April 18, 2014

W.L. Gore culture

Minute 2: Gary Hamel mentions that people, who work for W.L. Gore, have no titles.
Minute 3: Terri Kelly mentions that at W.L. Gore, they avoid big corner offices.
Minute 4: Gary Hamel mentions that at W.L. Gore, all commitments people make are voluntary. Terri Kelly follows up by explaining that there's a totally different level of commitment when people decide themselves what they do.
Minute 4-5: Terri Kelly talks about the sweet spot between passion of the individual, unique skills of the individual, and the company purpose. Ms. Kelly continues by talking about the role of sponsors who help people become successful and maximize their contributions.
Minute 12: Gary Hamel mentions that at Gore, leaders are selected by people, who want to follow them. In other words, authority trickles up at W.L. Gore - not down like in most companies.
Minute 16: Terri Kelly explains that simply asking people - and thereby involving / engaging them - can very much help create alignment.
Minute 17: Terri Kelly mentions that when a senior leader is brought in from outside, he or she is first put into an area where he / she can share his or her knowledge as a kind of knowledge expert. If it shows that he/she has the same value system as the company is based on, he / she will emerge naturally into a leadership role taking on more responsibility.
Minute 20: Terri Kelly explains that at W.L. Gore, people rank other people, they know, for their contributions. The ranking determines how people are compensated financially. People rank up to about 25 people. When ranking people, focus is on how big a contribution people are making to the success of the enterprise.

April 12, 2014

Father Ray Kelly surprises positively with great singing - and gets standing ovations

Via this article, I came across the video clip below with Father Ray Kelly, who surprises positively with great singing - and gets standing ovations for his initiative. To listen to an interview with Father Ray Kelly, click here. Here's some research about how music changes people.



April 03, 2014

Top 5 on Scribd so far this year

Top 5 on Scribd so far this year:
# 1: Customer needs

March 23, 2014

Open education day in Zürich, Switzerland

During open education day in Zürich, Switzerland on March 18th, 2014, I visited Schwamendingen to learn about how people, who live there, learn. During the day, I experienced several examples of high quality personalized education with students of different ages - from 6 to about 15 years of age - and with different interests. Some examples:


  • In some areas / places / situations, students sat at tables and on chairs that were adapted to how tall they are. 
  • In some areas / places / situations, learners had decided themselves whether they want to work / learn individually or in groups. 
  • In some areas / places / situations, education participants decided themselves whether they would prefer to use computer to learn. 
  • In some areas / places / situations, I saw students develop questions themselves about what they wanted to learn, asking fellow students their questions, and listening to what they heard. 
  • In most areas / places / situations, teachers were good at acting as coaches, for example by going to individual students who wanted help, helping those students individually, and praising students for what they do well. 
  • At more learning events, I experienced that moderators / educators evaluated events - including apprenticeship events that students had worked on - by asking students / learners to express how the particular event had been for them. Students gave their feedback in various ways, for example by giving thumbs up or down with their hands, saying out loud what they liked, and/or expressing what additional help they needed to learn / do better. 


At a painting event during which students aged 6-7 years participated, I saw an example of great use of creativity: A girl was, like her fellow education colleagues, painting a box. She had chosen the colour turquoise for the paint she was using to paint her box. As most of the other students, she used a brush to paint. But only at the start. A couple of minutes into the painting task, she switched to using 2-3 brushes simultaneously, then switched a couple of minutes later to using both hands to paint - without using any brush. To me, this was a good example of "out-of-the-box thinking and doing". The norm was to use one brush to paint the box. This girl, however, let her imagination play and tried out several other ways of doing the work. And, as I could see, she really enjoyed what she was doing and was thriving using her creativity. In this situation, I found it great that the teacher let the girl go ahead - thereby supporting the creative initiative - and later simply helped the girl clean her hands.

The experiences I had this day were not all positive, though. I experienced some differences regarding how teachers think about education / learning / development. An example: Considering that many kids / children / young people use their personal mobile electronic devices such as smartphones / laptops / tablets to a very high degree - and also are very good at using these devices as well as various apps - I was very surprised that in several areas / places / learning environments, students were not allowed to use their personal mobile electronic devices. Witnessing how students were not allowed to use their personal mobile electronic devices such as smartphones, and also witnessing that there was no open, free wlan in any of the several areas / places / learning environments, I visited throughout the day - something which was also frustrating for some teachers - I could not help thinking about this highly popular TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson asking the question: Do schools kill creativity?

The Internet is certainly not everything. For example, large parts of social competence continue to be something we need to develop / practice when working with children through face-to-face interactions in various physical places, i.e. where people live their lives. And doing sports, for example, also continue to be important, for example to help avoid obesity, strengthen muscles, learning to compete and to collaborate with sports partners / team mates. The Internet is, however, a highly important and powerful tool that can help people develop a number of different skills in more and more nuanced ways. And with the development of the Internet, we're experiencing that many more interactive possibilities have arisen that help people have exchanges in various ways and thereby learn a number of things from each other. Think, for example, about all the interactions going on between young people using WhatsApp and other apps / websites that people use to communicate with each other. We're living in times during which technological changes - not least within information and communication technology - are happening at relatively high speed and are having an increasingly important impact on how we live our lives. The Internet is changing / transforming how we work, how we learn, how we live, how we relate to each other, how we think. Therefore, the Internet needs to play a central part in how education is done, i.e. be an integrated part of roles that educators play.

March 16, 2014

Clean energy at Niederhorn in Switzerland

At Niederhorn, about 2,000 meters above sea level in the impressive swiss mountains, I was positively surprised to see a relatively large number of solar panels installed on the roof of a building. What also surprised me was that I did not see any wind mills up there. Although I'm far from being a wind energy expert, there seems to be a potential for generating quite a lot of energy from the wind blowing on / in the mountains. For more information about renewable energy development, please feel welcome to visit this group.

March 04, 2014

Customer needs

How well do you know what your customers / users and/or other people, whom you serve, really need? How do you find out what they really need: To what extent do you ask them? To what extent do you do observations? To what extent do you do experiments? Here are some questions / issues to reflect on:

February 21, 2014

Tips to improve meetings

Reading this blog posting by Ekkehard Kuppel, I noticed, for example, this: “Meeting effectiveness is probably the single biggest lever in today’s corporate world. You can start experimenting tomorrow.” Here are some tips to improve meetings:

February 11, 2014

An extract of tweets from the start of year 2014

Here's an extract of tweets from the start of this year. I wish you lots of positive energy and many successes as you move further forward in 2014.

January 14, 2014

Developing work and living environments that people like

Reading this blog posting by Lars Kolind - including the article linked to in the posting - and this article, which I came across through this tweet by Bill George - including the articles linked to - I learned, for example, this: 1. On the one hand, people value exchanging ideas / chatting with / interacting with other people over the Internet / via apps as well as in various physical places - including at various Internet events and/or events in physical places. 2. On the other hand, people also value privacy / individualized, personalized offices / quiet rooms / not being disturbed when reading, thinking, writing, and/or communicating. In this regard, a key challenge, we need to handle / solve / find better solutions to, is, as I understand, how to block out noise that is disturbing for what the respective person wants to do. As Julian Treasure of the Sound Agency is quotes for in this article: "Nobody can understand two people talking at the same time." In other words, there seems to be a need to create work and living environment that are designed to satisfy needs of both high degrees of individualism and collectivity / low degrees of individualism. In this regard, it seems to be of key importance to understand that people have different needs, different personalities, prefer different types of work and living environments at different times / in different situations, and have different degrees of social competence. To get more inspiration on work and living environments / office spaces / home offices / event spaces, have a look at this presentation and/or this Pinterest board. What you also may find helpful is list of events through which you can meet and communicate with other people - on the Internet and/or in different physical places.

January 09, 2014

January 02, 2014

Organization possibilities

Have you thought about how often the classic organization chart that looks like a pyramid is shown when the conversation is about how work is organized. In the presentation embedded below, there are shown some additional ways through which work also can get organized. Why not try out one or more of them? There may be a chance that you and the people you work with will see better results. All the best and happy new year to you.



December 31, 2013

Quotes

Some quotes to take with you into the new year. I wish you a healthy and successful new year 2014.





December 07, 2013

Selecting a notebook / laptop

One morning, a couple of weeks ago, my laptop computer did not start up. Some seconds after turning the computer on, a blue screen appeared, and the notebook then shut down again. Speaking to a couple of competent people, for example at Digitec,  I learned that considering the age of the computer and the components in the computer, which were some years old, it would not be a good investment to send it in to get a technician to repair the software error that apparently had occurred. Reflecting on my needs for using information and communication technology, studying showrooms at a few stores, doing research on the Internet about the relatively rapid technological changes happening around us - including disruptive technologies - and speaking with a couple of people working with mobile, electronic devices, I found out that I still have a need for a notebook / laptop computer. In particular, when I need to work on a document / file for some time, a keyboard as well as a larger screen than the ones you find on smartphones and tablets, are useful. In this regard, I read in this Wikipedia article about Lenovo, in this economist article about Lenovo, and in this McKinsey Quarterly interview with Mr. Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo's CEO, that computing is entering what he calls the PC+ era, and that Lennovo continues to work on technological convergence in the areas of smart phones, tablets, personal computers, and smart TV in order to deliver a great user experience across all platforms. Here are a couple of extracts from the McKinsey Quarterly interview with Mr. Yang Yuanqing:
  • "The industry is absolutely shifting toward mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets."
  • "..we just don’t believe the PC is dying. You can use a phone or tablet to do some simple work, but you cannot do everything - it’s simply not as functional as a PC."

Doing research about the relatively large variety of notebooks / laptop computers on the market, I found, for example, this list of computer hardware manufacturers helpful. In addition, I found, for example, Notebook Review useful for comparing various laptops / notebooks. Studying various websites dealing with notebooks / laptops, I also came across this Wikipedia article reading which I was somewhat surprised to learn that the vast majority of laptops, 94% in 2011, are manufactured by a small handful of Taiwan-based original design manufacturers (ODM), although their production bases are located mostly in mainland China. According to the Wikipedia article, major relationships include:
  • Quanta sells - among others - to HP, Lenovo, Apple, Acer, Toshiba, Dell, Sony, Fujitsu and NEC.
  • Compal sells - among others - to Acer, Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo and HP.
  • Wistron - former manufacturing & design division of Acer - sells to Dell, Acer, Lenovo and HP.
  • Inventec sells to Toshiba, HP and Lenovo.
  • Pegatron sells to Asus, Toshiba, Apple, Dell and Acer.
  • Foxconn sells to Asus, Dell, HP and Apple.
  • Flextronics, former Arima Computer Corporation notebook division, sells to HP.

Among the arguments leading me to my decision to invest in a Lenovo notebook were, for example:
  • Comparing Lenovo notebooks to notebooks of other companies, that sell notebooks, I learned that when looking at notebooks that have similar or almost similar processor size, harddisk size, and RAM, Lenovo notebooks had relatively low prices.
  • Liu Chuanzhi, the founder of Lenovo, mentions HP as a key source of inspiration for Lenovo. For more than ten years Lenovo served as HP's distributor in China.
  • When Mr. Yang Yuanquing, CEO of Lenovo, took over Lenovo's personal computer division, he strongly discouraged the use of formal titles and required staff to address each other by their first names.
  • Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing decided to share his USD 3 million personal bonus with his colleagues - crediting the strength of the company’s business performance to workers on the production line. Each person got an average of 2,000 yuanSource.

November 16, 2013

Internet through optical fiber

In the last posting , I touched upon technological changes happening around us. In particular, changes in information and communication technology has in the past years been undergoing and is continuing to undergo large changes. The demands / needs are large around the world. As you will see from these internet usage statistics we are experiencing high growth globally in the number of people using the Internet on various electronic – including not least mobile electronic devices such as tablets, smartphones, and/or laptops. To support the large growth in internet usage across the world, a strong development in all kinds of areas, naturally also in competencies, is required.
Reading this article about optical fiber and this article about fiber-optic communication, I learned that optical fiber can be used as a medium for telecommunication / computer networking / internet communication because it is flexible and can be bundled as cables. And in this article, I learned that optical fiber cables transfer data at the speed of light in glass. This is typically around 180,000 to 200,000 km. per second. In Zürich, ewz telecom is currently installing optical fiber around the city. On the map below, you can see when connections through optical fiber are available in which parts of Zürich. A short video in which you can get an idea about how the optical fiber was installed in the ground is also embedded for you to learn from.
ewzzuerinet_Uebersicht

At an event on November 7th, 2013 at the church center St. Konrad, representatives of different service providers, which offer optical fiber connections, were present to communicate face to face with the population. I found the event useful as it allowed people to acquire more information of a variety of topics related to using various types of communication technology. One of the questions that I was somewhat uncertain about and therefore asked about as I spoke to a couple of the people I met there, was how important routers are for the quality of the internet connection. I learned, for example, that there are quite a lot of different routers on the market and that not only does it matter which router you use, it also matters where in your house / apartment your router is positioned. In this video a similar message was given: To get the best signal you need to place the router in a visible place so it can easily get in contact with / communicate with the electronic devices you are using.

November 09, 2013

How are you learning to cope with changes happening around you?

In this hackathon report summarizing the findings of the MIX Hackathon ”Hacking HR to build an adaptability advantage”, a very interesting innovation challenge, I read this on page 4:

“We are surrounded by all sorts of things that are changing at an exponential pace: the number of mobile phones in the world, CO2 emissions, data storage, the power of semiconductor chips, the number of devices connected to the Internet, the number of genes that have been sequenced, world energy consumption, and knowledge itself. Today, the most important question for any organisation is: Are we changing as fast as the world around us?” To know more about technological changes happening around you, have a look at this presentation

During a November 9th event, I came to think of the above, as Mr. Thomas Keil talked about his experiences working with strategic renewal. From what Mr. Keil communicated, I understood, for example, that training people to think creatively / work innovatively is among the solutions to avoid one or more traps of growing big and overcome one or more of the reasons why people resist change.

Similar to what Mr. Keil mentioned during the event on November 9th, I read on page 6 of the above mentioned hackathon report that people working in all kinds of organizations need to be educated on / equipped with skills that are required to thrive in an increasingly turbulent and interconnected world, for example creative problem solving and values-driven thinking. In this posting you can read about design principles for adaptable organizations – design principles that correspond well with UNBOSS.

To learn about how to discover your purpose and values, have a look here and here. To know more about how to become more agile, have a look also at these tips.


November 07, 2013

Renewing the way to get from A to B

In a recent posting, I noted how Renault-Nissan is strongly moving forward regarding electric vehicles. And in this very interesting McKinsey interview with Mr. Alan Mulally, CEO of FordI read for example this: "..we believe there is a social consciousness that is developing where people really want to consider alternative energy sources that are more sustainable and good for the planet." And towards the end of the interview with Mr. Mulally, I read this: "So we might be part of connecting different modes of transportation - bicycles and waterways and cars and buses and subways - all as part of the vision of enabling movement and bringing people together."

The strong development of renewable energy and electric vehicles are interesting trends that help create more value for more people around the world. Another interesting trend are technologies / apps that enable people to share, for example, cars and parking spaces and thereby help each other use resources more efficiently. Regarding sharing park spaces, I have come to know about, for example, parkit, parku, and ParkatmyHouse. Regarding sharing cars, I have come across, for example, MobilitySharooSpinlisterand mitfahrgelegenheit / carpooling.com. And yesterday, at the Social Media Gipfel, I learned more about bringbee

With the many new transportation solutions / apps / services that are continuously popping up in the market space -  helping people to, for example, save costs, get from a to b in a more environmentally friendly ways, more safely, and/or get from A to B together with other people - it seems evident that companies such as sbb and zvv need to innovate in several ways to become more attractive for customers. One way to improve the customer experience is to provide high speed  internet connection free of charge at train stations / tram and bus stops as well as on trains / buses / trams. Watching the Swiss Television Tagesschau of last night, I learned that sbb are doing that. In a contribution to Lars Kolind's blog posting on unbossing Scandinavian Airlines, open access to internet anytime and anywhere was part of the ideas I communicated.
To see other solutions / services / apps related to transport, have a look at thisYou may also find it useful to view this presentation about bicycle friendly cities and/or this posting about transportation innovation

Have a great day - wherever you choose to go.

August 22, 2013

Huawei Ascend P2 smartphone

I continue to be amazed about the speed of innovation happening around mobile electronic devices - including smartphones. Looking back a few years, it is simply astonishing to observe the development going on in this business. We surely live in an age of relatively strong technological change - not least changes related to the Internet and mobile electronic devices. Moore's law seems to go on and on proving its predictions.

At digitec I recently invested in a Huawei Ascend P2 smartphone. I'm quite impressed by the performance of this device - find that the value of using this smartphone is high. For example, the smartphone works even faster than I expected. A click on a link, for example in a tweet on Twitterquickly opens the respective website. The 4.7 inches screen is, I find, a good size for using the apps that I downloaded. With the amazon kindle app as well as the Flipboard app, for example, the reading experience on the smartphone is good. Another app I find quite impressive and which is particularly convenient on a smartphone is Google translate. I find it really extraordinary how you can speak words in one language into the phone and hear a voice say out loud the translation of those words in several other languages. This technology seems to open up for the possibility that we can globally all communicate with each other. In this regard, I learned from studying Gartner's 2013 hype cycle for emerging technologieswhich I came across via this blog posting, that speech-to-speech translation is located on the steep slope going up at the start of of the hype cycle.

I chose the black version of the Huawei Ascend P2, and together with the slim design, the beautifully rounded edges and a screen that covers more or less the entire front, I find the design nice. The smartphone also lies well in the hand. Should I make one wish to people working in this industry, it would be to speed up innovation in battery technology. To see a short review of the Huawei Ascend P2 smartphone, have a look at this 2 minute video featuring the Huawei Ascend P2. To know more about Huawei, have a look at this presentation.

July 29, 2013

Renault Twizy test drive

Via this tweet I came across this article in which I read that Renault-Nissan has sold its 100,000th electric vehicle. Reading the article, I also learned that the Renault-Nissan Alliance has sold more zero-emission cars than all the other major car manufacturers combined. Being interested in renewable energy, which I work on in, for example, this Google group, interested in transportation innovation about which I developed, for example, these slides as well as these slides, and admiring the leadership of Carlos Ghosn, I have been curious to try out a Renault-Nissan electric vehicle for some time.

As Mobility launched acampaign featuring the Renault Twizy a great possibility arose to try out one of the agile, electric vehicles that Renault-Nissan has developed. I was possibly surprised about the driving experience and found the vehicle handy for getting around in / around a city. That the small vehicle, which measures 2.3 m. x 1.2 m., is equipped with half-height scissor-opening doors adds even more flavour to the driving experience.




June 09, 2013

Design principles of adaptable organizations

Following up on this earlier posting, below are design principles of adaptable organizations that I came across via this blog posting: Design Principle # 1: Experimentation & learning. Design Principle # 2: Transparency and openness. Design Principle # 3: Autonomy and trust. Design Principle # 4: Purpose and meaning. Design Principle # 5: Diversity. Design Principle # 6: Flexibility. Design Principle # 7: Creativity. Design Principle # 8: Peer collaboration. Design Principle # 9: Natural leadership and meritocracy.

June 07, 2013

Mastery

Robert Greene wrote a great book titled Mastery. My thoughts / reflections on the book and topic are here. Embedded below is an interesting 3½ video with Robert Greene:

May 29, 2013

12 enemies of adaptability

Via this posting I learned about 12 enemies of adaptability, i.e. 12 barriers that prevent organizations from being more adaptable: Enemy #1: Hierarchy Enemy #2: Fear Enemy #3: Decision bias Enemy #4: Habit Enemy #5: Centralization Enemy #6: Inflexible business Practices Enemy #7: Rigid structures Enemy #8: Skills deficit Enemy #9: Short-term thinking Enemy #10: Insufficient experimentation Enemy #11: Lack of diversity Enemy #12: Lack of purpose

May 09, 2013

How do you make decisions?

Via this post by Estelle Metayer I came across the 4 minute video embedded below with Henry Mintzberg. In the video, Mr. Mintzberg introduces 3 ways of making decisions: # 1: Thinking first First you diagnose, then you design, then you decide, then you act / do. # 2: Seeing first Once you have seen it, you decide. # 3: Doing first You act in order to think, as much as you think in order to act. In other words, if you are faced with a decision and don’t exactly know what to do, you try something. If what you do works, you do more of it. If it doesn’t work, you try something else.

May 07, 2013

Learning from birds

With a group of people of more or less all ages, I went out listening to birds last Sunday morning. Starting towards the end of Dorfgasse in Langenthal, Switzerland we passed through a forrest and went by a beautiful lake on the way. Listening consciously to birds for about 3½ hours was a new experience to me. Among things I learned were the following: Learning experience # 1 Around 5 o’clock on this Sunday morning, just at it started getting light, I heard most birds singing / whistling. It was quite amazing to experience that the bird concert got louder and more diverse, as it became lighter. Learning experience # 2 The variety of bird signals / calls / singing surprised me. In this regard, it also surprised me a lot to read that there are around 10,000 living bird species. Learning experience # 3 I learned that birds have a great sight and are also really good listeners. It struck me that we can learn a lot from birds when it comes to listening. In this regard, here are some listening tips you may want to try out as you listen to birds and/or fellow human beings. Learning experience # 4 During the experience, I used my smartphone primarily for taking photos. However, I came to think about that it would have been useful to use the smartphone in other ways as well. For example, I imagine that the use of an app that turns a smartphone into a hearing aid could have been really helpful for people who wanted to make small sounds by birds a little bit louder / clearer. Even with good hearing, it was sometimes quite a challenge to accurately hear sounds of birds – and particularly challenging to determine from which trees birds’ sounds came. Learning experience # 5 I learned that birds’ eggs come in many different sizes and colours. The guides, who did a fine job introducing participants to the life of birds, showed us some birds’ eggs. Also, it was quite impressive to see how birds had prepared nests in small cages that the guides had hung up in trees. Writing this blog posting, the song Blackbird popped into my mind. Embedded below is a beautiful version of the song - performed by Paul McCartney:

April 13, 2013

Global information technology report

Reading the global information technology report 2013, I learned, for example, this: Learning # 1 Finland leads world in embracing information technology. The 3 other Nordic economies, Sweden, Norway and Denmark, are – together with Singapore, Netherlands, Switzerland, UK, USA, and Taiwan – also placed in the top 10. Learning # 2 In Switzerland, business usage as well as individual usage are both well developed. In contrast, the cost of ICTs is - by far - the weakest aspect of Switzerland’s performance. Switzerland ranks 68th in the affordability pillar. Another area of relative weakness is the lack of government efforts to promote ICTs. Switzerland ranks 31st in this category, way behind most of the Asian Tigers, the Gulf countries, and the Nordics. Learning # 3 Over the past 2 years, digitization has boosted world economic output by US$193 billion and created 6 million jobs. Learning # 4 More than 99% of things in the physical world are not linked to the Internet. However, the intelligent connection of people, processes, data, and things – the Internet of things – will drive forward links between things and Internet. This will impact all sectors. Learning # 5 There is strong evidence that ICT implementation, when done effectively, can result in healthcare that is higher quality, safer, and more responsive to patients’ needs as well as more efficient. There is also growing evidence that health ICTs are essential to support the development of new, innovative models of care delivery. In this regard, here are some tips to deliver health care. Learning # 6 The global volume of demand for fixed and mobile traffic is expected to grow by 34% and 84%, respectively, each year to 2015. This means that the telecommunication industry everywhere needs to make large investments. Revamping Europe’s mobile infrastructure, for example, to create a mobile network using LTE technology and covering 95% of the EU15 population will need investments between €50 billion and €70 billion. Learning # 7 The EU15 has 56 mobile operators. In comparison, the USA has 4 mobile operators to cover a similar size territory and population.

April 06, 2013

Involving people

Contributing to UNBOSS, I learned, for example, that one key to creating more value for more people is by involving external people, for example using blogs / social media and other crowdsourcing technologies. Preparing for this week’s Social Media Gipfel, I came across this flashmob that ballet dancers did in Zürich. Noticing that the flashmob is one the popular videos on the Opernhaus Zürich YouTube channel, I asked Christian Holst at this week's Social Media Gipfel what thoughts he and his colleagues have regarding doing similar initiatives – and thereby bring ballet, opera etc. to, for example, city squares and the like. The initial thoughts I had, which led me to ask the question, were that I would think initiatives like this would contribute to adding more colour to life in cities, encourage people to, for example, become even more interested / involved in learning about music, dance etc., and also give people special opportunities to share surprising, happy cultural experiences on social media. Reflecting on the Social Media Gipfel, which I think is an interesting initiative, I find it valuable that moderators Olivia Menzi and Marcel Bernet keep talks relatively short and want to encourage interaction among participants. In this regard, I came to think that one or more conversation exercises such as the ones embedded below might be interesting to use to encourage even more interaction at an event like this. A concrete possibility, I thought of, could be to moderate 3 minute chats / exchanges in 2-person groups right after a talk / presentation. A question from the moderator could be: “Please talk, for 3 minutes with the person sitting next to you, about what is important to you in the talk / presentation you just heard.” After this 3 minute chat / exchange in 2-person groups, the moderator could ask a couple of people to shortly say out loud what they had talked about with the person sitting next to them.

March 31, 2013

Examples of how the Internet is changing the way we work and learn

Attending Web Monday Zurich this week, I was reminded of how the Internet continues to change the way we work and learn. Having the influence of the Internet in mind, I couldn’t resist asking the panellists at a Creative Zurich event, which I attended on Wednesday this week, how the Internet will change the way design is done. Learning from what panellists mentioned, I understood that, for example, blogs / portals / communities etc. about design have grown in importance. As I used 99designs to develop my logo, I could certainly relate to the valuable comments of the panellists. Over at Atizo, I came to know this week about Mila, an interesting app / website using which you can get tasks done as well as offer services. Studying Mila, I came to think of taskrabbit and renovero that I also came across. Reflecting, for example, on the fact that people live longer and that the part of the population that is over 65 years of age will increase – topics mentioned in my last posting – I imagine that the need for marketplaces / portals / applications such as these will increase. In this posting about examples of how the Internet is changing the way we work and learn, I would like to also highlight blogging / microblogging and other social media / communication platforms such as Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Blogger, Wordpress, and Skype – applications / services that I find have added large value to how people communicate with each other.

March 29, 2013

European health report

Watching the 8 minute video below about the European health report 2012, I learned, for example, that people live longer. Life expectancy in Europe has increased by 5 years on average over the last 30 years. 15% of the European population, which numbers about 900 million people, are over the age of 65. The part of the European population over 65 years of age will increase. Watching the video, I also learned that 70% of us live in cities. This is also a trend. The number of people living in cities has grown and will continue to grow. Towards the end of the video, I learned that the definition of health is not only the absence of disease. It also includes physical, social, and mental wellbeing. How do you stay healthy?

March 22, 2013

Open education day in Zürich, Switzerland

During open education day in Zürich, Switzerland on March 19th, 2013 - an interesting initiative that invites external people to experience how education is done in different environments and thereby contributes to unboss education - I discovered several examples of good teaching. Reflecting upon what I observed, I also came to think about a few ideas to make the way education is done even better. 1. Individualization of education In a couple of handcraft workshops, that I took part in, I noticed that teachers were good at individualizing education. Each student worked on his or her own tasks – at a speed and level of difficulty that suited the individual student. Teachers helped each student individually – either by going to the individual student or by letting the individual student come when he or she needed help. I noticed that the individualization of education encouraged the individual students to take lots of initiative. 2. Use of information technology During open education day, I saw very few smartphones, laptops, and/or tablets in use. Also, I saw very few students or teachers using the Internet, for example to search for information and/or communicate with others. That surprised me a lot. During the day, there were several situations during which students could have benefited from using the Internet. In a music workshop, for example, students could have searched the Internet to find out what a bassoon is instead of waiting to have the opportunity to get the answer from the teacher. 3. Encouragement of creativity In a couple of handcraft workshops, I experienced that teachers were good at encouraging participants to use their creativity and explore new possibilities about what they could do with materials that were there. It may have been, I imagine, due to one teacher’s encouragement of experimentation and artistic expression, that – at one point during a workshop – a couple of students spontaneously started singing. I found it awesome that the teacher spontaneously praised them and encouraged them to keep on singing. 4. Encouragement of cultural diversity I experienced how individualizing education can strengthen motivation to a relatively high degree. An example: In a cooking class, the teacher had the idea of asking students, whose parents come from several different countries around the world, if they would like to cook a meal that is characteristic of where their families originally come from. This idea by the teacher proved to be good: Several students showed a strong motivation to cook such a meal for their fellow students. For me, this showed the importance of how food can serve as expressing culture and to connect people in positive ways. 5. Moderation of 2-person exercises In an English workshop, the teacher moderated several different 2-person conversations during which everyone was involved. The exercises initiated by the teacher resulted in a relatively high degree of activity and had a positive effect on the learning that was happening, for example because the exercises encouraged students to think and express themselves. 6. Use of clean energy I was surprised to see that no buildings, that I saw during the day, had solar panels on the roof. Besides having the possibility to produce clean energy themselves and thereby reduce costs of energy, I imagine that having solar panels on the roof would have a strong learning effect on students – and perhaps encourage students to become interested / even more interested in energy. 7. Sports / physical activity In a singing workshop, I found it great to see how the teacher encouraged students - in creative ways - to use both arms and legs to accentuate the rhythm while they were singing. Judging from the many smiles on the faces of children, the children were happy about this initiative by the teacher. In a few locations, I noticed how students liked to play football during the breaks - including in the long break in the middle of the day during which rooms and buildings are locked. I also noticed that because the football fields did often not have barriers on each of the 4 sides, the ball tended to often go very far when the students kicked the ball. Something similar happened when I was - years ago - doing a similar education as these children. As I was visiting my mother in Denmark last Christmas, I noticed that the school, I attended at that time, had come up with quite a fine solution to solve the problem of the ball running away: They had made a hole of the size of the football field – thereby solving the problem in an intelligent way. They had even painted the ground of the football field blue. See photo below:

March 11, 2013

A miniature, interactive transportation experience

Via this blog posting I learned about an interactive and socially enabled installation by Audi. Passers-by could race one of 3 miniature Audis – controlling the car via iPad. Reading this posting, I came to think about a miniature train installation at the Aarhus main station in Denmark. Below, you can see a photo of the installation – a photo I took during Christmas 2012. Reflecting on improvement possibilities of this installation at the Aarhus main station, I imagine that it would be even more exciting for kids - and adults ;-) - if they had the possibilities to control the train - and perhaps also other things such as miniature cars, miniature bicycles, lights, sound etc. - using various mobile devices that they use in their daily lives. Just an idea. Seen from an education perspective, I imagine that an initiative like this, or something similar, could help children and others - through play - to become interested / even more interested in, for example, city development.

July 25, 2011

4 E’s of social media strategy

Watching the 40 second video embedded below, I learned about the 4 E’s of social media strategy:

# 1: Engage
# 2: Educate
# 3: Excite
# 4: Evangelize



July 15, 2011

Sanitation – a powerful health prevention tool

Reading this posting, I learned that sanitation is the most cost-effective health prevention tool in existence.



July 08, 2011

Solar charging device for mobile phones at city square in Belgrade

Via this posting, I learned that the solar charging device featured in the 3 minute video below was installed late last year in the Obrenovac city square. The structure features 16 ports and can support numerous types of mobile phones, charging them up for free within 10 to 15 minutes. Built-in batteries enable operation at night and during cloudy weather for up to a month without sunshine. An interesting innovation.