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The Internet of Things Will Change Your Company, Not Just Your Products

I have had a front row seat as companies have struggled to enter the emerging world of the Internet of Things — first, 10 years ago as a vice president at Ambient Devices, an MIT Media Lab spinoff that was a pioneer in commercializing IoT devices, and then as a consultant. One of the biggest obstacles is that traditional functional departments often can’t meet the needs of IoT business models and have to evolve. Here are some of the challenges that I’ve observed: Product management. Successful IoT plays require more than simply adding connectivity to a product and charging for service — something many companies don’t immediately understand. Building an IoT offering requires design thinking from the get-go. Specifically, it requires reimagining the business you are in, empathizing with your target customers and their chall....
My Dentist 3D Printed My Crown

As a tech junkie and geek wannabe I’ve been paying attention to 3D printing and the exploding maker movement. When I say paying attention, I mean reading about it, watching hackers and hobbyists make stuff, and wondering if there is more to the technology than the brightly colored plastic tchotchkes cluttering my desk. 3D printing really hasn’t affected me yet. That is until I recently chipped a tooth and had no choice but to visit my family dentist. It was the dentist’s chair that more than any article or demo converted me to the potential of 3D printing. Sometimes disruption has to hit you right in the mouth before you pay attention. Now, I was no stranger to restorative dentistry. About seven years ago I had chipped another tooth that required a crown and didn’t remember the process fondly. It required multiple drawn out ....
Stop Calling People Out

Pretend that you occasionally lose your temper in meetings, and my aim is to get you to change. The next time I see you lose your cool, I say one of two things: Hey, timeout. You just did it again — you lost your temper with Mario. This is the third time I’ve seen you do this in the last two days. C’mon, this behavior HAS to stop. or: Hey, can we chat for a sec? I noticed you just lost your temper with Mario. Did you notice that too? You are so good at running these meetings, I can only imagine how much more effective you’re going to be as you move past this behavior. What can I do to help? In the first, I’m calling you out. In the second, I’m calling you forth. The content is similar. The messaging and tone are quite different. Which do you think is more effective? For most people and circumstances, it’s the latter. If....
Engaging in a Vice Can Stimulate Creativity if It’s Framed as a Duty

In contrast to the belief that autonomy energizes us and heightens our well-being, researchers in Hong Kong found that people experience increased vitality and show greater creativity after being directed to do something — specifically, engage in a (very mild) vice. Participants who were assigned to buy a celebrity photo album (that’s the vice), as opposed to a computer-programming tutoring book, and then asked to write an ad for a bike were judged to show better creative performance than those who had been given free choice or assigned to buy the computer book (6.42 versus 5.54 and 5.72 on average, respectively, on an 11-point creativity scale), say doctoral student Fangyuan Chen and Jaideep Sengupta of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Framing a pleasure as a requirement reduces the guilt associated with it ....
What It Will Take to Change the Culture of Wall Street

William C. Dudley, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, gave a speech Monday in which he used the word “culture” 45 times. Here’s how he defined it: Culture relates to the implicit norms that guide behavior in the absence of regulations or compliance rules—and sometimes despite those explicit restraints. … Culture reflects the prevailing attitudes and behaviors within a firm.  It is how people react not only to black and white, but to all of the shades of grey. Like a gentle breeze, culture may be hard to see, but you can feel it. Culture relates to what “should” I do, and not to what “can” I do. Dudley has a doctorate in economics, and spent a decade as chief economist at Goldman Sachs. But in his remarks he sounded more like a sociologist than an economist. His many mentions of “culture” ....
Myths About Entrepreneurship

Linda Rottenberg, author of Crazy Is a Compliment, on what it really takes to start a business. Download this podcast
Why We Need to Outsmart Our Smart Devices

Most commentary about the Internet of Things assumes that we sacrifice privacy and security for huge efficiency gains. But what if the notion underlying that tradeoff — the idea that more connectivity always means greater efficiency — is flawed? What if indiscriminate information sharing has the same drawbacks with devices as it does with people? Research shows, after all, that privacy is a source of productivity in organizations. And excessive transparency — in a totally open work environment, for example — makes us less productive and squashes creative problem solving. When we know we’re being closely monitored, we tend to stick to protocol, even when it’s inefficient. Too much transparency between smart devices can have a similar effect. As much as we’d like to think that all the devices in our cars (....
A Military Leader’s Approach to Dealing with Complexity

The most effective leaders I’ve known or studied all share a common trait: they were unwilling to settle for the existing state of affairs. They believed with all their heart that what we focus on can become reality. In my quarter-century of military service, I’ve been afforded the rare privilege of leading in a broad array of environments: commanding a 500-person special operations expeditionary air refueling group in the Middle East after 9/11; guiding a 7,000-person military community through a dramatic mission transformation in North Dakota; and leading men and women from 14 NATO nations in building a sustainable, independent Afghan Air Force in an active war zone—something that had never previously been attempted. I know how daunting it can be to lead dedicated professionals to undertake complex endeavors, and I’ve lived....
Predictive Medicine Depends on Analytics

Regression models, Monte Carlo simulations, and other methods for predicting what’s around the corner have been in use for decades. It’s only recently, though, that advances in information technology have made it possible for predictive tools to access and manipulate big data, and to do so continuously — accelerating the generation of insights, and opening up opportunities to anticipate issues with unprecedented precision. Think of the colleges that are increasingly able to identify students at risk of dropping out and intervene before they do. Or lenders’ enhanced abilities to gauge credit risk. Energy, agriculture, insurance, retail, human resources — no industry is unaffected. But nowhere is the potential of this new era of opportunity more apparent and exciting than it is in health care. Predictive analytics is fu....
Australia Tries to Keep Older Workers in the Workforce

When Australia introduced its age pension in 1909, only 4% of the population was living long enough to claim it. Today, with life expectancies growing, 9% of Australians draw a full or partial government-funded age pension, often for more than 20 years, according to the Academy of Management Journal. Australia plans to incrementally increase the official retirement age to 70 by 2035, making its retirement age the highest in the world, and the government has a plan to offer cash incentives for companies that hire unemployed people over 50.
Help Your Team Spend Time on the Right Things

What is the most common resource that’s always in short supply? The answer, of course, is time. This applies not only to your time, but to your team’s. It’s the one organizational resource that is neither expandable nor renewable. Therefore, making sure that time is spent in ways that will have the biggest impact is a critical determinant of organizational success. Unfortunately, many managers don’t think about time as a finite resource in the same way that they consider the limitations of headcount and budget. Therefore they don’t hesitate to give their teams more assignments without taking any away. The consequence of this is that their people work longer hours – and it’s often not clear what’s actually important and what can wait. This cascades through the ranks so that almost everyone feels overstressed and overwo....
Cable Providers Win Even in an a La Carte World

When HBO and CBS announced that they’re going to go over the top (OTT), offering their programming to internet users who don’t have cable subscriptions, the news was greeted in some quarters as the beginning of the end of cable TV. Thomas Hazlett, a George Mason University economist and author who has been studying the cable business for three decades, tends to scoff at such predictions. But the news has at least made him sit up and pay attention. “For some time, I’ve had trouble explaining the OTT phenomenon in terms that did not seem dismissive,” Hazlett says. “It’s been real, but very much on the margins. The cable/telco/satellite subscription model has held steady in subs and revenues, adjusted for macro-economics factors. Yet, with the HBO announcement, my reflex reaction is: now things ....
The Sectors Where the Internet of Things Really Matters

The Internet of Things is emerging as the third wave in the development of the internet. While the fixed internet that grew up in the 1990s connected 1 billion users via PCs, and the mobile internet of the 2000s connected 2 billion users via smartphones (on its way to 6 billion), the IoT is expected to connect 28 billion “things” to the internet by 2020, ranging from wearable devices such as smartwatches to automobiles, appliances, and industrial equipment. The repercussions span industries and regions. At Goldman Sachs, we see numerous triggers turning the IoT from a futuristic buzzword to a reality. The cost of sensors, processing power, and bandwidth to connect devices has dropped low enough to spur widespread deployment. Innovative products like fitness trackers and Google’s Nest thermostats are demonstrating the potential ....
Design a Workspace that Gives Extroverts Privacy, Too

Some of the most unlikely people have confessed to being introverts lately. One recent acquaintance–while chatting amiably during a pre-event networking session– leaned over to quietly tell me that she is actually an introvert. She felt she had to learn more extroverted behaviors to succeed in her career. And she’s not the only one. It seems like everyone is talking about where they are on the introversion spectrum these days, and for good reason. Since Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking delivered her TED talk in 2012, the public has become more aware of this important aspect of our personalities, and how it impacts our behaviors, emotions and decisions. We now know that introverts aren’t shy, they simply respond to stimulation with greater sensitivity. They are ....
When It Comes to Data, Skepticism Matters

Managers should rarely take an important analysis at face value. They should almost always dig into the data and develop a deeper understanding of the hidden insights that lie within. Sometimes there are real gems awaiting discovery. Other times the data contain some truly snarky beasts, and failing to spot them soon enough presages real danger. Consider a (hypothetical) company that is trying to drive traffic — especially mobile traffic — to its website. Once people arrive, it wants to keep them there. So two statistics of interest are the number of unique visits and the number of additional page views. The figure below presents results over a four-month period for both variables. According to the graph, the trends look great, and it’s easy enough to conclude that whatever the company is doing is working, and it should keep....
Successful Innovators Don’t Care About Innovating

Successful innovators care about solving interesting and important problems — innovation is merely a byproduct. If this distinction seems like hair-splitting, it isn’t. The two focuses create vastly different realities. Focusing on innovating — as a worthy goal unto itself — tends to be born from self-centered motives: We need to protect ourselves from competitive forces. We need to ensure we have a growth engine. We need to keep up with other companies. To do all these things, we need to innovate. This is often a CYA perspective coming from an executive suite looking to protect its turf. It isn’t inherently bad. It’s just that this focus tends to create a culture where customers are on the sidelines, not in the center of the dialogue. By contrast, focusing on solving interesting and important problems tends to be born fr....
Counterfeiting as a Form of Free Advertising

In a study of a 1995 surge in counterfeiting in the Chinese shoe market, Yi Qian of the University of British Columbia found that the entry of fakes had the effect of increasing sales of high-end authentic shoes by 63%. The arrival of counterfeits on the market affirmed the value of the brands in consumers’ minds and in many cases introduced the brands to new customers. At the low end, however, counterfeits merely ate into the brands’ sales.
Ignore Emotional Intelligence at Your Own Risk

Call it Grant vs. Goleman. Two academic heavyweights face off on a topic that every student of leadership and HR cares — or at least hears — a lot about: emotional intelligence. Wharton professor Adam Grant kicks it off with a LinkedIn blog post, “Emotional Intelligence Is Overrated,” arguing that “it’s a mistake to base hiring or promotion decisions on it” and that “even in emotionally demanding work, when it comes to job performance, cognitive ability still proves more consequential than emotional intelligence.” Daniel Goleman, the psychologist credited with coining the term EI (and, full disclosure, a friend), issues his rebuttal, “Let’s Not Underrate Emotional Intelligence,” questioning the specific assessment of EI used by Grant, and referring to the various studies conducted by “T....
How to Choose the Right References

You aced the last round of interviews and now your prospective employer wants to check your references. Who should you ask? Which people can best vouch for you? Will they be able to describe all your relevant qualities and skills and explain why you’re a fit for the new job? What the Experts Say One of the biggest mistakes jobseekers make is failing to understand “how incredibly important references are,” to the hiring process, says Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, a senior adviser at global executive search firm Egon Zehnder and the author of It’s Not the How or the What but the Who:  Succeed by Surrounding Yourself with the Best. References provide “an accurate, third-party assessment of your strengths and weaknesses so managers can hire knowing full information,” he explains. “Given the option of either interviewi....
Before You Respond to that Email, Pause

Someone sends you an email message or a text, and you’re unsure how to respond.  It’s about a complex negotiation, or a politically sensitive situation. Or maybe it’s just from a person who unnerves you. For a moment, you pause. But for most of us, most of the time, that pause doesn’t last long. Instead we react, feeling the need to immediately craft a response. And often we then hit “send” without fully thinking. The result: an awkward or incomplete message that causes the recipient to pause, then react, often starting or continuing a cycle of miscommunication and misunderstanding. Yes, people today expect and want an instantaneous reply to any message. We often accommodate them because delay feels like a violation of modern-day social norms. But there are many times when we should not immediately reply.  And the truth....
Why ESPN Won’t Pull an HBO

When HBO and CBS announced they’d offer paid apps that would allow viewers to completely bypass TV and stream their content directly to their preferred device, it was hard not to see the moment as dominos starting to fall. Everyone from disruptive innovation theorists to cheapskate AppleTV-streaming hipsters has been salivating over the unbundling of cable for years. Aereo’s lost legal battle? A bump in the road on the inevitable way to a la carte TV. It’s widely accepted that live sports is one of the major things keeping cable’s profitable bundle intact. But might that begin to change? I spoke with James Andrew Miller (@JimMiller), author of Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN. What follows is an edited version of our conversation. HBR: I think the first thing to establish is whether ESPN is, like HBO, a....
Get Buy-in for Your Global Strategy with Local Partners

I never considered myself an “ugly American,” but my UK colleagues apparently thought otherwise. Just before I moved to the UK to head up marketing for KFC International in Europe and Africa, Pepsico had bought out our joint venture partner in the UK. I was part of the new management team that was going to try to turn around a 60-year-old business that had been declining for 10 years. Because most of the UK KFC system was franchised, it was important to win our franchisees over to a new brand strategy we had been planning before the acquisition took place. I put a lot of work into getting ready for my initial pitch to the UK franchisees, some of which had been involved in the business their entire career. In my presentation, I did a quick review of the financial mess we were in, laid out three big strategic consumer initiatives n....
Hovering Over a Touch-Screen Keyboard Has Its Consequences

Desktop-computer keyboards allow you to rest your hands on the keys as you type, but touch-screen keyboards, such as on many tablets, are less forgiving: They require you to keep your fingertips off the screen to avoid accidentally activating the keys. Thus the upper-back muscles that support your arms are more active when you type on a touch screen than when you use a standard keyboard, which could lead to chronic shoulder problems, according to research reported in the Wall Street Journal. The average typing speed on touch screens is also less than half that on desktop keyboards, the researchers found.
To Fight Ebola, Stop Pointing Fingers

The burgeoning Ebola crisis hit home for Americans the other week with the death of a Liberian man in Dallas. Blunders in the treatment of Thomas Eric Duncan put two well-intentioned nurses at risk and potentially exposed many others. These developments unraveled the projected confidence of leading physicians and officials of the Center for Disease Control that the disease was a low-risk threat to our country with its advanced medical systems. The recent Congressional hearing was predictably all finger-pointing and demands for greater accountability of CDC Director Thomas Frieden. And after announcing the need for a more intense government response, President Obama named former White House staffer Ron Klain as his “Ebola Coordinator.” Unfortunately, we need something different in a world increasingly threatened by cross-boundary,....
Can We Quantify the Value of Connected Devices?

In the 1990s, Procter & Gamble’s Product Supply Organization kicked off a major Reliability Engineering program, much like the efficiency initiatives of companies such as Toyota. They institutionalized the use of data collection systems in their manufacturing facilities to understand how products and machines would “behave” and could be optimized. By collecting machine failure data via manual sources as well as PLCs (programmable logic controllers), they were able to plot statistical distribution curves that predicted the failure rates of machines, along with the specific causes. More impressively, by linking all the machines together, they were able to predict — and subsequently improve — overall process reliability and product quality. This was all done through physical, smart, connected devices and sensors, which mon....

TECHNALINK HIGHLIGHTS
  

In celebration of women role models in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), STEMconnectortm unveils in hard copy and online its inaugural 100 Women Leaders in STEM publicatin. The heroines included in 100 Women Leaders in STEM share stories about their commitment to serving as mentors and sponsors of those who are next in the stem jobs pipline.
           
Mclean, VA - Technalink, Inc. is excited to announce that Alka Dhillon, Founder & Chief Executive Officer has been selected as a winner for the 2012 BRAVA! Women Business Achievement Award Presented by SmartCEO.
    
Alka Dhillon, Founder and CEO, Technalink (McLean,VA) Recognized as one of the leading female CEOs in the Washington, DC, area, Ms. Dhillon is known for her irrepressible entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for giving back to the community.

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