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What Motivates Gig Economy Workers

March 20, 2017

The gig economy workforce is growing. A new Pew Research Center survey on the sharing economy shows that 8% of American adults earned money from an online employment platform in the last year across industries, such as ride hailing, online tasks, and cleaning/laundry. These gig economy workers are driven by a range of motivations, from lacking other jobs to wanting control over their schedule to seeking social connection. But there are big differences separating those who are more financially reliant on gig work (56% of workers surveyed) and “casual” gig workers (42%) who report that they could live comfortably without the additional income. While gig work is a necessity for some, it is a luxury for others.

Read the full article at The Harvard Business Review.

How Design Thinking Turned One Hospital into a Bright and Comforting Place

March 13, 2017
Long dreary corridors, impersonal waiting rooms, the smell of disinfectant — hospitals tend to be anonymous and depressing places. Even if you’re just there as a visitor, you’re bound to wonder, “How can my friend recover in such an awful place? Will I get out of here without catching an infection?”

But the transformation of the 
Rotterdam Eye Hospital suggests that it doesn’t have to be this way. Over the past 10 years, the hospital’s managers have transformed their institution from the usual, grim, human-repair shop into a bright and comforting place. 

Read the full article at The Harvard Business Review.

How to Respond to an Offensive Comment at Work

March 06, 2017
Your colleague says something that immediately makes you feel uncomfortable. He thinks he’s just being funny, but the comment is inappropriate — maybe even offensive, sexist, or racist. What should you say or do if you find yourself in this situation? Is there a way to draw attention to the comment without putting the other person on the defensive? And are you risking your reputation, job, or career by speaking up?

Read more from The Harvard Business Review.

Want to Be More Productive? Sit Next to Someone Who Is

February 27, 2017
To increase worker performance, employers often invest in a number of things, from rewards and incentives to education and training. These traditional approaches develop employees’ skills and enrich their work experience. But we discovered a surprisingly simple way to increase productivity, one that was low-cost and had immediate impact: better office seating arrangements.

Read the full article from The Harvard Business Review.

Tech device blocks wireless distractions for drivers

February 13, 2017
An engineer has invented a device that he believes could eliminate distracted driving. 

He also says at least one U.S. mobile phone provider appears close to rolling out the gadget to its users and that another U.S. provider has shown interest in the technology. 

Read the full story, which appeared in The Toronto Star, on Press Reader.

How to Discover Your Company’s DNA

February 07, 2017
The term “company DNA” is sometimes used as a shorthand for an organization’s culture and strategy — a metaphor for what makes it unique. But there may be more to the metaphor. Understanding your company’s DNA can help you know what you can and can’t do, and how to achieve agility and authenticity in a changing world.

We know from biology that DNA contains the instructions an organism needs to develop, function, and reproduce. It is formed at conception and does not change. However, the same DNA can express itself in different ways based on one’s environment. It’s the reason identical twins have different fingerprints. In this process, called “expression,” the instructions in the DNA are turned into proteins and other cellular products.

Does biology inform business? It’s happened before. The language of ecosystems redefined our understanding of competition by viewing markets has habitats. Our understanding of organisms might lead to similar insights about organizations.

Read the full article from The Harvard Business Review.

How a Canadian engineer fuelled the battery industry

January 30, 2017

Lewis Urry was particularly proud of his life’s work at Christmastime.

The Canadian inventor of the modern-day battery powered the consumer electronics revolution that forever changed the holiday shopping season. The alkaline cell he created in 1957 brought portable power to the masses, making batteries a consumer staple used around the world.

The global market for household batteries is worth about $4.5-billion (U.S.) a year. A growing list of products ranging from toys to household appliances run on battery technology inspired by Mr. Urry’s innovation.

Read the full story from The Globe and Mail. 

How Design Thinking Turned One Hospital into a Bright and Comforting Place

January 23, 2017
Long dreary corridors, impersonal waiting rooms, the smell of disinfectant — hospitals tend to be anonymous and depressing places. Even if you’re just there as a visitor, you’re bound to wonder, “How can my friend recover in such an awful place? Will I get out of here without catching an infection?”

But the transformation of the Rotterdam Eye Hospital suggests that it doesn’t have to be this way. Over the past 10 years, the hospital’s managers have transformed their institution from the usual, grim, human-repair shop into a bright and comforting place. By incorporating design thinking and design principles into their planning process, the hospital’s executives, supported by external designers, have turned the hospital into a showplace that has won a number of safety, quality, and design awards — including a nomination for the prestigious Dutch Design Award. Even more important to the not-for-profit organization: patient intake rose 47%.

Read the full article from the Harvard Business Review.

Sustainable Business Will Move Ahead With or Without Trump’s Support

January 16, 2017

If we take the incoming president of the United States at his word, things look dire for the cause of sustainability. Donald Trump and many of his advisers appear hostile to action on climate change and to progress on many social issues that companies have already embraced, such as diversity and LGBT rights. Even if Trump himself stays ambivalent on some of these issues, Republican leaders have much clearer aims, including extensive plans to slash environmental protections.

Will the seismic shift in U.S. political leadership have a chilling effect on corporate action around environmental and social issues? 

Read the full article from the Harvard Business Review. 
Energy

How to Write Email with Military Precision

January 09, 2017
In the military, a poorly formatted email may be the difference between mission accomplished and mission failure. During my active duty service, I learned how to structure emails to maximize a mission’s chances for success. Since returning from duty, I have applied these lessons to emails that I write for my corporate job, and my missives have consequently become crisper and cleaner, eliciting quicker and higher-quality responses from colleagues and clients. Here are three of the main tips I learned on how to format your emails with military precision:

Read the full article from the Harvard Business Review. 

What Motivates Gig Economy Workers

January 03, 2017
The gig economy workforce is growing. A new Pew Research Center survey on the sharing economy shows that 8% of American adults earned money from an online employment platform in the last year across industries, such as ride hailing, online tasks, and cleaning/laundry. These gig economy workers are driven by a range of motivations, from lacking other jobs to wanting control over their schedule to seeking social connection. But there are big differences separating those who are more financially reliant on gig work (56% of workers surveyed) and “casual” gig workers (42%) who report that they could live comfortably without the additional income. While gig work is a necessity for some, it is a luxury for others.

Read the full article from the Harvard Business Review. 
Makes U Think

Open call: Should designers trust the wisdom of the crowd?

December 15, 2016

Replacing a symbol meant to stand for an entire nation-state might seem to be a solemn undertaking. So it was noteworthy when, last year, New Zealand decided to democratize the task: Instead of commissioning an esteemed designer, the government issued an open call for ideas and announced that the winner would be chosen by a popular vote.

In doing so, the Kiwis were joining what has become a quiet redesign trend. Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox web browser, is expanding its open-source principles to its branding, completely redesigning its logo through a multipart process guided by public input.

Read the full article from The New York Times.

Business leaders should train like high-performance athletes

December 09, 2016

Let’s talk about high-level executives and elite athletes. How are they similar?

The main similarity is that people in business, especially business leaders, are generally required to push the limits of what they’re capable of. They put in long hours and go on frequent business trips. Their physical and mental state in many cases determines their ability to do their jobs and be strong leaders.

Read the full article from the Globe and Mail.

Why Samsung’s Note 7 Crisis Won’t Hurt Its Brand Long Term

December 01, 2016
Things look rather bleak for Samsung at the moment. Within weeks of launching its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy Note 7, the company had to recall all of the more than 3 million devices it had sold, after reports of overheating and exploding batteries. Soon after, it halted production and scrapped the product entirely. All told, current estimates indicate the recall’s cost will exceed $6 billion (with one estimate even higher). But the greater concern is about the long-term hit on Samsung’s brand. After all, it is one of the most valuable global brands. Branding consultancy Interbrand estimated Samsung’s 2016 brand value at $51.8 billion.

Read the full article from Harvard Business Review.

Seven ways to parlay a trade show into real opportunities

November 25, 2016

The power of trade shows is growing, according to figures released earlier this year by the Center for Exhibit Industry Research.

The industry has experienced 22 consecutive quarters of growth, dating back to 2009, with revenue growth for 2016 estimated at 6.5 per cent and gains in show attendance increasing by 4.9 per cent.

But if there is value in a small business spending the time and money to attend a trade show, how can it best maximize the cost and reap the rewards?

Read the full article from The Globe and Mail. 

Non-hydro renewable power share sees significant growth: NEB report

November 17, 2016

The National Energy Board says a building spree in non-hydroelectric renewable power projects between 2005 and 2015 took its share of overall capacity in Canada from 2 per cent to 11 per cent.

Non-hydro renewable power such as wind, solar and biomass grew more than sixfold over that same time frame, rising from 2,360 megawatts to 15,600 MW.

NEB chief economist Shelley Milutinovic says Canada is now the fourth-largest generator in the world of environmentally friendly power from sources including wind, solar, biomass and hydroelectric plants.

Read the full article from The Globe and Mail.
Energy

When corporate cultures don't mix

November 09, 2016

Up to 80 per cent of mergers between companies don't work. The biggest obstacle is an unsuccessful attempt to combine two corporate cultures that are too different. You can't simply mash them together and hope for the best. It won't work.

This mistake is particularly common when an acquiring, dominant company is making a strategic buy in an area that would be more difficult to develop from scratch: a tuck-in acquisition. 

Read the full article from The Globe and Mail.
Makes U Think

Physical mail marketing still has plenty to offer advertisers

November 01, 2016

It spent the past two decades disrupting the book-publishing industry, and along the way became the world’s largest online retailer. Now, it has decided to open several physical bookstores. Knowing a thing or two about how people browse, it will display books cover out, not spine out. Yes, I am talking about Amazon.com.

When the digital paragon experiments with physical stores, it challenges conventional wisdom about the absolute supremacy of digital. Over the past five years, I have watched the rapid and continuing decline of print advertising, while marketing mail has been a steady business at best. Will direct mail be the next digital roadkill? Is it as simple as digital won and physical is going extinct?

Read the full article from The Globe and Mail.

Why it may make sense for Ontario to go it alone on climate change

May 26, 2016
You could call it Ontario’s declaration of energy independence: a radical plan to sweep carbon out of the provincial economy by turning off natural gas in homes and workplaces and switching on electric cars at a cost of $7-billion to taxpayers.

Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Climate Change Action Plan, revealed last week, is certainly ambitious, some critics might say fanciful. Natural gas delivers the heat to three-quarters of the province and the plan proposes that by 2050 gas will be entirely replaced by geothermal, solar and other forms of non-hydrocarbon energy. But, before we even get to the nitty-gritty of how Ontario will banish methane and gasoline from the home and the transportation system and what the private cost to households and businesses might be, there is an interesting political debate about going it alone.

The Ontario government is forging ahead with plans to save the Earth from anthropogenic climate change in the full knowledge that the effect will be to hurt fellow Canadians whose livelihoods are closely linked to the fortunes of the oil and gas industry. Alberta has been hammered by America’s oil glut and natural gas bubble. Bearing in mind the lack of pipelines to new export markets, Western Canadians may be feeling like sacrificial lambs on the altar of urban Ontario’s environmental purity. With her plan to close Ontario as a market for oil and gas, Ms. Wynne could not do more to offend Alberta if she were to announce plans to convert her province to a vegetarian diet.

Still, she may be right to go it alone. The conventional wisdom used to be that political action to solve global problems had to be international. It was the logic that spawned the myriad agencies of the United Nations. Success in some areas, such as eradicating plagues like smallpox, encouraged the world to think that the enlightened self-interest of nations working together (especially when amply funded by American dollars) would end all disease and poverty and save the environment.

It hasn’t worked because self-interest is not always aligned or even very enlightened. Almost two decades on from the original Kyoto protocol, there is no genuine global plan to reduce carbon emissions.

There are many statements of support, much of it sincere and well-intentioned, including (one must assume) those from the 177 nations that signed the agreement in Paris in December. But the new agreement will not be in force until more than 50 countries accounting for 55 per cent of carbon emissions have formally committed to implementing its commitments.

As usual, the European Union is a vocal supporter, but Europe’s efforts to cut its own emissions have foundered in a quagmire of excuses, avoidance and recrimination. The ETS, Europe’s cap-and-trade system, which was intended to set a market price for mitigating carbon, has failed. Member states insisted on keeping national control on the issuance of allowances (permits to emit carbon) to industry; as a result, too many were issued and the current price of an allowance to emit a tonne of carbon is currently just €6 ($9 Canadian).

In the EU today, it pays for power stations to buy permits to emit carbon rather than convert to cleaner fuels. It’s good news for German and Polish coal miners, who still have jobs digging the black stuff, and it explains why the German government is studiously ignoring the campaign by Ségolène Royal, France’s Minister of Ecology and former partner of President François Hollande, to impose a price floor of €30 on the cost of emitting a tonne of carbon. Of course, France is mainly nuclear-powered, but Ms. Royal’s campaign will be endorsed in France’s next finance bill, which will make the €30 carbon floor applicable throughout the country.

Click here
to read the full article.
Energy

Newsrooms Launches TechPORTFOLIO to Cover Economic Value of Startup Ecosystems

May 22, 2016
Startups have ended the industrial era and have become the net job creators in many major markets across the globe.

To follow this disruptive change, /newsrooms has launched TechPORTFOLIO, a social media-driven destination that covers the economic value and financial benefit of startup ecosystems as they emerge locally, nationally and internationally.

"TechPORTFOLIO will explore the most important transformations impacting technology, business and economic growth," says Robert Delaney, VP Managing Editor, TechPORTFOLIO. "We're researching and writing about many layers of the ecosystems. TechPORTFOLIO will compare and contrast geographies, approaches, companies, and investment trends in order to understand and evaluate how startup ecosystems are changing."

TechPORTFOLIO combines journalistic coverage and data analysis to profile startups, entrepreneurs, investors, academia and governments shaping startup ecosystems.

TechPORTFOLIO will use IBM Cloud and cognitive technologies, including data and machine learning as part of its journalistic approach to deliver insights relevant to the companies, startups and governments involved in the global startup ecosystem.

"IBM Cloud is the leading platform for data-driven cloud and analytics that enables organizations to meet market demands and open doors to more responsive and innovative ways of doing business," says Nevil Knupp, VP of Cloud, IBM Canada. "By providing the best cloud and cognitive technologies, we are helping TechPORTFOLIO connect to the developer and startup audience and transform the way news is delivered."

"The Canadian startup space is thriving and supporting a culture of innovation with organizations, like TechPORTFOLIO, allows IBM to contribute to a thriving tech environment that can strengthen Canada's position as an ideal place to research and develop new technologies," says Lila Adamec, Program Director, Developer Ecosystem & Startups, IBM Canada.

"TechPORTFOLIO will be a new kind of publication that incorporates data, social media and technology into its operating model and ongoing publishing," says Leigh Doyle, Managing Editor, TechPORTFOLIO. "Editorial instinct and subject matter expertise will take us a long way in our analysis and storytelling around tech and startup ecosystems. When we combine those with our data and social media expertise, we're able to go deep into subjects in ways that were not possible before. That's exciting."

Click here
to read the full article.
Makes U Think

As lithium becomes ‘the new gasoline,’ this stock is worth a look

May 21, 2016
Goldman Sachs calls it “the new gasoline,” and while this quote has helped inflate something of a bubble in lithium stocks, it’s not all hype. There’s a lot of substance behind the enthusiasm for this commodity and conditions appear ripe for one of those rare commodity bull runs that create significant wealth. For those with an appetite for the higher risk, higher return ideas, I give you Lithium X Energy Corp., a junior explorer backed by proven people that’s already off to an aggressive start.

Lithium is the new gasoline because it appears that Tesla and other electric-car makers will gradually take market share away from Earth-destroying combustion engines. Goldman expects that share to rise seven-fold, to about 22 per cent, over the next decade. (Lithium is used in lithium-ion batteries in electric cars, as well as many other kinds of batteries, such as those in smart phones.)

Annual lithium carbonate equivalent demand is currently 160,000 tonnes. Goldman estimates that a 1-per-cent increase in electric-battery car penetration will increase demand by a staggering 45 per cent. That supply, meanwhile, is temporarily constrained by a variety of issues, including recent temporary mine shutdowns and the fact big players are buying up future production. As a result, prices have skyrocketed, rising 50 per cent in the first quarter alone after a stiff increase last year. Prices for lithium carbonate in China have risen from about $8,000 (U.S.) a tonne near the end of 2015 to just below $20,000 a tonne now, according to Citi Research.

Elon Musk seems concerned. Tesla Motors Inc., which he founded and leads, has announced 400,000 orders of its new cheaper model, the Tesla 3. The company believes it will sell a total of 500,000 cars in 2018 and 1 million by 2020. The world clearly needs a lot of new lithium production, and fast. Mr. Musk said: “In order to produce half a million cars a year … we would basically need to absorb the entire world’s lithium-ion production.”

So that’s the convincing case for lithium. Here’s the argument for Lithium X: The company launched late last year and its stock has been one of the best stocks in Canada – if not the best – market performers over the past six months, being up more than tenfold since it’s first financing and almost twenty-fold at its recent peak last month.

CEO Brian Paes-Braga started putting the company together last year after concluding, based on observations similar to those above, that there was an opportunity to build a dominant name in lithium.

He was fortunate to be acquainted with Canadian mining titan and philanthropist Frank Giustra, whom he convinced to join the company as a major investor.

“Frank has a Tesla and a lot of respect for Elon Musk, that gave me an opening to pitch him on lithium,” Mr. Paes-Braga says. “He got it right away.”

He also enlisted Paul Matysek, another highly successful Canadian mining veteran who has built up a number of junior mining companies in a variety of resources and sold them to majors. Mr. Matysek is a shareholder and executive chairman.

“A lot of guys have ridden [resources] waves up and down but Paul always had an exit. I want to build something and monetize it,” Mr. Paes-Braga says, referring to the idea that mining wealth is created by financing, proving out, developing and then selling quality deposits to major producers, leaving them the difficult task of building and operating a mine.

So far Lithium X has two principal assets: one in Nevada, next to a producing mine, which is of middling size, and another in Argentina, where some of the best lithium brine deposits are located. Lithium X controls 80 per cent of the deposit and it appears to be of exceptional quality, according to industry observers.

Click here
to read the full article.
Makes U Think

Ontario to spend $7-billion on sweeping climate change plan

May 18, 2016
The Ontario government will spend more than $7-billion over four years on a sweeping climate change plan that will affect every aspect of life – from what people drive to how they heat their homes and workplaces – in a bid to slash the province’s carbon footprint.

Ontario will begin phasing out natural gas for heating, provide incentives to retrofit buildings and give rebates to drivers who buy electric vehicles. It will also require that gasoline sold in the province contain less carbon, bring in building code rules requiring all new homes by 2030 to be heated with electricity or geothermal systems, and set a target for 12 per cent of all new vehicle sales to be electric by 2025.

While such policies are likely to be popular with ecoconscious voters, who will now receive government help to green their lives, they are certain to cause mass disruption for the province’s automotive and energy sectors, which will have to make significant changes to the way they do business. And they have already created tension within the government between Environment Minister Glen Murray and some of his fellow ministers who worry he is going too far.

The 57-page Climate Change Action Plan was debated by Premier Kathleen Wynne’s cabinet Wednesday and subsequently obtained by The Globe and Mail. Stamped “Cabinet Confidential,” the document lays out a strategy from 2017 to 2021. It contains about 80 different policies, grouped into 32 different “actions.” Each action has a price tag attached to it, as well as an estimate of the amount of emissions it will cut by 2020.

The Globe had previously uncovered details of the plan, but this is the first time the full blueprint has been revealed. The strategy is scheduled to be further reviewed by cabinet ministers and fine-tuned, sources said, with public release slated for June.

Click here to read the full article.
Energy

Massachusetts eyes $10-billion offshore wind farm boom

May 05, 2016
Lawmakers in Massachusetts are drafting a bill that would jump-start the offshore wind industry in the U.S., helping trigger a $10 billion building spree off the Atlantic coast.

The energy bill may be introduced as early as this month and is expected to require utilities to purchase power from offshore wind farms, according to Representative Thomas Golden, one of the Democrats who control the state legislature.

Still to be determined is how much power utilities would be forced to buy under the bill and, crucially, whether the state’s Republican governor – who has already opposed one offshore project – will sign it.

Developers want legislators to mandate the sale of 2,000 megawatts over a decade, enough to power roughly 1.6 million households. Building the infrastructure to deliver that capacity would cost about $10 billion, said Tom Harries, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. It also would give developers their first chance to build the farms on a mass scale outside Europe and Asia, in a region where powerful ocean winds and high energy prices will provide a key proving ground.

“This bill would be the last piece of the puzzle to get the industry going,” said Thomas Brostrom, general manager of North America for Dong Energy A/S, the world’s largest offshore wind developer.

Three companies – Dong, Deepwater Wind LLC and Offshore MW LLC – have leases from the federal government to build in the waters south of Martha’s Vineyard. Deepwater last year began constructing the nation’s first offshore wind farm off Rhode Island. Dong, meanwhile, has opened an office in Boston anticipating the Massachusetts legislation, and is hunting for further sites along the East Coast.

Massachusetts state Senator Marc R. Pacheco said the prospect of Dong and other companies anchoring their U.S. operations in the state may trigger an economic boom.

“We have the opportunity to create an industry,” Pacheco, a Democrat, said in an interview.“We have the opportunity to create thousands of jobs and create a whole supply chain.”

Globally, offshore wind energy has boomed over the last decade as developers installed turbines with more than 11,000 megawatts of capacity, primarily in the U.K. and Germany, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. They’re forecast to install another 12,000 megawatts in those areas by 2019.

Click here to read the full article.
Energy

Wind energy increasing share of world electrical production

April 20, 2016
Wind-power projects around the world accounted for almost half of the new electrical generating capacity installed in 2015, as the cost of turbines fell and pressure mounted to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

After last year’s building spree, wind power now makes up about 4 per cent of the global supply and could represent almost one-third of electrical production by 2050, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Global Wind Energy Council, which represents companies and national associations in the industry.

About 63 gigawatts of new wind power was added around the world in 2015 – enough to power more than 10 million homes – and almost half of that was built in China. At year-end, there was about 433 GW of total wind capacity globally, up about 17 per cent from the year before. Among renewables, only solar has grown faster – adding 26 per cent last year, although from a much smaller base.

Canada now has the seventh-most wind power in the world, with about 11 GW of capacity, far behind first-place China with 145 GW and second-place United States with 74 GW.

“It is clear that wind is now a mainstream source of energy supply and will play a leading role in decarbonization,” the report said, although costs still need to come down, and reliability needs to be improved if much more wind is to be integrated into electricity distribution grids.

The report projects that wind-power production will almost double by the end of the decade to about 800 GW, and could reach 4,000 GW by 2050. The greatest growth will likely occur in Asia.

Steve Sawyer, secretary-general of the Global Wind Energy Council, said on a conference call Tuesday that wind power will likely supply up to 8 per cent of the world’s electricity by 2020, 20 per cent by 2030 and almost one-third by 2050.

Click here to read the full article.
Energy

Toronto hospital responds to criticism over redesigned logo

March 31, 2016
A Toronto hospital denies that it’s minimizing its Catholic identity after adopting a new logo that omits a once-prominent cross.

St. Joseph’s Health Centre unveiled the new logo earlier this month as part of what it described as a “renewal” of its brand and the launch of a new fundraising campaign. It features bold capital letters, but no cross.

A petition sprang up online after the change was announced and quickly garnered more than 3,000 signatures. Many were angry about what they perceived as the institution distancing itself from its religious history. The petition wrongly assumed, though, that the large cross on the hospital building would also be removed, which is not the case, according to the hospital administration.

“We’ve never had any plans to remove the crosses or any other Catholic artifacts from the building,” said Mike Heenan, a vice-president at St. Joseph’s. “We have never [and] never would de-emphasize our Catholic heritage.”

The new logo is intended to highlight St. Joseph’s connection to the city of Toronto, Mr. Heenan said, and was selected by a working group of physicians, management and board representatives.

“We’ve had logos in the past that didn’t include a cross,” Mr. Heenan said. “We’ve moved to a text-based font that emphasizes the Saint and the Joseph’s with a linking to the city of Toronto and the communities we serve.”

Click here to read the full article.
Creative

Hans Kleefeld’s corporate logos became part of Canadian landscape

March 28, 2016


It’s safe to say that most Canadians couldn’t get through an average day without seeing at least one Tim Hortons logo, Air Canada’s iconic red maple leaf or the green TD Bank sign.

But few have heard of Hans Kleefeld, the man who conceived these and many more of the country’s instantly recognizable images — simple and dynamic masterpieces of corporate branding that have endured for decades.

Kleefeld, a German-born designer, died in Toronto on March 10, at age 86. He is remembered by colleagues as a humble but no-nonsense, innovative graphic artist and teacher who applied European ideas to produce Canadian corporate images — from the Bank of Montreal’s stylized blue M to the curved-line composition of the old Scarborough Town Centre logo and the Tudor-style calligraphy of the Stratford Festival.

Born in Berlin in 1929, Kleefeld came of age amid the chaos of the Second World War, which indirectly set him upon his career path while he was studying at the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts.

“One of the stories he related to me was that when he was about 16, at the end of the war, there were a lot of bombed-out buildings in Berlin,” said Bill Ross, a former colleague of Kleefeld at Sheridan College. “He was rooting around in the basement of a department store and discovered a cache of design magazines.”

That magazine, Gebrauchsgraphik, opened the young Kleefeld’s eyes to the world of graphic design, and the advantages of an arts education.

“Reading through these issues I was surprised to learn that the majority of graphic and exhibit designers, illustrators and photographers active in the mid-20th century had never formally studied at any college, academy or university,” Kleefeld later wrote.

Unlike today, when students produce designs by clicking a mouse, Kleefeld was taught to create with what was then state-of-the-art technology: his hands.

“The challenges,” he wrote, “of laying down a perfectly flat colour, poster-size, in gouache with a brush, or to hand-render 10-point Bodoni, were enough to have weaker spirits consider switching to something less taxing, such as milk delivery.”

Click here to read the full article.
Creative

Seven questions to condition your inner coach

February 29, 2016
The more you know, the worse you’re likely to be at coaching your team. We figure that when subordinates come to us with problems, they are relying on our wisdom for guidance. And that leads to a habit which, according to consultant Michael Bungay Stanier, kills our ability to be an effective coach: You provide the answer you think they need rather than coaching them to find the path themselves.

“People have an inner advice monster – a deep need to give advice and offer recommendations that’s an instinctive response to questions,” the founder of Toronto-based consultancy Box of Crayons said in an interview.

Too often that prevents growth for subordinates. So you need to slay your inner monster, replacing the habit with curiosity. You want to explore possibilities with the protégé.

To learn this new habit, he offers seven questions to replace the urge to advise in his book The Coaching Habit:

1. What’s on your mind?


He calls this the kickstarter question, since it can initiate discussion in any conversation or meeting. Coaching these days has to be quick – it occurs in brief bursts – and this question brushes aside the normal chit-chat to focus on the heart of matters. It offers the protégé autonomy, but that can be a stumbling block to asking the question.

“If you’re in advice-giving mode, you feel in control. You have the status and feel you’re adding value. But when you ask a question, it leaves you in ambiguity. There’s uncertainty about where you may be headed. You are giving up power. You need the self-management skills to handle this,” he noted in the interview.

2. And what else?

This is his favourite question – “the best question in the world,” he insists – and it can be applied after any response you receive to a question. Rarely is the first answer the only or the best answer. But the tendency is to jump on it and give advice. So resist. Stay curious. Ask: “Is there anything else?”

3. What’s the real challenge here for you?

This ensures you have unearthed the real challenge. Too often we develop two options and pick the best, but research shows that is not as effective as selecting from even one more alternative. So get more possibilities out, and find the real challenge. How many choices do you need? “If you get five challenges on the table, people feel that’s lots of options to consider,” he said.

4. What do you want?

He calls this the foundation question, which transcends the previous challenge question to ask what is the outcome the individual you are coaching wants. The problem is you may resist asking that question, fearing the response will be something you can’t accede to. “You don’t have to say yes to every request,” he stresses. “You can say yes, no, maybe, or present a counteroffer. But if you ask the question or not, they want something. If you know what it is, you have some chance to act.”

Incidentally, a reason we resist offering feedback to others, he says, is that what we aren’t clear what we want. So ask this question of yourself.

Click here to read the full article.
Makes U Think

China now the largest installer of clean energy, report says

January 20, 2016
China was the largest developer of renewable energy projects in 2015, accounting for almost 40 per cent of all the wind, solar, biopower and small hydro installations around the world.

New numbers from British-based research firm GlobalData show that China has become the largest installer of clean energy, with almost 45 gigawatts of renewable power projects added last year, out of 115 GW that started up worldwide.

One gigawatt is enough to power about 700,000 homes, so globally there was enough new renewable energy installed in 2015 to power about 80 million homes.

The head of GlobalData’s power practice, Ankit Mathur, said China’s renewable position has grown particularly strong in the solar sector, where it became the largest consumer of solar panels in 2014, passing both the United States and Japan. In 2015, China installed 18.4 GW of solar power, more than double the amount in Japan and the United States, where each had about 8 GW of new installations.

Around the world, there is now a total of about 914 GW of installed renewable energy capacity, GlobalData estimates, enough to power about 640 million homes. That’s up almost 15 per cent from 2014.

The total amount of renewable power is expected to grow to around 1,511 GW by 2020, a compound annual growth rate of 11.3 per cent over the next five years.

Already, there is more renewable electricity being added around the world, each year, than what is being added from new coal- and gas-fired projects, GlobalData said.

GlobalData did not break out Canadian numbers, but based on industry reports the domestic sector is also growing quickly.

The Canadian Wind Energy Association said 1,506 megawatts of new wind was added in Canada in 2015, the sixth highest installation rate in the world. For the fifth consecutive year, wind is the largest source of new electricity generation in the country, CanWEA said.

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Energy

Got something to sell Tell a story

January 18, 2016
These days, managers are expected to be adept storytellers to get their marketing and other messages out effectively.

That's great in theory but often they fumble when trying to figure out exactly what storytelling involves.

Professor K. can help.

Richard Krevolin, a screenwriter and playwright who has taught at both the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) film schools, found himself explaining storytelling to executives when a Unilever marketing manager decided that Prof. K's Hollywood pedigree could be helpful selling Sunsilk shampoo in its Asian and Latin American markets. That success led him to become a brand narrative consultant, a storytelling professor, if you will.

"Everyone agrees we need to tell better stories but teaching a human being to tell stories better is not easy to do," he said in an interview. Managers live in a world of data and metrics; storytelling is quite different.

He boils it down to Prof. K's three-step narrative approach, shared in his recent book The Hook. It starts by being able to articulate the premise of your story in a single sentence - one that will leave people gobsmacked because it's so compelling. To do that, you may have to move on to the second step in order to clarify your thinking, answering seven key questions:

Who is your main character?


There must be one - and only one. KFC has Colonel Sanders. In many companies, the hero is the founder, who had a brilliant idea that gave the world this magical offering and the hallowed values behind the organization. The hero should not be your brand, even if that might be your first instinct. Instead, the hero would be the user. The same thinking applies if you are trying to sell a new program to your staff: You need a main character.

What does your main character need/want/desire?

This opens up the dramatic problem at the heart of your story, and it needs to be articulated in terms of an inner emotional need and a concrete, physical need existing outside the protagonist.

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Creative