Archive for Economic Development
by Celine Roque
With job losses continuing to pile up, many are finding it increasingly difficult to rejoin the workforce. Sadly, some elements are using this opportunity to prey on those desperate for any work that could help them pay their bills. Take for example this story by Riva Richmond on The New York Times about a man who became a victim of an online scam:
“When Claude Vera responded to the customer-service job opening he saw on the online-classified site Geebo.com back in February, it seemed like one of a hundred small acts that might get him back to work. Most of his e-mail messages to prospective employers were going unanswered, so he was relieved when Penguin Express Inc. replied the next day with a work-from-home job.
To help him get a home office started, Penguin sent him money orders so he could buy, via money wire, the requisite laptop and other equipment from several different people. Mr. Vera, of Jamaica, New York, deposited nine United States Postal Service money orders into his Chase bank account and wired a total of nearly $8,000 to the various vendors. But he never received a laptop or anything else, and the money orders turned out to be already cashed or counterfeit. The scam consumed Mr. Vera’s tax refund and put him in the red by $6,700 to Chase, which sent his case to a collection agent.”
The nature of the Internet makes it an ideal platform for various scammers, as they can be difficult to trace once the victim realizes he’s been had. The best anyone can do is to be careful when dealing with anyone you’re not familiar with online. Maintaining a healthy dose of skepticism about deals that sound too good or too easy can be crucial. The primary rule of nondisclosure, as always,applies for passwords, bank account numbers, social security numbers, and the like. If otherwise legitimate-looking sites/people ask for these information, you may have good reason to be suspicious. Better do some research on them to verify if they are above board. If jobhunting on the Internet makes you worried, you may try to go back to the old-fashioned ways. This may be a bit safer for some, but certainly still merits the same precautions.
by Jim Ware
I’d like to encourage anyone interested in the future of work to consider attending the Worktech(tm)09 Conference in New York City on May 20. It’s being held at the Time and Life Building at 1271 Avenue of the Americas.
Our across-the-pond colleague and fellow futurist/author Phillip Ross, CEO of Cordless Group in the U.K., is behind Worktech, which has been held annually for the last several years. He’s an expert on the impact of new technologies on work and the workplace – and a very dynamic speaker.
Dan Johnson, head of global CRE Workplace planning for Accenture, and a member of our Workplace Innovation and Performance Network, will also be a speaker. He’ll be describing Accenture’s new workplace strategy and highlighting a case study from Accenture’s Tokyo operations.
There’s lots more in both speakers and networking opportunities.
You can register for the conference here, and download a pdf brochure about the agenda and speakers here.
Unfortunately New York is too far away from the west coast for me to get there, but I’d love to hear about the program from any of you who do attend. It looks like a terrific contemporary review of what’s happening in the workplace (and beyond) right now.
by Steve King
Intuit and Emergent Research recently released a research brief on small business innovation.
The research focuses on the key factors that drive, enable and amplify small business innovation. The report is part of the ongoing Intuit Future of Small Business research series and the first of several research briefs on small business innovation.
A key finding of the research is that small businesses have six inherent attributes that make them natural innovators. These are:
- Personal passion: Personally invested, most small business owners are willing to try new approaches to make their business more successful.
- Customer connection: A deep and direct relationship with the market and customers helps small businesses understand customer needs, identify new opportunities, and fix problems quickly and efficiently.
- Agility and adaptation: Unlike large corporations, small businesses can quickly adapt to changing market conditions and implement new business practices.
- Experimentation and improvisation: When pursuing new opportunities, many small business owners and managers aren’t afraid to experiment and improvise, accepting failure as part of the path to success.
- Resource limitations: Small businesses are adept at doing more with less. And these resource constraints lend to their innovative mindset.
- Information sharing and collaboration: Small businesses traditionally rely on strong social networks to share information and inspire innovative thinking. Online social networks extend and amplify this practice.
These attributes provide small businesses with the ability to respond quickly to changing market conditions and identify and exploit new opportunities.
The research also shows that small business innovation is not limited to tech or high growth firms, but used broadly by small businesses of all sizes and in all sectors of the economy.
Interestingly enough, one of the research findings is that small business owners and managers do not consider themselves or their business innovative. Most feel that innovation is something that only large corporations or venture backed companies do.
But despite not describing or seeing themselves this way, most small businesses are natural and continuous innovators who strive to improve their businesses and provide increased value to their customers.
The entire report and related materials are available at www.intuit.com/futureofsmallbusiness.
by Jon Husband
With thanks to Luis Suarez of IBM Spain for pointing to Laurie Buczek of Intel outlining the company’s reasons and path towards the large-scale adoption of social computing
- Employees Want to Put a Face to a Name
- Too much time is lost to find people & information to do your job
- Getting work done effectively in globally dispersed teams is challenging
- New hires want to have a way to integrate into Intel faster
- Restructuring and employee redeployment impacts Organizational Health
- We reinvent the wheel over and over again
- We learn more via on the job training, then we do in a classroom
- We need to deliver radical innovation in a mature company
- When the mature workforce starts to retire, they carry knowledge out the door
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by Jenny Ambrozek
CNet’s Caroline McCarthy has captured the essence of the Web 2.0 Expo in New York this week that was underway as Wall Street events and corporate failures hurricaned through global financial markets, the economy and prompted urgent actions by Hank Paulson and company in Washington. We all lived a week that I couldn’t imagine a script writer envisioing.
With 2 decades experience in the technology world being part of, and watching, technology companies both aspire and fall, (starting with PRODIGY the online service), I couldn’t help but wonder as I walked the Web 2.0 Expo halls how many of these companies will be around this time next year?
I counted 150 plus Web 2.0 Expo booths including the Long Tail Pavilion. Among them were a handful of the now global brands and companies that through decades have both created the computers and applications that laid the foundation for the Web, and impress by adapting and sustaining through changing economic and technology times: Hewlett Packard, IBM, Intel, Intuit, Microsoft, and Sun Microsystems. Then there were the next generation companies–Amazon, eBay and Salesforce– who drove new business models leveraging the Web, and continue to do so in the case of Amazon and Salesforce by promoting utility computing via the cloud. What lessons they all offer the Long Tail pavilion participants if only their management will take a moment to look around and back.
In retrospect I wish I had tallied the number of times I saw “social” plastered on banners and product feature lists. Given the themes in a recent piece colleague Victoria Axelrod and I published about “Open Net∞WORKing Organizations” (for India based Effective Executive Magazine), CNET writer Caroline McCarthy captured my observation that labelling your product “social” in this environment is not enough. Priority one is business models and technology solutions that deliver demonstrable results to enterprises:
“Indeed, most of the buzzed-about companies at the Web 2.0 Expo, as with the Demo and TechCrunch50 events earlier this month, were enterprise-oriented services rather than free consumer applications. There’s a real question as to whether companies will spring for these products in a time of tightening budgets, but ultimately, it’s a positive sign: business models, not cute fads, are at the forefront.”
Tim O’Reilly, in his Thursday morning “Web Meets World” keynote, translated this message into a call for individual action, specifically that people in the room “build technology that solves real problems and makes a difference.”
Next year, 2009 it will be 20 years since Tim Berner’s Lee invented the World Wide Web, transforming the way we work and business is conducted. Connsidering the technology themes emerging from Web 2.0 Expo, in the context of financial industry crises and reorganization, and Tim O”Reilly’s call to code to good purpose, it seems we have indeed entered both a new, more grown up, eyes wide open and wiser world for the technology business. Have we? I wonder what you think.
~ Jenny Ambrozek
by Jenny Ambrozek
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Did anyone else hear John Chambers interviewed on CNBC Wednesday September 3? The video is available here.
In response to a question from Australian telecommunications company Telstra’s CEO Saul Eslake about new ways for companies to grow organically, Chambers talked about the growth in video, telepresence and visual networking and it’s potential to increase productivity.
Chambers made the case that the load on Cisco’s network grew 400% last year with rising use of video a key factor. He forecasts generally 200-300% network load growth with increased use of video and telepresence.
Cisco’s CEO argued that while there has been a lull in U.S. productivity growth following the 3-5% during 1996-2004, he forecasts increases going forward driven by the Internet’s second wave built around visual networking and collaborative capabilities like wikis, blogs, discussion forums and telepresence.
Clearly given Cisco’s WebEx and other collaboration tools acquisitions Chamber’s promoting telepresence has a clear business agenda. Still the discussion about use of telepresence and visual networking in the context of a challenging high fuel costs, slow growth economic environment makes the case for less physical travel and increased technology enabled collaboration compelling.
John Chamber’s forecasts make Celine Roque’s recent post here about Are the reasons against telecommuting valid? a must read especially her closing call to action:
“..these obstacles should be seen as challenges and opportunities for businesses and their employees to grow together and actually make things work.”
No doubt the technology to support remote collaboration will continue to arrive and to compete enterprises must figure how to leverage and adapt organizationally.
~ Jenny Ambrozek