Recent Posts


Lowe's Innovation Labs

06-12-2014 11:25 AM with no comments

Did you know that Lowe's, the home improvement retailer, has innovation labs? See the video above. "Lowe’s created Lowe’s Innovation Labs to build new technology to solve common consumer frustrations while working alongside start-ups, universities, specialized professionals and other companies."  reports that "To share its learnings and draw on those of others, the Innovation Labs belongs to a "consortium" of non-competing organisations, ranging from quick-service chain Chick-fil-A to the World Bank."

The first concept to come out of the lab is the Lowe’s Holoroom, "a home improvement simulator which applies 3-D and augmented reality technologies to provide homeowners an intuitive, immersive experience in the room of their dreams." The customer chooses their products from Lowe's and then, experiences them in the Holoroom. Next, they can make changes, finalize their plans, and get a printout to take home. A free app will allow the customer to share the plans with family and friends.

Lowe’s partnered with SciFutures, a foresight and innovation consultancy, during the development of the Holoroom. Ari Popper, founder and co-CEO of SciFutures, said, “We use the power of science fiction narratives to predict future possibilities and explain complex technologies in a way everyone can understand. Using this science fiction prototyping process we collaborated with Lowe’s to see the world could look like, and their determination to bring that vision to life led to the Holoroom.” Kyle Nel, executive director of the labs, told Advertising Week, "A lot of companies have outside spaces, but we approach it in a different way, through science-fiction prototyping. You take all of your market research, all of your trend data and hire professional science-fiction writers. And they write real stories with conflict and resolution and characters. We turned it into a comic book and created possible stories or visions of the future."

What do you think about giving homeowners the ability to envision remodeling projects with augmented reality?

How can augmented reality satisfy consumer needs and wants?

Posted by Gemmy Allen

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Depression Rates Higher for Long-Term Unemployed

06-11-2014 4:34 PM with no comments

Unemployment affects the mental health of workers. According to data from a Gallop poll, the longer a person is out of work, the greater the chances that he or she will develop a clinical case of depression. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) considers those who have been unemployed or out of their jobs for at least 27 weeks to be "long-term unemployed." As seen in the graphic below, Americans who have been without a job, say that they are depressed or being treated for depression.

Does unemployment cause poor health conditions such as depression, or does having such conditions make it harder to get a job? What do you think?

Posted by Gemmy Allen

Communications, Job Satisfaction, and Employee Engagement

06-06-2014 12:56 PM with no comments

The infographic above, created by and posted on, shares the key results of the survey, showing that the way employees do their work is changing and that they seek greater engagement from their employer via their mobile device.

The manner in which employers communicate with their employees has a direct impact on employee engagement and job satisfaction according to the EMPLOYEEapp’s 2014 Employee Communications Satisfaction Survey of more than 325 U.S.-based workers. Jeff Corbin, Founder and CEO of theCOMMSapp™, a family of communications app building solutions that includes theEMPLOYEEapp for secure, internal communications,  said, “theEMPLOYEEapp’s 2014 Employee Communications Satisfaction Survey confirms that communications in the workplace is not only changing due to advancements in technology, but is a critical part of an employee’s job satisfaction and overall engagement. A recent Gallup Organization study on workplace engagement found that 70% of the workforce is not engaged in their job and, as a result, this costs corporate America $550 billion in lost revenue every year. Based on the results of our survey, employers have an opportunity to increase engagement and reduce lost revenue simply by changing the way they communicate.”

Currently, email is the preferred form of communication used by companies to relay information to employees. Corbin said, “Given the early stage in which mobile is becoming incorporated into business processes, it is not surprising that email remains the primary internal communications method. Nevertheless, based on our many conversations with communications professionals, it is becoming clear that employees are overloaded with emails. As a result, important employee communications are being missed.” He concluded, "Given the ability to directly connect with employees through their very personal mobile device, theEMPLOYEEapp Survey therefore suggests that employers could benefit from a mobile first communications strategy – this will go a long way towards improving job satisfactions and employee engagement.”

What is your preferred method of communication? Is it on your mobile device?

Would you like to receive company news and information on your smart phone?

How can companies, managers, and employees benefit from a mobile first communications strategy?

Posted by Gemmy Allen

Sleepy Workers Cost Businesses Billions

06-05-2014 5:14 PM with no comments

Most Americans don't get enough sleep. The infographic above, from docstoc, reports that " businesses lose about $136 billion a year as a result of sleepy workers."

How much sleep each night do you get?

Adam Rinde, ND, Naturopathic Physician, author of "Healthy Sleep," Sound Integrative Health Website, gives the following tips for getting more sleep. (The article has another infographic.)

  • Use your bed for bed-activities only. 
  • Avoid reading, watching T.V, and using the computer in bed. These activities stimulate the brain and detract from your ability to relax. 
  • Make your bedroom void of light and background noise. 
  • If you wake up or you can’t fall asleep, get out of bed and do something relaxing until you feel inclined to return to bed.

SlugBooks offers tips for college students to optimize their sleep cycle.

How To Optimize Your College Sleep Cycle
How to Optimize Your College Sleep Cycle via SlugBooks

Some people think that employees should be able to take a nap at work. What do you think? Explain why you think napping at work would be a good or a bad idea.

Posted by Gemmy Allen

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Do MOOCs Cannibalize Traditional Business School Enrollment?

06-04-2014 12:52 PM with no comments

Do free, massive open online courses (MOOCs) cannibalize enrollment at traditional business schools? In the video above, Knowledge@Wharton interviews Wharton professor Ezekiel J. Emanuel, co-author of a study asking that question. Emanuel notes that “it doesn’t seem that MOOCs are undermining traditional business schools, but may be complementing them, enriching them and providing a great opportunity to [engage] other diverse student bodies.”

Have you enrolled in a MOOC? If so, did you complete it? If not, why not? What did you get out of the class?

Do you agree with Professor Emanuel that college and university administrators should not be concerned about MOOCs? Explain.

Posted by Gemmy Allen

Never Give Up

06-02-2014 4:12 PM with no comments

"A quitter never wins, and a winner never quits" is a quote from Napoleon Hill, motivational author. Everyone, as well as every manager and every company, fails at some time. But, successful people, managers, and companies learn from their failures, and keep trying. Only those who don't try, avoid failure. The video below shows Heather Dorniden's inspiring 600 meter race. She falls down, but she gets back up to win the race!

When you fall, get back up! How has this video inspired you?

How does this apply to management?

Posted by Gemmy Allen

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Wawa Celebrates 50 Years of Success

05-30-2014 1:20 PM with no comments

Wawa is a convenience store located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida. This year, Wawa celebrates its 50th anniversary. In the video below, Former CEO Howard Stoeckel just published a new book, The Wawa Way: How a Funny Name and Six Core Values Revolutionized Convenience. The name, Wawa, came from the Pennsylvania town where the headquarters is located.


How has Wawa's strategy and business model evolved over the years?

How is Wawa's culture a competitive advantage?

What is servant leadership?

Posted by Gemmy Allen

Dress for Success

05-29-2014 2:35 PM with no comments

The above slide show by Talener is a guide to help you learn professional fashion terms and provide some helpful pointers for your next interview. 

Once you get a job, the slide show below gives you guidelines on what not to wear to work.

Why is it important to look professional?
How will you present a positive, professional image?

Posted by Gemmy Allen

CEO Pay Tops $10 Million

05-28-2014 11:58 AM with no comments

Median Chief Executive Officer (CEO) pay is more than $10 million according to a joint study by the Associated Press and Equilar, an executive pay research firm. That is 257 times the salary of an average worker. (See how CEO pay was calculated.)

Who is the highest paid chief executive?

Why do CEOs make so much?

Why does the top manager keep getting a huge raise, while the paycheck of the average employee increases just a little over one percent?

How is employee compensation influenced by robots, high unemployment, and globalization (outsourcing)?

Posted by Gemmy Allen

José Andrés, Commencement Speaker

05-27-2014 10:31 AM with no comments

In the above video, President of Think Food Group, celebrity chef, José Andrés offers life lessons to the 2014 graduating class of George Washington University (GWU). He teaches a course at GWU called "The World on a Plate: How Food Shapes Civilizations" and contributes to a course called "Science and Cooking" at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Time magazine named Andrés one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and he was the James Beard Foundation’s 2011 Outstanding Chef.

What do you think about the celebrities appearing in his video?

What do you think about José Andrés referring to himself as a "cook" who got a shot at the American dream?

What does he mean by  “Don’t use a recipe…if things don’t go as expected, make the unexpected work in your favor. Change the name of the dish.”

Posted by Gemmy Allen

Chipotle Cultivates Thought

05-20-2014 9:07 PM with no comments

Chipotle introduces the Cultivating Thought literary packaging series (cups and bags). Jonathan Safran Foer, author of "Eating Animals" and "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close", was having lunch with the CEO of Chipotle and suggested using the surfaces of their cups and bags to give more to their customers to help customers feel more engaged while eating lunch. He suggested putting together a series of two-minute essays written by different authors and then published on the sides of Chipotle's cups and bags.

 You can read "the words and whimsy of thought-leaders, authors, and comedians through unique, you'll-only-find-them-at-Chipolte essays, each illustrated by a different artist."

What do you think of the Chipotle CEO  Steve Ells's decision to give customers something to learn instead of giving them a blank bag or cup?

All are interesting reading. How does Michael Lewis's approach to time management help you manage time?

Posted by Gemmy Allen

Digital Strategy

05-19-2014 5:19 PM with no comments

In this video, McKinsey director Paul Willmott, discusses six critical decisions CEOs must make to address the strategic challenge posed by the digital revolution.

  1. Are you in the right industry?
  2. What technology solutions do your customers want to use?
  3. Should we attack or defend? What is the right balance of attack and defend?
  4. Should the CEO lead the digital transformation? Or,
  5. Should the CEO delegate to a chief digital officer? Or,
  6. Should the CEO delegate the digital agenda?

How is digitization altering the nature of competition?

Posted by Gemmy Allen

Congratulations! Small Business Person of the Year 2014

05-18-2014 6:23 PM with no comments

Congratulations to Billy and Brook Taylor of Portland, OR-based Pacifica, the National Small Business Persons of the Year for 2014.

Organizational culture is a dynamic system of shared values, etc., that give an organization its distinctive character. Core values -- such as respect for the individual, integrity, trust, and continuous improvement -- should never change. Pacifica's values are "founded in taking good care of the environment, the kids, and the place where you live."

How does using natural ingredients mesh with the values of Pacifica? 

Posted by Gemmy Allen

Managers Should Give Sincere Apologies

05-15-2014 12:55 PM with no comments

Why does a customer or an employee sue the company and manager? Research tells us that companies and managers are sued because of the way the person was treated. Many managers offer an apology, but it doesn't seem sincere. Furthermore, they don't take responsibility for the mistake.

When we think of being sued, the health cared industry comes to mind. In the video below, error expert Lucian Leape says there are four stages of an effective apology:

  1. Admit, 
  2. Explain, 
  3. Apologize, and 
  4. Take Responsibility. 

An example of an effective apology is the letter below from Karen Katz, CEO of Neiman Marcus. The company suffered a data breach over the holidays, exposing customer credit card data to potential theft.

To our loyal Neiman Marcus Group customers:

As the investigation into our cyber security incident continues, I want to provide you with an update. Your trust in us is our absolute priority.

As always, we want you to feel confident shopping at Neiman Marcus. What I said in my prior message to you remains the same: there is NO indication
• that Social Security numbers and birth dates were compromised
• that our Neiman Marcus cards have been used fraudulently
• that any online customers were impacted
• that any PINs were at risk since we do not use PIN pads in our stores

We do know, and our forensic reports have confirmed, that malicious software (malware) was clandestinely installed on our system and that it attempted to collect or "scrape" payment card data from July 16, 2013 to October 30, 2013. I reported last time that approximately 1,100,000 customer payment cards could have been potentially visible to the malware.

Our investigation has now determined that the number of potentially affected payments cards is lower—approximately 350,000. The number has decreased because the investigation has established that the malware was not operating at all our stores, nor was it operating every day in those affected stores, during the July 16 -October 30 period. Of the 350,000 payment cards that may have been affected by the malware in our system, Visa, MasterCard and Discover have notified us to date that approximately 9,200 of those were subsequently used fraudulently elsewhere.

Regardless of whether or not your card was affected, we have notified customers for whom we have mailing and/or e-mail addresses who shopped with us either in-store or online in 2013. Additionally, we are offering one free year of credit monitoring and identity-theft protection. Sign up instructions for this service can be found below in the Question and Answer section.

For over a century, our company's mission has been dedicated to delivering exceptional service to each of our customers, and responding properly to this attack is our top priority. Our goal is to do everything possible to restore your trust and to earn your loyalty.


How does CEO Katz's apology follow Dr. Leape's four stages of an effective apology?

How does saying your sorry differ from taking responsibility?

Think of a situation where a manager should apologize to a customer or an employee. Use the four stages of an effective apology to write an apology to this customer or employee.

Posted by Gemmy Allen

The Value of Visualization

05-14-2014 11:25 PM with no comments

The Value of Visualization from Column Five on Vimeo.

We've all heard that "a picture is worth a thousand words." We all like pictures better than words. But, why do we like visuals? The Motion Graphic above describes the value of visualization. See the attached, "A Business Guide to Visual Communications."

How do you make knowledge powerful? 

What can you do to make your next presentation more visual?

Posted by Gemmy Allen

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