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Best content from the best source handpicked by Shyam. The source include The Harvard University, MIT, Mckinsey & Co, Wharton, Stanford,and other top educational institutions. domains include Cybersecurity, Machine learning, Deep Learning, Bigdata, Education, Information Technology, Management, others.

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    Optimism’s Role in Employee Motivation

    Let me clear that workplace optimism isn’t about observing the proverbial glass as half-full. It’s also not about taking a Pollyannaish viewpoint that denies reality.

    What Workplace Optimism Is

    Optimism at work is a belief employees hold, including managers, that it’s possible to do good work while at work. Furthermore, employees are inspired by the possibility of doing good work. The inspiration comes from another belief that the work employees do matters to the customer and to the employees themselves. The work is valued, needed, and useful to those who benefit from it.
    Researcher Al Gini eloquently summed up the need for workplace optimism when linking our identity to the work we do. He said, “. . . we have forgotten or never really appreciated the fact that the business of work is not simply to produce goods, but also to help produce people.”

    Beyond the Factory Mentality

    If going to work is merely about exchanging time and labor for money, workplace optimism will not likely emerge. Before this new era of work, the transactional perspective of money for time and labor was viewed as enough in the employee-employer contract. The viewpoint also came with the belief that employees were replaceable cogs on the factory line. It’s not possible to believe one’s work matters when the manager’s breath is on your back as he looks to see if the work is done satisfactorily.
    Employees are inspired by the possibility of doing good work. The inspiration comes from another belief that the work employees do matters to the customer and to the employees themselves.
    Employees want to see something good, meaningful, and useful come from their hard work. Without these elements, motivating employees is impossible. The following four factors are causes of motivation triggered by workplace optimism:

    Workplace Optimism Motivating Factors

    Workplace optimism is a motivator. But optimism alone isn’t enough. It’s also what emerges from workplace optimism that motivates employees to contribute their best.
    Optimism Enables Connection, Which Enables Optimism
    When employees believe they have the opportunity to produce meaningful work pulled from their experiences and what they are learning, it’s a motivator to share it with others. This fosters connection with others, particularly with those who experience workplace optimism.
    Optimism Helps Create Friendships That Create Optimism
    Gallup has long advocated, not without controversy, that having a best friend at work helps with employee engagement. Connection helps to build friendships. Friendships create a sense of belonging. In Gallup’s, 12: The Elements of Great Managing, the research firm explains that the question predicts performance and that “affiliation . . . drives him to do positive things for the business he would not do.” Healthy, productive friendships will struggle to emerge if the vibe of the team or workplace is negative, combative, or too individualistic. We are human beings. And we crave connection. We need friendships, even at work.
    Optimism Emerges from Meaningful Work
    I’ve written quite a bit about workplace optimism. And this post positions the importance of meaningful work and its relationship to optimism.
    Employees want to see something good, meaningful, and useful come from their hard work. Without these elements, motivating employees is impossible.
    What I haven’t shared is that meaning is a search we all take on. In this global, 24/7 world, it’s natural to wonder how what you do matters. Work is a significant part of our lives. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to seek meaning in your work. And why not. You spend 1/3 of your adult life working.
    A conscious manager will tap into the human nature of meaningful work, and position her team to find it in their work.
    Optimism Helps Quality Work Happen
    If you combine the three previous inputs to motivation, quality work is a greater possibility. It also becomes a badge of honor plucked from the employee’s passion, focus and diligence.

    Workplace optimism is contagious. When a person or a team begins to experience the hope or belief in something good that is bigger than themselves, people want to be part of it. They want more. Optimism’s role in employee motivation positions the team and each employee with the opportunity to experience work that drives them to do better, to be better. And our workplaces could certainly use the boost that workplace optimism can provide.

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    Bhagwati versus Sen: What's going on?

    7 things you should know in the Bhagwati vs Sen slugfes
    Amartya Sen & Jagdish Bhagwati

    Yet, minor disagreements between them have amplified into a shouting match — well, a one-way shouting match, with Bhagwati repeatedly attacking Sen in public and in print, and Sen expounding on his point through interviews and op-eds, largely without mentioning Bhagwati or his views.

    In a way, this isn’t surprising: Bhagwati has long disapproved of Sen. Also, both have competing, co-authored books in the market. In his latest broadside against Sen, Bhagwati managed to mention his book frequently, insisting in it, he had proved how Sen was anti-growth, a point many reviewers surprisingly failed to mention.

    But that doesn’t entirely explain why the dispute has really taken off. One reason, of course, is Sen has spoken about food security, released a book on Bihar and expressed a preference that NarendraModi not become prime minister. This immediately meant the luminous intellectuals of the internet, and those in the respectable media that followed their lead, immediately assumed he somehow represented the Congress.

    Meanwhile, Bhagwati’s co-author, Arvind Panagariya, had praised Gujarat’s growth in several pieces. That immediately made Bhagwati Modi’s best friend and any further difference between the two could be conveniently slotted into the pre-prepared Modi-versus-Congress mould apparently compulsory for news stories today.

    If there’s anything worth taking away from what has become an increasingly unseemly and uninformative spectacle, it is the sobering realisation that academics continue to be divided over the simple mechanisms of how growth can be achieved — purely through deregulation, as Bhagwati would argue, or with a simultaneous push to education and health, as Sen wants.

    Here’s the basic checklist on who said what, whether it was true, and the real differences and similarities between Sen and Bhagwati:

    Do Bhagwati and Sen have similar stature as academics?

    Sen won a Nobel Prize for his work on social choice and welfare but Bhagwati is a path-breaking trade theorist. Sen’s PhD students have included Kaushik Basu; Bhagwati’s, Paul Krugman.

    In fact, Bhagwati is far more an economist’s economist than Sen, who at Harvard, for example, had an office at the philosophy department, not in the economics department. Sen is unique in that he is also one of the most respected living academic philosophers and a close associate and fellow teacher of both the left-of-centre John Rawls, the leading philosopher of the 20th century, and libertarian icon Robert Nozick.

    Is Sen close to the Congress and Bhagwati to the BJP?

    Actually, Sen was awarded the Bharat Ratna by an NDA government in 1999, though some sections of the Bharatiya Janata Party want it taken away now because he has said he doesn’t think Narendra Modi should be PM; a belief in Modi’s spotless virtue is not known to be a necessary qualification for the award.

    Bhagwati, meanwhile, has fellowships named for him at Columbia University, paid for by the Indian taxpayer — set up in 2010, at the direction of the UPA government (it is unusual for such to be named after a member of the university’s faculty). Both Bhagwati and associate Arvind Panagariya—who holds the, yes, Jagdish Bhagwati Chair in Indian Political Economy at Columbia—have frequently talked about their long interaction and friendship with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

    So, in a word, no! The desire to impose a politically partisan lens on an academic disagreement shows how shallow and debased is the understanding of economics in the Indian public sphere, as well as how devoid of thought-provoking content is the actual political debate between the Congress and the BJP.

    Is it really Sen versus Bhagwati?

    No. It’s Bhagwati versus Sen. Sen has almost completely avoided commenting on Bhagwati’s views, although Bhagwati has become increasingly personal and petty in his attacks on Sen.

    Sen broke his Bhagwati-as-Voldemort rule in a recent letter to The Economist. The liberal British magazine had run a review of Sen and Jean Dreze’s new book; the reviewer happened to mention Bhagwati in passing, without specifying that he, Bhagwati, was right and Sen was wrong. This was a red rag to Bhagwati, who wrote Sen only paid “lip service” to growth. This was too much for Sen, who wrote, explaining he did his PhD on how to stimulate growth, and the first collection of his essays, published in 1970, was titled Economic Growth. In fact, Sen is perhaps the greatest living scholar of the original philosopher of the free market, Adam Smith.

    Sen must regret his moment of weakness, because Bhagwati then wrote an article for Mint that basically returned, even more harshly, to his complaints about Sen. Bhagwati’s books are littered with disparaging remarks about Sen; indeed, reading between the lines of his last book reveals even more such remarks, some of these from resentments that date back to the early 60s, when both were young professional economists in New Delhi.

    Is Sen anti-reform? Is Bhagwati anti-public funding of schools?

    No, and no. Sen has often and publicly argued in favour of greater liberalisation, ending red tape, labour law reform, and cutting fuel, power and fertiliser subsidies. It may be convenient for both his friends and enemies to paint him as some kind of socialist but he isn’t. Meanwhile, Bhagwati has also argued for a second track of reform in social sector areas, though he would prefer public money be spent on, say, school vouchers that let poor parents pay for private schools.

    Has either of them soured on the India growth story and blamed the UPA?

    No. Both are unfazed by the fall in India’s growth rate. Sen argues it has fallen as much as its competitors; Bhagwati has blamed tight monetary policy and the freeze-up in clearances following outrage over scams, adding many government proposals could reverse the slide. Both of these are, pretty much, what the government also claims.

    So, what’s the real difference between Sen and Bhagwati’s policy prescriptions?

    Merely a difference in emphasis! Sen would like more public funding (as distinct from public provision) of basic goods; Bhagwati argues this is secondary to focusing on growth.

    Why? Sen says growth depends on creating a dynamic workforce capable of learning on the job, which needs health and education. Bhagwati believes laissez-faire growth will raise incomes sufficiently for the workforce to be able to invest in their own health and education. Of course, both these mechanisms can be true. In fact, both probably are true, which means the differences are even smaller than is claimed — just a question of which can work faster and more effectively. One path can hardly be abandoned for the other; both mechanisms will need government attention. Nor is either major political party likely to act on only one mechanism, at the cost of the other.

    So, why all the fuss?

    As I said: duelling books; people who don’t bother to read the duelling books but instead read headlines written by journalists who haven’t bothered to read the duelling books, or only partially understood these, and the eternal quest in the Indian media to make absolutely everything relate to Narendra Modi versus Rahul Gandhi.

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    Biden for further opening of the Indian economy

    Indicates that strategic partnership between the US & India also to grow further
    Joe Biden
    Joe Biden

    US Vice-President Joe Biden on Wednesday made a strong case for India to further open its economy to attract more foreign investment and improve protection for intellectual property.

    In his address to industry and business leaders at the BSE, Biden said opening of the economy would lead to a fivefold rise in trade between the US and India. Currently, bilateral trade between the US and India is worth $100 billion a year.

    Biden said US companies were facing issues in India relating to the limit in foreign direct investment, local content conditions, barriers to market access and an inconsistent tax system.

    He, however, hastened to add these issues could be negotiated. “Hundreds of millions of Indian consumers deserve access to the most-affordable products, and a graduate wanting to start the nextTata Motors should be able to buy the best parts available wherever they are made. The experience of developed economies shows the best way to boost growth is to open to the world,” he said.

    Biden said India was a rising power, which had risen exponentially in the past two decades primarily because of the bold steps it took in 1991. “You took bold steps in 1991. Since then, phone users grew to 900 million from five million. Exports rose to $300 billion from $20 billion. There is no contradiction between strategic autonomy and partnership. We have to take it to a new scale,” the US vice president added.

    “You have an extraordinary opportunity to unleash the immense talents of the people of India in the global economy and power India’s growth for decades to come,” Biden opined.
    Stating American companies were interested in technology and infrastructure, he said, “We in the US welcome investments by India. The US has benefited due  to Indian human capital.” He said India's concern on food security needed to be addressed at the upcoming World Trade Organisation meeting in December.

    Emphasising the importance of Indo-US relationships, he said, “We already are co-operating in the nuclear sector. A power project of 6,000 MW can be set up in Gujarat with supply of nuclear reactors from US companies.”

    Biden went a step ahead and drew similarities between the US and Indian experiences of 9/11 and 26/11, respectively. He said the US had been sharing intelligence with India on terror in order to avoid a 9/11 and 26/11-like situation in both the countries.

    He said the US wanted India to be a permanent member in the United Nations Security Council.

    On the Afghan Taliban, Biden said the group should avoid violence and adhere to the constitution of Afghanistan.

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    Capgemini looks at life beyond outsourcing


    Aruna Jayanthi, CEO, Capgemini India. — Bijoy GhoshParis-headquartered firm wants to be involved in end-to-end projects

    Aruna Jayanthi has a clear agenda on her hands. The Indian CEO of consulting and outsourcing multinational, the Paris-headquartered Capgemini, wants to transform the Indian affiliate to be more of an end-to-end business solutions provider from being a backroom player.
    “What I want to do is drive the change from being a delivery centre for the Capgemini group to something that is at the heart of the group,” she declares.
    So far the company has been working on projects outsourced to it from customers in the US or Europe. But, now the CEO, who has been at the helm for two-and-a-half years, wants the Indian operations to generate more value-added business by getting 

    involved in a project right from the conception and bidding stage to the implementation, delivery and maintenance.


    Capgemini, she says, has set up 12 centres of excellence across cities that the organisation can tap into in the areas of CRM, supply chain management to retail and analytics.

    “We want to focus on a value-add model in terms of business, technology and innovation. And, we want more people from India taking up global roles,” she said in an interview to Business Line. Aruna Jayanthi was in Chennai to speak at the Nasscom HR Summit.

    “Today, you can’t really grow India and be only a back office; we have had to change the game. For businesses whom 90 per cent of the work is done out of India, it starts to become core,” she says.

    In the time she has been at the helm, Capgemini, which was the second largest recruiter from the premium B-schools last year, has grown in numbers – from 30,000 to over 40,000 now, constituting almost 36 per cent of the global work force of the French company. “We will grow to 70,000 by 2015; that could be an addition of 25,000 net. We are on track, but it also depends on market conditions,” she says.


    The slowdown in Europe, she says, is causing conflicting trends. Corporates that outsource a lot of their work are forcing a consolidation of a fragmented staff sourcing market. “Rather than work with 100 guys, they are saying we will work with 5 to 6 strategic suppliers,” she explains.

    The second trend, which is diametrically opposite, is that people are saying they don’t want one supplier, but want more multi-sourcing. “These are opposing trends; one level there is consolidation, but there is also a multi-vendor environment. But, there is business to be had out there.”

    Capgemini forayed into the finance and accounting outsourcing area with the acquisition of Indigo in 2006, which was Unilever’s captive BPO for finance and accounting related processing across 45 countries.

     “We didn't have any F&A business then and had to acquire a platform to grow. It was 600 to 700 people then and now we have 4,500,” says Jayanthi.

    However, its Indian business is still under 10 per cent, defined as the number of people employed on Indian contracts. “India as a market is picking up, but still a little bit shy of what we expected it to be,” she adds. The difficult economic conditions in European markets will drive offshoring, she says, even though the volume or size of the deals will shrink. 

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    Social Business: Shifting Out of First Gear

    This is part 1 of 6 from the 2013 Social Business Global Executive Study and Research Project.
    In an interview for this year’s social business report, Gerald Kane, professor at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, succinctly characterized where social business stands today: “Any new technology experiences a faddish hype cycle where people adopt it because they feel they have to,” he says. “With social, we are passing the peak of faddishness. Companies are starting to crack social’s code and turning to it for business advantage, intelligence and insight.”
    In this second annual report from the MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte Social Business Study,1 we probed executives’ views of the social business opportunity and how companies are harnessing its value. The study included 2,545 respondents from 25 industries and 99 countries. It also incorporated interviews with nearly three dozen executives and social business thought leaders.
    Echoing Kane’s observation, a key finding of the research is the rapid growth in importance of social to business. In 2011’s survey, 18% of respondents said it was “important today.” One year later, the number doubled to 36%. The time horizon of its importance is also shrinking. In last year’s report, 40% of respondents agreed that social would be important one year from now. In 2012, the number jumped to 54% (see Figure 1).
    FIGURE 1

    More Industries Are Getting On Board

    The immediacy of   the social business opportunity is growing across industries, another indicator of its move from faddish hype to business value. Between last year’s study and this year’s, respondents from all industry sectors increased the value they place on social business. None remained at the same level. None reversed course (see Figure 2).

    FIGURE 2

    While Media (entertainment, media and publishing) and Tech (IT and technology) continue to lead all industry sectors in the importance they assign to social business, other sectors demonstrated a marked increase in the value of social business. Of particular note is the Energy and Utilities sector. The number of managers in this sector who feel social is important surged from 7.1% to 29% from last year. Of the multiple factors driving the growth, this sector’s increasing efforts to engage with customers is the most significant. Pike Research estimates 57 million customers worldwide used social media to engage with utilities in 2011. Pike projects that number will jump more than 10-fold to 624 million by the end of 2017.2 While utilities currently use social media to resolve billing issues and provide information on services, they are expanding social media use to include crisis/outage communication, customer education (for example, information on recycling, renewable energy and energy efficiency), customer service, green energy promotion, branding and recruitment. Utilities are beginning to see the value of social listening to keep abreast of consumers’ interests. This is especially the case as new types of competitors enter the market, including solar power and energy management providers.

    Market Drivers

    Social business is capturing significant business attention. McKinsey, for example, reported that social can create as much as $1.3 trillion in value in the four business sectors it examined (consumer package goods, consumer financial services, professional services and advanced manufacturing).
    3 Suppliers are covering all bases from marketing to social enterprise networking. In the social marketing software market, which includes a wide range of vendors from established players like Adobe, Lithium and to a multitude of startups, Forrester predicts that the landscape “will look dramatically different in two years.” Leading vendors will partner and merge, and stragglers will be “swallowed or trampled by larger players from outside the social space.”4 In the enterprise collaboration software market, Gartner recently announced its revenue projection for team collaboration platforms and enterprise social software — $2 billion by 2016, with a notable five-year compound annual growth rate of 16.1%.5Business leaders are keenly aware that social is becoming a primary tool that people use to share information and create knowledge. The consumerization of technology is making everything from tablets to smart phones as popular inside the enterprise as they are outside its walls. In addition, companies want their brands to be where their customers are — and where competitors already might be.
    But perhaps the strongest harbinger of social’s growth is the closing generation gap. “It’s not just young people or Millennials,” says Bill Ingram, vice president of analytics and social at Adobe. “It’s everyone, including grandparents who want to follow how their children and grandchildren are growing up.” Deloitte’s seventh annual State of the Media Democracy survey put hard numbers to the closing gap. The survey found that both Generation X and Baby Boomers see increasing value in social media: 81% of Generation X respondents and 70% of Baby Boomers see it as a powerful tool to interact with friends. And both generations have jumped on the texting bandwagon: nearly 80% of Generation Xers and nearly 60% of Baby Boomers see social networking sites, instant messaging and texting as an effective means to stay in touch.6 As the generation gap closes, businesses will find all age groups prepared to embrace social technologies.

    Struggles With Social Business

    Although the recognition of social’s importance is mounting, progress towards becoming a social business isn’t. The majority of companies we surveyed appear to be stuck in first gear. Our study found three major culprits holding back progress: lack of an overall strategy (28% of respondents), too many competing priorities (26%), and lack of a proven business case or strong value proposition (21%). Left unaddressed, these barriers can lead to daunting odds. Gartner estimates that 80% of social business projects between now and 2015 will yield disappointing results because of a lack of leadership support and a narrow view of social as a technology rather than a business driver.7
    Nonetheless, some companies are poised to beat the odds. But they aren’t likely to beat them with one-size-fits-all enterprise transformations. Instead, businesses that assess themselves as more socially mature are building momentum by applying social tools and technologies to specific business challenges and assessing the impact. “Social is not an app nor a layer,” says J.P. Rangaswami, chief scientist at “Social is a philosophy and way of life that empowers customers and users.”
    In this report, we delve into how some companies are bringing that philosophy to ground level — and what is holding others back.

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    Snapshot: The State of Play

    Despite the immediacy of the opportunity, the socially connected enterprise is emerging slowly. To assess that emergence, we asked respondents to evaluate their organization’s social business maturity along a scale of 1 to 10. Specifically, we asked: “Imagine an organization transformed by social tools that drive collaboration and information sharing across the enterprise and integrate social data into operational processes. How close is your company to achieving this ideal?” (See Figure 3.)
    FIGURE 3
    View Exhibit

    More than half of the respondents — 52% — rated their organization at 3 or less. A scant 17% assessed their company at 7 and above. Moreover, in many organizations, social business is still an experiment: 44% of respondents indicated they are implementing an initiative in their departments, but more than half of these are pilot projects.
    Dion Hinchcliffe of the Dachis Group describes “a trough of disillusionment” that businesses encountered with social media.8He argues that social media was not originally intended for business use. It was created primarily by consumer companies looking for ways to better connect people. As a result, social media tools lacked the security, compliance and control capabilities businesses need. But the landscape is starting to change. “These requirements have made their way into the tools only in the past few years,” he says. “We are now at the point where the tools are starting to meet business needs.”
    The point is well taken. However, our study discovered that there are statistically significant markers of success — and barriers to it.9 These markers correlate with social business maturity and go well beyond the business readiness of any technology. (See Figure 4.) For example, companies that are moving closer to the ideal of a socially networked organization share distinct characteristics. One significant characteristic is the integration of social into many business functions, including marketing, sales, IT and customer service. At Enterasys Networks, a mid-size network infrastructure and security company, 100% of employees have access to’s Chatter product, and 80% use it to collaborate, share, and work across organizational boundaries and functions.
    FIGURE 4
    Companies further along the maturity path also use social media technologies in daily decision making. The Cisco Learning Network, for example, is integrated with the company’s transaction systems, and the marketing team at Learning@Cisco uses data analytics tools to spot major trends and address customer requirements. More socially mature companies also avail themselves of a variety of social business tools and technologies, including media, software, data and technology-based networks.
    Companies at the low end of the maturity spectrum share common hurdles. Lack of senior management sponsorship is significant. In businesses where support from senior leadership was lacking, respondents typically assessed their organization’s maturity a half point lower.
    Lack of an overall strategy was also an influential barrier to progress. On average, feeling that their organizations lacked a clear social business strategy knocked nearly a third of a point off respondents’ assessment of the company’s maturity.
    Taken together, the positive impact of management sponsorship and need for a clear strategy provide company leadership straightforward guidance on how to move the social needle. “It is incumbent on leaders to be intentional about social media and have a strategy for what they want to achieve with it,” says Michael Slind, co-author of Talk, Inc.: The Power of Organizational Conversation.

    Divergent Paths to Social MaturityThere is no single path that leads to social business maturity. Company size plays a key role in determining the purpose of social business as well as how it matures. Among small companies (less than $250 million annual revenue), more socially mature organizations focus their social efforts on providing customer support, managing projects and accelerating innovation. According to our research, respondents from small companies that used social for any of these purposes rated their companies’ social maturity nearly half a point higher (on a 10-point maturity scale) than those that didn’t.

    By contrast, larger organizations with more mature social capabilities leverage the entire analytical social business life cycle — generating social data, monitoring collection and integrating it into systems and processes. “The potential of social analytics is enormous,” says Sheila Jordan, Cisco’s senior vice president of communication and collaboration IT. “We capture and summarize major trends and communicate them to everyone from executives to engineers working on products in real time.”
    More-mature large companies are also more likely than their less-mature counterparts to have a business case for social efforts. In fact, lack of a business case detracts considerably from the assessment of social business maturity at large companies. It cuts a half point. (See Figure 5.)

    Dell’s Path to Social Maturity

    Dell Inc. is a prime example of how companies can capitalize on social business opportunities and reach social business maturity over time. At Dell, social business began simply enough — a corporate blog. Seven years later, social is ingrained in its operations, and Dell now provides social business services to other companies. (See Figure 6.)
    FIGURE 6
    As a company approaching social business maturity, unique aspects of Dell’s social business program stand out:
    • Dell’s social activity extends beyond the marketing function. The company leverages social media to improve customer engagement, provide enhanced customer service and build products based on customer input through the company’s well-known IdeaStorm program started in 2007. The company extended IdeaStorm internally later in 2007, to help enhance productivity as well. IdeaStorm has led to the implementation of more than 500 new product ideas.
    • Dell leverages the entire analytical social business life cycle — not only generating data, but monitoring and using it to make decisions. Building on the success of IdeaStorm, Dell realized that it needed to listen more carefully to the conversations among its customers in social media. In 2010, the company established a social media command center that helps it monitor online conversations in real-time and more deeply understand customer needs. In 2012, Dell enhanced its listening program, implementing social technologies that grab, sort and analyze vast amounts of digital conversations about Dell, its competitors and specific technologies. Applying natural language processing to more than 25,000 online mentions of Dell each day, the company translates that data into marketing strategy and customer service offerings.
    • Michael Dell’s leadership has contributed to the company’s social business progress from the early stages to the present. According to Dell’s director of social media, Richard Margetic, “without Michael’s leadership, there’s no way we would have been able to become a social business.” Simply put, he says, “we wouldn’t have been able to get anything done.”
    • The company’s social business strategies and direction are centralized, while its social media functions and teams are distributed and embedded across various functional units at Dell. In order to ensure the company is pursuing an agreed-upon direction and consistent strategy, the directors of each of these social teams meet weekly to work together cross-functionally. Richard Margetic brings together these directors and oversees the execution of the company’s social strategies, governance and policies.
    Today, Dell Inc. has even set up its own consulting division to teach other companies how to be an effective social enterprise. Its Social Media Services Group trains other companies to develop better real-time customer insights, engage their audience and better understand their customers in the market. Not only does Dell show other companies what it has done, it also provides training for their staff on how to use and create these processes for themselves.

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    Focus on Business Challenges

    As Dell has proven, some companies are successfully shifting out of first gear. The evolution of social business has moved well beyond the early Facebook marketing forays seeking “Likes.” Our study found that companies with more advanced social capabilities are turning to them to:
    • Understand market shifts (65% of respondents are planning to focus there to a great or large extent versus 14% for less socially mature companies),
    • Improve visibility into operations (45% versus 5%),
    • Identify internal talent or key contributors (45% versus 4%) and
    • Improve strategy development processes (60% versus 9%). (See Figure 7.)
    FIGURE 7
    More mature social businesses use their social capabilities to address important business objectives.

    Businesses are following their own paths by using social business solutions to address problems that matter and by measuring the results. In this section, we move from the state of play to state of the art — current examples of social business applications.

    Marketing and Sales — A Sharper Edge

    In our survey, respondents ranked sales second only to marketing as the functional area where social tools are used to a large or great extent. Social selling is becoming increasingly popular, and new tools are being developed to assist sales staff to use it in their work. However, social selling is about much more than using social media sites to generate leads.
    We asked LinkedIn’s head of marketing for sales solutions, Ralf VonSosen, to elaborate on his company’s approach: “Social selling utilizes relationships and connections as well as insights that are available via social channels to facilitate a better selling and buying experience,” he says. “It’s really utilizing this fantastic social data to help us gain visibility and combine that with meaningful content we can share.”

    The benefits of social selling are visible today. Consider the example of one global technology company we spoke with, which like many companies needs to sell more with less. Large enterprise sales are a complex matter in which sales people must make the case to decision makers and the myriad of influencers at the table. Traditionally, the process has been both costly and time consuming. 

    To speed up the process and invigorate the quality of leads, this technology company developed a pilot program using LinkedIn’s social sales tool, Sales Navigator. With the tool, its sales professionals have access to all second- and third-degree connections of their fellow employees. Through that view into other companies and potential connections, the sales staff gains a deep understanding of potential clients and can reach out to decision makers and influencers through introductions and build credibility with meaningful content. 

    By the same token, prospects can view the LinkedIn profiles of the company’s sales representatives to gauge the value of a potential business relationship, including seeing all of that company’s connections to their own organization.In addition to measuring the number and rate of connections to assess its progress, the company has been using LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index, which ranks a company’s utilization of LinkedIn as a social selling tool. A three-month pilot of the new tool was completed in the spring of 2013, and the program’s numbers look promising. 

    According to the data collected by the organization, the growth rate in unique connections with potential customers via LinkedIn grew by more than 200%, and the pilot team’s Social Selling Index increased more than 100%. Anecdotally, more than 75% of the 90 employees in the pilot have credited the tool with helping to achieve sales goals, and three sales professionals immediately purchased LinkedIn’s premium service out of their own pockets, rather than wait a matter of weeks for the company to purchase a long-term license for the broader team.

    Morgan Stanley is using LinkedIn and Twitter to change the way its financial advisors acquire new clients and build their books of business. “We want to help financial advisors source new business in an easier way,” says Lauren Boyman, director of digital strategy at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.

     “People reveal life-event information like promotions on social media that can be a gateway to a financially oriented conversation. Social also allows financial advisors to distribute content that enables them to build up credibility and eventually develop a trusted reputation based on their expertise.”

     Like many companies in highly regulated industries, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management had to work closely with its compliance organization. The wealth management organization also needed to provide financial advisors with a program that was easy to use. To meet both objectives, Morgan Stanley provides its tweeters and LinkedIn posters with pre-approved materials that are vetted to meet regulatory requirements.

    The program was started as a pilot and moved out of pilot stage in June 2012. To measure the value, Morgan Stanley uses a monthly engagement scorecard. The scorecard tracks how many financial advisors sign up, as well as their behavior on the sites (i.e., how often they post or send invitations). The team also surveys the users to understand business impact. Of the financial advisors using LinkedIn and/or Twitter daily during the pilot, 40% had brought in new business from their social media usage. Perhaps the most compelling example: One advisor used LinkedIn to land a $70 million account.

    Customer Service — A Step Change

    Social offers new horizons for service effectiveness. For instance, companies are connecting with dissatisfied customers before their complaints spread and providing support wherever customers gather online. Businesses are also able to forge new connections between customers and use social analytics to understand needs and even moods.

    One consumer product company is embarking on a step change in social’s application to service. The company has turned its staff and in-store representatives into social brand ambassadors to address everything from consumer complaints to questions about sunscreen.

    For Facebook inquiries, for example, the company has set up chain of command including internal experts and store-based sales representatives. Each inquiry is assigned as it comes in. If no response has been given after several hours, the inquiry goes to the next person in the chain. Answers to common questions are archived for all employees to use.

    “We leverage the knowledge of our internal experts to give customers informed advice,” says a company social media executive. “The customer is connecting with the expertise they need. If they want further information, we drive them to stores.”

    Although the company measures consumer engagement in terms of clicks and online buzz, store traffic is an important metric. To capture it, the business offers coupons through social, blogs and partners. The coupons have unique codes so the company can measure the sales that come through its various online initiatives.

    Operations — Precision and Visibility

    The risk of supply-chain interruptions and delays is a common challenge in global business. For a pharmaceutical company, those risks involve more than dollars. They can put lives in danger if a product doesn’t ship on time. For the pharmaceutical company Teva, speed is of the essence, and rapid solutions to supply-chain issues are paramount.
    Before Teva began to experiment with social platforms to solve supply-chain issues, resolving a problem could take weeks. And not solely because of the issue’s complexity. It could take a week or two just to schedule a meeting with all concerned.

    “Microsoft Outlook is a good tool,” says Nadine Jean-Francois, director of supply chain management. “But because people can book meetings so easily, they’re often double- or even triple-booked.”To reduce the time drag, Teva created a social networking environment called Radar, using a Facebook-like tool where employees and partners can communicate in real time to address immediate challenges and build knowledge over the long haul. Users can collaborate, share data, comment on posts and blog about the issues at hand.

    Measuring the direct impact of the social tool can be difficult, according to Jean-Francois.
    Although the cycle time for resolving supply-chain issues is getting shorter, process improvements are also part of the equation. But that also underscores a distinctive value of social business in more socially networked organizations — visibility into the specific operational issues the company faces.

    Recruitment — Advantage in the Talent War

    As the war for talent heats up, companies are ramping up efforts to beat competitors to the leading candidates. Covance, which manages clinical trials for pharmaceutical companies, is turning to social to fortify relationships with prospective candidates. 

    “We have learned through years of traditional recruiting that people like to talk to others who do what they do,” says Lisa Calicchio, vice president of employee relations, global recruiting & diversity at the company. “They aren’t necessarily interested in speaking with a recruiter. They want to understand what their experience would be working here. The best people to answer those questions are the leaders in those roles.”

    To build relationships between prospects and company leaders, Covance tweets. The recruiting organization works closely with marketing and communications to develop relevant content and draw potential recruits to its career website. For example, a Covance scientist might share research he or she is presenting at a conference. The tweet often generates new interest, and recruiters can reach out to new followers.

    Once a potential candidate is in the fold, Covance sends text notifications when a position opens that matches the profile. The text includes a link for easy follow-up. “Mobile texting provides convenience that people really value,” says Calicchio. “It often works much better than cold calls or junk emails.” In terms of measurement, the company is still developing and relies on a combination of metrics and anecdotes. However, a telltale sign is resource efficiency and source of hires.

    Innovation — Accelerating Top Management Buy-in

    Concerns about innovation are constantly on the list of executives’ top concerns. The innovation process is often slow, and novel ideas are often watered down by the time they reach senior ranks. Electrolux tackled this challenge with an internal crowdsourcing event that filled a database with 3,500 new ideas and 10,000 comments on them — in three days. 

    “The entire company was invited to join the innovation jam, and we had knowledgeable and skilled people to moderate and facilitate the event,” says Ralf Larsson, director of online engagement. “The leadership team was a big support and was out there building interest and asking people to join.”

    To drive momentum during the three-day event, Electrolux created a scoreboard where participants earned rewards based on their activity. In addition, employees voted to select the top ideas, and three went immediately into the product development pipeline. “We may have come up with some of these ideas anyway,” comments Larsson. “But never with such speed, visibility and management buy-in.”

    Plugging Into Other Technologies

    The growth of social business innovation is forging new paths with media and other technologies. American Express, Nielsen, ConnecTV and Enterasys are cases in point.
    American Express is leveraging Twitter with mobile phones and computers. In 2012, the company began offering statement credits to cardholders when they shopped at specific merchants including Whole Foods, Best Buy and McDonald’s.

     Either online or in-store with their mobile phone, the cardholder simply tweets a specific hashtag to activate the offer on the purchases they are making. “No one has ever offered anything like this before,” says Leslie Berland, senior vice president of digital partnership and development. “We have extended thousands of special offers, and cardholders have saved millions of dollars.”

    The television ratings company Nielsen is leveraging Twitter to develop a more robust rating of television audiences. With its 140 million members, Twitter conversations add a deep dimension to any metric assessing audience size and engagement. The Nielsen Twitter TV Rating complements its existing ratings through real-time metrics about a program’s social activity, including the number of unique tweets associated with it.
    ConnecTV is capitalizing on the evolution of television from broadcast to social TV. A growing number of viewers are multitasking with phones and computers, giving rise to the second screen experience. 

    Through an app, the ConnecTV AdSynch Network synchronizes a second screen through keywords on television as well as audio recognition technology that matches show, day, date, time and other television program attributes. The app provides viewers with the ability to get more product information or make a purchase in real time — all while the TV ad is running on the primary screen. According to a 2012 Nielsen report, 45%  of U.S. viewers use a tablet daily while watching television, and 88% do so at least once a month.

     In addition, 27%13 are researching products related to commercials. Stacy Jolna, co-founder and CMO of ConnecTV, says that “amplifying and monetizing this new social TV behavior is the challenge.” ConnecTV provides both sides of the equation: companion content that syncs with the show to let viewers chat and share in real time on any second screen device, as well as a unique synchronization of TV ads that trigger a direct marketing experience, for the first time enabling viewers to see a product on TV and buy it easily and immediately. “That’s the future of television,” says Jolna.

    Enterasys has embarked on machine-to-machine applications to provide better service to its business-to-business customers. In 2011, the company commissioned a team to develop Isaac, a social media translator that takes complex machine language and converts it into tweets, Facebook messages and chats. Isaac connects IT personnel to their networks for 24/7 monitoring with consumer devices and social media. 

    “We have automated the entire front-end life cycle of the services interaction, machine to machine,” says Vala Afshar, chief marketing and customer officer at Enterasys. “For me, that has been the biggest ancillary benefit of becoming a social business — we started developing social machines.”

    Page 1. Social Business: Shifting Out of First Gear

    Page 2. Snapshot: The State of Play

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    Shifting Out of Second: Spur the Effort

    It may be tempting to believe that social media’s popularity outside the office will imbue efforts inside if the technology is right. Although there may be some initial enthusiasm, it can quickly vanish. To spur and maintain the adoption of social, companies need to nurture it in a systematic way. Businesses that are making the greatest progress toward becoming a socially connected enterprise focus rigorously on four interrelated areas: leading a social culture, measuring what matters, keeping content fresh and changing the way work gets done.

    Leading a Social Culture

    Although providing a tool may be a springboard for adoption, it is not enough. Company leaders must actively drive its use.

    When Teva launched Radar to accelerate the resolution of supply-chain issues, for example, the project gained bottom-up traction because the tool added value to people’s jobs. However, whenever top management support faded, the effort quickly lost steam; with every change in top management, Jean-Francois found herself reaching out to the new leaders and bringing them on board in order to rekindle the momentum.

    Furthermore, “[for] social collaboration to be successful in business, leaders have to explain the why,” says Michael Slind. “Leaders need to really collaborate and make sure people understand the importance of transparency, shared accountability — and sharing in general.” Connecting social with important business objectives is the crux of “explaining the why.”

     Morgan Stanley’s Boyman, for example, credits the head of sales for connecting social to business needs and assuring that the bank became a social business leader in its industry. “If I didn’t have the head of our sales force tell me that we have to be the first in the industry to do this, it never would have happened,” says Boyman. “Even when the project hit initial bumps because of the realization it would require IT dollars, he was still committed to keeping people focused and getting the needed resources.” 

    Leadership also plays a pivotal role in creating a social business culture. American Express SVP Leslie Berland notes: “Does the company have leaders who are believers in what’s possible? That’s a big piece of the [social business] puzzle.”

    At companies known for their social culture, such as Cisco and American Express, an open and collaborative culture is always in the room. “Cisco has a really open culture of transparency and trust,” says Jordan. “When you are working on driving successful business outcomes, you need to be in the middle of it with your colleagues, peers and customers at the personal level.” 

    Leslie Berland emphasizes the importance of American Express’s collaborative team-oriented culture and how critical it is to drive social business initiatives. “I think it’s impossible to win in digital or in social media if you’re approaching it in a siloed way. And you can see it when you see different brands and companies and organizations launching things in the social media space, especially if there’s not alignment. It’s very transparent. It looks disjointed and not clear.”

    However, lack of a vibrantly open and collaborative culture isn’t an insurmountable hurdle to the progress of social business. Teva, for example, operates in a highly regulated industry not necessarily known for open cultures. Yet that didn’t impede the course of their social program. “At first, people thought our internal collaboration was a finger-pointing tool that, unlike email, which is seen by a limited number of people, could expose one’s flaws or failings to many people,” says Jean-Francois at Teva. 

    “But when they realized it was a different mindset, they started using it extensively.” Mark McDonald, co-author of The Digital Edge: Exploiting Information and Technology for Business Advantage, goes so far as to argue that although social communities don’t require extensive structure, managers are more comfortable when social business activities are structured. 

    The presence of parameters, security measures and controls can ease their fears of the open-ended character of collaboration. With that comfort, leaders can take a strong role in driving a collaborative culture appropriate to the company and industry.

    If the culture isn’t open, leaders may have to stimulate collaborative behavior themselves. At a global entertainment company, for example, an operations executive wanted to build a collaboration platform for marketing departments to share information about products and promotions in real time. The marketing heads, however, rarely shared information and voiced doubt about the value of participating in a shared data platform.

    To overcome the doubt and cultivate support for the idea, the executive convened face-to-face meetings with the marketing leaders. By the end of the meetings, the group had started hammering out a process for collaborating together on the project and developing the new collaboration platform. 

    After 18 months, they had put the protocols, processes and systems in place to capture social media data about customer reactions to various marketing campaigns across the enterprise. Insights from this collaborative effort led to the creation and adaptation of promotions and products in real time.

    Creating collaborative behavior for social also means using it. Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines is famous for being a power user of social media. At Enterasys, Afshar and other executives actively participate in the company’s new social media channels. Without that commitment, Afshar believes social would have floundered. “It’s a fundamental equation,” he says. “No involvement by leaders, no commitment by employees. No exceptions.” (See Figure 8.)
    FIGURE 8
    Senior executives who responded to our survey believe social business can fundamentally change the way work gets done.

    Measuring What Matters

    Although the classic adage admonishes that what can’t be measured can’t be managed, businesses on the path to social maturity aren’t letting disagreements about the “best” measures halt their progress.

     While there is no consensus yet about how to measure returns from social business, some clear approaches and guidelines are coming to the fore.

    Perhaps the most important: measurement must tie to what John Hagel from the Deloitte Center for the Edge terms “metrics that matter.” When seeking funding for a social initiative, for example, proposals should link the investment to what leaders are concerned about.

     To make the investment case, Hagel argues that when social business improves operating performance, the improvements can be leveraged to drive broad employee buy-in and momentum — and improvements in operating metrics lift the financial metrics for which business leaders are accountable. Once leaders see that link in action, they are likely to place greater value in social tools and technologies.

    Linking social tools to operating and financial metrics poses a number of challenges. The fragmented use of social across an organization is a primary one. As Susan Etlinger, an industry analyst at the social business consulting group Altimeter, points out, “Each department has a different view on the value of the data that they are looking at. 

    So as a result, it requires a fundamental shift in the way that companies gather insight and normalize it across different data sets and different departments.” Professors David Gilfoil and Charles Jobs of the DeSales University business program consider the issue in their article, “Return on Investment for Social Media.” The professors developed a three-dimensional framework to align different groups of metrics. Measurement programs need to address these three dimensions:
    • Levels within the organization — corporate, departmental, individual — as well as industry
    • Functions impacted — for example, sales, business development, R&D
    • Appropriate and available metrics — for example, sales, costs saved or website visits
    A simple example illustrates how the use of social tools links to operating and financial metrics. Imagine a manufacturing company is using social networking tools to improve quality control. Social usage measures, such as relevant posts on an internal collaboration site, can be tied to operational improvements such as reducing the time it takes to resolve a quality issue. Those metrics, in turn, drive financial performance measures, including revenue increases and cost reductions.

    Although straightforward applications such as these can be found in many companies, the discipline of social business measurement is still in its early stages. However, several leading experts have provided some practical guidance:

    Test and Learn.  Etlinger points out that Nate Silver, political analyst and author of The Signal and the Noise, sees the need for companies to embrace testing and erring when working with data. To what extent companies can embrace such an approach depends on their measurement culture. 

    However, even organizations without strong measurement cultures can move forward. Beth Kanter, an expert in non-profit performance measurement, stresses that companies should focus on incremental advances. Organizations launching a social initiative, for example, can start with one or two metrics tied to a business objective. 

    After tracking these for a period of time, the company can build momentum by steadily adding new metrics and observing patterns in the data.

    Measurement Programs Need Continuous Improvement. In 2013, the U.S. General Services Administration released its framework and guidelines for federal agencies to measure the impact of their social media programs.

     Justin Herman, social media lead at the Government Services Administration Center for Excellence in Digital Government, emphasizes that the framework is a “living document” that should be modified as new and improved ways to measure come to light. To spur the creation of those improvements, the metrics program is open not only to agencies, but also to tool developers and the public.

    Social Doesn’t Operate in a Vacuum. Companies should not worry that social isn’t the sole, or even primary, source of improvement. Hagel points out that even if other changes occur when rolling out a social tool, if the tool was a critical enabler of the performance improvement, management should credit it accordingly.

    Finally, companies should not try to measure everything. As Cisco’s Jordan cautions: “If you try to measure every single thing you are doing, you will manage the ants while the elephants are storming by.”

    Creating and Curating Meaningful Content

    When CARA Operations, the Canadian restaurant franchisor, wanted to bolster the morale of its wait staff and focus on customer experience, it launched a reward program through Facebook where managers and restaurant staff could congratulate others for innovative efforts beyond the call of duty. 

    After much planning and promotion, Staff Room was launched with great expectations — and then quickly fizzled. The problem, explains CIO Natasha Nelson, was a lack of dedicated resources to manage the program and regularly update it with new content. She says that the company thought that the program would grow organically, but “in hindsight, we see having a dedicated resource to manage the program would have helped to seed the system with the meaningful content that would have driven people to the site on a regular basis.” Having such a resource, Nelson says, would have “yielded a much higher level of adoption.”
    Successful social business hinges on quality of content. And with the greater use of social comes much stronger demands for fresh, unique content. “We are entering the stage of social fatigue,” comments Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research. “Content has to be more relevant and in the context of a relationship, location, project and time.”

    To overcome social fatigue, many companies devote considerable resources to content development. A 2013 study by Gartner, for example, found that nearly 50% of social marketing teams believe creating and curating content is their top priority. Coca-Cola is a prime example.

    After becoming the first retail brand to exceed 50 million Facebook likes, Coca-Cola is shifting its marketing focus from creative excellence to content excellence — generating a steady flow of content that average social media users will feel they have to share. The goal is to create conversations with consumers by shifting from one-way storytelling to dynamic storytelling across many social media platforms.

    Coca-Cola’s emphasis is on new content and applies a 70/20/10 investment principle to its creation: 70% of the content created is low-risk marketing, which consumes half their time. Another 20% feeds off ideas that already work and reinventing them to see what can be achieved. The final 10% is high-risk content marketing. When a high-risk effort pays off, it can fuel the content strategy anew.

    Relevant, timely and accurate content is also paramount at Cisco and drives what the company calls its “front” — the Cisco Learning Network. Over five years, the network has grown from 600,000 to more than 2 million users. It is charged with creating the next generation of Cisco customers by providing learning tools, training resources, and industry guidance to anyone interested in an IT career through Cisco certification. The network also provides a venue for gathering and discussing the company, its product lines, and the industry overall.

    Relevant, quality content is central to the network’s success, according to Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, vice president and general manager of Learning@Cisco. Without the initial content that Cisco seeded into the system, the Cisco Learning Network would not have taken off. “The content is what separated the Learning Network from other collaboration tools such as Facebook,” she says. “The content drives an organic community toward Cisco-specific conversations.”

     Given the practical reality of the community’s size, Cisco realizes that it can’t create all the content. Often, it takes the role of curator. But Cisco keeps the content fresh. “If you are trying to create community and you are lifting and shifting content, you are wasting your time,” says Beliveau-Dunn. “You don’t want to take what was stale and try to make it prettier. The key is identifying the interesting and relevant content that meets the needs of your audience and making it easy to find and digest.”

    Changing the Way Work Gets DoneFrom responding to markets to fostering internal knowledge sharing, achieving social’s impact means changing the way work gets done. “Social is about using technology in a more thoughtful and broad-based way to meets business needs in a social context,” says Hagel. “It is front and center to the question: How can and should people connect to advance business objectives?”

    Companies can change how the work is done by revamping processes and embedding social capabilities into workflows. This process — what we call social business reengineering — can break down barriers that hamper people’s ability to find the right information and work effectively across functions.

    Social business reengineering is a planning process that moves systematically from strategy to technology. It begins by identifying natural groups of stakeholders who will see value in connecting in new ways — for example, linking R&D to marketers, product engineers and sales teams. With these stakeholders in mind, the process turns to the “who” and the “what” — the key players, business objectives and incentives that will garner social business buy-in and usage. 

    Company leaders then need to identify any barriers to adoption and have a plan in place to remove them. Once these elements have been figured out, the company can identify the most appropriate tool for the job.

    Dell is a prime example of social business changing the way work gets done. The company’s IdeaStorm platform is one of several initiatives where social business drives the way the company operates. In essence, IdeaStorm is a public suggestion box where customers can provide input on products and features. But the similarity ends there.

     As the company listens to the market, it identifies opportunities to refine product features. It then reaches out to the customer community and works with it to identify the specific requirements. “We begin by listening,” says Richard Margetic, Dell’s director of global social media. “We then work with the customers who are most active in the conversation and drive to a product launch.”

    Companies shifting out of first gear are finding value from their social business efforts. Many realize that their companies need to be where their customers are, and they are using social business to tackle everything from sudden market shifts to the war for talent. McKinsey estimates that the global dollar worth of social business activity will be measured in the trillions. We found that executives see that value and immediacy.

    Yet companies nonetheless face formidable odds. Gartner estimates that 80% of social initiatives will not meet expectations. In this report, we probed how companies stuck in first gear — or looking to boost mature efforts — can steer clear of Gartner’s prediction.
    Focusing social business on business challenges is the key lesson learned. Companies that are successfully shifting out of first gear don’t view social as “an app” that will thrive at work simply because it thrives outside the office. These companies use social to address specific issues and define a role for social business in the solution. Be it tackling supply-chain issues or driving higher-octane innovation, success is about leveraging a business tool — not a technology.

    Focusing on business challenges, however, is only part of the equation. To spur the effort, company leaders are cultivating new modes of communication and new patterns of dialogue. Sometimes that means modeling the behavior long before the tool is launched. Measurement is also critical. 

    An effective measurement mindset, however, focuses on measurement that matters. Although the discipline of measurement is evolving, successful social initiatives don’t make the great the enemy of the good. Social business success is also about generating and sustaining content. Whether it is created or curated, its freshness is the draw and the glue that holds the effort together. Finally, social business changes the way work is getting done, by reengineering processes.

    In the time it took to read this report, millions of tweets have been posted to Twitter, tens of millions of new postings have appeared on Facebook, and thousands of hours of new video are streaming from YouTube. Social media is evolving rapidly — and that evolution is changing the face of how businesses work and compete.

    Page 1. Social Business: Shifting Out of First Gear

    Page 2. Snapshot: The State of Play

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    JNTU signs pact with AISFM

    Masters in Media Business Administration will be offered to students with a creative streak and want to become management professionals

    Actor Nagarjuna with JNTU Vice-Chancellor Rameshwar Rao in Hyderabad on Friday.—PHOTO: NAGARA GOPAL
    Actor Nagarjuna with JNTU Vice-Chancellor Rameshwar Rao in Hyderabad on Friday.—PHOTO: NAGARA GOPAL
    Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University-Hyderabad and Annapurna International School of Film + Media have announced the launch of a two-year Masters programme in Media Business Administration (MMBA).
    An MoU to this effect was signed here on Friday by the varsity Vice-Chancellor Rameshwar Rao and actor Akkineni Nagarjuna as president of the Film School and managing director, Annapurna Studios.
    Entrepreneurial outlook
    On why JNTU-H had collaborated with AISFM, Prof. Rao said there was a need for people with an entrepreneurial outlook to access help so they could learn the professionalism required in the media industry, perceived as a ‘wealth-creating’ sector. “We are excited because this is a new type of collaboration. Working to help those with a creative bent of mind, together with AISFM and hands-on experience provided by the facilities at the Annapurna Studios is an interesting proposition,” he said.

    “The MMBA programme is designed to teach creative people become management professionals in one of the few industries - the media that is growing all over the world. Media planning, strategy and management are the core areas where this course will help students,” Mr. Nagarjuna said.
    He said there were several more revenue streams that needed to be tapped. Chris Higgins, vice-president of the school, was present

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    Snow Falling around Infant Solar System

    Cambridge, MA - The sight of a snowfall can thrill children, but the first-ever snow line seen around a distant star gives astronomers an even greater thrill because of what it reveals about the formation of planets and our solar system's history.

    Astronomers using the new Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope have taken the first-ever image of a snow line in an infant solar system. This frosty landmark is thought to play in an essential role in the formation and chemical make-up of planets around a young star.

    On Earth, snow lines typically form at high elevations where falling temperatures turn atmospheric moisture to snow. In much the same way, snow lines are thought to form around young stars in the distant, colder reaches of the disks from which solar systems form. Depending on the distance from the star, however, other more exotic molecules can freeze and turn to snow.

    Familiar water ice freezes out first, then moving outward in concentric circles other abundant gases like carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and carbon monoxide (CO) freeze, forming a frost on dust grains, which are the building blocks of planets and comets.

    ALMA spotted a never-before-seen CO snow line around TW Hydrae, a young star 175 light-years away from Earth. Astronomers believe this nascent solar system has many of the same characteristics that our own Solar System had when it was just a few million years old. The results were published in Science Express.

    "ALMA has given us the first real picture of a snow line around a young star, which is extremely exciting because of what it tells us about the very early period in the history of our own Solar System," said Chunhua "Charlie" Qi, a researcher with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., who led the international research team with Karin Oberg, a researcher with Harvard University and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

    "We can now see previously hidden details about the frozen outer reaches of another solar system, one that has much in common with our own when it was less than 10 million years old," said Qi.

    Snow lines have, until now, only been detected by their spectral signatures; they have never been imaged directly, so their precise location and extent could not be determined.

    This is because snow lines form exclusively in the relatively narrow central plane of a protoplanetary disk. Above and below this region, stellar radiation keeps the gases warm, preventing them from forming ice. Only with the insulating effect of the concentrated dust and gas in the central plane of the disk can temperatures drop sufficiently for CO and other gases to cool and freeze.

    Normally, this outer cocoon of hot gas would prevent astronomers from peering inside the disk where the gas had frozen out. "It would be like trying to find a small, sunny patch hidden within a dense fogbank," said Oberg.

    The astronomers were able to pierce the intervening CO fog by instead hunting for a different molecule known as diazenylium (N2H+). This fragile molecule is easily destroyed in the presence of CO gas, so would only appear in detectable amounts in regions where CO had frozen out, and is hence a proxy for CO ice.

    Diazenylium shines brightly in the millimeter portion of the spectrum, which can be detected by radio telescope like ALMA here on Earth.

    ALMA's unique sensitivity and resolution allowed the astronomers to trace the presence and distribution of diazenylium, finding a clearly defined boundary approximately 30 astronomical units (AU) from TW Hydrae (one AU is the Sun-Earth distance).

    "Using this technique, we were able to create, in effect, a photonegative of the CO snow in the disk surrounding TW Hydrae," said Oberg. "With this we could see the CO snow line precisely where theory predicts it should be -- the inner rim of the diazenylium ring."

    Snow lines, astronomers believe, serve a vital role in the formation of a solar system. They help dust grains overcome their normal tendency to collide and self-destruct by giving the grains a stickier outer coating. 

    They also increase the amount of solids available and may dramatically speed up the planet formation process. Since there are multiple snow lines, each may be linked to the formation of specific kinds of planets.

    Around a Sun-like star, the water snow line would correspond approximately to the orbit of Jupiter and the CO snow line would roughly correspond to the orbit of Neptune. The transition to CO ice could also mark the starting point where smaller icy bodies like comets and dwarf planets like Pluto would form.

    Oberg also points out that the CO snow line is particularly interesting since CO ice is needed to form methanol, which is a building block of more complex organic molecules that are essential for life. Comets and asteroids could then ferry these molecules to newly forming Earth-like planets, seeding them with the ingredients for life.

    These observations were made with only a portion of ALMA's eventual full complement of 66 antennas. The researchers hope future observations with the full array will reveal other snow lines and provide additional insights into the formation and evolution of planets.

    This release is being issued jointly with NRAO.

    ALMA, an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA construction and operations are led on behalf of Europe by ESO, on behalf of North America by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), and on behalf of East Asia by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the construction, commissioning and operation of ALMA.

    The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc..

    Headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) is a joint collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Harvard College Observatory. CfA scientists, organized into six research divisions, study the origin, evolution and ultimate fate of the universe.

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    Building a Strategy Pyramid

    Need help implementing your ideas? This approach may provide you with the structure you need.
    Marketing guru Seth Godin addressed alignment in a piece about iTunes falling over its own words and intentions. After reading it, I did a quick Google search on "strategic alignment," which brought up a lot of results and a lot of different meanings.
    To me, strategic alignment means lining up the details on the ground with the strategy up in the sky. For example, suppose a retail computer business says it focuses on "service seeker" small businesses. Revamping the physical location to create a long and inviting service counter is strategic alignment. Staffing it with friendly technicians in white service coats, like the auto dealers, is strategic alignment. Buying a white van with a huge sign on the side saying, "Installing Another System," is strategic alignment. Doing nothing but talking about it at meetings is not strategic alignment.
    It was strategic alignment, or the lack of it, that led me to develop the strategy pyramid back in the mid-'80s. I was consulting with the Latin American group of Apple Computer, led by Hector Saldana. I had done the group's annual business plan for three years when Saldana issued a challenge: "We want you to manage our annual plan again this year, but with a difference. This year we want you to sit with us the rest of the year and make sure we actually implement it."
    The repeat business was, of course, good news, but there was a catch. The Apple Latin America group at that time was a collection of a couple dozen young, well educated, brilliant people. Saldana and I were the only ones over 30 years old. It was hard to keep that group focused. Strategy takes boring consistency to implement. The strategy was desktop publishing, but we'd been working with that for so long that multimedia was much more interesting--to the managers, but not to the market.
    So I came up with the strategy pyramid, which made it possible to track implementation and work on strategic alignment. We used it to build a database of business activities that we called "programs" and track them back up through tactics and strategy. One strategy, for example, was to emphasize desktop publishing. Tactics used included advertising, pricing of bundles and distribution channels.
     The detailed programs were things like advertising insertions, seminar marketing, bundling of hardware and software, and distributor pricing. Each program had a manager responsible, a start date, an end date and a budget. Sometimes the budget was zero, but there was room in the database for the amount.
    The result was strategic alignment. The next year we were able to sort and manage programs according to strategies and tactics. We could show a spending pie divided into pieces representing each of our strategic priorities. We could also track implementation to the level of specific tasks assigned to specific managers, with performance on start date, finish date and budget. In some cases we could even track sales back to projections in the plan. So seminar programs that began with sales projections had to live with sales results.
    You can use the strategy pyramid in your own planning. Focus on three or four main strategic priorities and build a conceptual pyramid for each one. Don't sweat the details like definitions of strategies and tactics; just make it work for you, in your business, with your pyramid. Do sweat the details like making programs with specific responsibilities, budgets and projected outputs when possible.
    You don't have to be a big company. Apple was a huge company to me in the mid-'80s, because it had more than 1,000 employees; yet the Latin American group had less than two dozen people. We made the pyramid work because we wanted to make it work; we wanted to build strategy, not just great parties.
    Remember, good business planning is nine parts implementation for every one part strategy.
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    Start-Ups Need to Focus on Two Kinds of Growth

    Do you know how to scale your start-up? Chances are you're not focused on the right kind of growth.

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    When it comes to growth, start-ups need to think more precisely. 
    Growth is such a vague term, said Donna Boyer, chief product officer atBlurb, an ebook start-up, during the Dell Women's Entrepreneurs Network conference on Tuesday.

    "There are really two types of growth--one is the more type of growth, which is really about scale. And you need to add countries, customers, call centers. How do you make what you are doing, just bigger? 

    And the other side of growth is really new. We need to get into new market, into newbusiness units."

    Many start-ups don't identify what kind of growth they're working toward. Instead, they just aim for "growth."

    But Boyer says you have to call it what it is. In Blurb's case, that's meant focusing on new growth in the ebook market, which in turn meant adjusting their metrics.  
    "As the industry changes, you need to keep up with what your metrics are, and make sure you are measuring the right thing because behaviors follow," she said. 
    Be forwarned, this can hamper a founder. As companies move through stages of growth, there might be a need for a turn-around, or what Boyer calls "a second wind." 

    "You get to the scale stage, and you start doing these unnatural acts, because you have to grow and scale," she said. "And little by little, you start to depart. And when little by little you depart, you end up in a situation where the owner is misaligned with the company."

    But taking the time to understand their vision will make that transition easier. "If you can keep a founder in, your growth will actually be faster, as long as you can keep it aligned." 

    Her strategy's worked: Blurb's founder, Eileen Gittins, is still in charge of the company. 

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    3 Honest Ways to Raise Startup Money

    Create a healthy foundation for your business by combining enthusiasm with honesty.

    Entrepreneurs ten
    d to exaggerate. They exaggerate the success of their business when talking to startup investors. They exaggerate the market potential of their products to find distribution partners. They exaggerate the soundness of their strategy to recruit employees. Funding your business without exaggerating isn't easy, but there's a clear line between optimistic exaggeration and outright fabrication. Here are some guidelines to help you get your startup off the ground without selling your soul or spinning a web of lies.

    Develop financial projections that are rooted in verifiable assumptions

    Venture capital firms and angel investors typically want to see financial projections that shoot up like a hockey stick. 

    Entrepreneurs often feel compelled to exaggerate projections to look like their businesses can reach a billion dollars of market value in a few years. There's no point in just fabricating a set of projections that aren't based on reality. One way to build a set of realistic projections is to start with business drivers that can be discussed and debated with investors. 

    For example, if you're selling widgets that depend on the cost of oil, develop a set of financial projections that link market value to the number of widgets you plan to sell and the changing price of oil. This will show billion-dollar market value and allow investors to understand what assumptions you're basing your growth on.
    Write paychecks that don't bounce, but increase as the business grows

    One of the most difficult tasks for entrepreneurs is to convince talented employees to join the team and stay on the team before their company is profitable or stable. As a startup business owner, you're faced with a choice: Pay your employee a market salary (say $150,000 per year) and take a bet that you can grow the business to justify the salary, or share risk with your employee by paying a below-market salary (say, $75,000 per year) plus equity incentives (worth $75,000 or more).

     Most experienced entrepreneurs will tell you that it makes more sense to share risk with your employees until you have funding or until your product line gets market traction. While this makes sense, it often puts the entrepreneur in the precarious position of having to recruit employees by exaggerating how likely the prospects of venture funding are, how developed the company's strategy is, or how popular the company's products are.

    Employees are usually the first to know when funding prospects dry up, strategies fail and products don't sell, so it's better to be upfront about the risks of joining a young company. But enable new recruits to share in the rewards of business success immediately rather than waiting for their equity to appreciate. 

    For example, one clever way to share risk with your new recruits is to outline a path to increase their base salaries as the business grows. For example, offer to increase a base salary from $75,000 to $100,000 when the company hits certain milestones, then again to $150,000 when profitability is attained. Put this in writing in the offer letter. This compensation plan will cost less than promising to pay out bonuses, which get spent then forgotten, or subsequent equity grants, which get expensive for the company if they are granted many times.

    Get your clients to compete to be first

    Successful entrepreneurs love to tell stories about how they got their first client. While working out of a closet or a garage, they print up business cards with a prestigious address and fancy logo and close the deal. That's what it takes to sell. Exaggerating the stability or size of your enterprise to secure your first client is the stuff of legend. Even if your product isn't ready, you can use a similar approach to raise money for your business by getting investors and business partners--who can provide financial support--to compete to be first. 

    There's a certain prestige in being part of the first group of investors, partners or customers to help launch a business. Create the feeling of exclusivity. Require an invitation to use your beta product. Generate buzz about your product plans and your team among blogs that investors read. There's less need to exaggerate if you can set expectations that your product is still being tested among early adopters.

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    How to Value Your Start-up

    These three steps will help you determine what your new business is worth.


    It's commonly said that business valuation is more art than science. If this is true, then the practice of valuing a startup business is squarely in the domain of the artist.

    Nevertheless, entrepreneurs need to put a value on their startups in order to raise money, and investors need to put a value on their investments to generate liquidity. Since neither entrepreneurs nor investors are known for right-brain artistic thinking, this article aims to provide some tips for left-brain thinkers to make sense of startup valuation.

    1. You are what the market says you are. If investors are telling you that your startup is worth $1 million, then that's what it's worth. You might think it's worth more. You might even know it's worth more because your company may have more than $1 million is liquid assets, or more than $1 million in receivables, or more than $1 million in sweat equity. But if you're unable to raise money for your startup with a valuation above $1 million, then you'll have to accept the market valuation.
    However, this isn't always true. If you raise money from relatives and friends rather than professional investors, it's possible that your company has been overvalued or undervalued (more likely, overvalued). For example, if you persuade your father and your rich aunt to purchase shares in your business at $20 per share, it doesn't mean that future investors will pay more than $20 per share-even if your business grows and prospers.

    2. But you can also tell the market what you're worth. Although this might seem to contradict the point made above, it's possible to tell the market how to value your company. After all, if investors think your startup is worth $1 million, it's usually because of something you've told them. By definition, startups don't have a history of financial performance on which to base a valuation. Therefore, it's up to the entrepreneur to develop a process for valuing the company based on comparables and financial projections.

    • Comparables: Find out how much similar companies in your industry and geography are worth. You can use sites such as BizBuySell and BizQuest to determine how much businesses are selling for in your industry. If you have a high-tech or high-growth startup, accountants and lawyers are among the best advisors to help you determine the market rate for comparable companies at your stage. In my experience, attorneys tend to overvalue startups, and accountants tend to undervalue startups, so you may want to talk to both before making a decision.

    • Financial forecasts: Although it's notoriously difficult to forecast revenue at a startup, you'll need to do this to determine value-and eventually to defend your valuation. For example, if you're starting a pet food store, your valuation and financial projections will likely be lower than if you're starting a speculative biotechnology firm.

    3. You're not really worth anything until you're profitable. If you're not profitable, your business probably isn't worth very much. That is, it doesn't have as much liquidity as it would have if it were profitable. Many businesses cannot be sold, since there aren't enough business buyers for every seller. Almost all unprofitable businesses cannot be sold for the same reason.

    This makes valuation particularly challenging for a startup. Since young businesses take time to become profitable, the trick of valuing startups is to focus on the future. First, determine how many years it will take to be profitable. A business with a long road to profitability will usually be worth less than one with a quick path to profitability. 

    Next, determine how much comparable companies have been valued at when they reached profitability. A company that could be worth $5 million at profitability will be worth some fraction of that number at the startup stage, based on factors such as the likelihood of success, the time frame to exit and the quality of the management team.

    It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of valuing your company at the highest amount possible and forget that you'll one day have to deliver on the expectations of investors. It's also tempting to adapt your business model to maximize startup valuation. Be careful about overvaluing your startup with faulty assumptions; it will only make your life more difficult-particularly if your investors have governance rights, such as positions on the company's board.

    Much like artists, entrepreneurs need to use creativity in valuing their startup businesses. Traditional approaches to valuation based on book values and P/E ratios are akin to painting by numbers. If you want your startup to be a masterpiece, you'll need to use the right side of your brain as much as your left to determine value.

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    The First Step to Real Growth

    Do you suffer from a mom-and-pop mentality? Losing it is your first step to real business growth.

    One notion that can really slam the brakes on any business venture is to think that you, the owner, must handle every aspect of your business. In her article at Small Business Computing, small business owner Shari Gould refers to this condition as a mom-and-pop mentality. Running a modern business requires a multitude of skill sets and knowledge that one person cannot reasonably expect to possess.
    Not only will that mom-and-pop thinking keep your business from flourishing, it can exhaust you and put your business at risk of going under altogether. If you’re able (and willing) to ease up on the controls,learning to delegate some of the basics  tasks that take up your workday can reduce stress and increase efficiency.
    More important, you’ll likely find that outsourcing certain functions—bookkeeping, monthly financial reporting, payroll services, and staffing come to mind—is an even more practical and effective way to move your business forward. Why? By off-loading those responsibilities, you free up time that’s better spent on revenue-generating activities.
    Budgeting is the key to avoiding the mom-and-pop trap. Focus on what you do best, and budget carefully—and generously—so that you can contract third-party resources for tasks that lie outside of your business’ main area of expertise. “If you’re in the middle of the fiscal year, it’s time to plan your budget for the next fiscal year so that you can incorporate resources that ultimately help you operate more effectively,” writes Gould.
    Next, bid farewell to cash-basis accounting and embrace accrual accounting instead. By using accrual accounting, you’ll have a much more accurate picture of your company’s financial status. Gould explains it thusly: “Let’s say you own a multi-family property, and someone pays May rent on April 30. In accrual accounting, you book the income when it is due (the first of the month), not when it is received. This yields a clear picture of your monthly cash flow. If you book it when you actually received it, it inflates the April rent on the books and May’s cash flow suffers by the rental amount.”
    Another option: use a small business accounting software package to help you see the long-term financial picture. Of course, you might just take our budgeting advice and contract a bookkeeper, in which case, you can let him or her worry about the accounts while you get back to doing what you do best.
    Finally, don’t cheap out by hiring the least expensive, entry-level people you can find. Yes, money is tight and you need to be fiscally responsible. But you’ll never regret hiring people who are better at their jobs than you ever were and who can outwit your competitors.
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    8 Tips to Get More From Your Investors and Board

    If you don't ask, you won't get, says Mark Suster.

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    Rob Bailey is the CEO of Data Sift. He wrote a post this long weekend on how he manages the board of Data Sift.

    More importantly if you don't know Data Sift but have the need to process real-time social data or historic data it's worth checking them out. It's valuable to any business for marketing, customer research, product development, market analysis, etc.

    In his post, Rob asserts, "You get the VCs you deserve" and the corollary, "You get the performance out of your board that you deserve."
    His argument is as follows:
    • Spend time building investor relationship long before you raise money. 
    • By spending more time educating your board on your business you get more valuable advice from them.
    • Your goal should be to turn your VCs into extended members of your team to get real value from them.
    • Understanding where your VC partner sits in their respective fund and where their fund is in the cycle of its investment lifecycle will help you understand your VCs behavior.
    What Rob wrote in his post is right.

    Rob is one of the most driven and successful CEOs I work with.

    In his tenure as CEO of DataSift, we have never missed a monthly revenue figure. He has grown our US operations from one employee (him) to a global organization of 75 employees that will finish the year with 8-digit revenues (90 plus percent recurring) and more than 350 percent year-over-year growth.

    Growth like this, this early in a company's lifecycle rarely happens.

    In this period (less than two years), he has brought on incredibly talented senior execs in sales, marketing, product management, client services, finance, VP engineering and more. In his spare time, he raised nearly $30 million.

    But the thing I am most proud of about Rob is that he has taken a company with a uniquely talented founder and CTO--Nick Halstead--and managed to build a very tight working relationship with Nick where we drive world-class product development without having the usual founder / CEO conflicts. Oh, and did I mention--Rob is in SF and Nick is in the UK. Rob has taken more than 15 trips to England and Nick even more to the US. It is really working.

    I point this out partly out of pride. Partly out of the fact that in one week I depart for England to speak at LeWeb, attend our DataSift board meeting and generally make myself available to the DataSift team to meet their customers, partners and employees.

    But mostly as I read Rob's post, I didn't think it did justice to the superlative job he has done at managing his rather boisterous board.

    It consists of a highly intelligent and opinionated founder--Nick Halstead, a wallflower--yours truly, quiet-as-a-mouse Roger Ehrenberg of IA Ventures, true-to-his-heritage Rory O’Driscoll from Scale Ventures, and then there is the one true gentleman of the bunch--Chris Smart, who is non-exec chairman. In addition to helping manage the board, Chris also helps represent the interests of the angel investors / common stock holders.

    Oh, and did I mention:

    Roger is in NYC. Rob and Rory are in NorCal. Nick and Chris are in London. And I am in Los Angeles. That in itself is quite a challenge.

    So what are Rob's secret hacks that he didn't spill in his blog post? 

    Here is what I imagine Rob would say were his most effective tools. Sincerely, he is better at managing his board than any exec I have worked with.

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    And then I thought I would share with you what that method is, or one of them. A famous one, it's called the "Sevenfold Causal Method of Developing Compassion." And it begins first by one meditating and visualizing that all beings are with one -- even animals too, but everyone is in human form. The animals are in one of their human lives. The humans are human. And then, among them, you think of your friends and loved ones, the circle at the table. And you think of your enemies, and you think of the neutral ones. And then you try to say, "Well, the loved ones I love. But, you know, after all, they're nice to me. I had fights with them. Sometimes they were unfriendly. I got mad. Brothers can fight. Parents and children can fight. So, in a way, I like them so much because they're nice to me. While the neutral ones I don't know. They could all be just fine. And then the enemies I don't like because they're mean to me. But they are nice to somebody. I could be them."
    And then the Buddhists, of course, think that, because we've all had infinite previous lives,we've all been each other's relatives, actually. Therefore all of you, in the Buddhist view, in some previous life, although you don't remember it and neither do I, have been my mother -- for which I do apologize for the trouble I caused you. And also, actually, I've been your mother. I've been female, and I've been every single one of yours' mother in a previous life,the way the Buddhists reflect. So, my mother in this life is really great. But all of you in a way are part of the eternal mother. You gave me that expression; "the eternal mama," you said. That's wonderful. So, that's the way the Buddhists do it. A theist Christian can think that all beings, even my enemies, are God's children. So, in that sense, we're related.
    And then the next thing we do is what is called "mother recognition." And that is, we think of every being as familiar, as family. We expand. We take the feeling about remembering a mama, and we defuse that to all beings in this meditation. And we see the mother in every being. We see that look that the mother has on her face, looking at this child that is a miracle that she has produced from her own body, being a mammal, where she has true compassion, truly is the other, and identifies completely. Often the life of that other will be more important to her than her own life. And that's why it's the most powerful form of altruism. The mother is the model of all altruism for human beings, in spiritual traditions.And so, we reflect until we can sort of see that motherly expression in all beings.
    And this is the way you do it. You take any being who looks weird to you, and you see how they could be familiar to you. And you do that for a while, until you really feel that. You can feel the familiarity of all beings. Nobody seems alien. They're not "other." You reduce the feeling of otherness about beings. Then you move from there to remembering the kindness of mothers in general, if you can remember the kindness of your own mother, if you can remember the kindness of your spouse, or, if you are a mother yourself, how you were with your children. And you begin to get very sentimental; you cultivate sentimentality intensely.You will even weep, perhaps, with gratitude and kindness. And then you connect that with your feeling that everyone has that motherly possibility. Every being, even the most mean looking ones, can be motherly.
    But anyway, that's the "lovely love. " And then finally, the fifth step is compassion, "universal compassion." And that is where you then look at the reality of all the beings you can think of. And you look at them, and you see how they are. And you realize how unhappy they are actually, mostly, most of the time. You see that furrowed brow in people.And then you realize they don't even have compassion on themselves. They're driven by this duty and this obligation. "I have to get that. I need more. I'm not worthy. And I should do something." And they're rushing around all stressed out. And they think of it as somehow macho, hard discipline on themselves. But actually they are cruel to themselves. And, of course, they are cruel and ruthless toward others. And they, then, never get any positive feedback. And the more they succeed and the more power they have, the more unhappy they are. And this is where you feel real compassion for them.
    So, practice compassion, read the charter, disseminate it and develop it within yourself.Don't just think, "Well, I'm compassionate," or "I'm not compassionate," and sort of think you're stuck there. You can develop this. You can diminish the non-compassion, the cruelty, the callousness, the neglect of others, and take universal responsibility for them.And then, not only will God smile and the eternal mama will smile, but Karen Armstrong will smile.
    Thank you very much. (Applause)

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    Compassion Can Be Cultivated In The Brain, Study Finds

    Brain Compassion

    Researchers from the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconson-Madison's Waisman Center found that engaging in compassion meditation -- where you practice feeling compassion for different groups of people, including yourself -- seemed to increase a sense of altruism.
    "It's kind of like weight training," study researcher Helen Weng, a graduate student in clinical psychology at the university, said in a statement. "Using this systematic approach, we found that people can actually build up their compassion 'muscle' and respond to others' suffering with care and a desire to help."
    The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, involved having study participants engage in a compassion meditation where they thought about when others have helped them to relieve their own suffering. They repeated compassion mantras, such as "May you be free from suffering. May you have joy and ease." And they also completed an exercise where they practiced compassion for groups of people including friends, "difficult people" and themselves.
    Meanwhile, another group of study participants serving as the control group just learned a technique called cognitive reappraisal, which is when you reappraise your thoughts so that they are less negative.
    Researchers conducted brain scans of both these groups, before and after their trainings.
    Then,they compared the altruism of the cognitive reappraisal group with the compassion meditation group by having them all play a game that involved donating money to people in need. 

    The researchers found that the people who did the compassion training and who had the highest levels of altruism were also the ones who experienced the most brain changes in the inferior parietal cortex (involved in empathy) when exposed to others' suffering.
    "The fact that alterations in brain function were observed after just a total of seven hours of training is remarkable," study researcher Richard J. Davidson, who is a professor at the university and the founder and chair of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, said in a statement.
    Of course, it shouldn't be all too surprising that meditation boosts compassion in the brain. Past research -- including a study published earlier this year by Harvard and Northeastern university researchers -- shows that meditation can help to boost do-good behavior.

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    The Profound Journey of Compassion

    A human child is born, and for quite a long time is a consumer. It cannot be consciously a contributor. It is helpless. It doesn't know how to survive, even though it is endowed with an instinct to survive. It needs the help of mother, or a foster mother, to survive. It can't afford to doubt the person who tends the child. It has to totally surrender, as one surrenders to an anesthesiologist.
    It has to totally surrender. That implies a lot of trust. That implies the trusted person won't violate the trust. As the child grows, it begins to discover that the person trusted is violating the trust. It doesn't know even the word "violation." Therefore, it has to blame itself, a wordless blame, which is more difficult to really resolve -- the wordless self-blame.
    As the child grows to become an adult: so far, it has been a consumer, but the growth of a human being lies in his or her capacity to contribute, to be a contributor. One cannot contribute unless one feels secure, one feels big, one feels: I have enough.
    To be compassionate is not a joke. It's not that simple. One has to discover a certain bigness in oneself. That bigness should be centered on oneself, not in terms of money, not in terms of power you wield, not in terms of any status that you can command in the society, but it should be centered on oneself. The self: you are self-aware. On that self, it should be centered -- a bigness, a wholeness. Otherwise, compassion is just a word and a dream.
    You can be compassionate occasionally, more moved by empathy than by compassion.Thank God we are empathetic. When somebody's in pain, we pick up the pain.
    In a Wimbledon final match, these two guys fight it out. Each one has got two games. It can be anybody's game. What they have sweated so far has no meaning. One person wins. The tennis etiquette is, both the players have to come to the net and shake hands. The winner boxes the air and kisses the ground, throws his shirt as though somebody is waiting for it.(Laughter) And this guy has to come to the net. When he comes to the net, you see, his whole face changes. It looks as though he's wishing that he didn't win. Why? Empathy.
    That's human heart. No human heart is denied of that empathy. No religion can demolish that by indoctrination. No culture, no nation and nationalism -- nothing can touch it because it is empathy. And that capacity to empathize is the window through which you reach out to people, you do something that makes a difference in somebody's life -- even words, even time.
    Compassion is not defined in one form. There's no Indian compassion. There's no American compassion. It transcends nation, the gender, the age. Why? Because it is there in everybody. It's experienced by people occasionally.
    Then this occasional compassion, we are not talking about -- it will never remain occasional.By mandate, you cannot make a person compassionate. You can't say, "Please love me."Love is something you discover. It's not an action, but in the English language, it is also an action. I will come to it later.
    So one has got to discover a certain wholeness. I am going to cite the possibility of being whole, which is within our experience, everybody's experience. In spite of a very tragic life,one is happy in moments which are very few and far between. And the one who is happy,even for a slapstick joke, accepts himself and also the scheme of things in which one finds oneself.
    That means the whole universe, known things and unknown things. All of them are totally accepted because you discover your wholeness in yourself. The subject -- "me" -- and the object -- the scheme of things -- fuse into oneness, an experience nobody can say, "I am denied of," an experience common to all and sundry.
    That experience confirms that, in spite of all your limitations -- all your wants, desires, unfulfilled, and the credit cards and layoffs and, finally, baldness -- you can be happy. But the extension of the logic is that you don't need to fulfill your desire to be happy. You are the very happiness, the wholeness that you want to be.
    There's no choice in this: that only confirms the reality that the wholeness cannot be different from you, cannot be minus you. It has got to be you. You cannot be a part of wholeness and still be whole. Your moment of happiness reveals that reality, that realization, that recognition: "Maybe I am the whole. Maybe the swami is right.
    Maybe the swami is right." You start your new life. Then everything becomes meaningful. I have no more reason to blame myself. If one has to blame oneself, one has a million reasons plus many. But if I say, in spite of my body being limited -- if it is black it is not white, if it is white it is not black: body is limited any which way you look at it. Limited.
    Your knowledge is limited, health is limited, and power is therefore limited, and the cheerfulness is going to be limited. Compassion is going to be limited. Everything is going to be limitless. You cannot command compassion unless you become limitless, and nobody can become limitless, either you are or you are not. Period. And there is no way of your being not limitless too.
    Your own experience reveals, in spite of all limitations, you are the whole. And the wholeness is the reality of you when you relate to the world. It is love first. When you relate to the world, the dynamic manifestation of the wholeness is, what we say, love. And itself becomes compassion if the object that you relate to evokes that emotion. Then that again transforms into giving, into sharing. You express yourself because you have compassion.
    To discover compassion, you need to be compassionate. To discover the capacity to give and share, you need to be giving and sharing. There is no shortcut: it is like swimming by swimming. You learn swimming by swimming. You cannot learn swimming on a foam mattress and enter into water. (Laughter) You learn swimming by swimming. You learn cycling by cycling. You learn cooking by cooking, having some sympathetic people around you to eat what you cook. (Laughter)
    And, therefore, what I say, you have to fake it and make it. (Laughter) You need to. My predecessor meant that. You have to act it out. You have to act compassionately.
    There is no verb for compassion, but you have an adverb for compassion. That's interesting to me. You act compassionately. But then, how to act compassionately if you don't have compassion? That is where you fake. You fake it and make it. This is the mantra of the United States of America. (Laughter)
    You fake it and make it. You act compassionately as though you have compassion: grind your teeth, take all the support system. If you know how to pray, pray. Ask for compassion.Let me act compassionately. Do it. You'll discover compassion and also slowly a relative compassion, and slowly, perhaps if you get the right teaching, you'll discover compassion is a dynamic manifestation of the reality of yourself, which is oneness, wholeness, and that's what you are.
    With these words, thank you very much. (Applause)

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