Intelligent Head Quarters http://www.intelligenthq.com Business intelligence innovation network for growth education change Wed, 20 Aug 2014 07:48:04 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Guide to Gamification Part 3 http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/guide-to-gamification-part-3/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/guide-to-gamification-part-3/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 06:00:00 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43068 gamification

Applications of Gamification

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Guide to Gamification Part 3

Guide to Gamification Part 3

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

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

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

Vaughn argues that this concept is out of date, though of course it would be interesting to know what Tesco, Nectar and Boots have to say about that, given that at least in Tesco’s case, the clubcard has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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guide to Gamification Part 1
Guide to Gamification part 2

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

What Works?

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Guide to ramification part 2
Guide to gamification Part 2

Guide to gamification Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Carbon-connect AG: Contributing to a Greener Future Intelligenthq

Carbon-connect AG: Contributing to a Greener Future Intelligenthq

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

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

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

What is Carbon-connect AG?

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

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

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

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

The services provided by the company are varied including:

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

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

Image source - Uninewsworld.org

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

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

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

What is carbon offsetting?

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

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

The following video illustrates how cabon offsetting operates:

How Carbon-connect AG works

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

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

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

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

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Guide to Gamification Part 1 http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/guide-to-gamification-part-1/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/guide-to-gamification-part-1/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 06:00:08 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43070 gamification

What is Gamification?

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Guide to Gamification Part 1

Guide to Gamification Part 1

What is Gamification ?

“Games are the new normal” Al Gore

Gamification is a term that has been out there for some time, but ask people what it means and you’ll see many left scratching their heads. That’s surprising in some ways because gamification has quite a simple meaning, which is that it uses game mechanics and design to be able to engage people to achieve goals. Basically, gamification takes the human desire to succeed in games and propels that towards aspects of life such as status and achievement. There have been big predictions for gamification, and Gartner found that by 2015 more than 70% of Global 2000 organisations will have at least one application that is gamified according to Badgeville.

Gamification is based on complex factors of psychology such as behaviour, personality and motivation. When organisations understand these factors and how they can make them work for their business then they will have greater chances of success with building gamifications that work. Gamification is naturally designed to encourage people to compete and to achieve goals, as well as to collaborate. For example, one gamification technique is offering rewards to people that carry out surveys for companies. Other approaches that are used as part of gamification include badges and points according to Badgeville. These promote the status of individuals and demonstrate their expertise and accomplishments. A good example of this can be seen by looking at the TripAdvisor website. On this site people submit reviews of hotels they have stayed at, tours they have taken and restaurants that they ate at. When they complete so many restaurant reviews they get a restaurant badge. The same thing is true of hotels and tours or activities. Overall people get recognised on the site for their different levels of contribution, working their way up through the ranks to becoming Expert contributors when they have submitted a lot of reviews that people also find helpful. This is good for TripAdvisor because it leads to them getting a lot of reviews. For those that submit the reviews they achieve the status and recognition for the efforts that they have put in. This is a fine example of gamification in action.

Gamification can be measured to some degree through interaction, and in the case of TripAdvisor, user-based content. It can also be measured by loyalty, the time spent on the site and the level of customer interest and engagement with the company. All of these are very positive factors for an organisation, and this is why many companies are clamouring to provide gamification in some way. Even supermarkets and airlines are doing it through clubcards and frequent flier points. The more points you get the more discounts or benefits you are entitled to. This makes people want to collect points and it encourages them to do so because they want the rewards for taking part.

Big Data and Gamification

Badgeville, a key proponent of gamification argues that big data has a lot of value to add to gamification. Big data can be utilised to better understand customers and influence their behaviour by understanding their behaviours, attitudes and approaches in the first place and then utilising that information to drive people to behave in particular ways. It is critical in being able to achieve this to understand why people act in a certain way, and this can be used to creatively generate new ideas that can take them further. Tracking how these different ideas work (or not) can lead to organisations continually improving what they are doing in this regard.

However, organisations need to take care when implementing gamification according to expert game designer Tadhg Kelly. Kelly warns that companies that implement badges, levels, experience points and achievements need to tread gently and that “familiarity breeds contempt”. Of course Kelly also acknowledges that people understand these terms and that is why they work. However, he also argues that these approaches can be cringe worthy as customers have encountered them over and over and over again. He explains that these techniques, though tried and tested, are now highly recognisable to customers and can be off putting. Organisations that can be more innovative in this regard rather than using tired old techniques that are now years out of date may find that they have greater chances of success with gamification.

Infographic done by Engine Yard

Infographic done by Engine Yard

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Guide to Creativity in Business Part 4 http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/guide-to-creativity-in-business-part-4/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/guide-to-creativity-in-business-part-4/#comments Sun, 17 Aug 2014 06:00:32 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43050 creativity in business part 4

How the Most Creative Do It

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Guide to Creativity in Business Part 4 Intelligenthq

Guide to Creativity in Business Part 4 Intelligenthq

Imagination drives creativity and it is creativity that makes today’s business world go around. In this series we have explored how to map the creative environment, the steps to take to foster creativity, and we have learned why creativity is a leadership skill of the utmost importance. As famous writer J.K. Rowling says:

“Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power to that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.”

Quote by J.K. Rowling Intelligenthq

Quote by J.K. Rowling Intelligenthq

But how are organisations putting this to use to come up with ground breaking new ideas? As various reports suggest,  many organisations are thinking about human needs with imagination which allows them to come up with new ideas to solve previously challenging problems, or even problems that we did not even realise existed.

For example, one innovative new technology start-up is driving innovation through things. The company is called SmartThings and it is using the Internet of Things innovations and technology to automate all kinds of activities that you just do as a part of your daily life – but you won’t have to for much longer. For example, SmartThings can automate the switching off of appliances. Ever worried that you’d left an appliance on? Forgotten if you locked the front door behind you or not? SmartThings is poised to help here. As well as safety and security, this organisation has the ability to deliver you savings.

Do you enjoy flying? Maybe not, but maybe you’d enjoy it more with innovations from Routehappy. According to a report made by Incredo, Routehappy enables you to “find a flight that fits your personality and needs”. Not only this, but it also helps you to secure a cheaper price. What could be better? Different functions like flyer ratings and happiness scores also help you to identify the best flight for you.

Then again, maybe if you truly hate flying and avoid it at all costs, you might prefer to know what other innovative companies are doing to help you to travel on the ground instead. That is the case of Lyft is a start-up organisation, which is an example of a company embracing the sharing economy, that provides people with the opportunity to be able to share lift services with each other, which makes travelling much cheaper. Lyft itself relies on donations to keep operating. You may think it doesn’t sound all that safe to get in a car with a stranger, but Lyft is able to check out driving records and criminal records so you can feel much safer about taking that ride.

Those looking for a mate might prefer to not go anywhere but instead download the Tinder app to their phones. Tinder allows you to “swipe left” or “swipe right” to find a partner. You simply click yes or no until you find the partner of your dreams. When there’s a match you are notified, and you can choose to message them or simply to “keep playing”. This is driving considerable change in the online dating industry, and the best part is that the app is free.

Some prefer the quiet life, and Incredo explains how technology start-up Buddhify can help with this. Buddhify helps to reduce stress by helping people to go about their daily activities while also introducing calm and meditation into the daily routine. As Incredo suggests, “I don’t have to be so stressed and overwhelmed anymore. I can return to serenity and still go about my daily routine”.

Studio XO is also an highly innovative company that operates at the intersection of science, technology, fashion and music. The aim of Studio XO is to develop technologies and products that capture intimate physiological data, and reveal the emotional interactions. Seamlessly integrating new technologies special effects with innovative fashion design they aim to create digital couture experiences. In the following video is an example on how Studio XO operates> In it Studio XO collaborated with the cutting-edge contemporary choreographer and Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Wayne McGregor on his show Atomos, by creating their costumes.

Hopefully this series has inspired you and your organisation to get creative. After all, did you imagine that you needed these innovative ideas before you read about them? Foster creativity and you may just find that your organisation is the next big thing.

Guide to Creativity in Business Part 1
Guide to Creativity in Business Part 2
Guide to Creativity in Business Part 3
Guide to Creativity in Business Part 4

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Algorithms, AI, Robots, And A World Without “Work” http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/redefining-humanity-without-work-the-robot-economy-part-1/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/redefining-humanity-without-work-the-robot-economy-part-1/#comments Sat, 16 Aug 2014 06:00:06 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43023 robots

Series on the Robot Economy Part 1

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Algorithms, AI, Robots, And A World Without "Work" Intelligenthq

Algorithms, AI, Robots, And A World Without “Work” Intelligenthq

For many, the idea of robots in the work place seems like a subject for a Hollywood blockbuster rather than an actual reality. But all that is about to change. Significant developments are underway, and robots are already able to do some of the work that humans previously did. Over a series of articles, Intelligenthq will look at the impact of robots and alike on the economy and society in general.

Robots as a Working Force

If  a world dominated by the machine used to pertain exclusively to the world of novels and films, it seems like such a scenario is not the case anymore, as technology and “robots” are already ubiquitously present in our world in unimaginable ways. The robots are well on their way to being a workforce reality and this leads many to question what that means for the world of work. Some are left wondering whether they will even have a job at all, if a robot is able to do what they do quicker and more efficiently. It probably can’t do the same job cheaper yet, but those days are around the corner too.

In a recent article by Chris Farrell (2013) in Bloomberg Businessweek, W. Brian Arthur, a scholar at the Palo Alto Research Center’s Intelligent Systems Laboratory was interviewed. He had some interesting thoughts on this subject, namely:

 “The big problem from 2010 on, is distributing all the wealth, getting it into human hands”.

In the view of Arthur, factors like wealth generating machines, algorithms and artificial intelligence will all lead to a very productive economy but the problem is that a lot of the work will be done by robots and systems rather than people. Yet Farrell argues that despite these comments it is most likely that there will still be jobs. Those jobs will be different. But society is used to change. If we think back to images presented to us of 100 years ago, many people worked in factories, while now developed nations largely work in the services sector rather than manufacturing. That was a major change of paradigm and we handled it and moved forward in a productive and positive manner. Farrell suggests that it is very likely that the same will happen in this case also.

The scholar even suggests possible types of work that are likely to grow that robots may be less likely to be able to help with in the short term at least. One such example is looking after the aging Baby Boomer population, since almost one fifth of the population in developed countries will be comprised of people over the age of 65 by 2030. The challenge with that situation is that looking after older people is not exactly high paid work that people are clamouring to do (rightly or wrongly).

The following video, done by Wired, lets you see the unimaginable things robots are already doing. That is the case of the robot BettyBot, that operates in  a warehouses not accessed by human, that is able to retrieve your purchase and deliver it to you as fast as possible, with the help of a software.

 

Humans Without Work

In a feature in the New York Times in 2013 Ross Douthat also discusses the realities of a world without work. But Douthat does not focus on the impending arrival of robots taking blue collar jobs away from people that need them. Rather, he explains that people will naturally move away from work anyway and that this is already occurring. People are actively choosing to be “unemployed” and do different things with their lives, argues Douthat. He explains that these people are not those that are seeking work and cannot find it. Rather they are proactively finding ways of existing, in a manner that is more or less permanent without a steady job in the traditional sense. People at all levels of the work force are doing this, and as Douthat explains this is especially true at the bottom of the work force rather than the top. This might be considered to be rather convenient as this is where robots will take precedence in the future, most likely. Douthat says of this:

“Long hours are increasingly the province of the rich”.

It is true, they are. And that may not be considered a positive change. For anyone doing longer hours could not be seen to be a positive change, especially in light of the arguments for a work life balance. But Douthat argues that rather than considering this as some sort of post-apocalyptic disaster this change should be considered in line with a previous 19th century dream of a post-work utopia where people no longer have to participate in the work place due to “material progress”.

Of course, as Douthat explains, many consider the concept of giving up a job to be irresponsible. Yet if people can make it work, the question might be why should they not do so. And Douthat opines that this argument may be further enhanced by considering whether that makes people flourish or not. If people can gain more satisfaction by living their lives in a different way, then maybe now is a good time for the robots to move in after all.

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How outsourcing transformed my business overnight http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/how-outsourcing-transformed-my-business-overnight/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/how-outsourcing-transformed-my-business-overnight/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 14:00:22 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43039 outsourcing

Guest Post by James Timpson The thought of parting with hard earned cash may sound gut wrenching; however, over the years I learned that smart delegation can yield phenomenal results. From accounting to cold calling, …

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Outsourcing was a more viable option for my business that an in-house solution.

Guest Post by James Timpson

The thought of parting with hard earned cash may sound gut wrenching; however, over the years I learned that smart delegation can yield phenomenal results. From accounting to cold calling, when I first started my business I did everything myself. I knew that running a business was time consuming, but I didn’t know that it would literally take over my life.

People had suggested outsourcing certain tasks for years, but I was always a little apprehensive. It wasn’t until I started expanding my operation that I saw the true value. And since that moment I’ve never gone back. Featured below is a list of how outsourcing helped me achieve success.

Freed up my time

Working too much actually hindered my productivity, especially towards the end of each month when I was under pressure to meet deadlines. This caused a snowball effect that was very difficult to solve. While I was reluctant to outsource at first, the burden it lifted from my shoulders was worth the investment alone.

Outsourcing also allowed me to concentrate on more revenue generating tasks, which has
significantly expanded my client base. In addition I now have more time for my family, which has led to a much better work/life balance.

Saved me money

When I first started expanding my business I considered hiring an employee to undertake all of the mundane activities; however, after speaking with a recruitment agency I realized that it would have cost me roughly £2,000 in overheads alone. I didn’t consider the office space, equipment and training costs that would’ve been involved before they even started working.

Outsourcing reduced these overheads and allowed me to distribute my excess funding elsewhere. I now rent a serviced office for one day a week through Skyline Offices, which has given my business a prominent address in Central London. This is something I would’ve never been able to afford had I hired an employee.

Increased my revenue

I’m quite versatile, but I’m certainly not a business guru. While I know a little about accounting procedures, computer programming and marketing through trial and error, I’m far from professional. Outsourcing these activities has significantly increased my revenue because I’ve been able to focus on my primary job rather than spreading myself thin; therefore, I’ve done better work. Business is about quality, so providing excellent services and pricing accordingly is paramount. Outsourcing has allowed me to put more effort into my work; therefore I’ve been able to raise my prices and justify the costs without any problems.It taught me to be ruthless.

Of course, this isn’t always a positive; however, in the past I was prone to bartering and often felt that contractors were trying to take advantage of my good nature. When I first started outsourcing I had a few issues when I hired some poor freelancers who didn’t deliver. It was the first time I had to argue for a refund – which I eventually received.

After having a problem I decided that in the future I would always stand my ground. I offer a quality service and should be paid fairly for my work. Nowadays I never accept offers and always have a set rate. Over time I’ve discovered that most clients will pay the asking price anyway.

Conclusion

Even though I always knew that outsourcing was the key to building a bigger and better business, I didn’t realize that my operation would literally transform overnight. While the prospect was initially scary, it didn’t take long before I started reaping the rewards. For those who are going through the same predicaments that I went through, I’d definitely recommend outsourcing as soon as possible.

Image Credit:Work Hoppers

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Guide to Creativity in Business Part 3 http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/guide-to-creativity-in-business-part-3/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/guide-to-creativity-in-business-part-3/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 06:00:30 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43029 creative leadership

Leadership and Creativity

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Guide to Creativity in Business Part 3 intelligenthq

Guide to Creativity in Business Part 3 intelligenthq

In parts 1 and part 2 of this series we looked at fostering creativity and mapping the creative environment. However, in organisations creativity needs to be driven from the top. If the leadership is not creative and does not promote creativity and does not foster creativity among staff then the organisation will not achieve its full creative potential. It is as simple as that. Of course that may seem easier said than done. After all, the creative people can sometimes seem to be the most difficult in organisations, wanting to change everything when things have already worked in a certain way for eons. Their ideas can spin meetings “off track”, and they can be difficult to manage. However, these are the people that can turn your organisation around with their innovative ways of looking at things, and their bright ideas. Leading these people to drive organisational success is key to survival in today’s business environment.

Maybe it is for these reasons that Ladan Nikravan (2012) writing for Chief Learning Officer argues that:

“Creativity has always been at the centre of business but now it’s at the top of the management agenda”.

According to Ladan Nikravan, a recent IBM Global CEO Study of approximately 1,500 CEOs spanning 33 industries and 60 nations found that creativity is the most important leadership quality to be able to achieve business success. This quality has become more important than being able to think on a global perspective or having high integrity. This is explained to be because the business environment is increasingly unstable and complicated. The ability to be able to come up with unique ideas that can leverage competitive advantage has become critical to success in such an uncertain world. The pace of change of the business environment drives an even faster pace of change within organisations as they try to get ahead of trends and patterns that are continually evolving.

Image source: Gapingvoid

Image source: Gapingvoid

Ladan explains that organisations need to be able to draw on their “collective imagination” to be able to solve the difficult problems that are presented by the fast moving business environment. To be able to succeed in such an environment of severe volatility requires continual new ideas that can drive innovation. The only way to achieve this is to be able to encourage creative thinking and to lead organisations to develop imaginative ideas that can lead to innovative approaches. As Ladan puts it:

 “Without creative thinking, organisations miss out on breakthrough ideas that can become innovations”.

However, it is also explained that in order to achieve this, the leaders of today have to understand just how important creativity really is and they need to be able to foster creative problem solving at all levels of their organisations. Diversity of different ideas and backgrounds helps to devise new ways of thinking about existing problems, and so hiring people that are creative is one step, but leadership that encourages creativity is increasingly becoming a necessity. That means leaders being able to see that creative types are not irritating annoyances to shoot down in flames in meetings, but that these people have great value to offer in the complex environment that businesses now operate within.

Reporting on another study by AMA Enterprise and the Institute for Corporate Productivity, Ladan explains that in fact while it is so important, being able to be creative and drive creativity is perhaps one of the most difficult leadership challenges of all. Leaders get caught up in the day to day running of the organisation and this pressure leads to them having very little time to be able to think up new ideas or brainstorm. There is less space than ever before for leaders to be creative, yet be creative they must.

Ladan explains that creativity can be shaped and guided by great leaders. Letting people feel comfortable enough to be creative and in an environment where they do not have to fear sharing their ideas are a good start. Positive conflict can be helpful in this regard, as constructive debate can lead to new ideas emerging for the organisation. Leaders need to encourage this. They need to show that they really, truly want creativity and that change will be constant for the organisation to succeed. It can be done but it remains to be seen how many take up the challenge to do so.

Guide to Creativity in Business Part 1
Guide to Creativity in Business Part 2
Guide to Creativity in Business Part 3
Guide to Creativity in Business Part 4

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Using A Mobile Credit Card Reader: Is It Worth the Risk? http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/using-a-mobile-credit-card-reader-is-it-worth-the-risk/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/using-a-mobile-credit-card-reader-is-it-worth-the-risk/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 06:00:37 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42997 credit card payments

  Over $5 billion is stolen through credit card fraudulence around the world each year, according to Statistic Brain. It is no wonder why there are so many consumers and even businesses that are restricting …

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Using a Mobile Credit Card Reader: Is It Worth the Risk? Image source: Shopify

Using a Mobile Credit Card Reader: Is It Worth the Risk? Image source: Shopify

 

Over $5 billion is stolen through credit card fraudulence around the world each year, according to Statistic Brain. It is no wonder why there are so many consumers and even businesses that are restricting their usage and acceptance of these payment cards around the globe. Thanks to advanced technology, one can now compliment their mobile POS system for their business with a mobile credit card reader that is even more portable. However, is it even worth the risk to invest in this device at all?

The Necessity of Credit Card Acceptance

One of the biggest determining factors that should play a role in your decision is whether or not you would like to lose a considerable amount of your business by denying credit and debit card payments. It is estimated that only 23 percent of POS transactions conducted in the United States by 2017 will be paid with cash, according to the Huffington Post. With such an overwhelming prevalence of consumers that prefer to use payment cards, the wisest course of action would be to prepare yourself to accept them.

Take Josh Lattimer, for example. Josh owns a mobile automobile detailing business called Car Care Now. In one interview conducted with Josh back in February of 2013, according to the Times Free Press, Josh estimated having lost 90 percent of his outside customers simply because he only accepted checks and cash for payment. By investing in a mobile credit card reader, offered by Shopify or the Square offered by PayPal, Josh was able to increase his conversion rate and generate more sales as a result.

The Value of Convenience and Saving Time

Never underestimate how much your customer’s value convenience and taking any necessary steps to save time. Time is of the essence when it comes to satisfying the needs of your customers and clients – especially in a time period where instant gratification and the need to have it now dominates the mind and expectation of the average consumer. Think about the Internet and the expanding world of eCommerce.

Nearly 20 percent of online customers will abandon their online shopping carts, according to Savvy Panda, due to slow shipping and/or a slow website. Having a mobile credit card reader that can process sales transactions while you are on the go is not only convenient for you – it’s convenient for your customers and clients as well. This type of provision can be viewed as a major selling point for most customers, especially since it eliminates the need for them to go out of their way just to make a purchase.

Invest in Integrated Merchant Services

Even though quite a few business owners prefer to use their tablets, most mobile credit card readers are designed to be used with compatible smartphones as well. If you are concerned about the security of your completed transactions in addition to your customer’s confidential data, then you need to invest in a competitively priced package that integrates merchant services with the actual hardware itself.

Do not simply purchase the hardware itself without this additional provision, according to PC Magazine. Not only will you have to find a merchant account and payment gateway service on your own that is compatible with your credit card reader, but you will be leaving yourself (and your business) openly exposed to cybercriminals and potential data breaches in the meantime.

Take the Necessary Precautions

As is the case with any type of mobile device, it is vital to take the necessary precautions to keep your customer’s confidential data (and your own) protected and secured. Only use strong passwords for all of your accounts, including any email and online banking accounts that you may access through your device.

Make sure that you maintain a paper file of documented transactions, receipts and invoices in addition to what you have stored in your mobile device for safekeeping. Just as you would not leave a traditional credit card terminal easily accessible to the general public, keep your credit card reader and mobile device in a secured location at all times – especially when it is not actively being used.

The Bottom Line

If you would love to continue conducting business the way that you may have done it for years without having to worry about credit card payments and processing fees, then you have every right to do just that. However, if you truly want your mobile business to succeed and expand in the near and distant future, investing in a mobile credit card reader should be viewed as a required necessity. Doing so will allow you to be there for your customers so that they will continue to be there for you in return. Otherwise, it will be much easier for them to find a more convenient and easily accessible alternative.

 

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Communication channels are evolving fast, don’t get left behind http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/communication-channels-are-evolving-fast-dont-get-left-behind/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/communication-channels-are-evolving-fast-dont-get-left-behind/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 14:00:19 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42999 Young and happy urban people having fun with digital tablet

Academics predict that the world will change more during the next 20 years than it ever has throughout human history. Technology is advancing at a phenomenal rate and the world of business is changing with …

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Communication channels are evolving fast, don't get left behind

Communication channels are evolving fast, don’t get left behind Image source: Dr.Chaos.com

Academics predict that the world will change more during the next 20 years than it ever has throughout human history. Technology is advancing at a phenomenal rate and the world of business is changing with it. Communication facilities are a big part of this technical revolution and while certain channels may not be relevant in the present, they are expected to be a universal standard in the not-so-distant future.

Closed Circuit Televisions

Closed circuit televisions have been in circulation for many years; however, it wasn’t until broadband become so widely available that they really started to take off. Businesses will often install webcams in conference rooms so they can have a more personal communication experience with clients and co-workers in remote facilities.

The current generation of webcams provide 1080p high definition videos. In the future the resolution is expected to move up to 4k with H.264 compression. Simply put, they will have a very high definition and will take up very little space or processing power. In addition, installs will be USB video class (UVC).

Smart Phones and Tablets

The biggest change to communication over the past decade has been the smart phone revolution. What was once considered a luxury is now found in the pockets of virtually everybody. Employment engagement agency Berghind Joseph states that roughly 80% of all employees use their personal smart phone or tablet  for business related activities. The latest generation of smart phones and tablets have incorporated video conferencing and third party software such as Skype. In the future the technology and processing power of these handheld devices is only expected to grow and become even more advanced.

Over 80% of employees use smart phones for work related activities.  Image Credit: Beth Keller

Over 80% of employees use smart phones for work related activities. Image Credit: Beth Keller

Online Chat Facilities

Live chat facilities have been around ever since the birth of the Internet, but only now are they a standard fixture on most websites. Live chat is fast, cost effective and often used to communicate with clients and co-workers across the globe.

Most websites – especially in the ecommerce sector – now have live chat functions so visitors can communicate directly with customer service representatives. This is generally considered standard practice and something that most websites will be expected to provide within a few years. According to an infographic published on NETOP – along with using email and telephone – online chat is one of the top three preferred ways of making business enquiries.

Predictions

Apple are expected to release their first smart watch very soon; a device which they have been developing in the dark for many years. Like tablets and smart phones, the smart watch is expected to contain various communication channels. The exact specifications are still unknown, but they’ll no doubt become a big part of the business environment in the future, especially when other tech companies follow suit.

The first smart pens have also been released. These devices can send images in real time to computers via the Internet as they are being drawn or written. While they’re yet to take off and reach the same commercial heights as smart phones and tablets, many predict that they’ll become a common addition to the workplace within the next 3-5 years.

The tech industry is moving faster than ever before and the featured communication channels are expected to become a universal standard within just 5 years. Companies that don’t adapt to the changes and invest in new hardware will be left behind and could suffer as a result.

Image credit: Beth Keller

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Guide to Creativity in Business Part 2 http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/guide-to-creativity-in-business-part-2/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/guide-to-creativity-in-business-part-2/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 06:00:18 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42989 guide to creativity 2

How to Foster Creativity

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Guide to Creativity in Business Part 2 Intelligenthq

Guide to Creativity in Business Part 2 Intelligenthq

Everyone has the ability to be creative and accessing that creativity is what makes the difference between someone being creative or not. It requires being able to think about old problems in new ways to discover a new way of looking at things. It requires the ability to use the imagination to think abstractly about a situation to see it in a new light. Satell of Digital Tonto opines that it requires the ability to look in different places from insights. In fact, Satell argues that:

“We often get so wrapped up in our own area of expertise – its paradigms, practices and social networks – that we fail to look elsewhere for insights. That’s a mistake. Great creativity comes from breadth as much as depth”.

In fact, Satell goes as far as to argue that in many regards there was nothing particularly special about Einstein. He was lauded as being a genius, but was at the same time unexceptional in many regards. The difference between Einstein and others, is that Einstein was able to foster his creativity to allow him to see the world in a different way. One way in which Einstein nurtured his own creativity, according to Satell, was in understanding that even if he got it wrong, his learning was of value. He sought answers to questions that people had not even asked before, and this began to shape the way that other people think as well. Einstein gained some of his creativity from studies of philosophy, which were quite far from his chosen field. This led him to think differently. Satell also argues that the same is true of Picasso’s discovery of African art that led to his pioneering Cubism. It’s a bit of a cliché, but these examples show how people really did think outside the box in order to be creative and innovate.

Albert Einstein Quote Intelligenthq

Albert Einstein Quote Intelligenthq

Writing for The Guardian in 2014, James Allen argues that fostering creativity is difficult for organisations. They know that they need creativity to be able to avoid becoming stale, but the problem is that as Allen puts it, “creativity is largely unmanageable”. The idea that you can schedule creativity is akin to craziness. People can’t just suddenly decide when they will get inspired. They may be enthused by brainstorming at a set time, but more likely ideas will come to them at the strangest and most unexpected of times.

Google and 3M, as well as Apple and LinkedIn make efforts to foster creativity by allowing people time to work on their own projects. At Google, employees get one day a week to do this (Allen, 2014). Very often projects will lead nowhere, but as Allen explains, at Google the Gmail and Google Maps functionalities both emerged as a result of time given to employees to be creative and work on their own projects. Other organisations try different approaches entirely. Allen explains that at Basecamp, a company that developed a successful project management tool and app, employees are encouraged to take their time off and work proactively with travel agents to achieve this. That is because they know that having a fresh mind inspires creativity. Collaboration and diversity also nurture innovation as you become exposed to new ideas that help you to think differently, and travel certainly encourages that. Some organisations find that cold hard cash promotes creativity, says Allen, citing the examples of Cisco and Scottish & Southern Energy.

How to hire creative people

Another key aspect of encouraging creativity in organisations is getting the people on board that are the most creative in the first place. Writing for Inc, Tim Donnelly argues that there are some steps that can be taken to get the most creative people on board. One is hiring in a different way to start with. Changing up the approach could lead to finding more creative people.

How to find creative people to your company Intelligenthq

How to find creative people to your company Intelligenthq

Also developing a job listing that is “amazing” would be more likely to appeal to those that are more creative at heart. Finding out what makes people different can give an insight to their potential for imagination, and Donnelly recommends asking interviewees questions to understand how curious they are about the world, like what they are currently reading. People that live on the edge but can exist in the middle are the targets, argues Donnelly. This requires education, energy and eclectic behaviour and activities.

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Guide to Creativity in Business Part 1 http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/guide-to-creativity-in-business-part-1/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/guide-to-creativity-in-business-part-1/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 06:00:54 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42977 guide to creativity and business

Creativity takes courage

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Guide to Creativity in Business Part 1 Intelligenthq

Guide to Creativity in Business Part 1 Intelligenthq

Living in an era that praises so much a positive mind frame, probably you, just like me,  have been by now showered repeatedly by omnipresent enthusiastic stories impelling us to dare to imagine a certain kind of world:

“Imagine a life where all your time is spent on the things you want to do”.

Nowadays, examples of successful companies and people that were able to project and construct the life they have always dreamed, pop up like popcorn all over the digital place where we all navigate these days: the internet. The message that subtly is conveyed in such narratives, is that if one dares to be creative enough to get out of our comfort zone, we are able to achieve our dreams, our creations.

But strangely as it might sound, to be creative, and to take your life into your own hands, your company into your own hands, is not that easy, even though it is essential in the world of today. How can we foster our own creativity? And what are our creative business dreams after all ? The bottom line of the question is that one has to come to terms with the following: Creativity, as Matisse one said, takes courage.

Creativity in Businesses

“Creativity is not just for artists. It’s for businesspeople looking for a new way to close a sale; it’s for engineers trying to solve a problem; it’s for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way.” Twyla Tharp

Twyla Tharp quote Intelligenthq

Twyla Tharp quote Intelligenthq

Why is creativity so important to businesses? Creativity drives businesses forward and offers new ideas to difficult problems. Creativity offers organisations the chance to gain competitive advantage by doing something faster, to a higher standard, or just differently. Creativity gives entrepreneurs their impetus to launch start-ups that transform the way that we think or do things.

But creativity unfortunately doesn´t come to us that easily. The problem is that creativity is not particularly encouraged or valued in our society. Seth Godin argues that the problem starts in schools. As he explains:

“Large scale education was never about teaching kids or creating scholars. It was invented to churn out adults who worked well in the system.”

Godin argues that we have it all wrong. As he explains it, the school system delivers people that are ready and waiting to be told what to do, and yet if at work you do the kind of job where you are told exactly what to do, then eventually the boss will find a way to replace you with someone that is cheaper than you. This does not lead to a buoyant or very enjoyable workplace. Compliant workers also do not encourage creativity in any sense, as they are not programmed to question the way things are done. In Godin’s view, the school system needs to be shaken up so that creativity flourishes. Which will later on impact how businesses are created.

Linking creativity to innovation in business

Understanding how the school system works with standardised testing and conformity, it should come as no surprise then that Rice University, the University of Edinburgh and Brunel University carried out a study that showed that “creativity and innovation are not sufficiently integrated in either the business world or academic research. The authors of the study found that creativity and innovation are very complex and have multiple levels, and that these require skillful leadership to draw out and provide benefits to the ways in which organisations work. However, as the study discovered, organisations are not very good at being able to utilise creative ideas so that they really can positively benefit a company. Employee creativity is not always encouraged, and if ideas are raised they are not always explored and implemented properly.

The study identified that one of the challenges is that organisations focus too much on current goals and that this leads them away from the level of risk taking required to be able to truly embrace creativity. Just a handful of companies are good at this and they allow employees to explore their creative ideas. One well known example of course, is Google. The time allowed for this allows creativity to be nurtured, and when this happens there is more chance for managers to be able to transform ideas into products, processes and better service for customers. It is suggested then, that organisations should map the real efforts they make to channel creativity down a path to performance.

Fostering creativity as a leader

Quote by Henri Matisse Intelligenthq

Quote by Henri Matisse Intelligenthq

Organisations must be creative to flourish and develop, but for that we need leaders that understand the value of creativity. In 2014, Greg Satell of Digital Tonto argued that:  “One reason for creativity’s growing role is the increasing need to add value”. He explains that design has become a primary source of this value creation, and creativity is needed for this design to be able to flourish. Additionally Satell argues that in the semantic economy efficiencies of doing things can only be found if links can be seen to where efficiencies can occur, and that this requires imagination and creativity to be able to do. The only way that organisations can really succeed in today’s marketplace, argues Satell, is if they are able to run with dynamic capabilities of creativity that allow them to be able to pick up on and seize opportunities in the marketplace as they arise.

In Satell’s view, the role of leadership needs to change to be able to embrace creativity. The way he sees it, organisations need to no longer just plan and do, but they also need to continually change and adapt for the better the ways in which they create, deliver and capture value. This means being able to cast aside old fashioned ideas of authority being so important and instead being able to focus on ways in which leadership should unlock creativity.

Guide to Creativity in Business Part 1
Guide to Creativity in Business Part 2
Guide to Creativity in Business Part 3
Guide to Creativity in Business Part 4

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The Most Innovative Leadership MBAs http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/the-most-innovative-leadership-mbas/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/the-most-innovative-leadership-mbas/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 06:00:40 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42970 leadership MBAs

Choosing an MBA programme can be a really tough challenge. There are a very wide variety of different opportunities out there, and knowing how to sort out the wheat from the chaff can mean the …

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The Most Innovative Leadership MBAs Intelligenthq

The Most Innovative Leadership MBAs Intelligenthq

Choosing an MBA programme can be a really tough challenge. There are a very wide variety of different opportunities out there, and knowing how to sort out the wheat from the chaff can mean the difference between a programme that is good and one that is great. Excellent MBA programmes help prepare the leaders of the future for the challenges that they will face in the working environment. That means that their courses and programmes are not static but are ever changing with the needs of the working environment in mind. Some of the best programmes consider aspects of leadership such as entrepreneurship and globalisation which really seek to meet the needs of today’s business environment. Obviously the fees are

In light of the difficulties in picking out a great programme, writing for Nerd Wallet (2012) Joseph Audette prepared a summary of the programmes that he considered to be the best of the bunch. As Joseph explains, his focus is on:

 “…the innovative qualitative programs that are successfully training tomorrow’s global leaders”.

On that note, the first MBA programmes that he highlights are the crème de la crème of International MBA courses. Typically international programmes combine study with international learning and travel and rotation between schools to help students to understand in greater depth the challenges of developing nations and also to help them to think about how those challenges can be solved. As Joseph explains, one of the best MBA programmes that is very frequently highly rated in this regard is the Thunderbird Executive MBA Program. This programme has particular characteristics that set it aside from other programmes that are similar. One of these differences is that students may experience field seminars in any of the BRIC countries and the Middle East. The programme also requires students to achieve proficiency in a second language. There are eight languages to choose from, of which two are Mandarin and Arabic.

The other highly recommended international programme is that offered by Georgetown ESADE, through its Global Executive MBA (GEMBA). This programme has six modules that are delivered in four different continents. While studies kick off in Washington DC, students must also study in China, India, Spain and South America. In fact half of the student’s time is in emerging markets. In this way students gain a cultural understanding as well as a clearer perspective on the political economy that the countries operate within. As one can expect,  the fees are extremely high, and to give you an idea, the full program fee for 2014/15 was $148.625 USD.

The following video follows the life of a group of students attending the MBA for a day.

Entrepreneurship is an increasingly valued skill among students that seek to take MBA programmes. In fact many students take an MBA so that they have the skills to be able to start their own business. As a result programmes are developing to meet this need. In this market Joseph first highlights the University of Michigan’s Zell Lurie Institute of Entrepreneurship Studies. The reason for the selection of this programme is that students on this course are involved in managing three student-led venture funds, and this gives students real life experience of managing venture capital. They are able to understand the details of how investments are made and what venture capitalists are looking for. The three funds are focused on social enterprises, the local community and early stage investment. Another example of excellence in offering students a grounding in entrepreneurship according to Joseph is at the Northwestern Kellogg School of Management. Kellogg offers a number of programmes that are designed to aid students with building up their entrepreneurial ideas.

Top Innovative MBAs Intelligenthq

Top Innovative MBAs Intelligenthq

A third area that is considered to be of increasing importance for MBAs today is social welfare, due to the growth of corporate social responsibility and a growing number of students that hope to change the world for the better. One that combines social welfare with an international focus is the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. This institution has a GLOBASE programme that pairs up MBA students with NGOs and businesses in India, Ghana and Guatemala, and students are encouraged to help these businesses grow their competitiveness. The Monterey Institute of International Studies allows students to specialise in social entrepreneurship and sustainable business, and students may live among indigenous communities as part of their studies for between two and six months. This is a part of the Frontier Market Scouts Program and students selected for this work as investment managers to help build entrepreneurial skills in the community as well as to create opportunities and develop business plans.

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Sustainable Business: Collaborative Consumption http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/sustainable-business-collaborative-consumption/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/sustainable-business-collaborative-consumption/#comments Sun, 10 Aug 2014 06:00:10 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42964 sustainable business

Something of a monumental change in business has been taking place before our eyes. There is an increasing trend towards so-called collaborative consumption. Such a concept requires people to embrace the concept of sharing, lending, …

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Sustainable Business: Collaborative Consumption Intelligenthq

Sustainable Business: Collaborative Consumption Intelligenthq

Something of a monumental change in business has been taking place before our eyes. There is an increasing trend towards so-called collaborative consumption. Such a concept requires people to embrace the concept of sharing, lending, renting and swapping, argues Hannah Gould, writing for The Guardian in 2014. This is a new kind of business that is more sustainable than many other types of business out there. Airbnb is often hailed as a prime example of a business that has grown up around the idea of collaborative consumption, explains Gould. Airbnb capitalises on the “sharing economy” by allowing people to be able to rent out unused rooms in their houses. It has been a massive success. Airbnb has been in business for six years, and in that time, according to figures provided by Gould:

“It has hosted 15 million guests, with a community now spanning some 34,000 cities in 190 countries”.

The Airbnb approach gives rise to thinking about how the idea of collaborative consumption could be used in other ways and applied to other new possibilities for doing business. Examples provided by Hannah Gould are cars that do not get used every day, suits that never get worn, duplicate mobile phones that get tucked away and never used, and power tools that only ever get a rare outing in the home.

Xavier de Lecaros Aquise (2014) also writing for The Guardian, presents eBay as the “poster child” for this phenomenon rather than Airbnb. Of course, eBay is yet another fine example of what can be done in the area of collaborative consumerism which helps reduce waste. eBay allows regular people to be able to sell their no longer wanted items of clothing, toys, gadgets or pretty much anything else imaginable on its platform so that someone else may purchase it and benefit from its use in the future. Xavier also provides many other examples which include those from the transport industry such as Zipcar and Lyft, in fashion in the form of GirlMeetsDress, and in crowdfunding where examples include Kickstarter and RocketHub, among a great many others.

What drives people to share ?

Understanding the drivers behind these types of businesses may help to better comprehend why they are doing so well at this point in time. Xavier reports on a study carried out into the Business of Sharing in the UK by Zipcar which found that people often prefer to hire rather than buy for a number of different reasons. One important reason is cost per use, and another is not being able to afford it in the first place. Other important reasons for preferring to hire rather than buy were given to be depreciation in value, dealing with the ongoing maintenance costs, and with hiring a pull factor of having the flexibility to upgrade or to change styles more easily. The collaborative consumer revolution does not appeal to anyone. Hannah reported that in a recent study by Nielson which was a Global Survey of Share Communities, in the UK only 37% of people are willing to rent their assets. Overall the study examined attitudes of 30,000 people in 60 countries. In particular younger people were more interested in renting from others than older people. While 56% of the under 30s were more eager to rent, only 13% of the over 60s were willing to do so. However, as Hannah explains, in the UK we lag behind Europe in our willingness to share our stuff. Fifty four percent of Europeans are willing to share, lend, rent and swap, and 68% of people worldwide do so. But Hannah Gould argues that share, lend, rent and swap we should as this could save £12.4 billion in our economy. Of course the idea of collaborative consumerism could have consequences for businesses. Hannah Gould attempts to spin this in a positive light, explaining that businesses will save on resources, waste and energy. Of course, it is likely that businesses would also be making less money through fewer sales, unless of course they too engage in the collaborative consumerism trend that is taking the world by storm. Gould explains they could do this by renting instead of selling as well. Gould argues that overall this approach of less wastefulness would have positive consequences for the environment, since less production means less use of raw materials, lower carbon emissions produced through production and less waste and pollution. Bring on collaborative consumerism!

Additional resource: infographic on the relationship between social media and collaborative consumption

collaborative consumption

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Improving Your Communication Skills at Work http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/improving-your-communication-skills-at-work/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/improving-your-communication-skills-at-work/#comments Sat, 09 Aug 2014 06:00:42 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=42921 communication at work

Almost every job specification out there has one thing in common: the need for good communication skills in the person that will perform the job particularly in jobs pertaining to the field of social business. …

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Improving Your Communication Skills at Work Intelligenthq

Improving Your Communication Skills at Work Intelligenthq

Almost every job specification out there has one thing in common: the need for good communication skills in the person that will perform the job particularly in jobs pertaining to the field of social business. Communication is vital to success in the workplace, and arguably also outside of it. Those that succeed at work are those that are able to best get their point across according to Karen Friedman, a respected communication expert. People that have better job satisfaction will frequently be those that are able to communicate more effectively at work. Communicating well at work leads to recognition and for those that work hard too, promotion in many cases.

Many people think that communication is easy, but the truth is that it is much more difficult than you might think. As George Bernard Shaw once famously said:

 “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

George Bernard Shaw quote

George Bernard Shaw quote

So how do we go so wrong? Well, one of the most difficult challenges is that we focus on the wrong things. We spend excessive time thinking about what we will say and how we will say it when rather we should be empathising with the other person. This involves understanding their position and how they might be impacted by what we are going to say to them. If we understand that then we can tailor the message according to their needs, making it increasingly likely that the communication will be received and understood.

Communication is not just about what people say. This is a misconception about communication. It is in fact also about what people do with their body and eyes when they are talking with you and what they fail to say. If someone says yes, and appears to be in agreement with you but has their arms folded and will not make eye contact then the chances are that they do not really agree at all, and their body language may be communicating to you what they really think. People with folded arms and legs are defensive. Those leaning forward are engaged in what you have to say and those leaning back are not. Understanding how communication through body language works can improve your communication skills no end, as you realise that there is a lot more being communicated than what spills out of a person’s mouth.

Another major problem with communication in the work place is that listening skills are often very poor. This brings us back to the comment of George Bernard Shaw again. You may think you have told someone something and so you have communicated it, but they may not have understood. A good technique for making sure that a person has really understood what you are saying is to ask them to explain what you said and what they understand from that. You can use the same technique to show that you have understood what a person is saying to you. This inspires confidence in you, as it shows you were actively listening.

The great news about communication is that as Brian Tracy helpfully puts it:

“Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.”

7 ways to improve your communication skills Intelligenthq

7 ways to improve your communication skills Intelligenthq

By making sure that you understand the perspective of others, and in being able to better frame your communications to be able to tailor them appropriately to others’ needs you stand a much greater chance of getting what you want from a situation and from appearing positive and helpful in the process. According to Karen Friedman there are some basic, straightforward ways that you can do this. One is being clear and to the point. Friedman argues for getting to the main point quickly and concisely is critical to good communication. Another great tip from Friedman is to ask open ended questions as these can help to get more information from the other person that can help you to be able to clarify what the situation actually is. Having a can-do approach is also important according to Friedman. It is always better to tell people what you can do rather than what you cannot, and putting a positive spin on information will help to avoid you from coming across as a naysayer. One final point from Friedman is that if you do not have something nice to say then do not say anything at all. This is essential for good relationships in the work place.

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

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

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