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Social Media: We Love You, We Dread You

Posted by Ruth Kinzey on Fri, 2013-08-30 09:28

Businesses everywhere recognize the power and influence of social media. And besides, everyone is doing it. So, it’s a necessity for your company, too. Right?

This over-simplistic view can get your company into trouble quickly. So, it’s important to approach social media strategically. This means knowing why you should use social media; identifying how it can best compliment (and complement) your existing communication and marketing strategies; measuring effectiveness to ensure goals are reached; and monitoring it to protect your reputation.

Ask yourself the following four questions to help you determine if you are leveraging these communication channels fully and effectively:

What do you really hope to accomplish by using social media?

Clarify objectives. Know the types of messages you want to communicate and the frequency with which you want to share news. Understand where and how your target audience uses social media. Then, conduct research. After thoroughly analyzing your options, carefully select the best form of social media for your purposes. Be sure to determine how you can measure success and incorporate processes to do so into your plan. That way, you’ll be able to tell if you achieved what you set out to do.

Are...

Food for Thought on Farms and Food: USA

Posted by Drs. Brad Googins & Phil Mirvis on Thu, 2013-08-29 11:23

Judging from the popularity of reality TV chef competitions, fascination with food is at an all-time high. Look no further than the volume of food infotainment shows about food production (The Chew), preparation (Kitchen Nightmares), consumption (Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations), and cooking tips (Rachel Ray). This used to be the territory of gourmands and epicures. Now, with everybody tuning in, the populist term is “Foodies.”

Those looking for hardy food-for-thought on this trend have been digesting Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma—on the “politics and pleasure of eating”—and Joel Salatin’s Folks, This ain’t Normal which proffers “a farmer’s advice for happier hens, healthier people, and a better world.” As frequent travelers, foodies, and advocates for sustainability and social innovation, we have spent the last several months as culinary tourists in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

We found plenty that “ain’t normal” but also lots of innovation underway in the journey from farm to food to you. Let’s start with the USA.

Corporate Farming ain’t Normal

Our travelogue starts with the GEL (Good Experience Live) conference April 17-19, 2013, in New York City. The gathering featured talks about urban development with the High-Line public park and the Governor’s Island serving as the backdrop for the conference. On rural matters, Joel Salatin spoke about how religious faith...

When Disaster Strikes: How to Respond in the Wake of Rising Consumer Expectations

Posted by Whitney Dailey on Wed, 2013-08-28 09:51

In the aftermath of a natural disaster, it’s not a question of if companies should contribute support, but how and to what extent.

From Hurricane Sandy to the Ya’an Earthquake, it doesn’t take much when disaster strikes to change a person’s world forever.

The need for companies to address social and environmental issues is real and urgent, yet in the face of unexpected destruction, the mandate for company involvement becomes especially important. Cash infusions, product donations and volunteer efforts can literally be the difference between life or death, rebuilding or desolation.

Increasingly, companies are taking on disaster relief roles traditionally held for government agencies and NGOs, as citizens find companies uniquely equipped to tackle rebuilding in the wake of destruction. Findings from our recent 2013 Cone Communications Disaster Relief Trend Tracker, a global survey of 10,000 consumers in 10 countries, found a near-universal expectation for companies to not only give, but be long-term partners in providing relief solutions:

  • 87 percent...

Fishing With 3G Nets: How Qualcomm Promotes Sustainable Development Through Mobile Technology

Posted by Kristin Atkins on Wed, 2013-08-21 10:53

Qualcomm believes that mobile technology improves people’s lives. With this in mind, Qualcomm established its Wireless Reach initiative, which supports programs that bring wireless technology to underserved communities around the world. Working with global partners, Qualcomm identifies areas of need, including education, health care, public safety, the environment, and entrepreneurship, and develops programs tailored to benefit individual communities.

In August 2010, Qualcomm launched Fishing with 3G Nets in Santa Cruz Cabralia, Bahia, Brazil. Working in partnership with The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Telefonica/Vivo Foundation, a mobile telecommunications company in Brazil, Instituto Ambiental Brasil Sustenavel (IABS), ZTE Brazil, a provider of telecommunications equipment, and the municipality of Santa Cruz Cabralia, the program was designed to promote economic development for isolated fishermen and mariculturists (oyster cultivators).

In Santa Cruz Cabralia, fishing is a primary source of income for many families. Poverty and overfishing led to a reduction in resources and posed a threat to the way of life in the coastal community. In addition, the industry suffered from a lack of investment and old infrastructure. As a result, Wireless Reach and its partners saw an opportunity for...

Technology and Education: The Potential of MOOCs

Posted by CSR + Tech Column on Tue, 2013-08-20 17:29

The goal of developing countries has always been to reach the point where aid is no longer needed, and with new technology has come new optimism that emerging markets can “skip steps” and advance rapidly as never before. Technology, especially the internet, has raised expectations, and the international education sector is no exception— both in terms of using new technologies to reach students and in the IT focus of the education itself.

Technology is opening new doors for educational institutions and members of the wider education sector, particularly those in the Global North, to establish a presence in new markets where there is significant demand for quality higher education and skilled workers.

One new trend in the education sector is the introduction of Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to fill some of this demand. Growing in popularity, MOOCs are offered exclusively on the internet and hold great potential for scaling up: a single course can enroll over 100,000 students at a time. Most are offered at a university level for free, which eliminates both the cost and location barriers faced by many students in the developing world. And there may be even more possibilities if such courses can be delivered in villages and communities.

It’s too...

South Korean Teacher Makes $4 Million a Year

Posted by Mark D'Alessio on Wed, 2013-08-14 10:11

In this past weekend’s Wall Street Journal, journalist and author Amanda Ripley, profiled a teacher in South Korea who makes $4 million a year. Yes…$4 million. His name is Kim Ki-Hoon and he teaches in one of South Korea’s private, after-school tutoring academies called ‘hagwons’ where his lectures are videotaped then available for purchase on the internet. Mr. Ki-Hoon is paid according to his demand (which, evidently, is pretty high) in what Ms. Ripley calls “a free market for teaching talent.”

These private tutors are essentially ‘free agents’, meaning they don’t receive a base salary—their pay is based on performance. So, how is their performance evaluated?

Ripley writes, “Performance evaluations are typically based on how many students sign up for their classes, their students’ test-score growth, and satisfaction surveys given to students and parents.”

In South Korea, students truly are the customers. If you are a highly-respected teacher in a hagwon, countless numbers of students will pay for your services, which, as Mr. Ki-Hoon has demonstrated, can become quite lucrative. Most importantly, they are getting results....

Degenkolb’s 70-Year Tradition of Earthquake Chasing

Posted by Chris Poland on Tue, 2013-08-13 13:16

Learning from earthquakes through reconnaissance trips is a valued tradition at Degenkolb Engineers. Since our founding in 1940, our engineers have been observing damage after earthquakes through these trips and adjusting how we practice engineering as a result. Our experiences, combined with those of many others, ultimately lead to new design procedures and building code provisions. The learning continues with every earthquake—most recently those in Haiti, Chile, New Zealand, and Japan—and each is unique in its own regard. Haiti is teaching us, however, that when disaster strikes a developing country where modern building codes are not used, the challenge becomes working with the community to transition the construction culture to one that rebuilds using resilient community standards.

More than two years ago, the earthquake in Haiti crippled the already troubled nation’s infrastructure. The 7.2 magnitude earthquake displaced more than 3 million residents and damaged or destroyed hundreds of thousands of buildings, both commercial and residential. Effective enforcement of seismic standards was not present in Haiti before the earthquake.

Degenkolb initially sent a four-person reconnaissance team to assess the damage. During this 10-day mission to Portau- Prince, the team assisted with post-earthquake building...

Marriott LEEDs the Way to Green Hotels

Posted by Guest Contributor on Thu, 2013-08-08 08:48

Buildings consume more than 30% of the total energy in the United States, more energy than any other sector including transportation, and also consume more than 60% of the electricity used nationwide. They are the heaviest consumers of natural resources and are responsible for 38% of all CO2 emissions in the United States. Marriott strives to be a good neighbor by designing and constructing LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)–certified buildings that can substantially reduce or eliminate negative impacts through high-performance best practices in construction and operation practices. These new LEED projects demonstrate Marriott’s commitment to LEED and reducing its environmental impact, which benefits all stakeholders, including owners, associates, guests, neighbors, and the general public. 

In 2005, Marriott designed and constructed the first hotel and conference center in the Americas and second hotel worldwide to achieve LEED certification: The Marriott Inn & Conference Center, University of Maryland University College. More recently, Marriott has worked with the U.S. Green Building Council to create a pre-certified LEED Volume Program (LVP) and prototype documents, which now enables its owners to deliver LEED-certified projects without going through the...

UnitedHealth Group Creates Practical Innovations to Fight Diabetes

Posted by Richard Migliori, M.D. on Wed, 2013-08-07 17:49

Creating a modern, efficient, and sustainable health care system that provides access to high quality, affordable health care is a major challenge facing policymakers, providers, payers, and other health care stakeholders. Doing so requires addressing variations in the quality of care, the increased prevalence of chronic diseases, and the fragmentation of existing information.

As the nation’s largest health services and benefits company, UnitedHealth Group is uniquely positioned to develop and bring-to-market practical innovations that address that challenge and help Americans live healthier lives. UnitedHealth Group invests $2 billion annually in technology to help make those innovations a reality. That investment has paid off. For example, UnitedHealth Group has embraced wellness and prevention programs and fostered behavioral changes; empowered consumers with decision support tools through transparency initiatives; and aligned incentives and driven better health outcomes through data analytics and payment reform.

UnitedHealth Group’s prevention programs use technology to identify and mitigate the risk of disease by fostering behavioral changes. To prevent the onset of diabetes, we partnered with the CDC and the Y to develop the Diabetes Prevention Program. This diet and exercise program helps create healthy lifestyles for people on...

Not Just a Line on a Resume: The Importance of Skills-Based Volunteering in the Job Hunt

Posted by Guest Contributor on Thu, 2013-08-01 17:11

By: Dana Mitchell

“Our product is our people.” This view – simplistic yet powerful – is the way of life for most professional services firms, especially Deloitte. In client service, there is no “product” in the traditional sense of the word – there is no item that requires hours of engineering, design, branding, and production. There is no packaging material that must be eye-catching, functional, and also environmentally sustainable.

Professional services firms rely on each and every team member to be an ambassador of their brand: whether the brand emphasizes innovation, results-orientation, or something else, hiring and growing the best people is paramount to a firm’s success in the industry. Consequently, firms like Deloitte, KPMG, Bain & Co., and McKinsey & Co. spend incredible amounts of time and resources recruiting and developing their people through specialized trainings, social retreats, and educational events. Employees are not only immediate drivers of operational success, but they are also important to the long-term shaping and maintenance of the overall company culture.

Since people are their product, it makes sense that firms want the best of the best and their recruitment process is one of the most important pieces within their operations. Traditionally, human resource teams target top students from the world’s leading universities that excel in “tried-and-true” identifiers such as GPA, strength of academic curriculum,...

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