Exploring New York City with Curious Kids

New York City A trip to New York City is a wonderful way to beat the summer doldrums. After asking my 8-year old and 6-year old where they’d like to spend a few days, we landed on New York (sorry kids, maybe next year we’ll visit Dublin or Rome. LOL!). They had both been to New York a few years back and fell in love with the city. This time though, we were going with 3 others. In our group we had 4 children and 3 adults. The question soon became, “What do you want to do?”

After a ton of research and planning, we ended up with a great mix of fun and educational experiences to fill the kids’ curious minds and to ignite their creativity. Here are some of the highlights.

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The 5 Forces Shaping Advertising

Marketing to kids. An illustration for Forces ...

Those of us in the advertising business know the industry is undergoing a transformation. There is a blurring of lines among advertising, digital,  and management consulting. Traditional folks are trying to be more digital, digital folks are trying to be more traditional, and management consulting folks are looking to upend the industry. All the while, new entrants are testing, learning and trying out new business models.

Agency evolution is “inextricably tied” to an evolving and complex digital landscape. It is no longer black and white. It is getting harder and harder to parse out digital and non-digital work. As complexity rises, brands are bringing on more and more agencies who are expected to collaborate. Things are certainly getting more confusing. Yet, at the end of the day there are 5 forces shaping advertising. Focusing on these 5 forces can help organizations navigate the turbulence.

What are the 5 forces?

  1. An evolving & complex digital landscape
  2. Consumer control & empowerment
  3. Technology growth & proliferation
  4. An expectation for marketing to have a positive  impact on the bottom line
  5. A shift from making campaigns that are one and done to making experiences that live on – and are fueled by consumers and social interactions

How does a Kid Get a Sweet Tooth?

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My 5-year old was born with a sweet tooth. I remember pushing my little guy in a shopping cart down the baking aisle of our local grocery store. He was just learning how to speak and still had the speech patterns of someone learning the intricacies of language. As we wound our way through the aisle, he started pointing and asking what different things were. This was our dialog…

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How Meditation Can Help Students Improve Grades, Boost Self-Esteem, and Curb Bad Behavior

Two Kids, boy and girl (Trysta), Watch the Par...

If you’re a regular reader, you’ve probably seen my posts about how creativity gets stifled by stress. A relaxed mind is helpful in many ways. In fact, there is lots of chatter about the stress-busting benefits of meditation with school children. Studies have found meditation can help students improve grades, boost self-esteem, and even cut down on bad behavior. Makes sense right? Introducing quiet time should be beneficial. But, why so?

According to researchers, deliberate silence invites concentration and cuts down on stress. Conversely, noisy classrooms lower concentration and increase stress. Noisy classroom environments are also linked to lowered exam scores. A study by South Bank University and the Institute of Education in London found that test scores were cut by as much as a third if children Read more of this post

Is the Gamification of Education a Good Thing?

Kids' Computer

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When my oldest son was in kindergarten, homework consisted of math worksheets and a reading log. Fast forward two years, and my youngest son is in kindergarten. While both boys were in the same school for kindergarten, things have changed. My youngest son is now assigned e-homework. His teacher assigns modules from EducationCity.com each week. I’ve heard mixed reactions from parents. While I love the idea of completing math, language, and science assignments online, some parents are concerned that kids are playing “games” rather than learning.

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Is Teamwork Driven by Nature or Nurture?

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Some say the First Law of Nature is self-preservation. If that is the case, then teamwork runs counter to nature. But, of course, that depends on your societal, familial, or organizational culture. While Western culture might be more geared towards an individual-focus, Eastern cultures are more apt to think about things from the perspective of the team. This debate led me to consider whether teamwork was driven by nature or nurture. For some clues, I looked to my 8-year old son.

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When it Comes to ‘Surprise and Delight’ Technology isn’t Always the Answer

Writing

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Sometimes when it comes to surprise and delight, technology isn’t always the answer. I’ve spent the last 16 years in the digital realm building web sites and digital experiences. From time to time, I feel like I’ve hit technology overload. IPod, IPad, Droid, QR code…blah, blah, blah. Though we turn to technology for so many things, nothing can beat a human touch.

Case in point, I have a friend who sends hand written cards and photos. Whenever I receive a card, I am pleasantly surprised. It is always a happy experience. One day last week, I decided to pay the happy gesture forward. I knew that my sister was having a stressful week and decided to hand write a card and include some Read more of this post

How “Good Stress” Breeds Creativity and Innovation

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There are some who believe stress is a bad thing when it comes to creativity and innovation. However, those of us in the trenches know a little “good stress” can actually help boost creativity and innovation. So, what is the difference between good stress and bad stress? When asked if people want the good news first or the bad news first, most choose the bad news, so here goes. Bad stress includes time pressure and organizational impediments, like political problems, harsh criticism of new ideas, and emphasis on the status quo. I’m sure many of you have “been there, done that.” Researcher Theresa Amabile, has spent much of her career studying time pressure and organizational impediments. If you’re interested, check out Time Pressure and Creativity: Why Time is Not on Your Side. Now for the good news, stress can also be positively linked to creativity and innovation.

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Meetings…How many people does it take to solve a problem?

Conference room

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Recently, I’ve been pondering how many (or how few) people it takes to efficiently and effectively solve a problem. Unfortunately, sometimes solving problems means lots of meetings. While meetings are intended to promote collaboration and to bring the best thinking to challenges, not all meetings are productive. I believe  good meetings hinge upon two things: 1) leadership and 2) teamwork. As I watched the recent U.S. debt deal unfold in Congress, I began to think about how poorly solved problems could be a result of unproductive meetings.

When it comes to leadership, a good leader sets a vision, creates clear goals AND helps the team reach those goals. Yes, there are different types of leadership styles and ways of approaching situations, but as author, John C. Maxwell said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”

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Homework Wars: Why Limiting Homework is Not the Solution

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Ever since the invention of school, there have been debates over homework. Should we institute more homework or less homework? Or, should we ban homework all together?

In The New York Times article, New Recruit in the Homework Revolt: The Principal, parents, teachers and educational administrators sound off on the homework debate. After reading the article, one thing is clear. Limiting homework is not the solution. Why, you ask?

Parents, teachers and administrators are not aligned on the problem we are trying to solve by limiting homework. This misalignment only adds fuel to the fire.

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