The Human Side of Business

New England clam chowder. Source: http://pdpho...I’ve had the good fortune of spending time with my older relatives. One commonality I’ve noticed is that when my relatives tell stories of  the past, their stories usually involve a kind person who touched their hearts and changed their worlds. Recently my 83 year old cousin spoke of a teacher he had when he was 9. This teacher took him under her wing and helped him learn the ins and outs of the English language. She also introduced him to his two favorite foods – lobster and fried chicken. My cousin kept in touch with his teacher over the years and even reached out to his teacher to invite her to his wedding. The kindness of my cousin’s teacher was never forgotten. 74 years later, the story is still being shared.

It seems kindness is not just an individual value, but a business value as well.

Read more of this post

Emotional Intelligence and Innovation

Angry Penguin

A few weeks ago, my two boys engaged in a heated argument about whether reading Harry Potter, then watching the movie, was a tradition or a condition. My kindergartener started by saying watching a movie, only after reading a book, was a tradition. He pointed to the fact we had read three Harry Potter books, then watched the three movies as proof. Conversely, my second-grader rationalized that watching a movie after reading a book was a condition. He surmised the fact we never watched the movie first, made movie watching conditional to reading.

In the end, I surprised my boys by sharing they were both right. Watching the movie was both a tradition and a condition. This rocked my boys worlds. As I explained why it was both a tradition and condition, they simmered down and listened intently.  As emotions subsided, they were able to take in alternative points of view.

Read more of this post

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

Writing

Image by jjpacres via Flickr

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

Retailers Tap into Creativity to Drive Revenue

grocery aisle

Image by The Consumerist via Flickr

More and more retailers are turning to private labeling and exclusive products to drive revenue. With this move comes an investment in building internal product development functions. It is estimated that by 2013, 40% of retailers will generate half of their revenue from private labeling and exclusive products. At FEI11, Michael Kitz, of OfficeMax, talked about this model in his presentation, Retailer Driven Innovation – A Powerful New Business Model.

Read more of this post

Book Review: A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink

A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future

In this nonfiction work geared towards a business audience, Pink argues the age of “left-brain” dominance is giving way to “right-brain” thinkers whose minds are more akin to designers, inventors, teachers and storytellers than lawyers and MBA’s. With the coming of what Pink refers to as the Conceptual Age, the future is in the hands of creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and Read more of this post