ride. Your front of store, your office, and your stockroom are all intertwined, so it’s time to stop treating them like separate entities. The first step to doing this is to bring in a point of sale system for the showroom, barcoding equipment, and compatible accounting software for your back office.

Yes, You Can Afford It

More to the point, you can’t afford not to have it. When you’re talking about inventory, you are talking about piles of money. So when you invest some of the spendable cash to inventory the tied up cash, you’re actually going to be able to see just what you have on hand. Honestly, a small tablet based POS runs about $500, plus the cost of a tablet; a simple barcode printer and scanner adds around $300. So you’re probably looking at a starting price tag of around $1,300 to $1,500 – less if you already have a POS system in place instead of a cash register. If you have a retail location and a website with a service like Shopify, check with your eCommerce platform provider, as they often have POS systems and barcoding equipment for sale.

And Why You Should

Putting an information system in place can reduce or stop shrinkage due to theft, according to the Houston Chronicle, and help to increase profitability without necessarily increasing sales. In short, stopping up the leaks in the boat will prevent the boat from sinking. Loss is not just having ghost merchandise on the books, but according to Logistics Management, the overhead costs of storing and servicing that immobile pile of money costs money, too. Here are five very good reasons to implement this change now:

  • You will know what you have, where it is, how much you paid for it, and how much it should sell for.
  • You will drastically cut down on shrinkage due to shoplifting, employee theft, and human error in data entry.
  • You will be able to order more accurately, enter received items into stock more quickly, put them on the shelves faster, and get them into your customers’ hands with less effort.
  • You will have on the dot sales reports, be able to check ordering history, track individual customer purchases, and know what your employees are doing and when they are doing it,
  • Your point of sale system at the cash wrap in the showroom, your checkout on the website, the receiving and stockroom, and accounting functions can all be integrated, saving steps, time, and money.
5 Tips For Inventory Management Intelligenthq

5 Tips For Inventory Management Intelligenthq

Getting a Move On

Getting started is going to be the hardest part, but once you have all your hardware and software in place, you’re ready to go.

  • Make a master list of all your items in stock, their location, and description of those items.
  • Add information about the originating vendor, the purchase cost per unit, and minimum stock levels.
  • Create, print, and label all inventory items with barcode stickers or tags.
  • After everything is labeled, go through the shop and stockroom and scan each item into inventory, then put a peel and stick label on the item location to show that it has been inventoried. Have the staff member who did the inventory initial and date the sticker, so you will know who was doing what section.
  • Reconcile the inventory you just completed with what you thought you actually had.

This can be a tedious – and sometimes painful – process, especially when you discover that your rate of shrinkage is much more than you thought it could be. In that case, it’s time to investigate what’s been going where, and to take steps to plug the leaks. At the end of it, you will have a functioning live inventory system that should keep your business sailing leak free and ship shape for years to come.

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The Green Investment Bank: Contributing For A Greener Economy http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/the-green-investment-bank-contributing-for-a-greener-economy/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/the-green-investment-bank-contributing-for-a-greener-economy/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 06:00:08 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43516 The Green Investment Bank: Contributing For A Greener Economy Intelligenthq

Two years ago, the United Kingdom did something that would be unthinkable one decade ago: They created the UK Green Investment Bank. The UK Green Investment Bank is a funding institution created in 2012 by …

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The Green Investment Bank: Contributing For A Greener Economy Intelligenthq
The Green Investment Bank: Contributing For A Greener Economy Intelligenthq

The Green Investment Bank: Contributing For A Greener Economy Intelligenthq

Two years ago, the United Kingdom did something that would be unthinkable one decade ago: They created the UK Green Investment Bank. The UK Green Investment Bank is a funding institution created in 2012 by the UK government  to attract private funds for the financing of the private sector’s investments related to environmental preservation and improvement. It resulted from the 2008 climate change act, that obliged the UK to reduce its carbon emissions until 2050.

If you visit the Green Investment Bank website you will read:

“We are the first bank of our type in the world. We were created by the UK Government, our sole Shareholder, and capitalised with an initial £3.8bn of public funds. We use this finance to back green projects…”

A big statement from a relatively new institution that has the funds to change the UK and build a “Green Economy”. Welcome to the Green Investment Bank, a new way of making sure that the UK’s environmental imperatives are achieved. The Green Investment Bank was built on big ideals and has a mandate to help the UK achieve legislative environmental targets that it is bound to. This, according to the Green Investment Bank requires an investment of £330 billion in the UK’s green economy by the fast approaching year 2020. The bank aims to achieve this by directly investing in projects that will help to meet the environmental targets that the UK is committed to, but also through showing other investors the attractiveness of green and profitable projects, subsequently encouraging their investment as well.

The Green Investment Bank invests in infrastructure projects in the UK that are considered to be “green”. Particular areas of focus are waste, energy efficiency and bioenergy and offshore wind. The investment must demonstrate that it can provide returns not just against the financial investment made, but also regarding the green returns it will bring. There are five specific green impacts that an organisation can show itself to have for the Green Investment Bank to be interested in what it is doing. These are the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the advancement of efficiency in the use of natural resources, the protection or enhancement of the natural environment, the protection or enhancement of biodiversity and the promotion of environmental sustainability. The Bank explains that each investment must contribute to a minimum of one of these areas, and ideally contribute to more than that.

In the following Shaun Kingsbury, Chief Executive, explains the GIB story in the following video:

Of course, measuring such “green impact” is a challenge, and the Green Investment Bank duly acknowledges this, explaining that green impact assessment is a “relatively young discipline within banking”. Nonetheless the organisation is committed to continuous improvement in this area and is focused on working with its stakeholders to make sure that it places itself at the forefront in this regard. Green impact assessment process that the bank uses is applied to every single investment that is seriously considered. The organisation is transparent about what it does in this regard and publishes its processes and policies.

Investments to date have included 33 “green infrastructure projects”, and the organisation has invested more than £1.4 billion in these. Examples include a waste plant in Derby, where £64 million has been invested and an energy project in Speyside which will power homes and provide heat for a whisky distillery. Two anaerobic digestion plants have been funded in Northern Ireland under the categories of waste and bioenergy. An organisation called SDCL that helps small and medium sized businesses to finance energy efficiency projects is another investment that has been made. An offshore wind investment of £261 million has been made at Westermost Rough where the Green Investment Bank now consequently has a 50% stake in the wind farm it invested in. Renewable energy boilers have been invested in at Bernard Matthews turkey farms, and there has been an investment in a combined heat and power system at Cheltenham General Hospital. As can be seen, projects are diverse, but all appear to serve the purposes of building a green economy.

The Green Investment Bank is not without its critics. According to Caroline Lucas (2011) of the Green Party writing for The Guardian the Green Investment Bank is “neither particularly green, nor a bank”. In justifying this statement, it is explained by Lucas that the bank cannot borrow or lend money, and it also invests in nuclear, and so the “Green Investment Bank” is somewhat of a funny name for the entity. Lucas explains that an entity that cannot borrow or lend is a fund rather than a bank. She also argues that even though nuclear power does good in the sense that it leads to reduced greenhouse gases compared to other types of energy, that does not necessarily warrant it being called “green”. Despite the rhetoric of Lucas, the Green Investment Bank does appear to be a step in the right direction towards establishing a more robust “Green Economy”, and that’s a start.

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12 Innovative Technologies That Foster Social Change http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/12-innovative-technologies-that-foster-social-change/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/12-innovative-technologies-that-foster-social-change/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 10:43:25 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43508 Image source: Worldreader

Social entrepreneurs are changing the world with ideas that solve some of the most difficult challenges, such as poverty, education, malnutrition and disease. Social entrepreneurs sometimes make a profit and sometimes do not, but the …

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Image source: Worldreader
Image source: Worldreader

Image source: Worldreader

Social entrepreneurs are changing the world with ideas that solve some of the most difficult challenges, such as poverty, education, malnutrition and disease. Social entrepreneurs sometimes make a profit and sometimes do not, but the commonality that brings them all together is the desire to solve social ills. In 2006, John Voelcker of the Stanford Social Innovation Review reviewed ten innovative technologies that are going a long way to driving social change across the globe. All of these organisations were argued by Voelcker to: “…apply the principles of running a commercial venture: clarify the value of the product, test the product extensively before launching and always listen to customers.”

These differentiated them from other social entrepreneurs. The innovative technologies focused on are not just gadgets that have been invented and put out there to market without a plan. As William Gibson says:

“The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”

How then, to distribute it ? That is the unique quality of the social entrepreneurs that we expose in the following list. They invented technologies that focus on all aspects of the products’ operations such as distribution, adoption, maintenance and payback period. As Timnothy Prestero, from Design that Matters says in the following video, to have a great idea and to design is easier, than implementing and distributing that idea, as well as adapting it to the real world:

Some of the technologies that are really fostering social change in the world are:

1.Enviro Options, South Africa – this company created a self-contained toilet that dealt with the waste without using water or chemicals, making sure that drinking water would not be contaminated with waste. The Enviro Loo does not use electricity and does not breed flies. It uses aerobic bacteria to convert waste to compost.

2. Worldreader –  is a non-profit on a mission to bring digital books to every child and her family, so that they can improve their lives. Worldreader uses inexpensive e-readers with extended battery life to provide books to children and young people. The program support the e-readers with extensive training and capacity building for teachers, facilitators, and librarians, and features fun activity plans that are designed to nurture a love for reading. Worldreader rigorously monitors and evaluates the project for literacy outcomes.

3. Gooru -  provides a free learning facilitator for teachers to easily customize instructional content using digital collections from a catalog of educator-vetted, standards-aligned content. With Gooru Students are more engaged by personalized learning experiences, and teachers are able to track their progress through data analytics.

4. Envirofit International  USA – this company developed a product that works to “clean the air” according to Voelcker. The way it works is that it converts two-stroke engines that are commonly used to power vehicles in Asia and Africa into cleaner and more efficient operators. There is a retrofit kit that has to be attached and this costs $250 but this is made up for in just one year in reduced fuel costs for the driver.

5. SELCO Solar Light Private, India – this organisation has developed small scale solar power systems. This enables people to produce electricity as well as start home businesses. It does not require the infrastructure investment that bringing electricity to slum areas usually would.

6. Malnutrition Matters Canada – this company noticed that villagers are unable to store food that is over produced due to no refrigeration. It produced a system called VitaGoat that means that villagers can store additional produce with no need for electricity. It uses locally available fuels to do so.

7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA – the OpenCourseWare (OCW) project at MIT aims to help educate people everywhere through uploading materials from all of MITs schools. This information is available to educators who can use the information to create their own courses, or for students to use as a supplement to their education.

8. Design that Matters, USA – this organisation worked to create a solar power microfilm projector which can be used to help Africans to learn to read. This creates learning options that would not otherwise exist since people have to work during the day, so projecting the information on a wall when it is dark opens up learning opportunities.

9. Hib Vaccine Team, Cuba and Canada – this innovative team from Cuba and Canada has worked to create a cheap vaccine to save babies’ lives. The Hib bacteria kills 0.5 million babies each year, and the vaccine produced is cheaper than other options, making it accessible to those in developing countries.

10. Adaptive Eyecare, England – according to Voelcker one billion people have uncorrected vision problems, and there are not enough optometrists to treat them, as well as the fact that lens equipment is expensive. This organisation created glasses that people can tune themselves to be appropriate to their own use.

11. Centre for the Improvement of Working Conditions & Environment (CIWCE), Pakistan – this organisation developed a loom that allows adults to create rugs as easily as children can, with a view to reducing the dependency on child labour, by reducing the pain in adults’ backs, making adults more likely to be able to work in this area.

12. CEMINA, Brazil – this company focused on developing “telecenters” that offer telephone service, computer training, internet access and more to poor people and working class people, providing people the opportunity to gain skills.

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Five Myths Digital Marketers Should Know About http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/five-myths-digital-marketers-should-know-about/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/five-myths-digital-marketers-should-know-about/#comments Sun, 21 Sep 2014 02:13:06 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43493 myths about marketing

Getting marketing right will often mean the difference between succeeding in business or not. Marketing requires that businesses fully understand their customers. It means understanding what customers do, and why, and how they are motivated …

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Five Myths Digital Marketers Should Know About Intelligenthq

Five Myths Digital Marketers Should Know About Intelligenthq

Getting marketing right will often mean the difference between succeeding in business or not. Marketing requires that businesses fully understand their customers. It means understanding what customers do, and why, and how they are motivated to make a purchase (or not). It means understanding all of the characteristics of the target market, and why those particular characteristics combined create a specific type of customer for a product or service. Marketers need to understand everything about their target market, and these insights are what allow marketers to be able to succeed.

Yet Greg Satell (2014) of Digital Tonto argues that all is not well in the world of marketing. There are myths that need to be busted, argues Satell, since people have an uninformed idea of what marketing is and should be. He opines that such myths can break a business. The “myths” of which he talks are controversial, as they challenge highly coveted marketing values. What are those myths, and what is it that should be done to break them ?

Myth 1: Engagement doesn’t work
Focus on value exchange
The first is “there’s no such thing as engagement”. This will make many marketers wring their hands in horror and disbelief. Especially as the whole world has been banging on about how customers need to be engaged and how important it is. Despite marketers best efforts with social media, true engagement is extremely rare. It doesn’t matter what tweets or posts are made, as the reality is that few customers ever really engage. Instead,  value exchange should be the focus. Product value exchange is one type of this, while content value exchange and social value exchange are also important areas of focus.

Myth 2: Forget about content
Focus on the original mission of your business and think about publishing
The second challenge which will make marketers despair is that “content is crap” as various marketers are stating lately. Yet all the time we hear about how marketers are working to create and post the best content in order to engage customers and create a connection with them. The problem is, as “Social Media Today” puts it: everyone else is doing it too. Could there be a way out of this? It is Satell’s belief however that the content is not the important part, but the publishing is.

“What brands really need to do is learn how to publish. This means identifying a mission – the value you have to offer the world – and structuring an experience around it.”

The difference between publishing and content in Satell’s view is that publishing is mission focused while marketing is consumer focused. This means that marketers need to find a good story and “tell it well” to be able to achieve results. That story needs to be alined with the company’s purpose. If you are running a social business this shouldn’t be difficult, as social businesses tend to be defined by having a clear mission.

5 Myths Marketers Should Know About Intelligenthq

5 Myths Marketers Should Know About Intelligenthq

Myth 3: Forget about connectors or influentials
Become one
Another recent myth that has grown in precedence is the idea that influentials are important to spread your content.  Another way to call influentials could be by using Malcom Gladwel’s definition of “connectors”. Connectors are people who link the world together. They have large social networks across several social circles, as they make a strong effort in taking time to feed and increase their network. Some advice out there mentions that trying to attract the attention of an influential can boost your traffic, which will benefit your business. But whether or not influentials are important is controversial. Satell explains that influence  is “highly contextual”. As Satell puts it:

“If you expect to find people with magical powers of influence, you’re wasting your time.”

More than looking for an influential, is important to work wisely, to become one.

Myth 4: Forget about loyalty 
Focus on availability, quality and service
A fourth concept that Satell (2014) challenges is that of loyalty, which he argues is a “red herring”. The concept behind this is that it is more expensive to gain a new customer than retain a current customer. However, Satell’s position on this is that this does not make loyalty a hard and fast strategy that should be taken. Satell argues instead that what is important is availability, quality and service. If organisations get these factors right then people will keep buying from them. These are the drivers of repeat purchases, not loyalty per se.

Myth 5: Forget about grabbing attention
Holding attention is more important
The final myth laid to bed by Greg Satell is the idea that “grabbing attention isn’t as important as holding attention”. The idea behind this is that holding attention will lead to the potential market increasing, leading to an increase in sales. However, these days building a brand requires also building awareness. This leaves behind it what Satell refers to as a “digital trail”. But it is not enough just to leave that digital trail, once it is built, for others to find. Instead marketers should develop a strategy that better suits the digital age, opines Satell. This requires embracing the concept that our customers are partners rather than prospects. Ultimately, unless your business creates real value exchange people won’t buy. And that is that.

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Is Your Smartphone Bringing You Too Much Stress ? http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/is-your-iphone-bringing-you-too-much-stress/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/is-your-iphone-bringing-you-too-much-stress/#comments Sat, 20 Sep 2014 11:35:23 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43484 iphone stress

Smartphones have been an excellent innovation that has improved our lives in so many ways. From being able to access email on the move, to using apps to help us with anything from losing weight …

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iphone stress
Is Your iPhone  Bringing You Too Much Stress ?

Is Your iPhone Bringing You Too Much Stress ?

Smartphones have been an excellent innovation that has improved our lives in so many ways. From being able to access email on the move, to using apps to help us with anything from losing weight to hailing a taxi, to meditating in any situation, smartphones have certainly added value for many people. In particular, smartphones have created the possibility of more flexible ways of working, and this is hugely beneficial to many. However, the new technology has also created some unforeseen disadvantages. One of these is stress that a person may not have been faced with before they had their smartphone tucked in their back pocket or hand bag. In reportage on the BBC website, Matthew Wall (2014) exposed some of the problems that are created by smartphones. The main one of these was identified by Wall as having an “always on” type of stress, created by the smartphone.

The “always on” stress fundamentally is being caused by the fact that people are always connected. There is no escaping work or stressful situations in the way that it was possible to do in the past. Rather, people are connected all of the time – even when they are supposed to be on holiday or otherwise relaxing. In 2012, Arnold Bakker, a professor of work and organisational psychology at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, showed that heavy smartphone use caused more “work-home interference”, which means, work ubiquituously present in our home environment.

The big issue here is that humans seem to have become attached to our smartphones. They are useful not only for work but for entertainment.

Many of us feel guilty of not checking work emails while on annual leave. Others might stress out when going away for the weekend somewhere remote and find that there is a lack of 3G coverage in the area. We all know the feeling of becoming anxious if our phone battery gets close to dying and there is no way to charge it. These kinds of signs are now considered by some to indicate addiction to smartphones. Such people find that as a result of their smartphones there are unable to truly switch off and relax.

How to deal with smartphone obsession ?

You may be glad to know there is now an app that helps people to handle this smartphone obsession. Kevin Holesh because he was so concerned about how much he was using his smartphone. The app is named “Moment” and it provides its users with the opportunity of monitoring how much time they spend using their phone. It also allows these users to put in place limits to usage, and the app will then warn them if they go past their own limits for usage. The concept behind this is to try to help people regain a sense of reality regarding how much they are using their phone and enable them to set their smartphones aside and relax properly. Moment’s goal is to promote balance in your life. The app is designed to be. Once it is set  up it keeps running in the background, and you won’t ever have to open the app again.

Infographic by Intelligenthq

Infographic by Intelligenthq

Smartphones and productivity

Despite all this connectivity there are few quantifiable benefits for business. He explains that a report by PwC showed that in the UK people are not much more productive than in the past, despite the accessibility of email via smartphones. That is because checking email is not necessarily a particularly productive activity. Wall argues that we think it is, but in reality it is not. That means if you are checking email outside of work, you are not necessarily adding value to your employer by doing so. In addition to this, employers that encourage this activity may find themselves falling foul of the Working Time Directive according to Wall. That is because the Directive dictates no more than 48 working hours a week and an 11 hour break in every 24 hours. Clearly those that check emails in the morning and before bed for 20 minutes or half an hour each time add a large number of hours to their working week quite quickly.

The crucial question to ask is if the messages one receives daily are really important. As Clive Jones writes in an article for MotherJones: “Genuinely important emails can propel productive work, no doubt, but a lot of messages aren’t like that-they’re incessant check-ins asking non-crucial questions, or bulk-CCing of everybody on a team. They amount to a sort of Kabuki performance of work-one that stresses everyone out while accomplishing little.”

Of course, the problem with continually checking your phone for work out of hours is that you are never truly switching off from work.  This lack of relaxation and down time can have a negative influence over health, as people need rest in order to stay healthy and alert. The solution seems to be quite easy: put your telephone out of reach when you go to bed, and switching it off. And when you go on holiday, put an “out of office” on.

If you are rested and relaxed, you will be more productive and creative. You will be able to offer more to your organisation, and your stress levels will reduce significantly.

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Scaling The Impact Of Social Entrepreneurs http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/scaling-the-impact-of-social-entrepreneurs/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/scaling-the-impact-of-social-entrepreneurs/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 06:00:49 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43478 scaling social innovation

Social entrepreneurship is going from strength to strength as people are beginning to pay more attention to how challenging issues can be resolved through this means. Business people are even moving out of companies solely …

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Scaling The Impact Of Social Entrepreneurs Intelligenthq

Scaling The Impact Of Social Entrepreneurs Intelligenthq

Social entrepreneurship is going from strength to strength as people are beginning to pay more attention to how challenging issues can be resolved through this means. Business people are even moving out of companies solely based on adding value to people’s lives in other ways and towards social entrepreneurship instead. Social entrepreneurs can change the world, and they are growing in numbers. Information availability and accessibility to better understand problems faced by people in difficult situations is part of the reason for that. There is also a trend towards people having a greater interest in “helping society” generally. However, understanding how social entrepreneurs can scale impact the most effectively can still be difficult.

As Katie Smith Milway (2014) of the Harvard Business Review agrees that the social entrepreneurship sector is “hot” but asks:

“Are social entrepreneurs stoking the right kind of growth? With so many start-ups, are social entrepreneurs at risk of creating well-intentioned but fragmented efforts that won’t ultimately change much?”

Smith-Milway (2014) suggests that there are ways in which to work to scale growth so that social entrepreneurs do can have greater meaning and scale their impact to be able to target larger populations and offer even more value. One way in which she suggests that this can be done is by focusing on “scaling impact not organisations”. She argues that organisations are struggling to do this. An example provided is that of youth unemployment, where after 10 years of hard work 2,000 disconnected kids have been helped by Year Up into jobs that actually offer a living wage. This is shown by Smith Milway to be the tip of the iceberg, since in fact in the USA there are 6.7 million young people that are not at school and who are also out of work. And this is one of the most successful organisations in this area. This indicates the great importance of being able to scale up.

Adding more people to the organisation and making the organisation bigger is not the answer. Instead, argues Smith Milway, there is a need for social entrepreneurs to find ways to provide services and products to a broader range of people. One such approach that is argued to be promising is that of MOOCs (massive open online courses) since these have the potential to offer a lot more to a lot more people than small, locally-based approaches. Other options that are hailed as a success in terms of scaling the impact are mobile apps that provide information to farmers on the market and weather, helping them to improve what they do, tactically and operationally. Such approaches aim to change the way people think about how business can be done or how education can be offered. They change the paradigm associated with the situation, and offer social change that can improve many lives at once.

Another important approach for scaling impact according to Smith Milway, is focusing on collaborations between organisations, not just narrowing the perspective to one organisation. One organisation alone clearly will be unlikely to be able to make such a fundamental difference as an organisation that is working in collaboration with a range of different other organisations, all of which have different skills, competencies, abilities and knowledge to bring to the solution. The example is provided by Smith Milway of how modern cancer advances come into being, with teams working across continents from different organisations and sharing information for the common good to be able to drive a solution.

A different way of scaling up the impact of social entrepreneurs can be achieved by “amplifying” the voices of those are to be helped, opines Smith Milway. Giving power to the voice that needs the change can be more effective than simply offering the change on its own. One very interesting example of this is provided by Smith Milway who explains that offering education to women and girls in Afghanistan is one thing, and it is a positive step, but it is even more important for those women and girls to be able to speak up and support these innovative approaches that can help them as well. Without that happening it can be hard for organisations to achieve the scale that can provide the impact they wish to bring.

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Guide to Link Building Part 3 http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/guide-to-link-building-part-3/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/guide-to-link-building-part-3/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 06:00:09 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43472 linkbuilding 3

Link Building Tactics and Measurement

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Guide to Link Building Part 3

Guide to Link Building Part 3

This is a Part 3 of a Guide we are creating in Intelligenthq about Link Building. In the following post, you will learn some link building Tactics and Measurement.

Link building is an essential part of a successful online marketing campaign to drive more potential customers to your website. In Part Two of this series we reviewed how to start a link building campaign, focusing fairly heavily on the “content based link building approach”. In Part Three we will now examine other approaches and tactics for link building as well as understanding the metrics that can demonstrate success with link building campaigns.

In the content link building approach, the focus is on creating content that will be appealing for other people to link to. As Paddy Moogan (2014) a link building expert explains, this might include creating an infographic, a data visualisation, a white paper, a how to guide, a video or an image gallery. Once these items of content are created you are then able to show others that might want to link to you what they could link to. This is a lot of work but it can have great results.

Another tactic that could be helpful is guest blogging. Moogan states that guest blogging is: “The process of approaching other websites to see if they will publish a piece of content that you write on their blog.”

This can be a good approach but only if the quality of what you write is high and is not crammed with keywords. Where it is badly done, Google seeks it out and penalises your website for it. Some people believe that guest blogging is no longer a viable approach, but with good quality blogs it can be effective. However, Moogan argues it should not be the only approach utilised.

Another interesting approach offered by Paddy Moogan is termed “ego bait”. The idea behind this is that you work to attract the ego of those featured in content. This means that people that are mentioned will be more interested in sharing the content with a link, according to Moogan. There are four steps to this tactic. The first is coming up with a concept and researching potential ego targets. The second is writing the content and the third is outreach. The fourth is follow up. To make it work you need to target blogs that post regularly (and that have recently), that have followers and for which you can find contact details of bloggers (Moogan, 2014). Then you write the content and include a link to their website, after which you write to those included in the text and let them know what you did. The person may be flattered sufficiently to share it. Don’t forget to follow up to get the results you are looking for (a shared link).

Broken link building is yet another tactic. Lots of websites have broken links. You can find those links, create content for those webmasters to link to and then contact them to link to the content that you created. Link reclamation is a similar approach that is considered to be tougher, and this involves fixing or “reclaiming” links that were once pointed at your website but now do not have any value (Moogan, 2014). You can use Open Site Explorer to identify 404s and then get those links fixed, or search for places where your images have been used without permission and then ask for a link back.

Understanding your success (or not) is essential to being able to modify your campaign and increase your effectiveness. This requires you to review metrics. One way of doing this is understanding the strength of your domain. This can be found in Domain Authority where your page rank will be displayed. The closer to 10, the higher your domain is ranked. Page strength is another approach and this can be reviewed by understanding page authority (Moogan, 2014). The higher your page authority is the better. The number of links that you have is also important, though you do need to remember that all of the links that you have need to be of a high quality. Again, Open Site Explorer is an excellent tool for counting the number of links that you have to your website. Other helpful indicators include the relevance of the linking page and positions of links on those pages.

Guide to Link Building Part 1
Guide to Link Building Part 2

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10 Ways an MBA Degree Can Help Entrepreneurs and Business Owners http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/10-ways-an-mba-degree-can-help-entrepreneurs-and-business-owners/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/10-ways-an-mba-degree-can-help-entrepreneurs-and-business-owners/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 06:00:30 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43459 MBAs Rahim

A Master of Business Administration bestows various benefits upon the holder, including theoretical knowledge, real-world connections and the prestige of an alma mater. An MBA holder can use the degree to further his or her …

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MBAs Rahim
10 Ways an MBA Degree Can Help Entrepreneurs and Business Owners

10 Ways an MBA Degree Can Help Entrepreneurs and Business Owners

A Master of Business Administration bestows various benefits upon the holder, including theoretical knowledge, real-world connections and the prestige of an alma mater. An MBA holder can use the degree to further his or her professional, social and academic aspirations. Granted, this is no easy or cheap diploma. But the investment in time and money is worth it.

If you are an entrepreneur, seeking a master’s degree can thrust your business and personal aspirations forward, as long as you know how to cultivate the right relationships inside and outside classrooms.

1. You Understand Business Management Theory
After completing an MBA, you will understand management theory, the essential concepts underlying business planning, and what differentiates a winning strategy from a losing one.
Not to say you cannot grasp those concepts with a graduate degree, though.
The point here is that a typical MBA curriculum covers some subjects in depth, and triggers intellectual stimulation you might not have acquired otherwise, especially when the classes are taught by world-class lecturers, some of whom may be Nobel Prize winners.

2. You Learn Different Ways of Running Your Business
An MBA shows you different alternatives of running your business. Whether it is centralized or decentralized, you will fathom the pros and cons of each option. Obviously, there are as many ways of running a company as there are, say, human beings. But the bottom line is that MBA case studies give you insight into the minds of leaders at large companies, teaching you how to replicate the successes of the winners and how to shun the mistakes of the losing companies.

3. You Make Lifelong Contacts
Don’t be shy when you enroll in an MBA class. Remember that each person in that classroom is a current or future business leader, an expert in his or her field, or an up-and-coming social entrepreneur. Make as many contacts as you can. Reach out to others, engage a frank and relevant conversation, and make connections that could turn out to be lifelong contacts. You never know: You could parlay these personal linkups into future business or social partnerships.

4. You Can Take Your Business Global
An MBA gives you the conceptual tools and practical guidance needed to take your business global. In today’s marketplace, international expansion is a must, especially if you operate in a field that is domestically crowded or an international market whose entry barriers are minimal or nonexistent.

5. You Can Hire The Right Talent When Needed
At some point, your business will need an influx of talent, the right talent, to grow and make money. A master’s degree provides you the framework needed to identify who you really need to hire, why you need, how to allocate staff resources properly, and how much to pay them. This goes back to the points we discussed earlier, when we said an MBA helps you understand management concepts but also shows you various ways of running your business.

10 Ways an MBA Degree Can Help Entrepreneurs and Business Owners Intelligenthq

10 Ways an MBA Degree Can Help Entrepreneurs and Business Owners Intelligenthq

6. You Can Write A Proper Business Plan to Attract External Funding
A business plan, when properly written, can lure a potential investor. After acquiring an MBA, you will know how to pen a convincing, substantiated business plan, with a synopsis or executive summary as catchy as the last Apple or Nike commercial.
Again, you can hire an expert to write the plan for you if you don’t have an MBA or don’t know much about business planning. But having the degree gives you the knowledge…and the option to say ‘I want to write my own business plan.’

7. You Have a Professional Safety Net
If your business goals don’t materialize soon enough and you find yourself scrambling for money, you can go back to the corporate world. With an MBA, you have job security – plain and simple, no questions asked. You will find a job and restore your financial situation, so you can go back again later to entrepreneurship if that is what you want.

8. You Could Become a Thought Leader
The intellectual rigor an MBA program requires makes most degree holders potential thought leaders in their fields. And so could you! Irrespective of your business aspirations, you can establish yourself as an intellectual authority in a field or on a specific topic. That, again, is another source of revenue, just in case your business ventures don’t pan out.

9. Your Alumni Connections Could Help Later
Your alumni connections – those one-time classmates you kept talking to – could help boost your business needs in the medium and long terms. They could be potential customers and business partners or refer you to their own business and social contacts. Furthermore, you can hire some of your old classmates, which is a smart move financially and operationally because you know them already and, we are sure, they will ask you a certain level of compensation that will not break your bank.

10. You Can Build a Solid Online Presence
You can translate your web of offline connections into a strong online presence. We suggest you create personal and business accounts on the most popular social networks, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Actively participate in activities that your alma mater and alumni association periodically post.

Final Word
An MBA opens the gateways of financial and social success. The degree helps you improve your business operations, providing you insight and tools you need to make money in the long term.
If you don’t have time or money to take a full-course MBA degree, look for alternatives, such as a Management Certificate, an Executive MBA or management courses specifically tailored for busy entrepreneurs and professionals.

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Guide to Link Building Part 2 http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/guide-to-link-building-part-2/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/guide-to-link-building-part-2/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 06:00:15 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43448 Guide To Link Building Part 2

Starting a Campaign

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Guide To Link Building Part 2
Guide To Link Building Part 2

Guide To Link Building Part 2

This is Part 2 of a Guide we are creating in Intelligenthq about link Building.  In the first part of our guide we gave an overall view about what is link building. We will now explain what is necessary when starting a campaign.

Starting a campaign

Link building is key to online marketing success and can help businesses to become well placed in search engine results pages. In the first part of this series we examined what link building is and why it is important. In Part Two, we now look at getting underway with that all-important link building campaign to try to start to build up a number of links back to your website from others out there. Paddy Moogan has plenty that is helpful to say on this topic. Specifically, Moogan defines a link building campaign stating that it is:

“The process of actively trying to increase links to your website, usually accompanied by some kind of overarching objective.”

Starting with the overarching objective part, Moogan argues that by developing goals at the outset you will stand a much greater chance of achieving link building success. However, at the same time he argues that numbers aren’t enough. There is no point thinking that setting a goal of 10 or 20 links will be sufficient if those links are not of sufficient quality to drive people to your business and improve your search engine standing. Additionally, the link building process does not bring immediate results. Rather, it can take some time for search engines to pick up that you have new links added. This means that making sure that any goals set are focused on the building of high quality links that will actually offer search engine optimisation value, as well as measuring improvement over time – that is, over months rather than days.

Paddy Moogan also argues that knowing that you want links is not enough. For a start you can’t simply buy links – this is a definite no-no with Google and will have a very damaging impact on SEO if you are caught. This means you need to understand what you have of value on your website and why other organisations might want to link back to yours. This means considering the content, data, products and services featured on your website, opines Moogan. You also need to consider the type of links that you need to get, and Moogan explains that there are four kinds. These are links to your home page, links to pages further down in your website such as product pages, links that include your brand or company name, and links that include the keywords that your online marketing campaign is targeting. You can for example use Open Site Explorer can analyse the links you currently have so you can see where you need to improve.

Of course, other websites are being contacted all of the time to add links to them. You need to show these websites why they should link to you. People need to be interested enough in what you have on your website and what you have to say to link to you. Paddy Moogan argues that the approach needs to be carried out in four steps. First you create content, second you find an angle that is new or interesting, third you do outreach to the organisations that might post your link, and fourth you follow up on these contacts.

Understanding what people may be interested in could involve trial and error, but Moogan explains that some useful hooks that may make you more interesting to link to include humour, news, controversy, competition, ego-bait and detailed content, among others. Understanding what other people share and why is critical to understanding what you can offer. Then you need to find the target websites you will approach. For example, if you are creating a website about barbecue recipes you might target food bloggers, barbecue companies, recipe websites and events websites, among others. Then you need to search online to find specific targets to approach. While doing this look for contact details so that you can target an actual person. Targeting bloggers and websites that already are considered to be high influence will be the most helpful approach. Not all will be interested, so review their website before you start to see if they do add links and whether their site or blog is active before you bother contacting them (Moogan, 2014). Don’t forget to tell them why they should want to link back to you. Moogan also argues that you should avoid mass emailing software as this gives you less opportunity for personalisation and you might get blacklisted for spamming, as well as the fact that in some countries it is against the law to email people in this way.

Another useful resource can be the following youtube video:

Guide to Link Building Part 1
Guide to Link Building Part 2
Guide to Link Building Part 3

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Guide to Link Building Part 1 http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/guide-to-link-building-part-1/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/guide-to-link-building-part-1/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 06:00:02 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43433 Guide to link building part 1

Introduction

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Guide to link building part 1
guide-link-building

An introduction to link building

This is a Part 1 of a Guide we are creating in Intelligenthq about Link Building.In the following post, you will learn what is link building and what is its purpose.

If you’re new in business and new to having a website, link building is an area you need to understand and get on top of. Why? Well, it will bring business to your website, and ultimately that’s the whole point of having a website. This short series on link building will help you to understand the what, why and how of link building so that you can get started for yourself.

Search engines work on the basis of trying to provide the highest quality results possible to those that enter keywords and keyword phrases into their search. You want your website to be on the first page, and ideally in the top five results returned for the types of keywords that your potential customers will type in. That’s because if people have to go to the next page, or even scroll down (yes, people are that lazy) then they won’t necessarily be bothered to do it. Instead they’ll click on something else or carry out a different search. Link building is just one of several approaches called “search engine optimisation” (SEO) that helps you to move your website up through the search listings that are returned for the keywords and keyword phrases that you are targeting.

For those that have never had much involvement with websites and online marketing before, this all might seem like a bit of a mystery, but luckily, Paddy Moogan of Distilled has developed a simple guide to link building that can help.  As Moogan explains:

“The landscape of SEO and link building is always changing, and today, the importance of building high quality links has never been higher.”

So what exactly is link building? Well, link building is an activity that leads to you acquiring links from other websites back to your own website. These links are helpful to users that are looking for useful information online, as they will click on these links if they seem to be relevant to them. Moogan argues that many SEO specialists find link building to be quite a difficult activity. Of course the great thing about that is that if you can become an expert at it, you will excel at search engine optimisation through having a lot of good quality links back to your website that drive people to your website and increase your ratings in search engines. That’s because websites that have a lot of inbound links are often considered by Google and the others to be of high quality (since so many other websites want to refer to yours).

The four components of links

Moogan explains that links are made up of four main components: start of link tag, link referral location, visible/anchor text of link, and closure of link tag. The opening part is described to quite simply let a search engine know that something else will follow it. The link referral location will show the URL to where the link is pointing, which Moogan points out could be a web page, image, file or something else. The visible anchor text is the text the user sees on the page, that they click on to open the link, explains Moogan, while the closure of link tag simply denotes the end of the link to the search engines.

The following video, done by agency Moz, will let you know what are the basic rules of linking building:

Links are important for search engines because they help search engines to find them in the first place. Links from other places to your website tell Google and other search engines that your website was considered high enough quality by other websites to be worthwhile to link to, so this validates your website and moves you up in the search engine. They are tied together with the algorithm of the search engine.

However, links are not all good, and Moogan points out there are both good and bad links. Some can degrade your search engine position. The best types of links of all are those that are embedded in editorial content. However these links can be quite difficult to get. Self-created non-editorial links that are included on your website (or others) were once considered to be “good” but are now thought to be less helpful, as Google and the rest caught onto this approach which was designed to manipulate search engine results. Understanding this can help you to target the best kind of links that will help your business rather than hinder it.

Guide to Link Building Part 2 
Guide to Link Building Part 3

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Welcome To FutureLearn, The First British MOOCs Platform, http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/welcome-to-futurelearn-the-first-british-moocs-platform/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/welcome-to-futurelearn-the-first-british-moocs-platform/#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2014 12:58:25 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43428 futurelearn

How FutureLearn Aims To Transform Education Through Social Learning

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futurelearn
Image source: Intel

Image source: Intel

The education industry is undergoing a period of transformation. With a mind-set of more entrepreneurs than ever before wanting to help society and advancements in online technology that allow educational courses to be delivered online more effectively than ever before, opportunities have arisen for courses to be provided free to people that want to learn. Provided that people have an internet connection there is no longer any excuse for not being able to learn. Accessibility is rapidly becoming available to many.

FutureLearn is one such organisation that is pioneering this change. FutureLearn offers a wide range of different high quality courses for free via its platform. This includes courses in studies from science and technology to business and management and everything in between – humanities, arts, body, mind – it’s all there and up for grabs for those that are motivated to get learning. Online courses are designed to be flexible via this platform so that people can fit learning around their lives and other commitments. Educators have been involved in the creation of these innovative courses, including the development of materials such as articles to make learners think, videos to stimulate interest and quizzes to test learning. They also lead discussions and debates. At the same time, the system is set up in such a way so that learners can chat with one another to work through ideas through healthy debate and discussion.

FutureLearn is considered to be the UK’s first massive open online course (MOOC) platform. The site launched in 2013 via a beta website , and according to Rebecca Paddick of Education Technology, since that time (and up until June 2014) there have been 350,000 learners signed up for 700,000 courses. This is recognised as an excellent start, though it is thought by the organisation itself that it needs to create more features and improve. The organisation benefits from the support of the Open University and is both completely owned and funded by this entity. As explained by Paddick (2014), following the development of the OU vision for a MOOC in late 2012 the organisation worked hard to get other educators on board. Paddick states that:

 “By the end of January 2013, Nelson and the team had joined forces with 20 universities in the UK, and had the first prototype ready to launch in September 2013.”

The concept behind FutureLearn is “social learning”. This is because the organisation has a sense that distance learning can be isolating and that this feeling can be reduced or eliminated through using a platform like FutureLearn where it is social and interactive and consequently more enjoyable. Social networking concepts have consequently been programmed into the FutureLearn platform to make sure that the experience is as social as possible. People are able to add comments to the videos that they watch during their learning, for example. They are also able to set up a profile page and add other people, as well as like comments (Paddick, 2014). An example of a course offered by FutureLearn is the following, about creative coding.

The concept of MOOCs has sparked some controversy and debate with some hailing them as an excellent way to bring an improved level of education to the masses, while others argue that they are ineffective because they have high dropout rates and they are “faddy”. FutureLearn does not claim to change the world, but it does offer a solution that deals with some of the problems of MOOCs that might lead to drop outs in the first place by providing the opportunity for people to be able to interact socially with one another online. There have also been criticisms of MOOCs according to Paddick, which suggest that these are trying to “replace the traditional degree model,” but FutureLearn is certainly not saying that it will achieve this. Rather than being a replacement model the FutureLearn platform is offered as a value-add additional extra to enhance learning.

A quick scan of the courses on offer only serves to evidence this point. Courses available at the time of writing include “Psychology and Mental Health: Beyond Nature and Nurture”, “Heart Health: A Beginner’s guide to Cardiovascular Disease”, “Hadrian’s Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier”, “Introduction to Journalism”, and “Exploring Play: The Importance of Play in Everyday Life”. Each course is offered by a major British university. All are short and require approximately three hours of time per week. FutureLearn is impressive. It is to be seen whether it becomes new standard benchmark for excellence in MOOCs, but it is certainly off to a great start.

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How To Transcend Failure By Forgetting About Success http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/how-to-transcend-failure-by-forgetting-about-success/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/how-to-transcend-failure-by-forgetting-about-success/#comments Sat, 13 Sep 2014 11:43:17 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43421 How To Transcend Failure By Forgetting About Success Image source: http://amgamountainguidesearch.com/

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ~ Thomas A. Edison In a business climate that changes continually and increasingly rapidly, failure is a fact of life. Many business leaders fully believe …

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How To Transcend Failure By Forgetting About Success Image source: http://amgamountainguidesearch.com/
How To Transcend Failure By Forgetting About Success Image source: http://amgamountainguidesearch.com/

How To Transcend Failure By Forgetting About Success Image source: http://amgamountainguidesearch.com/

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ~ Thomas A. Edison

In a business climate that changes continually and increasingly rapidly, failure is a fact of life. Many business leaders fully believe that failure is a blessing. Failure can be learned from, they think. Thomas Edison understood that he had to fail in order to succeed, and most entrepreneurs are familiar with the quote above. Setting up business is cheap in the digital age. Big investments do not necessarily have to be made to set up a shoestring operation that can prove a concept. In fact, as Greg Satell (2014) of Digital Tonto puts it:

“Venture investors, for their part, are looking for just one or two big wins out of ten”.

But does that mean that failure is good and should be embraced warmly? Satell argues no. He disputes the point that you have to fail to succeed. He goes against the grain of current business thinking and says, “only a maniac or a fool would embrace it”.

While Satell’s mind set differs from the common thrust right now, does that mean he is wrong? In fact, Satell makes some solid points that quite simply make sense. After all, as he puts it, “failure means that we messed up”. Satell believes that the concept of embracing failure is fundamentally wrong. And digital solutions or technology that fail do not make life better, so who wants that? However overcoming difficulties and failures to add value is excellent on the other hand.

Greg Satell argues that we have to take a new approach to failure. We have to use big data to figure out in advance what is going to fail and avoiding that. An excellent example is given of Barack Obama’s campaign for office. As explained by Satell, the Obama team simulated 62,000 different scenarios of voter behaviour based on data that had been gathered, and worked out from that what would be necessary to succeed, rather than to fail. That data considered every single voter and looked at how social media could be used to persuade voters to vote Obama. The proponents of the approach believe that this led to 78% of the great undecided finally falling in and voting for Obama.

This represents a whole new approach – learning how not to fail by running the numbers in advance. It means having the data to be able to simulate the scenarios that would lead to failure, and then avoiding those. It means transforming the approach to failure, and transforming failure itself. Meantime, according to Satell, Mitt Romney took risks that did not pay off. Those risks were not supported by the big data evidence of the Obama camp.

But it is not just big data that can be used to prevent failure. Greg Satell also points out that in a digital age we have access to way more information than ever before. We have open source information and access to people. We can glean ideas online from research or quite simply asking people. We have many opportunities to use technology to grow and expand ideas and test them before putting them out to fail. Satell argues that’s what we should be doing rather than “embracing failure”. We should be transforming it instead to plan to make sure that it doesn’t happen in the first place.

Another interesting story concerning the feeling of failure is the one of Elizabeth Gilbert. Elizabeth had been in the past an “unpublished diner waitress,” overwhelmed with constant rejection letters until she finally publish one book that was so successful that it remained on “The New York Times Best Seller list” for 187 weeks. And yet, paradoxically, the success of ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ triggered in her once again,  strong feelings of fear of failure. With beautiful insight, Gilbert reflects on a TED talk, why success can be the other coin of failure, and a very confusing experience. Her solution is simple — though hard — carry on, and go back to work, to work on “what you love more than you love yourself”. regardless of outcome.

In both stories, the bottom line is that technology is helping us both to simply work until we implement our vision and idea, and to learn how to avoid failure. Instead of embracing failure we should transform our approach to it so that we can learn from it before we even fail in the first place. It’s a mind-set change,  that abandons the black and white dicotomy of failure/success, and embraces solutions and “work”.

The most powerful man in the world already did it with his election campaign. Will you make that mind-set change too?

 

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Interview With Pascal Freudenreich: Co-Founder and CEO of Carbon Connect-AG http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/interview-with-pascal-freudenreich-founder-and-ceo-of-carbon-connect-ag/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/interview-with-pascal-freudenreich-founder-and-ceo-of-carbon-connect-ag/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 11:56:51 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43393 Sustainable-world1

How to participate in the sustainable revolution and green innovation

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Sustainable-world1
Interview With Pascal Freudenreich: Founder and CEO of Carbon Connect-AG Intelligenthq

Interview With Pascal Freudenreich: Founder and CEO of Carbon Connect-AG Intelligenthq

It is no breaking news to anyone that global warming is dangerously threatening our green planet. Since 1997′s Kyoto protocol agreement, that various key players and prominent figures come together, to look for ways to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, as these are damaging the environment in a profound way. But its not only governments that should try to do something. Citizens and Businesses can play an important role in finding a solution to the environmental problems.

Carbon-connect AG, is a Swiss based company that was founded in 2013 with the clear purpose of providing individuals and companies with simple solutions that contribute to climate protection. The company’s inspiring and original vision is to support high quality climate protection projects, by offering various labels to their clients inviting them into being part of the solution of our planets problems ( that span from the common citizen to a big organization).  By acquiring a label, any individual, company or website is able to neutralize their carbon footprint. In the following interview to Intelligenthq, the company’s CEO, Pascal Freudenreich explains in detail what inspired him to co-found Carbon-connect AG, and how his company is actively tackling the important environmental issues that are threatening our days.

1. Can you tell us about you, your education background?

After having concluded my education in finance, I spent 10 years abroad (USA and Germany) and returned to Switzerland in 2007. During that time I did several extension studies.

2. You created Carbon Connect, can you tell us about the history of the company and its goals?

The company is the result of enthusiasm and commitment to make a contribution towards a solution of the biggest challenge humanity faces in 21st century. The way it operates is that in collaboration with our customers, we support high-quality climate protection projects, thereby creating a more livable world for us and our children. We show environmentally and socially responsible companies the simplest way to make their entire organisation or processes climate-neutral. Through the targeted support of high-quality climate protection projects, our clients can improve their image and assume a pioneering role in active environmental protection. We create a WIN-WIN situation with advantages for our clients, the environment and society.

3. When did you become interested in Green Economy, Carbon Markets and The Emissions Trading Market ?

In 2012 I was introduced to the carbon market, which was very inspiring for me. I became immediately fascinated by this market. I wanted to be part of the solution of the biggest challenge humanity is currently facing.

4. How do you see these topics in the context of global business and economies?

Getting involved in climate protection is an opportunity that astute businesses will turn to their advantage. By taking positive action on climate change right now, you will differentiate yourself from your competitors, increase your profitability and, at the same time, improve the environment , which is a triple bottom line return. The reasons to why climate commitment pays off are various:

• When you save energy, costs and carbon, you also save money/ reducing operating costs.
• New business: Your clients base their purchasing decisions increasingly according to ecological criteria.
• It attracts new capital as you become a more attractive prospect for investors.
• You contribute actively to environmental protection; climate protection is not an option.
• Pre-compliance: countries will be forced to introduce stricter regulations in order to fulfil their international obligations.
• Positioning: If you establish your company as an economically, socially and ecologically responsible player, you gain a competitive advantage
• Corporate social responsibility (CSR)
• Strengthen your reputation and increase your customer loyalist
• Act rather than react!
• Achieve a carbon neutral position.
• Enhance your visibility (SEO!) & increase your credibility Carbon Connect thus provides a single source both for services and solutions.

5. In what ways do you think the carbon market can work toward sustainability?

The Kyoto Protocol entered into force in 2005. Even though it was not rectified by the United States of America & some Asian Countries (Canada left the Kyoto Protocol), there are some established carbon emission trading systems in the US & China. Retiring CO2 reduction certificates to offset an emission, should be done in my opinion, with precedures which cut a carbon footprint. This is why we are building an expert partner network. I believe it is necessary to combine avoiding, cutting, and handling our resources in a more sustainable way and offsetting a carbon footprint. In my opinion, elements such as equitable pricing measures, requirements for monitoring and reporting, offset policies and penalties for not complying, must be addressed at a global level. Climate change is a global problem and we must approach this on a global level.

6. How do you see green innovation and its weight in the Global Economy Development?

The sustainable revolution and green innovation have the potential to become the next major social and economic turning point and could become the next growth engine for the global economy.

Quote by Pascal Freudenreich

Quote by Pascal Freudenreich

7. In what ways can companies and individuals contribute to sustainability and climate protection ?

Our solution is the following: avoid and cut carbon emissions when possible and meaningful, and compensate the balance. We offset 100% of your carbon emissions with high quality climate protection projects. Sustainability has to be positioned as a strategic driver as the relationship between the environment and resources is obvious.

8. There is some controversy concerning whether the emissions trading market truly works as a way to cut the CO2 emissions and GHG emissions. What is your opinion on that ?

Yes, this market (regulated emission market) is still in its infancy. If you look at the European Emission Trading Scheme, by far the world’s largest emission scheme, there are some problems, as the market is oversupplied. In phase 1 allowances have been given away, in phase 2 the system was more rigorous, in the next phase (2013-2020) allowances are being auctioned. Gaps were set at boom times, and as the economic situation in Europe is still not too bright, prices have fallen too low now, which can be be an hindrance as price is what drives behaviours. The Kyoto Protocol was set out as an international Agreement. Europe was the first to establish a market in the hope the rest of the world would follow but this unfortunately did not happen even though there are new markets being put in place around the world slowly (USA, China etc). Again, this must be approached at a global level as it is a global problem.

9. What are the climate friendly products/ labels you developed ? How does it works ? How do you access whether these are implemented or not ?

With our label family we show our clients the most efficient way to become carbon neutral. We offer our “carbon neutral car label”, which lets you offset the carbon footprint you produce when in the process of driving a car. When driving or flying one can easily calculate their carbon footprint, as we provide an easy to use online calculator with integrated offset oportunities and an online payment system. The more sophisticated labels include : “carbon-neutral company” and our latest label “climate friendly website”. Our services include of course a cyberlabel along with a physical label and a unique PR package and help in CSR-Policy for all our customers, to help them getting the message out.With links and backlinks we help our customers with their online visibility and SEO. With our expert partners carbon-connect AG we can help reducing our customer’s carbon-footprint. Carbon-connect’s registry accounts are being audited by third party, so every customer can be sure we retire the amount of offsets we sell. All audit reports are available upon request.

Labels offered by Carbon-connect AG

Labels offered by Carbon-connect AG

10. What are your next plans? Any ideas for new products/labels ?

There are still plenty of plans : the next step is to set up an online network & competence centre for our clients and the highly niche companies operating in the sustainable industry. Together with our expert partners carbon-connect works successfully towards climate protection. These partners will be available last week on September and will be added to our homepage in the carbon-connect AG Network section. There is much more in the pipeline, so stay tuned!

11. You developed a label for sustainability for websites. Can you tell us about it?

Yes this is our latest product called the climate friendly website. As we all know the internet is an enormous “power guzzler”. That logo comes with a snippet tool and can be implemented on any company or individual which operates a website. With the atribution of that specific label, carbon-connect compensates the carbon-footprint of the cross water consumption (the gross per capita water use in the EU is over 4000 Ltr. per day !) and the per capita electricity consumption (calculated on the number of employees/individuals operating the website). In addition we support organizations which plant trees in South America and Africa. It is our goal to plant three million new trees with the help of our customers buying this label.

12. How do you see the challenges of the present Economy and the relation between Democratized Capital and Sustainability?

This movement is not new and has been around for quite a time, look at food co-ops along with employee-owned businesses. The movement sees it as a course correction towards a more green and moral capitalism. Sustainability has become unavoidable for businesses. A study speaks for itself, sustainable businesses have outperformed their competitors by about 3%, sustainability is a growing trend. My opinion : Any company not adopting a sustainability policy will eventually lose its « license » to operate.

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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/the-bill-and-melinda-gates-foundation/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/the-bill-and-melinda-gates-foundation/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 06:00:31 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43385 The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Intelligenthq

IntelligentHQ Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations - Part 6

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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Intelligenthq
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Intelligenthq

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Intelligenthq

This is a Part 6 of a Guide we are creating in the IntelligentHQ Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations. In these series of articles we will be highlighting the top international Foundations focused in social business and social entrepreneuship.

Bill Gates is perhaps best known for his work at Microsoft, and he is continually ranked in the Forbes list of the wealthiest people in the world. In September 2014, Bill Gates was considered to be the second wealthiest person on the planet. One aspect about Bill Gates that is less well known however is his philanthropy. Together with his wife, Melinda Gates he set up the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The foundation works together with organisations and partners across the globe to tackle difficult challenges associated with poverty related to specific issues. As Bill and Melinda put it:

“We focus on only a few issues because we think that’s the best way to have great impact…we think they are the biggest barriers that prevent people from making the most of their lives”.

The organisation was born in the late 1990s, and both Bill and Melinda are reported to have come from families that believed in volunteerism and civic engagement. The early signs that an organisation may spring up came in 1997, and in that same year, Bill took his first trip to India, working with the foundation to give polio vaccines to children. The Gates Library Foundation was launched also in the early years. One of the earliest projects was to bring Internet to public libraries. Between 2000 and 2009 the organisation was consolidated and the actual Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation itself was formed in 2000. Some early projects of the fledgling organisation included one in 2000 to address homelessness in the Puget Sound area in Washington State, as well as another in 2001 which launched an office in Washington D.C. to create partnerships with government funded programmes. Other important milestones during this period were the launch of a HIV/AIDs prevention branch in India in 2003, and in the same year the completion of the original libraries work. In 2005, the library work went global, working to bring computers and internet access to libraries in a variety of countries including Chile, Lithuania and Ukraine. In the same year $258 million was assigned in grants to anti-malaria work. In 2006 the organisation settled on three main priorities: global health, global development and work in the US. In 2007 a Beijing office was opened to tackle health problems in Asia, and in 2008, Bill Gates left Microsoft to work full time at the Foundation. More recently the organisation has continued to consolidate its work worldwide, based on the premise that all lives have equal value.

In a recent interview, published in TED, Bill and Melinda Gates reflect how the work they do in their foundation is the most satisfying thing they’ve ever done.

The organisation works based on gaining an understanding of the problems that people face. Regardless of the type of problem – whether it is an inner city problem in the USA or a farming problem in rural Africa, the approach is the same – listening first. Then the decision makers review whether or not it will be possible for the organisation to make a real difference, and if so, a grant or a contract is awarded. The organisation collaborates with grantee and partner organisations that work to align goals of projects with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s strategic priorities. This means agreeing upfront what the desired outcomes will be.

Deciding on developing grants and contracts is well structured, in four stages to make sure that all bases are covered. The first stage is concept development. During this stage, the Foundation’s officers work with partners in the field to review if a concept is aligned to a Foundation strategy or not and whether or not the foundation should proceed in this direction. The second stage includes a pre-proposal where concepts are explored and further refined, to understand several perspectives regarding the suggested work that will be carried out. This can include a request for a proposal (RFP), discussion or direct solicitation of an organisation in some cases. The third stage is investment development, and during this process applicants are given guidelines and templates since they need to complete a proposal, budget, results framework and tracker. Then their proposals can be properly reviewed, and a foundation executive can make the final decision regarding whether the grant or contract should be funded. In the final stage, the project goes ahead with close communication between the Foundation and the project.

Bill and Melinda Gates are a shining example of philanthropy by successful business people. If more of the world’s richest business people step up, maybe we can all work together to solve the problems of the world.

Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Part 1- Skoll Foundation
Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Part 2 - Ashoka Foundation
Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Part 3  - Schwab Foundation
Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Part 4 - UnLtd
Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Part 5 - Omydiar Network

 

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The Makers Movement In Action http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/the-makers-movement-in-action/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/the-makers-movement-in-action/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 06:00:44 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43369 Guide to the Makers Movement part 2 Intelligenthq

Guide To The Makers Movement Part 2

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Guide to the Makers Movement part 2 Intelligenthq
Guide to the Makers Movement part 2 Intelligenthq

Guide to the Makers Movement part 2 Intelligenthq

Due to advances in the internet, open innovation, sharing and crowd funding, the Makers Movement is on its way up, as we saw in Part 1 of this series. The maker movement was shown to be an extension of DIY, leading to the development of inventions and prototypes that in the past would have been the domain of large organisations only. The strong emphasis of this Maker Movement development is that of the social environment within which the maker is operating. The maker finds information, help, support and even money to progress ideas online. Sharing of information is paramount, and maker culture is driving considerable change in society.

The Makers Movement has already been leveraged in a number of ways. For example, Makey Makey provides what it describes as “an invention kit for everyone”. Some examples of items that have been created using the kit include “piano stairs”, a “banana piano”, the ability to play Mario Brothers using Play Dough or allowing a cat to take a picture of itself. Makey Makey was developed by two graduate students at MIT Media Lab, with the vision that everyone can make items. The process uses alligator clips and a maker board. While none of the examples are really going to change the world profoundly, the concept behind the idea just might. There is no programming involved, so the idea is accessible to all, and really all you need is a level of creativity to get started (as well as the Makey Makey kit of course).

Another example is Raspberry Pi. Fundamentally, Raspberry Pi is a small computer that costs just £25 and has been designed to teach young people how to programme. It enables some interesting items to be made. The idea behind Raspberry Pi is that in the future more and more computer programmers will be needed than ever before, so getting children interested in this at an early age is not just important, but also necessary. The Raspberry Pi has to be connected to a TV or monitor and a keypad and then the child can begin. There are many applications of this system such as in science and music. There are also Raspberry Jam Events that allow people to get together to discuss new idea s of how the Raspberry Pi can be used. Children can learn how to create games, or build robots for example.

Arduino is yet another example of a maker tool. The Arduino tool is used to make computers that are able to sense and control more of the physical world and not just the desktop computer. It allows interactive objects to be built by taking information from different switches and sensors and allowing items such as lights, motors and other physical outputs to be controlled. Arduino boards  are able to be purchased reassembled or assembled by hand, and the code that is behind them is open source and is able to be downloaded for free. The programming language is called the Arduino programming language. There are lots of different tools that can do the same sorts of things as Arduino can, but Arduino recommends its option since it is cheap compared with other micro controller platforms. It also works on a variety of different platforms (Windows, Macintosh OSX and Linux) and has a simple and clear programming environment. The fact that both the software and hardware are open source is also a big selling point.

Meeting other makers

For those that want to meet with others, they may wish to attend a Markers Fair, or  look locally to find a club or organisation that encourages people to do this.

Motorized hammoc at NYC makers fair 2012

Motorized hammoc at NYC makers fair 2012

For example the South London Makerspace is an organisation that aims:

“…to promote and encourage creative, technical and scientific skills through social collaboration and education, and to provide and maintain shared community workspace and equipment in Greater London.”

The South London Makerspace is currently located in Herne Hill and it offers four desks. There are areas for electronics, computing, arts and crafts. There is also a long work bench that has power tools. Tools include various types of saws, drills and sanders. Members join and then they gain access by getting keys. New members are encouraged to go along on Wednesdays when there are open evenings. All in all the space is great for encouraging creativity and providing the tools needed to get started. In the United States you can become a member of TechShop.

Enthusiasts of the Makers Movement forecast in it the second industrial revolution. According to Chris Anderson, a famous author and entrepreneur, who wrote “Makers: The New Industrial Revolution (2012)”:

“The next generation of industrial designers are going to be the kids that get 3D printers for Christmas this year.”

Chris Marker believes that the current and next generations of “Makers”, will be able to use the web’s innovation model, and will drive the next big wave in the global economy. As he optimistically puts it, new technologies of digital design and rapid prototyping, facilitated by the increasing amount of information available to individuals and the decreasing cost of electronic components, empowering all of us with the ability to invent and create whatever we have in mind.

Which is what the makers movement is all about.

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