FEATURING THIS WEEK’s ARTICLES POSTED TO WCs AROUND GIBS CAMPUS
The benefits of telecommuting / Sun Joo Kim , SmartPlanet Blog INFOGRAPHIC
Although half of the employees in the U.S. have the option of working from home part of the time, only one in ten opt to telecommute or work remotely. We’ve already heard that remote workers are more engaged and more productive, and that commuting costs almost $1000 per month. But in case those aren’t enough reasons to drive home the advantages of telecommuting, the infographic (by carinsurance.org) below nicely lays out and reinforces information we already know, including benefits such as –
• Reducing consumption of oil and reduced greenhouse gas emissions
• Recovering 109 hours per year per typical worker with a 25 minute commute
• Saving money on gas and car insurance
• Improving health and decreasing stress
10 Things Google won’t tell you / Quentin Fottrell
When it comes to mobile devices, maps and retail, the know-it-all of the Internet suddenly doesn’t have all the answers
Excerpt . . .
10. “Hip offices are a trap for workers.” – Googleplex, the company’s 47,000-square-meter global headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., hosts one-third of the company’s 54,600-plus employees and has a volleyball court, bowling alley and organic herb and vegetable garden. In Zurich and London, the two largest offices in Europe, workers get the same VIP treatment. In Zurich, they can lounge in renovated gondolas while they conduct meetings. In London, one library is decked out with white semicircular sofa smothered in multicolored cushions; another space has a double-decker bus. A spokeswoman for Google says the offices are designed “to maximize creativity, innovation and well-being.” But not everyone believes such palatial work environments are a sign of corporate altruism. The experience is designed so employees stay at work longer, says Bob Sutton, professor of management science and engineering at Stanford University and author of “Good Boss, Bad Boss.” “All Silicon Valley firms require huge chunks of an employee’s time,” he says. Many campuses of tech companies border on what sociologist Erving Goffman called “total institutions” like sanitariums, he says — that is, places designed for people to spend nearly all their time. In a humorous nod to the modern workday, Google’s London office even has a conference room in the guise of a green padded cell.
Of course, many people envy Google’s work policies. The company pays its average employee $158,000 a year, or 23% more than the average IT wage, according to a 2011 survey by PayScale, a Seattle-based compensation-data company. Many office workers trapped in tiny cubicles would relish that kind of Googleplex luxury, says Eric Sundstrom, a professor at the University of Tennessee and author of “Work Places: The Psychology of the Physical Environment in Offices and Factories.” It makes sense for the company too, Sundstrom says: “If I can use a fabulous gym at Google rather than pay a fortune down the street, why wouldn’t I?” Some Americans spend more than $600 (here’s the link for the survey): a year on gym memberships, according to a recent survey by CouponCabin.com. Google has nearly $50 billion in cash, so investing in the work environment is smart, Sundstrom says. “Even if it is manipulative,” he says, “lead me to it.”
HarvardX marks the spot / Tania deLuzuriaga
University launches two online courses, and more than 100,000 sign up worldwide
“I figure I’d have to teach another 200 years to reach that many students in person,” said Harvard Professor Marcello Pagano, after learning that more than 100,000 people worldwide had signed up for the two Harvard courses being taught on the edX platform. Harvard University’s first two courses on the new digital education platform edX launched this week, as more than 100,000 learners worldwide began taking dynamic online versions of CS50, the College’s popular introductory computer science class, and PH207, a Harvard School of Public Health course in epidemiology and biostatistics. For Marcello Pagano, a professor of statistical computing who is co-teaching PH207x, the potential to teach so many students at once is amazing.
Excerpt . . .
“This is the future,” Pagano said. “What you have in classrooms today, I think of as a play. What we have now, with HarvardX, is the movie. You can swap out scenes, edit, perfect it. This is the way we communicate now. When you want to know how your friend is, do you go and visit them in person? No, you send a text. We are getting away from the ‘come to me’ model.” In Pagano’s eyes, the beauty of the HarvardX platform is that students can move along at their own pace. “They can stop a lecture in the middle and ponder a concept,” he said. “They can replay if they don’t understand something, and they can speed up when they grasp something quickly. You can’t do that in a lecture hall with 100 students. This is much more individualized.” For CS50x instructor David Malan, director of educational innovation and manager of pedagogical innovation, being able to produce short videos on key concepts means that students get a more consistent, polished experience than might work in a lecture hall. The library of lectures also liberates him to explore other concepts and go more in-depth in his on-campus class. “I don’t see the lecture or section going away,” he said. “Rather, students can choose the learning process that works best for them, and have the option of exploring other topics even if we don’t have the time to cover them in class.”
Top 5 green jobs on the rise in the United States / Frank Conley
Nowadays, you see the newest and latest products marketed by components that relate to the benefit of the environment. The green economy is rising by the second. Businesses and people are placing more of a value on “going green.” The attention on the global environment is growing. For this purpose, more jobs have been created or altered to go green.
- Environmental Entrepreneurs – In general, entrepreneurship, along with internet businesses, is a rising field. Environmental innovation and entrepreneurship inquires those with a passion and mission to improve the environment. These people do not necessarily need a business degree, but may have an expertise in the field and the action to create the applications. Featured on the MSNBC website is a section dedicated to environmental entrepreneurs. The section includes world news, interviews of environmental entrepreneurs, and daily tips. With the growing popularity of the going green culture, many people are beginning to take an interest in green businesses.
Solar Installation Worker – The solar industry has been strong and continues to grow, despite the state of our economy. Solar panels are in high demand because of how inexpensively they generate electricity and energy for homes and infrastructures. Many solar panel businesses are expanding which, in return, creates more jobs. Solarzentrum, a German manufacturer of solar panels, is expanding its facility in Cincinnati, OH, and creating about 140 new jobs. Businesses in the solar industry are continually competing to create new products that help people to live in a more sustainable environment.
Environmental Engineer – Recently, engineering in the environmental field has been a hit. Environmental engineering is the backbone to maintaining the environment. It encompasses science and engineering principles that promote living a better quality life and environment. There is a variety of settings environmental engineers work in, such as air control, waste management, public health, and water control. For engineers, it is easy to switch to the green field. This green engineering field is dominating the rise of green jobs.
Ecological Educator – Within the past decade, it has been common in the classroom to include the study of the natural environment and how human beings can help to manage ecosystems live a long life. Adults place pressure on students to be the next generation responsible for increasing their awareness of the environment and calculating solutions to current issues. Foundations, such as National Environmental Education Foundation, have been created to help encourage the knowledge of the environment in America. The environment is affected every day, creating a constant need for expanding knowledge and improvements.
Fashion Designer – In the fashion industry, going green is the new trend of the decade. Many popular fashion designers are incorporating organic clothing into their collections, such as Oscar de la Renta and Diane von Furstenberg. Consumers are willing to spend a little more money on garment that uses organic materials because it adds more value and tends to be more durable. With the demand of eco-apparel and accessories, fashion designers must be eco-conscious and present their clothing in a stylish manner.
Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.
*** Carl Jung ***
Brainstorm vs. Arguing / Daniel Sobol
Innovation is about arguing, not brainstorming. Here’s how to argue productively. At Continuum, innovation’s secret sauce is deliberative discourse. Here’s how you do it.
. . . So if not from brainstorming, where do good ideas come from? The creative process isn’t supported by the traditional tenets of brainstorming. Here are five key rules of engagement that we’ve found to yield fruitful sessions and ultimately lead to meaningful ideas.
1. No hierarchy – Breaking down hierarchy is critical for deliberative discourse. It’s essential to creating a space where everyone can truly contribute. My first week at Continuum, I joined a three-person team with one senior and one principal strategist. A recent graduate, I was one of the youngest members of the company. During our first session, the principal looked me in the eye and said, “You should know that you’re not doing your job if you don’t disagree with me at least once a day.” He gave me permission to voice my opinion openly, regardless of my seniority. This breakdown of hierarchy creates a space where ideas can be invented– and challenged–without fear.
2. Say “No, because” – It’s widely evangelized that successful brainstorms rely on acceptance of all ideas and judgment of none. Many refer to the cardinal rule of improv saying “Yes, AND”–for building on others’ ideas. As a former actor, I’m a major proponent of “Yes AND.” . . .
3. Diverse perspectives – We’ve all heard of T-shaped people and of multidisciplinary teams. This model works for us because deliberative discourse requires a multiplicity of perspectives to shape ideas. We curate teams to create diversity: Walk into a project room and you may find an artist-turned-strategist, a biologist-turned-product designer, and an English professor-turned-innovation guru hashing it out together. True to form, my background is in theater and anthropology.
4. Focus on a common goal – Deliberative discourse is not just arguing for argument’s sake. Argument is productive for us because everyone knows that we’re working toward a shared goal. We develop a statement of purpose at the outset of each project and post it on the door of our project room. Every day when we walk into the room, we’re entering into a liminal play space–call it a playing field. The statement of purpose establishes the rules: It reminds us that we are working together to move the ball down the field. As much as we may argue and disagree, anything that happens in the room counts toward our shared goal. This enables us to argue and discuss without hurting one another.
5. Keep it fun – We work on projects ranging from global banking for the poor to the future of pizza and life-saving medical devices. Our work requires intensity, thoughtfulness, and rigor. But no matter the nature of the project, we keep it fun. It’s rare for an hour to pass without laughter erupting from a project room. Deliberative discourse is a form of play, and for play to yield great ideas, we have to take it seriously. But we don’t brainstorm. We deliberate.