BOG BLOG : 12 – 19 OCTOBER 2012


FTMBA Research Hand-in 2012

Cities   /    TED.COM
According to the United Nations, by the year of 2050, 70% of the world’s population will be living in urban areas. So what will the city of the future look like? These are some of the questions that dominate our conception of “The City 2.0”: How will we transport ourselves? Where will we grow our food? How will we power our homes, our offices, our grids? What will happen to the natural world? . To celebrate the City 2.0 and the spirit of urban inspiration, here are 6 great TEDxTalks about

  • the future of cities. On dismantling urban highways in cities: Diana Lind at TEDxPhiily Across the United States, cities are re-purposing their streets. In this talk at TEDxPhilly, Diana Lind describes many of the ways urban spaces can benefit from rejecting “car culture” and reconstructing the grid, from adding bike lanes, to creating greenspaces, to turning streets into people-friendly social spaces.
  • Urban farming: Roman Gaus at TEDxZurich Roman Gaus never thought he’d be a farmer. Now part of an urban farming collective in his city of Zurich, Switzerland, he harvests his own fish and produce on a regular basis. In this talk at TEDxZurich, he explains aquaponics: self-contained agriculture that relies on a symbiotic relationship between plants and fish — the fish provide nutrients for plants while the plants filter water for fish — all within portable containers made from recycled materials.

Also related, regarding Emerging markets, this recent report by McKinsey Global Institute report on which this article is based, Urban world: Cities and the rise of the consuming class.

As the locus of global economic activity shifts to developing nations, companies should be aware of the growth dynamic that’s playing out in cities. Leaders who give their strategies an urban dimension could find themselves positioned to allocate investments more effectively and to seize more readily the many opportunities at hand.

Why college may be totally free within 10 years / Dan Kadlec | @dankadlec
Higher education is in transition and with a coming proliferation in online courses could be totally free for many within a decade. The status quo won’t yield easily. But this is looking like a real answer to runaway student debt. 

NANTUCKET, Massachusetts — As few as 10 years from now, quality higher education will be largely free—unless, of course, nothing much has changed. It all depends on whom you believe. But one thing is clear: The debate about financing education grows louder by the day.
Experts with a wide range of views on the subject, including the always-interesting Harvard professor and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, weighed in last weekend at the Nantucket Project, a big-think conference in the spirit of TED and Aspen Ideas Festival. The most provocative, though, were hedge fund billionaire Peter Thiel and the author and entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa.  Thiel has gotten a lot of attention for his view that higher education is broken, and that many kids would be better off saving their money and going straight from high school into a trade or developing a business. His “20 under 20” fellowship grants high school graduates with a sound business idea $100,000 if they agree to skip college and go right to work on their idea.


 Mexico – Taco stands, labor reform and the sins of the informal market /   Lauren Villagran

Excerpt  . . .
A cash economy that functions under the table but hardly out of sight, Mexico’s informal market is massive: Between 50 percent and 62 percent of all employed workers labor in Mexico’s informal economy, according to the World Bank’s recent report World Development Report 2013.  “This rate is considered high given the country’s development level and has not shown consistent signs of decline in nearly two decades,” according to the report, which attributes the range of estimates to differing definitions of informal employment.
What determines “informality”? The World Bank notes that informal businesses reside in a “gray area” defined alternately by not registering or paying taxes; lacking social security coverage; or working without an employment contract. Economists continue to debate what it means to work in an informal market.  While expanded social programs increasingly cover even those without a job in the formal market, in Mexico more than 20 million workers – out of an economically active population of 50.9 million – toil in jobs that are considered more precarious and lower paid than formal work, according to Alejandro Villagomez, an economist at Mexico City’s CIDE think tank.  “Informal” businesses in Mexico run the gamut, from providers of services such as plumbing or repairs, housekeeping and child care, and goods such as clothing, books, toys or artisan wares. In other words, “informal” isn’t the “black” market, although it can also include sales of pirated movies, music or prescription drugs.  Mexico’s vast informal market is, perhaps, embodied most visibly in the capital’s street food culture. After the juice stands and taco shops close in the evening, the vendors of hot candied sweet potatoes push their stainless steel carts through the streets, pausing to blow steam whistles loud enough to rattle windows. And the ubiquitous peddlers of tamales come out on tricycles outfitted with a recorded message that Mexico City residents hear daily, almost without fail: Oaxacan tamales, nice-and-hot tamales!
.    .   .
Mexico ranks 53 in competitiveness out of 144 nations, according to the World Economic Forum’s Competitiveness Index, behind Brazil, Panama and Chile. Reforming the social security system and reducing the costs of creating formal businesses could improve competitiveness and draw more businesses into the formal economy, Villagomez said


Power posing: Brief nonverbal displays affect  neuroendocrine levels and risk tolerance / Dana R. Carney, Amy J.C. Cuddy, and Andy J. Yap

Abstract  –   Humans and other animals express power through open, expansive postures, and they express powerlessness through closed, contractive postures. But can these postures actually cause power? The results of this study confirmed our prediction that posing in high-power nonverbal displays (as opposed to low-power nonverbal displays) would cause neuroendocrine and behavioral changes for both male and female participants: High-power posers experienced elevations in testosterone, decreases in cortisol, and increased feelings of power and tolerance for risk; low-power posers exhibited the opposite pattern. In short, posing in displays of power caused advantaged and adaptive psychological, physiological, and behavioral changes, and these findings suggest that embodiment extends beyond mere thinking and feeling, to physiology and subsequent behavioral choices. That a person can, by assuming two simple 1-min poses, embody power and instantly become more powerful has real-world, actionable implications.

You don’t know where your company’s going ?  /   Jay Freeman, GALLUP
Executives can’t take their businesses on a successful journey if they don’t know the destination — or how to get there. . .
Prioritizing and eliminating performance metrics requires discipline and focus, but the dividends are worth it. Here are some key items to consider.  Start by defining your primary metrics — or the “vital few” — and your subordinated metrics, which are tracked but not given the same focus. You should track and manage the vital few daily. Subordinated metrics become useful when a problem occurs on a primary metric and you need deeper analysis. For example, a business that manages to high efficiency levels might consider overall expense control a primary metric. Specific line-item expenses, such as customer refunds or overtime, would be subordinate, and you don’t need to focus on them unless there was a performance issue on the primary metric. Focus on metrics that the work team can influence. A sales team may not have a clear path to control defect rates. A production team may not have a clear path to improve product awareness. When designing a work team’s scorecard, ask what behavior change each metric can influence. If the answer is unclear to you, it won’t be clear to the work team.  Determine which primary metrics can serve as a proxy for other metrics. A robust customer experience metric, for example, can measure sales effectiveness, fulfillment quality, and problem resolution when combined with appropriate subordinate metrics.  Note the relationships between your primary metrics when building a scorecard. Primary metrics relate to other vital few metrics in three ways: They are independent, reinforcing, or balancing. Let’s explore these relationships using primary metrics from a call center:

  • • Independent metrics have no measureable correlation or causality. For example, fixed costs and customer engagement could be important for a call center to measure, but neither has an influence over the other.
    • Reinforcing metrics, on the other hand, are positively correlated. As one goes up, so does the other. When handle time (or the duration of each call) goes up, for instance, customer engagement also tends to go up because agents may be spending more time addressing customer needs.
    • Balancing metrics may present a negative correlation. When one goes up, the other goes down. For example, the same increase in handle time that can improve customer engagement could decrease agent efficiency as measured by calls per hour.

Winning the $30 trillion decathlon: How to succeed in emerging markets  /   . McKinsey experts discuss how multinationals can harness the biggest economic force in the history of capitalism. /  Strategy Practice
Annual consumption in emerging markets will rise to $30 trillion, from $12 trillion, by 2025.  –  By 2025, more than half of the world’s population will have joined the consuming class, driving annual consumption in emerging markets to $30 trillion, from $12 trillion. Emerging markets could account for more than 70 percent of global economic growth during this period.  While executives recognize that winning in emerging markets in the key to long-term growth, many companies remain reluctant to commit resources and talent at scale. McKinsey research shows that the largest companies headquartered in developed economies currently derive only 17 percent of their revenues from emerging markets, even though these markets already represent 36 percent of global GDP. Moreover, despite advantages in scale, technology, and access to capital, multinationals often lose out to more nimble local competitors. In this video, McKinsey experts Yuval Atsmon, Peter Child, Richard Dobbs, and Laxman Narasimhan highlight a number of business disciplines where global companies need to raise their game

Accommodating the new normal   at NYPL Labs
.    .    .
Food for thought   –  The labs team makes sure to design its projects in collaboration with the subject specialist librarians, not in isolation. For example, Rebecca Federman, culinary collections librarian, and Michael Inman, curator of rare books, act as coleads of the Menus Project. Yet when it launched over a year ago, “it was kind of an empty vessel,” Vershbow says. The labs team simply digitized menus from the library’s collection of more than 40,000 and called on users to help transcribe them. Interns check their work and make any corrections. Because the task is simple, no login is required to contribute, though the labs is considering implementing a tiered system because contributors are asking for it.  As of August 1, the project has transcribed its one millionth dish (Guinness Stout, a bargain at 25¢), as well as 14,000 menus, and is still going strong. So while the labs team made sure “to keep the transcription call to action very front and center,” in the redesign launched June 22 (to coincide with the Lunch Hour exhibit), Vershbow also wants to start providing ways to explore the data already generated, including by location. Users can already search for a dish from the collection on Menupages.
The labs released an API for the Menus Project on July 19, the library’s first publicly promoted and documented API, and plans to partner with other libraries with digitized menu collections. “We are in preliminary discussions with a lot of these organizations; we are discussing how we would confederate a little; maybe share the data and increase the overall data set,” says Vershbow. Eventually, he hopes to “build a historical Yelp,” which would contain information on theatrical and musical shows and other activities as well as food.


 The Lone Ranger, long since retired, makes an unpleasant discovery

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