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Four Exercises That Will Make You a Better Leader

Four Exercises That Will Make You a Better Leader | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Don't manage; learn how to really lead
Don Dea's insight:

A powerful leader knows how to listen and communicate effectively, how to provide constructive feedback (including to one’s boss), and how to manage conflict.

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digitalNow
Exploring leadership, management, innovation, and technology issues and trends; impacting associations & non-profit organizations in the digital age.
Curated by Don Dea
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Innovation Insights from Ted

Innovation Insights from Ted | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Sometimes one stumbles across insights from unexpected places.  Most of the books I have read recently have fallen into the category of histories of other countries (Laos, China, Singapore, Myanmar, Colombia) or studies of how things work (buildings, bridges, rivers, archaeology).  I gravitate towards these subject areas because they are of great interest to me in my current and future travels.  As I was preparing for my next trip, I finished one book and was about to start another tome, but did not want to open one of the books I had already packed for my trip.  Scanning my bookshelf, I noticed a large hardcover book that I had not read for nearly two years –The Bully Pulpit by the renowned presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.  The subject matter, U.S. Presidents, interests me from time to time but I have not spent much time in this genre lately.  Moreover, this lengthy book is not the type that I would not take on a trip due to size and weight (I do not enjoy the e-book reading experience, so I always travel with physical books).  As Teddy Roosevelt has always fascinated me, I decided to begin reading Goodwin’s work.
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Don’t Break Down Silos, Connect Them – Innovation Excellence

Don’t Break Down Silos, Connect Them – Innovation Excellence | digitalNow | Scoop.it
The New Role of Leaders
Historically, organizations were designed for stable environments. Strategy was formulated by a single, heroic leader, whose wisdom was augmented by the eyes and ears of a small group of confidantes. Hierarchies were set up with vertical lines of authority in order to carry out orders from the top. Success was measured against plans that were handed down from the top.

Yet today, we have to manage for disruption, not stability. “We need to debunk the ‘heroic leader’ myth. If we believe in mountain top leaders, we end up centralizing our organizations around the mountain top instead of pushing accountability to people who are closer to the problems.” Chris Fussell told me.

So today the role of leaders has changed. Their primary function is no longer to plan and direct action, but to inspire and empower belief around a single mission and to shape networks that enable actions to take place at the speed which the environment demands. That, in turn, requires the use of platforms that allow everyone in the enterprise to access ecosystems of talent, technology and information.

So stop obsessing over silos and start thinking about how your organization can transcend them.
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Great Leadership: Likability in Leadership—Necessary for Some, a Liability to Others

The first context is culture. A leader’s disposition needs to be in sync with the culture of a company. I met with the CHRO of a staffing firm in the southwest last month and the first thing I thought was: this person is really nice and I can see why she is so respected here. The organization was relatively small, everyone was together in one location, and they relied on local contacts to keep the business going. Likeability was built into the formula. Would that same CHRO be as successful at a firm where the culture was more about innovation and less about continuity? Doubtful.

Industry is the second context to consider. When people talk about the qualities that made Steve Jobs so successful, likability didn’t always appear on the short list. Yet, he was one of the most admired leaders of our time. Apple is in an industry where fresh ideas, fast thinking and constant change are keys to success. Jobs brought a highly distinctive design vision that keyed-in on user experience and an eye for engineering excellence that few could match. He was a brilliant in all the ways that mattered, and that, more than likability, gained him the followership he needed to lead in computing. Likewise, the aggressive and purportedly overbearing Jack Welch was highly respected and emulated, but likability was not a key ingredient for leading the massively complex global conglomerate.
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4 simple ways to become a more effective leader through mindfulness

4 simple ways to become a more effective leader through mindfulness | digitalNow | Scoop.it
you can develop mindfulness and bring focus and clarity to your day:

1. Begin from a place of stillness

I start every workday with a few moments of mindfulness. Whether I’m on a flight or in my car, I breathe mindfully and note the quality of my thoughts. By the time I get to my desk, I’m centered and ready for whatever comes up.

Try incorporating this habit into your own day. Start by sitting quietly for two minutes. Don’t check your phone or look at your computer. Just find a quiet place where you can focus on your breathing and connect with your body. Over time, you’ll become more adept at coming back to that quiet mental place even when you’re dealing with crises.

2. Set your intentions

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos starts every meeting with a period of silence, during which everyone present reads printed copies of the meeting agenda. I have a meeting ritual, as well, that’s designed to serve the same purpose. At the outset, I ask everyone to articulate their intentions for being in the room and the objectives they hope to achieve.
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What To Do When You Discover That Passion Alone Isn’t Enough 

What To Do When You Discover That Passion Alone Isn’t Enough  | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Here are 10 realities leaders know about the one-two punch of passion and discipline:

Passion sees the vision. Discipline translates it into action.
Passion attracts a team. Discipline builds the team
Passion makes good decisions. Discipline implements the decisions.
Passion establishes values. Discipline lives the values out.
Passion envisions a healthy culture. Discipline makes it happen.
Passion describes the goal. Discipline forms the strategy to reach the goal.
Passion creates priorities. Discipline executes the priorities.
Passion generates ideas. Discipline turns them into reality.
Passion challenges people to grow. Discipline helps them do it.
Passion drives innovation. Discipline drives implementation.
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The root cause of workplace drama: Lack of clarity

The root cause of workplace drama: Lack of clarity | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Your managers aren’t making good decisions. They continue to go to their vice presidents and executives to get approval. You believe this time-wasting workplace issue is due to a lack of confidence. You offer leadership training that includes a workshop on decision-making, but the problem persists.

There is a reason people do what they do, and that reason is often due to the culture and past experiences. For example, on a consulting project, I found out that the reason managers didn’t make decisions is because they lacked confidence. The reason the managers lacked confidence was because many of their decisions had been overridden by senior leaders. Therefore, the managers feared making mistakes and losing face in front of employees.

What to do: Look through old records and find examples of decisions made by managers that were overridden by a higher authority. If you see more than a couple of examples, you may need to develop a decision-making process or get some outside consulting support to get everyone on the same page. 
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Be honest about what you need from a new hire

Be honest about what you need from a new hire | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Now, this is confusing to a lot of people. We hear about companies like Facebook and Google in every business article ever written. All of us seem to have fast phones and cool new tech/apps come out every day. So why is everything seemingly so fast and innovative, but companies are becoming more bullshit-laden every day? Here’s one good hot take via Greg Satell:

To many, this is surprising because we seem to see innovation all around us, from smarter smartphones to speakers that talk to us and respond to our commands. However, the truth is that information and communication technology makes up only 6% of advanced economies. Silicon Valley can’t build the future alone.

True.

So, companies are increasingly bureaucratic…
… and look, even though we should be changing that and making them more innovative and having self-contained entrepreneurial hubs, we need to look at the reality. Well, two realities.

A lot of managers just want box-checkers. They want to get projects off their plate and have them handled without any fires or brushback. They don’t want “innovation hubs.” The game is slicing down your to-do list and getting home at a semi-reasonable time.
Bureaucracy rises up because it makes it easier to make money without having to actually make decisions. That’s comforting to millions of people.
How does this all tie to hiring?
We tend to open a lot of white-collar hiring processes and say we’re looking for …

“Innovative”
“Entrepreneurial”
“A-Player”
“Hit the ground running”
“Collaborator”
“Out of the box thinker”
… but look at everything above. We’re not headed in that direction. We’re actually headed the other way.

And look, some roles are fucking drone jobs. It’s unfortunate, and it shouldn’t be — this is why automation concerns so many people — but some jobs are just mindless spreadsheet-updating and PowerPoint-creation, and then the people with real authority barely glance at those assets.

If you think I’m just ranting, cool. The New Yorker, who is more respected than I am, just covered this too.
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Undone by a culture of toxicity

Undone by a culture of toxicity | digitalNow | Scoop.it
One of the top charitable foundations in the US is dealing with the exposure of regular bullying, harassment and emotional abuse by a top executive, as well as what is overall a toxic culture.

There were red flags about the toxic nature of the foundation’s culture everywhere you looked. Formal complaints about this woman’s behavior were made to HR but, according to numerous former and current employees, the executive director did nothing. At least one lawsuit was filed against this woman. It was settled out of court.

Turnover at all levels was significant. The foundation notes that 73 people -- out of 140 total employees -- have left since January 2016.

On Glassdoor, the foundation earns only a 1.9 score on a five-point scale. Only 14% of employees recommend the company, and only 26% approve of the CEO.

How did these executives miss these flags? The complaints were frequent and noted consistent bad behavior. The organization’s values are honorable, yet it is obvious that this woman didn’t demonstrate the company’s values daily. “Integrity,” “inclusiveness,” and “respect” were not words employees used to describe the way she treated others.

The executive director valued growth, and he got it, yet at significant human cost.

Watch this three-minute video for my three steps to ensuring you never have a toxic culture
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What To Do When You Discover That Passion Alone Isn’t Enough

What To Do When You Discover That Passion Alone Isn’t Enough | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Here are 10 realities leaders know about the one-two punch of passion and discipline:

Passion sees the vision. Discipline translates it into action.
Passion attracts a team. Discipline builds the team
Passion makes good decisions. Discipline implements the decisions.
Passion establishes values. Discipline lives the values out.
Passion envisions a healthy culture. Discipline makes it happen.
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Five Ways Companies Can Be More Nimble

Five Ways Companies Can Be More Nimble | digitalNow | Scoop.it
In order to manage and surmount uncertainties, companies need to strategically use five kinds of agility, writes Vivekin CEO Baba Prasad in his book, 'Nimble.'
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 Intelligent Workplace Communications

 Intelligent Workplace Communications | digitalNow | Scoop.it
machines get smarter, and smarter by the second.    

Connect, Inspire and Drive Action
So back to leadership and communication. Wouldn’t it be great if instead of asking an intelligent digital assistant, you could ask anyone in your organization a simple question like “so what are we trying to achieve and why?” Wouldn’t it be great if that person could then respond quickly, confidently, and accurately as a result of your great leadership communication? In my experience, just getting a response other than a panicked facial expression would be progress. When you step back and look at the combined horsepower, experience, and talent you have in your organization, not communicating effectively such that every person feels connected, inspired and able to answer the question your message affords is a huge problem that leadership communication can address, if done right. 

Here are three tips to help:
1. Start with the end in mind. 

Focus on the question you want your audience to answer accurately. We know that the accuracy of the answer from a digital assistant depends very much on how you ask the question. The more ambiguous your question, the more complex your ask, and the more you ignore all that surrounding ambient noise diluting crispness, and the less predictable response you get. Too often leadership communication can come across as a stream of consciousness from a leader who feels the need (or is told) to communicate far too much all at once. The real intent of the communication is lost in detail and complexity, and the leader fails to connect, inspire or engage anyone. I know this sounds sort of obvious and is one of those common-sense kinds of reminders, but as a leader, simply before you communicate, start with the end in mind. Ask yourself, what is the question your communication needs to address quickly, confidently, and accurately? When that question is something you would feel confident asking a digital assistant – clear, simple and appreciative of the surrounding environment, you stand a great chance of connecting, inspiring and driving your audience to action. 
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Time for a new approach to motivating millennials

The Values Point of View model reinforces three key notions:

Programmed values aren’t nearly as powerful as developed values. A developed value is thoughtfully chosen from alternatives, with an understanding of the consequences of the alternatives, and acted on over time, prized and publicly owned.
Values are individually held and issue-based. A value is a choice you make regarding a specific issue. You can hold one type of value when it comes to women’s rights and another when it comes to gun control. The problem is that many people fail to explore their values and underlying beliefs, depending instead on unexplored programmed values that are general and generational.
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Time for a new approach to motivating millennials

Time for a new approach to motivating millennials | digitalNow | Scoop.it
What are generational values?
You might have first encountered the idea of values differences as I did, through Morris Massey’s fabulously popular lecture "What You Are Is Where You Were When." Massey was a professor at the University of Colorado and a wonderful mentor for me in the early 1970s. His lecture (and subsequent video) changed the way I thought about values (and the course of my education and career).

In 1991, researchers William Strauss and Neil Howe published their fascinating study in "Generations: The History of America’s Future from 1584 to 2069." They tracked US values through generations using documents, media reports and historical records. They described how each 20 years or so ushers a new set of values -- a generational values personality.

They created the terms we are now so familiar with, from baby boomers to millennials. They also found that types of values repeat themselves in predictable patterns. A generation lasts approximately 20 years, and types of values begin repeating after the fourth generation, or every 80 years. So, millennials born between 1981-2002, roughly speaking, have similar types of values as people born between 1901 and 1924. The two generations have similar peer-value profiles.

The research on generational values is still young and, admittedly, interesting. Seeing values echoed sequentially in a fixed pattern over the ages might demonstrate how we can learn from history, provide insight into the future by studying how values repeat in cycles and help us better understand ourselves and others.

However, generational values only describe the formation of a huge population’s programmed values -- values that are unexplored and generated by what a particular age group experienced growing up. Parents, take note: The greatest influence on your children’s programmed values are their peers and what’s happening in their world.
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Break The Loop Of Underperforming Innovations 

Orphaned innovations are a source of frustration for both management and the individual contributors who created them. Post launch reviews can expose some causal factors influencing performance, but the root cause is nearly always the system which produced them. It was Dr. W. Edwards Deming who once stated, “Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.” If the product or service is truly an innovation then it is imperative that it be treated as such.  Yet most corporations unwittingly sabotage their own innovations while professing that they need more “big ideas.”

No matter how big the potential of an idea, placing that idea into a system that is not equipped to handle it can only yield unrealized market potential. Companies must acknowledge big ideas as new – as truly innovative – and therefore requiring modifications to existing systems. Adoption of a learning mindset is crucial. Rather than development systems that rely upon doing “what we do best”, project meetings must focus upon specific learnings which have been gained, how to adjust to them, and what needs to be learned next.
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Customer Loyalty is Not the Same as Repeat Business

Retention Plus Loyalty
The big takeaway from this blog is that most programs or strategies referred to as loyalty programs are simply efforts to entice customer retention or reduce likelihood customers will churn.

These programs are often a collection of tactics designed to appeal to the logical side of humans and to get customers to calculate tradeoffs like:

Are the retention benefits worth my next purchase?

Is it more painful to stay with this provider or to leave them?
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Stop Blaming the Help. How Companies Stymie Great CX 

Poor Human Resource Planning
Ms. Purple Hair was there alone on a busy Saturday morning. Her only lifeline; her manager who was not there that day but at home sick. This is not an isolated incident. I have been to this facility several times; they never have more than 2 people there.

Solution:
Look for peaks and valleys in your customer volume and schedule accordingly. There is very good scheduling software that integrates demand planning into staff schedules. This can attenuate bulges in demand. Also having self-help kiosks for routine procedures can help mitigate peak demand times. Both grocery stores and now quick serve restaurants make great use of self-help kiosks for routine requests and questions. For example, McDonald’s recently announced they are spending over $6 billion on upgrades including kiosks and mobile ordering.

Nonsensical Policies
“So, you can’t tell me what my credit is, but can tell there is a $200 change fee when I do rebook my flight sometime in the future?”

“That’s correct sir”, said the cool as ice phone representative. I imagined her inspecting her fingernails for flaws as she spoke in a very matter-of-fact-this-is-completely-normal kind of way about this ridiculous policy.
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Is Complaining About Work The Key To Happiness At Work?

Is Complaining About Work The Key To Happiness At Work? | digitalNow | Scoop.it
It’s well known that the modern employee is often a stressed employee.  Indeed, official government stats suggest that 40% of workers believe their job is extremely stressful, with 25% regarding it as the main stressor in their lives.

Having a bit of a grumble with a colleague about something so stressful could be a great way to let off steam, right?  Well yes and no.  Let’s explore the evidence to support venting at work first.

A recent study, published in Organization Studies, suggests that complaining about work can help to improve relationships within a team, and indeed make workers feel better, especially if the grumble has an element of humor to it.

Shared frustrations
The researchers studied a number of teams in a midwestern US hospital who worked under extremely stressful circumstances, whether due to the nature of the cases they were working on, or the relative inflexibility of their organizational structure.  In the teams, it emerged that complaining served to bond people together, whilst also allowing them to process their negative feelings and become more positive as a result.
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How willing is your organization to invest in growth?

How willing is your organization to invest in growth? | digitalNow | Scoop.it
How willing is your organization to invest in growth?

Very. We spend freely to drive the top line: 12%
Somewhat. We spend on focused areas only: 60%
Not very. Our investments are few and far between: 18%
Not at all. We never spend on driving growth: 10%
It takes money to make money. Almost 30% of you report not spending much at all in your growth efforts. I'd venture to guess your companies aren't growing. While it can be hard to carve out the funds to invest, you have to realize you can't cut costs to achieve profitability forever. At some point, there's nothing left to cut. To overcome this dynamic, be deliberate about setting aside funds in your budget for growth spending. With budgeting season around the corner for many of you, think about where your best growth opportunities are and make sure they're fully funded. Then, don't make the mistake of raiding those funds to make up for shortfalls elsewhere. Growth won't happen magically. You need to invest it to catch up with the 70% of organizations out there who are freer with the purse strings.
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5 leadership strategies that cultivate cognitive diversity

5 leadership strategies that cultivate cognitive diversity | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Check in with yourself
Watch for and combat your own personal biases relative to how people think, process information and solve problems. Treat this just like any other diversity factor. Take the time to recognize and process your own reactions; but don’t allow them to affect how you interact with others.

Convene teams that think differently
Consciously create cognitively diverse teams. Recruit people intentionally to ensure a rich mix of thinking styles and different points of view. Intentionally seek out others who approach problems differently than you do.
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The right framing and questions lead to productive conversations

The right framing and questions lead to productive conversations | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Imagine trying to lead an organization or team without words or conversation. Impossible, right? Everything leaders do is mediated through conversation. So, what are you doing with your conversations?

What if you had the keys to ensure your conversations would fuel productivity and engagement? Keys that would inspire creativity, motivate collaborative action, and generate innovative possibilities for resolving complex challenges? Think of how and where you might be able to take your team or organization empowered with those keys!

There are only two keys. They will help you do all of the above, and we're going to give them to you right now: Positive framing and generative questions.

The first key is to frame your conversations to talk about what you want, to focus on desired outcomes instead of on problems and deficits. Then, use the second key: powerful generative questions. Ask questions that indicate you don’t have the answer. Questions that invite diverse perspectives, new information and disruptive ideas related to the outcomes you’re after. The conversations that will evolve will allow you to collaboratively discover ways to move towards those outcomes.

Here’s an example. A leading Fortune 500 company had a serious issue with sexual harassment. Leaders, anxious to do something about it, began a root-cause analysis and conducted surveys to clarify the extent of the problem and solicit solutions. The more they looked into it, the worse the problem became. It seemed sexual harassment was rampant and tension in the organization grew even as they attempted to find solutions.

A curious consultant asked, “What do you want?” Leaders replied, “An end to sexual harassment.” The consultant pushed forward. "OK. If there is no sexual harassment, what will there be?”

After consideration, one replied, “Well, of course, we want high-quality, cross-gender relationships in the workplace.” 

After leadership began to ask questions about where those kinds of relationships were occurring, the solutions began magically to appear. Many people had examples of such relationships and from their stories they co-developed a strategy for teams and leadership to reinforce and ensure high quality, cross-gender relationships going forward.  Two years later, the organization won an award from the National Organization for Women as a Best Place to Work for Women.
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You're a chef, not a chemist

You're a chef, not a chemist | digitalNow | Scoop.it
The CEO knows the general direction his company is heading, but he’ll be the first to admit he doesn’t have a master plan all figured out. Should he pour it on to seize every opportunity the company is uncovering and risk overexpansion? Or slow things down to consolidate his gains and risk losing first-mover advantage? That’s just one of the many forks in the road he’s facing; as he comes across each one he has no choice but to choose.

Yet another client is a startup, pioneering a new industry that’s showing signs of being a genuine gold rush. Its management team knows, generally speaking, in what direction its nascent industry is heading, and they know they need to stake their claim in a relevant, differentiated and defensible niche. But (forgive the mixed metaphor) nobody can say what the final chessboard will look like. As arrogant as it would be for the team to assume they know how the industry will shake out, it would be foolish to not pursue a singular direction despite many uncertainties.
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What Happens When You Align Culture With Strategy

Traditional leadership doesn’t cut it anymore. Today, business success relies on exponential leadership and everything that embodies — such as openness, engagement, continuous learning, creative problem solving and a growth mindset. Significant achievements are possible when these values are present everywhere from leadership to work culture.

Legacies, reputations and greater responsibilities depend upon what lies beneath the numbers that workers crunch. A company rewards itself when exponential leaders align culture with strategy. Culture must ripple through every act of policy and business strategy.

When a leader signs the company name to a new contract or product, culture must be at work. When the company offers perks, benefits and feedback, culture must be at the heart of it all. Strategy goes nowhere without culture, and exponential leaders realize this.

Consider Your Company’s Cultural Message
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7 Fields and Professions That Are Beginning to Rely on Virtual Reality 

7 Fields and Professions That Are Beginning to Rely on Virtual Reality  | digitalNow | Scoop.it
1. Architecture & Real Estate
Soon the days of designing buildings with hand-drawn sketches will be completely gone, if they aren’t already. Today’s architects are becoming familiar with 3D software to design their projects, allowing them to design not just the exterior of the structure but the interior as well. This is great not only for architects, but also for realtors and homebuyers.

“A number of young tech companies are exploring an entirely in-VR experience when it comes to shopping for your next home,” write the Zolo Staff. “These experiences allow buyers to enter search criteria — like price, location, and the number of rooms — and then offer VR tours of the homes that meet the criteria. This new real estate technology can fundamentally change the way people shop for homes.”

2. Hospitality & Tourism
In the same way that people can scope out new homes and buildings from the comfort of their existing home, VR allows for tourists and vacationers to preview their destination spots in detail. Some people are even using VR to fuel their entire vacation!

“One of the most common uses of virtual reality in the hospitality industry so far has been the creation of virtual travel experiences, using 360 degree video technology,” write the experts at Revfine. ”Through this, users can experience a virtual recreation of different aspects of travel, from the flight, to arrival, to some of the key sights.”

VR is, no doubt, capturing the imagination of many who wish to provide entertainment and an immersive experience. While a user is in the virtual world, companies will begin to advertise using virtual means, drawing customers in with virtual marketing and PR campaigns, as well as augmented reality. Eventually, it won’t just be vacations or tourism, but everyday tasks like learning and teaching that will accommodate VR.

3. Teaching & Learning
Educators the world over are turning to VR to bring immersive experiences to their students. In the same vein as the tourism and travel niche, innovations like Google Cardboard allow teachers to take their students on a field trip anywhere in the world — and even off of it! — without leaving the classroom.

Some argue that the classroom itself will undergo a virtual transformation, shifting to an entirely online format. As it is, telepresence learning and work can be facilitated with two-way cameras and the internet. However, ASU Online mentions that “as online learning continues to evolve, students will be presented with even more options — through virtual and augmented reality — giving them more choices and creating a richer, more immersive learning experience.”
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What does your FOMO look like?

What does your FOMO look like? | digitalNow | Scoop.it
People are more involved and connected than ever before. There’s always something going on, and somebody’s posting about it. Are you in, or are you out?

With all this awareness, fear of missing out, or FOMO, is rampant. It’s easy to get seduced into thinking that just because we can be involved or included, we should be. Or, if we aren’t, something bad might happen. The pressure is unbelievable.

While today’s FOMO might be more intense than in previous generations, the psychology behind it is the same. Fear of missing out comes in two forms: Victim FOMO and Rescuer FOMO.

Drama and fear of missing out
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Beware These 10 Innovation Killers – Innovation Excellence

Beware These 10 Innovation Killers – Innovation Excellence | digitalNow | Scoop.it
1. Believe that innovation will just happen.

The belief that innovation will just happen makes about as much sense as the belief that a garden will sprout in your backyard without any planting, weeding, or watering. Innovation requires a proactive process that identifies, validates, and nurtures ideas into value. The challenge is that the overwhelming majority of ideas will not pass muster but without a process you’ll not only ignore the ones that aren’t valuable but also ignore those that do.

2. Tell everyone to “think outside the box,” hold a brainstorming session, then call it a day.

Great ideas are the seeds of innovation; they are not innovation itself. Ideas are not in short supply. Spend an hour in a meeting with a few bright people and you will end up with dozens of new ideas. Then what? Where do those ideas go? Who evaluates them and shepherds them through the next stages? Ideas are not innovation. Companies that get innovation right build, implement, and communicate a process to support innovation, so that everyone is able to participate. In the end you have to have a formalized process for ensuring that ideas are nurtured.
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