Innovation, 2011

Innovation is hot. Just this year… They’re mobile devices and not phones anymore. Microsoft’s Kinetic takes the Nintendo Wii to the next level with a hands free gaming device. An inventor in Japan is designing a high speed train that doesn’t have to stop to pick up or let off passenger For the leaping impaired, Concept 1 has designed a new basketball shoe that adds 4 inches to a basketball players vertical leap, even giving guys like me hope that someday I may be able to dunk a basketball Even macroeconomics is being democratized with web sites such as FRED, hosted by the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank that provides over 26,000 accessible data bases worth of economic information. All Read More

Create Happiness

A couple of months our local community Foundation, The Pittsburgh Foundation, sponsored a “Pittburgh Gives”. This one day event encouraged individuals to contribute to their favorite non-profit organizations which would then be matched at 20% by the Foundation. During that 24 hour period over 7400 individuals donated over $2.8 million which was distributed to over 400 organizations from the arts to education to health and family services. The Event was rightfully called a great success! A couple of days later I wrote a brief letter to the editor of our local paper thanking the various foundations that were involved in this special day of giving and acknowledging that as a result of making my small contribution, I experienced a day Read More

Routines that Automate

What make  computers powerful and ubiquitous is their ability to automate easy (and eventually complex) tasks. When I was watching Apollo 13 the other night, I saw the NASA engineers checking the calculations of Astronaut Jim Lovell using their slide rules. Slide rules and other such devices are mechanical in nature but soon calculators and now our smart phones easily automate calculations as simple as addition or as complex as amortization tables. What would happen if we began to apply automating principles to our lives  so that everyday tasks moved away from being mechanical nature to becoming automated. Building life routines and rituals creates smart responses that make our life easier and more effective. Of course, we already do a Read More

So You Think You Can Multi-Task…Dream On

“There is time enough for everything in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once, but there is not time enough in the year, if you do two things at a time”. This quote attributed to the 4th Earl of Chesterfield in 1741 in a letter to his son pretty much sums up how effective multi-tasking is in our lives. Multi-tasking was first identified to describe a computer process where multiple activities could be conducted by a central processing unit that was actually able to simultaneously solve two or more computer based problems at the same time. Along the way, people began to believe their own press that we could also multi-task effectively given the Read More

The Resilience Advantage (Part 1)

So I am working on a series of stress resilience presentations for a Fortune 500 company and we are rolling out the series tomorrow. The idea behind resilience is that trying to manage stress as most individuals try to do is a complete impossibility. It’s like saying I’m going to try to manage the weather! Resilience allows you to shape your behavior in three critical ways: How you navigate through the stress in real time. We all know the feeling of dealing with a stressful situation in the moment. We feel overwhelmed, pressured, tightness in our shoulders. Foundational resilience strategies such as breathing are the single best way to gain a bit more control in the midst of the event. Read More

Leadership for Dummies

I was with a colleague the other day and he mentioned that he really wants to improve his leadership skills and if he could just find a “Leadership for Dummies” book, then that would make his day. We engaged in a bit of conversation about leadership styles, philosophies and ideas and I suggested that perhaps he might want to think about what kind of leader he wants to be? What kind of leadership style or philosophy he might want to put forward. But as I sat down to right this little missive, I thought I better check with the Dummy series books and sure enough, written by Marshall Loeb is the Leadership for Dummies book. “Short on theory, and long Read More

Business Resiliency in New Orleans: The Resilience Advantage

Several months ago, much note was taken of the  5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Recently I had the opportunity to have dinner with a friend, who is a district manager for JC Penney and who talked about the challenges that she faced during the hurricane as well as the challenges that her business faced as part of the recovery across the entire Gulf Region. What was most striking to me was that despite the stories of difficulties she described about life for residents of the region as well as for commercial reinvigoration, she shared stories of remarkable resilience in all her descriptions. Yes, her house had been destroyed but she bought a new place that she loves in the French Read More