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Exploring leadership, management, innovation, and technology issues and trends; impacting associations & non-profit organizations in the digital age.
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Getting Smart at being Wrong

Whoever said, “Fail often, fail fast, fail cheap,” has my respect.
One challenge, however, is organizational expectations. Some within your organization have a low tolerance for failure. They choke creativity, stall innovation, and paralyze people. Why?
Mistakes cost:

1. Decline in morale.
2. Lost confidence.
3. Opportunities lost.
4. Underutilized resources.
5. Misallocated resources.

On a positive note, learning is mistake-making.
Three grandchildren are spending a couple days with us. Occasionally, one of them will dig out two short pieces of soft rope and tie things up. They inevitably ask to tie me up and then I return the favor.

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How online education is influencing university redesign, innovation | SmartPlanet

How online education is influencing university redesign, innovation | SmartPlanet | digitalNow |
At the Economist’s Ideas Economy: Human Potential Conference in New York, leaders in the field of online learning discussed how this field is pr (Heard at the Human Potential conference: The campus won't go away, but it will have to reinvent itself.)...
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Spending Time, Money and Going Mobile

Social media not only connects consumers with each other, but also with just about every place they go and everything they watch and buy. Nielsen’s new Social Media Report looks at trends and consumption patterns across social media platforms in the U.S. and other major markets, exploring the rising influence of social media on consumer behavior.

Highlights of Nielsen’s “State of the Media: The Social Media Report”

Social networks and blogs continue to dominate Americans’ time online, now accounting for nearly a quarter of total time spent on the Internet
At over 53 billion total minutes during May 2011, Americans spend more time on Facebook than they do on any other website
Tumblr is an emerging player in social media, nearly tripling its audience from a year ago
Nearly 40 percent of social media users access social media content from their mobile phone
Internet users over the age of 55 are driving the growth of social networking through the Mobile Internet
70 percent of active online adult social networkers shop online, 12 percent more likely than the average adult Internet user
Across a sample of 10 global markets, social networks and blogs are the top online destination in each country, accounting for the majority of time spent online and reaching at least 60 percent of active Internet users

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Think Consumers Are Tired of Deals? Better Think Again

You've probably seen it, maybe even experienced it: two expired Groupons tacked to a wall for months. That $100 in unused yoga and dance lessons reduced to bad cubicle art inspires an outright offensive against daily deals and a rash of deleted, unopened emails from Groupon, LivingSocial, DealOn, Yipit and every city magazine launching its own version of the service.

Rice University professor of management Utpal Dhollakia
While that's a real scenario, it's also the outlier, a Rice University study finds. Even though Groupon has undoubtedly fallen from the graces of the press in recent months after drawing back its financial curtain for an initial public offering, the fact remains: U.S. consumers are still gaga for deals and Groupon is their favorite by far, with few reporting any shade of deals fatigue.
That disconnect explains why Utpal Dholakia, professor of management at Rice University and the lead researcher on the study, fell out of his chair when he saw the hard numbers. He, too, had heard about a woman who, with something like 17 unused deals, had given them up. As Groupon's brand began to tarnish, he set out to see if swaths of consumers, once enamored with the new-age digital coupons from Groupon and its legions of competitors -- numbering 600, according to deal-aggregator Yipit -- were indeed beginning to swear them off.

Not really, say the numbers.

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Top 20 Android Apps in the US: Women Like Facebook, Men Love Maps and Mail

According to the first mobile media rankings based on audience measurement data from metered Android smartphone usage, aside from the Android Market app itself, Facebook, Google Maps and Gmail were the most used among U.S. Android users 18 years and older. To determine each apps “active reach,” — the percentage of Android owners who used an app within the past 30 days — Nielsen analyzed the data from on-device meters on thousands of Android smartphones.

While many of the top 20 apps, including the streaming music service Pandora and two versions of the popular game Angry Birds, showed similar usage by both men and women, there were notable differences in active reach for social apps. Facebook’s mobile app saw an active reach of 81 percent for women compared to 69 percent for male Android users. Twitter also had slightly higher active reach among women (16.5%) than men (13.4%). However, Google+, Google’s new social network, had more than twice the active reach among men (15.8%) than women (7.2%).

Outside of social media, apps like Amazon’s Kindle and Words With Friends showed higher active reach among women, while apps like Quickoffice Pro and the Amazon Appstore had higher active reach among male Android smartphone owners. And despite the stereotype that men don’t like asking for directions, they seemed pretty comfortable using Google Maps, which has 77 percent active reach among men compared to 71.8 percent among women.

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The Evolution Of eLearning

The Evolution Of eLearning | digitalNow |

Distance learning, often called online or eLearning, has evolved dramatically from the 1700s to the Millennium.

Many adults are seeking more education opportunities and degrees online.

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Never Ask 'Does That Make Sense?'

Unfortunately, the expression has two negative implications:

• Uncertainty on the part of the speaker about the accuracy or credibility of the content
• Doubt about the ability of the audience to comprehend or appreciate the content.

"Does that make sense?" has become so pervasive, it joins the ranks of fillers, empty words that surround and diminish meaningful words, just as weeds diminish the beauty of roses in a garden. Most speakers are unaware that they are using fillers, and most audiences don't bother to think of their implications. The phrase has attained the frequency — and meaninglessness of:

• "You know..." as if to be sure the listener is paying attention
• "Like I said..." as if to say that the listener didn't understand
• "Again..." as if to say that the listener didn't get it the first time
• "I mean..." as if to say that the speaker is unsure of his/her own clarity
• "To be honest..." as if to say the speaker was not truthful earlier
• "I'm like..." the universal filler which says absolutely nothing

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The ROI of social media

The ROI of social media | digitalNow |

How are you measuring the success of social media? This question remains contentious to say the least. This infographic shares some insight into just how the “R” in ROI can be interpreted. We hope it helps!

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Training Isn’t Dead – But it Should Be

An Overview of The Problem
My problem with training is it presumes the need for indoctrination on systems, processes and techniques. Moreover, training assumes that said systems, processes and techniques are the right way to do things. When a trainer refers to something as “best practices” you can with great certitude rest assured that’s not the case. Training is often a rote, one directional, one dimensional, one size fits all, authoritarian process that imposes static, outdated information on people. The majority of training takes place within a monologue (lecture/presentation) rather than a dialog. Perhaps worst of all, training usually occurs within a vacuum driven by past experience.
The Solution
The solution to the leadership training problem is to scrap it in favor of development. Don’t train leaders, coach them, mentor them, disciple them, and develop them, but please don’t attempt to train them. Where training attempts to standardize by blending to a norm and acclimating to the status quo, development strives to call out the unique and differentiate by shattering the status quo. Training is something leaders dread and will try and avoid, whereas they will embrace and look forward to development. Development is nuanced, contextual, collaborative, fluid, and above all else, actionable.
The following 15 items point out some of the main differences between training and development:
Training focuses on the present – Development focuses on the future.
Training focuses on technique – Development focuses on talent.
Training adheres to standards – Development focuses on maximizing potential.
Training focuses on maintenance – Development focuses on growth.
Training focuses on the role – Development focuses on the person.
Training indoctrinates – Development educates.
Training maintains status quo – Development catalyzes innovation.
Training stifles culture – Development enriches culture.
Training encourages compliance – Development emphasizes performance.
Training focuses on efficiency – Development focuses on effectiveness.

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10 tips for time management in a multitasking world | Penelope Trunk Blog

10 tips for time management in a multitasking world | Penelope Trunk Blog | digitalNow |
Time management is one of those skills no one teaches you in school but you have to learn.
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Cheese Moving: Effecting Change Rather Than Accepting It

With more than 23 million copies in print, Spencer Johnson's allegorical tale Who Moved My Cheese? is one of the best-selling business books of all time. Even 13 years after its initial publication, the book, whose characters include mice in a maze, still sits at the top of's Workplace Behavior best-seller list—thanks in part to corporate managers who distribute it to their employees as a lesson in accepting and anticipating change gracefully. But is that really the best message to send?

Harvard Business School Professor Deepak Malhotra thinks not, and he has crafted an allegory with a decidedly un-mousy message. I Moved Your Cheese: For Those Who Refuse to Live as Mice in Someone Else's Maze is like Who Moved My Cheese? in that the new business fable also stars a cast of mice. But the similarity ends there.

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The warning signs of defending the status quo

When confronted with a new idea, do you:

Consider the cost of switching before you consider the benefits?
Highlight the pain to a few instead of the benefits for the many?
Exaggerate how good things are now in order to reduce your fear of change?
Undercut the credibility, authority or experience of people behind the change?
Grab onto the rare thing that could go wrong instead of amplifying the likely thing that will go right?
Focus on short-term costs instead of long-term benefits, because the short-term is more vivid for you?
Fight to retain benefits and status earned only through tenure and longevity?
Embrace an instinct to accept consistent ongoing costs instead of swallowing a one-time expense?
Slow implementation and decision making down instead of speeding it up?
Embrace sunk costs?
Imagine that your competition is going to be as afraid of change as you are? Even the competition that hasn't entered the market yet and has nothing to lose...
Emphasize emergency preparation at the expense of a chronic and degenerative condition?
Compare the best of what you have now with the possible worst of what a change might bring?
Calling it out when you see it might give your team the strength to make a leap.

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Life's Instructions: A list

Have a firm handshake.
Look people in the eye.
Sing in the shower.
Own a great stereo system.
If in a fight, hit first and hit hard.
Keep secrets.
Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen everyday.
Always accept an outstretched hand.
Be brave. Even if you're not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.
Avoid sarcastic remarks.
Choose your life's mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90 per cent of all your happiness or misery.
Make it a habit to do nice things for people who will never find out.
Lend only those books you never care to see again.
Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all that they have.
When playing games with children, let them win.
Give people a second chance, but not a third.
Be romantic.
Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
Loosen up. Relax. Except for rare life-and-death matters, nothing is as important as it first seems.
Don't allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It's there for our convenience, not the caller's.
Be a good loser.
Be a good winner.
Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.
When someone hugs you, let them be the first to let go.
Be modest. A lot was accomplished before you were born.
Keep it simple.
Beware of the person who has nothing to lose.
Don't burn bridges. You'll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
Live your life so that your epitaph could read, No Regrets.
Be bold and courageous. When you look back on life, you'll regret the
things you didn't do more than the one's you did.
Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
Remember no one makes it alone. Have a grateful heart and be quick to acknowledge those who helped you.
Take charge of your attitude. Don't let someone else choose it for you.
Visit friends and relatives when they are in hospital; you need only stay a few minutes.
Begin each day with some of your favorite music.
Once in a while, take the scenic route.
Send a lot of Valentine cards. Sign them, 'Someone who thinks you're terrific.'
Answer the phone with enthusiasm and energy in your voice.
Keep a note pad and pencil on your bed-side table. Million-dollar ideas sometimes strike at 3 a.m.
Show respect for everyone who works for a living, regardless of how trivial their job.
Send your loved ones flowers. Think of a reason later.
Make someone's day by paying the toll for the person in the car behind you.
Become someone's hero.
Marry only for love.
Count your blessings.
Compliment the meal when you're a guest in someone's home.
Wave at the children on a school bus.
Remember that 80 per cent of the success in any job is based on your ability to deal with people.
Don't expect life to be fair.

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So, You Want to be a Marketing Innovator?

7 Habits of Innovative Marketers:
Just say no: Less is more, period.
Tell an engaging story: Story and narrative is everything. No story, no engagement.
Play a different game: If your competitor is winning in one arena, change the sport.
De-position the competition: Understand what differentiation means, and apply it every day.
Admit your mistake: And move on. Not moving on, and trying to defend, only leads to more failure.
Get management to reward creativity: New thinking requires support, rewards, and backing.
Ask how you can help: Build that direct relationship with your customer.
7 Deadly Sins of Marketers:
Saying too much: Really, less is more. More just gets lost in the morass of market noise.
Talking to yourself: Marketing is about the customer, not your internal organization.
Selling the steak: Remember that steak clogs arteries if you focus on it too much; same in marketing.
Focusing on competitors: Think about your own innovation; don't waste time obsessing on others.
Putting lipstick on the pig: Some things just can't be "pretty'd up." Move on.
Aiming for all: Get practical, and win your battles one by one. You might win the war that way.
Chasing the mythical mass market: This is the gold rush dream, but it's not a winner's strategy.

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Industry report from Neilsen about social media for Q3 2011

Industry report from Neilsen about social media for Q3 2011 | digitalNow |
The growth of social media has been spectacular over the last couple of years and respected research firm Nielsen have just released their Q3 2011 rep (RT @Brandmovers_UK: Neilsen Release Social Media Report For 2011
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Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant

If you've ever experienced the great shut-out from a passive-aggressive boss, you know how nerve-wracking such treatment can be. And if you've followed the dynamics of the "Terrible Office Tyrant" or "TOT," you can easily picture your boss as a child who doesn't get his way and chooses to ignore you. But you can empower yourself to manage this kind of boss - and create a less stressful, more healthy job environment for yourself. It's a career skill you can take to any job.

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8 Easy Organizational Tips to Increase Your Productivity at Work

So here are 8 easy-to-implement organizational tips that Albright recently shared with Working Mother that should not only save you some time, they should also help you become more organized and more productive at work.

A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place - By having a designated place for supplies and other frequently used items (and actually using it), you should always be able to quickly and easily locate the things you're looking for.
Toss, Recycle, Donate - Throw out or recycle what doesn't work, and donate what you don't need, don't want, or don't use.
Go Vertical - If you use it often, keep it close. But if you only use it once in a while, Albright says to store it in high or low storage spots to open up the space in between for things you do use often. She suggests shelving, wall baskets, wall-mounted file folders, and wall hooks as great ways to go vertical.
Label, Label, Label - Labeling not only helps you stay better organized, it also helps others function more independently in your workspace. So Albright suggests that you find an easy-to-use label maker and start labeling!
Create a Meeting Bin - Never can find what you need for a meeting? How about creating a designated bin in your work space devoted to upcoming meetings? Whenever you find something or think of something you're going to need for your next meeting, put it in the bin. Then when the time comes for the meeting, most or all of what you need will be in one place.
Create a Pending Folder - A pending folder helps you clear off your desk and centralize pending projects. Albright suggests having a "pending" email folder as well.
Keep a Notebook Close By - Have a notebook, call log, or journal to keep a record of telephone messages. You can also use it to jot down important notes and reminders during phone calls. This way you'll have a record of all your calls and conversations in one place.
Get Your Desk in Order Before You Leave - Not only can a disorganized desk become an ongoing source of stress, it can also result in important taks getting lost in the chaos and clutter. Albright says that by tidying up your desk an hour before you leave, you not only may discover a task that got lost in the clutter, you might still have enough time to handle it.

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Social media mistakes SMBs should avoid | Social Media Marketing

Social media mistakes SMBs should avoid | Social Media Marketing | digitalNow |
RT @DavidDC: Like any kind of business endeavor, it's crucial for brands to first understand social media
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Why Small Businesses Overpay for Health Insurance

Small businesses overpay for health insurance by an average of 29 percent, says new research that highlights the trouble small firms have shopping for plans.

The study, titled "Unhealthy Insurance Markets: Search Frictions and the Cost and Quality of Health Insurance," was published in the August issue of the American Economic Review.

When they began taking insurance markets' vital signs a few years ago, the four researchers noted that small employer groups changed plans very frequently. It's not cheap to change plans, and a competitive market would mean plans of similar value are available at similar prices, so the constant switching suggested something was getting in the way of competition

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Lead Your Own Way Ten pieces of management conventional wisdom you should ignore, especially in a weak economy

With uncertainty in the market, many business leaders are focused on “playing it safe.” By following conventional practices, they may be taking a far more dangerous route. While it is important to rely on best practices, some may be short-sighted and hold your business back from achieving its true potential.

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Leadership Skills for Driving Innovation

Never fool yourself into thinking your business doesn't have time or money to foster creativity...


"I have no expectation of making a hit every time I come to bat," Roosevelt told the nation in his second fireside chat. Ultimately, of course, he made enough right calls to lead the country out of the Great Depression and through World War II. Similarly for business, intelligent risk-taking is a second and absolutely necessary key for spurring innovation. We need to pursue what enterprise risk experts Rick Funston and Henry Ristuccia call "frontier risks," the gambles in pursuit of new ideas and technologies that won't reap rewards next quarter but could have huge impact later on.

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The Basics of Social Media Around the World | Social Media Today

The Basics of Social Media Around the World | Social Media Today | digitalNow |
Co-creation is a dream many consumers have
Almost half the people would like to share their ideas with a company they like. One out of three takes this further and wishes to be able to co-create with the company. It is by no means a niche group that is open to this. The main thing about co-creation is that people are interested in the category or company in question, which is their main motivation.

Defriending is linked to an offline relationship, not to content
More than half of social network users have already eliminated someone from their virtual circle of friends. The main reason is the lack of offline contact. When the offline relationship between people is less positive, it has an impact online. Bad or irrelevant content has much less impact on the matter.

Lonely apps
An average smartphone contains 25 apps, only 12 of which are used. Many applications are used only once. The social network apps are the most successful ones and are downloaded most frequently.

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There’s always room for innovation

I don’t care what you do — there’s always a way to do it better.

Example: A better pizza plate.

Easier to eat the pizza
Stacks up inside the delivery box
Less paper used than a bigger paper plate
What is that everyday thing that you can reinvent?

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How To Make Great Leadership Decisions

Why do leaders fail? They make bad decisions. And in some cases they compound bad decision upon bad decision. You cannot separate leadership from decisioning, for like it or not, they are inexorably linked. Put simply, the outcome of a leader’s decisions can, and usually will, make or break them. Those leaders who avoid making decisions solely for fear of making a bad decision, or conversely those that make decisions just for the sake of making a decision will likely not last long. The fact of the matter is that senior executives who rise to the C-suite do so largely based upon their ability to consistently make sound decisions. However while it may take years of solid decision making to reach the boardroom, it often times only takes one bad decision to fall from the ivory tower. As much as you may wish it wasn’t so, as a CEO you’re really only as good as your last decision.

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The Modern History of the Resume

The role of the resume has remained constant throughout its 500 years of existence — the point of the resume is to get an interview, in hopes of finally landing a job.

Relative to other forms of communication, though, it hasn’t changed all that much. In fact, most of the changes have been merely cosmetic — most employers still require a one-sheet, black-and-white printed resume at interviews, regardless of the fact that we all use email and have had access to much better design options for years now. Not to mention, printing is unnecessary in the digital world we live in. At this point, even the role of cover letters in today’s job market is being scrutinized.

The proliferation of digital and social tools over the past decade has brought about the social media resume, the infographic resume and the video resume, among other creative options.

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