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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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    When Do Regulators Become More Important than Customers?

    While working with a huge Russian hydrocarbon company in Texas last year, our innovation conversation quickly zeroed in on customers. Who was the energy giant’s most important customer? Which customer had the biggest impact on new value creation? What customer would matter most in five years?
    The wide-ranging English/Russian debate raged for 20 minutes. Then one of the engineering executives, a fracking enthusiast and unconventional extraction technologies champion, spoke up. The answer, he declared, was now obvious. The company’s most important customer — by far — was Russia’s government. Strategic success required pleasing Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin.
    The room went quiet. That single comment rebooted the entire discussion. No one disagreed. The innovation roadmap was hauled out and reviewed less in the spotlight of global opportunities than the cold reflection of domestic politics. State satisfaction mattered more than market disruption.
    The unhappy innovation inference? Your most important customers may not be the people who buy your products but the ones who regulate your company and industry. With apologies toTed Levitt, a new “Marketing Myopia 2.0” has emerged. Instead of rethinking “What Business Are We In?,” the better question may be “What Will Our Regulators Do?.” That’s not cynicism; that’s savvy risk management.
    Uber didn’t hire former White House advisor David Plouffe by accident. The regulatory handwriting was on the wall and not just in the United States. The app-enabled car service faces resistanceand even protests worldwide. But its miseries enjoy great and growing company. 
    Wherever disruptive innovations have captured mind-or marketshare, regulators — not users and consumers — quickly become the customer most worthy of woo.Incumbents and competitors petition for relief and restraint. Twenty-first century market competition in disruptive business environments quickly becomes regulatory lawfare. Upstart innovators are seen as insurgents; they may not have to be crushed, but can’t be allowed to flourish. May the best lawyers and lobbyists win.
    For an Uber, Airbnb, Weibo, Google, 23andMe and most strategically-situated post-industrial disruptors, managing regulatory combat quickly assumes primacy over managing either innovation investment or customer satisfaction. Their managements increasingly have to play the odds: What is more likely to get a better and safer return on investment — a really talented software development team in Bangalore, Bogata, or Cambridge? Or a really good lobbyist or ”fixer”—in Brussels, Beijing, or Washington D.C.?
    These questions, of course, aren’t hypothetical.
    All companies — innovative or not — must respect and observe the rule of law wherever they compete. But that creates perverse incentives. The more important laws and regulations become, the more incentive there may be to create more of them. Finding innovative ways to change regulations may prove faster, better, and cheaper than innovatively improving products and services. This is the essence of the Nobel Prize-winning work in Public Choice economics — that lawmakers and regulators have incentives to preserve, protect, and extend their influence and reach. The late James Buchanan, the Nobelist father of Public Choice, described this as “politics without romance.”
    George Stigler, another Nobel economist, identified and described the concept of regulatory capture — a sort of economicsStockholm Syndrome  where regulators supposedly empowered to protect the public good end up protecting the individuals and organizations they are supposed to regulate.
    Needless to say, these behavioral pathologies lead directly to crony capitalism — where favors, waivers, and selective enforcement of the rules matter as much, or more, to marketplace success as innovative genius. These phenomena are global. And as disruptive innovators in fields from digital self-expression, health care, retail, tourism, and transportation seek to scale globally, they’ll find regulators scaling right along side them.
    As a rule, innovators are interested in creative destruction; regulators are not. As a rule, regulators make the rules. The rise of disruptive innovation guarantees a rise of restrictive rules. Those rules assure that regulators become more important, not less. Will regulators become more important to innovators than customers? Follow the money: if legal and lobbying budgets are growing faster than innovation and research budgets, we’ll know the answer.

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    Get More Done by Focusing Less on Work

    When people want to get more done at work, they double down on the time they put into their jobs. They adopt a new productivity approach, stay at the office late, work weekends, revamp to-do lists, and try to cram more into every day. But what if the secret to performing better at work, and feeling more satisfied, isn’t to put more effort and energy into work butless? Instead of working harder and longer, what if you better integrated the four domains of your life – work, home, community, and self?  My research has shown just that: By focusing more on the areas of life you care most about, even if those aren’t work, you’ll perform better at your job.

    In July 2013, I wrote a piece and launched an assessment on meant to help readers take a clear view of what they want from — and can contribute to — each domain of their lives. My advice to people was to carefully consider the people who matter most to them and the expectations they have of one another. 
    I then suggested that they experiment with small changes to see how those tweaks affected all four domains over a short period of time — what I call “four-way wins.” I gave practical guidance derived from my book on how to conduct the experiment. (Seethis article for more on designing four-way win experiments.)
    But — as I’ve seen in thousands of cases from years of field research, teaching, and practice — there are serious barriers to this type of integration, and even to trying small experiments. Those barriers are fear, ignorance, and guilt. People are afraid of change, don’t know how to go about it, and feel guilty even trying because they worry it will negatively impact others. If you can learn to minimize these barriers, you make it far more likely that you will try something new and successfully experiment, thereby getting more done and creating greater harmony in your life. Here’s how:
    1. Lower risk by scaling the intended new action down so it’s manageable, and less frightening. Let’s say the experiment is to shut down your digital stream periodically so you can focus on people at home and in your community. Instead of setting the goal for three hours of detox every day, try three hours per week.
    1. Gather information about what might and might not work by sharing ideas for action with stakeholders who’ll be affected. For example, let your boss know that for the next month, you’re going to try shutting down for three hours per week — and which specific hours you plan to do so. Explain to her how you believe this will benefit her and ask her what her concerns might be. If need be, adjust your plan so she sees it as a win for her, as well. Ideally, she’ll then want you to do this more often.
    1. Deliberately assess the positive impact you expect your actions to have not just on you personally, but on the people who depend on you at work, at home, and in the community — reducing any sense of selfishness you might feel because you’re doing it for them and for you. With your boss, for example, agree on a metric (e.g., your attentiveness to co-workers or your level of crankiness) that assesses an aspect of your performance that matters to you both. Then, figure out a simple way to collect data on this metric so you can quickly capture the results of your experiment and inform any further adjustments.
    It might seem counterintuitive that you will perform better at work if you spend more time with your kids, leave work early to volunteer at a local nonprofit, or take an hour out of your workday to go to the gym. But that’s just what happens.
    My research team observed in a 2005 study of 300 business professionals a paradoxical result (reported in my book Total Leadership): when you undertake smart experiments with the intent of better aligning your actions and your values in a way that’s consciously designed to benefit yourself, your work, your family, and your community, you are likely to spend less attention on work while experiencing enhanced well-being and better performance (as assessed by others) in all domains. Consider the following chart:
    As the chart illustrates, we found that what’s important to individuals didn’t change much over the course of the four months of the experiments we studied. People still rated each domain with the same level of importance. But participants shifted their focus of attention to better match what they cared about — that is, generally away from work to other domains — family, community, and self (mind, body, spirit). At the same time, their satisfaction in every domain increased, particularly in self. It’s easiest to make gains in this domain because it’s (usually) rated lowest to begin with, so there’s nowhere to go but up. Further, the positive spillover from better experiences in the other parts of your life has an especially good effect on your mind, body, and spirit. And not only did people’s sense of well-being improve across the board, their ability to meet performance expectations — as reported to them on a standard scale by key stakeholders — went up in all domains, too.
    But, how can performance at work improve with less attention paid to it? There are several reasons:
    • Clearer focus on results that really matter to the people around you.
    • Less wasted effort on activities that aren’t that important.
    • Reduced psychological interference across domains as a result of being less distracted, because you’re taking care of critical needs in those other parts.
    • A virtuous cycle of benefits from one part of your life spilling over to other parts; for example, greater confidence, less crankiness, and a stronger sense of control.
    Barriers to creating meaningful changes in where you focus your attention — your most precious resource — are real, and there are ways to surmount them. Take action that’s within your control and that you believe will benefit the people who matter most to you in all the different parts of your life, gather data on your impact, and continually adjust so you’re increasingly able to do what’s good for you and for them. Your mindset will shift as you start to see more opportunities for realistic four-way wins. You just have to look for them, as a leader, in all parts of your life, by doing the basics: Envision a better future and bring others along with you.

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    Three-person embryos: how the mitochondrial donation battle was won

    Prof Doug Turnbull successfully communicated difficult and controversial research with scientific accuracy, but in simple terms. His triumph shows why public engagement is crucial to science

    If you have been following the debate about whether to allow the new IVF technique of mitochondrial donation, which was approved by a thumping Commons majority on Tuesday, you will probably recognise the slight,bespectacled figure of Prof Doug Turnbull. The Newcastle University doctor who leads the team developing the technology has been a constant media presence, offering understated, accessible and compelling explanations of why it is necessary and why it is safe enough to offer to patients.
    Turnbull is these days an accomplished media performer, whose advocacy and public engagement has been critical to building a winning coalition of support for mitochondrial donation. Yet it was not ever thus. The Doug Turnbull you saw this week is the result of a long journey – one that many more scientists will need to take if their research is to find a better reception among the public and the media.
    I first interviewed Turnbull in 2005, when I was science correspondent at The Times, and he had won the UK’s first licence to create embryos with donated mitochondria – the miniature energy-producing elements within cells. The scientist I spoke to then had all the compassion he exudes today, but he was not what anybody would call a natural communicator.
    He was extremely wary of journalists and reticent with information. He was excessively anxious about being misrepresented (not without reason), and reluctant to talk to any reporter who had not already won his trust. He did not come across well on television or speaking in public: he was obviously nervous and used language too complicated for a general audience. It was also evident that he hated the limelight, and would much rather be helping his patients and leading his lab without the world’s attention. As one press officer who worked with him closely recalls: “He kept saying he wanted to go on holiday and hide.”
    Yet much as he hated it – and, I strongly suspect, hates it still – Turnbull has since become a case study in learning to communicate difficult and controversial research successfully. He forced himself to swallow hard and not only talk publicly about his research as often as demanded, but to get good at it as well. He worked hard at engaging the public and the media because he thought it his responsibility as a scientist pursuing research that some find contentious. And also because he recognised that it would be essential if his work were to stand a chance of having a real impact.
    From the moment his team’s goal was first reported, it was clear that there was great scope for it to be misinterpreted as Frankenstein science: the “three-parent baby” loved by misleading headline writers is one of the milder terms used to denigrate his work. And to be fair, to ordinary people who don’t have a working knowledge of mitochondria or embryology, mitochondrial donation does have the potential to sound alarming. For its true nature and purpose to come through to public and policy-makers, it would have to be properly explained. The researchers, too, would have to listen to concerns and address them.
    That is exactly what Turnbull and his team have done. Over the past decade, he has progressively taken more and more opportunities to discuss his work in the media, at science festivals and church meetings, with patient groups, with politicians and with regulators. He has learnt how to describe it with scientific accuracy, but in simple terms that lay people can understand. Every journalist requesting a lab visit or interview has been accommodated whenever possible. Long and frustrating as it might have been, he was an enthusiastic and constructive participant in the many years of scientific, ethical and public consultation that paved the way for the Commons vote.
    It is worth considering what might have happened had Turnbull taken a different attitude, preferring to respond to shrill headlines by shutting the media out, and to public misunderstandings by keeping quiet. It is my firm belief that not only would MPs not have supported the regulations allowing mitochondrial donation, but that those regulations would never have been laid for a vote at all. It was only because so much public engagement had been done, led by Turnbull but with contributions from many other scientists, patients and communications and engagement professionals, that ministers felt confident enough to place them before the house at any time, let alone just three months before a general election.
    What Turnbull’s evolution over the past decade shows is how important it can be for scientists who are never going to be Brian Cox or Alice Roberts to recognise that taking public engagement seriously is not only the right thing to do, but beneficial to their science. Without it, Newcastle’s mitochondrial research might have been forever confined to the lab, instead of poised to have a direct impact on the lives of families affected by a devastating disease.
    It is because of this that the Wellcome Trust, which funds Turnbull’s research and where I have worked for the past three years as head of communications, recently ring-fenced 1% of our funding for awards to researchers who wish to add high-quality public engagement programmes to their research. Turnbull, it may not surprise you to learn, was among the first successful applicants.
    Scares over the MMR vaccine and GM crops owed much to the failure of the scientists who ought to have known better to listen to public concerns, engage in dialogue and explain without condescending. That mitochondrial donation has passed so easily through the Commons – if not yet through the Lords – shows how this engagement can benefit science, as well as society.

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    Newly Discovered Networks among Different Diseases Reveal Hidden Connections

    Enormous databases of medical records have begun to reveal connections among diseases that could provide insights into the biological missteps that make us sick.

    Stefan Thurner is a physicist, not a biologist. But not long ago, the Austrian national health insurance clearinghouse asked Thurner and his colleagues at the Medical University of Vienna to examine some data for them. The data, it turned out, were the anonymized medical claims records — every diagnosis made, every treatment given — of most of the nation, which numbers some 8 million people. The question was whether the same standard of care could continue if, as had recently happened in Greece, a third of the funding evaporated. But Thurner thought there were other, deeper questions that the data could answer as well.
    In a recent paper in the New Journal of Physics, Thurner and his colleagues Peter Klimek and Anna Chmiel started by looking at the prevalence of 1,055 diseases in the overall population. They ran statistical analyses to uncover the risk of having two diseases together, identifying pairs of diseases for which the percentage of people who had both was higher than would be expected if the diseases were uncorrelated — in other words, a patient who had one disease was more likely than the average person to have the other. They applied statistical corrections to reduce the risk of drawing false connections between very rare and very common diseases, as any errors in diagnosis will get magnified in such an analysis. Finally, the team displayed their results as a network in which the diseases are nodes that connect to one another when they tend to occur together.
    The style of analysis has uncovered some unexpected links. In another paper, published on the scientific preprint site, Thurner’s team confirmed a controversial connection between diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, as well as unique patterns in the timing of when diabetics develop high blood pressure. The paper in the New Journal of Physics generated additional connections that they hope to investigate further.
    Eventually, Thurner and a growing number of other researchers hope to use these disease networks to generate hypotheses about how diseases operate at the molecular level. “Is this disease caused by a gene?” Thurner said. “Is it caused by a defect in the metabolic network? Is it due to environmental things that affect certain genes? Things like this. This is the aim.”
    Stefan Thurner analyzed the anonymized medical records of all of Austria.
    Medical University of Vienna/Matern
    Stefan Thurner analyzed the anonymized medical records of all of Austria.
    The work is being driven by the realization that diseases, as defined in medicine, sound like tidy, distinct entities, but are messier in reality. Diseases tend to be defined by their symptoms. But the molecular roots of a disease may have biological effects that go far beyond our current understanding. Certain diseases tend to follow others or have high rates of comorbidity, and though it isn’t clear why, it may be because they arise from related biological flaws.
    “The idea is, connections at the cellular level get amplified at the population level, and they emerge as comorbidity,” said Albert-László Barabási, a physicist at Northeastern University who has published several landmark papers in this area, including a 2009 article in PlOS Computational Biology that helped inspire Thurner, as well as a 2011 review of the field in Nature Reviews Genetics. Using a disease network, a researcher might suggest that biologists look for new disease genes shared between diseases one and two, for instance, where there seems to be a strong connection.
    Biologists typically look for genetic connections by using genome-wide association studies, which statistically associate genetic markers with disease. But at Harvard Medical School, another research team is attempting to find the same connections by mapping networks of a very different kind: the molecular networks at work in a cell.
    Networks of Life
    The inside of a cell seethes with activity, as tiny molecules, enormous proteins and strands of DNA wash around each other going about their business. Each actor’s business is some set of other actors — a protein, for instance, might snip pieces off of other proteins, ferry molecules around, or jump-start the manufacturing of DNA. It takes its cues from other actors, which can make it work faster or more slowly or send it off to distant regions where it’s needed.
    The functioning of the cell can take on a very different character if even a single member of this molecular social network starts to behave oddly. Before long, the effects ripple outward from the initial flaw, causing problems — disease — on the level of the organism. A disease is in some sense just an expression of the underlying dynamics of this social structure. Thurner hopes his disease networks can eventually help uncover some of these flaws.
    And it’s here at the sub-microscopic end of things that Joseph Loscalzo, a professor at Harvard Medical School and a long-time collaborator of Barabási’s, is mapping his own network. He and his team start by gleaning data from numerous databases on which proteins interact with each other and how. Then, using a computer model, they sketch out the social network within an average cell, connecting individual genes and proteins to one another if they happen to interact. Loscalzo’s team has built a diagram with 13,460 protein nodes and 141,296 links. (These interactions probably account for only about 20 to 25 percent of the total, Loscalzo says, but it’s a start.) Then they isolate just the nodes that have been statistically linked to a given disease. They call this set of nodes the disease module.
    A human disease network maps out connections between diseases — if patients who have one disease tend to also have another, the two disease nodes are connected.
    Olena Shmahalo/Quanta Magazine; source: Albert-László Barabási
    A human disease network maps out connections between diseases — if patients who have one disease tend to also have another, the two disease nodes are connected.
    One disease module they’ve studied is for pulmonary hypertension — high blood pressure in the lungs, which can cause heart failure. They looked at all the molecular pathways that genome-wide association studies suggested were involved. They then studied which pathways grow more active in animal models and in pulmonary hypertension patients under stress. Their disease module revealed that two proteins previously linked to some forms of the disease were part of the same molecular pathway and that they work together to cause errors in cell proliferation, which may be linked to the symptoms of the disease. The researchers published their findings in the journal Pulmonary Circulation.
    Another module looks at Type 2 diabetes. Researchers have linked diabetes to about 200 spots on the genome through genome-wide association studies. “The first 18 or so of those are highly significant, but the last 182 or so are just at the margin,” Loscalzo said. But in the disease module, it was clear that some of those 182 genes were highly connected hubs in the social network, a state of affairs that a genome-wide association study alone is not equipped to reveal. “We’ve explored three of those [genes] now, and they highlight pathways that had been peripherally believed to be associated with diabetes but never demonstrated in any careful way,” he said.
    Combining Loscalzo’s molecular networks with Thurner and Barabási’s disease networks would help to create a bridge between correlation and mechanism. If comorbid diseases share overlapping molecular networks, researchers could use the networks to understand the biochemical mechanisms behind them. These two kinds of networks, very different in how they are built, are united only by the idea that data can reveal connections that otherwise would pass unnoticed. But together these networks have the potential to open new doors in the study of disease.
    “Once you draw a network, you are drawing hypotheses on a piece of paper,” Thurner said. “You are saying, ‘Wow, look, I didn’t know these two things were related. Why could they be? Or is it just that our statistical threshold did not kick it out?’” In network analysis, you first validate your analysis by checking that it recreates connections that people have already identified in whatever system you are studying. After that, Thurner said, “the ones that did not exist before, those are new hypotheses. Then the work really starts.”
    It is worth remembering that both techniques are still relatively new. Loscalzo can reel off ways that his results could be flawed — the sprawling incompleteness of the data on protein-protein interactions is a major concern, but so are the methods used to gather the data, which are the best currently possible but far from perfect. And Thurner and his students are still gathering collaborators in biology who can test their hypotheses. After they published their first results from the database a couple of years ago, Thurner said wryly, “we thought we would have a hundred people sitting in our office,” looking to collaborate. So far, the response has been more of a trickle.
    “It’s not uncontroversial,” said Andrey Rzhetsky, a professor of genetics at the University of Chicago with a background in mathematical biology who has published on comorbidity networks. “Some people feel very strongly about big data sets — almost to the point of fanatic refusal to accept results from large-scale analysis.” The argument, he explains, is that there are unknown biases in large data sets. In the case of databases like Thurner’s, these biases stem from the different ways doctors enter information into medical records, the way ethnicity is accounted for, and so on. Rzhetsky acknowledges the danger of biases but believes they do not eliminate the usefulness of the data, provided researchers are careful with their interpretations. “I do think it’s the direction for the future, but it’s far from a solved problem,” he said. He was intrigued by the article in the New Journal of Physics. “The model is extremely simple, but the direction is great,” he wrote in an email.
    Loscalzo is aware of his colleagues’ scrutiny. “When I give talks about network medicine,” he said, “I’ve gotten three kinds of responses. At one end of the spectrum are generally young people … who say this is a great idea, I hadn’t thought about this before. … At the other end of the spectrum I have people my age or older who say: ‘What are you talking about? I’m a member of the National Academy and that’s all based on reductionist biology, I’m not going to change my strategy.’ Then in the middle you’ve got this broad swath of people who have a healthy skepticism and who want there to be some sort of proof that these notions can give us new insights. And that’s what we’ve been working on.”

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    Robots Perform Manual Labor to Make Farming Easier

    Farming by hand involves a lot of intense labor and some mindless tasks.
    There’s a startup that thinks there’s a better way to do things. Harvest Automation designs robots that arrange pots in nurseries and greenhouses. But soon, they might be able to accomplish even more – like warehousing and manufacturing.
    The startup based out of Billerica, Mass., hopes to take care of some simple and often labor-intensive tasks that can be hard on workers. Moving pots around might not seem like the most important purpose for a robot, but it is actually the perfect jumping off point for Harvest Automation.
    Some of the company’s founders previously worked on the team that developed the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner. But when they left the company, they took some time to decide what type of robot to develop next. And they knew that instead of making a multi-functioning robot, they wanted to make a robot that did one thing really well.
    Moving potted plants around is essential for keeping plants healthy as they grow and need more space. It is also a task that is simple enough for a robot to process and difficult enough to be unpleasant or even dangerous for human workers.
    But the company isn’t trying to replace human workers with robots. Instead, it simply aims to make the whole process easier by automating very specific tasks. Harvest Automation co-founder and CTO Joseph Jones spoke to Inc about the company:
    “We were naturally concerned about accusations that our robots would steal jobs. Charlie [Grinnell, the company’s COO] talked to customers about that early on. They said, “Don’t worry. We’re not going to fire anybody.” Currently, growers have a shortage of workers, so they plan to keep them on and give them higher-value tasks. And the workers we are training tell us they would much rather supervise robots than move pots around by hand.”
    The company is still in its early stages. It plans to work on automating some other tasks as well, while still making sure each robot specializes in one thing. That will allow people to improve the whole farming process, save money and resources, and potentially even make it a more earth-friendly process.
    Image: Harvest Automation, Facebook

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    Facebook's News Feed changes have been "catastrophic" for non profits

    Bruno needs a new home, and to look at him, you might think he’ll have no problem finding one. The energetic 2-year-old pit bull is friendly, gets along well with other dogs, and has a soulful set of deep-brown eyes that complement his brindle fur and regal profile. But despite his many agreeable traits, the young shelter dog may forever remain an orphan, in part because the animal rescue organization trying to match Bruno up with the right owner relies on Facebook for community outreach. And these days, that hasn’t been going so well.
    “We just haven’t had many applications for him,” said Erin Jenkins, a volunteer in Boston for Karuna Bully Rescue.
    It’s not for lack of trying. The Facebook page for Karuna Bully Rescue has more than 4,700 fans, people who have “liked” the page presumably because they’re interested in updates about dogs in need. But nowadays, very few of those fans ever see Karuna Bully’s Facebook posts. The tiny animal-rescue group is a victim of Facebook’s news feed and its notoriously diminishing returns, and in that sense, it’s in the same boat as major news organizations and multinational brands.
    “It’s getting out of control,” Jenkins said. “No one can really use Facebook anymore.”
    Recent changes to Facebook’s news feed algorithm have brought about a significant decline in “organic reach,” the number of people who see a post that hasn’t been boosted by paid advertising. Two years ago, organic reach for many posts was at about 16 percent, but over the last several months it’s been throttled to 2 percent or even less. That means a typical post by Karuna Bully may reach only about 95 people unless the group pays money to boost it.   
    facebook having 4,700 Facebook fans, Karuna Bully Rescue has trouble attracting engagement due to Facebook's algorithm
    Discussion around the issue -- and there’s been lots of it -- has tended to focus on the immense frustrations of brands and marketers, many of whom have been understandably shaking their fists at the gods of social media. But nonprofit organizations are getting caught in the algorithmic filter too, and some say the change has crippled their ability to share critical information and maintain the online communities their memberships rely on.
    “It’s an absolute catastrophe for us and every organization that’s paying attention,” said Seth Ginsberg, president of the Global Healthy Living Foundation, an advocacy group for patients living with painful joint conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
    Ginsberg said it’s now almost impossible for his organization to reach a majority of its more than 75,000Facebook fans. He said the reduced engagement is a threat in a community where social interaction is vital. Rates of depression are higher among people suffering from chronic pain, and Ginsberg said his membership over the last several years had come to rely on Facebook as a place for helpful information, articles and discussions, which can help sufferers feel less isolated.
    Even more problematic, he said, the organization has been unable to spread important health news relevant to the community it serves. “If the FDA has a drug recall because they find shards of glass in a medicine, we have to blast that out to our membership,” he said.
    A spokesman for Facebook Inc. declined to comment on the plight of nonprofits that use the site. But across the nonprofit sector, executives and staffers at organizations large and small are expressing similar concerns.
    “We’ve heard quite a bit about it,” said Rick Cohen, a spokesman for the National Council of Nonprofits. “Ice Bucket Challenge notwithstanding, the algorithm changes that Facebook has made just makes it a lot more difficult for nonprofits to expand their reach.”
    Facebook Giveth…
    An obvious solution here would be for organizations to accept that the free Facebook ride is over and revert to the methods they used before Facebook existed. The social network is only a decade old, after all. But nonprofit executives say Facebook, with its rapid growth and unrivaled penetration, has replaced many of the outreach strategies groups used before the advent of social media. Whereas nonprofits once poured resources into email campaigns and direct marketing, some switched gears a few years ago and began accumulating "likes" under the promise that a Facebook page could serve as a mass communication tool. Now that tool is crumbling.  
    Ginsberg said GHLF, which has an annual operating budget of about $1.8 million, spent $30,000 on Facebook advertising to build up its page, and now he’s unable to reach those fans without paying more to boost each post. “It’s the ultimate bait-and-switch,” he said.
    For some newer groups and younger volunteers, Facebook is the only outreach strategy they’ve ever known. “I got involved in animal rescue because of Facebook,” Jenkins said. “For the nonprofit community, Facebook is a bulletin board. It’s how we get donors, volunteers. It’s so incredibly vital to how rescues operate now, and losing this venue is just detrimental to us.”  
    Earlier this week Jenkins launched a petition calling on Facebook to stop throttling the organic reach for nonprofit pages. She said part of the issue is that Facebook treats every page like a marketing tool when, in fact, many are trying to raise awareness about important causes. “There should be an easy enough way to understand the difference between a nonprofit page and a page that’s profitable,” she said. 
    ice bucket challenge, amazingthingsElise Amendola/APThe “Ice Bucket Challenge” helped raise more than $100 million for ALS, in part through sharing on Facebook. While high-concept causes tend to do well on the social network, critics say engagement for nonprofits is not always about viral hooks.
    What’s In A Like?
    Facebook has long been consistent in its explanation for the decline of organic reach. Part of it, the company has said, is basic mathematics. As activity on the site has grown, news feeds have become increasingly crowded and posts are competing with more content.
    The second component has to do with Facebook’s proprietary algorithm, which culls news feeds so that users see -- or supposedly see -- only the content most relevant to them. Tweaks to the formula have resulted in a decline in reach for content the algorithm deems uninteresting or overly promotional. Facebook calls these changes improvements, but critics say users should have more control over what they see in their feeds. “Liking” a page, they say, is the equivalent to opting in to receive its posts, and the visibility of those posts shouldn’t be determined by the whims of a machine.   
    “There’s a lack of transparency about the weight of their engagement algorithm,” said Brian Steel, a social media manager for PayScale Inc. “What exactly is going on? It’s not really clear.”
    Facebook currently offers no option to view an unfiltered news feed, and to users who want one, its pitches about “relevant content” ring particularly hollow. Even if users wanted to see every post from a particular page, there is no way to make them appear in their news feed. (An “all updates” setting was quietly done away with.) Facebook does let users receive notifications when new posts appear, but page administrators say the extra step is burdensome and tiny red notification indicators are no replacement for news feed visibility.
    “It is not very effective,” said Dana Keithly, an animal shelter volunteer in Southern California. “When an animal’s life is at risk, or there is a time-sensitive cause, you don't really think about, ‘Oh, I need to turn the notifications on.’ If I have liked the page, that should be enough.”
    All of which speaks to disagreements over Facebook’s evolving role in community engagement.
    Ginsberg said major tech firms Google Inc. and Twitter Inc. have done a better job recognizing the utility-like role they now play in society and have accommodated the nonprofit sector accordingly. For instance, he said his group receives about $40,000 a month in advertising from Google’s Ad Grants program. He said Facebook could offer a similar program for its news feeds. “We’re hoping that Facebook will grow up, quite frankly,” he said.
    Back at Karuna Bully Rescue, Jenkins agrees. By Friday, her petition had reached almost 2,000 signatures, and she said she’s heard from a number of users who say they want to receive all the group’s posts, not just the ones Facebook robots deem relevant. She said for dogs like Bruno, nothing could be more relevant than simply being seen. “It’s not about bringing in money or having the most likes,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s about saving animals, and that’s all we want from all this.”

    View at the original source

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    Rich School, Poor School

    Looking Across The College-Access Divide

    Beauty and peace radiate across the 319-acre campus of the elegant Cranbrook Schools in suburban Detroit. But in one corner of the upper school, overlooking the manicured lacrosse field, is an angst-filled office where students and their parents come to fret.
    On a recent morning there, a pony-tailed soccer player was nervously fiddling with the zipper on her coat as she asked her college counselor if it was really necessary for her to do an admissions interview.
    "It's just, like, nerve-wracking because, like, you don't want to say the wrong thing," she murmured, slumping in her chair.
    An aspiring art historian down the hall was worrying that her latest grades — she got a B-plus in AP physics — could hamper her dream of following her mother and brother to Yale.
    "I think it's, like, .7 percent away from an A-minus," she lamented, updating her counselor on her work with a physics tutor.
    Deren Finks and his team were ready to help.
    With 169 years of experience between them in college advising or admissions, Finks — the school's dean of college counseling — and his four associate deans and two support staff calmly dispense wisdom, manage expectations and offer practical training in such things as mock interviews for college aspirants.
    Their work at Cranbrook bears almost no resemblance to the conversations about college taking place at another high school 19 miles south. There, in a crime-ravaged section of northeast Detroit, Andrea Jackson works with kids hoping to be the first in their families to climb out of poverty.
    Jackson is the lone college adviser for the 400 students at the Osborn Collegiate Academy of Math, Science and Technology, a public school where most students are focused not on applying to Yale, but on surviving daily life.
    "I need to start job-searching. I need help really bad," sighed a 17-year-old senior who turned up one morning in Jackson's office in the school's poorly heated library.
    The girl hopes to enroll in a nursing program at a local community college next year but needs money now to make it through the end of high school.
    Jackson and Finks are both skilled professionals charged with guiding kids as they figure out what to do next with their lives. But they are on opposite ends of what experts say is a glaring inequity in American schools.
    The high-tech economy has made a college degree an essential ticket to a good job, and unraveling the college-application process is more complicated than ever.
    Colleges Guide Low-Income Students From Getting In To Graduating"Your ZIP code can really determine what your future will look like," said Kim Cook, executive director of the National College Access Network.

    Yet students in poor urban and rural school districts can expect little or no college advising, an especially big problem given that many of them are low-income, racial minorities who would be the first in their families to go to college — meaning they need the most help with the application process.
    Comparing a suburban private school with an inner-city one, of course, provides an extreme example of the disparities in college counseling based on socioeconomic status. But it symbolizes a gulf so critical that the Education Commission of the States reports that it's hampering the ability of the United States to keep up with international economic rivals, at least as measured by the proportion of the population going to college.
    The average public high school counselor in the United States has a caseload of 471 students, reports the American School Counselor Association — nearly double the 250 recommended by the group and almost five times the number that counselors in private schools work with.
    And what few counselors there are in the schools with the poorest kids may be "torn away because of testing requirements or because of disciplinary issues," said Maureen Hoyler, president of the Council for Opportunities in Education. "College admissions issues are not the highest on the priority list."
    The drive to increase the number of people with degrees "has not been backed by meaningful state policies to improve college counseling in secondary schools," the Education Commission of the States report said.
    There are several measures underway to address this problem. The American School Counselors Association, for example, has urged that overloaded counselors find some way to reach every student every year in some way, even if it has to be in groups rather than one-on-one.
    White House Makes College For Low-Income Students A PriorityAnd correcting the inequity between the counseling available to rich and poor kids has become a priority of a White House initiative being pushed by First Lady Michelle Obama. Called Reach Higher, it encourages more high school graduates to go to college. The White House convened a meeting at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in July to begin devising ways of improving college counseling.

    A small number of communities have launched programs, often paid for by private donations, to supply volunteer "coaches" who help first-generation students get the college-going support they're not getting in high schools.
    Still, even at schools where counselors have manageable caseloads, many have little formal training in college admissions. They may not know whether credits from a community college will transfer to a four-year institution, be ill-equipped to link students with schools where they'll do more than just run up crippling debt before dropping out, or be baffled by changing rules for the loans and scholarships the low-income students will rely on.
    "Typically, you'll see the most well-trained people in the private, affluent schools and the least well-trained in low-income settings," said Mandy Savitz-Romer, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a former counselor in an urban public high school. "The kids who need the most help are going to get the least-qualified support unless we train people very well for this."
    It's unlikely that the typical public school can offer the resources available at private schools like Cranbrook, where tuition is $30,200 a year and alumni include former presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
    But what happens at this private academy shows the edge afforded to kids already blessed with many advantages.
    Cranbrook says all of its seniors enroll in college, mainly four-year schools, including some of the nation's top universities. The counselors hunt down kids who seem to be procrastinating, call admissions officers to pull strings, and spend hours getting to know their students so they can write detailed recommendation letters.
    By contrast, in her Detroit public school Andrea Jackson has no help handling paperwork for the nearly 400 students she advises, and no access to the college application software that makes things easier for Cranbrook's crew.
    She raises money from local businesses to take kids on college visits. She hosts financial-aid nights to get students face time with experts, and she works the phones to bring admissions officers to her school. She asks teachers to give extra credit during class time to seniors who fill out community college applications.
    "I'm a college adviser, but I do more," Jackson says. "You cannot come into these type of communities and just say, 'Hey! You're going to college,' because, first off, they don't believe you."
    Unusually for an urban high school, more than half of Osborn's students — 54 percent — enrolled in four-year institutions last year, with the other half headed to community colleges.
    But advocates say her kids deserve more than even a devoted counselor like Jackson can give them.
    "School counselors," said Eric Waldo, Reach Higher's executive director, "can't be a luxury."
    This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education.

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    1500 Year Old Panchmukhi Hanuman Mandir in Karachi, Pakistan

    1500 years old Panchmukhi Hanuman Mandir located at Soldier Bazaar in Karachi is one of the oldest hindu temples in Pakistan.

    The temple holds special significance for Hindus as it is the only shrine in the world which has a “natural statue” of Hanuman that is not man-made.

    The blue and white 8 feet statue was found many centuries ago at the place where the temple now stands; it bears all five aspects of Hanuman : Narasimha, Adivaraha, Hayagriva, Hanuman and Garuda.

    It is believed that such naturally-formed idols of deities possess exceptional power and appear to bless worshippers.
    Upon entering the temple, one is struck by the intricately carved yellow stone structure in the middle of the temple premises.
    This temple’s renovation work has started in 2012 and to preserve the look of the temple, its original yellow stones are being used to rebuild the arched walls.

    The small front porch has pillars of carved yellow stone on either side with a black and white marble floor, a wide passage for clockwise circumambulation (parikrama / pradakshina) runs around it.
    It is believed that completion of 108 rounds around the chambers, cleanses all pain, evil and adversity, making this temple a citadel of healing for all castes and creed.

    This is one of the few hindu temples in Pakistan to survive the onslaught on temples in the area that followed the demolition of Babri Masjid in India.
    Multiple communities like Maharashtrians, Sindhis, Balochis visit this temple.
    Such sites represent vestiges of ancient lore in Hindu mythology, they also stand like warriors of Time; pitted testaments of a peaceful, pluralistic past.

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    Big Data and Data Center Operations

    Scott Koegler recently wrote a post titled ”Use Big Network Data to Predict and Avoid Network Problems” where he describes the use of data analysis and predictive analytics by IPSoft. Scott wrote:
    "By turning predictive analytics inward to track where breaks happen most frequently, IT and network admins can set more accurate thresholds for recurring issues, positioning themselves ahead of any damage.”
    Big data and predictive analytics are a great fit for the data center and IT operations, especially within the modern data center. There’s a great deal of data being generated and managed within IT operations, and the approaches and systems found within big data can help better understand and manage operations.
    The example that Scott (and IPSoft) used is one that can provide value for any organization because it allows IT operations to understand (and predict) when breaks or issues might arise within the data center, network or remote office.
    Imagine how impressive it would be for an IT specialist in a central office to get a notification that something in a far-flung branch office is amiss. Imagine again how that notification could tell IT staff exactly what was wrong and provide a recommendation to “fix” the problem before it actually became a problem.  This capability is available today with predictive analytics and data analysis.
    Using predictive analytics and other big data approaches to identify bottlenecks, manage incidents and fix issues faster is the next logical step for data center and IT operations.
    View at the original source

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    Degrees don’t matter anymore, skills do

    If I were to make a nomination for the most destructive belief in our culture, it would be the belief that some people are born smart and others are born dumb. This belief is not only badly off target as a shorthand description of reality, it is the source of many social pathologies and lost opportunities. 

    For example:

    Those who get low test scores think they are just not as smart andavoid tough majors that lead to some of the best jobs.

    A strong belief within an academic field that talent is innate goes along with that field having fewer women and African-Americans.

    Many people utter the black magic spell “I’m bad at math” and it becomes so. A lucky few have that spell broken, and find they can become good at math after all. 
    People misunderstand the past and imagine a dystopian future, not realizing that each generation is smarter than the last.

    Too much of our educational system, both at the K-12 level and in higher education, is built around the idea that some students are smart and others are dumb. One shining exception are the “Knowledge is Power Program” or KIPP schools. In my blog post “Magic Ingredient 1: More K-12 School” I gave this simple description of the main strategy behind KIPP schools, which do a brilliant job, even for kids from very poor backgrounds:

    They motivate students by convincing them they can succeed and have a better life through working hard in school.

    They keep order, so the students are not distracted from learning.

    They have the students study hard for many long hours, with a long school day, a long school week (some school on Saturdays), and a long school year (school during the summer).

    A famous experiment by Harvard psychology professor Robert Rosenthal back in 1964 told teachers that certain students, chosen at random, were about to have a growth spurt—in their IQ. These kids did wind up having their IQ grow faster than the other kids. If we had an educational system that expected all kids to succeed, and gave them the kind of extra encouragement that those teachers unconsciously gave the kids they expected to do well, then kids in general would learn more. 

    Kids whose teachers had low expectations can expect more typecasting in college. Too many majors fall into one of two categories: (a) majors in which there is no easy way to tell whether a student has mastered any skills that will help get a job or make life richer, or (b) majors designed to weed out all the slow learners and only try to teach the students who catch on quickly. Behind the practice of weeding out slow learners is the misconception that a slow learner is a bad learner, when in fact a slow learner who puts in the time necessary to learn often ends up with a deeper understanding than the fast learner.
    The good news is that a total transformation of education is coming, whether the educational establishment likes it or not. I draw my account of this transformation of education from two prophetic books by Harvard Business School professor Clay 

    Christensen and his co-authors:

    Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns by Clay Christensen, Curtis Johnson and Michael Horn

    The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out by Clay Christensen and Henry J. Eyring.

    The road ahead is clear: the potential in each student can be unlocked by combining the power of computers, software, and the internet with the human touch of a teacher-as-coach to motivate that student to work hard at learning. Technology brings several elements to the equation:

    customized lessons adapted to each student’s individual learning style at a cost that won’t break the bank.

    lectures from some of the most talented instructors in the world (such as this course in financial asset pricing by the impressive John Cochrane and many other economics classes by Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok)

    the kind of software motivational tricks that make it so hard for kids to pull away from video games

    flexibility for students to learn at their own pace.

    But since motivation—the desire to learn—is so important, a human teacher to act as coach is also crucial. In particular, without a coach, the flexibility for students to learn at their own pace can be a two-edged sword, because it makes it easy to procrastinate. 
    In the end, none of this will be hard. The technology and content for that technology are already good and rapidly improving. And although it is a bit much to expect someone to be both a great and inspirational coach and to be at the cutting edge of an academic field, the number of great athletic coaches and trainers at all levels indicates that, on its own, being an inspirational coach is not that rare. 

    Being an inspirational coach in an academic setting is not quite the same thing, but I am willing to bet that it, too, is blessedly common. By having the cutting-edge knowledge from the best scientists and savants in the world built into software and delivered in online lectures, all a community college has to do to deliver a world-class education is to hire teachers who know how to motivate students.

    Similarly, at the K-12 level, it is easier to find teachers who will be inspirational if those teachers can connect each student with expertly designed software customized for each student’s learning style. And teachers will be able to encourage each student to dig deeper into some particular interest that student has—well beyond the teacher’s own knowledge. Yet the teachers themselves will end up knowing a lot—much more than they learned in college themselves, simply from working alongside the students.

    But what about all the forces arrayed against educational reform? Though they have won over and over in the past, those reactionary forces will be overwhelmed by these new possibilities. They will be like the corporate information technology department trying to stop workers from downloading unapproved, but inexpensive software on their own to get the job done.

    The day is not far off (some would argue it is already here), when any parent who has the inclination to be a learning coach can team up with inexpensive online tools to give his or her child an education that is 20% better (say as measured by standardized test scores achieved) than what that child would get in the regular schools. It is hard to start a new charter school, and harder still to change a whole school district. 

    But when an individual family can opt out, it is no longer David vs. Goliath in a duel to the death, but David leaving Goliath behind in the dust in a foot race. In the end, I think organized institutions can do a better job at teaching than parents on their own—but only if those institutions do things right. The ability of individual families to opt out will force most schools to get with the program, or lose a large share of their students.

    None of this will happen instantly. In K-12, some states already have a strong tradition of educational reform, and will jump-start these changes. In other states, the forces arrayed against reform will be able to hold back progress for quite some time, by fighting tooth and nail against it. Rich, educated parents may help their kids tap into the new educational possibilities more quickly than poor parents who aren’t as attuned to education. But when performance gaps open wide enough, education in the laggard states will come around, by popular demand. And the scandal of ever more substandard education for the poor will encourage efforts by concerned citizens toward solutions empowered by the new learning technologies.

    In higher education, students voting with their feet will make schools at the bottom of the heap change or die. Many of the most prestigious colleges and universities will resist change much longer, but some will embrace the “flipped classroom” model of doing everything online that can effectively be done online, and doing in the classroom only those things for which face-to-face interaction is crucial. But some of the prestigious colleges and universities will embrace the new methods, and will move ahead in the rankings as a result. The rest will ultimately follow.

    There is one other force that will propel the transformation of education: a shift from credentials to certification. In most of the current system, the emphasis is diplomas and degrees—credentials saying a student has been sitting in class so many hours, while paying enough attention and cramming enough not to do too much worse than the other students on the exams. More and more, employers are going to want to see some proof that a potential employee has actually gained particular skills. 

    So certificates that can credibly attest to someone’s ability to write computer code, write a decent essay, use a spreadsheet, or give a persuasive speech are going to be worth more and more. And any training program that takes the need to maintain its own credibility seriously can help students gain those skills and certify them for employers in a way that bypasses the existing educational establishment. Just witness the current popularity of “coding bootcamps.” That model can work for many other skills as well. For many students, that kind of certification of specific skills is a very attractive alternative to a two-year degree. 

    When this transformation of education is complete, K-12 education will cost about the same as it does now, but will be two or three times as effective. College education will not only be much more effective than it is now, it will also be much cheaper. There will still be a few expensive elite colleges and universities; these schools are not just providing an education, they are selling social status, and the opportunity to rub shoulders with celebrity professors.

     But less elite colleges and universities will find it hard to compete with the cheaper alternative of community college professor as coach for computerized learning. So the problem of college costs will be a thing of the past for anyone focused on learning, as opposed to social status.  (Of course, if lower college costs are one side of the coin, lower college revenue is the other side. College professors as a whole are likely to have a lower position in the income distribution in the future than in the recent past, with premium salaries limited to a shrinking group of well-paid academic stars.)

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    Facebook Continues To Dominate Social Logins, Expands Lead To 61% Market Share

    Facebook has long been the dominant player in social logins and it continues to expand its lead, according to the latest data from identity management platform Gigya.

    For the first time since 2011, Facebook surpassed the 60 percent mark and powered 61 percent of all social logins on Gigya’s network in the last quarter of 2014 (up from 58 percent in the previous quarter and up 10 percent from a year ago).

    For the most part, Facebook is taking market share away from Google at this point. Google’s overall share on Gigya’s network dropped from 24 percent in the third quarter of 2014 to 22 percent in the last quarter.

    On mobile, Facebook’s dominance is even more pronounced. There, it owns 77 percent of all social logins, up from 62 percent in the previous quarter. All of those gains came at the expense of Google, which dropped from 28 percent to only 16 percent.

    Facebook is pretty much dominant across all business segments. It powers 72 percent of social logins on e-commerce sites, for example, and 76 percent on education and non-profit sites. The one small exception is media sites, where it “only” has a 55 percent market share. That’s not a bright spot for Google either, though, as it only owns about 21 percent of that market, too, while Twitter and Yahoo are relatively popular with 11 percent and 8 percent market share, respectively.

    I asked Gigya CEO Patrick Salyer how he explains this trend. “We’re seeing that Facebook’s line-by-line controls for Facebook Login are making a big difference for how consumers interact with Facebook as an identity provider,” he told me. “While the difference was most pronounced on mobile in Q4 2014, we’re seeing an overall trend that Facebook continues to make progress in the war for identity.”

    Looking ahead, he also believes Apple’s Touch ID could become a major threat to existing log-in providers. “If it gets traction with developers as an authentication mechanism on mobile apps, it could really start to eat Facebook’s lunch in identity.”
    Yahoo, by the way, saw the largest drop. Yahoo once accounted for 18 percent of all logins and is now down to 6 percent — on par with Twitter’s social log-in numbers, which have grown slowly over the last year.

    View at the original source

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    Shyam's take

    We are left speechless by these repeated acts of violence and arson.Only the perpetrators and cause change. reason of course is always hatred. fallout is always loss of precious and property.

    If  we relate this action to the behavior pattern of an individual....

    How do we analyze ....

     Hate is an inherent attribute (as per english dictionary we can call hate an attribute) in people.Only thing is it can be easily inflamed in some, with a little effort in others. may be with with great difficulty in some others,

    The reaction to stimulus differs from people to people. For some it is just a mild verbal expression, for others it may be more vehement verbal expression leading to discussions and arguements.

    But only a small minorty can be inflamed enough to resort to violence resulting in the loss of life and property.

    But these are also the people that have nobility as an attribute. This can also be ignited to get constructive contribution to the society.

    So it depends on the facilitator and his act of inflammation  or ignition.

    The consequence and fallout of a particular behavior by an individual or a group is as much a responsibility of the fecilitator as the offender himself.

    So if it is possible to remove the facilitator. it will more or less be equal to removing the cause for the acion.

    And may be the action itself.

    How do you remove the facilitators???

    Total annihilation of facilitators should precede, prosecution of the perpetrators.


    Now The article.....

    Fire officials now say an accelerant was used in a fire that broke out at an Islamic community and education center in southeast Houston early Friday morning, and now a group is calling for an investigation into whether the fire was the result of a possible hate crime.

    Houston fire officials say the fire at the Quba Islamic Institute started around 5am. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but we've learned HFD says the accelerant was used, which usually points to a purposeful act. Those same investigators met with leaders at another Islamic center just miles away, letting them know that this was an act of arson and to be on alert.

    The Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling on state and federal authorities to investigate the fire as a possible hate crime.

    That call comes as Ahsan Zahid, assistant Imam at the institute, says he spoke with the Houston arson investigator about their preliminary results.

    Zahid said, "They said their dog went through and he hit on some substances inside the place, and he said, 'From what I see right now at this point, I have to say it was an incendiary fire which means that it was started on purpose.' That's all we can go on at this point. I don't want to speculate."

    Though we don't know officially if the cause was accidental or deliberate, the FBI is now monitoring the situation.

    Flames ate away at a building on the back of the property, which members tell us was only used for storage for books, renovation supplies, and furniture. 

    "The damage on the back building is total," said Houston Fire Department district chief Ken Tyner. "The whole entire building back there is burned up."

    The assistant imam said they found a vandalized, smashed table on their property this morning and that he also said just last night, someone had driven by, screaming mocking chants.

    Earlier this week, a masked man had been lurking around the institute, and had to be chased off the property.

    The mosque and school at the front of the property were intact, but people who use them are feeling a sense of anxiety.

    "The first thing we think about is hate crimes that could go on," said Hala Saadeh, who uses the community center. "It says right on the front -- Islamic Institute. We're not hiding ourselves."

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    A Troubling Result

    One specific result I’d like to delve into is the fact that CEOs have a much rosier picture of how data-driven their organizations are than do those down the chain. A few of the key statistics are:
    While 47 percent of CEOs believe that all employees have access to the data they need, only 27 percent of all respondents agree that they do.

    Similarly, 43 percent of CEOs think relevant data are captured and made available in real time, compared to 29 percent of all respondents.

    CEOs are also more likely to think that employees extract relevant insights from data – 38 percent of them hold this belief, as compared to 24 percent of all respondents and only 19 percent of senior vice presidents, vice presidents and directors.

    This set of findings seems to have struck a nerve. During every media interview regarding the survey, I was asked about these figures (see these pieces at Forbes and My initial reaction was that some CEOs may be a bit out of touch. Upon further reflection, however, I have decided that this conclusion is unfair in many situations. In fact, it may not be the CEOs that are the problem at all. I believe that in many cases the CEO is being misled.

    Is Your CEO Being Misled?

    Let me clarify right away that I am not suggesting that there is some vast conspiracy to mislead CEOs. I believe the disconnect comes about from the way that information naturally works its way up the corporate hierarchy.
    Imagine a director-level employee being provided a status report with a list of things that are going well and others going not so well across a range of initiatives. When passing the news up to the VP, the director is often going to naturally spin the good as positively as possible and downplay the bad. The director may even skip a bad point or two in the hopes that the situations can be remedied before anyone up the chain needs to worry.
    Next, the VP employs some similar cleansing and scrubbing before providing an update to whichever officer he or she reports to. That officer then applies a bit more scrubbing before talking to the CEO. The end result is that the CEO comes away with a more positive picture than is warranted even though nobody intended to be misleading.
    This phenomenon certainly isn’t unique to the processes around being a data-driven business. However, an organization can’t be truly data-driven until it is willing to look in an honest, unfiltered, unbiased way at whatever the facts are that data holds, both good and bad. In other words, in a data-driven organization, people should be comfortable providing the unvarnished truth to the CEO and the CEO should expect nothing less.

    Being Data-Driven Is All About Objective Facts

    There will certainly be instances where an individual’s pride or bonus will be harmed by the facts presented by the data and the analytics derived from that data. Part of being data-driven, however, is to prefer objective, factual assessments over subjective (often political) assessments. If my numbers are bad when reported factually and transparently, at least we all know how bad the numbers are and I know exactly how much I need to improve them. I’d prefer that to someone deciding my numbers are good or bad based on the mood they are in that day.
    As your organization continues down the path of being data-driven, consider a survey of how wide the gap is between your CEO, senior management, and the broader employee base when it comes to the use of data and analytics in the organization. If there is a gap, make it a priority for everyone to focus on closing it. After all, the CEO must provide the support needed to fix problems and build on success as the organization progresses down the road to becoming data-driven. This isn’t possible if the CEO is being misled about the current state of the organization.

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    To help your baby develop a large vocabulary — to give her the tools she’ll need to read, comprehend, and make sense of the world — it’s not just talk that’s important. It’s conversation.
    To be sure, parental talk of any kind is a good thing; the number of words that a child hears in infancy and toddlerhood is strongly predictive of future vocabulary growth. (Educators and policymakers have tuned in, launching initiatives that encourage parents to spend more time talking with their babies.)
    But for Associate Professor Meredith Rowe, an educational psychologist at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the amount of words a child hears is just one factor, and not the most significant, in predicting future vocabulary growth.
    In an important 2012 paper [PDF] and in follow-up research [PDF] published just this year, Rowe found that diversity of words is more predictive of future language skills, especially as a baby grows through toddlerhood. And it’s not just using a wide assortment of words that’s important — it’s using complex words, interactive words, and words to tell stories, explain, and imagine.
    We asked Rowe to share some takeaways.
    It seems pretty well established that the quantity of parental words influences children’s rate of vocabulary growth. What was your interest in moving the conversation beyond quantity to look at quality?
    We’ve known for a while that the quantity of input matters. I think the shift to a focus on quality rather than quantity was a natural next step in the field. Many researchers, including myself, got to a point where we wanted to know more about themechanisms underlying language learning. Knowing that quantity of input matters is a start, but knowing more about which types of input are most useful at different ages is more informative about how children grow their vocabularies. And I think pitting the quantity and quality against each other is an important step in the conversation, and what I was trying to accomplish in that 2012 paper in Child Development. It is much easier to send a message about quantity, but if we know that quality trumps quantity, statistically, then perhaps we can really try and change the message to be more about having high-quality conversations with children rather than just “talking a lot.”
    Tell us about the kinds of “quality” talk you say you’re most interested in — the use of rare words and decontextualized words.
    I’m actually interested in a really wide range of what we call input quality measures, and I think one of the biggest challenges for the field is to pinpoint the specific features of input that are most beneficial for children’s language learning at different points in early childhood. Some of my work has focused on the importance of non-verbal input, specifically pointing a lot and at a lot of different things while you talk with your young children (ages 9 through 18 months).
    Then, some of the work I’ve done looking at input to toddlers and preschoolers has built off of [Professor]Catherine Snow’s previous research with the Home School Study of Language and Literacy Development to show that using rare or sophisticated vocabulary words and using talk that is abstract or beyond the here and now is very helpful at these ages.
    Can you give us an example of the “rare” and the “abstract”?
    Often these things go hand-in-hand. So a parent might have a conversation with a three-year-old about their recent trip to the children’s museum, and they might reminisce about how much fun they had putting balls through a chute and trying to line them up at the right angle so that it worked properly. This could lead to a discussion about gravity or many other related topics. [Ed: Italics signify rare words, within the context of a “beyond-the-here-and-now” conversation.]
    In that 2012 paper and in the paper that just came out in Developmental Psychology, we found that this type of decontextualized talk about the non-present predicted not only vocabulary but also children’s syntax and narrative development. And this particular type of talk with children in the toddler/preschool age range was more predictive of child language outcomes than the quantity of talk or other types of talk, and it wiped out the effect of quantity in the statistical models.
    You looked at parental input in a diverse group of 50 caregiver-child pairs, assessing data collected when the child was 18 months, 30 months, and 42 months of age. Did you find wide variance? 
    Parents varied widely in the quantity and quality of words they spoke to their children. For example, in a 90-minute interaction, the number of words that parents spoke to their children at 18 months ranged from 360 to over 9,200. Similarly, at 30 months, some parents did not produce any narrative utterances, whereas others produced over 250.
    What factors add to the variance?
    Primary caregiver education is positively related to both quantity and quality measures. On average, more highly educated parents use more words and more diverse vocabulary at each child age than less educated parents.
    But there were some areas where we did not see average social class differences in input. For example, with that beneficial narrative talk about the trip to the museum, the more educated parents did not use it more, on average, than the less educated parents.
    I think this is important. Different parents communicate with their children in different ways. Our goal is to inform parents and caregivers of the types of input that are most beneficial for young children’s language development. If parents are already communicating in these helpful ways, then it will be easier for them to continue to do so.
    As you look at the body of work you’ve done so far, what are the broad takeaways for parents and early educators?
    In a broad sense, our findings show that parents can scaffold their children’s vocabulary growth at different points in their development by providing them with exposure to different types of communication. The results suggest that beyond the quantity of their talk, parents should focus on the quality:
    • With infants, pointing and labeling a variety of objects
    • With toddlers, asking challenging questions and incorporating a diverse and sophisticated vocabulary
    • With toddlers and preschool children, having conversations about past or future events.

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    Big data redefines the traditional scientific methods used in medicine

    Healthcare professionals are applying big data and analytics to clinical challenges. This is just the beginning of a redefinition in the traditional scientific methods used in medicine. 
    IBM Watson
     Image: Bob Goldberg/courtesy of IBM
    Stanford University will host a big data in biomedicine conference May 20-22, 2015 for medical researchers hailing from colleges and universities, hospitals, government, and industry. The goals are to encourage collaboration, address challenges, and identify actionable steps for harnessing big data in healthcare.
    There are plenty of incentives. Whether through mega-scientific computing projects that process petabytes of data or through more informal ways of looking at data and analyzing it in new ways to reach outcomes that were previously unattainable, medicine is marching forward in applying big data and analytics to clinical challenges.
    For instance, at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford in 2011, a young girl from Reno, Nevada, was flown by helicopter to the hospital, where she was admitted to the intensive care unit. The girl had lupus, which attacks the body's healthy tissues and can cause permanent kidney damage. An interdisciplinary team of doctors had to weigh the risks of using a coagulant that could thin blood and help prevent clots against the counter risks of complicating surgery, causing a stroke or creating a bleed into an organ. The team needed data.
    A young physician named Jennifer Frankovich resorted to using a database of children with lupus that she had been helping to build. Part of the database work had entailed digitalizing charts and making data searchable with keywords. Through database searches, Dr. Frankovich was able to look at every pediatric lupus patient who had come through the hospital to see how many of them developed blood clots, and what the risk factors were. From there, she could calculate whether the risks of a blood clot in her current patient justified the risks of prescribing an anti-coagulant. The calculations indicated that the risk was worth taking, and the patient was given an anti-coagulant. The patient immediately showed signs of improvement.
    Atul Butte, an entrepreneur and associate professor of pediatrics at the Stanford School of Medicine, compared Dr. Frankovich's work to a "seismic shift" happening in medicine. "The idea here is, the scientific method itself is growing obsolete," Butte said.
    This scientific method as it has existed for decades and continues to exist in medicine today consists of a team of eminently qualified specialists from a variety of medical fields consulting with each other and sharing their collective experiences of treatment options and outcomes for the patient. In cases where unusual circumstances or risks present themselves, medical literature and empirical evidence that the scientific method demands are often missing. This happened in the Stanford lupus case, and this is where Dr. Frankovich was able to fill in the blanks with insights from data.
    Is this the end of the story? Not quite.
    Administrators at that hospital still feel it is safer to trust the wisdom of a team of doctors in urgent cases than to search medical records for data about what's worked in the past. In a January 2015 interview with NPR, Dr. Frankovich agreed, noting that "analyzing data is complicated and requires specific expertise. What if the search engine has bugs, or the records are transcribed incorrectly? There's just too much room for error....It's going to take a system to interpret the data, and that's what we don't have yet."
    This comes full circle to the upcoming big data conference at Stanford this spring. The conference announcement states, "While other industries have been far more successful at harnessing the value from large-scale integration and analysis of big data, health care is just getting its feet wet. Yes, providers and payers are increasingly investing in their analytical capabilities to help them make better sense of the changing health care environment, but it is still early days."
    True enough, but in healthcare settings like the Cleveland Clinic, doctors and medical practitioners are already making use of big data and analytics that diagnose conditions and prescribe treatments. What the analytics say is simply entered into the discussions that interdisciplinary teams of doctors have when they review patients. And while data quality and integration issues in healthcare continue to persist, there is an unmistakable beginning of a redefinition in the traditional scientific methods used in medicine.

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    How Twitter plans to move beyond its 288 million monthly active users

    With tweet syndication and video, the social media giant is looking to spread its influence across the wider web and this is good news for marketers.

    In a series of recent announcements, Twitter has started to flesh out its vision for commercialising its massive off-platform reach. Syndicated tweets will allowmarketers to take their real-time content efforts and spread them right across the wider web, while the increased focus on video hints at longer-term opportunities.Facebook managed to turn its mobile weakness into one of its biggest strengths, the question now is whether Twitter can capitalise on the opportunity that its wider cultural footprint offers it to do the same.
    It’s easy to admire Twitter’s vision to be the closest connection between people and what’s most important to them, but it takes something of a leap of faith to believe they’re going to do that for more of us than any other service. The 288 million monthly active users announced on their recent earnings call is a mightily impressive number, but less so when compared with Facebook’s 1.39 billion usersor the numbers for platforms you might never have heard of including QQ, QZone,WeChat or even Instagram, all of which have at least 300 million users.
    Far from being a distant pipe dream though, the most surprising fact is perhaps that Twitter may be pretty close to achieving its world leading ambitions. Around 500 million additional logged out users visit the site each month, and in Q3 2014 alone there were approximately 185bn impressions of tweets off of Twitter. These tweets appear in newspapers and magazines, get quoted on TV, are embedded across the internet, and even pop up in Google search results, in fact the only way to completely avoid Twitter’s wider reach is to avoid these other media outlets altogether.
    It’s a powerful story, and one enticing to marketers who know that ultimately they need to get their messages in front of as many of the right consumers as possible. This high visibility across other media, and heavy personal use within the industry, are some of the reasons brands have already begun heavily investing on the platform with its quarterly earnings hitting nearly $500m. Twitter’s challenge, and the reason Wall Street investors remain hesitant, is that to date there has been little opportunity to commercialise this off-platform reach.
    While the idea of brand messages spreading out to an audience of hundreds of millions of non-users is appealing to marketers, the unfortunate reality is that it isn’t their tweets currently benefiting from this scale. Around big sporting events for instance, mainstream media picks up messages from the players, sporting experts, or even whichever member of the Kardashians happened to attend – unfortunately they don’t typically also include your favourite car brand’s latest promotions. Traditional celebrities, established experts and a new world of social influencers are driving this scale, not the brands who most want to benefit from it.
    The new syndicated tweets product allows brands to take any of their Twitter content and push it out as native advertising to millions of consumers across a series of partners, starting with Flipboard and Yahoo! Japan. This presents a powerful opportunity to scale up all content campaigns and will help silence critics who in the past have used suggestions of Twitter’s low local user penetration to dismiss the platform.
    Real-time marketing isn’t right for every brand, but for those who do go down that route, being able to break that activity out of social jail makes it a lot more disruptive and impactful. Brands looking to respond to big events have struggled, with very few exceptions, to get much share of voice but being able to take their latest content and push it right across the internet will help drive truly meaningful scale.
    Of course just as Twitter themselves have started to talk about the broader opportunities on the native platform, syndicated Tweets will also do much more – helping drive direct response initiatives, CRM work and more general campaign & sponsorship extensions. When you consider how Twitter has evolved the tweet over the past couple of years (with cards bringing a range of functionality from website previews to interactive elements) you start to see the beginnings of a vision for a completely new ad format, anchored by a brand’s Twitter presence.
    And as for video? Both Facebook and Twitter have made heavy advances in their own native functionality and built out powerful propositions for marketers, but the latter’s additional reach might yet be its trump card here too. Journalists are used to embedding tweets into their articles and as more of this content becomes video based they will naturally start embedding that too. Twitter will begin to find its video content playing out in the far corners of the web right where so many of its Tweets are already being read.
    While embedded text ultimately offers little commercialisation opportunities, we’re far more used to seeing advertising associated with video – over the coming months Twitter will begin serving hundreds of billions of video impressions right across the internet, each one potentially an opportunity to engage consumers with carefully targeted pre-roll videos (although they’ve made no announcement of such a product to date). It’s an area that Facebook lags behind in and although YouTube has a long history of being the embedded video format of choice Twitterlooks set to be its most credible threat in years.

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    Is Your Leadership Style Right for the Digital Age?

    Advancement in digital technologies has disrupted everything, including leadership styles, according to Barry Libert, Jerry Wind and Megan Beck Fenley. Employees want more ownership rather than to follow instruction; customers want to participate in the marketing and development process; and leaders are finding that open and agile organizations are able to maneuver more effectively than organizations where “all insight and direction comes from the top. In short, the autocratic Commander, whether brilliant or misguided, just won’t cut it anymore,” they write in this opinion piece.
    History is full of great Commanders. The stories of General Patton commanding his troops before D-Day, Steve Ballmer yelling at his employees to “get on their feet” at a Microsoft event, and Jack Welch berating his people as he barked his orders “straight from his gut” are all well documented. These leaders accomplished great things and relied heavily on a “Command and Control” style of leadership. However, leadership preferences are evolving in parallel with a number of market and cultural shifts. Their successors, General Colin Powell, Jeff Immelt (GE) and Satya Nadella (Microsoft), as well as a host of other executives like Tony Hseigh of Zappos or Marc Benioff of, more often take on the role of Collaborator or Co-Creator, rather than Commander. And for good reason: These less autocratic leadership styles resonate with today’s empowered, connected and skeptical customers and employees — often leading to increased innovation, loyalty, profit and growth. Twitter 
    So what has changed in the last 20-30 years to require new ways of leading? Technological advancement has created a ripple effect that is transforming the market. Today’s digital technologies — social, cloud, big data analytics, mobile and the Internet of everything — have created new, intangible, sources of value, such as relationships and information that are delivered by new business models. Along with the new sources of value, customers and employees’ wants and needs have evolved as digital technologies have created new ways of interacting with businesses. Attracting, satisfying and retaining these connected and savvy stakeholders requires leaders to learn some new tricks — but there are rewards. Businesses and leaders that adapt to this new environment see economic payout with higher profit, growth and valuations, and more. 
    New Leadership Styles 
    So what is a leader to do given this new digitally enabled and hyper-connected environment? Employees and freelancers (such as Apple’s developer community) want ownership, impact and recognition, rather than to follow instruction. Customers want to participate in the marketing and development process (witness how consumer/business relationships have grown on social media and the rise of crowdsourcing businesses like Victors and Spoils), rather than be told what they want and why. Leaders are finding that open and agile organizations are able to respond faster and more effectively to these developments than organizations where all insight and direction comes from the top. In short, the autocratic Commander, whether brilliant or misguided, just won’t cut it anymore. Leaders need a broader range of style options to match the broader range of assets companies are creating today.
    Figure 1: Disruption caused by new technology
    Figure 1: Disruption caused by new technology
    In our business model research, based on financial data from the S&P 500 companies, we found that Network Orchestrators — companies that invest in intangible assets, like relationships with customers and suppliers (Facebook, LinkedIn, Airbnb, TripAdvisor) have the highest Multipliers (price to revenue ratios) at an average of 8x (more details here). These value premiums result from rapid growth and low scaling cost, as noted by Jeremy Rifkin in The Zero Marginal Cost Society.Further, we identified that the different leadership styles complement some business models and detract from others because each business model leverages different types of assets, which perform best under different leadership styles.
    Since most companies are actually a composite of different asset classes and business types — for example, Nike manufactures shoes (physical), but also develops some software (intellectual) and is developing a network with Nike+ (network) — most leaders use several of the four leadership styles:
    Figure 2: Relationship Between Business Model, Leadership Style and Value
    Figure 2: Relationship Between Business Model, Leadership Style and Value
    The Commander sets the goal and tells others how to accomplish it. This works well with machinery, which happily does what it is told, and with direct subordinates who prefer to simply execute. It is less effective with employees and customers who want choice and participation. The result in today’s world is high marginal costs and little participation and buy-in. This style is most suited to the production of manufactured, commoditized goods as it is limited by the Commander’s vision and bandwidth.
    The Communicator also sets a vision and a plan, but communicates it in order to inspire and create buy-in. This works better with employees and customers who want to at least understand where “the firm is headed.” It enables them to take action in line with the leader’s vision (it scales effectively), but it does not encourage innovation. This style is suited to services firms where all employees must work to fulfill the mission.
    The Collaborator works hand-in-hand with customers and employees (be they full time, part time or independent) to achieve the organization’s goals. As a result, it is empowering and enabling. This style taps into the innovation of people and drives the creation of new intellectual capital. Great examples are open innovators such as Victors and Spoils, a collaborative ad agency and Merck with its crowd-sourcing competitions.
    The Co-Creator allows other stakeholders to pursue their individual goals in parallel with the goals of the organization. As a result, he or she drives both rapid scaling (due to the high level of participation) and innovation. This style is at the heart of network companies where value is shared by the company and the network participants, such as Airbnb, Uber and
    The four styles are differentiated in terms of scalability — how efficiently they enable growth — and innovation — whether controlled by the leader or shared with stakeholders. Most leaders are already able to employ several styles effectively (although co-creation is still a rarity). However, using leadership styles effectively, in the proportion required today, and in the right situations, is tricky. Let’s take a look at how these styles were used by a great leader. Steve Jobs isn’t often remembered for his collaborative, open leadership style, but a thoughtful review of his business choices and words reveals more flexibility:
    Commander: Jobs often had a specific vision for design that he would insist on.
    Communicator: Jobs’s inspiring keynote presentations are legendary.
    Collaborator: Jobs collaborated with others “to take music and sport to a new level.”
    Co-Creator: Jobs eventually built a developer network that is unprecedented.
    Figure 3: The Four Leadership Styles
    Figure 3: The Four Leadership Styles
    For Jobs, and for many leaders, co-creation can be uncomfortable. Given that network-based businesses are the most highly valued and profitable companies in today’s digital world, what does it take for a leader to co-create? Our answer: the ability to relinquish control and the willingness to share the value created with the crowd. 
    When Jack Dorsey and his collaborators developed Twitter in 2006, employees of their startup used it internally. As co-founder Evan Williams described it, “There was this path of discovery…. Twitter actually changed from what we thought it was in the beginning.” They had no idea the role it would play in sociopolitical movements, pop culture and business until the network actually started using and forming it. Although it may be difficult for founders to allow the network to shape their creation, that is the path to creating the most valuable, and valued, tool. 
    The same is true for companies like Airbnb, Etsy and Uber that actually share revenues with their partners. Their business models depend on the enthusiastic engagement of their partners (hosts, creators and drivers). But these multi-billion-dollar start-ups are not the only companies that use this new leadership style. So do established companies like Visa and MasterCard, stock exchanges and those that rely on open-source development, like Red Hat Software. These businesses survive and grow because of the participation, co-creation and co-ownership of their members. 
    Generating More Innovation, Growth and Profit 
    If you are a leader of a traditional company or industry, you may be thinking that Co-Creators are great for digital start-ups, or even existing membership based businesses, but not really applicable to you.  
    We disagree. Our research and others suggests that in the digital age there is much to be gained by increasing your leadership skillset to include Co-Creation, even if you aren’t a network company:
    Allowing partners to share in the value creation and provide resources greatly reduces your marginal costs of marketing, sales and distribution — for example, the way Uber avoids buying cars and hiring employees with its partner network; 
    Employees and customers who are co-creators — for example, those using Coca-Cola’s Freestyle machines to custom-make their own drinks — are more loyal and thus less price sensitive or likely to defect, improving customer lifetime value; 
    Co-creation leads to an influx of new ideas by opening the organization to the innovative capability of external sources (a great example is; 
    Co-creation builds a flexible and organic system that can more quickly adapt to market changes and new technologies (for example, Apple’s developer network can quickly jump on new trends and needs); and 
    Co-creative business models are growing at faster rates, are more profitable and more scalable than those that rely on proprietary, in-house solutions and people (see What Airbnb, Uber, and Alibaba Have in Common).
    In the end, the argument for leaders to co-create is an argument for profit, growth and value creation. Today, the most valuable assets are intangibles: relationships (with employees, customers and investors), knowledge (ideas) and people. The newest business model, Network Orchestration, taps into these “assets” at low or near-zero marginal cost of scaling, resulting in rapid growth, higher profit margins and, ultimately, greater investor returns.
    Remember that your firm already has dormant networks of customers, employees and partners that want to share in value creation, and are already doing so with other firms. They are an enormous asset, but one that cannot be tightly controlled, even by the best executives. Only leaders who are able to relinquish some control and share the rewards will be able to access the value that these groups have to offer.
    “Remember that your firm already has dormant networks of customers, employees and partners that want to share in value creation, and are already doing so with other firms.”
    Building Today’s Digital Leadership Styles
    Leaders who wish to add co-creation to their playbook should be guided by the following four guidelines:
    Understand your innate preferences. Everyone is naturally inclined to a particular style of leadership. Assess your own capability with each of the four leadership styles. Take a test
    Find mentors to support your development. Seek out leaders with strengths in this new style of leadership. It is hard to change without support, and mentors provide external perspective and give practical ways to change your approach. Reverse mentoring, where younger employees advise the leadership, is also a great option for leaders coming up to speed on new digital technology and cultural shifts.
    Experiment with new business models: Dedicate yourself and your team to regular exercises and workshops that hone your co-creation skills. Begin to experiment with co-creative, network businesses by investing some of your capital into business initiatives that require co-creative leadership. 
    Create measurable goals for co-creation. Successfully co-creating looks different than successfully commanding. Update your personal and leadership team objectives with appropriate indicators: customer or employee engagement, participation, loyalty and co-creation. It will keep you on the straight and narrow. 
    Remember, every one of us possesses a “portfolio” of leadership styles and each one has its place. A surgeon may be a Commander in the operating room, a Communicator with patients and a Collaborator when performing research. However, the styles that created value for many leaders decades ago are less effective with today’s empowered stakeholders — and since 95% of companies are not Network Orchestrators, we suspect that most leaders lack strength at co-creation. The digital, cultural and asset revolution provides a fantastic opportunity for shared success — increased growth and profit for businesses, and increased value for customers — but creating network-based businesses will require openness, adaptation and the development of new leadership skills.

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    Can we use technology to help graduates ecome better team-players?

    Business leaders and HR professionals have been telling us for some time that the graduates they are hiring just don’t have the soft skills they need to succeed in the workplace.
    They’re telling us that graduates today have excellent technical skills and educational attainment, but they are finding it increasingly difficult to settle quickly into the world of work. In a way it’s not surprising. We think it’s partly because this generation has grown up with social media, partly because education in many countries is very reliant on rote learning and because the pace of change in business is now so rapid that it requires more team work and collaboration than ever before.
    We can’t do much about the latter. It’s a fact of life or work. And it’s not for us to re-structure university education around the world. And we don’t believe that social media, our always on, multi-screen world, is bad either. In fact we’ve seen, and our clients tell us, this generation of graduates is increasingly fast paced and action oriented because of the way that they interact on social media. But it’s definitely an important factor – if you aren’t talking to people face to face and instead interact electronically you simply aren’t picking up face to face skills.
    Nor do we think this is just businesses grumbling. Research we’ve conducted recently in China, India and the USA has shown us that graduates themselves admit they are struggling. More than 50% of them said that they have considered leaving their job because they don’t fit in. 52% have struggled to build relationships at work. And a really worrying 42% say they struggle to deal effectively with stress.
    Self-awareness and self-control – the all-important soft skills that can determine success or failure in the workplace – are the answer. The good news is that they can be learned… and learned quickly. But they are relatively difficult to teach and need a disproportionate amount of coaching and classroom time to make them stick. We also know anecdotally that a lot of managers find it really difficult to address awkward behavior in young people.
    So we’ve launched a mobile app to help. If you’ve been following the logic here you’ll be asking why, if we think social media and games and our increasingly electronic life is a causal factor we’re proposing an app as a solution?
    The app – called Journey and part of our Activate suite of business apps – takes workers on a journey of self-discovery. The user starts stranded on a desert island and must tackle a series of practical exercises and assignments designed to build five core competencies; self-awareness, self-control, empathy for others, teamwork and influencing skills. These development triggers take place over four to six months as users work their way back to civilization. Managers can monitor the progress of their employees and provide supplementary advice and support.
    The beauty of Journey is that it engages users in the digital space, but encourages them to put into practice in the real world what they are learning, as they are learning it. It prompts continuous reflection along with the practice, making for a far more compelling and effective learning experience.
    Mobile technology has changed the way we lead our lives, but we’ve really only scratched the surface of what it can do for personal development in the workplace. Mobile devices are the constant factor in our daily lives now. Using their power, and the power of games, is the ideal way to engage people. .

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    The Best Leaders Are Humble Leaders

    In a global marketplace where problems are increasingly complex, no one person will ever have all the answers. That’s why Google’s SVP of People Operations, Lazlo Bock, says humility is one of the traits he’s looking for in new hires. “Your end goal,” explained Bock, “is what can we do together to problem-solve. I’ve contributed my piece, and then I step back.” And it is not just humility in creating space for others to contribute, says Bock—it’s “intellectual humility. Without humility, you are unable to learn.”
    A recent Catalyst study backs this up, showing that humility is one of four critical leadership factors for creating an environment where employees from different demographic backgrounds feel included. In a survey of more than 1500 workers from Australia, China, Germany, India, Mexico, and the U.S., we found that when employees observed altruistic or selfless behavior in their managers — a style characterized by 1) acts of humility, such as learning from criticism and admitting mistakes); 2) empowering followers to learn and develop; 3) acts of courage, such as taking personal risks for the greater good; and 4) holding employees responsible for results — they were more likely to report feeling included in their work teams. This was true for both women and men.
    Employees who perceived altruistic behavior from their managers also reported being more innovative, suggesting new product ideas and ways of doing work better. Moreover, they were more likely to report engaging in team citizenship behavior, going beyond the call of duty, picking up the slack for an absent colleague — all indirect effects of feeling more included in their workgroups.
    Innovation and Team Citizenship Chart
    Our research was also able to isolate the combination of two separate, underlying sentiments that make employees feel included: uniqueness and belongingness. Employees feel unique when they are recognized for the distinct talents and skills they bring to their teams; they feel they belong when they share important commonalities with co-workers.
    It’s tricky for leaders to get this balance right, and emphasizing uniqueness too much can diminish employees’ sense of belonging. However, we found that altruism is one of the key attributes of leaders who can coax this balance out of their employees, almost across the board.
    Uniqueness and Belongingness Chart
    Nonetheless, our study raises one common, perhaps universal implication: To promote inclusion and reap its rewards, leaders should embrace a selfless leadership style. Here are some concrete ways to get started based on both our current research and our ongoing study of leadership development practices at one company, Rockwell Automation:
    • Share your mistakes as teachable moments. When leaders showcase their own personal growth, they legitimize the growth and learning of others; by admitting to their own imperfections, they make it okay for others to be fallible, too. We also tend to connect with people who share their imperfections and foibles—they appear more “human,” more like us. Particularly in diverse workgroups, displays of humility may help to remind group members of their common humanity and shared objectives.
    • Engage in dialogue, not debates. Another way to practice humility is to truly engage with different points of view. Too often leaders are focused on swaying others and “winning” arguments. When people debate in this way, they become so focused on proving the validity of their own views that they miss out on the opportunity to learn about other points of view. Inclusive leaders are humble enough to suspend their own agendas and beliefs In so doing, they not only enhance their own learning but they validate followers’ unique perspectives.
    • Embrace uncertainty. Ambiguity and uncertainty are par for the course in today’s business environment. So why not embrace them? When leaders humbly admit that they don’t have all the answers, they create space for others to step forward and offer solutions. They also engender a sense of interdependence. Followers understand that the best bet is to rely on each other to work through complex, ill-defined problems.
    • Role model being a “follower.” Inclusive leaders empowerothers to lead.  By reversing roles, leaders not only facilitate employees’ development but they model the act of taking a different perspective, something that is so critical to working effectively in diverse teams.
    At Rockwell Automation, a leading provider of manufacturing automation, control, and information solutions, practicing humility in these ways has been essential to promoting an inclusive culture — a culture Rockwell’s leaders see as critical to leveraging the diversity of its global workforce.

    At one fishbowl session, shortly after the company introduced same-sex partner benefits in 2007, a devoutly religious employee expressed concerns about the new benefits policy — in front of hundreds of other employees.  Rather than going on the defensive, a senior leader skillfully engaged that employee in dialogue, asking him questions and probing to understand his perspectives.  By responding in this way, the leader validated the perspectives of that employee and others who shared his views.   Other leaders shared their own dilemmas and approaches to holding firm to their own religious beliefs yet embracing the company’s values of treating
     all employees fairly.   Dialogues such as these have made a palpable difference at Rockwell Automation.  Employees have higher confidence in their leaders, are more engaged, and feel more included — despite their differences.One of the key strategies they’ve adopted to model this leadership style is the fishbowl — a method for facilitating dialogue.  At a typical fishbowl gathering, a small group of employees and leaders sit in circle at the center of the room, while a larger group of employees are seated around the perimeter.   Employees are encouraged to engage with each other and leaders on any topic and are invited into the innermost circle.  In these unscripted conversations, held throughout the year in a variety of venues, leaders routinely demonstrate humility —by admitting to employees that don’t have all the answers and by sharing their own personal journeys of growth and development.
    As the Rockwell example suggests, a selfless leader should not be mistaken for a weak one. It takes tremendous courage to practice humility in the ways described above. Yet regrettably, this sort of courage isn’t always rewarded in organizations. Rather than selecting those who excel as self-promotion, as is often the case, more organizations would be wise to follow the lead of companies like Google, Rockwell Automation, and others that are re-imagining what effective leadership looks like.

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    A ranking of business schools' alumni Network effects

     FORMER boss at The Economist—an INSEAD alumna—once confided that, although she prided herself that her door was always open, fellow graduates from the French business school might find the door "slightly more ajar than others". Business school gives one many advantages—a framework with which to analyse problems, a sturdy knowledge of business theory—but perhaps the most important of all is a network of other successful people to tap into. Whether searching for job, seeking funding for a start-up or on the hunt for someone to help with a project, friendly help is always at hand.
    Every business school makes a fuss about how wonderful its alumni network is. But the reality isn't always so rosy. Maintaining a close-knit community of graduates takes effort. It means keeping in contact with people as they pursue successful careers across the globe. It means running events and top-up classes for them for many years after they leave. And perhaps most importantly, it means convincing students while they are on campus that the institution is worth maintaining a passion for throughout their lives.
    Perhaps unsurprisingly, American schools do this best. They, after all, have the biggest incentive, being the world leaders at tapping into their alumni networks to secure huge financial gifts. Such schools spend a lot of resources onmaintaining relations with ex-students. And, as the best schools also tend to be old and big, this means keeping tabs on an awful lot of people. Harvard Business School, for example, has 44,500 registered MBA alumni.
    But which school has the most useful alumni? Each year, The Economist asks students to rate their school's network. The top ten from our 2014 survey are listed below. Nine of the ten are in the US. Highest rated of all is the Tuck school at Dartmouth. Its fierce collegiate spirit is famous, perhaps fostered by its setting in the small, sleepy town of Hanover, New Hampshire, which means that students have little else to do but bond.  

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