Innovation feeder

re-framing the way we think about education
February 20, 2013, 11:19 pm
Filed under: innovative education | Tags: ,

Social-InnovationNext Generation Learning [Next Generation Learning, Bill & Melinda Gates Learning Foundation].

In many high schools and colleges, instructional methods fail to engage students or help them understand core concepts, retain learned material, or apply their learning to real-life situations. Learning models are often inflexible and do not account for students’ diverse learning needs. Organizational processes are too rigid to make use of data that could improve the teaching and learning environment. Too often,
postsecondary programs are designed without regard to the real-life challenges that many students face—such as work commitments, family obligations, and financial constraints.

Re-framing the formal curriculum [ Randall Bass]

Our understanding of learning has expanded at a rate that has far outpaced our conceptions of teaching. A growing appreciation for the porous boundaries between the classroom and life experience, along with the power of social learning, authentic audiences, and integrative contexts, has created not only promising changes in learning but also disruptive moments in teaching. We might say that the formal curriculum is being pressured from two sides. On the one side is a growing body of data about the power o1344671713_education-courses-for-nursesf experiential learning in the co‑curriculum; and on the other side is the world of informal learning and the participatory culture of the Internet. Both of those pressures are reframing what we think of as the formal curriculum. These pressures are disruptive because to this point we have funded and structured our institutions as if the formal curriculum were the center of learning, whereas we have supported the experiential co-curriculum (and a handful of anomalous courses, such as first-year seminars) largely on the margins, even as they often serve as the poster children for the institutions’ sense of mission, values, and brand. All of us in higher education need to ask ourselves: Can we continue to operate on the assumption that the formal curriculum is the center of the learning experience? . Now Randall Bass is primarily exploring the issues with undergraduate education but these points are pertinent also to high school education when we think of the changing landscape within the high school education system here and around the world.

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A new story in retail

(Photo courtesy of Story)

Part retail visionary, part editor, Rachel Shechtman wants to make shopping fun again. Her new Chelsea, New York-based concept store, Story, isn’t just about shopping. It’s about the experience at the store, which changes its theme every four-to-eight weeks — merchandise, decor and all. Of course, the gorgeous gifts inside don’t hurt.

How did you get involved in “concept” shopping?

I’ve always been fascinated by the creative side of things, and the business side of things. [I got to thinking that] there’s been all this innovation online, but we live in real life. And other than the Apple store, it’s hard to really think of other innovative retail experiences. The concept [of Story] is pretty straightforward. I describe it in simple terms as a magazine that comes to life. Our version of editorial is the merchandise that we curate around a certain story, and the events that we also host during that story. Our publishing side of the business is our sponsorship. Benjamin Moore was the sponsor for our “Color” story, General Electric [sponsored] our “Making Things” story. Our holiday story will be in partnership with Hewlett-Packard and Quirky.

When will the holiday story begin? It opens November 14.

It’s called “Home for the Holidays”—the store’s going to be designed like an apartment. The whole concept is a gift guide that comes to life. So our dining room will be “something for everyone.” Our playroom will be for the kids. In the men’s study, you’ll have a pool table. We’ll have a hot chocolate stand on weekends, and [you can] make your own ice cream.

What have been some of your favorite concepts that you’ve done so far?

My favorite one is whatever the next one is, because all we’re doing is snowballing our learnings and our experiences from each story to become better storytellers. People always say, “who’s your market?” And I always say I only have two rules. Every story needs to appeal to someone between the ages of 5 and 80, and there has to be something for sale that’s $5, and it can go as high as $5,000.

Why do you think pop-up shopping resonates with sponsors and with consumers, especially at the holidays?

If you think about it, we have our mobile devices, and our iPads, and everything around us, and we get new content every two seconds. Everywhere we look, there’s news and there’s information. And yet, you walk into a store on a Monday, and you walk into a store on a Friday, and it’s the exact same experience. So I think what works and resonates for us, is that we’re always changing, even within a story. We will put in new items in week three that weren’t in week one. The truth is that all we’re doing is mirroring behaviors and patterns in other parts of people’s lives in an experience that no one has delivered yet. And I also think that as people have less time—and the ultimate luxury on the planet right now is time—they want more out of their experiences. In the past, you could compete on price, quality and service. I think what people compete on now is surprise and delight, and the experience factor. For us, I think that’s what makes people come back.

As both a retailer and a shopper, what are you seeing for the holidays that is a bit different this year than in years past?

With all this change—you have an election, a horrendous natural disaster—the focus to some degree becomes less on material luxuries and more on the luxury of time and place and people. I think products and experience related to that
will become important.

Source: Huffington Post

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take a moment for yourself this morning
November 20, 2012, 9:47 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

I feel like this is something I should watch once a week to remind myself not to get caught up in the minutia of daily life. I bought their manifesto poster a few years ago and have it hanging in my office somewhere, or maybe in someone else’s office, either way I haven’t looked at it in a while. I was reading an article this morning on Good which reminded me of them and I watched their manifesto video and fell in love with it all over again.

If you haven’t heard of Holstee, this might be a nice little hug to give yourself this morning. Holstee was started in 2009 during the recession by two brothers  Mike and Dave and their partner, Fabian started Holstee. More than a company, or clothes, the trio wanted to create a lifestyle. Starting in the summer of 2009 they dove head first into the world of design and production. After six months and a huge learning curve, Holstee launched its first line of Recycled Tees made of 100% recycled plastic bottles that were milled, cut and sewn within 150 miles of each other in North Carolina. Starting with this first round, 10% of all sales were lent to entrepreneurs in extreme poverty through non-profit micro-lending organizations like – a tradition they are proud to still embrace.

Starting out as a side project, the guys realised that they wanted to create more than just t-shirts. Having all quit their jobs and filled with a ton of raw energy, emotion, and ideas – a feeling that they never wanted to forget, they wrote down exactly what was on their minds and the tips of their tongues. It wasn’t about shirts and it wasn’t about their old jobs. It was about what they wanted from life and how to create a company that breathes that passion into the world everyday. It was a reminder of what we live for. The result became known as the Holstee Manifesto.

Whether you’re a believer or not, do yourself a favour. Turn off your iPhone. Shut down your email. Close your office door. Take a moment and watch. Whether you’re a cynic or not, sometimes it’s good to remind ourselves of the things we should be prioritizing in our lives. Even if the people doing the reminding are still trying to sell us something.I’m buying.

get your obama on

Now I’m the first to admit that I’m a bit of an Obamaphile. I love him. I understand and appreciate that what some see as “rhetoric”, is also perceived by others as visionary waffle that set expectations too high. I understand that the very right, very white Americans can be concerned about what they see as a “socialist” attitude (although last time I looked socialism was an economic system characterised by social ownership and co-operative management of the economy, but let’s not get caught up in the detail. I watched some of the debates, I watched the election results and resulting speeches of victory and concession (didn’t Romney pitch his speech just one step above ungracious loser..) and two things struck me: Continue reading

how are social entrepreneurial organisations different?

Recently my father-in-law and I had some ongoing discussions about what makes an entrepreneurial organisation (or even a social entrepreneurial organisation) different to a mainstream corporate one. We were discussing it because he himself founded and still runs a fantastic social entrepreneurial organisation called Hands on Learning and the question has emerged, how is the nature of their organisation different to a corporate? How is the leader of one organisation different to the leader of another type of organisation? I’m particularly interested also because our organisation  differs greatly both in management style and strategic development / approach to a traditional corporate. In fact, many people start their own businesses because they don’t fit the corporate mould or don’t wish to work in that kind of environment. When we’re young and unsophisticated we think having our own business is all about not having to work for the man, not having to be in the office by 9am or having to answer to anyone. As we reach a riper professional age, we realise that working in our businesses makes us more productive and more creative because we can work in a way that suits us. We can really understand what things affect us and remove all of the unimportant obstacles so that we can lead fulfilling and productive professional lives. One of the greatest challenges we face in our business, is how to continue to share that entrepreneurial spirit through the business as it gets larger (and more structured). How do you grow without losing the magic? Continue reading

how the tech companies make their money
October 24, 2012, 12:48 am
Filed under: Digital culture, Future of Media, geek, Geek stuff, Innovative stimulus, Social media

Remember the good old days when an online company didn’t need a revenue model because simply being an entrepreneurial innovative online business was enough? I remember those days well because very early in my advertising career we wrote strategies for many of those businesses who never ever got it together thanks to the dot com crash and  a swift return to reason. As the market re-settles and new revenue models emerge, one thing remains true: like any business, you have to find a way to charge for what you do. Yes content is still super important and many sites still rely on advertising or lead generation rather than content to fund their models but as categories become more sophisticated, so too do their revenue models.

Anyhoo i found this site which offers an overview of top tech companies and their revenue models across ads, subscriptions, affiliates, data, freemium, and royalties. For those of you looking for an little innovation stimulation or just to feed your inner geek, have a gander – it’s a fun way to get a quick sense of how the bigger brands are tackling the market.

think positive and engage your brain
June 18, 2012, 12:02 am
Filed under: happiness, Lifestyle trends, Thinking | Tags: ,

Our most commonly held formula for success is broken. Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy. If we can just find that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work. This isn’t just an empty mantra. This discovery has been repeatedly borne out by rigorous research in psychology and neuroscience, management studies, and the bottom lines of organizations around the globe.

Shawn Achor is the winner of over a dozen distinguished teaching awards at Harvard University, where he delivered lectures on positive psychology in the most popular class at Harvard. He is the CEO of Good Think Inc., a Cambridge-based consulting firm which researches positive outliers — people who are well above average — to understand where human potential, success and happiness intersect. Based on his research and 12 years of experience at Harvard, he clearly and humorously describes to organizations how to increase happiness and meaning, raise success rates and profitability, and create positive transformations that ripple into more successful cultures. He is also the author of The Happiness Advantage.


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