Articles on this Page
- 07/30/14--19:30: _Startup Schools: Am...
- 08/01/14--23:34: _Get Over Your Fear ...
- 08/02/14--20:01: _Why the Internet of...
- 08/04/14--18:37: _Infosys' Sikka Era ...
- 08/04/14--18:51: _America's Top 100 C...
- 08/04/14--18:55: _How to Lead Your Te...
- 08/10/14--19:02: _The Big Idea: 21st-...
- 08/10/14--19:10: _Four Key Questions ...
- 08/11/14--19:49: _The Art Of Making A...
- 08/11/14--20:54: _Data center project...
- 08/12/14--11:01: _Sustainability’s st...
- 08/12/14--22:19: _How Small Businesse...
- 08/13/14--03:46: _Ecosystem Guide: Th...
- 08/13/14--10:10: _Motivating Students...
- 08/13/14--19:42: _Chief digital offic...
- 08/13/14--20:09: _Climbing Down from ...
- 08/15/14--20:01: _You don’t need a co...
- 08/16/14--07:51: _Why Disruptive Inno...
- 08/17/14--06:23: _Using the Balanced ...
- 08/19/14--19:33: _organizers who help...
- 07/30/14--19:30: Startup Schools: America's Most Entrepreneurial Universities 07-31
- 08/01/14--23:34: Get Over Your Fear of Conflict 08-02
- 08/02/14--20:01: Why the Internet of Things narrative has to change 08-03
- 08/04/14--18:37: Infosys' Sikka Era Begins As Shibulal Bids Adieu 08-04
- 08/04/14--18:51: America's Top 100 Colleges: 2014... 08-04
- 08/04/14--18:55: How to Lead Your Team Through Change 08-04
- 08/10/14--19:02: The Big Idea: 21st-Century Talent Spotting 08-11
- 08/10/14--19:10: Four Key Questions about Grading 08-11
- Does grading provide feedback to help students understand and improve their deficiencies? The grade itself is feedback, but generally it is accompanied with faculty comments that justify the grade and offer suggestions for improvement. Most of us know the problem here, "The grade trumps the comment," as one researcher cited says. Students tend not to read the comments; they look at the grade and get on with life. Not all research supports that conclusion. In some studies, students report that they do read the comments but often struggle to understand the feedback, and they don't always know how to fix what we identified as a problem. As a result, the same mistakes occur in subsequent assignments. Grading feedback is not as effective as we might hope.
- Does grading motivate students to learn? Not really. More often, grading motivates students to focus on grades. If learning is part of the equation, it happens more by accident than design. Pass back an exam and everywhere you hear the question, "Whatcha get?" Nobody is asking, "Whatcha learn?" This analysis of grading and motivation offers an even bleaker conclusion. “Grades can dampen existing intrinsic motivation, give rise to extrinsic motivation, enhance the fear of failure, reduce interest, decrease enjoyment in the class work, increase anxiety, hamper performance on follow-up tasks, stimulate avoidance of challenging tasks, and heighten competitiveness.” (p. 161)
- Is grading on a curve the fairest way to grade? The practice of doing so started in the early 20th century when it was discovered that IQ scores were distributed across the population in a normal curve. "Conforming grades to a curve held the promise of addressing some of the problems surrounding grading by making the process more scientific and consistent across classrooms." (p. 162) However, grading on the curve creates other inequities. If you have a bunch of really bright students in one section, some will end up getting C's while the same raw scores will be B's in the section where ability is more widely distributed. But most faculty don’t apply the curve all that rigidly. They adjust it, as needed, for a section or a set of exams which erodes the objectivity and consistency. The other problem with the curve system is that it creates competition in the classroom. When students are competing for points, it's not in their best interest to collaborate or contribute, which pretty much rules out students learning from and with each other. That works out okay for some students, but it's not fair for those who do learn well with others.
- Do grades provide reliable information about student learning? This is the perennial question about what it is grades really measure and if they measure the same things consistently. The research cited in the paper documents inconsistency in grading by individual faculty members (two different grades for the same piece of work when it's graded at different times) and across individual graders. Rubrics help, but research still identifies unrelated factors that influence grading (like gender, ethnicity, and knowing who the student is, for example). That kind of inconsistency isn't a problem with objective exams, such as those with multiple-choice questions, but those exams have studentsselecting answers, which is significantly different than generating answers. That rounds us back to the question of what kind of learning grades really measure.
- 08/11/14--19:49: The Art Of Making A Brilliant Presentation 08-12
- 08/11/14--20:54: Data center projects get lost in translation 08-12
- Extend the product life cycle. Today, resource constraints are creating unprecedented prices and volatility in natural-resource markets. Yet the results indicate that most companies have not even begun to implement strategies that extend the life of their products and thereby reduce their resource dependence in a significant way. According to our other research,5there is huge value potential in better design and in the optimization of products for multiple cycles of disassembly and reuse. Forward-looking companies should begin investing in the “circularity” of their products, for the benefit of society and for their bottom line. On materials alone, companies could potentially save more than $1 trillion per year.
- Look to technology. Similarly, technological advances are creating opportunities to drive sustainability solutions.6 Yet only 36 percent of respondents say their companies are mostly or fully integrating sustainability into their data and analytics work. Companies that want to capture increasing value in a resource-constrained world should spend more time thinking about how to integrate their technological capabilities into their overall sustainability agenda.
- Focus your strategy. As sustainability becomes more central to the business, companies should align internally on what they stand for and what actions they want to take on these issues, whether it’s economic development or changing business practices. Whatever approach companies take, they should develop a strategy with no more than five clear, well-defined priorities—one of the key factors for successful sustainability programs.
- 08/12/14--22:19: How Small Businesses can Beat Inflation 08-13
- 08/13/14--03:46: Ecosystem Guide: The 12 Players of the Collaborative Economy 08-13
- 08/13/14--10:10: Motivating Students: Should Effort Count? 08-13
- 08/13/14--20:09: Climbing Down from the Ivory Tower 08-14
- 08/15/14--20:01: You don’t need a co-founder for your startup 08-16
- 08/16/14--07:51: Why Disruptive Innovation Can Help Market Leaders 08-16
- 08/17/14--06:23: Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic Management System 08-17
- 08/19/14--19:33: organizers who helped make health care reform a reality 08-20
Get Over Your Fear of Conflict
Most of us have some resistance to conflict. Instead of addressing issues directly, we try to be “nice” and end up spending an inordinate amount of time talking to ourselves or others — complaining, feeling frustrated, ruminating on something that already happened, or anticipating something that might happen. These conversations usually sound something like this:
“My colleague interrupted me again. We’re supposed to be leading this effort together and this is his way of showing he’s the boss. He just makes me look bad in front of the team. I’ve been replaying it in my mind over and over again.”
Infosys' Sikka Era Begins As Shibulal Bids Adieu
How to Lead Your Team Through Change
The Big Idea: 21st-Century Talent Spotting
A few years ago, I was asked to help find a new CEO for a family-owned electronics retailer that wanted to professionalize its management and expand its operations. I worked closely with the outgoing chief executive and the board to pinpoint the relevant competencies for the job and then seek out and assess candidates. The man we hired had all the right credentials: He’d attended top professional schools and worked for some of the best organizations in the industry, and he was a successful country manager in one of the world’s most admired companies. Even more important, he’d scored above the target level for each of the competencies we’d identified. But none of that mattered. Despite his impressive background and great fit, he could not adjust to the massive technological, competitive, and regulatory changes occurring in the market at the time. Following three years of lackluster performance, he was asked to leave.
Four Key Questions about Grading
Reckoning with reputation
What leadership looks like
Organizing for sustainability
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How Small Businesses can Beat Inflation
Are we ready to wrestle with inflation? (courtesy of Alexis Foundation)
“Inflation is when you pay fifteen dollars for the ten-dollar haircut you used to get for five dollars when you had hair.” - Sam Ewing
Inflation. The sheer mention of the word brings forth shudders.
An inevitable fact of urban life, inflationary pressures lead to higher living costs. To match the rising costs of living, wages need to increase. With land becoming increasingly scarce, rental rates continue to climb. Utility charges will also head north as fossil fuels run low.
In tandem with rising labour and fuel costs, transportation and storage charges will similarly increase. Meanwhile, erratic weather patterns and the growing scarcity of natural resources lead to upward spirals in the costs of commodities, raw materials and natural produce.
How then could businesses hedge themselves against the negative effects of inflation?
First, find ways to trim "luxurious" business expenses by adopting the principles of bootstrapping. Consider leasing instead of buying machinery and equipment. Buy second hand if necessary. Or bring from home.
Pool your resources with other small businesses to enjoy economies of scale and greater bargaining power. Leverage on each other's areas of expertise and barter products and services. Undertake joint purchasing, marketing, utility purchases, training and other activities.
Seek ways to share resources in back-of-the-house areas like office spaces, estates and security, admin, human resources, finance, IT and logistics. If feasible, tap on outsourced service providers to run your backroom, IT, administrative or secretarial functions.
Embark on strategic sourcing and procurement practices. Constantly evaluate and re-evaluate your suppliers, and find ways to increase value while reducing costs. This includes considering non-traditional sources of goods and services from emerging markets, buying in bulk, or hedging your purchases for more volatile services.
Forecast demand as accurately as possible so that you can keep inventory costs low. Depending on your nature of business, cater for seasonal peaks and troughs. Consider implementing a Just-In-Time (JIT) system to ensure that stock doesn't build up unnecessarily during low seasons.
Get your customers and suppliers into the act! Reward them if they DIY. For example, offer a good discount if they can pick up the goods themselves (instead of having it delivered).
Reduce your running expenses and overheads by re-using, reducing and recycling. Stretch the lifespan of your office equipment, furniture and stationery. However, do not sting so much that working in your office becomes unbearable or customers end up having negative experiences.
If your business is energy intensive, find ways to incorporate "green" technologies into your building design. These can be anything from air-con chiller systems that recycle heat or save water to tinted glass windows that reduce the greenhouse effect.
Finally, adjust your prices, but be mindful of how your customers will feel. If possible, introduce sweeteners to cushion the impact of higher prices. An example would be throwing in low cost but high value items into your package of products or services.
Are there other ways to beat the inflation blues? Share your thoughts in the box below.
Motivating Students: Should Effort Count?
Should we try grading effort?... And Yes... Why not ???
That's what I've always believed, but here's what's troubling me. Most students want to get grades with the least amount of effort. If they can get an A or B with an hour or two of studying once a week, or by doing nothing until the night before the exam or paper is due, that's how much effort they'll make. Unless students fall madly in love with the content, most won't expend any more energy than they need to.
Then there are those students who aren't well prepared for the rigors of college—the ones who need to exert a lot of effort—and who really don't believe that effort will make a difference. They think learning is all about natural ability and maybe they just don't have what it takes.
In both cases, the question is the same: how do we motivate students to put forth the effort—to go beyond the minimum in the first case, and to try, multiples times and in multiple ways, before concluding that effort is always trumped by ability in the second.
A small institution with open admissions and a student body with low graduation rates instituted a unique grading system for first- and second-year courses. Students got two grades in each of these courses: one for content knowledge (measured in the traditional ways with exams, papers, projects, etc) and one for effort (measured by things like attendance, meeting deadlines, participating in class, etc). Content knowledge was weighted at 40% of the course grade and effort at 60% for first-year courses. Those amounts were reversed for second-year courses and no effort grades after that. Professors were allowed to define effort so long as the definitions were clear and communicated directly to students.
The paper reporting on the system analyzed the effort-learning-grade relationship differently than previous research (more robustly, according to the researcher who offers justification for that claim). The finding is as we'd expect: "the effort grade affects the knowledge grade positively and significantly. This is strong evidence that more student effort does lead to increased learning." (p. 1182)
That's not surprising to faculty, but it probably was to these low-achieving students who discovered that effort did make a difference. When they tried hard, they got results.
Of course, a system like this is using grades to motivate effort, and that's much like trying to cure obesity with more food. Students are already way too grade oriented. I used to try to challenge those students who were doing the minimum by trying to make them aware of how much more they could do. "If you put the pedal to the metal, how fast could you go? You've got a big brain motor why are you always running it half speed?" I'd suggest really studying for an exam in a course with content they cared about or spending time on a paper for three days instead of one evening. I'd try to make them understand it was about something beyond the grade. "You get decent grades without a lot of effort so you're not doing this for grades. You're doing this because you need to know what you can do." Some took me up on this; a lot more shrugged shoulders and smiled, albeit somewhat sheepishly.
Every now and then, a student excels – or maybe it's a handful of students who surpass all expectations. They write a truly memorable paper, get a perfect exam score, or produce an amazing project. We are stunned by their success and even more importantly, so are they. They can't believe what they accomplished. But this doesn't happen nearly as often as it should, and the challenge remains as to how we can get more of this kind of success in the classroom. Should we try grading effort?
Chief digital officer vs. chief data officer: Who will win the day?
Will the chief digital officer outlive the chief data officer? Where should data experts draw the line in the sand on data quality? The Data Mill reports.
Two emerging titles are gaining momentum -- and contributing to IT acronym confusion. Though the roles are different, both the chief digital officer and the chief data officer are the CDOs of the executive site -- but for how long? According to Jill Dyché, vice president of best practices at SAS Institute Inc., one CDO may be poised for greater success than the other.
"With the chief digital officer, the metrics are clearer," she said. Chief digital officers push the digital envelope, especially as it relates to customer-facing initiatives. Chief data officers, on the other hand, align strategy to data," Dyché said. "[This means assembling the right people] in a data governance framework that culturally exists." Customer champion vs. traffic cop -- put that way, she's probably correct.
Longevity notwithstanding, neither title is tasked with a simple agenda. But for the digital officer, the tasks at hand are crystalized and better appreciated outside IT circles. "Nowadays, everyone can point to an example of a digital innovation: streaming movies, product recommendations on my phone, the advent of the 'smart car' and the 'smart home.' There's clarity around digital opportunities, and people are eager to collaborate on what those look like," Dyché said.
Even the mechanics of how the business will get there are clearer. "[With digital objectives] we understand that some of this has to be done in the cloud. We understand that we want to do more omnichannel outreach. So you can look at the strategy and see where digital fits," she said.
The chief data officer's work is also crucial to business success, but not as well-defined and not nearly as well understood by the business, Dyché said. Business folks want to get their hands on data, but they're also shielded from the complexity of "accessing, correcting, integrating, deploying and governing" it, she said. They consider data governance a custodial function, if they think about it all -- best taken care of by someone else.
"The value and ROI discussions for data management are just harder," Dyché said. "The phenomenon is if we hire that warm body, they'll fix all of the problems." Unless the business understands the enormity and importance of the task, however, the chief data officer runs the risk of being viewed as very expensive janitor.
On the other hand, the chief digital officer role is viewed by some CDOs as stepping stone to even higher ground. At the Chief Digital Officer Summit in New York City last April, David Mathison, founder of the CDO Club and summit curator, shared research documenting a trend of digital officers moving into the chief executive role. In the 2014 Chief Digital Officer Talent Map, Mathison pointed to seven digital officers who transitioned to the CEO role -- a "staggering figure, considering there are just a few hundred CDOs to date," he noted in a blog post. According to the report, more than 60% of digital officers in the advertising industry, and more than 30% of digital officers in media, "had previous experience as CEO, president, general manager or executive director."
Drawing the line on data quality
When data broker Acxiom launched its site AboutTheData.com a year ago, the company expected to run into some data quality issues. What it possibly didn't foresee were the debates those data quality issues would spark.
AboutTheData is a platform that enables consumers to see and even edit some of the data Acxiom has collected on them, gathered from public sources or things like magazine subscriptions. The data broker analyzes and sells that information for use in marketing offers and target advertisement campaigns. The site was launched in an effort to create more transparency around marketing data, as well as better accuracy of the data. One objective, according to a press release, is to give consumers a channel to amend the data "to better reflect their likes and dislikes, resulting in more relevant advertising." About 10% of visitors change some piece of data, while only 2% opt out completely, Jennifer Glasgow, global privacy and public policy executive at Acxiom, said at the recent MIT Chief Data Officer and Information Quality Symposium.
However, when it comes to age, the company decided the best data doesn't necessarily have to be the most accurate data. If Acxiom has a reliable date of birth and knows the consumer is 45 years old, what should the company do if a consumer comes to the site and changes his or her age to 35? "We had a spirited debate inside the company about what's the right answer to that question," Glasgow said.
Acxiom ultimately decided that was allowable. If the consumer wants to be marketed to like he or she is 35 years old, "maybe that's a better answer than knowing their actual age," Glasgow said. After all, you're only as old as you feel.
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Climbing Down from the Ivory Tower
Nava Ashraf explains why it makes sense for field researchers to co-produce knowledge with the people they study and serve.
“ASKING THEM TO APPLY SOMETHING THAT’S BEEN GENERATED SOMEWHERE ELSE ISN'T INVOLVING THEM IN THE PROCESS”
THE USER'S PERSPECTIVE
CO-PRODUCTION IN FIELD RESEARCH
Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic Management System
These nonfinancial metrics are so valuable mainly because they predict future financial performance rather than simply report what’s already happened. This article, first published in 1996, describes how the balanced scorecard can help senior managers systematically link current actions with tomorrow’s goals, focusing on that place where, in the words of the authors, “the rubber meets the sky.”
Recently, we have seen some companies move beyond our early vision for the scorecard to discover its value as the cornerstone of a new strategic management system. Used this way, the scorecard addresses a serious deficiency in traditional management systems: their inability to link a company’s long-term strategy with its short-term actions.
Most companies’ operational and management control systems are built around financial measures and targets, which bear little relation to the company’s progress in achieving long-term strategic objectives. Thus the emphasis most companies place on short-term financial measures leaves a gap between the development of a strategy and its implementation.
Managers using the balanced scorecard do not have to rely on short-term financial measures as the sole indicators of the company’s performance. The scorecard lets them introduce four new management processes that, separately and in combination, contribute to linking long-term strategic objectives with short-term actions. (See the exhibit “Managing Strategy: Four Processes.”)
The first new process—translating the vision—helps managers build a consensus around the organization’s vision and strategy. Despite the best intentions of those at the top, lofty statements about becoming “best in class,” “the number one supplier,” or an “empowered organization” don’t translate easily into operational terms that provide useful guides to action at the local level. For people to act on the words in vision and strategy statements, those statements must be expressed as an integrated set of objectives and measures, agreed upon by all senior executives, that describe the long-term drivers of success.
The second process—communicating and linking—lets managers communicate their strategy up and down the organization and link it to departmental and individual objectives. Traditionally, departments are evaluated by their financial performance, and individual incentives are tied to short-term financial goals. The scorecard gives managers a way of ensuring that all levels of the organization understand the long-term strategy and that both departmental and individual objectives are aligned with it.
The third process—business planning—enables companies to integrate their business and financial plans. Almost all organizations today are implementing a variety of change programs, each with its own champions, gurus, and consultants, and each competing for senior executives’ time, energy, and resources. Managers find it difficult to integrate those diverse initiatives to achieve their strategic goals—a situation that leads to frequent disappointments with the programs’ results. But when managers use the ambitious goals set for balanced scorecard measures as the basis for allocating resources and setting priorities, they can undertake and coordinate only those initiatives that move them toward their long-term strategic objectives.
The fourth process—feedback and learning—gives companies the capacity for what we call strategic learning. Existing feedback and review processes focus on whether the company, its departments, or its individual employees have met their budgeted financial goals. With the balanced scorecard at the center of its management systems, a company can monitor short-term results from the three additional perspectives—customers, internal business processes, and learning and growth—and evaluate strategy in the light of recent performance. The scorecard thus enables companies to modify strategies to reflect real-time learning.
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