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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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    The Best Talent Is Bringing Out Talent in Others

    "A superior leader is a person who can bring ordinary people together to achieve extraordinary results." Many years ago, an entrepreneur told me that. He was right.
    But this isn't just true of leaders. It's true of all human beings.
    I've come to believe that the most valuable talent is being able to recognize hidden skills that others possess. Why? There's only one you, and you only have so much time. But if you can bring out the best in others, you gain remarkable leverage.
    So very hard...
    I'm not just talking about recognizing talent. I'm talking about being able to recognize a look in someone's eyes that tells you something valuable is burning inside that person.
    I'm talking about realizing that if you take Jake's drive, mix it with Julie's intelligence and Dave's creativity, then you will transform three mildly effective people into a spectacular team.
    I'm talking about looking past what's "wrong" with others, and instead seeing what's special about them in very pragmatic and actionable terms.
    How do you do this?
    Here's a short list of ways you can bring out the best in others:
    1.) Really pay attention. Instead of rushing past a person, or barely acknowledging their existence, you could choose to stop and really look into their eyes. Look at their body language. Consider what they are NOT saying and NOT doing. Ask yourself why.
    Consider two possibilities. One is that they have more value to add, but are unwilling (yet) to show greater initiative. Another is that they lack the confidence to utilize their "hidden" talents in a public fashion. Then look for ways to offer motivation and support.
    2.) Magnify the quietest voices. Money, power, and influence often flow towards the loudest voices in an organization - but sometimes the quietest voices possess the best answers. Can you think of a way to magnify the quiet voices?
    For example, I once visited an organization and was greeted by dozens of outgoing, warm people. But one young woman sat quietly in a corner, studying a book. It turned out she had recently moved from China, and did not yet have a strong mastery of English. But she was a genius, had performed at Carnegie Hall as a teenager, and had both a broader and deeper perspective than virtually everyone in the room.
    Think about ways you can identify and encourage these quiet gems.
    3.) Mix things up. Watch for opportunities to create non-intuitive combinations of people, ideas and circumstances. You can do this through social events, discussion groups, or even a carefully orchestrated meeting. You can do this by introducing people via email, and giving them a reason to interact.
    Many times, we make the mistake of waiting for others to initiate change. You might be thinking: this isn't my job, I'm not head of the department/division/company. Anyone can do this, and no matter who does it, that person is cultivating the amazing skill of bringing out the best in others.
    4.) Look past your own biases. Most of us are drawn to certain types of people. They might be like us, or they might simply be people who like us.
    If all you do is to follow your natural instincts, then you will be blind to most of the talent on Earth. You need to cultivate an appreciation for people who think, act, and feel differently than you. This is a tremendously difficult challenge.
    One way to start is to make others feel important by listening, really hard - with 100% of your attention - to what they have to say. Then repeat back what they told you, so that they know you understood. It's a small step, but an important one in the right direction.
    If you only interact with people who are within your comfort zone, you will seldom achieve anything great. Almost by definition, spectacular progress requires disparate ideas and talents to come together in unprecedented ways.
    Become one who cultivates talent in others. It will enrich your life and supercharge your career.


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    Indian varsities lag behind in research


    China and Taiwan have taken the top spots in the Times Higher Education Ranking 2014 for universities in BRICS and emerging economies. India has ten of its universities on the list, with Punjab University ranking the highest at 13. PHIL BATY, editor, Times Higher Education Rankings, shares his views on the rankings.
    Why was Peking University, China, selected number 1? Did it meet the overall 13 indicators? In which particular indicator does it stand out?

    To be really high in these rankings you have to show strong performance across all areas. But Peking University in particular has got the maximum score for industry income. It has been successful in attracting money from industry and businesses for carrying out research and development. The single best indicator in the rankings is the research impact, and here Peking performs pretty well — one of the strongest performances of any university.
    It also has a strong global reputation for providing high-quality teaching, with positive best faculty-student ratio.


    Which of these economies has an overall good infrastructure for education?
    The outstanding performer by a long, long way is China. It prioritised developing world class universities in the 1990s. It has had a very specific focussed government drive to improve the quality of its research universities, with a strong investment in building its research infrastructure.
    It has had generous scholarship schemes to attract Chinese nationals back into China, and those who left China for their Master’s courses and doctorates have been lured back with generous salaries and good packages.
    Though I think it’s also a political drive. China has earmarked a smaller number of elite universities for special attention to make them globally competitive, and that has made a big difference. This is where it perhaps differs from India as both countries have had huge expansion of student numbers, so they have to build capacity just to meet the massively growing demand. But while doing that, China also gives special support to universities to keep them world class.


    What was the basis of selecting Panjab University as the top Indian university?
    Panjab University has a very strong school for research. It has contributed research papers which have pushed forward the boundaries of knowledge in the field. It is doing research which is influential globally.
    Its highest score is the citation impact, which is our research influence indicator. It is outstanding in research, which gives it an edge over some of the IITs.


    Why have the IITs not made it to the top 10?
    IITs are renowned for high-quality education; they take the finest students. But, it’s partly the methodology of the ranking — what we are looking at is world class, research-led universities. We give more weightage to research output. The research infrastructure in India is not quite as strong, and they have not received much investment in comparison to places like China, for example. While they produce excellent graduates, they fall down a bit on the research indicator.
    Indian institutions, in general, have more restrictions on attracting foreign talent, exchanges and international recruitment. Universities need to be attractive to international faculty, master’s and doctorate students.
    But things are changing, so I’m sure we’ll see India improve in these rankings. They are already well ahead of Russia and Brazil for example, in terms of large emerging economies (in the rankings). So that’s very encouraging news.


    Delhi University which is known to be among the best universities in the country has been left out. Your comments...
    One of the challenges we have with India is that there has been a hesitation to participate in the rankings. In order to create the ranking list, we need universities to actively engage in the assessment process.
    Some universities haven’t been forthcoming in sharing data. DU was not on the list of participants. So, this is not the complete picture.
    We are working with the Ministry of Human Resources and Development and the Planning Commission to encourage Indian universities to embrace these ranking, so that they properly benchmark their performance against the world’s best universities.


    What are the shortcomings of the universities (Indonesia, for example) that did not make it to the list?
    In Indonesia, the universities are developing; there is a young population and a burgeoning economy. So, it’s a real power to watch. If they successfully convert some of their economic growth into investing in higher education, it would be an exciting future for Indonesia. But as of now, they don’t have the research infrastructure and research output. They haven’t focussed on being globally competitive or internationalising their research activities.
    There’s enthusiasm in Indonesia in making sure that universities are part of the economic development of the country. In future, we will have exciting countries (in the list).
    But, it’s partly the dominance of countries like China and Taiwan, which has pushed out other countries that do not make it to the list.
    In one respect, half of the places in the ranking list have been taken up by China and Taiwan. This shows how far they've come in the development of prioritisation of higher education as a major driver of their economies.


    How do you find the quality of best universities in the emerging economies vis-à-vis the best universities in the US and Western Europe? Where are they lacking and what key areas can be improved upon?
    The positive thing about this ranking is that universities from the emerging economies are already making progress against the universities in the rich economies. Peking University and Tsinghua University, China, for example, are in the top 50 in the world rankings. The University of Cape Town, South Africa and National Taiwan University, Taiwan, are already in the top 200. So, the top of this list is already starting to compete on level terms with the US and Western Europe.
    But the harsh reality is that money is so important. Places like Harvard, MIT, Oxford, and Cambridge — that head this list — are able win huge competitive research grants from their national systems. It does really come down to money as you need money to build infrastructure, to pay salaries to attract the staff, to build an environment to draw top students.
    But, what we are seeing is that the growing economies have, at different levels, recognised the importance of investing in universities. In India, there's a commitment by the government to increase the proportion of GDP on research — this could be significant as the Indian economy grows.


    Only two universities from Russia make it to the top 100 in the rankings…
    We try to accommodate a wide range of institutions in the list. We do include IIT and LSE, which are very focussed. The methodology we follow is to ensure that different types of institutions can be compared fairly together. But, when the universities are too small and too specialist, it is not statistically valid to compare them. It’s hard to compare a small specialist Physics institute, for example, with Oxford or Harvard which are very large comprehensive institutions.
    Russia has two institutes (Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and the Moscow State Engineering Physics) both of which have done well in physical sciences in world rankings, but they are too specialist to be included in the overall analysis.


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    The Times Higher Education BRICS & Emerging Economies Rankings 2014 

    The Times Higher Education BRICS & Emerging Economies Rankings 2014 powered by Thomson Reuters includes only institutions in countries classified as “emerging economies” by FTSE, including the “BRICS” nations of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The top universities ranking uses the same methodology as the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, covering all core missions of a world-class university - teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook – using 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators.




    BRICS & Emerging Economies Rankings 2014

    Rank Institution Location Overall score
    1 Peking University China
    65.0
    2 Tsinghua University China
    63.5
    3 University of Cape Town South Africa
    50.5
    4 National Taiwan University Taiwan
    49.2
    5 Boğaziçi University Turkey
    44.3
    6 University of Science and Technology of China China
    44.0
    7 Istanbul Technical University Turkey
    42.7
    8 Fudan University China
    42.3
    9 Middle East Technical University Turkey
    41.5
    10 Lomonosov Moscow State University Russian Federation
    41.4
    11 University of São Paulo Brazil
    41.1
    12 Bilkent University Turkey
    40.3
    13 Panjab University India
    40.2
    13 Renmin University of China China
    40.2
    15 University of Witwatersrand South Africa
    39.8
    16 National Chiao Tung University Taiwan
    39.6
    17 University of the Andes Colombia
    39.2
    18 Nanjing University China
    38.9
    19 National Tsing Hua University Taiwan
    38.6
    20 Koç University Turkey
    37.1
    21 Stellenbosch University South Africa
    36.2
    22 Zhejiang University China
    35.3
    23 University of Warsaw Poland
    35.1
    24 State University of Campinas Brazil
    34.7
    25 National Cheng Kung University Taiwan
    34.3
    26 National Sun Yat-Sen University Taiwan
    33.7
    27 Shanghai Jiao Tong University China
    33.6
    28 Wuhan University of Technology China
    33.1
    29 King Mongkut's University of Technology, Thonburi Thailand
    33.0
    30 Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur India
    32.8
    31 Charles University in Prague Czech Republic
    32.5
    31 National Taiwan University of Science and Technology Taiwan
    32.5
    33 National Central University Taiwan
    32.0
    34 Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur India
    31.9
    35 Sun Yat-sen University China
    31.7
    36 China Medical University Taiwan Taiwan
    31.0
    37 Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi India
    30.1
    37 Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee India
    30.1
    39 Tianjin University China
    29.9
    40 Wuhan University China
    29.4
    41 Jagiellonian University Poland
    28.6
    42 East China Normal University China
    28.5
    43 Harbin Institute of Technology China
    28.4
    44 National Taiwan Normal University Taiwan
    28.2
    45 University of KwaZulu-Natal South Africa
    28.0
    46 Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati India
    27.9
    47 Indian Institute of Technology Madras India
    27.6
    47 Jadavpur University India
    27.6
    49 Dalian University of Technology China
    27.5
    50 Aligarh Muslim University India
    27.2
    51 Hunan University China
    26.8
    52 Mahidol University Thailand
    26.7
    53 Masaryk University Czech Republic
    26.6
    53 Asia University Taiwan
    26.6
    55 Pontifical Catholic University of Chile Chile
    25.7
    55 Tongji University China
    25.7
    57 Jawaharlal Nehru University India
    25.3
    58 Yuan Ze University Taiwan
    25.2
    59 National Autonomous University of Mexico Mexico
    25.0
    60 National Yang-Ming University Taiwan
    24.8
    60 University of Debrecen Hungary
    24.8
    60 Semmelweis University Hungary
    24.8
    60 Federal University of Rio de Janeiro Brazil
    24.8
    64 Warsaw University of Technology Poland
    24.7
    65 Xi'an Jiaotong University China
    24.2
    66 Chung Yuan Christian University Taiwan
    24.0
    67 Saint Petersburg State University Russian Federation
    23.7
    68 Huazhong University of Science and Technology China
    23.6
    69 National Chung Hsing University Taiwan
    23.5
    70 China Agricultural University China
    23.3
    71 Taipei Medical University Taiwan
    23.0
    71 National Taiwan Ocean University Taiwan
    23.0
    73 Chang Gung University Taiwan
    22.9
    73 Istanbul University Turkey
    22.9
    75 National Taipei University of Technology Taiwan
    22.8
    76 United Arab Emirates University United Arab Emirates
    22.6
    77 Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Malaysia
    22.3
    78 University of Pretoria South Africa
    21.7
    79 American University of Sharjah United Arab Emirates
    21.4
    80 National Chung Cheng University Taiwan
    21.2
    80 Hacettepe University Turkey
    21.2
    82 Chiang Mai University Thailand
    21.0
    83 University of Marrakech Cadi Ayyad Morocco
    20.8
    84 University of Technology Brno Czech Republic
    20.4
    85 Chulalongkorn University Thailand
    20.3
    86 University of Chile Chile
    20.2
    87 UNESP - Universidade Estadual Paulista Brazil
    20.0
    88 Shanghai University China
    19.9
    89 Prince of Songkla University Thailand
    19.7
    90 Feng Chia University Taiwan
    19.6
    90 Sichuan University China
    19.6
    92 National Chengchi University Taiwan
    19.0
    93 Alexandria University Egypt
    18.6
    93 University of Szeged Hungary
    18.6
    95 Cairo University Egypt
    18.0
    95 Universiti Putra Malaysia Malaysia
    18.0
    97 Mansoura University Egypt
    17.8
    98 Northwestern Polytechnical University China
    17.5
    99 Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education Mexico
    17.4
    100 University of Łódź Poland
    17.3


    View at the original source

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  • 12/13/13--02:57: wikiHow Kudos 12-13
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    In the New Economy, You Are the Product


    PHOTO: In the New Economy, You Are the Product

    How much would you pay to secure your personal information from data farmers and marketers – and anyone that might be able to hack their servers? $100? $1,000? More?
    What if I told you that you gave it to them for $5 off your next $100 purchase? Because every time you gave your ZIP code to a store clerk last weekend for one of your Christmas gift purchases, that's what you did. But the real question is, in the grand scheme of things, even with great incentives, is the tradeoff worth it? It's a hard question to answer unless you know what's really going on.
    Consider the newest innovation in retailer data-mining from a startup called Index, which uses a three-tier system to track shoppers. First, it allows retailers to track repeat customers' shopping patterns via card swipes. Next comes The Ask: "Would you like to give us your ZIP code or phone number so we can tell you about upcoming promotions?" Take the bait, and you and your purchases are no longer anonymous. The ultimate grab is installed at the third tier, when you're asked to download a retailer's mobile app. Then they can push promotions to your phone as you walk by various items that their big data setup knows you might be tempted to buy.
    The first two parts are hardly unique to retailers using Index – after all, who doesn't have a pharmacy or grocery store loyalty card (or multiples of both)? For a dollar off here, a buy-one, get-one free deal there, we've already given up our contact information and enabled companies to track our purchases to offer us coupons or other incentives to buy. In other words, we eagerly turn over all stripe of personally identifiable information, with which data farmers can match everything from your medical records (prescription purchases) to your preferred shampoo (or hair dye) to your favorite cereal to your smoking cessation aid.
    But at least in those cases, we've knowingly given up our information. In other cases, companies started compiling on us without us even knowing. It wasn't that long ago people were unsettled by the New York Times exposé that Target was buying data from "other sources" to add to its own massive information collection program for purposes of mining the data. A recent report on Walmart's privacy practices by the Center for Media Justice, Color of Change, and Sum of Us revealed the many avenues people are tracked in a way that consumers cannot stop or opt out of. The report estimates that 60% of adult Americans are in Walmart's big data grab -- 145 million people.
    And if you think that valuable information remains in a proprietary database or is only used to print coupons, just take a look at the catalogues in your recycling bin that you don't remember ordering. Selling mailing lists is, and has long been, standard practice in the retail industry.
    The real reason many retailers want your information isn't necessarily to save you money or move inventory. Once they get good at predicting your buying behavior and graft what they know about you onto other publicly available information, they can wholesale your data to others. Bottom line is they don't just want to sell things to you, they want to sell you.
    They don't have to get this information by crawling through the cracks and crevasses of our lives -- retailers have found that the easiest way to get our personal information is simply to ask. (Others, of course, don't ask. They gather data however they can.)


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    Thinking outside the bottle


    Even the world’s biggest brands can struggle to succeed in India. Coca-Cola chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent urges global companies to accept the market as it is, not as they wish it to be.



    I moved to India with my family as a young boy. My father, a career diplomat, was dispatched to New Delhi to serve as the Republic of Turkey’s ambassador to India. We lived in New Delhi for two magical years. I don’t remember anything from those days about India’s politics or economics. What I do remember are the vibrant colors of clothing and flowers and shops that lined the streets, and the natural beauty of the Indian countryside, from the mountains to the north to the plains of the Ganges basin to the south. I remember the mysterious music, the aromas of spicy curries and chutneys that friends of my parents would prepare for us. And of course I remember the people: friendly, bright-eyed, ambitious, and sometimes very poor. Everywhere, crowds of people.

    India was unlike any of the other places my family had lived—Sweden, Iran, Poland, Thailand, and the United States. From the moment I arrived, India captured my imagination.
    Today, as a businessman, I see global companies drawn to India in much the same way I was as a boy. They are dazzled by the promise of adventure and extraordinary opportunity. They are intoxicated, even overwhelmed.
    But as I learned, even as a young a boy, in India, appearances can be deceiving. For outsiders, there is always a hint of mystery. Even if you live and work there, you can never be entirely sure you understand. It is best to assume that you do not. If you come to India with some grand, predetermined strategy or master plan, prepare to be distracted, deterred, and even demoralized.
    That’s something I keep in mind as I think of The Coca-Cola Company’s experiences in India. Coca-Cola launched operations in India in 1950 shortly after independence. Our business grew steadily. But in 1977, we exited (along with other multinational companies) after a new law diluted ownership of our assets and operations.
    We returned to rebuild our business in 1993 as economic reforms unleashed a period of robust growth. It was harder going than we’d imagined. We struggled at first to find and keep talented employees. We learned that although Indian consumers were eager to embrace global brands, they resented any hint of global corporate dominance. It took us time to understand that small stores, many operated by families out of the front of their homes, were an unappreciated source of economic opportunity.
    Today our India business is thriving. I am happy to report that India now ranks among our top ten markets in unit-case sales. Our growth in recent years has been particularly dynamic. I still see enormous potential in India—which is why last summer I went to New Delhi to announce that The Coca-Cola Company and its global bottling partners will invest $5 billion in our India operations between 2012 and 2020. By the end of that period, we think India could be one of our top five global markets.
    The key to this success has been learning to see the Indian market as it is, not as we wished it to be.
    Our first challenge was building the right team. For many years after our return to India, turnover among Coca-Cola workers was too high; as recently as a decade ago, our Indian attrition rates were 34 percent. That was a key weakness, not least because it prevented us from building relations with suppliers and consumers. So we focused on training and talent recruitment. We recruited a lot of young professionals with deep experience in India’s retailing culture and provided them additional training in customer-relationship management, sales, service, and conflict resolution. These changes helped lower attrition by two-thirds.
    At the same time, we worked hard to source more products from within India and deepen our ties to the Indian market. For example, we began growing mangoes and invested in citrus farms that supplied our business. Those efforts helped send an important message: all over India, people knew we were there not just to sell to them but to buy from them and invest in them as well.
    And we made it a point to understand our customers. India’s people still cherished long-held goals of self-sufficiency and sustainability—and those ideals were essential to our continued growth. Through careful study of how Indian consumers live—people all over the nation, not just those in cities—we learned that most are more likely to buy our products at a small family store than a big supermarket.
    At the same time, we saw how a rising generation of young Indians, most of them raised without landline telecommunications infrastructure, has embraced wireless technologies and, in many ways, is leading the global revolution in mobile commerce.
    Recognizing that small stores play a huge role in the lives of our customers has required us to do many things differently in India than we do in developed markets. We figured out, for example, that it wasn’t enough to provide small stores with Coke signs and teach them to display our products. Often, these stores had more basic concerns. Many couldn’t keep our drinks cold, because they weren’t connected to the electrical grid. More critically, small stores in India often are run by women, who have more difficulty than men in exercising economic rights like getting access to credit. We found we could help store owners address those and similar problems in ways that helped them, helped their communities, and also helped Coke.
    For instance, when our bottlers help supply nearby villages with access to running water, the women in those villages are spared the considerable time and trouble of walking to a well, drawing water, and bringing it home. When we help bring electric power to village stores, that helps us sell our products cold—but it also means electricity for the whole village, boosting literacy rates by making it easier for kids to study after dark. 
    When we help a woman secure property rights for her store, that makes it easier for us to sell Coke products and also enables her to build a business and employ other residents. We recently launched our “5by20” initiative, which seeks to bring additional business training, finance opportunities, and mentoring to five million women entrepreneurs across our global value chain by 2020. Indian women make up a significant focus of this program.
    One of my favorite examples of how we’re trying to come up with solutions tailored for the Indian market is eKOCool, a solar-powered mobile cooler we developed for use in the tens of thousands of rural Indian villages that lack electricity. The eKOCool looks a little like an ordinary pushcart, but it’s actually a sophisticated marriage of technology and local market savvy. Stores using our eKOCool solar coolers can stay open later and generate enough extra power to do double duty, recharging mobile phones or electric lanterns. We hope to distribute more than one thousand eKOCool carts to rural store owners in India by the end of 2013—and we have begun testing them in dozens of other countries.
    Back when my father was stationed in India, the country was only a few years removed from colonialism. Indians had had a long and painful experience with foreign businesses exploiting their market without contributing to the well-being of the local economy. What we now understand intimately—and what other companies who want to sell in India must recognize—is that our future is tied to the communities where we operate. A thriving and sustainable India creates thriving and sustainable business opportunities for us.
    For The Coca-Cola Company in India, the rewards from being in the market will materialize only if we see our investment in broad terms: not just capital investment in bottling plants and trucks but also human investment in schools and training, social investment in women entrepreneurs, and technological investment in innovations like solar carts that can power a cooler, a mobile phone, or a lantern by which a young boy or girl can study. That’s an expression of our commitment to India—and our commitment to succeed on India’s terms.
    About the author
    Muhtar Kent is chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. This essay is excerpted from Reimagining India: Unlocking the Potential of Asia’s Next Superpower. Copyright © 2013 by McKinsey & Company. Published by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


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    Unmasked: Area 51's Biggest, Stealthiest Spy Drone Yet




    The drone that spied on bin Laden and on Iran's nukes was just the start. Meet its bigger, higher-flying, stealthier cousin, the Northrop Grumman RQ-180. It's probably been flying for a few years now, but you weren't supposed to know that; the existence of this secret project, based out of Area 51, was revealed Friday 

    by Aviation Week.

    The existence of the RQ-180 has been long rumored. Cryptic public statements by U.S. Air Force officials indicated a secret high-altitude reconnaissance drone, and Northrop officials frequently reference the broad strokes of the program. For that matter, it is likely not the only classified unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV. Other companies, including Lockheed and Boeing, also have a stable of smaller secretaircraft.

    The RQ-180 is likely flying from the secret Air Force test facility at Groom Lake, Nevada, widely known as Area 51. Its exact specifications, including such crucial details as the number of engines, is unknown, but Aviation Week suggests a wingspan of over 130 feet, based on hangar construction at Northrop's Palmdale, California facility. The number of aircraft built is also unknown; however, a flight test program, relatively quick entry into service and open budget documents suggest a small fleet are flying routinely.

    One such aircraft is Lockheed's RQ-170, first shown to the world in grainy pictures from Kandahar air base, Afghanistan, but only officially acknowledged after one crashed almost-intact in Iran. The RQ-170 was (and maybe still is) tasked by the CIA to spy on Iran's contentious nuclear program. 

    The drone was reportedly used to spy on Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan before and during the raid that killed him. RQ-170 has also been reported in South Korea, possibly to look at North Korea's nuclear program. RQ-170 was impressive, but limited: it showed only some stealth characteristics, and was widely believed to be slightly outdated by the time it was discovered. The larger and stealthier RQ-180 would be able to fly higher, longer, allowing the CIA to watch the same targets for days at a time, and -- just maybe -- spy on more sophisticated countries.

    The RQ-180 is based off the X-47B, a much smaller experimental aircraft that became the first drone to takeoff and land from an aircraft carrier. Where the smaller X-47B lacks range and stealth, RQ-180 evidently delivers. Though RQ-180 is far too large for an aircraft carrier, it may have the same air-to-air refueling capabilities as the X-47B, allowing it to stay in the air virtually indefinitely. It may also have attack capabilities: X-47B has bomb bays, which have thus far gone unused, and indeed Aviation Week suggests it is used for electronic attack and carries sophisticated sensors.

    The aircraft's performance is said to be similar to Northrop's white-world entry, the RQ-4 Global Hawk, which can fly for days and cover thousands of miles. Hopefully the RQ-180 performs better; Global Hawk has received mixed marks on its evaluations, and the aircraft it was meant to replace, the venerable Lockheed U-2, will continue to fly for decades to come.

    White-world reconnaissance capabilities, such as the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper and a plethora of modified Beechcraft King Airs, are incapable of stealth and can easily be tracked on radar. Though few doubt stealthier capabilities, the Air Force has been closemouthed on its stealthy intelligence aircraft.

    The Nevada desert has a long history of supporting whole squadrons of classified aircraft, including the famed Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the F-117 stealth fighter and the RQ-170. Often upon becoming public the aircraft are transferred to other facilities, usually the slightly-less-classified Tonopah Test Range airport. The wheels of declassification turn slowly, so as with RQ-170, details of the RQ-180 will likely remain opaque for years to come.


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    Eating artificially ripened fruits is harmful
    Presently, the whole world is emphasizing on malnutrition, food safety and health security. Several programmes have also been launched in this regard. The year 2008–09 was declared as the ‘Food Safety and Quality Year’ by the Government of India. Most fruit sellers use Calcium carbide for ripening the fruits. Calcium carbide is extremely hazardous to the human body as it contains tracesof arsenic and phosphorus. It is banned in many countries of the world, but it is freely used in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and other countries. Thus we are at risk of short-term and long-term health effects simply by eating fruits that are induced to ripen. This article discusses the com-mon yet most important fact related to fruits – how nutrition changes over to malnutrition?

    Fruits, no other class of food has a variety of pleasant and attractive flavour. With their delicate colour-ing, fruits please the eye as well as the plate. Withmodern transport and cool chain management system, itis possible to have fresh fruits practically all the yearround, where it is produced and also in areas where it isnot possible to grow fruits. As a consequence, consump-tion of fruits has increased considerably in our country.Studies have indicated that people do not consumeenough vitamin C not because of increased cost orunavailability, but because they are often unaware of thenutritious value and sources.There is growing interest and concern among peopleregarding foods and their relationship to nutrition anddiseases
    Food security used to be the primary concernof countries and individuals alike. But, as agriculturalresearch succeeds in alleviating the effect of diseases andadverse climate, food security is generally not perceivedas a problem any longer; instead concern over quantity hasbeen replaced by preoccupation with quality

    Simultane-ously, people are more conscious about issues such asecology, energy conservation and management practicesfor food production, including pretreatment, which facili-tates or increases the attractiveness and ultimately presen-tation.

    Fruits are the best natural food for all. Nowadays fruitsare deliberately being contaminated by chemicals causingserious health hazards. Toxic chemicals are indiscrimi-nately used to grow, ripen and make fruits appear fresheror even last longer, particularly during early and off-season

    Among the pretreatments, which are mostly fol-lowed for fruits intended for better consumer acceptanceand facilitating better marketing, is artificial fruit ripen-ing. Artificial ripening is done to achieve faster and moreuniform ripening characteristics

    Ripening, in general, is a physiological process whichmakes the fruit edible, palatable and nutritious

    In naturefruits ripen after attainment of proper maturity by asequence of physical and biochemical events and theprocess is irreversible, ultimately leading to senescence.Whether fruits ripen on the plant or after harvest, thegeneral ripening changes associated with the ripeningprocess are easily recognizable. During ripening fruitssoften, change colour and develop characteristic aromaand flavour. There is also a reduction in sourness (acids)and increase in the sweetness, etc.

    Underlying thesechanges, there may be changes in hormone levels, respi-ration and cellular organization.
    Factors influencing theprocess of ripening include stage of fruit maturity andthe environment where it has to be allowed to ripen,including temperature and relative humidity

    Artificial ripening
    Unsaturated hydrocarbons, particularly acetylene, ethyl-ene, etc. can promote ripening and induce colour changeseffectively

    Although the cosmetic quality of suchartificially ripened fruits was found to improve, theorganoleptic quality was impaired especially when har-vested fruits were subjected to treatment without consid-ering their maturity status

    Besides, the quantity of ripening agent required to induce ripening for better cos-metic quality, including appearance, etc. will be muchmore than the conventional dose, when properly maturefruits are not used for such purposes. The internal ethy-lene concentrations, measured in several climacteric andnon-climacteric fruits are presented in Table 1.The following are the sources of ethylene or acetyleneproduction

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    Humor Theories and the Physiological Benefits of Laughter

    Humor Theories and the Physiological Benefits of Laughter is one that we encounter surprisingly often. There are many television shows based on this very form of humor— Candid Camera and the multitude of spin-offs, for example, base their comedy on people caught in foolish and embarrassing situations. Gutwirth provides a classic example of this type of humor in Chaplin’s film Limelight 


    The imperturbable Keaton, who has the sole comic role in the film, goes on playing as the music sheets become scrambled, as the piano disintegrates. The comedy in this pointedly ignored disaster scene lies in his imperiousness. It makes calamity a joy for the onlooker 

    We can laugh to our heart’s content.

    To further explain the source of humor in this Chaplin film, Dixon states that it is based on “the exaggerated perspective and reduction of elements to their iconic or cartoon level.” In other words, the actor’s exaggerated foolishness is a source of humor,and according to the superiority theory, it is funny to viewers precisely because they are not part of the calamity; all those on the other side of the humorous event become connected over their shared experience as fellow onlookers.

    Research supports these bonding functions of laughter. Smoski and Bachorowski conducted a study of 204 pairs of friends and strangers while they played games and watched movies together. It was found that members of the friend pairs exhibited morelaughs than members of the stranger pairs while engaged in these activities, and the degree at which antiphonal laughter was produced varied significantly depending on the pairings. 

    The researchers concluded that positive experiences in social settings were more related to people’s experiences of antiphonal laughter than to the funniness of events.Laughter is a method of communication that promotes affiliative and cooperative behavior, and antiphonal laughter—laughter that co-occurs or immediately follows that of a social partner— specifically, has the potential to reinforce mutually pleasurable experiences, as well as conveying emotional information about oneself, laughter elicits similar emotions in others and therefore serves abounding function.

    Provine noted from observations of 1200 episodes of laughter expressed by people interacting in public places that most laughter occurred during routine comments rather than in response to joke-telling, which provides further evidence of the bonding functions of laughter.If laughter serves a social bonding function, it should be no surprise that it also serves to increase people’s likability. Reysen found that viewers rated individuals who were laughing in photographs and video clips as higher on likability than individuals who were not laughing, and it did not matter if the laughter was genuine or fake.

    In addition, individuals who displayed genuine laughter in the videos and photographs were rated significantly higher on likability than were those with neutral expressions.Overall, findings from these studies indicate that laughter plays an important role in social interactions,both in terms of unifying members of a group, as the superiority theory suggests, as well as in influencing people’s perceptions of others as likable. If the physiological benefits of this situation are not immediately obvious, consider the role of social support in maintaining people’s sense of well being.

    Low social support has been associated with high levels of stress and depression and negative mood hostility is a risk factor for the development of coronary heart disease (CHD) and poor survival of those with coronary artery disease (CAD).
    People with negative mood hostility are likely to have low levels of social support and people who are liked by others are likely to have high levels of social support.

    Loneliness has been related to unhappiness and a range of mental and physical problem.

    Conversely, people who are liked tend to be happy–an emotional state that has been associated with numerous positive outcomes,including immunity and physical well-being.

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    Background music and memory






    Effects of Background Music on Word Recall Nicolas Sulicki Fordham University


    The Mozart effect, the idea that listening to classical music can improve cognitive performance, was a popular idea that has been disproven by studies such as Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky (1993). Although the Mozart effect has been disprove, there are studies that have found that a background music stimulus produces a significant improves performance on different tests. Hallam, Prince, and Katsarou (2002) found that background auditory stimuli produced a significant increase in performance on mathematical tests. 

    This study had 13 participants who were assigned to either a background music condition or a background silence condition. This study found that background music did not produce a significant increase in performance compared to the background silence group. Although the results were not significant, the data suggests that music can slightly help participants’ memory.

     Effects of Background Music on Word Recall 

    Music has been shown to have an effect on memory and learning, but certain factors do influence the outcome of the results. One area of interest is the Mozart effect, which is the idea that listening to classical music can increase overall cognitive performance. Studies, like Chabris (1999), have disproven the Mozart effect. Many other studies have shown that, although the Mozart effect has been disproven, background music can enhance a persons’ performance on certain cognitive tests. Some studies, like Olsen (1995, 1997) showed that an auditory stimulus can negatively affect memory performance, but studies, like Stainback, Stainback, and Hallahan (1973), have found that classical pieces of music can improve memory.

    Olsen (1995) examined the effects of music on memory in the context of advertisements. Participants in Olsen’s study were presented with one of two advertisements, one which had rock music playing in the background while an announcer provided information about a product and one which had the announcer give information on a product while there was silence in the background.

    The advertisements were not presented in the context of a program as to not create variability in attention. Participants were not aware that they would be asked to recall information from the advertisement and to answer additional questions about the advertisements. Olsen asked participants to rate ads on how enjoyable they were. To analyze his data, Olsen used hierarchical log linear analysis and used binary coding for the dependent and independent variable. The dependent variable was whether or not the information from the advertisement was recalled and the independent variables were the attribute, serial position, and silence treatment. The results of Olsen’s study support his hypothesis, which is that there is “greater recall of information when silence is present throughout the background than when music is presented throughout”. 

    His finding of “that silence in the background throughout an advertisement results in greater overall retention than music in the background throughout the advertisement, is only marginally supported” (41). Although other studies have found greater significance in recall with a silent background, Olsen speculates that one reason for less significant data could be a result of the 10 seconds gaps of silence between advertisements.  This research shows that background noise, specifically music, does not have any benefits in memory. 

    What Olsen did not look at was the effects of music that is not seen as distracting.


    In another study Olsen (1997) examined interstimulus intervals in advertisements, which is “the amount of time between two items of information, where an item may be one or more words used to describe a particular product feature” (295). He did three experiments that tested the effects of inter stimulus intervals under different conditions.

    In Experiment 1, Olsen examined the effect of interstimulus interval length and the presence of background music in a goal-directed learning task. Undergraduate students in an introductory marketing class participated in the study and we asked to listen to an advertisement for a cell phone. Similar to Olsen’s (1995) previous study, participants were asked to rate the level of enjoyment of the advertisement with no knowledge of them being asked to recall information about the ads. The only difference was that participants listened to  advertisements with the experimental always being the third. After listening to and rating all the ads, participants were asked to recall all the information they could on the experimental advertisement. 

    The results of Experiment 1 support the hypothesis that as interstimulus intervals increase recall would increase. When looking at whether there was background music or background silence, both groups showed no significant effects. Experiment 2 followed the same procedure but incorporated a larger sample size. The results of Experiment 2 suggest that there is no significant effect for background noise. In Experiment 3 the procedure changed so that background music and background silence were examined. 

    The same advertisements were used but a reduced design was employed to examine the background conditions and two inter stimulus intervals. The results of Experiment  found that recall of information in the experimental ad dropped when there was an increase in the inter stimulus interval in the background silence condition. There was no significant difference in information recall for the background music condition when the interstimulus interval increased from 2 seconds to 3 seconds. This study found, overall, that there is little effect that background condition has on recall of information.

    Olsen focused his research on advertisements but other studies have looked at the effects of background conditions in educational settings. Hallam, Price, and Katsarou (2002), looked at how background conditions, whether there was music or silence, affected grade school children’s performance on arithmetic tasks and on memory tasks. 

    The researchers examined the effect of music that stimulates arousal learning among students between the ages of 10 to 12 years old. Music was chosen by presenting pieces from Walt Disney movies and having students rate whether the music was calm/exciting, happy/sad, and like/dislike. Whichever song was found to be calming was used. The first study compared students’ performance on arithmetic tasks for when music was present and when it was silent. 

    The researchers found that the students who were presented background music performed better (M= 34.9) than the group without background music (M= 27.3). They found that listening to music resulted in a significant increase in the number of completed problems compared to those who completed the problems in silence. The mean of the number of completed questions that were correct was greater for those with background music than those with background silence but there was no significant difference. In Experiment 2 students were randomly assigned to one of three conditions, a control group, a group that listened to quiet, calming music, and a group that listened to exciting, aggressive music. In this study participants were given ten sentences to study in which they were asked to recall a target adjective word. The participants had ten seconds to read a sentence and after all the sentences were read the participants were given a booklet and instructed that for each sentence they had ten seconds to fill in the missing word. The researchers found that there were no significant differences between males and females and there were no significant interaction effects between gender and music condition. 

    There was a significant difference between the three conditions. Calming relaxing music increased the number of mathematical problems that were completed, increased the number of words remembered from sentences, and showed pro-social behavior in children aged 10-12 years than children who listened to exciting, aggressive music (2002). Participants listening to exciting, aggressive music were found to be more distracted and unable to complete the sentences in the sentence completion task. This study shows that calm music can produce beneficial results in memory and learning tasks.

    Furnham and Strbac (2002) examined performance on three separate tasks and how distracting the noise was rated among extroverts and introverts. Participants took the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire which identified them as either an extrovert or an introvert. The researchers used city noise instead of music in this study. Participants would have to complete a reading comprehension task, a memory for prose task, and a mental arithmetic task. In reading comprehension participants were told to read seven passages and determine whether a statement is true, false, or cannot be determined from the passage. 

    In memory for prose participants were given a passage to read and then asked to recall as much information as they could from the passage. In the mental arithmetic task participants were asked to do math problems that were either just addition or both addition and subtraction. At the completion of all three tasks participants were asked to rate how motivated they were, how distracting the noise was, and if they usually work with music or noise. 

    The researchers found that performance in all three tasks declined for all participants in the presence of noise compared to silence. Extroverts’ performance was higher than introverts’ performance for when noise was present. There was a positive correlation between extroversion scores and how likely a person would study with music. There was also a negative correlation between an individual’s extroversion score and how distracting they would rate the noise in the experiment. This experiment shows that noise can have different effects for different people. 
    Furnham and Bradley (1997) did a study examining distracting effects of `pop music' on introverts' and extroverts' performance on various cognitive tasks. The researcher hypothesized that “that introverts and extroverts will perform equally well on tasks that are completed in silence; however in the presence of distracting music the introverts will not perform as well as the extroverts” 

    They administered the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire to identify who is an introvert and who is an extrovert. Participants were given a reading comprehension test that was found in a GMAT and a memory task from the British Ability Scales. For the memory task, participants were shown a sheet with pictures of 20 images and would be asked to free recall the items. After completing both tasks, participants were asked to rate how distracting they found the music and how often they work with the radio on. 

    The results show that there was no significant difference on performance between introverts and extroverts but there was a significant increase of recall for extroverts when the music was on compared to extrovert’s performance when the music was of and introverts when the music was off and on. In all other tasks there was no significant effect. Extroverts said they were less distracted more likely to work with the radio on than introverts. Extroverts also listened to the radio more than introverts did. This study shows that personality can determine whether a person finds a certain type of music to be more distracting than another.

     This study was related back to students study habits, saying that depending on a student’s personality they will develop certain study habits and study in certain places.

     Other studies looked at the nature of the music rather than the personality type of the participant. Stainback, Stainback, and Hallahan (1973) investigated “the effects of calming background music on task relevant and task irrelevant learning of educable mentally retarded students” (109). The participants were students between the ages of 10 to 14.5 years old and had and IQ range of 50 to 87. The participants were randomly put into one of four groups: music with distracter, with distracter only, music without a distracter, and no music and no distracter. The participants in the relevant task were presented with index cards that had six household object-animal pairs. The participants in the irrelevant task were presented with white cards each displaying a picture of one of the household objects and a white card with each of the six animal pictures displayed on the bottom half. The group with no distraction and no music were administered the task with no auditory stimulation. The distraction only group was administered the task with a tape of typical hall noises playing in the background. The music only group was administered the tasks with a tape recording of Bach's "Air for the G String" playing in the background. The music and distracter group was administered the tasks with a tape recording of Bach's "Air for the G String" and a tape recording of typical hall noises playing in the background. There was a significant difference between the non music group and the music group in the relevant task but no significant difference in the irrelevant task.

    The researchers conclude that music can aid in students attending to relevant stimuli. Music enabled institutionalized educable retarded children to process more information since relevant learning was increased without reducing irrelevant learning.


    Roth and Smith (2008) tested the arousal hypothesis using Mozart’s compositions as a response to prior studies that disputed the Mozart Effect. The belief was that if a person listens to a classical piece of music there would be a temporary increase spatial-temporal reasoning in the person. The increase in spatial-temporal reasoning was attributed to moderate arousal that improved cognitive performance (2008). For their experiment, Roth and Smith divided participants into five conditions, full musical expert, rhythm, melody, non musical auditory stimulus, or silence.

    The musical stimuli conditions were derived from Mozart’s “Piano Sonata No. 3 in B Flat,” which they chose from a previous study (Lintz & Gadbois, 2003). Participants were exposed to their background condition for a total of 5 minutes and 43 seconds. After being exposed to their condition participants were given a practice GRE, with only 30 minutes to complete 25 questions. 

    Roth and Smith found that the participants with a background auditory stimulus performed better on the test than participants in the background silence condition. There was no statistically significant difference between the different auditory stimuli, but this study supports that a background auditory stimuli improves performance.


    Most research has focused on participants’ performance on different tests but there is little research done on the direct link between background music and word recall. The hypothesis of this study is that participants in the background music condition will recall more words than participants in the background silence condition. 

    This study will examine participants’ ability to recall lists of words while being exposed to background music or background silence. Participants assigned to the background music condition will listen to a classical piece of music and study a list of 15 random words. Participants in the background silence condition will study a list of 60 random words that are selected from the Toronto word pool (Friendly, Franklin, Hoffman, & Rubin, 1982). Participants in both groups will be asked to recall as many words as they can in any order. 

    The independent variable in this study is background condition, either background music condition or background silence condition. The dependent variable in this study is number of words recalled. The researcher’s hypothesis is that participants in the background music group will recall more words because the music with stimulate arousal which will optimize learning.


    Method

    Participants

                Thirteen participants were all enrolled at Fordham University and registered in Memory Lab, participated in the present study (N= 13). Of the thirteen participants, 2 were male (15.4%) and 11 were female (84.6%). The average age of the participants was 21.8 years old. The ages of the participants ranged from 20 years old to 25 years old. Of the thirteen participants six were white (N= 6), three were Hispanic (N= 3), three were Asian (N=3), and one identified themselves as other (N=1). In this study six participants were given music to listen to while studying the list of words and seven participants studied the words in silence. Five participants said they do not listen to music when they normally study (38.5%). Eight of the participants said they to music while they study.

    Materials

                A recording of Mozart’s “Piano Sonata No. 3 in B Flat” was used as the auditory stimulus for the background music condition. Roth and Smith (2008) found “Piano Sonata No. 3 in B Flat” to cause arousal and stimulate the mind. A PowerPoint slide show was made to present the list of word. Each slide contained one word, which were centered, and presented for 5 seconds. Sixty words were selected from the list that Friendly, Franklin, Hoffman and Rubin (1982) used in their study on recency effects in free recall. 

    Procedure

                Participants were randomly divided into either the background music condition or background silence condition. Participants in the background music condition were told that a recording of a classical music piece will be played and they were to study the list of 60 words that was presented to them in the PowerPoint. Participants in the background silence condition were presented the same PowerPoint and told to memorize the words. Both groups were given 5 minutes to learn the list. After the five minutes passed those in the background music condition were instructed to stop the music and all participants were instructed to hand in their list of words. An answer sheet was passed out and participants were asked to recall as many of the 60 words as they could in any order.

                When the answer sheets were collected the data was analyzed. Each participant was given a score of number of correct out of 60. A t-test for independent means was conducted to see if there was a significant difference in recall between the background music condition and the background silence condition.

    Results

                The hypothesis for this study was that participants in the background music condition will recall more words than participants in the background silence condition. It was also hypothesized that there would be a positive correlation between participants’ study habits and the number of words they recall. A t-test for independent means was conducted to see if there was a significant difference between the number of words recalled for participants in the background music group and participants in the background silence group. The background music condition did not perform better (M= .28, SD= .08) than the background silence condition group (M=.25, SD= 14.9). There was no significant difference between the number of words recalled in participants who had background noise and participants who had background silence (t(11)= -.44, p> .05)..    

                There was no significant correlation between participants’ study habits and the percent of words recalled (r= .25, p= .2). Participants who study while listening to music did not recall significantly more words than participants who did not study while listening to music.

    Discussion

                The results of this study found that there was no significant difference in the number of words recalled between the background music condition and the background silence condition. The hypothesis of this study was that participants in the background music condition will recall more words than participants in the background silence.  The results of this experiment do not support either hypothesis. Participants who listened to Mozart’s “Piano Sonata No. 3 in B Flat” did recall more words than participants who had silence in the background, but it was not a significant difference.

                One data point in this study that stands out is that the highest recall was from a participant in the background silence condition. The participant was able to recall 30 out of 60 words where as the greatest recall for participants with background music was 23. The average number of words that participants recalled was 16 (SD= 6.75).  The participant who recalled 30 words did 1 SD better than participants who recalled the most words in the background music condition and more 2 SD than all the participants. The participant’s data was included in the analysis because of a small sample size but could be a reason as to why there was not a significant increase in score between participants in the background music noise and participants in the background silence condition.

                Unlike Hallam, Prince, and Katsarou (2002), this study did not find increased performance in memory tasks. A reason why there was a difference in results is the difference in methods used to select the background music. Hallam, Prince, and Katsarou presented various Disney musical pieces and asked participants to rate the music. For this experiment a classical piece was chosen based on previous research. Future research can incorporate a third condition with background music that is preferred by participants.  According to the demographic questionnaire only one participant listened to classical music, where the majority of participants said that they listened to rock and pop music. Future research can take into account what genre of music is popular and present a background music condition of that genre.

                Another limitation of this study is the small sample size. Roth and Smith (2008) had 72 participants in their study and found a significant increase in performance on the test in participants who were presented a background auditory stimulus. Hallam, Prince, and Katsarou (2002) had 31 participants in Experiment 1 and 30 participants in Experiment 2. In both experiments, Hallam, Prince, and Katsarou found a significant increase in performance of participants who had a background auditory stimulus. Increasing the number of participants and making both groups equal might help find statistically significant data.

                A small sample size is not the only limitation when collecting data. In this study there was only one trial. Future research should run multiple trials for each condition. Multiple trials can eliminate effects caused by outliers. Also multiple trials can allow for comparison of effects over the trials to see if extended exposure to music will continue to increase performance on memory tasks.

                Another limitation is that participants could have cheated since they were paired up during the entirety of the experiment. The list that participants had to recall were the same for everyone, the only difference was the background condition. Participants could have looked at the answer sheet of the person next to them to get words they might not have remembered. This should not significantly affect the results unless it is assumed that all participants cheated.   

                A final limitation of this study was that assigning the conditions was not completely random. Participants were asked before being assigned if they had headphones with them. Participants who said they had headphones were assigned to the background music condition. All but one participant in the background music condition responded yes when asked if they study while listening to music. This could have decreased the beneficial effects that music normally would have had. In fact 2 out of 3 of the highest scores came from participants who said they do not listen to music while studying.

                Even though this study did not find a significant increase in words recalled among participants in the background music condition compared to participants in background silence condition there are implications for learning. A person who gets grades that are on the borderline of passing and failing might benefit from studying with music in the background prior to the exam. They can see their score go up slightly. Even if the person’s grade is not on the borderline they can benefit from a slight boost from listening to music before an exam. If music is played in the background in a classroom, student might understand subjects like math and science as well as memorize certain material better.

                Another implication of this study is that the connection between background music and performance on tests is not a simple connection. Furnham and Strbac (2002) and Furnham and Bradley (1997) took into account personality types when studying background auditory stimuli and found that performance was improved. What the current study shows is that looking at the connection between music and performance is not adequate and that looking at the participants’ personalities, preferences, and experience with music can affect the way background music affects their performance. When debriefing participants about the experiment one participant admitted that they played piano in the past and during the experiment focused more on the notes being played than the words. Other students admitted that they found classical music, which was unfamiliar to them, distracting whereas music they were accustomed to listening to might have helped them during the learning phase. This study shows that personality and preference should be considered when setting up an experiment that studies the relationship between music and performance on memory tasks. 







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    Cultural Disharmony Undermines Workplace Creativity

    Managing cultural friction not only creates a more harmonious workplace, says professor Roy Y.J. Chua, but ensures that you reap the creative benefits of multiculturalism at its best.

    In today's global work environment, it's a given that companies need culturally diverse teams to succeed. Both scientific studies and common sense tell us that having people with different viewpoints onboard increases the creativity that teams will employ in solving problems. Of course, that's assuming all members of the team are pulling in the same direction.


    But what if they aren't? Can being exposed to intercultural conflicts and tensions have an impact even on observers who are not directly involved in these disharmonies?
    Harvard Business School Assistant Professor Roy Y. J. Chua started asking those questions a few years ago, when writing a case about a Chinese luxury apparel company. The firm had members from China, Hong Kong, Germany, and France, who were all working together to meld Chinese elements with Western fashion. As he observed them, however, Chua saw tension and miscommunication based on cultural differences. "Even though, when you asked them, they didn't think it was a problem, I wondered if it could have an indirect impact on people observing these tensions," he says.
    Chua compares it to the kind of "hostile work environment" that occurs in cases of sexual harassment or racial discrimination—in which coworkers' morale or performance suffers even when they are not the direct targets of abuse. He coined a term for the phenomenon, "ambient cultural disharmony," which he discusses in depth in The Costs of Ambient Cultural Disharmony: Indirect Intercultural Conflicts in Social Environment Undermine Creativity, a paper published this month in theAcademy of Management Journal.
    Multicultural teams may need managerial nurturing to overcome frictions. Photo: iStockPhoto
    "A lot of times when we study cultural conflict, it's about people directly involved in conflict," says Chua. "The key word here is 'ambient,' looking at the effect that cultural conflicts can have on an observer. That flows more through the perceptions we have about other cultures."
    The effect of indirect conflict happens all the time. Children who witness conflict between parents may develop negative ideas about marriage, just as citizens of the United States and China may develop bad feelings about each other from watching their leaders squabble. So why wouldn't the same thing happen in the workplace?

    TESTING FOR LIKE

    Chua tested the concept in a series of studies. In the first study, he asked a group of online participants to list the important people in their social networks, noting their cultural backgrounds and whether they liked each other. Then he asked them to do a word association exercise that compared their ability to connect disparate ideas across cultures—a precursor to creativity in a global context. For example, when given the words "Great,""Street," and "Berlin," they should correctly answer "Wall," connecting the Chinese "Great Wall," American "Wall Street," and German "Berlin Wall."
    After tallying the length of time it took for participants to come up with the right answers, he found those who had more people in their social network from different cultures who disliked each other did about 23 percent worse on the test. This makes sense, says Chua. "Just as a child observing parents not getting along may develop the notion that marriage is very difficult, those seeing conflict around them by involving people of different cultures may develop the idea that ideas from those cultures are incompatible and cannot be easily combined."
    For his second study, Chua asked participants to call to mind two friends or acquaintances from the same or a different cultural background who did or didn't get along with other people. Participants were then asked to read Chua's business case on the Chinese fashion house, and afterward told to come up with ideas for next year's collection that would blend Asian and Western styles.
    When expert fashion designers judged the creativity of the ideas, they determined that the least creative ones came from participants who had called to mind acquaintances from different cultural backgrounds with disharmonious relationships. [On average, those who recalled that cross-cultural disharmony generated ideas receiving creativity scores 23 percent lower than the average of the other conditions. In the other three conditions, creativity was about the same.]
    “AS HUMAN BEINGS, WE PAY MORE ATTENTION TO NEGATIVE INFORMATION BECAUSE IT IS A SIGNAL OF DANGER”
    Interestingly, while ambient cultural disharmony decreased creativity, ambient cultural harmony (that is, observers experiencing people from other cultures having a good relationship) did not promote creativity. That reflects human nature, Chua says. "As human beings, we pay more attention to negative information because it is a signal of danger. Positive information tends to be given less weight."
    In his final experiment, Chua took the concept of ambient cultural disharmony a step further by exposing participants to video clips of two people interacting in a business situation. In six scenarios, the people/individuals were from the same or a different culture and were engaged in positive (harmonious), neutral, or negative neutral interactions—six scenarios in all.
    After viewing the videos, participants were given details about two cultures—a Mongolian tribe called the Ewenki and a South American population called Jivaro—and were asked to come up with innovative business ideas that could help both groups/cultures. A team of experienced entrepreneurs judged the business ideas on creativity—for example, broadband Internet, while useful, scored low on the creativity scale, while a long-lasting fuel scored high since the Ewenki had trouble gathering fuel, and the Jivaro believed fire to be sacred and should never go out.
    Even after a brief exposure to situations involving people they didn't know, the participants who experienced cultural disharmony received creativity scores about 24 percent lower than those viewing the harmonious or neutral interactions. Surprisingly, Chua also found a slight drop in creativity among those who viewed the same-culture harmonious videos. He speculates that perhaps observing ingroup harmony inadvertently sends the signal that people are unwilling to step outside their comfort zone to engage with other cultures.
    "When you see a lot of people of the same type clicking together, you might come to the belief that they are not receptive of people different from them—it's almost like an old boys' club situation," says Chua, though he cautions that those findings were slight compared to the much stronger effect of ambient cultural disharmony.

    CULTURE CLASHES

    For those working in culturally diverse business environments, these experiments demonstrate the risk of bringing people from different cultural backgrounds together—and the importance of actively creating an environment that minimizes intercultural disharmony, says Chua.
    "It is inevitable to have conflict when you bring people from different cultural backgrounds together," he says. "It's about how you manage the conflict. A lot of times managers try to put together a multicultural workplace without trying to integrate people better."
    As Chua has shown in previous research, awareness of our own cultural biases and assumptions can go a long way toward improving creativity in multicultural situations. He speculates that managers could decrease the effects of ambient cultural disharmony by encouraging employees to identify their own assumptions of other cultures—for example, by keeping a cultural journal in which they record their thoughts and observations. In the workplace, managers can create cultural "awareness moments," as HBS Associate Professor Tsedal Neely suggests, by setting up site visits between employees working in different environments, or by encouraging them to work side by side to observe how cultural differences can influence work habits.
    Managing cultural friction in this way might not only help create a more harmonious workplace overall, but also ensure that you are reaping the creative benefits of multiculturalism at its best.

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    IBM reveals its top five innovation predictions for the next five years

    IBM reveals its top five innovation predictions for the next five years
    IBM
    IBM director of education transformation Chalapathy Neti.
    IBM revealed its predictions for five big innovations that will change our lives within five years.
    Bernie Meyerson, vice president of innovation at IBM.
    IBM
    Bernie Meyerson, the vice president of innovation at IBM.
    The IBM “5 in 5″ is the eighth year in a row that IBM has made predictions about technology, and this year’s prognostications are sure to get people talking. We discussed them with Bernie Meyerson, the vice president of innovation at IBM, and he told us that the goal of the predictions is to better marshal the company’s resources in order to make them come true.
    “We try to get a sense of where the world is going because that focuses where we put our efforts,” Meyerson said. “The harder part is nailing down what you want to focus on. Unless you stick your neck out and say this is where the world is going, it’s hard to you can turn around and say you will get there first. These are seminal shifts. We want to be there, enabling them.”
    In a nutshell, IBM says:
    • The classroom will learn you.
    • Buying local will beat online.
    • Doctors will use your DNA to keep you well.
    • A digital guardian will protect you online.
    • The city will help you live in it.
    Meyerson said that this year’s ideas are based on the fact that everything will learn. Machines will learn about us, reason, and engage in a much more natural and personalized way. IBM can already figure out your personality by deciphering 200 of your tweets, and its capability to read your wishes will only get better. The innovations are being enabled by cloud computing, big data analytics (the company recently formed its own customer-focused big data analytics lab), and adaptive learning technologies. IBM believes the technologies will be developed with the appropriate safeguards for privacy and security, but each of these predictions raises additional privacy and security issues.
    As computers get smarter and more compact, they will be built into more devices that help us do things when we need them done. IBM believes that these breakthroughs in computing will amplify our human abilities. The company came up with the predictions by querying its 220,000 technical people in a bottoms-up fashion and tapping the leadership of its vast research labs in a top-down effort.
    Here’s some more detailed description and analysis on the predictions.
    In five years, the classroom will learn you.
    IBM
    In five years, the classroom will learn you to help tailor instruction to your individual needs.

    The classroom will learn you

    Globally, two out of three adults haven’t gotten the equivalent of a high school education. But IBM believes the classrooms of the future will give educators the tools to learn about every student, providing them with a tailored curriculum from kindergarten to high school.
    “Your teacher spends time getting to know you every year,” Meyerson said. “What if they already knew everything about how you learn?”
    In the next five years, IBM believes teachers will use “longitudinal data” such as test scores, attendance, and student behavior on electronic learning platforms — and not just the results of aptitude tests. Sophisticated analytics delivered over the cloud will help teachers make decisions about which students are at risk, their roadblocks, and the way to help them. IBM is working on a research project with the Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia, the 14th largest school district in the U.S. with 170,000 students. The goal is to increase the district’s graduation rate. And after a $10 billion investment in analytics, IBM believes it can harness big data to help students out.
    “You’ll be able to pick up problems like dyslexia instantly,” Meyerson said. “If a child has extraordinary abilities, they can be recognized. With 30 kids in a class, a teacher cannot do it themselves. This doesn’t replace them. It allows them to be far more effective. Right now, the experience in a big box store doesn’t resemble this, but it will get there.”
    In five years, buying local will beat online as you get online data at your fingertips in the store.
    IBM
    In five years, buying local will beat online as you get online data at your fingertips in the store.

    Buying local will beat online

    Online sales topped $1 trillion worldwide last year, and many physical retailers have gone out of business as they fail to compete on price with the likes of Amazon. But innovations for physical stores will make buying local turn out better. Retailers will use the immediacy of the store and proximity to customers to create experiences that online-only retail can’t replicate. The innovations will bring the power of the Web right to where the shopper can touch it. Retailers could rely on artificial intelligence akin to IBM’s Watson, which playedJeopardy better than many human competitors. The Web can make sales associates smarter, and augmented reality can deliver more information to the store shelves. With these technologies, stores will be able to anticipate what a shopper most wants and needs.
    And they won’t have to wait two days for shipping.
    “The store will ask if you would like to see a certain camera and have a salesperson meet you in a certain aisle where it is located,” Meyerson said. “The ability to do this painlessly, without the normal hassle of trying to find help, is very powerful.”
    This technology will get so good that online retailers are likely to set up retail showrooms to help their own sales.
    “It has been physical against online,” Meyerson said. “But in this case, it is combining them. What that enables you to do is that mom-and-pop stores can offer the same services as the big online retailers. The tech they have to serve you is as good as anything in online shopping. It is an interesting evolution but it is coming.”


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    Here’s what the future data-driven CEO will look like

    Here’s what the future data-driven CEO will look like
    There is no doubt that this year was marked by the explosive interest in big data and the desire for every enterprise to get smarter about their customers, their business, and their bottom line.
    With data analytics at the forefront of enterprises determining how to become more strategic, impactful, customer-oriented, and competitive, comes a shift in what is required of today’s chief executive officer.
    Here are my predictions for the future of the data-driven CEO and insights on how this evolution will empower organizational-wide transformation:
    1. CEOs will develop a discerning eye for talent
    Becoming a data-centric organization requires new competencies and forces significant organizational and cultural change. CEOs leading successful data-driven companies will adopt data-driven skill sets, processes, and cultures. They will build their own core skill-sets around data analytics while at the same time adapting, expanding, and training their teams. They will focus on recruiting to put in place talent rich in data analytics expertise and ensure the right teams surround them. In some cases, this will require the hire of a Chief Data Scientist and a team of statisticians. For others, it will require the placement of a new data-driven CMO. Lastly, they will empower these A-teams to test unconventional techniques, extract their own data-driven insights, and most importantly, act upon these insights to drive break-through innovations.
    2. CEOs will establish a firm grasp on technology
    Technological innovation and automation are what allow businesses to take advantage of the data they have to drive better business performance. Most successful CEOs are either already very quantitatively driven or creative visionaries. Regardless of the “tendency” that makes them successful, they will see big data as an enabler to their success — finding ways to use insights from big data to augment their ability to achieve their goals.
    To do so, they will take advantage of smart technologies that harness data in new ways, regardless of the complexity, to meet overall business objectives. They will embrace technology and make it a key part of their core skill set. We will see CEOs become well versed in all of the technologies that support data-driven decision-making whether for marketing, sales, finance, or other departments.
    3. CEOs will advance their analytical chops
    CEOs of tomorrow’s smart businesses will rely more heavily on data to make decisions that impact every aspect of the business. They will embrace data in all of its forms and use it as a core asset to become smarter about everything that they do. They will define what success looks like, and then hold teams accountable for measurement using quantifiable metrics. They will ask the right questions based on information derived from big data analysis. And they will know when not to ask any questions at all, i.e., to let the data speak for itself.
    Above all else, CEOs at the helm of data-driven businesses will use big data analytics to drive transparency, relevance, and results across the entire enterprise.
    Derek EdwardsDerek Edwards is CEO of big data analytics firm Globys. He has spent the past 16 years building businesses based on data and analytics technology. In 1996, he cofounded CallVision and as president and CEO successfully grew the business until he sold it to VeriSign in 2005. Derek continued to lead the business as a vice president at VeriSign until 2008 when he led the spinout of Globys from VeriSign.


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    Reimagining India: A conversation with Yasheng Huang




    MIT Sloan School of Management professor Yasheng Huang warns of the dangers of India’s reliance on the IT sector for economic growth, calling for regulatory reforms and greater investment in basic services.



    India is known globally for the rise of its information-technology and software industry. Yet in this video interview, Yasheng Huang, a professor of global economics and management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and essayist from 

    Reimagining India: Unlocking the Potential of Asia’s Next Superpower (Simon & Schuster, November 2013),

     warns the country against becoming too dependent on those sectors. He argues India’s potential will only be realized if the country develops its manufacturing and services sectors, which requires labor-market reforms and significant investments in both education and social services. Without those, India will not only face growing social inequality but could also jeopardize its pipeline of college-ready students critical to the high-tech industry. What follows is an edited transcript of his remarks.

    Interview transcript

    Needed reforms

    The key for India to move forward is: how do you maintain a healthy growth rate—which, I believe, is 5 percent, 6 percent—in this kind of adverse environment? I see labor reforms as the key. For a country with 1.2 billion people, you cannot grow just on the basis of software engineers and business-process operations.
    You have to include the workers, the women, villagers, and the rural Indians into the growth machine. We’re talking about simple manufacturing. We’re talking about simple service-sector jobs that require basic reading, a little bit of math, functional capabilities. And labor regulations in India are killing those potentials. They don’t kill the IT, they don’t kill the high tech, but they do kill the blue-collar manufacturing jobs, which India needs the most.
    The other area that would require more government intervention is in the social sector—health and education. If the government doesn’t provide health and education, nobody can come close to matching the government. And this is where you actually want more government intervention. You want more tax money to go in those sectors. And the Indian government is not able to collect enough taxes to spend on health and education; it is also constrained administratively and politically in terms of scaling up education.
    If India doesn’t fix the problem of education—primary-education, first-tier education—they are going to undermine their success in the high-tech sector. The reason is very simple. The tertiary education requires a long pipeline of college-ready students. If you don’t fix your primary education, if you don’t fix your high school, primary school, you’re going to have a very narrow pipeline.

    Leapfrogging wisely

    There are many analysts and scholars and observers who believe that India can skip this sort of normal, sequential economic-development model and leapfrog directly into the information age, the IT age. I think there are two kinds of leapfrogging, and one is more plausible than the other.
    The leapfrogging in education, I do believe that there is a lot of potential there—the Khan Academy model of delivering educational content to villages and children in remote places, for example. You probably can leapfrog the brick-and-mortar education-provision model.
    The leapfrogging view that is laid out by some observers, which is that you don’t need manufacturing, you just go directly into IT—there’s absolutely no evidence in support of that. The current struggles that India has now are actually related to the lack of manufacturing. The only way for a country of that size to have broad-based economic growth, to have sustained income growth, is to do those things that the majority of your population can do. It’s manufacturing; it’s not writing software codes.
    My worry about India is that if you just have IT, if you just have software, business-process operations, you’re going to have an economy in which one part of the country, a very narrow slice of the country, does extremely well, leaving the vast majority behind in economic development and economic growth. Politically, I don’t think that’s a sustainable proposition. Economically, I think it’s very unhealthy to have the growth be so concentrated in just one or two areas and leaving the vast majority of the population behind.
    About the author
    Yasheng Huang is the International Program Professor in Chinese Economy and Business and a professor of global economics and management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management. He founded and heads the school’s China Lab and India Lab, which assist entrepreneurs in areas of management.


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    Reimagining India: A conversation with Eric Schmidt



    Google’s executive chairman expresses optimism about India’s technology sector but urges companies to prioritize domestic excellence over global dominance.

    December 2013
    Google opened its first office in India almost a decade ago, and executive chairman Eric Schmidt has since watched the country’s technology sector expand rapidly. In this video interview, Schmidt is optimistic about the role technology can continue to play in India’s development but warns that the regulatory environment must keep improving. This interview was conducted by James Manyika, a director in McKinsey’s San Francisco office, and what follows is an edited transcript of Eric Schmidt’s remarks.

    Interview transcript

    The Indian Internet

    Well, to me, India is still well behind in the potential that it’s going to have with a connected society. India has about 120 million users on the Internet, which is less than 10 percent of the population. So we have no idea what is going to happen when the next 50, 60, 70 percent of the Indians—which represent a sixth of the world population, I might add—join the conversation. We hope that it’ll be the same as what we’ve seen before, but we don’t know. And unleashing that creativity is a great opportunity and challenge for the next few years.
    There’s never going to be the kind of broadband infrastructure in a physical place at the scale that we see here in America. But it’s perfectly possible that India can leapfrog much of the technology that we’ve taken for granted over the last few decades and build very, very powerful fourth-generation LTE1 networks to handle the tremendous load of all these Indian users and consumers. So the Indian Internet will be lower cost, mobile. But I’m sure it will be very creative and very clever.

    A smartphone revolution

    One of the greatest things in the last decade has been the arrival of the modest-cost mobile phone for the developing world. People who do not have televisions, refrigerators, literally, stable bathroom situations, have mobile phones. And if they don’t have mobile phones, someone in their village has a mobile phone.
    Technology is a declining cost industry. And the phone that we have today, which using US prices is a $400 phone, will be a $200 phone in a couple of years, because of Moore’s law, and a couple years later, it’s a $100 phone. So if you simply take the phones from two years ago, wait two years and distribute them, you have a $50 to $70 phone by the time you’re done. And that’s without subsidies.
    There’s every reason to believe that in the next five years we can get Android-type phones, through partners that are doing it at volume and doing it in a very clever way. We’ll get a basically successful smartphone with a modestly powerful screen. And the price points can be well below $50.
    The general rule in these markets is that at a price point below $50, people will save up their money. They can pool their money together, they can do it for a village, and that will change the world. The other issue that India and other countries have is very high data rates, because there’s not enough competition in the telecommunications industry.
    India’s addressing that by bringing in more competition for the LTE layers. But one of the simple solutions there is to have much more access to WiFi hotspots and the ability to be mobile between them. So even there, we have some solutions. I think there’s every reason to believe that in five to ten years, the majority of Indian citizens will have good access to the Internet.
    And it’ll be modest in the sense that they’ll have a browser, they’ll have reasonable bandwidth—certainly nothing compared to what we will have in the same time. But it’s life-changing for them. That’s what’s important. Life-changing. Access to information they never had. Access to the world’s information. Access to all those languages. Access to pictures, the ability to take pictures of what’s going on around them as a security measure. On and on and on. For them, it’s a huge deal.

    India’s tech sector

    A reasonable expectation for a developing country is not that they’re going to produce a global Boeing or Google or what-have-you company within a decade. A reasonable expectation is that they will build local firms that have unique talents and skills. Those firms will have high wages, high growth, and really transform the country.
    That opportunity is available to India because of the quality of the people, the educational system and, frankly, the large domestic market. There are hundreds of large firms for the Internet that will be founded and will be successful—ones that are simply for Indian consumers—as India gets connected.
    Indian taste, Indian style, Indian sports, right? Cricket as an example. There are many, many, many examples where the local culture, the local languages, and so forth will drive a local solution. As to whether such a company could ultimately become a global powerhouse, it’ll take more than a few years to see, but of course they can.
    But the way it works is you first start with your domestic market and you do a great job. The reason to think that an Indian company can do this is that American firms have worked for a long time with Indian engineers in India. So we know the technical talent is there. It’s not a question of talent, and it’s not a question of education. It’s a question of the way in which the system is run, the regulations, the way capital is formed, and so forth. And there’s evidence that those issues are changing.

    India’s impact

    India has had a big impact. Sun Microsystems was founded by someone who’d been to an IT university in India. And here in Silicon Valley, there is evidence that 40 percent of the entrepreneurs are Indian foreign born. So it gives you a sense of the scale and reach of Indian entrepreneurs outside of the country. So the problem is not the Indians, the problem is the country. And the country appears to be relatively dysfunctional politically, and has some corruption issues. You can see the potential when the Indians come here. Imagine if they were there and they were doing the same things with the same kind of structure. They’d change the world.
    About the authors
    Eric Schmidt is executive chairman of Google. This interview was conducted by James Manyika, a director in McKinsey’s San Francisco office.



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    Our Greatest teachers are hard on us....And that is the way to learn and grow,



    20131218_2

    The Fine Art of Tough Love


    What does it take to achieve excellence? I’ve spent much of my career chronicling top executives as a business journalist. But I’ve spent much of the last year on a very different pursuit, coauthoring a book about education, focusing on a tough but ultimately revered public-school music teacher.


    And here’s what I learned: When it comes to creating a culture of excellence, the CEO has an awful lot to learn from the schoolteacher.
    The teacher at the heart of the book Strings Attached is on the face of it an unlikely corporate role model. My childhood music teacher Jerry Kupchynsky, who we called “Mr. K,” was strictly old school: A ferocious Ukrainian immigrant and World War II refugee, he was a tyrannical school orchestra conductor in suburban New Jersey. 
    He would yell and stomp and scream when we screwed up, bellowing “Who eez DEAF in first violins?” His highest praise was “not bad.”  He rehearsed us until our fingers were raw.
    Yet ultimately he became beloved by students, many of whom went on to outsize professional success in fields from business to academics to law, and who decades later would gather to thank him.
    My coauthor and I both expected pushback against Mr. K’s harsh methods, which we describe in unflinching detail. But instead, the overwhelming response from readers has been: “Amen! Bring on the tough love.”  And nowhere has that response been stronger than in the business world, among corporate executives.
    Indeed, Wall Street Journal readers responded in force to an essay I wrote about the book and Mr. K’s methods. “Time to move beyond the ‘self-esteem’ culture and get tough. The world is an increasingly competitive and dangerous place,” as one reader wrote, echoing many others.  He added, “I have numerous advanced degrees, but the toughest and best education I ever had was from the Irish Christian brothers in high school. They did not take ‘no’ for an answer.”
    Clearly, Mr. K’s demanding methods have tapped into a sea change that we’re just starting to detect in the culture, away from coddling of kids and the “trophies for everyone” mentality that has dominated parenting and education. It’s a shift that is equally evident in the workplace.  But trying to offer more honest feedback, and set higher standards, at work is tricky.  It’s especially difficult in the case of newer hires, those recent young college grads who were raised on a steady diet of praise and trophies and who never learned to accept criticism.
    So, how best to put those “tough love” principles into action when it comes to inspiring excellence in the workplace?  Mr. K’s methods offer an intriguing roadmap:
    1. Banish empty praise.
    Mr. K never gave us false praise, and never even used words like “talent.” When he uttered a “not bad” – his highest compliment — we’d dance down the street and then run home and practice twice as long.
    It turns out he was on to something.  Harvard Business Review readers will recall the landmark 2007 article written by psychologist K. Anders Ericsson, “The Making of an Expert.”  That piece is most often cited for his pioneering work establishing that true expertise requires about 10,000 hours of practice.
    But Ericsson also cited two other elements, both of which Mr. K seemed to know intuitively. One is “deliberate practice,” which requires pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone, as opposed to going through the motions.  The other, as Ericsson wrote, is this : True expertise “requires coaches who are capable of giving constructive, even painful, feedback.” And “real experts … deliberately picked unsentimental coaches who could challenge them and drive them to higher levels of performance.”
    2. Set expectations high. 
    There’s a tendency to step in when a less experienced colleague is having trouble. Sometimes it seems it’s just easier to do the work yourself. Or to settle for less.
    Not in Mr. K’s world.  His standards were uncompromising – and while at first we students found that intimidating, we ultimately understood it was a sign of his confidence in us.  He never wavered in his faith in his students to achieve more and better.  When he first began teaching me the viola, his most frequent admonition was “AGAIN!” most often marked in capital letters on my lesson assignments. But his students knew that he was hard on us not because we’d never learn, but because he was so absolutely certain that we would.
    3. Articulate clear goals –and goal posts along the way.
    Mr. K insisted that his students audition and perform constantly. He constantly kept us focused on the next challenge.  How would we prepare, and what would we do to improve the next time?  By articulating these intermediate goals, he encouraged us to continually stretch our abilities a bit further while reaching for objectives that were challenging, but ultimately achievable.
    4. Failure isn’t defeat.
    Mr. K never penalized us for failure. Sometimes we succeeded at auditions; sometimes we failed. But Mr. K made it clear that that failure was simply part of the process – not an end point, but simply an opportunity for us to learn how to improve the next time. And he transferred responsibility for figuring out the solution to the student. His favorite saying wasn’t “Listen to me!” It was, instead, “Discipline yourself!”
    Years later, his former students – now doctors, lawyers and business executives – would credit that approach for instilling self-motivation.  As one of his former students told me, “He taught us how to fail – and how to pick ourselves back up again.”
    5. Say thank you.
    This is the one we often forget. My old teacher had witnessed unspeakable horrors as a child growing up in Ukraine amid bloodshed and destruction during World War II.  He didn’t reach the U.S. until after the war, as a 19-year-old who spoke no English and had never had the opportunity to learn to read music despite his passion for it.  He never lost his sense of gratitude to this country for the opportunities he had, despite a catalog of horrors in his own life, including the disappearance of one of his beloved daughters.  He passed that gratitude on to us, with a huge heart, empathy for the underdog, and a commitment to public service, taking us frequently to perform at hospitals and nursing homes and then insisting we stay to visit with the patients.
    In the press of business, that sense of gratitude is often the first casualty. Recently I complimented a young journalist on a well-researched article, telling her, “You must have gotten great feedback.”  She looked embarrassed, then confessed she had heard nothing from her boss. Her news organization, like so many others, has been financially hobbled, with a handful of reporters doing the work that was once shared by several dozen.  Her supervisor is spread so thin that he is putting out proverbial fires all day.  “He has the time to tell us what we did wrong,” she said. “He doesn’t have time to tell us when we do something well.”
    *  *  *  *  *
    Tough love has fallen out of favor, and it can be a jolt especially for younger workers. But properly applied – with high expectations along with a sense of shared vision and gratitude for a job well done — it is the highest vote of confidence anyone can offer.  Mr. K’s old students ultimately figured that out too: At his memorial concert, 40 years’ worth of them – myself included, toting my old viola – gathered in my hometown, old instruments in tow, creating a symphony orchestra more than 100 members strong.
    I asked many of those students why they had returned.  They listed the qualities he had taught them: Resilience. Perseverance.  Self-confidence. He didn’t just teach us in the classroom; he inspired us to strive for excellence in our own lives when he was no longer in the room with us.  And that’s the mark of a true mentor: a leader who creates a culture of excellence, and whose confidence in us makes us better than we ever dreamed we could be.

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    Why Being The Most Connected Is A Vanity Metric

    Over the last half century, a field of academic study called network science has turned traditional relationship building on its head. Surprisingly, research shows that being the most connected person is not an effective way to build your network. The single best strategy is one that almost no one talks about.

    My 6’5” dad was black and grew up in one of the most dangerous cities in America. He sported a huge afro into the early 90s when he died at the age of 33; one year older than I am now.

    My mother, a white, Jewish refugee from Poland, arrived in Brooklyn when she was 17 with no money and no English. She essentially raised me as a single mother

    Being The Most Connected Is A Vanity Metric

    One of the leading applied network scientists, Rob Cross, an associate professor at the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce, offers a critical development in understanding networks:

    “Traditionally, self-help books on networks focus on going out and building big mammoth rolodexes…What we’ve found is that this isn’t what high-performers do. What seems to distinguish the top 20% of performers across a wide-range of organizations is not so much a big network. In fact, there is usually a negative statistically significant likelihood of being a top performer and knowing a lot of people.” (via Youtube)

    If being the most connected person isn’t the best strategy or even an effective strategy, what is?

    Ron Burt is the Hobart W. Williams Professor Professor of Sociology and Strategy at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He is the leading academic researcher in the world studying the ways that social networks create competitive advantage in careers, organizations, and markets.

    Burt’s research gives insight into a strategy that has become one of the most reliable and replicated findings in network science over the last 30 years.

    However, before we understand the strategy, we need to have a better understanding of network science.

    Principle #1: Your Network is a Set of Clusters; Not One Big One


                                                         Old Paradigm 

                                                           New Paradigm

    A basic pattern of network science is clustering. People tend to gravitate to clusters for a lot of reasons whether it be working in the same company or industry, living in a neighborhood, or going to the same school. These clusters get stronger as people gain mutual friendships, establish norms, and build reputations.

    This clustering tendency has two consequences:

    ·         Information Travels Quickly And Repeatedly Within A Group. Information travels more quickly and you hear the same information repeatedly within any group. In Burt’s words, “People tire of repeating arguments and stories explaining why they believe and behave the way they do and develop shorthand symbols and even dialects. Knowledge becomes unwritten but mutually understood.”

    ·         Information Doesn’t Travel Between Groups. As a result of groups using shorthand, it is hard for individuals from other groups to understand the full value and relevance of what is being said. In other words, information becomes ‘sticky’ and does not easily move from one group to another if at all. Translation is required for the ‘dialect’ of one group to be understood by another group.

    One large example that we can all relate to is the gap between those just entering the workforce and those in their 50s and 60s. For many adults, the abbreviated words of 20-somethings are impossible to decipher. On the other hand, 20-somethings do not fully appreciate the unwritten codes of how business is really done.

    Principle #2: Brokering Info Between Networks Is Game-Changing


    youasbroker

    Most people stay within the same groups they start in because it is comfortable and validating. Most people who were born as a Democrat, stay a Democrat. Most people born as Christian stay Christian. Most people stay in the same industry they started in.

    Within groups, we get mastery. We build reputation. People like us. We become more efficient coordinating with others. We form our identity within a group.

    A key insight from network science is the power of brokering, the act of moving information from one group to another. Burt explains, “What a broker does is make a sticky information market more fluid. Great ideas will never move if we wait for them to be spoken in the same language.”

    Network brokers (ie – connectors) have three advantages:

    ·         Breadth. They pull their information from diverse clusters.

    ·         Timing. While they may not be the first to hear information, they are first to introduce information to another cluster.

    ·         Translation. They develop skills in translating one group’s knowledge into another’s insight.

    Combined these three advantages give an individual an overall vision advantage to see, create, and take advantage of opportunities.

    In a groundbreaking, widely replicated study of 8 different populations, Burt showed that simply being in an open network instead of a closed one is an extremely good predictor of career success. In an open network, everyone doesn’t already know each other. As a result, you are in between many different clusters. In a closed network, everyone already knows each other.

    As you can see in the chart below, the further to the right you go toward a closed network, the more you’ll repeatedly hear the same ideas, which reaffirm what you already believe. The further left you go toward an open network, the more you’ll be exposed to new ideas. People to the left are significantly more successful than those to the right.


    The study shows that half of the predicted differences in career success within a line of work (i.e., — promotion, compensation, industry recognition) can be explained by the extent to which a person is a network broker (i.e. connecting different clusters). No other factor was more important in predicting career success!

    Application:

    Brokerage helps give context to why introductions and convening are so powerful. It also shines a light on an often underappreciated part of introductions – translation. While it may be obvious to the broker how two people in different clusters should connect, it may not be obvious to the two people. Therefore, it is worth devoting extra attention to helping helping others see the same opportunity you see.

    Principle #3: Brokerage Is More Than A Tactic. It Is A Way Of Life

    Brokerage is more than just a tactic to be deployed. It requires a completely different way of seeing and being in the world that is often uncomfortable.

    Being deeply connected and respected while having a high status in a single network feels good.

    On the other hand, being a broker means pulling from diverse perspectives that may seem conflicting. This requires intellectual flexibility. It means often being an outsider. It means less stability.

    Ideas that are obviously beneficial to you because of your unique place in your network might seem trivial and risky to someone deeply inside a network.

    By becoming a person who can become comfortable in this environment, you become someone who can more easily leverage brokering.

    Application:

    In order to be an effective broker, you must continually fight against the comfort and validation that comes from staying in one group.


    Kathy Calvin, President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation, has built her career on being what she calls a ‘tri-sector athlete’. Pulling from her diverse experience in the government, for-profit, and nonprofit sectors, she has brokered global partnerships to help solve some of the world’s largest challenges.

    Kathy has developed a 15-minute meeting policy where she takes meetings with people she wouldn’t normally connect with. This exposes her to new networks while still maintaining her fast-paced schedule.

    This policy has been extremely beneficial. One example is a 2005 meeting with Elizabeth Gore who was in her late twenties and had just returned from spending two years in a remote village in Bolivia with the Peace Corps. The meeting was in November. By March of the next year, Elizabeth joined the UN Foundation in a newly co-created position. Elizabeth went on to create the Foundation’s largest campaigns, Nothing But Nets, Shot@Life, and Girl Up. Today, Elizabeth is the first-ever Resident Entrepreneur leading their work on innovation and entrepreneurship.

    How To Participate In The Network Science Renaissance

    We are in a renaissance period for network science. It is only in the past few years that billions of people have connected to each other via global networks (ie – Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, & Google) and started to publicly share in trillions of ways.

    It is the field of network science that is perhaps best poised to understand this massive data. On the other hand, it is us as entrepreneurs who may be best poised to understand how the discoveries of network science apply to our day-to-day lives.

    What we now know is that the simple act of constantly putting yourself in an open network, a network where people aren’t connected to each other, will give you a huge advantage in your career. It will give you a vision advantage that allows you creatively capitalize on new amazing opportunities. More importantly, it will expose you to the conditions you need in order to build the skill-set and mindset of a network broker.

    Growing up ‘uncomfortable’ gave me the freedom to create an identity that wasn’t based completely on belonging to one group. This made it easier for me to go against the grain and make two of the most important decisions in my career; starting a business at 16 when no one else I knew was an entrepreneur and taking a semester off from college to write a book against the strong pushback from people closest to me.

    Each of these decisions required tremendous leaps of faith that my unique upbringing ultimately made it easier to make.

    Throughout my career, I’ve continued to surround myself in new groups.

    Today, Empact, the organization I co-founded, helps connect the country’s top young entrepreneurs to new groups they normally wouldn’t connect with including the US Chamber of Commerce, United Nations Foundation, and the White House. We translate the objectives of each group in order to create platforms that help entrepreneurs give back.


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    Making Joint Ventures A Strategic Success

    A joint venture represents the optimism of two firms that they can unite to achieve marketplace goals that neither could achieve alone. Some joint ventures work, some do not. Sikander Shaukat, Managing Partner of Resource Dynamics and alumnus of London Business School, describes the steps that will maximise the chance of success.

    Joint ventures (JVs) can be a rapid and very effective mechanism for strategic growth. Such unions can enable fast access to new skills and technologies. Beyond that, JVs can secure production capacity and lower cost production; offer access to both local and distant markets; and offer ways of creating economies of scale and market power.

    Yet, such corporate linkages, regrettably, often come down to agreements on the duration of the JV and how costs and profits will be handled. That is, the JV becomes limited and limiting. There are other important strategic factors that should be considered in a JV, such as the term of arrangement, its workability, protection of know-how, benefits and progress towards strategic goals. These represent a more relevant perspective of partnerships, even though it needs more than common sense and financial modelling to deliver a working union of interests.

    The solution
    Creating a successful JV entails taking seven steps.

    01 Identify
    Identify strategic logic and drivers. It is very likely that an organisation and its JV partner(s) have adopted two different marketplace approaches in terms of how they compete. One company may be competing on the basis of economies of scale; another on the basis of a low-cost offer, another on the basis of branding and marketing flare, another on the basis of sales and servicing — and yet another on its product features and design or some combination of each in different compositions. These differences in the strategic logic of each firm permeate all aspects of practices in each organisation, affecting the way decision-making is executed and what is considered an operational priority. These differences can be either complementary or a hindrance to the alliance. It is critical to understand the strategic logic operating in each organisation for the success of the venture. To succeed, a JV must clarify the important drivers for the joint venture over and above the profit potential.

    02 Valuate
    Valuate each firm’s product architecture. If each company in a JV breaks down its individual products and offers to customers, the component parts could potentially be repackaged into a new (and very attractive) offer to customers. For two firms to do this, it is critical to understand the possible effects of each component on the new product mix of the JV because of potential changes in the business environment as a result of the recombination of components. This will help each firm to forecast better, reflect the evolving nature of the JV business and set the right expectations of volumes and terms of agreement. Furthermore, this process provides critical insights and boundaries for protecting the intellectual property of each firm. This evaluation may lead to adjustments in the product architecture itself and may open up new avenues of other possibilities as a by-product.

    03 Construct
    Construct an effective operating structure. Each organisation in a JV normally separates and aggregates its operating activities (also called the operating model) in unique ways and for a myriad of reasons. For example, one credit card company may have the chargeback activity as part of its disputes resolution department and another firm may have the two separated.

    Every organisation also has different ways of prioritising and measuring its effectiveness. These operating values are recognisable when operations managers see ‘doing a good job’ as some combination of volumes produced, standardisation, flexible staffing, quality standards met, customisations produced, repeat orders and so on. It is important to understand these differences in the organisations that make up the JV to ensure workable agreements, recovery of services, setting up the right measures and responses.

    04 Define
    Define the new business model. The firms in a JV must define the nature of the new venture including the proposition to the customer, the channels and relationship management, the value chain, the structure and roles, investments, income, costs and payments, success factors and the timetable for delivery. This agreed-upon new business model provides the backdrop for the legal and financial frameworks that will be the true borders of the joint venture.

    05 Create
    Create an economic system that will work for all. Key players in the JV must build a congruent economic system that includes a risk-adjusted cash flow model, break-even analysis, unit costing and economic value-added rationale for the new business.

    06 Ensure
    Ensure that all negotiations are win-win. For each player in a JV, the art of negotiating joint ventures (just as in mergers and acquisitions) is to know yourself, know what is important to you and know your limits and boundaries — then go on to have some knowledge of the same for your counterpart. The goal, at all times, must be for no firm in the JV to feel that it is losing by engaging in the new commercial union.

    Negotiations conducted in this way help to give a very clear picture of the aspects important to both businesses and the potential partners’ priorities and operating latitudes. Moreover, the negotiations should provide for rapidly evolving models (particularly financial ones) to represent the consequences of new decisions and actions, not only during negotiations but also as the JV grows and evolves.

    07 Shake hands
    Shake hands and lock arms. The contracting phase of a JV represents the formal contractual agreement underpinning the JV and is carried out by commercial lawyers. Yet, for all good joint ventures, behind every contract on paper is a strong relationship between the different players. And it is this relationship — as much as it is the contractual terms and conditions — that truly solidifies the JV as its strength and mettle are tested in the marketplace.


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    SUSTAINABILITY’S NEXT FRONTIER

    Walking the Talk on the Sustainability Issues That Matter Most


    In this 2013 report, new research by MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group looks at companies that “walk the talk” in addressing significant sustainability concerns. So-called “Walkers” focus heavily on five fronts: sustainability strategy, business case, measurement, business model innovation and leadership commitment. For them, addressing significant sustainability issues has become a core strategic imperative and a way to mitigate threats and identify new opportunities.

    INTRODUCTION
    For the past five years, MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group have collaborated on an annual research project to assess how businesses address their sustainability challenges. In the past, we focused on sustainability broadly as a business agenda and how that agenda drives profits and business model innovation. This year, we turn our attention to sustainability’s next frontier: addressing the most significant sustainability issues. These are the key social, environmental and economic issues that, if not embraced or addressed, can thwart a company’s ability to thrive — or even survive.

    What are the most significant social, environmental and economic sustainability issues confronting companies? (See What is Material Sustainability?)
    How thoroughly are businesses addressing these issues?

    What are companies that thoroughly address significant sustainability issues doing differently than other companies?

    Our findings are both encouraging and disconcerting. Although some companies are addressing important issues, we found a disconnect between thought and action on the part of many others. For example, nearly two-thirds of respondents rate social and environmental issues, such as pollution or employee health, as “significant” or “very significant” among their sustainability concerns. Yet only about 40% report that their organizations are largely addressing them. Even worse, only 10% say their companies fully tackle these issues.

    Companies that perceive sustainability issues as significant and thoroughly address them share distinct characteristics. For example:

    More than 90% have developed a sustainability strategy, compared to 62% among all respondents.

    70% have placed sustainability permanently on their top management agenda, compared to an average of 39%.

    69% have developed a sustainability business case, compared to only 37% of all respondents.

    These leading companies suggest a path forward. We call them “Walkers” — companies that “walk the talk” by identifying and addressing significant sustainability concerns. How they do so is a major finding of this research. Walkers focus heavily on five business fronts: sustainability strategy, business case, measurement, business model innovation and leadership commitment. “Talkers,” on the other hand, are equally concerned about the most significant sustainability issues, but address those issues to a far lesser degree. They also score much lower on the five fronts.

    Although we found that some companies are making progress toward the next frontier of sustainability, data from the past five years shows that many organizations are struggling to move forward. For example, the percentage of companies that have established a sustainability business case has only grown from 30% to 37% during this period. The percentage of companies that have tried but failed to build a business case has increased from 8% to 20%. More than half of the respondents have either failed to establish a business case or haven’t even tried to create one (see Figure 1).

    The percentage of companies that report their sustainability efforts are adding to profits has consistently come in at roughly 35% since 2010 (see Figure 2). Many companies have hit a crucial inflection point. They have reaped the immediate gains from sustainability but have yet to thoroughly embark on the next level: addressing the most significant sustainability issues.

    However, some companies — Walkers — have moved past this inflection point. Addressing significant sustainability issues has become a core strategic imperative that these companies view as a way to mitigate threats and identify powerful new opportunities. In this report, we look at how businesses are defining their significant sustainability issues and tackling this new frontier.

    read the complete article at the link below.


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    The Discipline of Creativity

    Ideas can come from anywhere. But that doesn’t mean managers can afford to rely on haphazard, hit-or-miss approaches to idea generation.
    Businesses win through new ideas: new ideas for products, for developing and refining processes, and for tackling strategic and operational challenges. Given the complexity and volatility that characterize today’s business landscape, the ability to develop creative new ideas is more important than ever. In fact, a recent IBM survey of 1,500 CEOs from more than 60 countries named creativity the most important leadership quality.

    But coming up with creative ideas on demand is only part of the answer. Just as crucial is how ideas link to action. In a business context, creativity is only useful when it leads to innovation. Managers must be able to apply creative thinking in a systematic way that achieves results: revenue growth, delighted customers, a stronger community or some other measure of impact. In addition, ideas must fit with an organization’s strategy or take it in a new, purposeful direction. They must solve real problems for stakeholders such as customers or employees, and they must be able to be tested.
    Many brainstorming exercises that companies undertake fall short in this regard. Although such sessions are frequently fun for participants, the output is too often considered impractical just days after the exercise. Against this backdrop, we have developed an integrative process for idea generation based on approaches drawn from several domains, including education, consumer research, business model design and emergent strategy. The seven steps have been honed through our research and client work over the past decade. The first three steps are designed to help managers understand the problem deeply. Steps four through six describe how to generate tangible ideas for solutions. And the final step explains how to translate the ideas into action.
    To illustrate the approach, we will describe our recent efforts to develop new approaches for solving a vexing problem involving the distribution of drugs for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). Some TB strains have advanced to become resistant to first-line drug treatments, and there are more than 500,000 cases of MDR-TB globally, mainly in India, Russia, China and South Africa. Yet, for a variety of reasons, only about 20,000 of the patients are appropriately treated with quality-assured second-line drugs.
    Lilly Foundation’s MDR-TB Partnership asked us to work with their leadership and the World Health Organization’s Stop TB Partnership to convene some of the world’s top thinkers in global health, TB, supply chain management and other fields for a two-day ideation session. The goal was to develop ideas that would enable people with TB to access the drugs they needed more easily and consistently.

    Step 1: Define the problem and solution space.

    Many people make an intuitive connection between creative ideas and unconstrained, blue-sky thinking. Yet many executives are not clear enough about what they would consider a good idea and what’s a nonstarter in light of the organization’s strategic priorities. Although thinking divergently is critical to idea generation, it’s important to delineate boundaries around both the problem (what exactly you’re proposing to solve) and the solution (what types of answers you seek and find acceptable).
    Beyond the obvious benefit of ensuring that employees don’t waste time and resources pursuing ideas that are destined for the cutting room floor, having clearly defined boundaries can help expand, rather than constrict, the sense of what’s possible and the range of ideas generated. Additionally, constraining the problem and solution space forces idea generators to delve into an area. The result is typically a much broader range of ideas that are on target and have real potential to move forward toward impact.
    The first step in the MDR-TB initiative was to define guidelines and boundaries. Working with our project partners, we made several decisions. For instance, we quickly decided to focus on the TB drug supply chain, on the assumption that this was where our ideation efforts were likely to have the greatest impact. Thus, we deemphasized other problematic areas, such as drug development, diagnosis or geopolitics.
    At the same time, we discussed various elements of potential solutions. For example, we decided that solutions should result in patient impact within three years. This was a calculated risk: We knew that this constraint might tamp down “moon-shot thinking,” but we reasoned that quick, tangible wins were the more important goal.

    Step 2: Break the problem down.

    Even after our decision to focus on the MDR-TB supply chain, the problem was too complex to move directly into idea generation. Attempting to tackle everything at once was too daunting. Indeed, manufacturing the right quantities of quality-assured second-line drugs and distributing them efficiently and accurately to match the demand from thousands of individual clinics involves hundreds of individual transactions.
    Therefore, we decided to create a map of all the components of the MDR-TB drug supply chain. Relying on a combination of research and interviews with experts, we identified several specific barriers preventing drugs from efficiently reaching patients in need. One barrier stemmed from the fact that current detection and tracking methods for cases were not effective, which led to potential mismatches between supply and demand. Another barrier was the high price of “quality-assured” drugs. In all, we identified 12 barriers.

    Step 3: Make the problem personal.

    As a third step, we studied each of the individual barriers and developed specific targets for solution development. But even though we were sometimes dealing with broad issues, we didn’t treat them as abstract challenges. Rather, we approached the problems with empathy, because we knew that each of them affected individuals. One of the best ways we know of to encourage empathy is, as Clayton Christensen has written, to define the “jobs to be done” for which you need to “hire” solutions. That requires getting in front of customers or stakeholders and observing them. In particular, we looked for jobs to be done that are important to stakeholders, where no adequate solutions have been found and where there is sure to be lots of demand. In our experience, the jobs tend to fall into three broad categories — functional, emotional and social — and in order to fully understand the problem you need to solve, you must consider all three.
    Once the job is defined, the goal is to make it as real as possible to the people who will be generating ideas. For example, community health workers were frustrated that case tracking data were not adequately shared between international and local health authorities; hospital officials struggled to manage demand from volumes of patients they hadn’t anticipated. To bring these problems to life, we created posters depicting the problems and featuring quotes from the individuals involved. During day one, we divided the group into teams of four to six. They were asked to spend 90 minutes examining a specific problem and generating solutions.

    Step 4: Apply an outside-in perspective.

    Developing new ideas often requires new perspectives and a willingness to challenge existing organizational and industry assumptions by considering concepts from other contexts. In hopes of promoting this kind of associative thinking, we worked with our partners at Lilly to invite a diverse set of people to the ideation summit. In addition to public health experts and specialists with deep experience in MDR-TB, we included participants from outside that field: retail supply chain managers, technology experts and other people the summit organizers saw as smart and creative.
    This approach was consistent with academic research that shows that bringing together individuals with diverse backgrounds can enhance the flow of ideas, making people more open to new information and finding ways to integrate it into solutions. For example, having supply chain experts in each breakout group allowed us to make connections very quickly between specific chokepoints in the MDR-TB system and other supply chains where similar problems have been solved. One outcome of these discussions was the decision to create a supply chain “dashboard” where managers from government and nongovernmental organizations can monitor supply, demand and effective delivery of drugs to those in need.

    Step 5: Diverge before you converge.

    In confronting creative challenges, it makes sense to consider as many ideas as possible. However, unless you’re careful, traditional brainstorming sessions can be risky: One powerful voice can overwhelm the others and cause the group to settle on early suggestions prematurely.
    How do you make sure that you are taking full advantage of the divergent viewpoints? We have found that, rather than beginning with a group discussion, it’s helpful to start by asking participants to write down as many ideas as they can individually for five to 10 minutes. In our experience, the technique has two benefits. First, it gives introverts — who may be shy about sharing their suggestions in a larger group setting — a chance to maximize their contribution. Second, having lots of ideas on paper before the discussion begins prevents the group from rallying around any specific solution too soon.
    At the MDR-TB summit, we divided the 35 participants into seven teams, each led by a facilitator. During the first 10 minutes of the 90-minute sessions, individuals quietly made their own lists before joining their teams. Each team came up with at least 20 sticky notes with ideas; in considering the 12 barriers, meeting attendees came up with more than 250 different ideas.
    A recent study led by Karan Girotra, assistant professor of technology and operations management at INSEAD, affirmed the value of mixing individual thinking and group thinking: Teams employing this hybrid approach were nearly three times as productive as group brainstorming teams, measured by the number of ideas they generated; as for idea quality, the ideas of the hybrid teams were rated by independent outsiders as more valuable and attractive to potential users than the groups’ ideas.

    Step 6: Create “idea resumes” for a complete solution.

    Once individuals have made their own lists, we recommend that teams review the ideas and sort them into categories (for example, big picture, finer details). To ensure that the output is fully developed, we ask teams to detail the ideas in a one-page “idea resume” that is customized to the problem at hand. Idea resumes should describe the main solution features: how customers will learn about it or access it; what resources or processes are needed to make it a reality; and how the solution will achieve economic sustainability. Examining ideas in a structured and consistent manner facilitates “apples-to-apples” comparisons and ensures that ideas are evaluated on their merits rather than on how well they are pitched.
    For the MDR-TB idea resume, we asked participants to explain who would use a particular solution and under what circumstances. In addition, we pressed them on why the new solution was better than existing solutions. During the two days, we generated some 90 idea resumes. Some were relatively mundane, but others — for example, opportunities to produce medications using 3-D printing — were quite radical.

    Step 7: Create a plan to learn.

    The work doesn’t end with the ideation sessions. Just as Hollywood studios take videos from movie shoots and send them out for post-production editing, there are various activities that are intended to ensure that the most promising ideas get developed. And for businesses hoping to translate ideas into action, this is where the real work begins.
    During the second day of the MDR-TB summit, participants were asked to develop integrated solutions that would provide a comprehensive solution across the entire MDR-TB ecosystem. Each solution platform was evaluated by participating members of the Stop TB Partnership and the Lilly MDR-TB Partnership for its attractiveness and feasibility.
    Three ideas were selected for immediate development. The first was a communications program to “rebrand” MDR-TB with an eye toward catalyzing public understanding and support for the often-marginalized TB patient populations. The second idea was for an app to allow doctors to access up-to-date best practice treatment recommendations. The third idea was to create an MDR-TB patient detection and tracking system to prevent patients from “falling off the map” once a diagnosis is made; mobile and other types of Internet-based tracking tools would make it easier to report, aggregate and visualize data on incidences of MDR-TB.
    In the case of the MDR-TB summit, all the prep work — breaking down the problem, examining stakeholder needs, making use of creative minds from inside and outside the field — gave us confidence that we had prioritized three important areas. However, each of them still had embedded assumptions that had to be studied closely. We made a list of the most important ones we needed to validate and designed tests for each of them. We spelled out exactly how much money and time each test would require, what we hoped to learn from them and how we would reshape the platform based on the results. We call this collection of assumptions and tests a “plan to learn.”
    Within five months of the two-day meeting, each of the three ideas had received commitments of funding and/or piloting by prominent public health organizations. One additional idea that wasn’t initially prioritized, a device that “prints” drugs on dissolvable strips, has since been taken up by researchers at MIT and is currently moving toward early prototyping.
    Ideas can really come from anywhere — a chance encounter in the hallway, a thought during the drive home, a “eureka” moment in the bathtub. But managers can’t afford to rely on haphazard, hit-or-miss approaches. Unlike traditional brainstorming, the approach we have outlined weaves in a deep understanding of the marketplace, business model generation and emergent strategy. In that way, it increases the chances that the thinking it generates can lead to real business impact.


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