How To Boss It Like With Claire Davenport – Kitty Knowles

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There are a handful of business leaders and industry figures who are changing the world.

We’ve previously asked CEOs, founders and thought leaders like Alex Klein (the cofounder of Kano), Clare Gilmartin (CEO at Trainline), and Justin Rosenstein (cofounder of Asana), how they get so much done in an impossibly short amount of time.

Today we find out “How To Boss It Like” Claire Davenport, CEO at HelloFresh UK, the meal-kit company based in Berlin.

Davenport cut her teeth working in banking at Goldman Sachs and JPMorganChase, before going on to work for digital leaders like Skype, FutureLearn and VoucherCodes.

Today, when she’s not heading up HelloFresh’s British division, she’s sharing her knowledge at pivotal events like this week’s Etail Europe.

What time do you get up, and what part of your morning routine sets you up for the day?

Most mornings I get up at 7 a.m. and have breakfast with my two daughters before cycling down the canal from my house to Oxford train station. I pick a quiet carriage so I can catch up on emails and news and prepare for the day on my commute into London.

Two mornings a week I have breakfast blocked for mentoring or networking. Doing everything I can to level the playing field for people from different backgrounds—to realize their full potential in their career or with their startup—is very important to me. I try to help with introductions or advice or just giving a confidence boost where needed.

Saturdays and Sundays I run on Port Meadow in Oxford with my running buddy, Alison. We run 4-5 miles to stay fit and catch up on the week.

What smartphone do you have?

iPhone 7 with 128 GB capacity (lots of photos and videos). Normal black with a HelloFresh cover.

What apps or methods do you use to be more productive?

I have tried various productivity apps over time but find having a system I stick to with my emails and trusted Moleskine notebook works best for me.

Sometimes I like to be offline or away from my phone. Okay, that’s not true.

But sometimes I happen to be offline (train or tube or once I have gone to bed or when I am trying to set a good example for my daughters) and I still have ideas and thoughts I need to get down, so a paper notebook is essential.

How many people, outside of family, do you meet in a day?

Every day is slightly different. On any given day, there are normally around 100-200 people working at our Shoreditch office or around 200 at our distribution center in Oxfordshire.

Both workspaces are sociable places, and I sit in a different seat most days so that I can really understand what all the teams are up to. I like the variety of sitting in our customer-care area and listening and speaking to customers on the phone one day to spending time with our marketing team the following day.

We keep meetings short at HelloFresh so I have in-depth conversations with 20 people a day roughly. I regularly meet customers as we like to host events at our office to learn more about their experience with HelloFresh.

A couple of evenings a week, I like to meet up with friends or people in my network.

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What book have you read, either recently or in the past, that has inspired you?

The Emotionally Intelligent Manager by David Caruso and Peter Salovey is a book I return again and again. It really changed my thinking on EQ and people management. I’ve bought copies for our offices because I think it’s a book everyone can benefit from.

I also like Act Like A Leader, Think Like A Leader by Herminia Ibarra, which is great for people thinking about their leadership style and is lovely and practical.

What advice would you give for people who are eager to get into your industry?

Go for it. It’s better to take an opportunity and get the experience it gives you rather than procrastinating and losing time. You can always pivot when you see what you enjoy about the opportunity.

When do you work until? Are you still sending emails in the night? Or do you have a wind-down routine?

Most evenings when I don’t have events, we eat a HelloFresh meal together as a family around 8 p.m.

My husband or daughters often start cooking while I am commuting home—I am guilty of emailing or reading news or Facebooking until late, but then I listen to audiobooks to wind down before I fall asleep.

I have a history of waking up with an idea at 3:30 a.m. and, at one time, I had quite a reputation for the 4 a.m. email among my colleagues.

After a while, I learned how scary it is for my team to receive a 4 a.m. email from me, and now I just save it as a draft and, if it still seems as important in the morning (about 10% of the time), I send it then instead.

If you could ask your idol one question, who would it be, and what would you ask?

I’d ask Barack Obama for his best piece of advice on leadership and his awesome public speaking.

What do you think your industry will look like in 10 years? 

I think more and more people will rely on meal kits in the future as it’s just such a convenient way to cook and enjoy nutritious food. Personalized nutrition will become a bigger trend as consumers are able to access data and food that meets their specific needs. And delivery will continue to develop, and we’re likely to see more and more automation in this area.

I believe my grandchildren will be bemused by the idea of owning a car or going to a supermarket to shop for a week’s meals in advance!

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What It Takes To Make IoT Implementation A Success – Robert Plant & Cherie Topham

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Organizations around the globe understand the importance of IoT. In fact, in a recent Forbes Insights/Hitachi survey of more than 500 executives worldwide, over 90% said IoT will be important to the future of their business. What’s more, of all emerging technologies, executives said IoT would be the most critical, ranking it above others like artificial intelligence and robotics.

While executives acknowledge the importance of IoT, 49% remain in the early stages of planning or are only operating pilot programs. We spoke with John Magee, Hitachi Vantara’s vice president of product and solutions marketing, to get his perspective on this state of development and how organizations can make IoT a larger part of their strategy and operations going forward.

If an executive is looking to invest in IoT and understand the economics behind it, what does he or she need to know?

Most organizations are looking to IoT projects to either improve operational efficiency or drive new revenue streams. A lot of organizations are seeking to use the data they can get from IoT sensors and connectivity to provide better visibility and help them understand what’s going on in their operations. For product companies, they’re often looking to optimize how their products are being manufactured or used, and to offer new data-driven services with those products.

The goal for most of these companies is to transform the way they operate and the way they compete. For business leaders looking to take advantage of IoT, the most important thing is to begin with the business outcome goals first and then determine what data IoT can provide that can help deliver those outcomes. It’s the new data that delivers the business value. So that should be the starting point for any project. Then you can work back from there to the technology required to meet the objective.

For example, manufacturers might want to understand why quality issues are creeping into one of their manufacturing lines but not the other. Logistics companies may want to understand the location of parts and deliveries to optimize scheduling. Product companies may want to sell new value-added software services that help customers get more value from their products. Whatever the goal, by understanding what data you need to collect and who needs access to it, the technology requirements will fall into place more easily and you won’t over- or underspend for success.

When executives are thinking about what data is most important to achieving their desired outcomes, what do they need to know? How should they approach this?

IoT is essentially a rich source of new business data. Data that comes from machines and devices, and from the spaces and environments those machines operate in. In many situations, just having access to real-time data about what’s going on—in a manufacturing plant, on a remote oil rig or in a city train station—can be transformative. In most situations, though, some analysis of the data is going to be needed to gain the insights that lead to business value.

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This is where technologies like big data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence come into play. Analytics is the key to not just understanding what is happening but also learning and getting smarter so that your IoT solutions can predict when a problem will occur or find the root cause of product quality issues that would have been unsolvable without analyzing the mountains of data that IoT can deliver.

The right way to think about IoT is as an extension of the business analytics that your organization is probably already doing in other areas. At the end of the day, IoT is a means to accessing and interpreting more data. And data management, data integration and data science are all key enabling technologies for IoT, just as they are for most other areas of business today.

One new twist on IoT data that differs from traditional business data is the idea of a “digital twin.” The digital twin is the software representation of a physical device, such as a pacemaker, an elevator or a dump truck. As data streams in from the physical device, it is collected and stored in the corresponding digital twin. The digital twin knows everything about that asset: where it was manufactured, how it has been operated, when it was last serviced.

By using software to analyze hundreds or even thousands of these digital twins, data scientists can build powerful analytic models that can optimize the corresponding physical assets. Organizations are using this approach to enhance asset uptime and performance, extend the useful life of critical assets and optimize maintenance and operations.

Once you’ve aggregated data into a single version of the truth and are drawing conclusions, how can companies best integrate that information into broader networks?

There’s a sort of stairway to value in many IoT scenarios. The first step of the stairway is the physical devices themselves. The second step is the operations around those devices. And the third step is the business processes and ecosystem around those operations.

Think of a manufacturing plant. If you use sensors on critical plant equipment, you can get data that can help you operate that equipment more effectively. If you collect enough data, you can even start to predict when it will fail so you can service it before that happens. So that’s the next step – using the data insights about the equipment into optimizing your maintenance and repair operations.

But that data can also be useful at the next step in the stairway, which is how your supply chain responds to requirements for parts or materials being delivered based on the performance of the equipment and operations in the factory. The more data you have, the more visibility you have, and the more opportunity to optimize every part of the operation. Sort of like air traffic control for the factory.

This stairway, or hierarchy, of value—from asset to operations to business process—is one we see play out in industry after industry.

When it comes to IoT, which is a complicated endeavor, research shows that it’s best not to go at it alone. What should executives be looking for in a partner when they’re considering making this transformation?

Working with a partner who understands your industry and has a methodology to help you think through your data strategy are the real enablers for success. IoT is a hot technology right now, and it is easy to get caught up in the hype and invest in the wrong areas. Working with an experienced partner who has a pragmatic approach that starts with understanding how IoT data and analytics will drive the desired business outcome is the key to success.

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When It Comes To Success In Business, EQ Eats IQ For Breakfast – Chris Myers

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When I was younger, I bought into the fallacy that the “smartest” person always won. I pushed myself to achieve the highest scores, earn the most recognition, and excel in every field.

I worked as hard as I could, but I almost always fell short of my goals.

Growing up, I often found myself surrounded by people who were smarter and far more talented than I could ever hope to be.

This left me feeling as though I was destined for a life of mediocrity, forever destined to live in the shadows of others.

Despite this, I always seemed to excel in the workplace. Throughout my career, from my first internship to my stint in corporate America, I managed to gain the trust and respect of my managers and peers.

As I climbed the proverbial ladder, many of the peers who were undoubtedly smarter than me jeered. They claimed that the people I worked for were idiots and that I was merely lucky. Still, I continued to move forward much to their chagrin.

I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately, as I’m working to find the right school for my son, Jack.

Jack, it turns out, is exceptionally bright. With an IQ of 145, he’s in the top percentile of intelligence in a traditional sense.

You’d think that having such raw intellectual horsepower would make life easy for him, but it’s quite the opposite. He has all of the typical emotional challenges of a normal seven year old, and then some.

While his IQ is high, his EQ or emotional quotient, is lower than average. As a father, it’s my job to try to raise as well rounded of an individual as possible, and that’s why I spend so much time trying to nurture his EQ.

It turns out, success in both life and business is a matter of emotion, relationships, and character, rather than raw intelligence. In fact, throughout my career, I’ve learned three facts that every successful person seems to remember.

EQ trumps IQ   

Maya Angelou once remarked, that “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

This certainly holds true in the realm of business. People buy emotions, not products. Teams rally around missions, not directives. Entrepreneurs take on incredible challenges because of passion, not logic.

Fortune follows people who demonstrate a high degree of emotional intelligence, or EQ. While IQ might be largely determined by genetics, EQ can be learned, developed, and refined.

Individuals with high EQ can speak to the soul of another person and ultimately influence their behavior. In the workplace, EQ trumps IQ every day of the week.

Humility goes a long way  

Human beings crave status and recognition above just about all else. This is especially apparent in the workplace, where many buy into the belief that self-promotion is the path to success.

I’ve found that the opposite is true. Humility, it turns out, is central to success.

Everybody falls at some point. You stay humble so that the people around you want to help you up, not knock you back down.

As a leader, I’ve found that people who demonstrate humility in thought, word, and deed tend to rise quickly inside of an organization because people are naturally inclined to help them succeed.

Arrogant, entitled, and prideful employees, on the other hand, tend to fail rather spectacularly. They may be smart, but they’re unable to garner any loyalty from the people around them.

It all comes down to grit

Perhaps the most important factor in determining success is grit.

Grit is just another word for strength of character. An individual or team who displays grit is someone who can take a hit and just keep on going, no matter what.

It’s this resilience that enables successful teams to avoid the pitfalls of depression, lethargy, and apathy that people tend to run into when faced with adversity.

As I look back on my career to-date, I can honestly say that I never gave up. I pivoted and evolved, but I never capitulated.

Many highly intelligent individuals are so afraid of failure and hardship that they never take risks. Instead, they sit back, comfortable and safe while others drive the world forward.

These trailblazers stumble, fall, and fail more than their more risk-averse counterparts, but grit keeps them moving forward.

As Winston Churchill once said, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

Nothing is simple 

My advice to  my son, as well as the students, friends, and team members I mentor is always the same: nothing in this life is simple.

It doesn’t matter how smart you are. What matters is how you’re able to connect, understand, and inspire other people.

Never think too highly of yourself just because you’re smart. In the end, it’s the people who understand feelings, not facts, who win the day.

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71% of Millennial Small Business Owners Use Tech to Keep Employees Safe – Michael Guta

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When it comes to safety and the many regulatory compliance companies have to abide by, it can be challenging, especially for small businesses. The Nationwide fourth annual Business Owner Survey, reveals 71% of millennial small business owners are using connected technology to keep their employees safe.

Technology to Keep Employees Safe

The rate at which millennial’s are using connected technology is more than double the average business owner, which is at 32%. According to Nationwide, a Fortune 100 insurance and financial company, this demographic is using the technologies to ensure and improve the safety of their workforce.

For small business owners using connected technologies, new levels of efficiency in cost savings, regulatory compliances and a more accountable and safe working environment have been seen. But like Mark McGhiey, associate vice president of Nationwide’s Loss Control Services, says on the official Nationwide blog, this doesn’t solve all safety problems.

McGhiey adds, “There’s always going to be an element of human-driven effort to ensure workers can do their jobs safely and efficiently. That’s why it’s so important for employers to follow best safety practices that are tailored to their specific business — and it’s why our experts provide individualized risk management consultation and safety training to business owners across the country.”

Technologies Millennial Small Business Owners Use

The connected technologies millennial small business owners use dramatically reduce manual processes. This allows them to use their workforce more efficiently and collect valuable data which can be analyzed to improve workplace safety.

Thirty-six percent of millennial’s use building sensors for detecting humidity, temperature, water leaks and equipment failure, while less than half or 16% of all business owners use the same technology.

Wearables are equally popular with millennial business owners with 32% saying they are using these devices compared with 13% for everyone else. Watches, belts and other wearable sensors are used to detect physical strain.

Drones, which are being used in many different industries, have been used to inspect sites that can pose danger to workers.  In this case, only 7% of regular small business owners use drones, while 21% of millennials have deployed the technology.

When it comes to vehicle telematics, 20% of millennials have installed these devices to keep their employees from being distracted while driving. For the rest of the small business population, the number is 11%.

National Safety Month

June is National Safety Month and according to the National Safety Council, close to 13,000 Americans workers are injured every single day.

No matter how big or small your company is, the safety of your workforce has to be a priority.

The survey was carried out online from April 9-20, 2018 among a sample of 1,000 U.S. business owners. The businesses had between 1-499 employees and the respondents were 18 years or older and self-reporting as either a sole or partial owner of their business. Nationwide commissioned Edelman Intelligence to conduct the 20-minute survey.

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Emotion Is Your Most Strategic Marketing Tool – Diana Davies

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Emotion is the tool you need to create content that captures the attention of your target audience. You need to engage their brains then their hearts if you want your content to be shared across networks and social media platforms.

The goal of your content goes beyond keeping your existing audience engaged and informed. You want whoever reads your content to love it so much that they feel compelled to share it with their online community.

What will trigger that immediate response? Emotion.

Decision making is not based on logic it is based on emotion. The emotional part of your brain is leading the decision making charge. The logical analytical part of your brain is simply playing catch up and ends up “justifying” a decision that has already been made.

Emotion is a tool that can be used to guide the brain’s response. What is the best way to insert emotion into strategic marketing? Graeme Newell breaks it down very eloquently,

“Start with your clients emotional priorities then show how you can make their dreams come true.”

Knowing your clients emotional priorities is essential to creating content that connects with your target audience at a fundamental level. You need to trigger in their brains a strong feeling of YOU UNDERSTAND ME.

Emotion Is Your Most Strategic Marketing Tool

 

Emotion is the tool you need to create content that captures the attention of your target audience. You need to engage their brains then their hearts if you want your content to be shared across networks and social media platforms.

The goal of your content goes beyond keeping your existing audience engaged and informed. You want whoever reads your content to love it so much that they feel compelled to share it with their online community.

What will trigger that immediate response? Emotion.

Decision making is not based on logic it is based on emotion. The emotional part of your brain is leading the decision making charge. The logical analytical part of your brain is simply playing catch up and ends up “justifying” a decision that has already been made.

Emotion is a tool that can be used to guide the brain’s response. What is the best way to insert emotion into strategic marketing? Graeme Newell breaks it down very eloquently,

“Start with your clients emotional priorities then show how you can make their dreams come true.”

Knowing your clients emotional priorities is essential to creating content that connects with your target audience at a fundamental level. You need to trigger in their brains a strong feeling of YOU UNDERSTAND ME.

Feeling understood is incredibly powerful. It resonates in the brain and forms the foundation of an emotional bond. The same kind of bond you experience with friends and family that “get you”. A place where you feel understood, appreciated and respected. You can create that emotion in your target audience.

Collect emotional insights from your current clients and target audience. When you first meet them are they exhausted, anxious, depressed or overwhelmed? What language are you hearing after receiving your services? Are they re-energized, driven, passionate or ecstatic? These emotional insights become your unique strategic marketing tool.

The content you create will reflect back to your audience the emotions they your audience find themselves currently experiencing and the emotional place they are striving for. What is it about your services that will have an emotional impact on your client? What emotions are they experiencing before and after working with you?

Emotion transforms your strategic marketing from a flowchart into the embodiment of your ideal client.

Emotion Keywords Amplify Content Impact

Henneke Duistermaat wrote a blog post that perfectly captures the importance of adding emotion words to content to increase impact and drive your audience to share.

Capture the emotions that are driving your target audience by collecting insights from direct interviews and online research. If you aren’t sure which emotions to explore initially, a good place to start is by looking at the 8 basic emotions shared within Henneke’s post.

The study of emotion and emotion words is an active area of research. Dr. Watt Smith conducted research which revealed that there is a granularity to emotions that we still haven’t fully captured in common every day usage words.

These emotions are still impacting our daily actions and reactions but we can’t readily describe them. In some instances you may not even realize you are experiencing the emotion until you read about it.

The use of emotions and emotional words will anchor those feelings and frustrations that are bubbling within your audience and link them with something tangible – your content and your strategic marketing.

Emotion will be the tool that builds the relationship between you and your target audience. It will not matter how wonderful and charming you are in person if your online content is full of jargon, acronyms and corporate speak.

Read any article you find about viral content and the one common element that was widely shared is emotion. High arousal emotions provoke action which is ultimately the point of creating content.

You want to build an engaged community that responds to the content you create. You want the likes, retweets, comments and shares. Their response is a direct reflection of your audience insights and knowledge. The more you understand how to engage their brain, the stronger the response you will receive.

Emotion Increases Visual Memory

Our brains process visuals first and retain a memory of them longer.

Use visuals that have an emotional impact to capture the attention of your target audience as they scan through their social media feeds, emails and online reading.

Given how short our attention spans are, you need to use emotion as your primary strategic marketing tool. Emotion will drive the visuals you create, the stories you share and how well your audience remembers your message.

Once you have collected the emotions your target audience is experiencing, you need to create unique visuals as part of your strategic marketing. There are many easy to use and cost effective techniques for creating custom visuals.

A creative visual catches the eye and gets the visitor to stay and explore your website. It can also buy you those few extra precious seconds on social media for a user to stop and actually read your content. A visual marketing strategy is essential for engaging the brain. Adding emotion to your visuals in the form of overlaid text or the use of images that reflect emotion significantly increases how well your content will be remembered.

Emotion is your most strategic marketing tool. Emotion captures the attention of the brain and engages your audience to take action. We already know that content with visuals gets 94% more views than content without visuals.

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The Neuroscience of Attention & Why Instructional Designers Should Know About It – Raluca C

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You know all those classic arguments couples have that begin with “I told you but you never listen!”? In truth, the listening part is not the issue, the remembering (or absence of) is the real problem. Paying attention is no easy thing and grabbing and holding someone’s attention is even trickier.

A fairly recent study calculated that the average attention span of a person has dropped from twelve to eight seconds, rendering us below the focusing capabilities of goldfish. Apparently this decrease is due to the fact that Heavy multi-screeners find it difficult to filter out irrelevant stimuli — they’re more easily distracted by multiple streams of media.

On the plus side, the report found that people’s ability to multitask has dramatically improved. Researchers concluded that the changes were a result of the brain’s ability to adapt and change itself over time and a weaker attention span is a direct consequence of going mobile.

What instructional designers should know about brain wirings…

For e-learning designers who face the challenge of creating quality modules that facilitate information retention and transfer it’s important to know how the brain works when it comes to attention – this being the first step in any learning process.

When faced with the challenge of processing the huge amounts of information it is being presented with, the brain brings forth several control measures. First it prioritizes the different types of stimuli – it chooses what information to recognize and what to ignore as well as establishing a hierarchy of what item deserves how high a level of concentration.

The brain is also wired to connect any new information to prior knowledge to aid the understanding of a new idea as well as to get a better picture of broader concepts.

Last but not least, the amount of time a person spends focusing on a certain topic is also important – some things can be learned in a few minutes, others take much longer than that and also require some pause.

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Since concentration means effort and that is no favorite of anyone’s, it’s important for difficult information to be presented in an engaging way.

… And about the cortexes involved

What neuroscience tells us is that in order for people to start paying attention, the stimuli need to make the cut. The brain’s capacity to discern between these stimuli is located in two different areas: the prefrontal and parietal cortexes.

The first is located behind the forehead and spanning to the left and right sides of the brain and has to do with conscious concentration. It is an important wheel of the motivational system and helps a person focus attention on a goal. The parietal cortex lies right behind the ear and is activated when we face sudden events requiring some action – it is what kept the human race alive through numerous encounters with those who considered us dinner.

Of course, throwing in a really big threatening dinosaur at the beginning of an e-learning module is not the way to go but it helps to keep in mind that people become focused when action is required of them or when they see how a certain learning experience might help them achieve a personal goal.

How attention relates to memory

Attention is a cognitive process that is closely related to another very important aspect of learning: memory. A certain learning intervention is deemed successful when the participants are able to remember and apply what was taught. Otherwise it can be the best experience ever but with no real knowledge value.

The brain’s permanent goal is to filter the stimulus that is the most immediately relevant and valuable, so it is easiest to pay attention when information is interesting. Take televised documentaries for example. If the presentation, the script, the imagery and the voice-over are all working together, even the life of armadillos who don’t do much over a few months period can seem utterly fascinating.

For effective learning to take place, participants must focus their attention on the learning activity. It is the designer’s job to help them do so by including various elements and levels of interactivity. Simply presenting the information can prove highly counterproductive since typically the mind wanders up to 40% of the times we read something.

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Tips for getting learners’ attention

There are, of course, a lot of great ways to get and keep learner attention. Here are a few examples:

  • Using emotionally charged storytelling – there is nothing as engaging as a good narrative, emotionally spiked at its most important points;
  • Getting the learners involved with the content – interactivity is a must if the goal is to get people on board with learning;
  • Using great visuals – the reason for our decreasing attention is that we are assaulted by imagery; carefully choosing what and how learners see has great barring on their involvement with the program;
  • Linking new concepts with familiar ones – the brain works by making connections between what we already know and what is novelty to us. Designers should facilitate this process by including the best suited comparisons in the content;
  • Keeping it simple – if something is interestingly presented, people will search for more information on their own. Cluttering screens does not help them learn more but prevents them from taking away what is essential.

Bottom line

If the learning material is not engaging, learners will have a hard time paying attention and that will lead to poor results. In order to create interesting material, instructional designers need to be mindful of what neuroscientists have to say about how the human brain works and include meaningful situations and opportunities throughout the modules.

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Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade And The Question Of Why – Henna Inam

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The question “why?” has been reverberating through my head.

This week, many of us experienced a stunned sadness. The suicides of two celebrities, Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, left us wondering what happened. What did we miss?

The Bourdain and Spade suicides have opened up new questions about my assumptions about dream careers.

Bourdain and Spade had achieved significant success. They were at the top of their fields. They were engaged in work that they were passionate about.

They had fame. They had fortune.

 They had somehow figured out their unique talents and were fully expressing them to create positive impact for so many.

They had family and friends who loved them and fans who adored them.

The place they reached is the place many of us aspire to. For many of us, isn’t the dream to find our passion? To connect with our talents? To live our passions out loud? To impact others positively? To love and be loved? To find work that is not just a paycheck but fills us? Isn’t this what self-actualization is about? I imagine nirvana lives just on the other side of self-actualization. Does it?

At the height of what seemed on the outside were enviable lives well lived, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain chose to end it all.

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I am not a mental health expert. I can’t even begin to fathom what was going through their minds when they made the decision to leave. But, here are some questions that are going through my mind this week. I urge us to reflect on these questions as we go about pursuing our dream careers:

Most of us assume that we will be happy when (fill in the blank). The fill in the blank can be the next achievement, the corner office, the success of the side gig, the perfect partner. What if we will not be happy “when”?

I imagine both Bourdain and Spade experienced some sense of emptiness or despair. As we go about pursuing dreams important to us, what are the just-beneath-the-surface moments of emptiness we feel? What is the emptiness we avoid? What do we seek on the outside to fill that emptiness?

Suicide rates have increased by 25% in the last 20 years. Almost always, loved ones are surprised. Who are the people that we can reach out to help us when we feel despair? Who are the people in our lives we can reach out to, to be of help? What are the signs we need to be aware of?

There is still too much shame around mental health issues. How do we as a society and as individuals stop hiding behind masks of perfect Facebook-worthy lives? How do we acknowledge our humanity to others in a vulnerable way? How do we create the space for others to share what’s not perfect in their lives?

What is the cost to us of creating a public persona that is all about the positive? Success. Fun. Fame. Adventure. How painful and lonely must be the discord between the real experience of emptiness and the image of fullness that we feel we must display to the world.

What if our assumptions about the pursuit of the dream that will ultimately make us happy and successful are wrong? What if there is a dark underbelly of the human experience in each of us that we’re missing as we seek self-actualization? What would it be like to claim that dark underbelly? To accept that we are each flawed and that may never change? To accept that there is less within our control than we would like to accept?

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Would our dreams be different if they emerged from an acknowledgment of our imperfections and most painful emotions?

I imagine that each one of us will have different answers to these questions. I leave you with a quote from Bourdain in celebration of being curious: “That without experimentation, a willingness to ask questions and try new things, we shall surely become static, repetitive, moribund.”

What are the questions you have as you process the passing of Bourdain and Spade? I welcome your thoughts and reflections.

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53% of Small Business Owners Worry Over Cost of Healthcare – Michael Guta

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A recent survey of America’s small business owners suggests more than half or 53% count the cost of providing healthcare insurance for their employees as a key concern.

Worried About the Cost of Small Business Health Insurance

Healthcare costs eat up a huge chunk of the small business operation budget. According to the NFIB’s Index of Small Business Optimism, the biggest challenge for small business owners is healthcare. And the eHealth report, Small Business Health Insurance: Costs, Trends and Insights 2017 indicates close to 80% of small business owners worry about the cost.

While in most cases small business owners operate locally, developments outside their region and other macro trends may also have an impact. These issues include everything from higher healthcare costs to taxes and regulations which affect day to day operations.

In the press release announcing the SmallBiz Loans survey, company CEO Evan Singer points out how these trends affect owners. Singer explains, “The survey illustrates that small business owners are aware of macro trends that may impact their business. But their focus is instead on the day-to-day functions of running their company. And the great news is that the new tax plan is helping to drive immediate growth.”

The new tax plan is important to many small business owners too. According to the survey, 52% of respondents gave changes in the new tax law as a key business consideration. The new tax law has been cited by 35% of business owners as a driver for making changes in their operations, with 10% reporting they are making additional investments in new staff and equipment.

But challenges in recruiting talent also rate high. In this time of low unemployment, finding talent is becoming a big problem for businesses of all sizes. In the survey, 49% of business owners reported finding and hiring quality employees is a top concern. And when it comes to hiring new talent, for nine out of 10 of the respondents experience is more of a priority than education.

As it becomes harder to find qualified employees, 31% of respondents to the survey said they are willing to hire candidates with fewer qualifications and train them. At the same time, small businesses are providing more incentives, with 51% of owners offering flexible working arrangements and another 33% higher wages.

Regarding how small business owners feel about the economy, close to 57% of owners said they remain bullish, stating their outlook over the next 12 months was fairly positive or positive. And as some businesses look to grow, they will require funding.

Funding was another key issue touched upon. Securing this funding is getting easier according to 22% of respondents. But getting this capital has become more expensive, with 49% saying they agree or strongly agree the price of credit has gone up.

The survey was carried out from April 9 through April 17, 2018, with the participation of 289 small business owners across the United States. They were questioned on several subjects including financing, growth plans for the year, hiring, talent, and concern for their businesses.

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A Few Thoughts For Entrepreneurs Wrestling With Depression – Chris Myers

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This has been a hard week for those of us who care deeply about depression and the people who wrestle with it.

Both entrepreneur/designer Kate Spade and chef/TV personality Anthony Bourdain took their own lives this week, leaving many to wonder why people who seemed to have it all would go to such lengths.

If I’ve learned anything during my entrepreneurial journey, it’s that people who have ambition, vision, and big dreams tend to suffer from what author Nassir Ghaemi calls “A first-rate madness.” The genius is often offset by battles with personal demons.

That there is a link between creativity and mental illness is known to some extent, details regarding that link are mostly unknown.

Entrepreneurs are, if nothing else, creators. They thrive on the unknown and live to create something out of nothing. With that drive, however, comes an increased risk of depression and mental illness.

While I don’t claim to know precisely what happened in these particular cases, I do know that the stresses of living a high-profile, creative, or entrepreneurial can take their toll on people, both physically and emotionally.

I want to be very clear about one thing. I don’t have all the answers. Like everyone else, I’m just trying to find my way in a complicated and challenging world.

I have, however, learned a few things along my personal entrepreneurial and creative journey that have helped me navigate challenging situations, particularly in regards to stress, anxiety, and depression.

Let’s be honest about the difference between mental illness and circumstance

Perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learned is that there is a stark difference between mental illness and the shared human response to challenging circumstances with which we are forced to deal.

For so long there was a stigma associated with mental illness, and people were afraid to entertain the idea that they might be suffering from its effects. Fortunately, this stigma is starting to give way to a more honest and understanding view of the matter. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or not, you have to ask yourself “Have I suffered from panic, anxiety, or depression my whole life, or is this something new?”

If you find that your feelings and sufferings are part of a larger pattern, please don’t be afraid to talk to a medical professional.

In many cases, anxiety and other symptoms are biological. No matter what you try to do, or how you try to cope, you won’t be able to run away from the underlying biological problem. There are, fortunately, solutions and treatments out there that can help.

If what you’re experiencing is relatively new for you, there’s a reasonable chance that it is mostly circumstantial. This is where I can offer some insight, having dealt with this type of emotional stress firsthand.

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Keep things in perspective

A few years ago, Business Insider published a great article about the depression epidemic in the startup community. According to the article, only 7% of the general population report suffering from depression, but a whopping 30% of founders report dealing with its effects.

That statistic is staggering but entirely believable.

Entrepreneurship is an intensely personal journey, and it’s incredibly difficult to separate your identity from the business that you’re trying to create. Soon, business setbacks (of which there are many) seem like personal setbacks, and depression can quickly take root.

The key is always to strive to keep things in perspective. Life, like business, is a journey full of ups and downs.

When talking to entrepreneurs and other creatives going through tough times, I often encourage them to think back to high school. For most of us, there were moments in our high school lives that seemed to be monumentally crucial that in retrospect seem childish.

At the time, of course, the pain and anxiety that you experienced were real and raw. However, the more distance you gain from the situation, the less painful it becomes.

While the problems that you’re facing right here and right now may seem insurmountable, it’s important to realize these too will pass and fade in time.

Entrepreneurs have to accept the fact that the odds are stacked against their success. Most new business ventures fail, and even those that are eventually successful take a long time to get off the ground.

Setbacks will outnumber successes, and there’s a good chance that most days will be stressful. That’s the game we chose to play and the ability to embrace these realities is what makes us entrepreneurs.

Still, when challenges pile up, it’s easy to feel like the world is ending and that we’re failures. I recently had lunch with a good friend who was in the process of shuttering his third startup in seven years.

During our conversation, I reminded him that in his brief career to date, he’s accomplished more than the vast majority of people do in decades.

His pedigree and experience put him in the top one percent of people in his age group, and, as a result, his opportunities are vast. Sure, the latest venture didn’t work out, but he can and will live to fight another day.

Wherever you’re at this point in your life, there is an excellent chance that your current endeavor will not be your last. In fact, many of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world hit their stride on the second or third attempt.

Consider the case of Mark Cuban. Before he struck it big by selling his business to Yahoo, Cuban had a string of failures.  After failing as a cook, carpenter, and even a waiter he remarked, “I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how many times you failed. You only have to be right once. I tried to sell powdered milk. I was an idiot lots of times, and I learned from them all.”

The lesson here is that there are second (and third and fourth) acts in life, and it’s important to remember that whenever you encounter failure.

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Don’t be afraid to get help

I’m fortunate in the sense that I have a fantastic support network I can call on when I need help. My family and friends are always there when I need them, whether it’s to listen to my struggles or to lend a hand.

Not everyone is as lucky. Entrepreneurs need to be able to reach out and get help when they need it. This can be difficult in a world where everyone feels the need to be “crushing it” all the time. Asking for help can be seen as a sign of weakness, which leads to people merely keeping their difficulties to themselves.

We in the entrepreneurial and creative communities need to change this mentality. People should feel free to get help without the fear of judgment, and it’s going to take a few strong influencers to initiate the change.

I know a few people in the industry who care about this deeply, including Structure Capital (a team of high-profile venture investors based out of San Francisco), but more are needed. There are good people out there who want to help. It’s just a matter of having the courage to reach out.

There will be bumps, setbacks, and even catastrophic failures on any worthwhile journey, but remember that you’re not alone. Keep your challenges in perspective and live to fight another day.

If everyone who read the articles and like it, that would be favorable to have your donations – Thank you.

How Does Influencer Marketing Work in Healthcare

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The principle behind influencer marketing is simple: If someone who is trusted or admired by many other people expresses a preference for a product or service, then others will give it a try. Marketers in a wide range of industries have long directed their efforts at celebrated individuals as a relatively inexpensive way of getting the word out about a product, especially when compared to the cost of a television ad buy. The proliferation of social media took this strategy to a whole new level, making it easy for a well-known person to convey a sponsored message instantly to thousands or millions of followers.

Sales and marketing departments at life sciences organizations have taken notice of the increasing relevance of influencer campaigns, and many want in on the action. Of course, it’s challenging to apply the same concepts to medical devices or pharmaceuticals with the strict rules in place to regulate communications and protect patient privacy. However, a clear perspective on how influencer marketing works and extensive access to physician data make it possible for businesses to guide the right people to information about medical products.

Influencer marketing in medicine

Given the restrictions on sharing information, many physicians have been reluctant to embrace social media. In the Healthlink Dimensions Annual Healthcare Professional Survey for 2018, 28.6 percent of respondents said they used social networking sites to communicate with other physicians and healthcare professionals, but few used these platforms to connect with patients or life sciences organizations. The majority, at 66 percent, said they opted out of social media altogether.

Nonetheless, influencer marketing has made headway in medical marketing in recent years. Initiating online contact with key healthcare decision-makers and thinkers is often a major step toward making sales and promoting beneficial policies. Pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers can gain an advantage by finding clinical partners that carry weight in the medical community and forming relationships with particular physicians and executives willing to promote the brand to others.

Meanwhile, patients are flexing their own newfound clout through social media accounts. WIRED reported on people with chronic diseases who regularly post about their struggles and triumphs, including photos and popular hashtags. Healthcare startups, marketing research firms and brand strategy agencies have seized the chance to network and collaborate with these individuals.

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Hewing carefully to regulations, marketers have begun working with patient influencers in bringing attention to life sciences brands. By looking at what individuals have to say, companies gain new perspective into what it’s like living with the chronic conditions that their products treat. Such relationships have thus proven invaluable to a number of businesses and may prove a vital part of many more marketing strategies in the future.

Targeting communications to key healthcare decision-makers

While influencer marketing is a burgeoning force in the world of healthcare, life sciences organizations must still concentrate on nurturing relationships on a smaller scale. Individual physicians and administrators play vital roles in driving purchases for their facilities. With the precipitous decline of in-person access to medical professionals, marketers and salespeople have to form connections online.

Email has solidly established its place as the best means for sending information and promotions to healthcare providers. A strategic physician email marketing campaign can be the start of communications with professionals who come to champion a product or firm throughout the purchase process. Optimizing these efforts depends on gaining a clear perspective into the needs of the doctors who participate in the decisions to buy pharmaceuticals or medical devices and segmenting accordingly.

By working from up-to-date contact information, representatives reliably get through to doctors. Messages should be targeted and customized by drawing on data such as institutional affiliations and areas of specialization. Taking into account where healthcare providers work and the demographics they serve, marketers can tailor messaging to capture and hold their interest.

A deeper engagement with details like the treatments a doctor commonly employs to treat certain conditions will permit even more precise segmentation. Addressing the precise needs of physicians with a wealth of informative materials encourages them to advocate for a product all the way through a long purchase journey. Delivering quality results and nurturing relationships may persuade key individuals in health systems to wield their significant influence on the behalf of a life sciences organization.

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