Biomaterials Living Clothing And Off The Rack

Lining Yao's Living ClothingLining Yao has demonstrated how bacteria-powered clothing can respond to the body’s needs.

She has, in effect, created living clothes, ones that react in real time to heat and sweat mapping with tiny vents that would curl open or flatten closed as exertion levels demanded.

That’s a pretty awesome avenue of inquiry. You can read more about how designer and MIT PhD candidate Lining Yao’s work utilizes novel materials and interfaces.

Yao inserts her genius in the biological cycle, and applies it to merging the interactions humans have with computers and materials. The result is clothing that’s alive. I can’t wait until I can program my I-phone Siri to check in with my closet to find out which of my shirts wants to be worn most that day.

Cheesehead TV Streams to Fans Live From Packers Training Camp

CheeseheadTV.com Live StreamingI have to give a nod of thanks for Streaming Media‘s issue on Companies Crushing It In Online Video. As a huge fan of  video content but mostly clueless about most of the stuff in the magazine each month, the October 2015 issue made my little grey cells finally tumble into place.

A fantastic article by  co founder of CheeseheadTV.com shows how one video site brought the circus-like atmosphere of Green Bay Packers training camp to thousands of die-hard fans, with tips for successful multicamera streaming.

As Corey says, ” I was intrigued by the potential to switch a show from an iPad. As a live broadcast producer, the notion of wireless streaming via multiple wireless devices sounded daunting (and just a little bit crazy), but I knew there had to be multiple use cases where this technology could have a big impact, and in some instances, even make it feasible to produce a show that would’ve been impossible otherwise.”
CheeseheadTV.com Broadcasting Location Gear Set Up

That’s just what I have in mind for the Riverside Food Systems Alliance. Corey maps out the process, the gear and shares what he’s learned. It’s a pretty cool story. Thanks for dropping those breadcrumbs for the rest of us to follow. It’s greatly appreciated.

Tracking Web Users: Confusing Consumers For Profit?

Cartoon Man With Magnifying Glass Viewing Man Viewing ComputerThere’s a lot we take for granted in our web browsing. There’s all that tracking of where we go and what we do – even if we do nothing. And don’t get me started on privacy policies, terms and conditions and all the other ridiculously long scrolling admonitions we often agree to with a knee-jerk response to end the tedium and get on with what we came for.

Nate Cordozo has an excellent story about this on Electronic Frontier Foundation‘s site. If a business model wouldn’t work if users had to opt in, it deserves to fail. Maybe if we flipped the funnel so to speak, we’d get a far better web user experience. If every site had a default “NO Tracking” setting, we’d start to reassert some autonomy of our virtual lives.

Then again, maybe that’s the point. The more we get used to ‘sharing’ everything in our virtual world, and I use that term loosely, then we’ll be used to submitting to all sorts of other practices, policies and laws designed to constrain what we as free humans can do .

When do you think the last time that “This call is being recorded for training and customer service” actually resulted in either? Why should we think web tracking will be any different?

Why Brainstorming Works Better Online

There’s some truth to having a remote brainstorming session. I’ve been having a weekly conference call with a brilliant colleague where we brainstorm on each others projects and progress. It has been indispensable to my business development.

By Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic

Crumpled Yellow Paper Light BulbIn the late 80’s, Peter Drucker predictedthat in the near future technology would play a central role in increasing the effectiveness of teams. Although he was right, teams have yet to experience the full benefits of technology. Yes, there is a great deal of talk about virtual teams and collaborative tools, but our ability to leverage technology in a way that consistently and systematically boosts team performance is based mostly on intuition rather than science.

One exception is group brainstorming, a technique that is still widely used in organizations despite the lack of evidence that it works and compelling evidence that it actually leads to a productivity loss. The good news is that technology can make brainstorming more effective, by replacing physical and oral sessions with virtual and written ones – a technique also known as brainwriting or electronic brainstorming.

Indeed, studies comparing the performance of matched groups on physical and virtual sessions indicate that the latter generate more high quality ideas and have a higher average of creative ideas per person, as well as resulting in higher levels of satisfaction with the ideas. As shown in meta-analyses, virtual brainstorming enhances creative performance – versus in-person brainstorming sessions – by almost 50% of a standard deviation. This means that almost 70% of participants can be expected to perform worse in traditional than virtual brainstorming sessions.

The advantages of virtual brainstorming have been attributed to three main reasons.

First, the fact that virtual brainstorming eliminates production blocking, the process where dominant participants talk too much, taking over the session and eclipsing their colleagues. This leads to cognitive overload and hinders creative idea generation in more introverted participants. In virtual brainstorming there is a clear positive relationship between group size and performance, whereas in traditional, in-person brainstorming sessions, things tend to get messy with more than six participants. Online, there are no real limits to group size: the cost of having 5 or 50 participants is nearly the same, and you actually save costs by allowing to people to work remotely and in dispersed locations. Thus virtual brainstorming is much more scalable, and each person you add has the potential to contributing a new idea to the mix.

Second, virtual brainstorming enables feelings of anonymity, since ideas cannot be attributed to a specific person. This reduces evaluation apprehension, particularly in less confident individuals who would underperform in traditional brainstorming sessions. Anonymity also means that ideas are judged more objectively. In traditional sessions, the process is as biased and political as in any other physical group interaction – the powerful people take over, and though democratic in theory, in fact decisions are driven by one or two powerful individuals. Conversely, when team members rate ideas anonymously and without knowledge of the author, politics are out of the way. An example of this is textsfromlastnight, a site that allows users to anonymously submit quirky text messages, which are then rated – good or bad – by other anonymous users. Organizations would do well to copy this process: have a live, real-time, virtual depository of ideas for new products, services, or processes, which can then be rated or evaluated by other employees, and perhaps even clients.

Third, if designed intelligently, virtual sessions can increase the diversity of ideas. In traditional brainstorming, being exposed to others’ ideas causes uniformity and regression to the mean: the most creative people will descend to the level of the group average. But by preventing participants from being exposed to each other’s ideas during the idea-generation phase, virtual brainstorming encourages participants to offer a wider variety of ideas. In line with this, studies have shown that individual brainstorming, where people write down a number of ideas on a piece of paper, often produces more and better ideas than group brainstorming. Virtual brainstorming preserves this mechanism while providing a searchable archive of ideas for the team to weigh in on later.

Thus virtual brainstorming retains the original postulate of traditional brainstorming – that teams can crowdsource creativity by curating the ideas they collectively produce in an informal, free-flowing, stream-of-consciousness, session – but overcoming the main, originally unforeseen, barriers.


Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic is an international authority on personality profiling, talent management, and people analytics. He is the CEO of Hogan Assessment Systems and a Professor of Business Psychology at University College London (UCL) and Columbia University.

 

Everything You Need To Know About Net Neutrality In 13 Minutes

Courtesy of  on Upworthy.

This topic is so boring, I’m not even going to tell you what it’s about. John Oliver’s epically informative and hilarious analysis will have to do the talking. It’s REEAALLY important.

Please watch. You’ll laugh and learn why the boring is actually quite imperative to us. I’m begging you to stick around to at least 4:02, as it’s really important to understanding how they could really make things worse.

Ok folks. This is your moment. Go to the FCC website. And say something. NICELY.

And then, in the spirit of freedom and dingos, you could share this. So people can learn about the most important boring thing ever.

An 8-Step Plan for Migrating to a New Marketing Automation Program

by Dan Lyons

Goldfish jumping to larger bowlThis post originally appeared on the Opinion section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Opinion.

Michael Freeman wasn’t psyched about having to migrate from one marketing automation system to another. But it had to be done. Last year Freeman’s employer, a telecom company called ShoreTel, moved from Eloqua to HubSpot, and it fell to Freeman, the head of demand generation at ShoreTel, to oversee the project.

Freeman says he wouldn’t want to go through it again — “I’ve been here for two years, and this was the first time I was ever unhappy,” he says. “Since finishing the migration I’m much, much happier, and if I can help someone else who is in that situation, then I’m happy to help.”

Migrations are becoming more common in the marketing automation space. A few years ago that wasn’t the case. The field was so new that when most companies installed marketing automation programs they were starting with a clean slate.

But as the marketing automation field matures, an increasing number of companies find themselves wanting or needing to migrate. That might be because they’re dissatisfied with a vendor. Or maybe a company is being acquired and must migrate to the marketing automation program that its new owner uses.

Freeman says ShoreTel moved mostly because it wanted greater ease of use, but also wanted to rethink its approach to marketing. He explains his reasons for moving to HubSpot in this video:

How They Did It

One challenge Freeman faced was that the people who had installed and configured the previous marketing automation system at ShoreTel were no longer at the company. And the software had been in place since around 2007. “I had to go in and figure out how the whole thing was set up by someone else, with very little documentation on the current setup,” he says.

In any migration, there will be some translation required. How much depends on which applications are involved. Some have more in common than others.

Freeman offered to walk me through the steps he followed in his migration. The main thing, he says, is to put in the time up front to make a realistic schedule and anticipate the steps that are going to be the most challenging. “Planning is the most important piece,” he says.

Here are eight steps he recommends:

1) Take inventory.

Map out the workflows, lists, contact fields, and content such as landing pages, emails, blog posts and images that you have in your existing marketing automation program. “Just define what you have and what you need to bring over,” he says.

2) Do a clean-up.

As long as you’re in the middle of change, it’s a good opportunity to get rid of old offers and other assets you don’t need anymore. It’s also a good time to comb through your contacts database and get rid of some email addresses, for example ones that have bounced or ones that have not opened one of your emails in a long time. (For advice on how to scrub your list, see this story.) “Bottom line is, this is an opportunity for spring cleaning,” Freeman says.

3) Figure out which assets need to be changed.

Identify any adjustments that you need to make in workflows that are being carried over.

4) Export your data.

“Because it’s a moving target, I set up an auto download or auto data export that ran daily,” Freeman says.

5) Put the pieces back together.

Start with landing pages and emails. “We took landing pages we had from Eloqua and applied styling and template changes,” Freeman says. “We recreated them in HubSpot, but with a new look and feel.”

6) Perform a sync.

Sync your contacts with Salesforce.com, and start recreating workflows, lists, and forms.

7) Test.

“We tested a lot before going live, but we also spent three days after going live with HubSpot looking out for problems, and fixing problems and oversights,” Freeman says. “That’s inevitable. There are going to be little hiccups. But we worked them out and everything was golden after that.”

According to folks at HubSpot, you might want to run the old and new systems in tandem for some period of time.

8) Shut off the old system.

Hey, you don’t need it anymore. You’re done. Congratulations.

ShoreTel finished the migration a few months ago, and has had no problems since. “I always find things to tune or improve,” Freeman says, “but things have really gone smoothly.”

The Payoff

The biggest benefit for ShoreTel is the new system is easier to use than the previous system. “I have seven people who are actively using this now,” he says. “Every time I do some training, people go, ‘Wow, that’s so easy!’”

His one biggest piece of advice to others who are planning a migration is to hire a consultant to help guide you through the process. “You shouldn’t try to do this on your own,” he says.

Nobody looks forward to software migration projects. But with the right planning, and realistic expectations, you can get to the promised land without too much damage to your psyche.

If you want some advice on how to evaluate marketing automation software, check out this free Marketing Automation Starter Kit. And once you’ve decided to make a leap, you can use this free guide to help you learn how to create marketing automation RFP.