Intelligent Head Quarters http://www.intelligenthq.com Business intelligence innovation network for growth education change Thu, 24 Jul 2014 06:00:42 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 How CMOs Deal With The Challenges of Technology Part 2 http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/how-cmos-deal-with-the-challenges-of-technology-part-2/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/how-cmos-deal-with-the-challenges-of-technology-part-2/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 06:00:42 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42663 CMOs part 2

In the first part of this article we have reviewed the results of a recent report entitled “Stepping up the challenge” that provided valuable insights given by 524 CMOs who are in the process of adapting their companies …

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CMOs part 2
How CMOs Deal With The Challenges of Technology Part 2 Intelligenthq

How CMOs Deal With The Challenges of Technology Part 2 Intelligenthq

In the first part of this article we have reviewed the results of a recent report entitled “Stepping up the challenge” that provided valuable insights given by 524 CMOs who are in the process of adapting their companies to the ubiquitous digital environment in which  we all exist today. In this second part, I will now review what is necessary to do concerning  three fundamental areas, as identified by the mentioned report:

To know how to use advanced data analytics procedures to understand deeply the customer

The most progressive enterprises pay close attention to all the signals provided by the customers across their journey. This means to be able to gather information from point-of-sale data, loyalty programs etc,  and to be able to conjugate such information with valuable insights from  other sources, including real-time conversations on social networks. All this info can be used as a basis to take decisions on a wide range of activities. This means that analytics is embedded in the day-to-day routine. According to the report  digital pacesetters are well advanced on this:

“Digital Pacesetters are also doing much more to extract useful insights from the wealth of data available to them, by combining and integrating data from both internal and external sources (see Figure 7).”

The clear advice of the report, to all CMOs is to become ready to transform yourself into a digital pacesetter. But how can you accomplish that? The report sketches an action plan:

  • Get the CIO on your side
  • Invest in analytics
  • Fuse for clues – which means to combine classical sources of information such as point-of-sale data, loyalty programs, etc. with the other sources such as the ones arising in the social media environments, for example in real time conversations with customers . 

Design rewarding customer experiences

There is a well known evidence that is shaping the way businesses operate nowadays:  If the customer lifecycle used to conclude itself at the point of sale, the situation is completely diverse now, due to the online world. Companies should therefore take advantage of the digital environments to speak with the customer, encouraging them to share their experiences. The goal should be to move to an approach to the customer that focuses on a sustainable relationship, which might transform customers into loyal advocates.

Digital Pacesetters, who are more willing to collaborate with customers are already advanced in such procedures, which will be mainstream sooner or later. The report gives  guidelines on how to put such a plan into action:  start with the big picture by creating a clear vision and plan, think about how to create value for your customers at every step on the consumer journey and convert customers to colleagues by facilitating a two-way dialogue.

CMOs plan to use certain technologies more extensively in the future.

CMOs plan to use certain technologies more extensively in the future.

Quite interestingly the report concludes that collectively, CMOs still have the same top goals they had in 2011 which were: “To design great mobile apps, engage customers via social media and manage customers effectively.”

Some minor variations among them is that traditionalists and social strategists are primarily interested in developing apps for example, whereas digital pacesetters are focused in creating consistent cross-channel customer experiences.

To capitalize on new technologies to provide those experiences smartly and efficiently.

By the end of the road,  the goal is now how to use really well new technologies to deliver first rate customer experiences. Comparing this report to a similar one, done in 2011, there is evidence that companies in general have stopped trying to “tame social media” as it seems they are much less interested in  monitoring their brands on social networking or in sites and blogs than they were in 2011. Another revealing question is that the goal monetization in social media has “sunk to the bottom of their agendas”.

CMOs face different challenges, depending on how far they´ve gone down the digital path Image source: Stepping up for the challenge IBM 2014

CMOs face different challenges, depending on how far they´ve gone down the digital path Image source: Stepping up for the challenge IBM 2014

The advice given in this area is:

  • Prioritize mobility
  • Move to the future fast – Meaning that companies should explore the new technologies available, and establish collaborations and partnerships, as to be able to provide the customers with a great experience. It is also important to know as much as possible on analytics, and other technologies such as marketing automation, customer collaboration and relationship management tools. 
  • Connect the dots  - With the explosive emergence of so many digital platforms, social media networks and the mobile environment it is mandatory to investing in integrated software to manage your relationships with actual and prospective customers and ensure you interact consistently with them, regardless of the channels they use.

The full report can be read at CMO insights from the Global C-suite Study

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How CMOs Deal With The Challenges of Technology Part 1 http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/how-cmos-deal-with-the-challenges-of-technology-part-1/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/how-cmos-deal-with-the-challenges-of-technology-part-1/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:48:50 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42658 cmos

Recent study by IBM entitled "Stepping up to the challenge" investigate CMOs insights about digital marketing and technology

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How CMOS Deal With The Challenges of Technology ?  Part 1 Intelligenthq

How CMOS Deal With The Challenges of Technology ? Part 1 Intelligenthq

How CMOS deal with the challenges of technology ? And what can a CMO do to improve and adapt his or her company to an increasingly interconnected digital world ?

Some answers to this questions can be found in IBM’s  Institute for Business Value (IBV) recent study, that was published in March 2014, and that is entitled “Stepping up to the challenge”. The study resulted from interviews in person with 4,183 top executives from more than 20 industries. The document concentrates on valuable insights given by 524 CMOs who are in the process of adapting their company to a growing digital environment, concerning the changing factors affecting their industries and their prognosis for the next 3-5 years. The report also focuses on how the CMOs interviewed are helping their companies to become more “ customer-activated”.

Overall, the study concludes that if on one hand, CMOs are attaining more influence, as CEOs increasingly need their information and expertise for the best strategic planning of their companies, on the other hand, it seems that there is still a lot to be done concerning the improvement of a strong digital marketing presence, as a way to orient services towards the customer. As such, according to the report, only 20 percent have set up social networks for the purpose of engaging with customers and even less have set up analytics to capture customer insight, or have implemented a digitally enabled supply chain.  In reality 82 percent of CMOs confirm how they are not ready to cope with big data, and almost 70 percent, with social media.

Figure 2 from study: "Stepping up to the challenge" IBM 2014

Figure 2 from study: “Stepping up to the challenge” IBM 2014

But CMOs are extremely aware now of the importance of technology, concerning the management of the customer relationship. Thus, all the interviewed mentioned how they are willing and planning to implement some key marketing techniques in the next years, such as predictive analytics, and mobile applications features. But the study warns:

“there’s currently a huge gap between aspiration and action. And it’s questionable whether CMOs are moving fast enough to keep up with the speed at which the commercial landscape is evolving, or whether they need something akin to a turbo boost.”

This useful report not only delivers the interpretation of the data as it sets a plan of action and advice, that can be useful to any CMO.

What Kind of CMO Are You ? 

In the course of this research, the study concluded that there are three distinct profiles of CMOs  at different stages on what they entitle wittily as “the path to digital nirvana. “ These are:

The traditionalists – “The Traditionalists are just setting off. They’re challenged by the data explosion, the growth in social media and the plethora of new channels and devices; have yet to integrate their physical and digital sales and service channels; seldom engage with customers via social networks; and rarely use analytics to extract insights from the customer data they collect.”

The Social Strategists – “They’ve recognized social media’s potential as a vehicle for engaging with customers, and they’re building the infrastructure they’ll need to operate in the social arena. But, like Traditionalists, they haven’t yet begun to exploit the opportunities arising from the data explosion and advanced analytics.”

The Digital Pacesetters“are much further down the road. They’re reasonably prepared for the data explosion and well placed to handle the increasingly heavy social and mobile traffic from a growing range of devices. They’re also actively putting the resources required to operate as a fully integrated physical-digital enterprise in place. And they regularly use advanced analytics to generate insights from customer data.”

The striking conclusion here is that there is a strong link between the financial performance of the company and what type of CMO one is. As such, 43 percent of the best performing companies in this study, have as their CMO, digital pacesetters compared to just 25 percent of traditionalists.

Image source: "Stepping up to the challenge" IBM 2014

Image source: “Stepping up to the challenge” IBM 2014

The report concludes that to succeed in the digital world, it is therefore necessary to work in three fundamental areas:

  • To know how to use advanced data analytics procedures to understand deeply the customer
  • Design rewarding customer experiences
  • To capitalize on new technologies to provide those experiences smartly and efficiently.

Each of these three areas will be examined more closely in the second part of this article, to be published tomorrow.

 

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The Four Elements of Balancing Big Data, Intuition, Decisions, and Results http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/the-four-elements-of-balancing-big-data-intuition-decisions-and-results/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/the-four-elements-of-balancing-big-data-intuition-decisions-and-results/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 06:00:45 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42643 big data

The four elements of balancing big data, intuition, decisions, and results By Dr. Amine Ayad and Dr. Emad Rahim The publication of “Managers not MBAs” by Henry Mintzberg intrigued our curiosity because in our practical …

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The Four Elements of Balancing Big Data, Intuition, Decisions, and Results Intelligenthq

The Four Elements of Balancing Big Data, Intuition, Decisions, and Results Intelligenthq

The four elements of balancing big data, intuition, decisions, and results
By Dr. Amine Ayad and Dr. Emad Rahim

The publication of “Managers not MBAs” by Henry Mintzberg intrigued our curiosity because in our practical and academic journey, we encountered MBA graduates who were assigned to lead corporate initiatives struggling in managing and leading people. Beyond MBA programs, there was a question that needed answers: How could we solve the strategic predicament of balancing analysis, decisions, action, intuition, and results?

According to the Library of Congress (n. d.), as of March 2014, the Library has collected about 525 terabytes of web archive data (one terabyte = 1,024 gigabytes). The web archives grow at a rate of about 5 terabytes per month. In theory the availability of data should guide decision making, but in reality today’s data can create “blind spots” that lead to errors in judgment. In 1980 Michael Porter used the term “blind spots” to refer to conventional wisdom which no longer holds true, but which still guides business strategies. In today’s data environment, “blind spots” may encompass the complexity of data analysis where managers make decisions relying on partial data and / or incomplete analysis due to the amount of available data. Some propose “big data” as a solution but “big data” is still in its infancy and until big data is within reach to managers and leaders in a manner that Micorsoft’s excel is, managers may need a more realistic guidance to deal with the dual dilemma of balancing analysis and intuition as well as balancing accuracy with speed and results. To that end, we propose the following:

1. Critical thinking and the science of complexity

In 2008, the first author argued that there are numerous examples of catastrophic failures that occurred as a result of selective blindness on the part of senior management personnel. The Esso Longford gas explosion, the Chernobyl disaster, and the loss of both the Columbia and Challenger space shuttles are just few examples of such failures. In life, let alone business, people may see what they want to see, and ignore “evidence” that does not correlate with their own view of the world. In 2006 during an interview with MSNBC, Drew Westen, director of clinical psychology at Emory University, said: Everyone from executives and judges to scientists and politicians may reason to emotionally biased judgments when they have a vested interest in how to interpret the facts.

Sanders (2002), argued that by ignoring the science of complexity and nonlinear thinking small companies are taking big companies by surprise. She wrote in the Washington Post: Linear thinkers tend to rely on past experience to travel from Point A to Point B. Nonlinear thinkers tend to look for changes since the last time they made the trip. A failure to recognize those changes is why blue-chip giants often get caught off guard by small, innovative companies such as Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, IKEA, Old Navy, DirecTV, Hotmail and NetBank. Furthermore, statistics are essential to data analysis but statistics without CT can be fatal. Best (2001) cites the following quotation “Every year since 1950, the number of American children gunned down has doubled” and stated: “Accepting these data without CT leads to mistakes, as the statement is “impossible”. What makes this statistic so bad? Just for the sake of argument, let’s assume that “the number of American children gunned down” in 1950 was one. If the number doubled each year, there must have been two children gunned down in 1951, four in 1952, eight in 1953, and so on. By 1960, the number would have been 1,024. By 1965, it would have been 32,768 (in1965, the F.B.I. identified only 9,960 criminal homicides in the entire country, including adult as well as child victims). By 1970, the number would have passed one million; by1980, one billion (more than four times the total US population in that year). Only three years later, in 1983, the number of American children gunned down would have been 8.6billion (nearly twice the earth’s population at the time). Another milestone would have been passed in 1987, when the number of gunned-down American children 137 billion would have surpassed the best estimates for the total human population throughout history 110 billion. By 1995, when the article was published, the annual number of victims would have been over 35 trillion; a really big number of a magnitude you rarely encounter outside economics or astronomy.

In addition, in business statistics and numeric data cannot tell the whole story; not only because results can be achieved at the expense of long-term sustainability, or at the expense of factors that are not a measured during the analysis such as morale, culture, and/or corporate politics.

Interestingly, Jim Phillips, while chairman and executive director of FedEx Institute, recalled his conversation with Bill Gates: “In the early days I was having lunch with Bill Gates, and we were talking about how hard it was to find people, and he said he was having great success with philosophy students”. They think logically (Sherard, 2002).

The Four Elements of Balancing Big Data, Intuition, Decisions, and Results Intelligenthq

The Four Elements of Balancing Big Data, Intuition, Decisions, and Results IntelligenthqDiversity and inclusion

2. Diversity and Inclusion

To that end, diversity of thought and personality preferences should be emphasized. Imagine a team where all members are inclined to behave in a collaborative manner at the expense of data and / or a team where all members are inclined to emphasize data at the expense of the emotional need of the situation or at the expense of collaboration.   When teams conform to certain behaviors as they deal with information and data “blind spots” are inevitable and can be very costly. Without a strong culture that welcomes constructive conflicts and constructive criticism of data analysis, a culture of opinion justification may thrive. We define opinion justification as the consciousness and unconsciousness inclination to select data and / or analysis that justifies self and / or leaders’ opinions. Diversity and inclusion help promote a culture of openness, trust, and tolerance that are needed to challenge popular opinions that are no longer valid as well as erroneous analysis and opinions.

3. Training

In 2011, Manyka et al. predicted: “There will be a shortage of talent necessary for organizations to take advantage of big data. By 2018, the United States alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions”. Managers are not born with sophisticated analytics, and many analysts that we’ve encountered are not trained managers. When statisticians are hired to analyze data without proper context they tend to make severe errors because they may include irrelevant data and / or ignore critical relevant information beyond the data. Emotional biases that we mentioned earlier is only one form of biases that skew decision and we are not aware of MBA graduate programs that emphasize biases such as belief bias, confirmation bias, anchoring bias, self-serving bias, status quo bias, survival bias, etc. Furthermore, training can define the boundaries and domains of intuition to complement data analysis and decision making.

4. Speed and Quality

Finally, we propose results as the balancing mechanism between speed and quality. In other words, stop gathering and analyzing data once you feel what you have in terms of data can actually improve the situation within your expected return of investment guidelines. In today’s big data environment, successful leaders seek improving the situation and strong correlations may work faster and better than delays attempting to find the root cause of the problem and designing solution for complex “root causes” just to discover that one set of data was missing and the presumed root cause was not the real cause of the problem missing opportunities to improve the situation based on the strong correlation. If the problem is severe and gradual improvements may not justify return on investment, then critical thinking coupled with functional and intuitive knowledge may help define a transformational approach and / or a gradual change management approach.

In summary, the tools of the industrial revolution including total quality management as well as mechanical and linear thinking can still be useful especially if coupled with critical thinking, diversity and inclusion, and proper training that allow for fast, intuitive and data driven decision making while delivering improved results within defined return on investment.

References

Ayad, A. (2010). Critical thinking and business process improvement. Journal of Management Development. Vol. 29 Iss: 6, pp.556 – 564

Best, J. (2001). The Chronicle Review. Retrieved from: http://chronicle.com/free/v47/i34/34b00701.htm

Library of Congress (n. d.). Retrieved from: http://www.loc.gov/webarchiving/faq.html#5

Manyika, J., Chui, M., Brown, B., Bughin, J., Dobbs, R., Roxburgh, C., Byers, A. (2011). Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity. Retrieved from: http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/business_technology/big_data_the_next_frontier_for_innovation

MSNBC (2006). Political bias affects brain activity. Retrieved from: www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11009379

Porter, M. E. (1980). Competitive Strategy. NY: Free Press.

Sanders, I. (2002). To fight terror, we can’t think straight. Washington Post. Retrieved from: http://www.complexsys.org/downloads/washpostarticle.pdf

Sherard, S. (2002). Technology center to serve as hub for U of M academics. Memphis Business Journal. Retrieved from: www.bizjournals.com/memphis/stories/2002/07/22/story3.html

 

 

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Windows in trouble? What is new and what is next? http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/windows-in-trouble-what-is-new-and-what-is-next/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/windows-in-trouble-what-is-new-and-what-is-next/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 12:53:36 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42634

  Can Microsoft learn (e.g. from customers) and realize Innovations? Big, innovative thoughts have been part of Microsoft’s history. Vision videos from the late 90s and early 2000s are legendary. They envision a mobile and …

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Windows in trouble? What is new and what is next? Intelligenthq Image source: Microsoft

Windows in trouble? What is new and what is next? Intelligenthq Image source: Microsoft

 

Can Microsoft learn (e.g. from customers) and realize Innovations?

Big, innovative thoughts have been part of Microsoft’s history. Vision videos from the late 90s and early 2000s are legendary. They envision a mobile and connected world that adds unlimited value to people’s life. However, realizing those innovative ideas into new and groundbreaking products and services that customer “want more of” has been a consistent—and well-documented-struggle.

With the latest Microsoft news on layoffs, especially around the Windows and Windows Phone business (and of course Nokia), I went back to a blog post from March 2011 where I wrote about the then just upcoming tablets :

“But because now these devices can also do some of what only PCs could do in the past, the need for PCs is decreasing. Not going away, but decreasing.”

Today’s numbers certainly prove that the trend forecast was correct. Even Kevin Turner has stated at WPC that only 14% of devices run Windows today.

Much of the recent revival of PC shipment was contributed by the Windows XP “end-of-support” in April 2014. It will benefit Microsoft revenue but only in the short term in less likely in the just begun Fiscal Year 2015. In the long run, Microsoft’s future will depends on how quickly and efficiently the company will be able to respond to and create the market needs as challenger for its current and future competitors, but not only as a follower.

In 2012, I spoke at SIC about the organizational culture revolution and the need for organizations to rethink management philosophies.  Instead of clinging to industrial-era practices, management needs to look at newer economic and behavioral science insights to create the right culture and structures for success in the Innovation Economy.  In short, the new reality is that management needs to create a truly customer-focused organization which is both agile and responsive.

Of course, there are people within and around Microsoft who clearly see (because they listen to customers and partners) where the technology future is going and where the market opportunities are. But will the organization allow those insights to be shared, valued and realized?

In the near term, the business model from the 90s will continue to deliver the numbers Wall Street likes to see. The consistent work on the enterprise and cloud infrastructure platform combined with financial stability will allow Microsoft to be a key Enterprise server and infrastructure provider for a while longer.

Predicting the mid-term technology trends is not rocket science.  Technology direction and market expectations—increasing capabilities with a high ease-of-use factor—are pretty clear. However, the value scenarios (that determine the success of any innovation) are much harder to predict. Determining value is practically impossible without a customer-focused approach.  Building on the value is equally impossible if a company is not responsive and agile.  Technology and markets change too quickly for lumbering organizations.

So what is the mid-term and long-term future for Windows? And for Microsoft? Will the organization be able to unlock the innovative potential of their employees and ecosystem? While Satya’s original memo highlighted Mobile first and Cloud first  the “Productivity and Platform vision” sounds far more like protecting the revenue model from the 1990s.

Key technology trends are clear. Mobile will continue to grow, wearable devices will proliferate. With the rapid and explosive growth of the IoT (Internet of Things), the device context awareness will accelerate. Personal clouds (and their aggregation) will be ubiquitous. Big Data can provide unprecedented insights and opportunities to innovators.
Microsoft has unique opportunities around the emergence of “Super Apps” and “Spot-markets”. But will the company be able to leverage them or be out innovated by more “user friendly” approaches? The Bing App for iOS has been highly rated and very useful for the last years, but is this an indicator of what is possible or simply an anomaly?

With the enterprise focus and an end-to-end intelligent systems approach, Microsoft could be a key player (parallel to IBM) when our cities and our environment will get smarter. Or will the Redmond company leave these global and long-term opportunities also to its competitors?

Last but not least the maker movement and 3D printer sales will jump and create a new way of manufacturing. Will Windows play a role here?
After the lay-off announcement  the Microsoft Redmond community appears to be mostly in shock. The 1,300 (and growing) comments on Mini-Microsoft are more about assessing the situation than focusing on the future at this point.

What would you recommend to Satya and the Microsoft board do to have their organization realize the innovative potential of Microsoft’s vast customer base, solid technology foundation, millions of partners and an employee & “contingent staff” base of more than 180,000 brains?

And, just as important, what should the smart and motivated Microsoft employees do to have their organization realize its innovative potential?

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Guide to Social Media and Storytelling Part 2 http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-media-posts/social-media-and-storytelling-part-2-developing-compelling-content-that-customers-want-to-share/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-media-posts/social-media-and-storytelling-part-2-developing-compelling-content-that-customers-want-to-share/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 06:00:41 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42593 guide to story telling and social media

Developing Compelling Content that Customers Want to Share

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Guide to Social Media and Storytelling Part 2 Intelligenthq

Guide to Social Media and Storytelling Part 2 Intelligenthq

One of the keys to success on social media is getting content shared. Getting content shared means it gets in front of more eyeballs, and is likely to attract more customers to the business by pulling them in. It can be hard for marketers to know how to do this, after years of simply broadcasting the messages that they want to at their customers. It is the dream of most savvy social media marketers to get their content to go viral. That means that a phenomenal number of customers will see their content and will be engaging with it. Storytelling can be achieved through posts on Facebook or Twitter, videos, blog posts and infographics, as well as photographs. Understanding what can be done to get customers to want to share these content items is important.

Cameron Uganec, the Director of Marketing for the hugely successful organisation Hootsuite says:

 “When you are creating content it’s important to be mindful of what the motivation of your audience is”.

The motivation to which he refers is the motivation to share content. Uganec notes that a New York Times Insights Group reported on a study that discovered these motivations, and found them to be primarily linked to people wanting to be able to build relationships with one another. This meant that motivations for sharing included bringing content to others that was entertaining and valuable, helping to define who we are by what we share, grow and build on relationships, and spread the word about important causes and brands for that person. Uganec says that this means that for every single item of content posted, businesses need to ask themselves what value it adds to the target audience. If it will help them or entertain them they may be likely to share it. If not, they probably will not.

Infographic by Maria Fonseca

Infographic by Maria Fonseca

But sharing has an even deeper psychological context that needs to be understood as well. Uganec reports on a study published in the journal Psychological Science in 2011 which showed the psychological reason for why people share. It was found that people share because they are aroused to do so by emotional stimuli resulting from looking at some item of content. The reasons for getting stimulated to share were reported in yet another study that Uganec describes. The reasons for sharing were found to be if a story aroused any of the following: awe, amusing, moving, illuminating, inspiring, shocking, cute, sex, fear, anger and controversy.

Interestingly, as Uganec points out, the types of responses that promote sharing are either positive or negative. For example, shocking, fear and anger are negative, while awe, inspiring and illuminating are very positive responses. Working on either side of this coin will help businesses to be able to get their content shared far and wide. Uganec explains:

“It’s up to us about which side we want to propagate…. If you want to create a long-standing powerful brand you should be telling a positive story. Focus on stories that place your customer in the role of the hero”.

There are some important guidelines that Uganec has prepared for using this psychology to enable the sharing of stories via social media. The first is that the audience’s main motivation needs to be understood, and organisations need to understand that this is not just to connect with the brand, but also to connect with other friends and contact. The second step is to tell a story. The third is to make sure that you have credibility so that customers trust what you are saying. The fourths step is to keep the message straightforward and simple. The fifth is to make sure that the story includes action that will appeal to positive emotions like awe, amusement or inspiration. The final important step is to “embed a sense of urgency”.

Infographic by Maria Fonseca

Infographic by Maria Fonseca

This all might seem a bit difficult and overwhelming, but remember that we all communicate with each other by telling stories each and every day. This is what we as people do. You do know how to tell stories. You do it all of the time. All you now need to do as a marketer is learn how to adapt that skill to tell stories to customers that appeal to their positive motivations for sharing, and you’ll have viral content before you can say “once upon a time”.

Guide to Social Media and Storytelling Part 1

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How to Be a Better Company Director http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/how-to-be-a-better-company-director/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/how-to-be-a-better-company-director/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 13:23:01 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42613 better director

Running and leading a successful business at any stage of development is a tough task and a challenge that not all of us are equipped to take on. The reality is, in fact, that company directors often …

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How to Be a Better Company Director Intelligenthq

How to Be a Better Company Director Intelligenthq

Running and leading a successful business at any stage of development is a tough task and a challenge that not all of us are equipped to take on. The reality is, in fact, that company directors often have to endure any number of failures before they can achieve the kind of success they’ve been aiming for. But whether you are an experienced business leader or a novice director, there is always scope for improvement and focussing on the real issues is always essential.

With that in mind, here are 7 tips for becoming successful as a company director:

1 – Set the right goals

We will start with what is perhaps an obvious one to emphasise the point that without an ability to prioritise and plan strategically for the future, no company director can really hope to meet with much success. Clarity of vision helps bring colleagues and counterparts onto the same page and while flexibility is also important, goal-setting matters enormously in the context of operating and leading a business of any size.

2 – Learn advanced level accounting skills

There is no hiding place from an unfavourable or a particularly disastrous bottom line but a high level of accounting and budgeting skill can help directors steer their companies through choppy financial waters. And, once acquired, advanced financial management skills can stand a director in very good stead for their entire career.

3 – Hone your communication skills

Every company director needs to be able to communicate effectively with a wide array of
stakeholders, colleagues and employees. The better you can become at getting points across concisely and with clarity, the more effective you are likely to be as a business leader. Of particular focus in this context should be the way in which you are able to communicate with clients, who always want to know that their concerns are being recognised and addressed. Similarly, when it comes to negotiating under any set of circumstances, a director ought to be able to lead from the front and ensure favourable terms for their company.

How to Be a Better Company Director Intelligenthq

How to Be a Better Company Director Intelligenthq

4 – Learn to invest wisely

This is of course far more easily said than done but it is vital for directors to be able to spot and act upon investment opportunities whenever they arise. The key is to focus on investments in products and services that stand a good chance of increasing profits and delivering worthwhile returns in the longer term. An ability to make the right investment choices at the right moments is a key attribute for a business director regardless of the scale involved.

5 – Protect your reputation with creditors and suppliers

No company director or organisation can exist in a vacuum and good relations with creditors and suppliers are very often integral to the smooth running and effective operating of any kind of business. A company’s credit rating should be guarded with great seriousness and dedication because bad habits can spread and financial difficulties have a horrible habit of spiralling beyond control. Supplier arrangements should also be taken seriously by company directors in the sense that keeping relevant third parties as motivated as possible can make a big difference in terms of the level of service received. Finding ways to create stability and a close understanding between all contractors
and service providers can also help maintain progress when things are going well and soften some of the blows when difficulties arise.

6 – Be proactive about outreach

Responsibility for maintaining a steady supply of business by no means rests entirely with a company director but a proactive approach at the top can make a significant contribution to effective lead generation. A good director will have a strong understanding of the importance of effective advertising and for business-to-business operators, the role of individual directors themselves can be a vital part of the broader picture.

7 – Motivate your employees

It does not take Warren Buffet to realise that a well-motivated workforce is more likely to strive to offer their best than a poorly-motivated equivalent. Building employee morale in any way possible should therefore be a consistent priority for any company director keen to see his or her business move forward and deliver sustainable success.

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Guide to Social Media and Storytelling Part 1 http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-media-posts/social-media-and-storytelling-part-1/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-media-posts/social-media-and-storytelling-part-1/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 06:00:38 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42595 super heros

Why do Storytelling?

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Social Media and Storytelling Part 1

Social Media and Storytelling Part 1

Social media has fundamentally changed the face of the world that we live in, and we need to adapt to the new situation. In terms of business, social media has transformed how organisations have to interact with customers to be able to survive and thrive. Customers are now able to share their thoughts and opinions about businesses with hundreds of friends, all with one quick Facebook status update, or a 140 character tweet. At the same time, consumers have a lot more choice about what they decide to look at or not, online.

This has changed the way that businesses need to interact with their customers. As Cameron Uganec (2013) puts it, writing for Hootsuite: “We have a connected consumer revolution. The consumer is now in control of what they view, what they share and how they view. So there has been a major shift in terms of the relationship between consumers and marketers”. The change in relationship between consumers and businesses means that marketers have to operate differently.

According to Cameron Uganec, this means that marketers have to move away from push marketing and towards pull marketing. Customers on social media networks are not interested in being told messages from marketing departments. Rather they want to read compelling and interesting information that engages them and makes them want to interact with the organisation. So that is what marketers need to do, and that’s where storytelling comes in. Industry pundits agree on this.

As award winning branding consultant, social media specialist and blogger Simon Mainwaring puts it: “For a truly effective social media campaign, a brand needs to embrace the principles of marketing which involves brand definition and consistent storytelling.” Mainwaring explains that social media is not a “broadcast channel”. Instead it is a channel for two way dialogue, and that this should be achieved through emotional storytelling.

How to construct a great story Intelligenthq

How to construct a great story Intelligenthq

 

Stories draw customers in and as Uganec describes, they make people better able to understand the world that we live in. When people communicate with one another they are always telling stories. We describe people and places. This keeps others engaged with what we have to say. The very same principle is true of marketing through social media. If businesses want to keep customers engaged then they too need to tell stories that draw customers in and interest them. Uganec says that this is because ultimately communication is between people talking with one another rather than businesses connecting with consumers. This is a fundamental mind set change that some businesses have yet to make. Uganec explains that good marketers have always understood the importance of excellent storytelling and why customers are switched on by it.

Uganec outlines that great stories have a structure that they need to follow for success. In particular, there needs to be a beginning, a middle and an end, and there has to be a hero. There needs to be a setting and a plot. Good stories always involve conflict of some sort. In illustrating his points, Uganec provides some excellent examples of great storytelling in marketing. He hails Red Bull as having been amazingly successful in this area. In fact Red Bull has done so outstandingly well with its storytelling that media giant NBC is purchasing the rights to the stories that it has produced.

They post engaging and compelling stories on social media that people are drawn into and want to keep watching. People talk about these stories with one another both online and offline, and this is superb marketing for Red Bull. In terms of explaining the concept of conflict, Uganec uses the example of Apple’s 1984 advertisement. Watching the advertisement is quite simply not like watching an advertisement. It is like watching an interesting story, and the customer wants to keep watching to find out what will happen.

The ad can be watched here:

The ad is sinister and somewhat disturbing but it does an excellent job of making the customer stand up and pay attention. And it is still being talked about today, indicating its phenomenal success. The bottom line is that storytelling is critical to success in social media and developing a brand reputation for excellence in this area will win companies customers. It’s time to get creative and have some fun. Your customers and your bottom line will thank you for it.

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Why Meditation Is Helpful for Your Business http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/meditation-and-business-2/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/meditation-and-business-2/#comments Sun, 20 Jul 2014 06:00:16 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42420 Why Meditation Is Helpful for Your Business Intelligenthq

Meditation is an age old technique that has been used by people through the centuries to be able to relax and focus. But the idea of using meditation in business for some at least, is …

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Why Meditation Is Helpful for Your Business Intelligenthq
Why Meditation Is Helpful for Your Business Intelligenthq

Why Meditation Is Helpful for Your Business Intelligenthq

Meditation is an age old technique that has been used by people through the centuries to be able to relax and focus. But the idea of using meditation in business for some at least, is a relatively new one. Now more and more CEOs and executives are coming out of the woodwork and explaining that they too find the practice of meditation to be excellent to help them to succeed with their business. In writing of this for the Huffington Post (2013), Bruce Davis explains:

“CEOs of all types are coming forward at various conferences and media interviews describing meditation as a game change, productivity tool and a must for maximising success”.

Elaborating on this, Davis explains that for many CEOs, profits and meditation are being seen as “partners”. That is because through meditating, people are able to get the calm and focus that they need to be able to develop solutions to problems and to be able to really give their full attention to tasks. CEOs report finding meditation to be an excellent tool to promote creativity as well.

Writing for Business Insider, Jhaneel Lockhart and Melanie Hicken (2012) explain that many CEOs swear by meditation as a tool to help them to be able to achieve what they need to. Examples provided of CEOs that meditate already and the reasons given for doing so. For example Ray Dalio, the founder and CEO of the world’s biggest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates uses meditation to help him to deal with his ego and to be able to take on board critique. Mark Benioff of Salesforce.com uses meditation to relieve stress, and Andrew Cherng, the founder of Panda Express encourages his employees to meditate to be able to step back from difficult situations and focus properly. The former CEO of Medtronic, Bill George meditates on planes to make sure that he gets sufficient rest and is able to refocus before meetings. Meanwhile Def Jam Founder Russell Simmons said that transcendental meditation changed his life.

As can be seen, many CEOs are already finding meditation to be excellent for getting them back on track and focused on what is important. Meditation has many purposes. One of the main protagonists of the concept of emotional intelligence, Daniel Goleman suggests that it is helpful for developing these particular skills further. Indeed, Goleman states:

 “Mindful meditation has been discovered to foster the ability to inhibit those very quick emotional impulses.

Put another way, if you do not meditate you might be more likely to say something thoughtless that you regret, impeding your leadership skills. On the other hand, meditation can help you to get a grip on a problem and refocus on it in a way that is more positive and productive for both employees and the leader him or herself. Davis explains that meditation takes us back inside ourselves and helps to build an awareness and understanding that is “profound”. Davis argues that one of the best benefits is to be able to let go of our egos through meditation to be able to achieve better results that are more beneficial for the business. As Davis explains, meditation helps us to free ourselves from the stress and the “daily annoyance of others”, and extract us from the ongoing noise that continually surrounds ourselves. He argues that it helps us to tap into an entirely new level of human potential.

Image source: joyoftech.com

Image source: joyoftech.com

Some business leaders may think that they are so busy that they do not have time for meditation, but the case for meditation is a strong one. Looking at it from another perspective, it might be better to ask, “Do you have the time not to meditate?” since meditation drives a depth of focus that has the potential to lead to increased productivity. Others may be assuming that meditation will simply take too long, but Deepak Chopra puts us straight on that front, arguing that:

People think meditation is a huge undertaking. Don’t think of it like that.

While more meditation time is better than less, even ten minutes of meditation per day can help the mind to settle, calm down and focus on what it is supposed to be doing. It can also help avoid making mistakes by providing the ability to step back from a situation. The question for CEOs not already meditating is can you afford not to?

Another important issue is to understand that through the practice of meditation, one as a person changes as well, and that might impact as well the goals and purposes of your business. As Davis says:

“Meditation is the nexus, the seat of sacredness, the point where awareness discovers its source and new life is born. “

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Making Innovation Happen Around the World Part 2 http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/making-innovation-happen-around-the-world-part-2/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/making-innovation-happen-around-the-world-part-2/#comments Sat, 19 Jul 2014 06:00:05 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42586 i-teams

: Innovations of i-teams

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Making Innovation Happen Around the World Part 2 Image source: Nesta

Making Innovation Happen Around the World Part 2 Image source: Nesta

Innovations of i-teams

In the first article in this series we looked at what Nesta i-teams are and what they do. Now we will look at more examples in depth to gain a greater understanding of what i-teams have been achieving. Geoff Mulgan the Chief Executive of Nesta explains that:

 “All governments need institutions to catalyse innovation”

And this is what i-teams do. They do it in all different ways however.

Behavioural Insights Team

For example, the focus of one i-team that is working in London is behavioural insights. Unsurprisingly, the team is known as the “Behavioural Insights Team,” and it works with the national government of the UK. It has a mission of helping organisations to use behavioural insights in order to support people and make better choices both for themselves and for society.

The team is comprised of 32 people that have a remit to design trials in order to test policy ideas that could help to solve government problems. They have an annual spend of £1 million from the UK Cabinet Office, and they are working on getting extra funding from consultancy in the private and social sectors as well as international governments. One amazing and immediate success was that in the first two years of operation, it was able to save money for the government amounting to 22 times the cost of the team itself. It has been working on creating services that are easier to use and more effective. One task it has undertaken was understanding job seekers’ behaviour and problems. The team spent time in a job centre to understand the experience of job seekers. It was found that the job seekers had to complete nine forms and wait for two weeks to get information processed before they could even see an advisor. The team then worked with a job centre in Essex to come up with a new approach, enabling people to see advisors on their first visit.

Centre for Public Service Innovation – South Africa

In South Africa, an entirely different type of team is in operation. Named the Centre for Public Service Innovation, and launched in 2001, the team of 20 has a remit of entrenching a culture and practice of innovation in the public sector through research and development, unearthing, demonstrating, sharing and rewording innovation, as well as testing, piloting and incubating innovation, and partnering with people in the public sector, private sector and academic and civil society sectors to do so. Essentially, the organisation looks for solutions for government issues. One project has been to develop awards for innovation which attracts a great number of solutions to difficult problems. For example, a finalist in the 2008 award was a diabetic retinal screening project that has expanded from Cape Town into rural areas.

Centro de Innovacion Social-Bogotá

In Bogota, the “Centro de Innovacion Social” (the Centre for Social Innovation) tackles the challenges faced by the most vulnerable people in Colombian society by bringing social innovation to solve problems. In particular it focuses on helping those that live in extreme poverty in Colombia and it works with the national government to do so. It has a team of 16 and was launched in 2011.

Image source: Nesta

Image source: Nesta

The emphasis is on improving quality of life. One fascinating project that has been undertaken has been to develop computer games to empower children. Targeted at children aged 7 to 12, the games take on challenges like nutrition, health and child abuse. The games were registered to have been downloaded more than 40,000 times in 2013. One specific problem targeted was in a town named Chia, where data uncovered that the community had a real problem with malnutrition and difficult family dynamics. In this town, the centre is helping to develop a response to the problem. To do this it is working with 175 families to understand what the best innovations will be. It is working with the organisation “One Laptop Per Child” to achieve its goals.

i-teams have achieved great successes around the world. However it is important to acknowledge that not all i-teams have been successful. Mulgan explains:

“The Helsinki Design Lab couldn’t find the patronage or resources it needed to survive. Australia’s DesignGov didn’t survive a pilot phase”.

Nonetheless, i-teams around the world have been delivering interesting innovations and progress. It is fascinating to see where this will all go in the future.

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The Advantages & Disadvantages of Binary Options Trading http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/the-advantages-disadvantages-of-binary-options-trading/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/the-advantages-disadvantages-of-binary-options-trading/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 15:00:55 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42578 The Advantages & Disadvantages of Binary Options Trading Intelligenthq

Binary option trading is an incredibly interesting topic. It’s also a fairly new way to invest; one that many newcomers are becoming interested in. So, today we’re going to talk about what binary option trading …

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The Advantages & Disadvantages of Binary Options Trading Intelligenthq
The Advantages & Disadvantages of Binary Options Trading Intelligenthq

The Advantages & Disadvantages of Binary Options Trading Intelligenthq

Binary option trading is an incredibly interesting topic. It’s also a fairly new way to invest; one that many newcomers are becoming interested in. So, today we’re going to talk about what binary option trading is as well as the advantages and disadvantages of this type of investment. So, let’s get right to it…

What Is Binary Option Trading

Binary options are designed to be a simple investment that can work well over both short and long term periods. They work a bit different than standard investment vehicles like stocks and bonds. Instead of purchasing a part of a company as you would with stocks, you’re making a prediction if the value of a company or other underlying asset will go up or down. That’s actually the reason binary options are named binary options. Unlike standard investment vehicles, with binary options there are only 2 possible outcomes. Either you end up in the money or out of the money.

Advantages of Trading Binary Options

Trading binary options can be a great experience for investors who take the time to learn the market before investing. With that said, there are several advantages you can count on when trading. Here they are…

• Fast Returns – With most investments, you’ve got to wait months or years to start seeing high levels of profits. When it comes to binary options, it’s possible to see returns in as fast as 60 seconds. As a matter of fact, most binary options traded have expiry times of 1 day or shorter.

• High Returns – One of the most appealing aspects of binary options is the high returns associated with the trades. In most cases, you’ll see return rates at 70% or above; that’s not something you’ll generally see in the stock market.

• It’s A Numbers Game – Based on the average binary options trade, you only have to be right  55% of the time to break even. Keeping this in mind, it’s easy to see that by doing your research and making smart trades, you’ll generally come out ahead. Think about it, have you ever predicted that the price of gold or oil would increase over a period of time? Where you right more than 55% of the time? Chances are you were!

Disadvantages of Trading Binary Options

Binary option trading is a form of investment. That means that although there are advantages, there are of course going to be disadvantages. Here’s the downside to trading binary options…

• When You Lose, You Lose – When you purchase stocks, if the price of the stock goes down, you can sell and recuperate some of the initial investment you put in. This is not the case with binary options because your prediction is going to be correct, or not. You don’t purchase tangible assets. There’s nothing to sell off when your predictions are incorrect.

• Market Regulation – When it comes to investing, we’re used to doing so in regulated markets. However, there are very few regulated binary options brokers, adding to the risk associated with the investment. If you are going to trade using this form of investment vehicle then do so with a regulated broker like anyoption, or Nadex.

Final Thoughts

Trading binary options, as with any other form of investment, comes with its own unique advantages and disadvantages. However, unlike most other investment vehicles, it comes with returns that tend to be over 70%. With that said, if you’re willing to pay attention to market indicators, learn how the binary options market works, and try your hand at a trade or two; you may be surprised at the amount of money you’ve got the ability to earn.

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Making Innovation Happen Around the World Part 1 http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/making-innovation-happen-around-the-world-part-1/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/making-innovation-happen-around-the-world-part-1/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 06:00:24 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42556 europe

i-teams

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Making Innovation Happen Around the World Part 1 Intelligenthq

Making Innovation Happen Around the World Part 1 Intelligenthq

Did you know that the UK has an innovation foundation? And that innovation foundation is driving innovation around the world? The organisation’s name is Nesta and it is an independent charity to help both people and organisations to “bring great ideas to life”. The organisation achieves this by providing grants, investments, networks, skills and by helping to get research underway. In particular, the public sector needs a shake up for innovation to occur. It is critical for all governments everywhere to be able to innovate in order to succeed. As Geoff Mulgan, the Chief Executive of Nesta explains:

“In much of the world public sector innovation continue to be organised haphazardly with disparate short term incentives and the odd consultancy report or conference rather than focused effort.”

And this is what Nesta is setting out to change with its idea of i-teams. Nesta has an objective of learning from excellent new practices being developed by governments at all levels around the world to help to be able to guide political leaders and executives with innovating more successfully and consistently.

What are i-teams ?

The i-teams are units and funds that are set up by governments to make innovation occur. They look at both incremental change and radical transformation. Nesta has found such teams to generally fall into four categories. One is those that create solutions to solve specific challenges. A second is teams that work on engaging citizens, non-profits and businesses to find new ideas. The third is those that try to transform the processes, skills and culture of government. And the fourth is teams that look to drive wider policy and systems change. Many i-teams work across more than one of these categories.

From studying i-teams, Nesta defines some clear lessons that have been learned for other governments or organisations that want to set up their own i-team. One recommendation is that the i-team needs to be driven by the goal of the entity that created it. The team needs to have links with power inside government and the ability to leverage partnerships, resources and insights to achieve goals. A third is to build a team that has a great array of skills and abilities and that is comprised of those both inside and outside of government. A fourth recommendation is making sure the funding model is lean and looking to get funds from partners in order to implement ideas. A fifth recommendation is to demonstrate and communicate the i-team’s value continually. Another recommendation focuses on using cutting edge innovation, skills and tools and using good project management techniques to get things done. There is also a need to focus on action and early experimentation to see what will work, and learn or move on quickly. An eighth recommendation is to be clear about handovers and how delivery to government will work. The penultimate recommendation is to make sure to measure and quantify successes, and to not continue with things that clearly aren’t working. No list of recommendations would be complete without number 10 – to celebrate success and share credit.

i-teams that Nesta reports on are based all over the world. In the Americas there are activities in Washington DC, Boston, New York City, New Orleans and Mexico City. In Europe teams are found in London, Stockholm, Helsinki, Paris and Copenhagen as well as Barcelona. Pretoria in South Africa also has an i-team. Meanwhile in Asia teams can be found in Seoul, Kuala Lumpar and Singapore, and in Australia, in Adelaide.

Image Source: Nesta report i-teams: The teams and funds making innovation happen in governments around the world - See more at: http://www.nesta.org.uk/publications/i-teams-teams-and-funds-making-innovation-happen-governments-around-world

Image Source: Nesta report i-teams: The teams and funds making innovation happen in governments around the world

Honing in on just one example of an i-team, the fascinating work of i-teams can be better understood. In Barcelona, a small i-team of just three people is an “Urban Lab”. The team was launched in 2008, and has a remit to facilitate the use of public spaces in the city of Barcelona to carry out tests and pilot programmes on products and services with an urban impact. It is explained that the concept is to use the city as an urban laboratory. The team works with businesses to design and launch prototypes. The following video explains further what is the Barcelona Urban Lab:

To date, the team has worked with the city government to support 16 pilots and many of these have become businesses in Barcelona and in other cities. For example, one project called Urbiotica has experimented with sensors with a goal of measuring waste levels in public bins. The goal of this has been to understand how to make waste collection more efficient. In the next article in this series we will explore what other i-teams have been doing.

Making Innovation Happen Around the World Part 2

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Dogfinance organizes Finance Happy Hour in London http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/dogfinance-organized-finance-happy-hour-in-london/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/dogfinance-organized-finance-happy-hour-in-london/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 14:55:05 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42560 logo-dogfinance

Yesterday evening occurred an interesting event in the Neo Barbican in London. Entitled the “Finance Happy Hour”, the event promised to be a key networking opportunity for Dogfinance members; professionals, recruiters, and students alike. The ones who ventured to …

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Dogfinance organizes Finance Happy Hour in London

Dogfinance organizes Finance Happy Hour in London

Yesterday evening occurred an interesting event in the Neo Barbican in London. Entitled the “Finance Happy Hour”, the event promised to be a key networking opportunity for Dogfinance members; professionals, recruiters, and students alike.

The ones who ventured to go to the relaxed environment of the Neo Barbican, had the opportunity to exchange ideas, meet interesting people and start developing a professional financial network over a drink. The Finance Happy Hour is the english version of a previous pioneer event, happening in France, called the Apéro Finance in Paris. Both happenings have as their main goal to provide Dogfinance members, both professionals looking for opportunities and recruiters alike, with an opportunity to widen their connections. The event was open to curious people not yet familiar with the social network.

The “Finance Happy Hour”  was thus organized by  Dogfinance an online social networking and job platform for both job seekers at all levels who are looking for finance-related job offers,  and employers and recruiters looking for new talent. The platform enables members to apply for a wide variety of positions, spanning from multinational companies such as Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Allainz, BNP Paribas to many other smaller firms. The site also offers online CV advice and provides users with interesting editorial content such as interviews with young professionals. Dogfinance has also another rather unique quality: it filters the job adds by level of wage and offers the financial jobs seekers, personal assistance over the phone, concerning their job hunting.

The platform has grown considerably, currently having  more than 170,000 members with an average of 250,000 visitors per month. and with circa 400 new members every day. The site is owned by  Société Carrevolutis which precisely specializes in recruitment and advice.

Dogfinance was founded in 2009 by three graduates from the ESGF school of finance, and is considered to be the first site of recruitment just tailored to the financial sector. The event of yesterday is part of a plan aiming now to expand the network to other markets, such as the UK one.

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How to Find, Hire and Assess the Modern Marketer http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/how-to-find-hire-and-assess-the-modern-marketer/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/how-to-find-hire-and-assess-the-modern-marketer/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 06:00:17 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42549 Business woman using a touch pad

Perhaps in marketing, more than in any other job function, the role has transformed dramatically in the last few years. Marketing quite simply is not what it used to be. Writing for the Harvard Business …

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How to Find, Hire and Assess the Modern Marketer Intelligenthq

How to Find, Hire and Assess the Modern Marketer Intelligenthq

Perhaps in marketing, more than in any other job function, the role has transformed dramatically in the last few years. Marketing quite simply is not what it used to be. Writing for the Harvard Business Review blog, Adele Sweetwood (2014) reports that modern marketing focuses on big data and analytics. This means that today’s marketer needs to be able to leverage new skills and abilities to deal with data and analytics. Sweetwood explains that finding those people and then going on to assess their abilities, hire them, train and motivate them are fundamental to the success of creating an analytical culture and being successful with marketing in the future.

Adele Sweetwood argues that:

“Today’s marketer needs to go well beyond reporting and metrics, and be more proficient in a full range of analytics which may include optimization, text, sentiment, scoring, modelling, visualisation, forecasting and attribution”.

That sounds like a tall order, but a new type of marketer is emerging that does have these skills. These marketers have a solid understanding of data management principles and analytical strategies, and perhaps most importantly of all they comprehend the value of data to marketing and why it needs to be governed appropriately. Marketing organisations must have these skills to be able to succeed, argues Sweetwood. Indeed, she opines modern marketers need to have experience with the tools, technology and design approaches that allow data and analytics to be used effectively. This includes understanding campaign design, content performance, multi-channel integration and digital marketing, as well as personalisation, in her opinion. In all of these areas the modern marketer needs to be able to react quickly and optimize to be able to change what they are doing to meet the needs of the customer and market.

They are highly creative people. Sweetwood describes them as “inquisitive and inventive” as well as being “enthused by a culture that is advanced and agile.

Interviewing and assessing these types of people can be challenging, but Adele Sweetwood provides some helpful solutions. She recommends using certain techniques to be able to truly test these marketers’ abilities in the required areas. One is looking for examples of projects and campaigns as well as other success stories that they are able to point to that really demonstrate their success with data and analytics. Excellent examples are those that show the role that their efforts in data and analytics played in decision making and evaluation. Ideally, Sweetwood argues, marketers would have a portfolio of their marketing analytics work to be able to share with prospective employers. This should demonstrate the use of analytics and working with data in different ways and in different stages, such as during the design phase, using analytics to make strategic decisions, testing strategies and assessing performance. Marketers that will be most successful will be able to demonstrate these skills and explain how they were able to influence change through what they achieved, or alternatively what they learned from mistakes in this area.

Adele Sweetwood recommends testing candidates both verbally and using written assessments. There are specific questions that she recommends that they answer in writing. These include questions such as: How do you approach decision making as it relates to marketing planning and investments? Another is: What is the difference between metrics and analytics? She also recommends asking: How would you describe marketing data? And: What analytic approaches have been most beneficial in your marketing efforts. Other questions of importance according to Sweetwood include: What role does technology play in marketing? And: How does marketing deliver value to the organisation? Understanding how up to date the candidate is can be achieved by asking them: How has data and analytics changed for marketing? As well as: What type of advanced analytic techniques have you been exposed to in your marketing career.

Overall, the firm argument of Adele Sweetwood is that modern marketers need to be more scientific in their approach in order to be able to succeed in today’s environment. This means being able to design an approach, test it, find problems with it and understand why they are occurring and then adapting and optimising solutions. This new generation of marketers will be much more technology focused and understand the real importance and value of measurement. Do your marketers do this? Maybe it is time to follow Sweetwood’s advice.

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Solving Privacy Through Ephemerality at Glimpse http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/ephemerality-privacy-and-glimpse-interview-with-elissa-shevinsky-the-ceo-of-glimpse/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/ephemerality-privacy-and-glimpse-interview-with-elissa-shevinsky-the-ceo-of-glimpse/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 13:00:49 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42535 we need glimpse?

Interview with Elissa Shevinsky, the CEO of Glimpse

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Ephemerality, Privacy and "Glimpse": Interview with Elissa Shevinsky, the CEO of Glimpse

Ephemerality, Privacy and “Glimpse”: Interview with Elissa Shevinsky, the CEO of Glimpse

As we all know and experience, we live days sculpted by the overwhelming presence of modern technological devices. If such devices have helped our life in many ways, they have also raised new issues and worries. Everything we make in the internet leaves a digital footprint, stored in servers throughout the world. That is the very nature of the web.

Such a massive storage of data, what we call now big data, has affected our conceptions of privacy, making us more vulnerable and not in total control of all that we do. Responding to the worries of civil society in May 2014, the European Union Court of Justice ruled that ordinary Internet users have a “right to be forgotten.” The startup world hasn´t been indifferent to such problematics, and for the last few years we saw the emergence of various ephemeral apps, promising the user their so much praised privacy. Glimpse is one of such apps, that gained increased attention as the most interesting ephemeral messaging solutions. The app uses end-to-end encryption when sending messages, and keeps no user logs.

The woman behind Glimpse, is Elissa Shevinsky, that began by being a journalist & lobbyist, until she moved to the startups world. She was the founder and CEO of MakeOut Labs, a startup building online dating and social networking software, but her interest and obsession with ephemerality, led her to co-found Glimpse with Pax Dickinson, a former CTO of Business Insider. Both were involved in an episode that raised awareness to some pockets of sexism still existing in the tech startup world. Pax Dickinson, and Elissa Shevinsky ended their working partnership after he tweeted in defense of an app called Titstare. But the two later on reconciled after Mr. Dickinson wrote a public apology, and their partnership moved on to more fruitful terrain.

Intelligenthq interviewed Elissa Shevinsky about her interesting project:

Can you tell us the history of the company “weneedglimpse”

Pax and I founded Glimpse in March 2013, at the SXSW festival. But we’d been working together (on a similar idea) beforehand - he was an advisor to my last company. I’ve been obsessed with ephemerality forever, and Pax was one of the first people to share that with me. It was really intense in the early days of Glimpse. Pax was still at Business Insider, and I still was CEO of my other company MakeOut Labs. Thinking about where we were last summer makes me really appreciate where we are now – everyone is full time on Glimpse, Kelly Hoey is the best possible independent board member, our investors are super helpful and we’ve really come together as a team. I try to stop and appreciate this stuff. It took me and Pax years to put together this team – it means so much to me to have this.

How has been your experience concerning the male dominated world of tech ?

What can I say about male dominated tech? What’s really interesting to me right now is how sexism isn’t equally distributed throughout the industry. There are amazing men (and women) who want to collaborate in a respectful and productive way. The key is to find those people. That’s not just about sexism – I’ve found that the worst sexism tends to happen when people just aren’t professional for whatever reason. When people appreciate what it means to show up to work, when they take their leadership roles seriously – that’s when see more respectful and collaborative environments. The American Apparel CEO is such a great example of this – he was apparently wearing his underpants to the office. Who does that? As for work environments, well, it’s been a long time since I worked in someone else’s office. I’m fortunate to be able to run my own company and create my own environment.I think that more experienced women (and men) in tech should mentor the more junior people in the industry, and help them find their best possible career moves (which includes stuff like making introductions to friends with awesome companies that are hiring.)

How could we improve the number of women in tech ?  What can women do to change the male dominated “sexist” culture still prevalent in the tech startup world ?

This is a hard question but right now I think what the best possible thing is for women to mentor junior women interested in the industry. I’d also love to see more women angel invest.

What are your projects for the future concerning your Startup?

Glimpse is focusing on building features for our current early adopter group, which is mostly high schoolers and sorority girls. We had started out very privacy focused, and discovered that our users wanted to use the app in much more social ways. So I’m working closely now with young women from Bronx Science, and with our brand ambassadors at college sororities. Right now I’m just staying very close to our users, and focusing on what’s next with the product. A lot of the features that they’re saying they want were always part of our roadmap. So…it’s kind of cool that we can pivot like this (from “private” to “social”) and still be true to our original vision.

What is your opinion on the issues of privacy/transparency that increasingly characterize our times ?  Big Data is also one of the buzzwords of nowadays. Is it possible to realize value from Big Data ?

Data is great, but you need to know what you’re looking for and how to analyze it. There are so many different issues to get into with data but my biggest pet peeve is definitely retargeting. I’ll go shopping at Sephora or JCrew, add stuff to my cart and then decide I just don’t love those items. Then I’ll see ad after ad encouraging me to buy that cashmere sweater that I decided I didn’t really want. It’s like I’m being haunted by my abandoned shopping cart.

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The Role of Emotions in Effective Negotiations http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/the-role-of-emotions-in-effective-negotiations/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/the-role-of-emotions-in-effective-negotiations/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 06:00:05 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42490 emotions

One of the mainstays of effective business people is the ability to be able to negotiate. Being able to make deals that are appealing for both sides is challenging, but must be achieved. This is …

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The Role of Emotions in Effective Negotiations Illustration by Maria Fonseca

The Role of Emotions in Effective Negotiations Illustration by Maria Fonseca

One of the mainstays of effective business people is the ability to be able to negotiate. Being able to make deals that are appealing for both sides is challenging, but must be achieved. This is true not just of business but also of our personal lives. We continually need to be able to negotiate to be able to get what we want and need from others. Research shows that emotions have a part to play in effective negotiations. On this subject, and writing for the Harvard Business School blog, Michael Blanding (2014) outlines the work of an HBS lecturer, Andy Wasynczuk who has an outstanding understanding of this subject matter.

Andy Wasynczuk reports that emotions can have a significant impact on the negotiations that take place between parties to come to a transaction or agreement or compromise about what is reasonable. Indeed, Wasynczuk argues that emotions have a pivotal role to play, stating that,

 “I can’t imagine a good negotiator who doesn’t have either an explicit understanding about emotions or is highly intuitive about the process”.

According to Blanding, the experience that Wasynczuk bases his knowledge and understanding of emotions in the negotiation process comes from 15 years of serving as the chief operating officer for the New England Patriots. In this role he had to negotiate difficult player contracts that were worth millions of dollars. Football players get passionate about their contracts. Wasynczuk had to have the skills to be able to avoid driving a player or agent to become angry. Blanding explains how Wasynczuk countered this by going into contract talks with a smile on his face, and coming up with rational thinking for when contracts did not work out. Blanding reports that Wasynczuk would tell himself that if a player or agent was being greedy it was likely they were not just displaying this behaviour with him but also with other teams, and to make the deal would probably be an error in this case.

Emotions are an integral part of negotiations according to Wasynczuk because people have an innate sense of whether something is fair or not in their mind. This drives emotions in the negotiating arena. In particular it is explained that anger is a particularly destructive emotion in so far as negotiations are concerned. Sometimes anger will lead people to walk away from deals that may be worthwhile. However, it is also explained that anger can be used in a more positive way that shows “passion and conviction”. This can lead to a negotiation heading the right way. However, the anger must be channelled effectively. Wasynczuk explains that the anger has to be focused on the issue or circumstances and not at the person that is being negotiated with.

It is also argued that a positive attitude can be very helpful in driving better outcomes when negotiating. This is explained to be helpful because trust can be built up. In turn this can encourage information sharing and a greater level of transparency about what each side wants that can lead to a better deal being done for both sides. However, again there is a flip side. Wasynczuk describes how anger is not without its dangers. The problem with people that are happy going into negotiations is that they may have a tendency to accept less than they otherwise might. It is never a good idea to settle for something that is simply OK when something better can be achieved to the benefit of both sides.

Ultimately Blanding explains that Wasynczuk states that it is essential to be aware of the existence of the emotions when negotiating. When an understanding is gained of what those emotions are they can then be utilised to achieve success. For example, positive emotions can help the deal to move forward in a beneficial way for both parties, and it can also help to temper the more negative emotions that can ruin a good deal. Ultimately these concepts are grounded in emotional intelligence, since this is all about understanding what your emotions are and using them effectively to achieve excellent results. Wasynczuk concludes that without any emotions it would be hard to close a deal as well, since emotions are clues that help people to process information and understand each other.

Additional resource: Animation done by worldbank.org  that reviews the main principles of effective negotiations.

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Are We All Part of Generation Z ? Privacy, Selfies and Social Media http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-media-posts/generation-z-teenagers-and-social-media/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-media-posts/generation-z-teenagers-and-social-media/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 14:00:52 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42431 Generation Z feat img

Understanding how Generation Z, those that are currently teenagers,  use social media is essential to grasp the customers of tomorrow (or of today, for those businesses specifically targeting teenagers). Gaining this comprehension has been the recent endeavour …

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Are We All Part of Generation Z: Teenagers, "Selfies" and Social Media Intelligenthq

Are We All Part of Generation Z: Teenagers, “Selfies” and Social Media Intelligenthq

Understanding how Generation Z, those that are currently teenagers,  use social media is essential to grasp the customers of tomorrow (or of today, for those businesses specifically targeting teenagers). Gaining this comprehension has been the recent endeavour of a Pew Research report published in 2013. The authors of the report set out to look at the types of information that teenagers share, their use of different kinds of social media sites, their opinions about privacy and their network sizes, among others. The findings show that teenagers are interacting in interesting ways with social media. Pew Research surveyed a total of 802 teenagers to understand patterns and trends.

One of the key differences that was established, and an important point that the Pew Research report highlights as being significant is that:

“Teens are sharing more information about themselves on social media sites than they did in the past”.

That may seem like quite a strange finding, since some might think that social media does not really have much of a past, but in fact the research looked at the differences between the use of social media websites among teens in 2006, compared to that in 2012, and the six years interval has made quite a difference.

Teens were found to be much more likely to post a photo of themselves, and 91% reported that they did this, compared to 79% in the past. Additionally teens were more likely to post their school name, the city or town where they live, their email address and their cell phone number. In the case of the cell phone number the figure had risen from 2% to 20%, and with email address, the figure was 53%, up from 29%. Also, teenagers in 92% of cases post their real name. Particularly useful for marketing purposes, 84% post their interests, 82% post their birth date, and 62% post their relationship status.

What is interesting about this study is how it tends to confirm the assumption that generation Z is not concerned at all neither with issues of privacy nor (counterintuitively as it might seem) of publicity, as publicity is now something quite easily achieved and shared by many. As Brian Solis writes in a recent post on his website: 

“Privacy for the most part is something that older generations guarded. For most, privacy was and is sacred, worthy of protecting. Publicity on the other hand was almost a luxury. To earn the attention of the masses required investment and strategy. It’s almost the opposite is true among digital natives.”

The report showed that demographics had some bearing on what was shared or not. In particular older teens (14-17 year olds) were found to be significantly more likely to share certain types of content than younger teens (12 and 13 year olds). What they were more likely to share was the photo of themselves, their school name, their relationship status and their phone number. Interestingly, most kinds of data shared by boys and girls were very similar, but with one important exception. Boys were found to be far more likely to share their phone numbers than girls. In terms of race, another interesting difference was found, namely that African American social media using teens are less likely to use their real name on their social media profile. Specifically, 95% of white teens will publish their real name, but this number drops to 77% for African American teenagers.

Of note, focus group discussions that were held with teenagers expressed that teens had “waning enthusiasm” for Facebook. Nonetheless, teens tended to have an average of 300 friends on Facebook, but only 79 followers on Twitter. Teenagers expressed a need to stay on Facebook due to the socialising that it allows for, but they reported stress associated with managing reputations on Facebook and having to continually deal with the drama that occurs on Facebook. Many also did not like the number of adults on the site.

Importantly, on the issue of privacy, it was reported that:

“60% of teen Facebook users keep their profiles private and most report high levels of confidence in their ability to manage their settings”.

Girls were found to be more likely to keep access to their profiles restricted, and more than half of the teenagers surveyed had no problems with managing the privacy settings on Facebook. Interestingly for business and moving forward, few teens had any concern about third parties having access to their information on social media websites, and only 9% reported being “very concerned” about this. Younger users were much more likely to be concerned than online teens. Of note, those teens that were concerned about the access of others to their information were considerably more likely to manage their online reputations more carefully.

There are two striking conclusions to be taken from this study. One is how the concept of privacy is being totally transformed, through the hands and behaviours of the younger generation, and the other is how generation z is so interested in self expression. How to interpret these two signs, and as ways to predict the costumer/ citizen of the future ?

Get Over Privacy and Welcome Transparency

Concerning privacy,  the main lesson to be taken is how the online/offline persona is disappearing increasingly. As Solis writes:

“The line that divides online and offline character and image is rapidly, and intentionally, eroding. And for some, it’s completely vanished.”

Generation Z, also called as the digital natives, are thus transforming what we understand by “privacy”, which confirms a similar shift in the overall society, particularly noticeable in the way “privacy” issues are being increasingly addressed through the adoption of the word “transparency”, “trust” and reputation”.

Reinventing the Self Portrait through the “Selfie”

But as Brian Solis notes, when analyzing the Pew report, the study lefts out of the picture how teens increasingly use Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and many other sites, which tend to downplay the “drama” of commentary happening on facebook, rather focusing in self expression and more curated content, specifically tailored to their interests. Some of these new platforms also reintroduce secrecy, as it is the case of snapchat and glimpse.

If self expression and a relentless interest in numbers of likes, followers, and subscribers, can be interpreted as characterizing generation Z as very prone to narcissism, when everyone else is a “celebrity” or a narcissist, the concept of such a “celebrity” totally dependent and contributing to the numbers of others, just vanishes as a sand castle.

In 1999, in a thought provoking article, renowned psychologist Keneth Gregen anticipated the impact of social media technologies, what he called as “technologies of sociation”  in the conception of the “self”. His essay, entitled “self: death by technology” previewed the erosion of individualism, triggered by the effects of the online social connections on the experience/construction of a private self, now to be shaped in a totally different way.

Could we thus understand the “selfie”, massively done by everyone with the ultimate goal of providing the internet world with something upon to “comment and share”, as the vernacular version of that “erosion of the self ” proposed by Gergen ? In the same essay Gergen proposed that as a result of the phenomenon, would arise a “growing consciousness of the self as a commodity”, or a “self” constructed through polyvocality, plasticity, and de-authentication.

What about now, 14 years later?

As many have written, and teenagers give evidence, we are all now becoming part of the connected generation, as we move from being a “self” to making (thus becoming) “selfies”, aware and savvy on managing “polyvocality, plasticity and de-authentication”. It will just be a question of years until teenagers (and the rest of us) will look at the “selfie” with an high doses of laughter and increased “self” awareness on the connected character of our souls.  If so, Generation Z should thus be looked at with optimism.

Lets wait and see.

Evolution-of-the-Selfie-Infographic

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Fostering Innovation Driven Entrepreneurship in Europe http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/fostering-innovation-driven-entrepreneurship-in-europe/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/fostering-innovation-driven-entrepreneurship-in-europe/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 06:00:18 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42493 map of europe

Europe is not producing as many fast growing and innovative companies as the USA. That is the opinion of the World Economic Forum. The culture of entrepreneurship in Europe is considered to be lagging compared …

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Fostering Innovation Driven Entrepreneurship in Europe Intelligenthq

Fostering Innovation Driven Entrepreneurship in Europe Intelligenthq

Europe is not producing as many fast growing and innovative companies as the USA. That is the opinion of the World Economic Forum. The culture of entrepreneurship in Europe is considered to be lagging compared to other regions, and something needs to be done. The World Economic Forum explains that while Europe is home to five of the most innovative countries in the world (ranked in the top 10 for innovation)  the region overall falls down because the conditions in Europe are not optimal for entrepreneurs. The concern is that Europe is going to fall behind in terms of entrepreneurship if steps are not taken to foster it and the innovative approach that comes with it.

According to the World Economic Forum there are 12 pillars that drive competitiveness. These are thought to be institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market development technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation. In Europe, Finland, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands all rank very highly on the latter point, and are considered to be strong innovators. Yet work needs to be done to increase the competitiveness of Europe to be able to benefit from the innovation that already exists and drive further entrepreneurship and innovation. This requires a deep understanding of the situation. As the World Economic Forum report explains:

“Fostering innovation-driven entrepreneurship in Europe requires a comprehensive view of the entire entrepreneurial life cycle.”

The work of the World Economic Forum determined that the life cycle of an innovation-driven entrepreneurial venture has three different stages to it. These are defined as being stand up, start up and scale up. During the stand up stage the behaviours, attitudes and skills are encouraged within Europeans to fuel the desire within them to think about developing entrepreneurial businesses that are scalable. During the second stage, the start up stage, resources are pulled together to start a business. At this stage there needs to be access to money for entrepreneurs to be able to get off the ground with their innovative ideas. The third stage is scale up, and during this stage small businesses need to be able to scale what they are doing. This increases their ability to provide jobs in Europe.

12 pillars that drive competitiveness Intelligenthq

12 pillars that drive competitiveness Intelligenthq

The problem, however, has been found to be in the scale up stage, with very few European respondents to a survey carried out responding positively regarding conditions for scaling up in their country, and so this needs addressing if innovation and entrepreneurship is to be fostered. The good news is that people are motivated to change. There is a drive and energy for improving the situation to better encourage entrepreneurship in Europe. The support is there, and as mentioned by the World Economic Forum report,

“An overwhelming majority of survey respondents (87%) say they would personally support initiatives in their countries, such as the provision of educational or financial opportunities for prospective entrepreneurs”.

The World Economic Forum argues however, that what needs to happen is that stakeholders need to “focus, connect and partner” to be able to really offer this support to innovative entrepreneurs. With regard to focusing it is argued that criteria are not specific enough to help those that are interested to be able to find and invest in worthy entrepreneurial activities. On the subject of connecting it is argued that there need to be better links and connections across countries, with greater openness and inclusiveness across Europe. Regarding partnering, it is explained that there needs to be an enabling network where stakeholders are “encouraged to collaborate”, and where they can partner across different schemes to help fledgling organisations to achieve scale.

The summary of the findings ultimately is that Europe needs more of an overarching framework within which innovations will be supported. This requires the need to be visionary and put the pieces in place for the future. The World Economic Forum argues that Europe needs to have further debate on how Europe can get ready for a greater level of innovation, and nurture the types of environment that can help entrepreneurs to succeed, and to reach and conquer that all important “scale up” stage. The World Economic Forum is continuing to support work that helps to promote innovation driven entrepreneurship, and it will be interesting to see where this all goes.

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Startup Investing and the Crowdfunding Revolution http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-solutions/startup-investing-and-the-crowdfunding-revolution/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-solutions/startup-investing-and-the-crowdfunding-revolution/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 13:00:13 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42477 Startup Investing and the Crowdfunding Revolution Intelligenthq

Changing the way we invest Startups are meant to be disruptive. Innovative, zealous entrepreneurs are always looking to capitalize on opportunities in lucrative, growing markets. The financial service industry, once dominated by a handful of …

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Startup Investing and the Crowdfunding Revolution Intelligenthq
Startup Investing and the Crowdfunding Revolution Intelligenthq

Startup Investing and the Crowdfunding Revolution Intelligenthq

Changing the way we invest

Startups are meant to be disruptive. Innovative, zealous entrepreneurs are always looking to capitalize on opportunities in lucrative, growing markets. The financial service industry, once dominated by a handful of large institutions, has migrated towards social online platforms, allowing smaller, more versatile firms to provide unique opportunities to potential investors. Information on stocks, funds and investment opportunities, which were once only accessible to Wall Street stockbrokers, can now be found 24/7 on one of many online forums, resulting in  a new breed of savvy, well-informed investors.

Equity crowdfunding is perhaps the most significant product of this evolution towards online platforms, garnering the interest of entrepreneurs and angel investors everywhere. The crowdfunding model grants startup companies access to often hard-to-obtain early stage capital, while also allowing individual investors a shot to get in at the ground floor and invest in what could become the next Facebook. Zack Miller, partner at OurCrowd said, “Crowdfunding appears to be one of the few emerging trends that promises to fundamentally change the way we invest.”

Introducing OurCrowd

Israeli startup, brainchild of serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist Jon Medved, has introduced a new method of startup investing to appeal to a new breed of sophisticated, hands on investors.

Traditionally, venture capital investing was an asset only made available to ultra high net-worth individuals. The investment process required institutions or wealthy individuals to cut a large check to the venture capital fund and leave all discretion as to the allocation of that check in the hands of the fund manager.

Now, through OurCrowd’s platform, individual accredited investors worldwide can discover, research and invest in curated startups, cutting the often-expensive financial advisor out of the equation. OurCrowd, in a nutshell, synthesizes an unprecedented access to deal flow with the full investment discretion of angel investing, all on one proprietary online platform.

Perhaps the most disruptive aspect of OurCrowd’s novel platform is that the investors have the ability to choose which companies to invest in, allowing them to build a truly robust, diverse portfolio of startups, mitigating some of the risk involved in startup investing. The platform also provides full due diligence reports, presentations and deal terms so that investors can make the most informed investment decisions possible.

The Rise of Crowdfunding

“Crowdfunding,” or the pooling of capital from groups of individuals, is quickly spreading into all of the major industries. Now, people can invest smaller amounts of capital into real estate, personal loans, private companies and even into the future earnings of other people, in hopes of seeing a return on investment. The total global crowdfunding market (including donation based crowdfunding, which is not for profit) is estimated to reach $10 billion by the end of 2014. Of that $10 billion, an estimated 7% ($700 million) will be from “equity crowdfunding,” or the pooled investments from multiple investors in a private company.

Equity Crowdfunding and “Crowdbuilding”

The traction of the fledgling equity crowdfunding market offers the perfect solution for both startup CEOs and investors looking to diversify their assets into more aggressive ventures. Cash-strapped early stage companies can now approach equity crowdfunding platforms like OurCrowd, and access that much needed, early stage capital, while investors can now add private companies to their investment portfolio.

Another added benefit of the crowdfunding model is what OurCrowd likes to call “crowdbuilding.” The structure of OurCrowd’s platform creates a mutually beneficial drive for the investors and founders of a company, to grow and succeed. The risk associated with startup investing incentivizes investors to support their investments in any way that they can.Unlocking this power of “the crowd” invested in a single company has the potential to be more helpful to a company’s growth than money.

All in all, this powerful new funding model is proving to be quite successful. With crowdfunding companies like OurCrowd already managing large startup portfolios and allowing thousands of investors around the world to access exciting investment opportunities.

Additional Resource:

In the following video John Medved, the founder of OurCrowd, explains the purpose of OurCrowd.

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Four Factors Revolutionising the Financial Services Industry http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/revolutionising-the-financial-services-industry/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/revolutionising-the-financial-services-industry/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 06:00:17 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42482 financial feat mg

Technological change is impacting four sectors, and the financial services industry is no exception to this. Financial services have already transformed tremendously over recent years. First there was internet banking, and then “chip and pin” …

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Four Factors Revolutionising the Financial Services Industry Intelligenthq

Four Factors Revolutionising the Financial Services Industry Intelligenthq

Technological change is impacting four sectors, and the financial services industry is no exception to this. Financial services have already transformed tremendously over recent years. First there was internet banking, and then “chip and pin” services. Now there is “contactless” that allows a person to pay for goods and services without entering a card into a machine. Yet writing for Bank Innovation in 2014, Kosta Peric (of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ) argues that there is a lot more yet to come. Indeed, Peric explains that:

“A new wave of technological change is right beyond the next hill, really in the next couple of years. Its most visible symptom is the hyper-connectivity to the internet”.

Peric argues that this has driven changes in a range of different areas, including the use of bitcoin, open APIs to allow consumers to carry out business services via the internet, open source hardware and applications and crowd sourced identity schemes.

Before exploring these in more depth it is helpful to understand the drivers of the change. There are a number of factors driving change in the financial services industry according to Kosta Peric. The first is that the internet can no longer be described as being in its infancy. It has been in existence for 20 years and the consequence of that is that people under the age of 40 have not really functioned without it too much in terms of at work or socially. Even younger people have never even known a life without it at all. These people have greater expectations of financial services (and other industries) than ever before. Another driver is that there are more than two billion people who have no access to financial services through the traditional systems. They have to use cash all of the time. This is partly because a lot of them may be inaccessible and in rural areas. However, as Peric explains, many of these people do have a mobile telephone and this can be used to help to include them in the system in new ways. The third change is that the way people use financial services is different. People now use smartphones and tablets to access financial services and perform tasks associated with managing their money. However, Peric explains that this is usually a complex process requiring the use of many apps. There are calls for a more streamlined approach to being able to manage financial assets. Peric believes that these factors ahead of any other are driving innovation in this field.

Looking at the four innovations in turn, Peric explains that they are:

1. Bitcoin – Bitcoin has been on a rocky road so far, and has been susceptible in some cases to hacking and other challenges. However, bitcoin is emerging as a currency, and is starting to develop the attributes that are likely to make it considerably more used in the general population. It is argued by Peric that once this develops further, these types of currency will be much quicker to use, more secure and even easier to use than current banking options. Customers will be interested due to the low cost of the system and no fees paid to intermediaries.

2. The Business API – a business API is an application programming interface that allows functions to be integrated with one another more easily. In this regard, APIs are able to “grow volumes from existing customers and attract new customers without friction”, argues Peric. APIs may allow consumers to be able to open systems in new ways. For example, a business named Stripe is working to provide businesses the ability to process electronic payments by using their APIs.

3. Crowd Sourced Social Media Based identity system – Peric argues that these systems will be helpful in better understanding your customer – a concept that he calls “Know Your Customer”. This helps to be able to more easily identify customers and confirm their identities, as well as to allow them to open accounts and process transactions. Steps are being taken to be able to confirm identities much more quickly and simply than opening many documents and checking them manually. It is argued that people’s digital reputation will form an important role in this process going forward.

4. Open Source – open source is being used to work on coming up with solutions for many different financial systems and problems faced. This is helping to drive innovation in the industry. It will eventually enable customers to own their own accounts and operate them themselves, and to combine different financial services via platforms.

At Bank Innovation 2014 in Seattle, Kosta Peric describes how innovation can take place at banks using his metaphor of “the castle and the sandbox.  An excerpt of his talk can be watched here:

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Small Business Guide to 3-D Printers http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education/small-business-guide-to-3-d-printers-2/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education/small-business-guide-to-3-d-printers-2/#comments Sun, 13 Jul 2014 06:00:45 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42423 3D printing

3D printing may seem like an invention for the future, but it is starting to become a reality. It will not be long before 3D printers adorn corporate and home offices, as the pace of …

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Small Business Guide to 3-D Printers

Small Business Guide to 3-D Printers

3D printing may seem like an invention for the future, but it is starting to become a reality. It will not be long before 3D printers adorn corporate and home offices, as the pace of development of this technology is increasing all of the time. 3D printing is described as being the process by which a physical object is produced from a digital model that is three dimensional. The 3D object is produced by the printer receiving a file that is produced from a 3D modelling programme such as those made by computer aided design (CAD). This file is sent to the printer and the design is reduced to horizontal layers that need to be created. The layers are printed continually on top of one another until the 3D object is finally created. The ramifications for businesses that produce products rather than services are phenomenal. The 3D printing approach will also have benefits for product modifications, enabling businesses to see what the new product will look like faster.

Writing for the Entrepreneur Handbook in 2014, Misha Vaswani explains that:

“At present, unit production costs are still too high to make large-scale additive manufacturing economically feasible”.

However, Misha goes on to explain that this does not mean that 3D printing cannot add value to small businesses, because it can. One of the ways it can do this, according to Misha is by printing personalised components that can be added to a product that already exists. Another is explained to be the production of small personalised gifts. For businesses that have this as their product type, 3D printing could be an excellent way forward. Misha also explains that prototyping is another excellent use to which 3D printing can be put, enabling a cost-effective approach that is faster to achieve. Spare parts can also be printed by 3D printers. Misha even argues that marketing products like small giveaway products could be generated by 3D printers.

The following video, done by “the creators project” explains to us the possibilities of 3D printing:

If you have decided that a 3D printer will add value to your business, then it is important to be able to select one based on your needs. Misha Vaswani also has words of wisdom to add in this regard, to aid the selection process. So what should you consider? One of the most important factors according to Misha is the quality of output that you hope to achieve. It is explained that products produced by 3D printing so far still show the lines on them from the different print layers that were created to generate the object. However, it is explained that plastic shows this more than metals and composites do. Misha explains that some printers use an approach that cures a resin base material with a laser, and this can be a better option for achieving quality.

Other factors of relevance when choosing a 3D printer according to Misha Vaswani are size and cost. Size is important to think about. Smaller printers are fine for small products, but when products are bigger, then printers will correspondingly need to be bigger to meet the needs of the printing. Cost is relevant on two fronts according to Misha. One is the fact that there is the cost of the printer itself in the first place. The second is the cost of the per unit production, which will also be a consideration, and this can vary a great deal, depending on the ability of the machine to produce units and the speed at which it does so, as well as the filament that is used in the printing process. Some businesses may not want to purchase their own 3D printer, and these organisations may benefit from using 3D printing hubs. This allows the organisation to pay for the use of the printer for ad-hoc tasks that may be required.

3D printing is not just being used to print products. As Misha explains it is also being used for all kinds of other ground breaking activities. Perhaps one of the most exciting is how it is being used for the creation of organ tissue. Even more exciting is the fact that this type of printing has already resulted in products that have been used for reconstructive surgery in people. If you think your business does not need or could not benefit from 3D printing then you may want to think again, as 3D printing is really pushing the boundaries further every day.

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Guide to Socially Responsible Investing http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/guide-to-socially-responsible-investing/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/guide-to-socially-responsible-investing/#comments Sat, 12 Jul 2014 06:00:56 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42429 socially responsible investing feat

Investing has not traditionally been an area where social responsibility has necessarily played a leading role, but there are increasing calls for investors to invest in a socially responsible manner. One of the challenges with …

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socially responsible investing Intelligenthq

socially responsible investing Intelligenthq

Investing has not traditionally been an area where social responsibility has necessarily played a leading role, but there are increasing calls for investors to invest in a socially responsible manner. One of the challenges with that is how to go about it, and many investors do not know where to start. Another fairly important point is that investors need to know what it means to them to be “socially responsible”, as for some this means different things, and people have different concepts of and perceptions of social responsibility and ethics. Writing for Business Insider, in 2012, Jill Krasny attempts to help investors to be able to invest, “and save the world at the same time”, by providing some useful guidelines that they can follow.

To start with and perhaps addressing the problem of what social responsibility means, Jill Krasny explains that it is important to understand one’s own goals in this regard. People should look inside ask themselves what socially responsible investment means to them. As explained by Krasny:

 “For some it’s about progressive social issues and social justice issues. For others it might be labelled as faith-based investing”.

This means that who you are and what you stand for will have a significant influence over what you might consider to be “socially responsible investing”. Krasny suggests also researching company websites and understanding what their views are on social responsibility. This could mean reviewing “Corporate Social Responsibility” sections on some company websites, but also researching in the news and media bout the reality of the company’s behaviour. After all, it is one thing to post articles on a company website saying that the company is committed to building up communities, but it is quite another to put their money where their mouth is and actually have done this to deliver real results, rather than passing gestures only. This type of research will help to identify if a company that claims to be socially responsible actually still uses sweatshops in Bangladesh, for example. Krasny also recommends asking a financial advisor, though this will depend on whether the advisor has an interest in this area, because if not, he/she may not have any more knowledge than you in this regard.

The following short video summarizes what is socially responsible investing:

Social Funds is another website that helps with the practicalities of socially responsible investing. The website contains extensive information on personal finance to help people to be able to invest in a socially responsible manner. The website includes information on socially responsible investing mutual funds, community investments, corporate research, share owner actions and daily social investment news, helping those that want to invest get a real sense of social responsibility on the part of organisations. There is a guide to community investing which can be helpful for those that are interested in this particular area. There is also a free Socially Responsible Mutual Funds guide, which provides a depth of information that can help to invest responsibly. The guide provides information on how socially responsible invested funds are used to achieve social and environmental objectives by organisations. These types of guides can help to provide you with greater depth of information to be able to better assess organisations for their level of social responsibility and if their values match your own.

An alternative website to look at, according to Jill Krasny is the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investing.  This website is helpful because it holds a wealth of information that can help to guide and add value to your research on socially responsible investing. Particularly helpful for beginners might be the “SRI Basics” section, which offers documents and other materials that can help you to understand the different kinds of environmental, social and governance factors that might guide your investment decision making process.

EIRIS is another excellent resource, packed with information on socially responsible investment. The mandate of EIRIS is to “empower responsible investment”. The organisation is itself a social enterprise, and it makes independent assessments of organisations regarding their level of environmental, social and governance (ESG) approaches, to provide you real information on which to base your investment decisions. The data in these reports is comprised of information gleaned from NGO reports, trade journals and media coverage. This helps investors to be able to see which companies are really addressing issues and which are not. Risks of investing are also presented, to help investors with prudence.

Additional resource: video produced by Wharton Business School, of a lecture by finance Professor Alex Edmans on “Socially Responsible Investing: Doing Well by Doing Good.”

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Four Types of Alternative Finance for Businesses http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/four-types-of-alternative-finance-for-businesses/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/four-types-of-alternative-finance-for-businesses/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42438 four business feat img inside

The world and its individual economies have moved on in a million ways since the onset of the financial crisis of 2008 but, in certain respects, its impact is still being felt and particularly by …

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Four Types of Alternative Finance for Businesses Intelligenthq

Four Types of Alternative Finance for Businesses Intelligenthq

The world and its individual economies have moved on in a million ways since the onset of the financial crisis of 2008 but, in certain respects, its impact is still being felt and particularly by small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Put simply, it remains painfully and often dauntingly difficult for SMEs and many of their larger counterparts to secure access to funds and finance they can use to build and support their operations.

At least, that is the case in the context of traditional routes to funding such as bank loans. But, while the big banks in the UK, Europe and elsewhere remain broadly reluctant or unable to offer credit to SMEs, increasingly popular and reliable alternative sources of finance are emerging.

Here are 4 of the most common currently available:

1 – Invoice factoring

Maintaining cash flow at levels that are sustainable and which afford a measure of flexibility are vitally important for every SME, regardless of the sector they operate in or the nature of their services. Hold ups in being paid from clients therefore can be a serious headache for companies whose access to cash and liquid assets is limited. Invoice factoring offers a straightforward solution to these issues and allows businesses to raise funds in the short term by selling all or part of amounts owed by clients. There are fees to be paid when taking up the option of invoice factoring but SMEs very often place higher value on the prospect of getting paid much more quickly than they otherwise might.

Another aspect of the appeal of invoice factoring is the potential for company directors to avoid taking on debts for their businesses on the basis of personal guarantees. Invoice factoring agreements are reached on the basis that a company’s clients will pay monies owed and that when they do lenders then take their share as agreed. So, there is no need for individual directors to become involved on a personal financial level in order to secure funds for their companies.

2 – Invoice discounting

Invoice discounting is almost entirely the same as invoice factoring and it is founded on the same principle of raising funds on the basis of future payments from clients. The key distinction is that with invoice discounting, a company continues to liaise with customers with regard to payments and remains responsible for securing monies owed as agreed. In the case of invoice factoring, the buyer of the invoice takes responsibility for ensuring that all relevant payments are received. There are benefits on both sides of the coin when it comes to deciding between invoice discounting or factoring. Smaller businesses might view the shifting of responsibility for collecting debts to a third party as a bonus, whereas other companies might prefer to maintain communications around payments entirely in-house while still raising funds through invoice discounting. In either case, the fees involved are usually between 10% and 20% of the value of the invoice in question.

Four Types of Alternative Finance for Businesses

Four Types of Alternative Finance for Businesses

3 – Asset financing

A wide variety of SMEs, particularly those based entirely in online environments, can operate without much need for expensive equipment or tools. There are, however, a great many businesses that need upfront investments in order to get started and to achieve any level of sustainability. Traditionally, it has been the role of banks or other money lenders to provide credit for vital purchases to companies that need them. In today’s broadly risk-averse financial climate, this kind of funding can be difficult to access and asset finance presents a very viable alternative means of achieving the same end. Asset finance essentially gives companies the option of leasing equipment, vehicles or tools of any kind that are central to the viability of their business.

4 – Asset refinancing

SMEs can often find themselves facing acute cash flow problems despite owning a variety of expensive assets. When this situation arises, tangible assets can be sold and leased back under the terms of an asset refinancing arrangement.

The alternative finance market has evolved dramatically since the financial crisis at the end of the last decade and savvy SMEs are finding new and innovative ways of accessing the funds they need to survive and plan for the future. Every situation is different and directors looking at their alternative funding options need to seek out the best advice and support they can find to be sure of picking the right route to fresh finance.

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