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Deborah Mills-scofield's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Entries in Innovation (132)

Thursday
May222014

Outcomes vs. Outputs: The S'more!

"What’s the difference between outputs and outcomes? Some think the question is merely semantics, or that the difference is simple: outputs are extrinsic and outcomes intrinsic. I think otherwise; the difference between outputs and outcomes is more fundamental and profound."  Read on.... at Linkedin...

Monday
May192014

It's Not A Gap Year! It's An Education.

Education is learning languages: the languages of words, music, math, art, chemistry, biology, etc.  Education is learning paradoxes … and oxymorons.  So let me highlight an oxymoron that is damaging our kids’ education:  Lifelong Learning and Gap Year. If we truly believe in Lifelong Learning, then we have to believe that Gap Years are not Gaps…and we have to use a different word.

Gap means: 1) a break or opening; breach; or 2) an empty space or interval, interruption in continuity.  That seems a bit inconsistent with the notion of Lifelong Learning, doesn’t it? Especially since most of our learning in life is experiential, not classroom-based.   What if we didn’t call it a “Gap Year” but called it an “Applied Discovery Year”? 

What if this was a year students saw worlds they only read about or hadn’t even imagined.  This could be a year of learning by doing, one of the best ways we humans learn - a year that challenges students at many levels.  Let’s face it, most of the kids who go right from high school to college haven’t had to be responsible for themselves or had the chance to explore areas of interest instead of what has been prescribed. 

The move from home’s safety net to the world is a major transition in a late teen’s emotional, spiritual and intellectual formation.  It’s a time of learning more from peers (and professors); evolving the values and morals of parents into one’s own; learning to handle emotions; and developing deeper systems-level thinking. This may be the first time we encounter different types of people, ideas, experiences, and cultures and can’t retreat into the world of familiarity in which we were raised.

The concept of an Applied Discovery Year is gaining momentum.  Thinking Beyond Borders provides students with opportunities to learn, work hard and improve the lives of others through robust curricular programs around the globe.  The Experience Institute provides an apprenticeship-based learning environment with innovative companies in business, technology, design and social innovation.  The Applied Discovery Year concept is becoming part of the college experience so students learn how, why and if the theory taught in the classroom applies in the real world.

The Applied Discovery Year gives students a much-needed chance to step back, gain perspective, and recharge their batteries after the non-stop treadmill and stress of the college-prep trajectory, focusing on something other than just themselves.  It’s also one of the first times in their lives they need to create their own plan instead of being told what to do.  Life, unlike K-12, isn’t a clear path with detailed instructions.  The Applied Discovery Year helps students transition from prescription to discovery.  I bet these kids will be able to deal the next transition from college to career better than most as well.

Just as our educational system is in need of transformation, K-16+, our language to describe education, its forms, types, curriculum, need to change as well.  It’s not a Gap Year; it’s an Applied Discovery Year – as is almost all of Lifelong Learning.  It’s Education, plain and simple… Education by doing and living.  So let’s stop calling it a Gap Year.  Will you join me? 

Wednesday
May142014

The Business Efficiency of Integrity

A 2-fer! One of my favorite companies & sites! Menasha, 165+ years old, is growing, profitable, solving customers' real problems and having an impact.  Key? Integrity - it truly pays dividends. Read on.  

"While much has been written about the relationship between integrity, trust and profitability in the last few years, there are companies who have lived this for over 100 years, like a 165 year old, billion dollar plus, 6 generation family business in Wisconsin, Menasha Corp.  Last year, in a discussion on the paradox of integrity, trust and vulnerability with John Hagel, Saul Kaplan, Mike Waite, President of Menasha Packaging Corp. (MPC) and myself, shared how integrity is key to Menasha’s success."  Read on..

Sunday
Apr272014

Create Your Own Luck

You know how much I believe in serendipity & random collisions (a la Saul Kaplan!).  Meet Samir Rath (bio below).  I met Samir when he was in the 2nd cohort of the IE-Brown E-MBA while simultaneously investing and starting companies all over the world, including Chile, because, doesn't everyone? Read Samir's thoughts on serendipity, luck and entrepreneurship - and join in!

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Innovation is serendipity, so you don't know what people will make.- Tim Berners-Lee, Inventor of the World Wide Web.

How often do we hear our friends and family say “Oh! She is so lucky. She moves in the right circles”. Or “He is so lucky. He is always at the right place at the right time”. Beyond the tinge of jealousy that such messages communicate, also hides a subtle ring of despair. May people feel that no matter how hard they work or how capable they are, their spate of bad luck just keeps messing things up.

Luck is nothing but an attitude. Richard Wiseman, the author of “The Luck Factor: The Scientific Study of the Lucky Mind”, defines luck as the outcome of how we deal with chance and that some people are just much better at it. ‘Unlucky’ people tend to be very apprehensive of the future, uncomfortable with change and want to control their circumstances. They tend to have set pre-defined expectations of how a situation should play out, often leading to disappointment. This is inevitable given how bad we are at predicting the future. ‘Lucky’ people, on the other hand, embrace the randomness of life with open arms and accept that change is the only constant in the equation of life. Serendipity becomes a way of life, with happenstance encounters evolving into friendships and business relationships. The ‘lucky’ ones make it much more likely that they will stumble on incredible events and be at the right place at the right time with the right people. Sometimes things work out.

Todd Kashdan, a psychologist at George Mason University, observes that getting lucky gets much harder as we get older and wiser, not because the game of life has changed but rather because how we play the game has. We get wiser with age and armed with experience, we form very strong convictions on how the world works. This applies to companies too. AT&T, which traces its origins to original Bell Telephone Company, could not anticipate a change in behavior, blinded in part by its domain expertise in telecom infrastructure. A young startup, Whatsapp, figured out that we have changed the way we communicate and want to share images, video and audio media over the internet across multiple platforms. At the start of the year, Whatsapp had more than 450 million users, all built and supported with a team of just 32 engineers.

We will be engineering some serendipity for the launch of our forthcoming book No Startup Hipsters. With the common thread of building technology companies that focus on real problems, we will be connecting tens of thousands of entrepreneurs, investors and enablers. Each person would login through a social network and a twitter style 140 characters description of what they are working on. Curated profiles from across the globe will quickly zip by in a “hot or not” style and when both sides choose to connect - Boom!. So, come create some luck by signing up at ThunderClap and get the book for free too.

SAMIR RATH is a financial technology entrepreneur and angel investor working with technology startups globally from over 20 countries. He helped build the Asian operations of GETCO LLC, one of the worlds largest trading technology firms, listed on New York Stock Exchange today as KCG. He began his career as a Macroeconomist for the Monetary Authority of Singapore. He is the co-author of a forthcoming book titled "No Startup Hipsters - Build Scalable Technology Companies”. [www.nostartuphipsters.com]. Twitter: @Samir_Rath

Thursday
Apr172014

The fallacy and hubris of “market attractiveness”

This appears on Smartbrief's Smartblogs for Leadership! Thank you!! 

"How many times have you heard or even said, “Is that market attractive to us”? We look at the markets we’re in, the markets our competitors are in, maybe even some that are new and wonder if they are/could be good for our business. We may even think of creating or segmenting in a new way." read on...