Friday, July 28, 2006

The imagination economy: To keep wages rising, American workers need to get creative

[5 July 2006 - FORTUNE Magazine] The U.S. economy faces a historic problem, and how it is resolved will drive major consequences for managers, investors, politicians, and especially workers. The problem is that Americans' pay isn't going up. That's remarkable because the economy is booming - growth is strong, unemployment low, productivity rising smartly. Yet the latest figures show that the broadest index of pay (inflation-adjusted wages, salaries, benefits) is no higher than it was at the end of 2003. This is serious trouble because America's great economic story is that living standards keep rising, especially when times are good. But living standards are not rising right now. That is the kind of deep disruption that over time can lead to economic and political crisis. The conventional response is to urge greater achievement in science and technology, long our economy's foundation. In his most recent State of the Union address, President Bush announced "an American Competitiveness Initiative, to encourage innovation throughout our economy and to give our nation's children a firm grounding in math and science." There is much argument about how to do that. But a contrarian school argues that the whole debate is wrong - that focusing on science and technology is fighting the last war. They hold that the very basis of value creation is shifting from the disciplines of logic and linear thinking to the intuitive, nonlinear processes of creativity and imagination. Tech advances will cease to confer much competitive advantage as they circle the world almost instantly. More

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Meditation in the classroom promoted

[30 June 2006 - The Press (New Zealand] Transcendental meditation may bring a new school of thought to New Zealand education. An American educator has told his Kiwi counterparts that a daily dose of transcendental meditation (TM) can be a positive lesson in ensuring peace rules in the classroom and the playground. In a move towards consciousness-based education, Ashley Deans, the director of the Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment in Fairfield, Iowa, advocates awakening the brain. Deans, who addressed an educators' conference in Christchurch last night, believes there is plenty of space for some TM among the three Rs as part of education for enlightenment. Deans, who is a guest of the Stress-free Schools group, outlined the benefits of two 10-minute daily sessions of TM in schools. He said the technique created "stressless schools" where learning was boosted and violence and aggression disappeared. He said research over the past 35 years showed that TM encouraged creativity, intelligence and academic performance. Research had also shown the benefits of TM to children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Deans said schools in the United States that had adopted the practice had reported the same leap in students' academic performance and a reduction in violent and aggressive behaviour. More

Bringing strategy and creativity closer together

[24 July 2006 - University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business (South Africa)] Can creatives also be good strategists and good strategists be more creative? The UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) thinks yes and to prove its point this August launches a brand new course that will allow people from both worlds to break the mould, learn from each other and grow. The course, aptly titled Creategy, will invite participants to push the limits of what innovation in strategy means in order to develop themselves and their organisations. According to Elaine Rumboll, Director of Executive Education at the UCT GSB, the course aims to set up a vital ideas exchange between two disciplines that are usually considered to be worlds apart, believing that it's only by creating unexpected links that new ideas will flourish. "Many of the world's great inventions have come about as a result of creating unusual links between disparate disciplines," says Rumboll. "It is in this same spirit of collaboration that this course will invite delegates to explore how innovative companies and organisations become that way, and what lessons can be learned from the arts, design, creative industries and sciences about innovation." More

Creativity seen as economic key: Strategy aimed at luring the best and brightest; Report urges creative thinking to involve youth

[25 July 2006 - Toronto Star] If Toronto invests time, money and energy to turn itself into a creative city, the economic and social benefits could be huge, especially for at-risk youth in need of good-paying jobs. That's the message from Karen Carter of Education Connections, a non-profit organization that focuses on arts education for youth across Toronto. Carter was pointing to tangible results that could come from the implementation of a new report, Imagine a Toronto ... Strategies for a Creative City, released yesterday, that urges better strategic planning and funding to make the creative economy stronger. More

Saturday, July 15, 2006

More retirees opting to launch startups: Baby boomers aren't just heading to the links - they are starting new businesses in record numbers
[5 July 2006 - Business 2.0 Magazine] Terry Alderete and Leonard Liu don't seem to have much in common. She's the owner of a special events firm in Newark, Calif., and he's chairman and chief executive of a software development company split between Silicon Valley and Shanghai. But Alderete, 61, and Liu, 65, are both part of a booming demographic: retirement-age entrepreneurs. For the past 10 years, adults ages 55 to 64 have been the group most likely to start a new business, according to a study released in May by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which promotes entrepreneurship. And now that baby boomers are reaching retirement age, the trend is only going to grow. More
Aging Populations Shy Away From Entrepreneurship
[10 July 2006 - Babson College] Countries where aging populations are increasing faster than younger people may also see  a decline in entrepreneurial business activity according to new research from Babson College Professor Maria Minniti, Research Director of The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) which annually measures entrepreneurial activity worldwide. Minniti and colleague Moren Levesque, University of Waterloo, Canada, found that individuals select career paths according to the dynamic interplay of age, risk, and wealth.  Older workers in waged-labor have less incentive to start a new business because their current income is likely to increase over time with experience and seniority.  Younger workers are free to take risks….they can afford to wait for economic security, expect to live longer, and have fewer responsibilities -- family, mortgages, etc. -- to hold them down. Their research entitled, The Effect of Aging on Entrepreneurial Behavior, was published in the Journal of Business Venturing 2006. "The study," according to Minniti, “has important policy implications because it suggests that, unless things change, countries with aging populations—like most European countries—may expect a decline in entrepreneurial activity and possibly growth.” Minniti says that the United States has never experienced this problem because of its historical embrace of new immigrants.  “Immigrants tend to be younger and have more children to help build new businesses,” says Minniti.  “Obviously, our research can impact and contribute to the recent US debate on immigration.” More

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Smith Institute Arts Lecture: Arts in the core script - writing ourselves in
[17 July 2006 - New Statesman - By Peter Hewitt, CEO, Arts Council of England] ... The arts are about releasing the imagination, about finding ways to understand our deepest feelings and motivations, about making sense of our most personal instincts and behaviours. The arts are about freedom, about unlocking creativity in ways that can produce unpredictable, sometimes shocking, results. The arts are, by nature, ground shifting and often disruptive. More
Q&A with Robert D. Austin: The Accidental Innovator
[10 July 2006 - Harvard Business School
Working Knowledge] Many important innovations are the byproduct of accidents. The key is to be prepared for the unexpected. Professor Robert D. Austin discusses his research and practical implications on the concept of accidental innovation. More