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8 Ways to Inspire innovation in the Business of Architecture

Posted by Emilton on August 6, 2016 at 7:55 PM Comments comments (1)


The following is an adaptation from the book "Busby: Architecture's New Edges."

 

In architecture, as with almost every business, innovation is the most valuable ingredient for success over time.

 

When designing for clients — whether it is a university facility or a workplace — it is important to nurture a culture of innovation.

 

This is particularly important in sustainable design, as the impacts of climate change increasingly require architects to demonstrate ingenuity in environmental problem-solving. Investing in innovation is sure to reap healthy returns on business and the planet.

 

Here are a few best practices for architects to encourage creativity and innovation:

 

1. Use the office as an innovation lab

Successful architecture firms allow people the time and physical space to chase new ideas, do research, and exchange meaningful ideas with their peers whenever and wherever the mood catches them.

 

Provide a thoughtfully designed, stimulating work environment for staff that encourages this behavior. Examples might include staircases with wide landings as group seating areas, standup coffee stations where people linger and talk, or a wall of white boards and writable glass.


2. Engage the community

It used to be that a developer would buy property, assemble a plan for how to use it, hire an architect who would obtain the approval from the city, and then the project would get built.

 

Today, it is essential to consult the entire public — not just city planning departments, but also end-users, occupants, and community groups. Engaging all parties in the process of how a building takes shape encourages idea sharing.

 

3. Collaborate with an engineer

On their own, designers can come up with virtually any idea for new and different structures. But without well engineered performance systems, even the most spectacular visual expressions are just ideas.

 

Together, architects and engineers can make ideas a reality by identifying new approaches, material efficiencies, cost savings, and operational systems that allow buildings to perform as well as or better than imagined.

 

4. Embrace technology

With the advent of powerful digital modeling tools, architects can now experiment more dramatically with form.

 

From structures that echo the shape of a native orchid to even more complex shapes developed with the aid of 3D design software, architects should leverage a growing suite of technological tools to meet the needs of both the client and the environment.

 

5. Work with wood

Used to build structures since the beginning of humankind, wood was largely replaced in the mid-19th century by steel and concrete, but it is in fact a far more sustainable design choice.

 

Steel and concrete both have significantly higher carbon footprints from manufacture and transportation. When wood is harvested responsibly, fewer logs fall to the forest floor and decompose, resulting in less methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Encourage design teams to find new and appealing ways to incorporate wood elements.

 

6. Experiment with innovation and new materials

Don’t hesitate to test out alternative material choices. From fiberglass and acrylic to curved glass and salvaged mechanical equipment, the use of nontraditional materials can result in unique, practical, and eye-catching designs that impress clients while minimizing environmental impact.

 

Innovation is at the heart of all successful businesses. Invest time and intellect in innovation around how you practice, and what you design.

 

7. Explore prefabrication and modular design

Working with modular and prefabricated designs allows architects to simultaneously achieve beauty, sustainability, and cost effectiveness.

 

By investing in higher quality repetitive elements, designers can accomplish more, aesthetically speaking, while minimizing environmental impacts and keeping overall project costs lower.

 

8. Seize every opportunity to learn

Internal research and education initiatives empower architects to develop innovative ideas and approaches that can be applied to all projects. Consider investing in and engaging in research projects whose results can be shared with staff, colleagues, and peers.

 

As time goes on, new technologies, materials, processes, and environmental data will continue to fuel the need for architectural innovation. It is up to architecture firms to prioritize innovation at every level. Doing so will ensure better buildings and, ultimately, better business.


Source:  Green Biz

The Pop-Ups that made Hotel Revenues go Sky High

Posted by Emilton on August 6, 2016 at 7:45 PM Comments comments (1)

With so many new dining and socialising options emerging, especially in major cities, the hotel industry has got its work cut out trying to lure external customers into its restaurants and bars.

 

Coupled with the need to maximise the profitability of its communal areas, this is what sparked a bold idea at Marriott International: what if entrepreneurs – experimental foodies and bar visionaries – could be enticed to transform unused corners of its hotels into something edgy and different that might attract a new crowd?

 

The resulting Canvas Project – a food and beverage talent incubator – has now entered its second year, with the launch of rooftop bar and restaurant Notch at London’s Marriott Park Lane hotel.

 

There you can try Japanese street food and homemade cocktails in cans, which take inspiration from the millennial hotspots of Brooklyn and Berlin. Designed as a sky-high industrial playground for adults, Notch mixes reclaimed school tables, scaffolding and swings with a vibrant bar and open kitchen, Fudo Shack.

 

Notch has taken the baton from the site’s previous pop-up, Roofnic, which turned over a profitable £500,000 during its three-month summer run last year. The same man, Ashley Dawes, is responsible for both. Originally the general manager of Marriott Park Lane’s main restaurant and bar, his execution of Roofnic was so successful that he left to set up a restaurant and bar consultancy, DenLDN.

 

The idea for Canvas Project came out of a company brainstorming event, where managers were encouraged to reconsider Marriott’s global restaurant and bar strategy. “Rather than take the traditional ‘We know best’ approach, we wanted to see what would happen if we started from the ground up, the idea being that we would learn from the entrepreneurs,” explains Ed Viita, director of food and beverage at Marriott Europe.


Moving away from the standard hotel restaurant and bar experience would enable Marriott to appeal to a new demographic, attracting locals as well as guests staying in the hotel. “One of the most common questions to our concierges is where the locals eat,” Viita notes. “Our aim was to become that place.”

 

Following the 2014 brainstorm, teams were sent away to develop four “concept labs” for launch the following year. Viita took his own inspiration from Europe’s popular pop-ups and street food ventures.

 

“The model is completely open to interpretation; there are no restrictions,” Viita says. Once a location has been identified, internal staff and local entrepreneurs are invited to pitch their ideas. The creator of each winning concept is offered a minimal budget – typically£35,000 per project – to build and develop the restaurant or bar.

 

Park Lane’s Roofnic is held up as the big success story. Taking inspiration from British music festivals such as Latitude and Bestival, Dawes took an unused roof terrace and transformed it into a rustic garden, with simple wooden benches, folding garden furniture and affordable prices. The summer bar often had queues down the street and was selling 1,000 cocktails a day.

 

Then came St Pancras MI+ME, an urban cheese and charcuterie bar at London’s St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, targeted at travellers. At Marriott’s Courtyard Berlin hotel, the #Hashtag Coffee Shop serves comfort food with a local twist, such as baked potatoes served with curry wurst and doner kebab.

 

In Budapest, Marriott has partnered with a local entrepreneur, Imre Toth, to create the Marionett Craft Beer House. Toth launched his concept within two months of being selected. If a project is working well, Marriott allows the outlet to continue to operate, and the Marionett Craft Beer House has now been running for 10 months.

 

So how does the model work for both parties? All intellectual property related to the concept such as name, logo and trademarks remain the property of the entrepreneur, Viita notes. The percentage of the profits the entrepreneur receives is negotiated on an individual basis. In February, Toth renegotiated his contract and started paying rent and now receives a larger share of the profits.

 

If the entrepreneur is operating the pop-up, there is an expectation that they will devote their energy to the success of the project. “However, we also partner with entrepreneurs as consultants,” Viita notes, pointing to the new relationship with Dawes, who branched out on his own but set up Notch.


For Dawes, working externally has enabled him to get his name out in the wider market and be paid for his ideas. He describes the Canvas Project as the opportunity he had been waiting for. “The idea came through on a company email when I was working at Marriott. It looked great, and the guys behind it were very enthusiastic,” he says.

 

Roofnic offered a fun time at non-Mayfair prices, setting it apart from Windows, the premium bar and restaurant at the top of the Park Lane Hilton. “Before we took over the rooftop space, there was nothing there – it was concrete, there was no electricity. We opened in eight weeks, and take-up was epic from day one.”

 

He left once the season finished, taking a well-earned holiday. With his new consultancy business up and running, he started on Notch in March, opening it on 1 May. Within two months it had a reach of 875,000 people across social media.

 

Running his own ship has improved the rewards. As an internal employee, Dawes had only really received a ‘token’ for his hard work, he says. “That side of things didn’t really work out,” he says, of whether he received a big bonus.

 

“But it was an opportunity to show what I could do. I’m doing some work for Marriott in LA at the moment – the company will always be a big partner. They’ve led the way: they came up with a great idea and have seen it through, in a market where it can be hard to make change.”

The figures stand up to scrutiny. Worldwide, Marriott launched 10 of 17 proposed Canvas projects last year, investing just over $300,000 (£230,000) and achieving top-line revenues of nearly $2m (£1.5m). Low start-up costs and high turnaround mean revenues are delivered quickly and profitably. This year, to date, Marriott launched 12 additional projects globally – with more in the pipeline. In Europe, Canvas has delivered the new audience Marriott was looking for: 75% of customers have been millennials, exceeding the target. Over 60% are locals.

 

“In culinary hotspots like London, the appetite for new and fresh ideas is strong and pop-ups are a great solution,” says Peter Ducker, chief executive at the Institute of Hospitality. “This is a brave move from Marriott: they are at the front of the curve and should be applauded.

 

“One major drawback of pop-up facilities though is that the workload can be equal to opening a permanent restaurant. If you’re including a new kitchen from scratch, you still need all the same regulatory compliance. But working through a company as well-resourced as Marriott should make life easier.”

 

Sign up to become a member of the Guardian Small Business Network here for more advice, insight and best practice direct to your inbox.


Source: The Guardian

The Evolution Of Customer Service

Posted by Emilton on July 31, 2016 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (1)

For consumers the future of customer service cannot come soon enough. The customer experience landscape is ripe for disruption. Companies are slowly making progress toward more seamless and simpler customer experiences.

 

Today only a select few companies leverage all the technology at their fingertips to enable customers to use the technology they use daily in their personal lives when dealing with the brand. A company on the forefront includes Amazon. Amazon has made progress building a compelling customer journey. It’s not just the vast and efficient marketplace they’ve built–Amazon is innovating on all sides of the consumer equation. They have connected their Amazon virtual assistant the Echo (affectionately called Alexa) with purchases customers make. A customer can order more of a product by just verbally asking the Amazon Echo for it. Want to know how many grams in a kilo? Ask Alexa. Want to play your Spotify list in your kitchen? Alexa will gladly do that for you. Outside of technology innovation, Amazon has the most hassle-free customer service and return process I have seen. Another great company is Sephora. Sephora is using messenger apps like Kik to provide personalized content and buyer experiences to customers. They seek to create interactions that feel tailored to the customer, and one on one. Most companies still haven’t mastered social media, yet alone mobile messaging.

 

Today the technology for most customer service operations is still not savvy enough for customers to avoid the burden of the old phone call. Customers prefer self-service, but will call when it’s a more complicated matter says Kate Leggett, Analyst at Forrester. That includes account closure or booking a complex airline ticket with multi-city travel. It’s only a matter of time until the game changes entirely because of improved technology. Let’s face it, the younger generations do not want to call brands–and those younger generations will soon be the bulk of your customers (not to be morbid or anything, but it’s the truth). We’re at an awkward inflection point where some companies are doing an amazing job of being on the forefront of customer experience technology, and others are still struggling with the basics. In the future customer experiences will be much more simple. I have created an infographic with nine predictions for you on the future of technology versus the past (and where most of our brands are still today). Please see the infographic below and feel free to share the image.

Prediction #1: Technology Makes Experience Better

 

For the consumer it can feel like the brand is hiding behind bad customer service technology. Examples? On the phone tree pressing zero does nothing—there is no human to save you from the bad interactive voice response system. Even though it’s 2016 sometimes customer service technology makes things worse.

 

In a recent article in CIO Magazine an Accenture study was highlighted. Conducted with over 25,000 consumers, it became clear that “Companies have lost sight of the importance of human interaction and often make it too difficult for consumers to get the right level of help and service that they need,” says Robert Wollan, a senior managing director at Accenture Strategy.

I now live near Safeway and I often check out at the self-help kiosk. But I always look to see the cashier lines packed. People don’t want to deal with the technology—because it’s ineffective. In fact every time I check out at the kiosk there is at least one problem. And this is in line with the Accenture research. More than 80% of customers surveyed by Accenture said they would rather solve a problem with a person than interact over digital channels. Hasn’t technology made our lives easier in so many ways? One thing is clear, it still remains a problem for many companies who rely on less than ideal technology environments to service customers. According to CIO Magazine, “Accenture calls the over-reliance on digital media ‘human-less’ customer service, which push customers away at a startling rate; 52% of respondents said they switched brands recently because of poor service. Banks, retailers and cable or satellite providers were the worst offenders, according to Accenture.” However in the future technology will get better and so will the company’s approach. One cannot blame the technology or the company—because both are implicated. In the future there will be better options.

 

Prediction #2: Customer Service Is Open 24/7

 

Customer problems do not only happen five days a week eight hours a day. We live in the global economy where companies must serve customers during many time zones. At the same time customers expect fast responses at night and on weekends. According to influencer and author Jay Baer, 32% of consumers expect a response within 30 minutes through social media channels.

 

The same report found 57% of consumers expect the same response time at night and on weekends as during normal business hours. Companies tomorrow must operate in a 24/7 world. Otherwise they risk losing business.

 

Prediction #3: Customer Is In Control Of Where Interaction Happens

 

Remember when everyone was talking about how brands have lost control? It was kind of a big deal. Brands felt nervous about how customers now controlled the conversation. Social media turned everything on its head. Customer service became part of many very public conversations. This was great for the contact center, it catapulted this department into the limelight, giving more responsibility to knowledgeable employees—improving customer service’s relationship with marketing. However, brands took their strategies and attitudes about customer service and continued to try to control the conversation on social media. We set up customer service outposts on social media. For example on Twitter, along with the main brand’s Twitter account, we set up customer service Twitter accounts. If the brand is @XYZ on Twitter the help account would be @XYZ_help. Many Facebook accounts were set up the same way, with even a separate Facebook page to help customers.

 

The problem with this approach is the proliferation of service channels. Where as today often customers have to tag customer service accounts or write on a brand’s Facebook wall for the brand to find them, in the future you will see less and less of the tagging of service accounts. With the proliferation of channels there is no way for brands to operate with the same approach they have in the last few years. Every week there is a new latest channel customers talk to each other on. They are sending Snaps to friends, Kik, WhatsApp messages, Weibo, WeChat, texts, tweets and Facebook messages. The proliferation of channels is upon us.

 

The challenge for big companies is speed and scale. Brands need to explore technologies that will allow agents a unified workflow solution that moves seamlessly from channel to channel. The technology should allow the brand to focus more on finding the customer, regardless of channel—and allowing the agent to easily pop in and offer service.

 

Prediction #4: Company Knows Information From Every Channel

 

The No. 1 customer frustration according to Harvard Business Review is the customer having to repeat themselves. Internal dysfunction, old CRM technologies and lack of a customer oriented culture all contribute to poor customer experiences like this one. In the old days you could differentiate your product by delivering it cheaper, or maybe faster, but now it’s a different game. It’s not just about solving the customer problem quickly and effectively. Brands need to ensure they are doing all the work, so customers don’t need to remember every single piece of information to provide to the company. What happens when a customer contacts the company from a rural highway in the middle of nowhere? That customer might not have their account information or verbal password. The company will need to make it easier for the customer.


Source:  Forbes

BMW to Let Car Owners Rent Out Vehicles Like `Airbnb on Wheels'

Posted by Emilton on May 3, 2016 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (0)

BMW to Let Car Owners Rent Out Vehicles Like `Airbnb on Wheels'


By Bloomberg News, 

April 25, 2016 — 11:26 PM CST

Rather than having a car sit for hours on the curb, BMW AG’s Mini brand plans to help its customers turn idle downtime into cash.


Mini plans soon to make its new cars available with devices that enable owners to rent out their vehicles, like Airbnb Inc. does with spare rooms and empty apartments. The system includes features that accept payment and track the vehicle to make sure the renter doesn’t go for a one-way joyride.


“It’s going to be kind of like Airbnb on wheels,” Peter Schwarzenbauer, the BMW executive who oversees Mini, said in an interview at the Beijing motor show. “There’ll be those who say, ‘Never, ever will I lend my car to strangers.’ Then there’ll be others who’ll love the idea of halving their leasing rate.”


If the test goes well, BMW plans to expand the service to its namesake luxury-car brand, Schwarzenbauer said, adding that the technology is easy to install and will be available at “no significant cost” to the owner.


The rental feature is part of BMW’s push into so-called mobility services as ride-sharing operators like Uber Technologies Inc. provide consumers with alternatives to owning an auto. BMW already runs car-sharing in cities in Europe, and it plans to add options like vehicle delivery and a taxi-like chauffeur service this year in a new shared fleet introduced this month in Seattle.


BMW plans training and certification for the chauffeur service to ensure the company offers a premium product, Schwarzenbauer said, adding that there’s been a promising response from people wanting to become drivers. The chauffeur operation will use fixed pricing rather than Uber’s dynamic method, where fares rise during times of high demand, he said. A rollout to about 10 U.S. cities is in the works.


Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-25/bmw-to-let-car-owners-rent-out-vehicles-like-airbnb-on-wheels

IT Suppliers Key to Business Innovation

Posted by Emilton on April 23, 2016 at 2:25 AM Comments comments (1)

IT Suppliers Key to Business Innovation

The recently released report by the Department for Business and Innovation & Skills (BIS) suggests that businesses in the UK are recognizing the need for innovation, and are increasingly turning to technology for inspiration.

 

Commenting on the report’s findings, managed services provider (MSP) company Annodata says IT service providers are “waking up to the critical role IT service providers have to play in supporting the innovation cycle.”

 

“These figures are highly encouraging and point to a shift away from the transactional, passive IT service provider relationships of old in favour of new, more collaborative partnerships,” says Annodata’s CEO, Rod Tonna-Barthet.

 

“The role of IT in supporting innovation is critical, but many businesses lack the vantage point, time and experience to be able to devise and maintain an IT strategy that will deliver the type of innovation required. IT service providers, in theory, have the skills and experience needed to support fundamental change, but that challenge is that many fail to properly get to grips with their clients’ business objectives.”

 

He added that, even though they are in the tech industry, the services provided are more about helping business change and less about tech itself. Approaching each client with the knowledge of their ‘pain points’, helps them make strategic recommendations.

Such recommendations can help businesses innovate, and ultimately, “add value to the bottom line”.

 

Source: http://www.itproportal.com/2016/03/29/it-suppliers-key-to-business-innovation/



Tesla Model 3: This Is What A 'Game Changer' Looks Like

Posted by Emilton on April 22, 2016 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Tesla Model 3: This Is What A 'Game Changer' Looks Like

Tesla started taking orders for the Model 3 last week, and the results were remarkable. In 24 hours the company took $1,000 deposits for 198,000 vehicles. By end of Saturday the $1,000 deposits topped 276,000 units; for a car not expected to really be available until 2017. Compare that with the top-selling autos in the U.S. in 2015:

 


 

Remarkably, the Model 3 would rank as the sixth best-selling vehicle all of last year! And with just a few more orders, it will likely make the top five - or possibly top three! And those are orders placed in just one week, versus an entire year of sales for the other models. And every buyer is putting up a $1,000 deposit, something none of the buyers of top 10 cars did as they purchased product widely available in inventory. [Author's update 7 April - orders hit 325,000 in less than one week, which would make the Model 3 the second best selling car in the entire USA for the entire year 2015]

 

Although this has surprised a large number of people, the signs were all pointing to something extraordinary happening. The Tesla Model S sold 50,000 vehicles in 2015 at an average price of $70,000 to $80,000. That is the same number of the Mercedes E-Class autos, which are priced much lower in the $50,000 range. And if you compare to the top line Mercedes S-Class, which is only slightly more expensive at an average $90,0000, the Model S sold over 2 times the 22,000 units Mercedes sold. And while other manufacturers are happy with single digit percentage volume growth, in Q4 Tesla shipments were 75% greater in 2015 than 2014.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/adamhartung/2016/04/05/tesla-model-3-this-is-what-a-game-changer-looks-like/#5ec2b501e674


UK Businesses see Innovation Boost

Posted by Emilton on April 22, 2016 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)

UK Businesses see Innovation Boost

Businesses in the UK are coming up with more ideas and products than ever before, according to official statistics from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

 

Research, based on a survey of almost 30,000 employers between 2012-14, reveals that some 53 per cent of UK businesses are actively engaging in developing and introducing new products and ways of making them.

 

Firms are also creating new services and ways of doing business, increasing by eight per cent in two years alone.

 

Such figures come following a national innovation plan by business secretary Sajid Javid, who stated he wanted to make the country a world leader in new ideas and innovation, which would help to drive up competition, create jobs and provide new and improved products and services.

 

Almost two-thirds of businesses in the Yorkshire and Humber were engaged in innovation in the region, leading the UK for innovative business.

 

At 57 per cent, the East Midlands was also found to be well above the UK average. The West Midlands saw one of the largest increases in business led innovation, up 12 per cent over two years.

 

BIS has also shows how important innovation is to global business success, with 28 per cent of businesses exporting abroad, bringing new British products such as medical scanner charges, to an international market.

 

This compares to only ten per cent of non-innovating businesses.

 

“These figures show that businesses throughout the UK are already leading the way, delivering exciting opportunities across the nation,” said Mr Javid.

 

“The number of companies innovating and coming up with new, dynamic ideas is on the rise – up eight percentage points between 2012 and 2014, with over half of businesses now developing new products and services, some with the potential to revolutionise their industries.”

 Source:

http://www.ashdowngroup.com/news/uk-businesses-see-innovation-boost-news-801815351

 


Lego Wheelchair Toys Message Disabilities

Posted by Emilton on March 12, 2016 at 2:00 AM Comments comments (1)

Lego Wheelchair Toys Message Disabilities

Sometimes the smallest of things have the capacity to make the biggest of impacts. Last week Lego unveiled its first ever wheelchair-using mini-figure at Nuremberg toy fair, an inch-tall plastic boy sporting a beanie and hoodie who forms part of a Fun in the Park set going on sale in June this year. For a small guy he’s been making big waves, inspiring global press coverage and online jubilation from Lego fans, parents and disability groups.

 

“But he’s just a little guy,” I hear you say, “a plastic dude out for a wheel in the park with his dog and a bunch of other mini-figures. What’s the big deal?”

The message behind Lego’s wheelie boy is so much larger than his teeny-tiny stature. His birth in the toy box marks a seismic shift within children’s industries. There are 150 million children with disabilities worldwide, yet until now they have scarcely ever seen themselves positively reflected in the media and toys they consume.

 

In her recently published book Disability and Popular Culture, Australian academic Katie Ellis writes: “Toys mirror the values of the society that produce them …” If Lego is mirroring, it’s reflecting a better world. Intentionally or not, it has sent out a powerful message of inclusion.

 

Lego seems to have been unprepared for the excitement its wheelchair-using boy would cause. When he rolled on to the stands of Nuremberg Toy Fair, Lego wasn’t treating him as anything special – he was just nestled among the crowd. The company hadn’t prepared any photos for journalists and, when approached by the Press Association, could only say that he would reach the shops in June. Yet the figure’s very existence was noteworthy, so unusual that he grabbed the headlines during a week of international toy fairs. (Alongside big-bottomed, flat-footed “normal woman” Barbie – but that’s a whole other story.)

The delighted response only highlights the size of the void that Lego’s wheelchair boy comes to fill. This beast is ravenous because we’ve never really fed it before.

 

The toys, TV, films, games, apps and books that entertain and educate our children barely feature children with any kind of impairment or difference. Their lives are not reflected. They’re invisible. How do you grow a positive self-esteem when the culture around you appears to place no value on your existence? It does not celebrate you. On the rare occasions when you are depicted, it’s frequently as a disability stereotype – in a medical setting (toy hospital set), as an evil baddie (Captain Hook) or associated with charity (BBC’s Children in Need). Your hopes, dreams, imaginations and experiences are ignored. You are culturally marginalised. Washed away by the mainstream. As the academic and bio-ethicist Tom Shakespeare – himself a wheelchair user – said, there’s a danger that disabled children will feel “like permanent outsiders in the world”.

When did you last see disability represented positively in a children’s film, cartoon, or computer game? Have you ever seen a set of emojis that reflect the disabled experience in a celebratory way? Alexandra Strick of Inclusive Minds, a group calling for greater representation of disabled children in publishing, says, “The disturbingly low number of books featuring disabled characters is a perpetual concern. I’m frequently asked for lists of books which feature disabled characters. It’s extremely challenging to find more than a handful.”

 

Everyone knows there’s something wrong with how we represent disabled people, but it seems no one knows quite how to fix it. We dance delicately around disability, scared to offend or get it wrong, so we don’t do it. This exclusion is causing damage to millions of children, yet the answer is quite simple. Just include it in an incidental, celebratory way. Move on from the baseline negative, which treats disability as somehow lesser, in need of fixing or overcoming, and see it for what it is – benign human variation, part of the spectrum of human life. Let’s hope that one day positive representations of disability are included so seamlessly across children’s industries that they cease to be noteworthy at all.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/feb/01/lego-wheelchair-toys-message-disabilities

Scientists Predict which Jobs will still be Open to Humans in 2035

Posted by Emilton on March 12, 2016 at 1:45 AM Comments comments (0)


Scientists Predict which Jobs will still be Open to Humans in 2035

Workers looking for jobs in 2035 might consider retraining as remote-controlled vehicle operators or online chaperones.

 

Those are two of the jobs of the future suggested in a report by the CSIRO that charts 20-year trends in increasingly digitally focused and automated Australian workplaces.

The employment minister, Michaelia Cash, released the report on Friday at the Australian Computer Society’s conference.

 

Cash said the report showed “some jobs will inevitably become automated over the coming years but technological change will improve others and also create new jobs and opportunities”.

 

“The future won’t be about people competing with machines, it will be about people using machines and doing work that is more interesting and fulfilling,” she said.

 

The report identifies six mega-trends in the workforce, the most important of which is an “explosion in device connectivity, data volumes and computing speed, combined with rapid advances in automated systems and artificial intelligence means that robotic devices can perform many tasks more quickly, safely and efficiently than humans”.

 

Increased automation will raise the complexity of workers’ tasks. “Many low-skilled jobs are being offshored or automated. The consequence is the likelihood of a raised skills and education bar for entry into many professions and occupations,” the report said.

The report found science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) knowledge is used in 75% of the fastest-growing occupations and lamented that “Australian youth demonstrate falling interest and performance in Stem”.

 

Another trend is an anticipated rise in self-employment and freelancing caused by peer-to-peer platforms Upwork, Kaggle, Innoventive and Freelancer.com, which the report claims “provide value through convenience, low barriers to entry and increased speed enabling people to transform their free time into paid work”.

 

The report said while freelancing “has not yet taken hold in Australia, it is a large (and growing) employment model in other countries”, such as in America where one in three workers is an independent contractor.

If the ideal job does not exist, the worker may need create it, the report suggested. “Entrepreneurial skills are likely to be increasingly important for small business founders and employees within large organisations,” it said.

 

The report predicted service industries, particularly education and healthcare, would continue to drive job creation, meaning “social interaction skills and emotional intelligence will become increasingly important”.

 

The report said Australia’s workforce will be diverse, with one in five Australians over the age of 65 in 2035, high female participation and a large proportion of migrants being of working age.

 

The report said the employment trends will result in new job types, and speculated these might include “bigger big data analysts”, complex decision support analysts, remote-controlled vehicle operators, customer experience experts, personal preventative health helpers and online chaperones.

 

“The rise of un-crewed vehicles is giving rise to a new workforce of pilots, drivers and ship captains who do their jobs not from the sky, sea or mine site, but from an office in a remote location,” the report said.

In a speech to a workforce productivity conference on 8 December, Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Dave Oliver warned “extreme changes presented by current technological advances are resulting in a deeper, wider and more permanent hollowing out of the jobs market”.

 

He said a recent CEDA report showed 5 million jobs (40% of the Australian workforce) face a high probability of being replaced by computers over the next 10 to 15 years.

 

“Despite the great many benefits of new technologies, we desperately want to avoid the slide to a labour market platform that forces workers to bid against each other for parcels of work in some kind of brutal, reverse eBay-style auction,” Oliver said.

“The challenge for all of us – unions, employers, regulators and governments – is to harness the technological opportunities and make them work for, rather than against, worker’s best interests,” he said.

 

Cash said “more than ever, education and training are important for succeeding in the labour market. By 2019, the number of jobs available for highly-skilled labour is projected to be more than double the number available in 1991.

 

“How Australia’s workforce fares in the long term will depend on our ability to help workers make transitions to new and better jobs. Our biggest challenge will be to ensure no one is left behind,” she said.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/feb/26/future-of-work-remote-controlled-vehicle-operators-in-demand-in-2035

Amazon Prime Air - 30min from click to delivery

Posted by strategicvisionlimited on December 2, 2013 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Amazon Prime Air


 

 

Prime Air is an interesting concept for a new delivery system that the Amazon R&D Team has been working on.

 

The goal of this new delivery system is to get packages into customers’ hands in 30 minutes or less using unmanned aerial vehicles.

 

Putting Prime Air into commercial is likely to take some number of years as Amazon advance the technology and wait for the necessary FAA rules and regulations.

 

An Interesting concept that probably needs a lot of fine turning but that might serve some types of deliveries in certain urban locations, better and faster in the future. Houses in the countryside could for example see their Amazon or other orders be dropped off on to their front lawn by the mini-drone.

 

According to Mr Bezos’s interview on CBS this morning the mini-drones would be able to carry goods up to five pounds (2.25kg) in weight which covers 86% of all the items the company delivers in total.

 

The octocopters would use GPS tracking to find their way to and from an address

 

The biggest challenge is considered to be to getting approval from the US Federal Aviation Authority.


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How to Write a Complaint Letter

Posted by strategicvisionlimited on June 29, 2013 at 7:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Focusing on the customer experience and creating customer value should be top priority for any company servicing customer


When customer service is the key focus the customers will be happier and the employees will be more motivated which in turn results in increased customer loyalty, higher retainment of key personell, lower staff turnover, improved brand equity, a better image, free word-of-mouth recommendations, business success and a better experience for everyone.


Here follows a customer complaint letter from someone that did not have a great customer experience.

 




Dear LIAT,

May I say how considerate it is of you to enable your passengers such an in-depth and thorough tour of the Caribbean.


Most other airlines I have travelled on would simply wish to take me from point A to B in rather a hurry. I was intrigued that we were allowed to stop at not a lowly one or two but a magnificent six airports yesterday. And who wants to fly on the same airplane the entire time? We got to change and refuel every step of the way!


I particularly enjoyed sampling the security scanners at each and every airport. I find it preposterous that people imagine them all to be the same. And as for being patted down by a variety of islanders, well, I feel as if I’ve been hugged by most of the Caribbean already.


I also found it unique that this was all done on “island time,” because I do like to have time to absorb the atmosphere of the various departure lounges.


As for our arrival, well, who wants to have to take a ferry at the end of all that flying anyway? I’m glad the boat was long gone by the time we arrived into Tortola last night — and that all those noisy bars and restaurants were closed.


So thank you, LIAT. I now truly understand why you are “The Caribbean Airline.”


P.S. Keep the bag. I never liked it anyway.



Source:the BVI Beacon

 

Thanks to RIchard Branson for sharing this article on his blog

 

 

 

 

 

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Consumers Say Companies Should Do More to Solve World Problems

Posted by strategicvisionlimited on November 25, 2011 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Consumers Say Companies Should Do More to Solve World Problems

85% of consumers expect companies to become actively involved in solving social and environmental challenges and 72% of consumers does not think that companies are working hard enough to solve these issues.

  • 44% say they'd punish irresponsible companies
  • 51% of consumers say they'd reward responsible companies by choosing to buy their products
  • 53% say they'd pay a 10% premium for a product produced in a responsible way

All three figures are up substantially from last year.


So doing good in the world can in addition to give the company a better image also give the company more loyal and happier customers who might be willing to pay a slightly higher price for a product produced in a more responsible way.

However, "only 20% trust companies when they communicate about their social/environmental commitments and initiatives" so 'doing good in the world' and addressing these issues needs to be more than a PR-exercise.


Source: Meaningful Brands—Havas Media launches global results

 

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The Bank of Facebook

Posted by strategicvisionlimited on March 26, 2010 at 8:24 AM Comments comments (0)

How Facebook can change to bank industry and other industries.

With Facebook approaching a billion people there are lot of opportunities to do a lot of different things including developing completely new business models in areas such as banking.


Peer-to-peeer lending could be such as an area where Facebook could develop a global lending business similar to Zopa side-steping banks.


Purchasing is another area where Facebook could use the massive negotiating power of a huge network to change how people are purchasing goods and services.


In this video Thomas Power from Ecademy talks about some of these ideas and possibilities.

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iPad - a game changer for the printed press/ print industry?

Posted by strategicvisionlimited on January 28, 2010 at 12:18 AM Comments comments (0)

Could the new iPad be a game changer for the printed press/ print industry in the same way as the iPod/iTunes changed the music industry?


iPad has the opportunity to change a whole industry and the way we consume printed media.


Content is still king but the way content is distributed and the business model for how to distribute and monetize content will definitely challenged by the introduction of iPad. Much in the same way as iPod changed the way music is consumed, purchased and distributed.

TBC


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The Web in Five Years Time - according to Google

Posted by strategicvisionlimited on November 13, 2009 at 1:02 PM Comments comments (0)

Google chief executive Eric Schmidt claims that within five years we will be consuming a 'radically different' internet, dominated by Chinese language and social media content delivered via super-fast broadband.


Google's Eric Schmidt claims the web will look radically different in five yearsSpeaking at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Orlando 2009, Schmidt outlined his vision of the future, claiming that how to rank real-time social content is "the great challenge of the age,"


He also advised brands to listen to youth consumers when drawing up their marketing strategies. "Talk to a teenager about how they consume media and remember in five years they'll be your employee," he said.


Here's an overview of Schmidt's vision:


1. Five years from now the internet will be dominated by Chinese-language content.

 

2. Five years is a factor of ten in Moore's Law, meaning that computers will be capable of far more by that time than they are today.

 

3. Within five years there will be broadband well above 100MB in performance - and distribution distinctions between TV, radio and the web will go away.

 

4. "We're starting to make significant money off of Youtube", content will move towards more video.

 

5. "Real time information is just as valuable as all the other information, we want it included in our search results."

 

6. "We can index real-time info now - but how do we rank it?"

 

7. It's because of this fundamental shift towards user-generated information that people will listen more to other people than to traditional sources. Learning how to rank that "is the great challenge of the age." Schmidt believes Google can solve that problem.


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