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the3h - Hum Hain Hindustani
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glomc00 - The Global Millennium Class
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ilmeds
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Headlines

Could you be a successful entrepreneur? Three intriguing attributes might help | MSN, 02 jun 2024
The elusive agricultural hub: Will Singapore’s second, larger attempt at an innovative agri-food zone work out? | Eco-Business, 02 jun 2024
Craft x Tech elevates Japanese craftsmanship with progressive technology | Wallpaper, 02 jun 2024
Architecture for Glamping: Embracing Nature with Comfort | ArchDaily, 02 jun 2024
Beyond window dressing - the case for upcycling in fashion TimesLIVE, 02 jun 2024
Social Innovation Isn't Just a Western Phenomenon | Stanford Social Innovation Review, 02 jun 2024
Five ways give back by volunteering and earn rewards | The Sun, 02 jun 2024
Reviving Customer Service: What's Old is New Again | Telecom Reseller, 02 jun 2024
Measuring The Intrinsic Causal Influence Of Your Marketing Campaigns | Towards Data Science, 02 jun 2024
Women health crisis in India: How low education and labour force participation affect their well-being | News Nine, 02 jun 2024
Most Indians missing out on higher education will dent prospects of achieving Viksit Bharat | The Hans India, 02 jun 2024
Can India's life sciences industry transform from ‘pharmacy of the world' to 'innovation hub'? | Financial Express, 02 jun 2024
Empowering MSMEs: Unlocking India's Trillion-Dollar Manufacturing Potential | Entrepreneur, 02 jun 2024
Is India's economy faring better than expected? | The Indian Express, 01 jun 2024
Quality and diversity: the main challenges facing higher education | University World News, 01 jun 2024
The Transformative Impact of AI on the Global Economy | ELBLOG.PL, 01 jun 2024
Computer-Aided Design for Biology | Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, 01 jun 2024
The Value of Corporate Social Responsibility Programmes | Barbados Today, 01 jun 2024
Transforming India’s higher education sector | Education Times, 31 may 2024
Human-centric interior design: Essential tips for crafting spaces that enhance well-being | Hindustan Times, 31 may 2024
The Key Principles of Effective Web Design | Design Swan, 31 may 2024
Don't allow disagreements to overshadow your charity's positive work, says regulator | Gov.UK, 31 may 2024
The Hidden Costs Of Delaying Strategy Implementation In Philanthropy | Forbes, 31 may 2024
This is how we empower the next generation of social innovators | World Economic Forum, 31 may 2024
Marketing 2.0: Embracing The AI-Powered Future | Forbes, 31 may 2024
Indian economy needs to navigate challenges from AI, climate shocks: RBI annual report | Livemint, 30 may 2024
Crisis Amplifier? How to Prevent AI from Worsening the Next Economic Downturn | International Monetary Fund, 30 may 2024
The best places to sell design online | Creative Bloq, 30 may 2024
What product designers need to do to work effectively with AI | Fast Company, 30 may 2024
Going to the boardroom from the classroom helps students learn how nonprofits work | The Conversation, 30 may 2024
The other 96 per cent: how to put more charitable assets to work | The Financial Times, 30 may 2024
ConsumerSignals - Consumer spending behavior and drivers | Deloitte, 30 may 2024
You Think You Know How Misinformation Spreads? Welcome to the Hellhole of Programmatic Advertising | Wired, 30 may 2024
This Unique Marketing Strategy Is Winning in 2024 — Here's Why (and How You Can Implement It Successfully) | Entrepreneur, 30 may 2024
International study cap: How some private companies are marketing tech and AI solutions | The Conversation, 30 may 2024
Support to farmers, food security, outdated data - WTO members question India's agriculture policies | ThePrint, 29 may 2024
China's first AI hospital town debuts | Global Times, 29 may 2024
Why healthcare data is often the target of ransomware attacks | TechTarget, 29 may 2024
A Nonprofit Tried to Fix Tech Culture—but Lost Control of Its Own | Wired, 29 may 2024
Fashion brands are using 'silent logos' as their latest branding strategy | VOGUE, 26 may 2024
THIS ALL-IN-ONE DEVICE AUTOMATICALLY MONITORS YOUR HOME ENVIRONMENT FOR HEALTHIER LIVING | Yanko Design, 25 may 2024
Best Nonprofit Accounting Software of 2024 | NerdWallet, 22 may 2024
Higher education to play an urgent role in tackling global challenges | The Commonwealth, 15 may 2024
Private equity targets India's healthcare sector with record investments | The Financial Times, 09 may 2024
Why PR is still growing...and it will only grow more in the coming years? | afaqs!, 09 may 2024
Sustainability: The next step in industrial design's evolution | Smart Industry, 06 may 2024
Technological interventions focused on preventive health care are of vital importance: Abhay Karandikar | The Hindu, 04 may 2024
How To Leverage Social Media to Optimize PR Success and Increase Your Brand Awareness | Entrepreneur, 19 apr 2024
The Future Role of Universities in Solving the Global Teaching Crisis | Higher Education Digest, 14 apr 2024
Global Failures on Healthcare Funding | Human Rights Watch, 11 apr 2024


Read On...

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 jul 2024

Online privacy, online advertising, user data analytics and online regulatory policies are issues that continue to be debated regarding internet and online users. Big technology companies, consumer organizations, government regulators and various industry lobbies continue to push their conflicting agendas to influence the internet and its future. Convergence of interests that keep the internet free from manipulation by any particular group or groups is a challenging task. The paramount concern of all parties should ba a focus on keeping the internet safe, free, open and friendly, while at the same time bringing economic benefits to all. The socio-economic balance on the internet with consideration of the needs of all concerned groups should remain paramount while deciding the future. Recent backing out by Google from deprecating cookies from Chrome again brought the influence of big tech, user data privacy and online advertising issues on the forefront. Patrick Roman Gut, senior vice president and head of new business at Adstra, explains these issues and suggests options for the post-cookie internet. He says, '...there will eventually come a day when the Chrome browser no longer supports third-party cookies. Other major browsers like Safari and Firefox already default to cookies off, so no matter when Google finally makes the change, it's clear that the world has entered a post-cookie era. Another way to think about this is as a multi-identifier era, where brands must use multiple tools and tactics to find and understand their customers across online environments.' As advertising landscape continues to be more omnichannel and entrenched in multi-ID world, brands must be prepared to effectively handle the paradigm shift. Mr. Gut says - Advertising still largely relies on cookies, but the open market is a multi-ID space; Effective targeting requires a combination of methodologies (deterministic, probabilistic or contextual); Crosswalk solutions provide effective data management in a multi-ID landscape (Crosswalk solution involves mapping anonymous digital identifiers to personally identifiable information to unify online and offline data for a comprehensive view of customer behaviors); AI enables additional insights and predictions for extended reach and future success. Read on...

DIGIDAY: How advertisers are moving from cookies to a multi-ID landscape
Author: Patrick Roman Gut


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 jul 2024

Generative AI (artifical intelligence) has potential to transform education practices and will bring new challenges to the traditional pedagogy in many fields of learning. Architecture and design education is no exception. The already fast changing world of architecture with climate change, environmental issues, natural disasters, shifting human needs and requirements etc and speedy technological innovations and advancements like AI, makes adapting to the present and predicting the future a humongous task for all those in the field - academics, researchers, educators, professionals, students, policy makes etc. Teaching an architect is a responsible task. Eric J. Cesal, Design Educator and Author, explains how the AI will impact architecture and design education and profession, and what practices in the design teaching and learning process would no longer be needed in the future. He says, 'The conversation about what and how to teach is already contentious, and it must necessarily evolve with technology...However, there's another, easier conversation to have: what not to teach...in my own teaching and conversations with colleagues, there seems to be a consensus among design faculty that certain things should no longer be taught in architecture school. These anachronisms remain fixtures in most schools due to institutional and cultural inertia...AI will change that calculus. It gives us new arguments for purging some of the more ossified practices of design culture.' He further specifies following three things that are inherent to the educational process that AI will assist in getting rid of - (1) Masochism: All-nighters, self-neglect, exhaustion etc are problems that are part of architecture and design schools. Educators want to curb them and it seems difficult to bring a culture change. Ideas need to be executed, they are tested, proven and demonstrated through drawings and models. This requires efforst and hard work with strict deadlines. Mr. Cesal says, 'This may seem reasonable—at least to anyone who's been to architecture school - as long as you ignore the downstream effects. As you stay up for several nights in a row to test and prove that one brilliant idea, your creative faculties steadily decline, compromising what might have been that second or third brilliant idea...Research consistently shows that a well-rested brain is better able to generate novel ideas, solve complex problems, and think critically...As AI rapidly takes over the rote, mechanical aspects of design, humans must focus their efforts on only those things that a human can do...So tell your students to leave the studio at a reasonable hour and go home. Insist on it. Insist that they do their designs, do their best, and then go home, or go out.' (2) Fetishization of the Image: Mass media brought an image-based culture in the architecture profession. Mr. Cesal says, 'This shift can be attributed to the way mass media fragmented different types of professional success: commercial success (making money), professional success (being esteemed by one’s peers), and cultural success (being esteemed by the wider culture)...these three types of success typically follow a sequential path. However, architecture has an alternative route, which I’ll call Path B. This route subverts the conventional sequence...Through Path B, an architect can achieve cultural success by earning the esteem of their peers, even if they have limited commercial success or built projects. With sufficient professional and cultural success, one can then achieve commercial succes...some architects can win the Pritzker Prize...with a very shallow portfolio of built works, principally on the strength of their publications and theoretical work...The existence of Path B in architecture enables and encourages a fetishization of image-making...The rise of AI in architecture fundamentally challenges the viability of pursuing Path B. With AI-powered tools capable of generating stunning, novel renderings based on text prompts, the mere production of impressive architectural images no longer signifies the same level of creativity and innovation that it once did. As a result, achieving early acclaim primarily through image-making will become increasingly difficult...As image-production becomes easier, the true test of an architect’s creativity and skill will likely shift toward her or his ability to navigate the complex realities of bringing designs to life, and to navigate the changing realities of practice...AI has made making images of our ideas simpler. Let's adapt to this change by ending our collective fetishization of image-making and focusing instead on the higher-order problems of the future.' (3) Design School as Rite of Passage: The old English model of education in American universities focused on broad range of subjects and students were not particularly trained in particular field. Medicine and law became first specializations in mid-18th century. Archiecture became an educational specialization about a century later. Mr. Cesal says, 'It wasn't really until the late 19th century that American institutions, influenced by German models, began to adopt the graduate and research models we know today, along with the concept of electives and majors. In contrast to the old English model, it was designed to train individuals for a lifetime of continuous work in a specific field, beginning at the age of 18...Going through a major program does more than just teach you the technical skills necessary to execute a specific type of work: it inducts you into a tribe. You undergo shared experiences that then bond you with others in your eventual profession. However, with the rapid advancements in AI, this model may no longer be suitable for the future. As AI accelerates the pace of technological change, it becomes increasingly challenging to predict the skills and capacities that will be necessary for professional work in the coming decades. The idea of fully training someone for a profession by their early 20s, with the expectation that this education will suffice for a lifetime, seems anachronistic in a world where entire professions may become obsolete within a matter of years. To adapt to this new reality, we must restructure learning to be a continuous, lifelong process rather than a one-time experience...This new paradigm could take many forms, such as having professionals return to school for a semester every few years...The key is to recognize that the current specialization model, which was developed in an era when America still ran on steam power, may no longer be adequate for a future characterized by rapid technological change. In the field of architecture, this means re-evaluating the notion of design school as a singular rite of passage. In the future, design school won't be something you went through. It will be a process that lasts a lifetime.' Read on...

ArchDaily: How AI Can Help Us End Design Education Anachronisms
Author: Eric J. Cesal


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 jul 2024

HR experts got together in Bengaluru on 27 June 2024 at India Today HR Insights to discuss around the theme 'The Future of Work' in the Indian context. Rapid technological advancements bring the continuous need for skilled and trained human resources. India's target to grow to US$ 1 trillion digital economy by 2028 and government's Rs 10000 crore artificial inteligence (AI) mission would add to the HR challenges. Following are what the experts think on the future of work in India - Richard Lobo, Chief People Officer at Tech Mahindra, says, 'Many of our processes are some 20-30 years old and we hang on to them for various reasons...So I think we have to now rethink...the only way to go forward is to break some of these things. If we don't consciously break them, we won't move forward.' Dr. John Bruce, Dean of Placements and Corporate Affairs at Sathyabama Institute of Science and Technology, says, 'To fill the skill gap, we look for companies to set up their centres of excellence...We find out from companies what they look for and train (students)...and design our own curriculum to match corporate expectations.' Ashutosh Anshu, CHRO at Hitachi India, says, 'We always cultivate a culture of learning in the organisation. It's very important for us. That's how we mobilise and retain talent.' Asit Kumar, CHRO at Lendingkart, says, 'We look at ‘hunger’. An employee can always be upskilled. If a person has willingness, he or she will learn. (While hiring) we try to look at a level junior...if we are looking at X level, we try to find a person operating at X minus one level.' Prem Anand K., Head of Talent Acquisition at Narayana Health, says, 'When it comes to technology intervention and skills required for the job, there have been a lot of strides in the last couple of years...we have our own app for doctors and nurses...we are technologically far ahead in the game and have upskilled our people.' Shakshar Guha, Senior General Manager HR and Head of Employee Relations at Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting, says, 'Money is not the only pull for the new generation. Their aspirations are changing. They also see the brand's purpose...purposeful brands have a lot of meaning for today's generation.' Deepa Ravinder, Client Service at Cisco, says, 'We enabled all our people with technology, with the opportunity of going into different workplaces within the same location or a different location that probably was closer to where they lived.' Aditya Mishra, MD and CEO at CIEL HR, says, 'We see that a lot of people today are valuing flexibility as a clear expectation from their employers...Employers who are not able to provide flexibility tend to score a little less on the attractiveness index.' Anil Kumar Ethanur, Co-founder at Xpheno, says, 'Now, most of the companies are moving to hybrid. It is a reality; we can't avoid it.' Shilpa Vaid, CHRO at Diageo India, says, 'After the pandemic...it just compelled us to think systematically about what flexibility means. We tried to make sure that employees retained the flexibility in a consistent manner to do their best work, while at the same time ensuring that the sense of corporate community that we built over the years was not diluted.' Read on...

India Today: India Today HR Insights - 'Reimagining the way we work'
Author: Ajay Sukumaran


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 jul 2024

cOAlition S, launched on 04 September 2018 by a group of national research funding organisations, with the support of the European Commission and the European Research Council (ERC), is an initiative to make full and immediate Open Access to research publications a reality. On its website (coalition-s.org), cOAlition S signals the commitment to implement the necessary measures to fulfil its main principle - 'With effect from 2021, all scholarly publications on the results from research funded by public or private grants provided by national, regional and international research councils and funding bodies, must be published in Open Access Journals, on Open Access Platforms, or made immediately available through Open Access Repositories without embargo.' cOAlition S is build around Plan S that is a set of principles that ensure open and immediate access to funded research publications. It was born from the cooperation between the Heads of the participating Research Funding Organisations, Marc Schiltz, the President of Science Europe, and Robert-Jan Smits, previously the Open Access Envoy of the European Commission. It also drew on significant input from the Scientific Council of the ERC. cOAlition S presented a proposal 'Towards Responsible Publishing (TRP)', that includes a vision for a community-based scholarly communication system fit for open science in the 21st century, where scholars can rapidly and transparently share the full range of their research outputs and participate in new quality control mechanisms and evaluation standard. According to the proposal, the main challenges that a future scholarly communication system should address include that - The dominant publishing models are highly inequitable; The sharing of research outputs is needlessly delayed; The full potential of peer review is not realised; The coupling of editorial gatekeeping with academic career incentives is damaging science. To address these challenges, cOAlition S proposed a set of five guiding principles - (1) Authors are responsible for the dissemination of their findings, (2) All scholarly outputs are shared immediately and openly. (3) Quality control processes are community-based and open, to ensure trustworthiness of research findings. (4) All scholarly outputs are eligible for consideration in research assessment. (5) Stakeholders commit to support the sustainability and diversity of the scholarled publishing ecosystem. The report, 'Towards Responsible Publishing': Findings from a global stakeholder consultation, presents the findings of a global multi-stakeholder consultation conducted between November 2023 and May 2024 by Research Consulting Limited (UK) and Leiden University's Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) (Netherlands) on behalf of cOAlition S. Johan Rooryck, Executive Director of cOAlition S and Bodo Stern, Chief of Strategic Initiatives, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Chair of the TRP Steering Group at cOAlition S, in the foreword of the report write, 'Research funders have the responsibility to make sure that their funding is used in ways that improve the scholarly publishing landscape for the benefit of the research community and society. The 'Towards Responsible Publishing' proposal is therefore a logical next step for cOAlition S funders to help make the publishing system fit for the 21st century. It builds on Plan S and goes further in proposing a way to disseminate research that is not only more open, but also more trusted, equitable, efficient, and sustainable...This report presents the findings of that consultation: it shows an insightful picture of researchers' attitudes towards innovative research practices, such as open access publishing, preprint posting, open peer review and the incentives needed to embrace these behaviours.' For the report, authors collected 11145 responses from researchers via a global survey, reached 440 respondents through an initial feedback survey, engaged 72 participants via focus groups, and attracted a total of 10 organisational feedback letters from low- and middle-income countries that were underrepresented in the data. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE REPORT - When deciding how to reach their target audiences, researchers continue to rely on the current journals ecosystem; When deciding what to read, researchers once again prioritise the reputation of a journal; The consultation revealed support among researchers for some of the practices encouraged in the TRP proposal, such as preprint posting and the open sharing of peer review reports; Across the most represented disciplines in our data (medical and health sciences, life sciences, social sciences, engineering and arts and humanities), views regarding preprint posting are broadly aligned; Views are slightly more positive for respondents who have posted a preprint in the last three years; The highest resistance to the publication of open peer review reports was in the field of Law (39%), followed by Arts and Humanities (36%). In this context, consultation participants highlighted that existing recognition and reward mechanisms are inadequate for incentivising adoption of these practices, which will highly affect their uptake by researchers; The consultation found that, on balance, researchers would support the integration of practices like preprint posting (48% would support the practice vs 27% who would be opposed) and open peer review (47% would support the practice vs 29% who would be opposed) into journal publication workflows; Lack of clear implementation guidance emerged as a significant concern during the consultation; The need for a gradual, collaborative implementation approach involving pilots and engagement with existing initiatives was emphasised; Without broader engagement, cOAlition S' efforts risk being viewed by low- and middle-income countries as an imposition by wealthier nations; Shifting more publication responsibilities to individual authors could disproportionately overburden under-resourced researchers with limited institutional support services; Consultation participants highlighted the perceived importance of peer review and dedicated editorial roles in scholarly communication; Consultation participants saw a significant increase in preprint posting as potentially risking the proliferation of poor-quality, unvetted research outputs that may flood the public domain unchecked; The problem of subpar research making it through the peer review and publication process, while undesirable, already exists to some extent in the current system; The complexity of the proposed system may make it challenging for nonexperts like journalists, policymakers and the public to navigate the research landscape effectively. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS - Based on the findings from this global multi-stakeholder consultation, we conclude that there is support for some of the principles and practices encouraged in the TRP proposal. This highlights opportunities for cOAlition S to make progress in their desired direction of travel, building on select parts of the proposal; cOAlition S is well-placed to pursue the preprint posting and open licensing activities in the near term; In the medium-term, cOAlition S could focus on encouraging and promoting open peer review across the publishing landscape, including both preprints and journal articles; Realising the full vision of the TRP proposal will require longer-term efforts and cooperation with other stakeholders to update recognition and reward mechanisms at a global scale and ransition funding and infrastructures to support a globally inclusive, scholar-led publishing ecosystem. Read on...

Zenodo: 'Towards Responsible Publishing': Findings from a global stakeholder consultation
Authors: Andrea Chiarelli, Ellie Cox, Rob Johnson, Ludo Waltman, Wolfgang Kaltenbrunner, André Brasil, Andrea Reyes Elizondo, Stephen Pinfield


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 jun 2024

According to a 2018 HelpAge India report, about 25% of senior citizens in urban India face abuse. Rising cases of elderly abuse and abandonment are a cause of serious concern for Indian social fabric. Even though governmental policies and many nonprofits are working to curb it but challenges remain. Dr. Rajkumaar and Srujana founded Joy Foundation in 2006 in Hyderabad (India) with focus on rural health and road accident healthcare, especially for elderly. The organization also founded an old age home for abandoned seniors. Dr. Rajkumaar, who also runs two hospitals, says, 'The burden of health and care often falls on the wife and children, causing a rift between breadwinners and senior citizens. While I can't fully blame the breadwinners, as supporting a family is challenging, this is where we step in. For me, it's not a big expense, but for them, it's a big relief.' Read on...

The New Indian Express: Spreading hope for elderly people
Author: Anshika Aggarwal


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 jun 2024

Stanford alum Abdul Aleem returned to Bihar (India) during COVID-19 and in 2021 co-founded BuiltX SDC (Sustainable Design & Construction). The startup is bringing an innovative concept in India's architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry by exclusively working with nonprofits to fulfil their infrastructural needs. The organization provides low-cost high-quality sustainable and environmentally-friendly design and construction to nonprofits with focus on healthcare and education sector. Mr. Aleem says, 'BuiltX is more than just a construction organization; it's a movement towards sustainable and equitable infrastructure, Our core values of empathy, integrity, and innovation drive every project we undertake. We are dedicated to building a future where every child has access to quality education and every individual can receive world-class healthcare, regardless of their financial background.' Their partnership model utilizes Integrated Project Delivery mechanism that ensures a streamlined process from start to finish, managing every detail and allowing non-profit partners to focus on their mission and impact. One of their projects is Akhand Jyoti Eye Hospital (Bihar, India), the largest eye hospital in Eastern India. Read on...

Free Press Journal: Sustainable Design & Construction: Pioneering Infrastructure For Non-Profits In India
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 jun 2024

Jenifer Morgan, global editions editor at Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR), says, 'Social innovation isn't just a Western phenomenon.' Nicholas Jackson, Editor-in-Chief of SSIR, explains and cites expamples to put forward a point that local inovation at one place can become a change agent at other places with similar issues and challenges. He tells about SSIR's international partnerships and collaborations for spread of knowledge and social research. He says, 'I encourage you to read widely and to look for solutions and inspiration everywhere, even in unlikely places.' He cites SSIR article 'Who Knows Agroforestry Best?' (Authors: Evelyn R. Nimmo; André E. B. Lacerda; Leandro Bonfim; Joel Bothello), that provides example of Brazilian nonprofit organization CEDErva (Center for the Development and Education of Traditional Erva-Mate Systems) that promotes traditional practices for tending to - and harvesting - the land, as the conventional approaches to sustainable agriculture were not working. Learning from this, other countries such as Bolivia, Laos, Nicaragua, the Democratic Republic of the Congo etc, that are rapidly losing tree cover, can adopt and adapt the CEDErva approahcs to find solutions to their own challenges. Other social innovation examples include - A New Zealand social enterprize 'Take2' is offering job training during periods of incarceration and other paths to job security as a form of rehabilitation; A global team in Czech Republic has brought about a new life for old brick and other building materials, which are being turned into 'green concrete' and used in the development of sustainable architecture. Read on...

Stanford Social Innovation Review: Social Innovation Isn't Just a Western Phenomenon
Author: Nicholas Jackson


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Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 jun 2024

Prof. Fadel M. Megahed of Farmer School Information Systems and Analytics (ISA) at Miami University (USA), is the lead author of two papers on artificial intelligence (AI), 'Introducing ChatSQC: Enhancing Statistical Quality Control with Augmented AI' (aug 2023, arxiv.org) (Authors: Fadel M. Megahed of Miami University; Ying-Ju Chen of University of Dayton; Inez Zwetsloot of University of Amsterdam; Sven Knoth of Helmut Schmidt University; Douglas C. Montgomery of Arizona State University; L. Allison Jones-Farmer of Miami University) and 'How generative AI models such as ChatGPT can be (mis)used in SPC practice, education, and research? An exploratory study' (jun 2023, tandfonline.com) (Authors: Fadel M. Megahed of Miami University; Ying-Ju Chen of University of Dayton; Joshua A. Ferris of Miami University; Sven Knoth of Helmut Schmidt University; L. Allison Jones-Farmer of Miami University). He has brought AI into his classroom teaching for business analytics students. He says, 'There was a lot of research that talked about how AI could be used in education, that AI can play many roles in the classroom...As an ISA student, learning to use AI is an emerging skill that would benefit your career. That being said, you should be aware of the limits of such tools: (a) the use of AI tools may not be useful in all applications, so use them with caution; (b) prompt engineering matters, so you will need to craft a good prompt to get higher quality answers; (c) the answers you get may be wrong, e.g., ChatGPT is often confident but wrong; and (d) if you use such a tool in an assignment/exam, you will need to provide your prompt and the AI's answer (which may require tweaking to work correctly).' Regarding the ChatISA tool, Prof. Megahed says, 'I wanted to provide a free tool for students to be more inclusive, a tool where the students' prompts and responses are not used for model training. And I wanted to incorporate state-of-the-art recommendations about context setting and prompt engineering to enhance the outputs our students would get from the same request...Students in my class have mentioned that depending on the instructor, when they have the option to use these AI tools, they use it also for other classes.' Read on...

Miami University FSB News: FSB professor creates AI chatbot to assist business analytics students
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 may 2024

According to the research study, 'Severe decline in large farmland trees in India over the past decade' (Authors: Martin Brandt; Dimitri Gominski; Florian Reiner; Ankit Kariryaa; Venkanna Babu Guthula; Philippe Ciais; Xiaoye Tong; Wenmin Zhang; Dhanapal Govindarajulu; Daniel Ortiz-Gonzalo; Rasmus Fensholt), published on 15 may 2024 in Nature Sustainability, during the period 2018-2022, more than 5 million large farmland trees (about 67m² crown size) have vanished, due partly to altered cultivation practices, where trees within fields are perceived as detrimental to crop yields. The study mapped 0.6 billion farmland trees, excluding block plantations, in India and tracked them over the past decade. The research shows that around 11±2% of the large trees (about 96m² crown size) mapped in 2010/2011 had disappeared by 2018. According to the 'European Space Agency (ESA) WorldCover 10 m 2020 v100 (2021)' (zenodo.org) land-cover map, 56% of India is covered by farmland, and only 20% is covered by forest. Prof. Martin Brandt of Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management at University of Copenhagen, says on X.com, 'Large trees within fields and croplands in India are clearly visible in satellite images and examining historical Google Earth images showed him how clear the decline of large trees was.' Prof. Jagdish Krishnaswamy, dean of the School of Environment and Sustainability at Bengaluru's Indian Institute for Human Settlements, commenting on the findings of the study on X.com, says, 'This is so worrying. I wonder whether the huge and lovely Mahua trees amidst the farm fields of Jhabua District in Madhya Pradesh in Central India that I saw over twenty years ago are also disappearing.' According to the study, the findings are particularly unsettling given the current emphasis on agroforestry as an essential natural climate solution playing a crucial role in both climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, as well as for livelihoods and biodiversity. Read on...

The Wire: The Vanishing: Over 3 Years, India’s Farmlands Have Lost More Than 5 Million Large Trees
Author: Aathira Perinchery


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 may 2024

According to the report, 'Climate Change in the Indian Mind 2023' (Authors: Anthony Leiserowitz; Jagadish Thaker; Marija Verner; Emily Goddard; Jennifer Carman; Seth Rosenthal; Naga Raghuveer Modala; Mallika Talwar; Yashwant Deshmukh; Gaura Shukla; Jennifer Marlon; Matthew Ballew; Matthew Goldberg), based on a third nationally representative survey conducted by Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC) and the Centre for Voting Opinion & Trends in Election Research (CVoter), 91% respondents believe global warming is real and happening right now. Indian public is highly concerned about global warming and the related consequences as 59% expressed very worried sentiments about it. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE REPORT - 52% believe that if global warming occurs, it is primarily caused by human activities; On the basis of global warming risk perceptions, a large majority believe it will harm flora and fauna (83%), people in India (82%), future generations (81%), people in their own community (78%), and themselves and their own family (74%); About 53% of Indians believe they are already being affected by global warming; 71% of respondents said global warming affected their local weather and 76% said it affected monsoons in India; 79% demonstrated their willingness to act to combat global warming; 78% of Indians expect the government to do more address global warming; About 86% supported the Indian government's commitment to achieve the Net Zero emissions target by 2070. Read on...

DownToEarth: Over 90% Indians want policies to address green issues and climate action, finds Yale survey
Author: Susan Chacko


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 may 2024

Artificial intelligence (AI) is making inroads into many fields and so it is in architecture and related areas like interior design, urban planning, landscape etc. As it is in early stages of adoption there is excetement, experimentation, uncertainty and concerns. A recent survey of 1200 architectural profesionals throws light on what the industry really thinks about AI and asked how it impacts design processes and workflows, and human resources in the industry. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SURVEY - (1) The Use of AI Is Being Propelled by Experimentation and Self-Driven Learning: 60% of the respondents are using AI without formal training; Integration issues, lack of testing time, and insufficient training resources are challenges faced in adopting AI tools for architectural projects; More than 2/3rd of respondents already use AI or intend to do so soon. (2) The Highest Satisfaction With AI Is When It's Used During the Early Design Stages: More than 67% of respondents feel so; Only about 30% deemed AI renderings suitable for design development and beyond due to concerns regarding precision and control. (3) AI Technology Will Soon Become Standard in Architectural Design but Needs to Evolve: 52% expressed concerns about AI's potential to disrupt job security within the architectural visualization field; 74% agreed that there should be ethical guidelines governing AI's use. Read on...

ArchDaily: What 1,200+ Architects and Designers Really Think About AI in Architecture
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 may 2024

As social media continues to grow, businesses need effective strategies to target users. According to 'The 2023 Sprout Social Index', 53% of consumers say their social media usage has been higher over the last two years than the previous two years. Business-to-business marketing on social media requires specific tactics and strategies as the sales and decision-making cycles of B2B products and services are long and have different client dynamics, engagement and relationships. Following are 5 B2B social strategy fundamentals - (1) Align goals to the business and have clarity of purpose: Create brand awareness; Build a loyal community through targeted educational content; Build credibility and trust by consistent valuable engagement; Integrate social media strategy with overall business plan. (2) Adopt a customer-centric B2B social strategy: Understand the businesses and individuals you intend to engage with; Customize commnication to the target audience; Use social data and respond effectively. The 2023 Index revealed that 51% of consumers think the most memorable action a brand takes on social media is simply responding. (3) Prioritize authenticity: Engage with authentic and human-centric content; Focus on two-way conversations; Initiate regular audience polls and surveys for feedback; Utilize listening tools to understand conversations on industry topics and engage with thought leadership; Showcase real experiences with customers. (4) Leverage employee advocacy: Today's customers rely on their peers to tell them who they should buy from, with 84% of people trusting friends and family recommendations; Employees are the best B2B influencers of the brand; Benefits of well-organized employee advocacy program includes expanded social reach, approved content mitigates risk to brand perception, improvement in employee engagemnt and drives more leads. (5) Use analytics to inform your B2B social media marketing: Sprout's 2023 State of Social Media report shows that 7 in 10 leaders agree that social is currently underutilized within their organization. And 97% of business leaders believe that the use of social data to understand market trends will increase over the next years; use analytics to optimize and advance B2B content marketing strategy; Use social data for market understanding and research; Using social media intelligence helps understand audiences that leads to customize strategies for specific channels at specific platforms and at specific stage. Read on...

Sprout Social: How to build a customer-centric B2B social media strategy
Author: Kiran Shahid


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 may 2024

According to the annual 2023 European Union survey on the use of ICT in households and by individuals, 30% of EU internet users aged 16 to 74 reported that they had done an online course or used online learning material in the three months prior to the survey. In 2022 the participation in online education was 28%. The top 5 EU countries that have the highest share of internet users doing an online course or using online learning material - Netherlands (54%); Finland (53%); Sweden (48%); Spain (47%); Estonia (45%). The bottom 5 with least online education popularity include - Romania (10%); Cyprus (16%); Bulgaria (17%); Greece (17%); Poland (18%). Increase in online learning - Netherlands (+12 percentage points); Sweden (+7 pp); Malta (+5 pp); Estonia (+5 pp); Croatia (+5 pp). Decrease in online learning - Greece (-12 pp); Cyprus (-5 pp); Austria (-2 pp); Slovenia (-2 pp). Read on...

European Union - Eurostat: Increase in online education in the EU in 2023
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 apr 2024

Combination of design and manufacturing is key for the success of 'Make in India' initiative and its beneficial outcome domestically and globally. Sajjan Jindal, Chairman & MD of JSW Group, says, 'Just as trust in a product hinges on its reliability and innovation, trust in India's manufacturing future also rests on its ability to seamlessly blend world-class engineering with cutting-edge design. Embracing design as a core tenet of 'Make in India' is the cornerstone to achieving this trust, both domestically and on the global stage.' He suggests strategic integration of design into the manufacturing process. He says, 'It's about understanding the capabilities and constraints of resources, including production, materials, and the workforce, and then designing products that are not only desirable, but also manufacturable with efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and high quality.' Inculcating design thinking approach can become a core of India's manufacturing prowess. India has been working on building the development of a robust domestic material sciences and engineering ecosystem to support the manufacturing sector. Design thinking and design engineering can lead to cost efficiency, performance ehnancement and reduced environmental impact. Automotive industry saw growth in development of composite materials leading to manufacturing of lightweight car components. This will help in making eco-friendly vehicles and will position India as sustainable manufacturing hub. India's space industry is another opportunity that will be driven by collaborative design and manufacturing approach. Innovation and collaboration go hand in hand. Bringing together diverse knowledge, expertise and skills leads to innovative solutions. Government can help in providing an enabling environment to encourage industry-academia collaboration in design, engineering and manufacturing. Steel is a material of choice in many industries and it needs to interlock with evolution of design engineering to be future-ready. Mr. Jindal continues, 'Design orientation is not a magic bullet. But it's a powerful tool that can significantly strengthen 'Make in India'. By prioritising design, Indian manufacturers can move up the manufacturing value chain and begin to create truly innovative, globally competitive products. This shift in mindset, from ‘Make in India’ to 'Design and Make in India', is key to unlocking the nation's full manufacturing potential.' Read on...

The Economic Times: Embracing design as a core tenet of 'Make in India' will build trust in Indian manufacturing
Author: Sajjan Jindal


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Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 apr 2024

India needs to work upon scientific and technological research and development to become an advanced nation. In an interview with Amitabh Sinha, Deputay Editor of The Indian Express, Indian government's Principal Scientific Advisor Ajay Kumar Sood explains the building of a vision and roadmap to become a developed nation by 2047 driven by science and technology. He says, 'We have fairly good scientific traditions and a fairly strong base. But if you look at any of the commonly used indicators to measure the scientific strength of a country, we are far behind, way below the global average. That is because our contribution in science is not proportional to our size or potential. This has to change.' According to him India should work and improve upon indicators like GERD (General Expenditure on Research and Development), the number of researchers per million population, women in science, number of patents etc. There is need for quality in research publications. Moreover, deployment of breakthrough technologies will provide 8-10% economic growth, an essential component to become a developed nation by 2047. He says, 'A Viksit Bharat will have to be a leader in science. There is no other way...The National Research Foundation (NRF) is one big decision that the government is banking heavily on.' Read on...

The Indian Express: In 2047, in terms of science, India should be in top 3 or 5: PSA Ajay Kumar Sood
Author: Amitabh Sinha


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 apr 2024

According to the report, 'Grounded in Tradition, Looking to the Future: Understanding Next-Generation Philanthropy in the Middle East', conducted by the Pearl Initiative, the Zovighian Partnership, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and based on a survey of 80 emerging and established philanthropists based in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, the Levant, and Egypt, points out the inclination of younger philanthropists towards individual-driven giving and a shift away from traditional family foundations. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE REPORT - Nearly 60% of respondents believe direct funding is the most effective strategy; Over 45% are embracing non-traditional methods like impact investing, microlending, and donor-advised funds; Female philanthropists are more likely to invest in initiatives supporting women and girls, potentially leading to a rise in efforts promoting female economic inclusion; 65% of respondents believe in the positive impact of philanthropy in the Middle East over the next five years. Badr Jafar, Founder of the Pearl Initiative and CEO of Crescent Enterprises, says, 'Data and research are crucial for enhancing philanthropic impact. This is especially true as the next generation transforms the practice by demanding more hands-on involvement and prioritizing accountability.' Lynn Zovighian, Founder of the Zovighian Partnership, says, 'Delivering this first-time research was crucial for our philanthropic community,' Read on...

Daily News Egypt: Next-generation philanthropy in MENA: Shift towards individualized giving
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 apr 2024

In the technology-enhanced world, information and news consumption has become more fluid and dynamic. The audience and consumers are no more captive. Opinions and views are established and shared at lightening speed on multiple devices and platforms. Reaching out to the world has barriers removed. Everyone has the power to speak out and get heard. The generation that grew up in this environment knows how to handle the fast paced world of information and communication. Public relations as an industry has been hugely impacted. Deepa Nagraj, Global Head of Communications & Sparkle Innovation Ecosystem at Mphasis, explains how the PR industry has changed in the digital era and how it can adapt to stay effective. According to Statista research analysis, 'Reading news on social is fast becoming the norm for younger generations, and this form of news consumption will likely increase further regardless of whether consumers fully trust their chosen network or not.' Ms. Nagraj provides the following changes that are happening around the PR industry - Workers Are Dispersed And Remote; News Is Digested In New Ways; Attention Spans Are Minimal; Anybody Can Be A Spokesperson; Everyone Is Watching; Noise Is A Constant. She has following suggestions for the PR professionals - Listen to what is happening around on various platforms and channels; Cut through the chase and formulate an appropriate, meaningful and engaging response; Be clear and direct in your communication and share it quickly; Communication should be directed towards a human being and should include all the elements so that it can reach the heart and mind of the consumer and should be open-ended and interactive. Read on...

Forbes: Future Proofing Public Relations In The Age Of Digital Media
Author: Deepa Nagraj


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 apr 2024

Interior design and fashion trends are seeing a convergence. Experts say that these trends are more closely linked to each other then anticipated and there is a trend cycle that works between fashion and interior. Interior designer Marie Flanigan says, 'Fashion often informs interiors by inspiring the choice of silhouettes, color palettes, and materials. Sometimes fashion trends take a few seasons to trickle down to interiors, but always forecast the direction of interior design.' Brady Tolbert, interior designer and Creative Director at Bobby Berk, says, 'Fashion has always been where color trends start, and then they trickle down into multiple other industries.' Designers Kailee Blalock and Taylor Troia of House of Hive explain the similarities of the two industries, 'In our view, the trend cycle bridges interior design and fashion because these two mediums aren't all that different. They both revolve around evoking emotions and creating a particular ambiance. Nowadays, if someone identifies with a particular fashion style, it can easily translate into their interior design preferences.' Social media is also playing an important role in bringing this intermingling of trends especially through personality-led and influencer-led styles. David Samuel Ko, founder of Maison Co, says, 'Fashion is a form of self-expression, and so is interior design. Just as you would tell a story with a new outfit, you can do the same with your home and now more than ever, designers and companies are starting to realize that as they are making pieces that feel very fashion-forward, or creating a space inspired by a runway trend.' Following are 6 interior trends that began in fashion - (1) Quiet Luxury: Interior designer Kathy Kuo says, 'The quiet luxury trend is one of my favorite fashion-to-interiors crossovers as of late because it really speaks to the importance of quality materials and timeless design...Quiet luxury may be billed as a trend, but I think of it as a more enduring lifestyle choice.' Mr. Tolbert says, '...It's all about restraint in color palette and materials, and it focuses on the use of high-quality and luxe materials in dramatic ways rather than having a lot going on in the room.' (2) Layering Patterns and Textiles: Christine Carney, Director of Design at Blackberry Farm Design, says, '...Layering patterns and textures such as florals and stripes with chunky wovens is another example that gives bohemian, effortless vibes.' Ms. Flanigan also observes layering in interior design as a key interior trend for 2024, adding that it can be an effective way to add depth to a room. (3) The Coquette Aesthetic: This style is all about ultra-feminine pieces with a retro feel. Mr. Ko says, 'One trend that was insanely popular during the holidays was this "coquette" and the bow trend.' (4) Eclectic Grandpa: This trend links to to vintage home decor, rich colors, and a general welcoming of an eclectic style and goes hand in hand with the popularity of shopping vintage furniture trends, creating homes that feel full of character. (5) Coastal Grandmother: This interior design style embraces a coastal color palette to create spaces that feel light and airy. (6) Unexpected Red Theory: This trend is based on the idea that adding red in small amounts to any spaces without our homes (or outfits) enhances their visual appeal. Interior designer Natalia Miyar says, 'Red lends itself beautifully to smaller spaces. It creates such an intense and dramatic feel that elevates a small room that can often feel forgotten...' Read on...

Homes & Gardens: 6 interior design trends are also key fashion trends for 2024 - here's what designers say on the shared trend cycle
Author: Emily Moorman


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 mar 2024

India has a thriving entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem. Traditionally India has always been an enterprising economy with sizeable individuals involved in small and medium enterprises. But, last decade has seen a significant rise in tech-driven new age entrepreneurship and startup culture. Mr. Shri Sanjiv, Joint Secretary (Startup India) at the DPIIT (Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, GOI) provides the detailed explanation of India's evolving entreprenurial landscape, government policies and programs such as Startup India Initiative and involvement of sizeable young minds that are a large demographic of India. He says, 'Eight years ago, on January 16, 2016, India embarked on an ambitious journey, one that would transform the face of the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem...The number of recognised startups in the country has gone from around 400 in 2016 to more than 115000...The unprecedented success of India's startup ecosystem is a positive indicator of the nation's ability to be self-sustaining and to provide prosperity to all segments of society...the launch of the Startup India initiative in 2016 with a simple goal: to create an environment that would empower the people of India to become entrepreneurs and create world-class startups...the systemic approach followed by DPIIT to drive the Startup Indian Initiative: Ideate, Implement, and Innovate. A consistent and comprehensive approach has led to the ideation of targeted flagship programs under the Startup India initiative. The three flagship schemes,i.e., the Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS), the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme(SISFS), and the Credit Guarantee Scheme for Startups (CGSS), demonstrate this philosophy clearly. They were designed keeping in mind that it was neither practical nor ideal to have a one-size-fits-all approach to funding due to the nature of a startup's lifecycle...India is a large country, both in terms of geography and demography, with multiple different factors at play at any given point in time. This was a major consideration under the Startup India initiative and led to the conceptualization of programs such as the National Startup Awards (NSA) in 2020 and the States' Startup Ranking Framework (SRF) in 2018. Both of these programs aim to promote innovationacross the length and breadth of the country...With the notification of the National Startup Advisory Council, policymakers from the government and startup ecosystem stalwarts have worked tirelessly to guide the initiative and suggest practical steps, leading to the development of national initiatives such as the Startup India Investor Connect Portal, the National Mentorship Portal (MAARG) (Mentorship, Advisory, Assistance, Resilience, and Growth), and Startup Champions 2.0, amongst others...visit the Startup India Hub portal, and find all the resources they need to set up a startup...The ideation and institutionalization of Startup20 Engagement Group under India's G20 Presidency in 2023 is a testimony to the government's bringing startups to mainstream policy making agendas and the impact of our startup ecosystem on a global scale...Reaching the goal of Viksit Bharat@2047, the 100th year of independence, represents multiple new possibilities for both the government and India's startups...As we celebrated National Startup Day on January 16th and Startup India Innovation through the month of January 2024, the efforts of all stakeholders...are indispensable to transforming India into a global startup hub.' Read on...

Times Now: India's Startup Revolution: Exploring the Rise of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Author: Shri Sanjiv


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 mar 2024

A team of researchers that include Prof. Seoyoun Kim of Department of Sociology at Texas State University, Prof. Cal Halvorsen of School of Social Work at Boston College and Prof. Koichiro Shiba of School of Public Health at Boston University, are working on a National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded project 'Volunteering, polygenic risk, and cardiovascular biomarkers in multiple ancestry' to examine whether frequent and sustained volunteering affects changes in cardiovascular biomarkers, while also accounting for genetic risk factors. As more than 50% of adults over the age of 50 in the U.S. report at least one cardiovascular risk, such as hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity and chronic inflammation, the study would potentially provide new ways to manage risk in vulnerable populations. Even though there has been evidence of benficial impact of volunteering on the cardiovascular health of volunteers but it is not evident that frequent and sustained volunteering has a comparable effect across various population subgroups. Moreover, genetic susceptibility to cardiovascular disease biomarkers has never been studied in the context of volunteering. This study will provide understanding of the pathways by which genetic, social and behavioral factors affect cardiovascular health in older adults. Read on...

Texas State University Newsroom: NIH-funded study investigates cardiovascular benefits of volunteering
Author: Jayme Blaschke


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 mar 2024

According to GlobalData 2023 Q4 Consumer Survey, firms are held accountable by public on their stand on social issues such as human and animal welfare, fair trade, health etc and those that fail to consider and act on it risk losing sales. Survey finds that 31% of Middle East & African consumers and 29% of Asian consumers admitted that they find it essential for products to be ethical or support social causes. Global conflicts and geopolitical issues also influence consumer perception and impact businesses. Meenakshi Haran, lead consumer analyst at GlobalData, says, 'Consumers are increasingly making decisions based on responsibility towards ethical and social issues, driving the need for companies and brands to continually set measures to create and develop genuinely responsible products and services.' Isha Varma, Middle East business development manager at GlobalData, says, 'The Middle East, given its high spending ability, and Asia, with its 'surging' population represent huge growth opportunities for brands - however those that operate in these markets need to send a clear and transparent message about their commitment to ethical and social responsibility to mitigate any loss of reputation and revenues.' Read on...

ESM - European Supermarket Magazine: Brands Ignoring Ethical Consumerism Face Sales Risk, Says GlobalData
Author: Steve Wynne-Jones


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 mar 2024

Design of new part, component, or assembly requires consideration of fit, form and function and also innovation and aesthetic. Design reuse is an important aspect where existing designs are utilized. Computer aided design (CAD) and product data management (PDM) enabled use of existing similar designs available within the engineering organization, while engineering design search engines enabled finding them in broader internet ecosystem. Moreover, software driven engineering design optimization tools that proved optimal and efficient designs. One such tool was Topology Optimization in which the algorithm reduced the maerial in a design object. These processed and tools evolved into Generative Design that utilizes AI technologies like Deep Generative Models (DGMs) a form of Machine Learning and Neuro-Symbolic AI. The algorithms now create innovative designs with many options and possibilities that satisfy specified fit, form, and functional requirements including manufacturability. AI-Driven Generative Design develops, optimizes, and assesses design possibilities, and reduces repetitive tasks, multiple calculations, optimal design search etc for designers and helps them focus on problem-solving and innovation. Traditional design process includes ideation and conceptualization, creation, redefining and ehhancing the design, validating and building. This process is linear and even the use of CAD and CAE tools are not sufficient and require high level of expertise. AI-driven generative design improves on this process and significantly shortens the product design lifecycle. Generative design enables the designer to set performance and prioritize parameters and the algorithm generates a menu of alternatives to consider. In terms of the product development lifecycle, generative design is a combination of AI, CAD, simulation and test (CAE), and topology optimization, all working in conjunction, Additive manufacturing (AM) is an area where generative design is having an impact. In this process 3D printing is utilized to provide ouput parts that meets very specific functional requirements. The each phase of AM lifecycle process can be driven and enhanced by AI technology. Read on...

ARC Advisory Group: Understanding the Role of AI in Generative Engineering Design
Author: Dick Slansky


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 feb 2024

A recently held panel discussion on 'Decade of Union Budgets: Analysis and Assessment' was organised by MBA Department of Alva's College at Moodbidri (Karnatake, India), in association with Confederation of Indian Industry, Young Indians Mangalore Chapter, Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry and TiE Mangalore Chapter at Moodbidri. The panelists were - Rasananda Panda, professor of Economics a Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad; Ashok Dalwai, Chairman of the empowered Body on Doubling Farmers' Income; G. V. Joshi, Economist and former member of the State Planning Board; Dharmendra B. Mehtha, Retired Indian Revenue Service (IRS) Officer; Cotha Srinivas, ICAI Central Council Member; Narasimha Nayak, Former ICAI Udupi Chapter Chairman; Nobert M. Shenoy, Financial Consultant. Mr. Panda said, ' Education and healthcare were vital indicators of a country's economic growth. Despite decades of warnings from experts about the need for increased funding in these sectors, governments have failed to allocate additional resources.' Mr. Dalwai emphasised the importance of considering both the Budget and allocation outside of it. Mr. Joshi said, 'The government must prioritise job creation and address concerns regarding the fiscal deficit. It is crucial to address challenges faced by small and marginal farmers forming 90% of the farming population. Tackling climate change should be a priority.' Mr. Mehtha talked about emphasis on strong infrastructure development. Read on...

The Hindu: Successive governments declined additional allocation to education and healthcare, laments Economics professor
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 feb 2024

Nonprofits with their resource crunch have to make sure efficiency remains the key in all aspects of their work. Nonprofit finance teams have to fulfil their reporting duties under tight budget and time. Technology can come to their rescue when the right and cost effective solution is implemented. Grant Gevers, Senior Consultant for Nonprofits at Sage UKI Ltd., shares insights at Third Sector Summit from Sage's 'Fast Close. Faster Insights' report, and explains how cloud-based automation is reshaping financial operations. There are benefits to shortening month-end close cycle - Quicker preparation and dissemination of key financial reports; Improved managerial decision making; Eliminate bottlenecks and highlight inefficiencies leading to enhanced finance operational efficiency. According to the research by Sage, the average nonprofit takes around seven working days to close its books while nonprofits who are using automation are closing on average 1.5 days earlier than those who are not automating key processes, such as journal entry, bank reconciliation, or reviewing transactions. Three benficial steps of automation to finance teams - (1) Reduce the complexity of chart of accounts. (2) Complete reporting without exporting to Excel. (3) Month-end tools and collaboration. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SAGE REPORT: Automating the financial close helps save 24 days a year; 40% of respondents say that the time saved is used to analyse data and find insights and trends and also to invest in training and development; 82% of finance leaders said that they are saving on headcount costs through using automation. Read on...

Third Sector: How automation is helping nonprofit finance teams make a bigger impact
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 feb 2024

Clear and specific sales goals and objectives are important for success of retail businesss and assists to measure sales performance, sales team member accountability, visualize targets and motivate the team. Sales goals include - Annual goals (Specify overall sales revenue target for a year); Quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals (More achievable short-term goals to accomplish and stay motivated); Individual goals (Provide sense of ownership and accountability to individual team members); Team goals (Boosts employee engagement and assesses team capabilities. Encourages teamwork and competitive spirit); Activity goals (Actions team members should take to achieve targets such as virtual customer interaction initiation, post-purchase email campaigns, customer engagement on social media etc); Stretch goals (Goals that go beyond initial goals and taking more challenges. Need incentives and rewards to motivate team); Waterfall goals (Allows to build upon goals over time incrementally and gradually. Ensures quality and avoids team burnout); Sequence goals (Prioritize goals according to value). Before setting sales goals it is important to have historial sales data, systems needed to achieve goals, consumer and market trends, sales promotions and events throughout the year etc. Then following strategies can be applied - Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) sales goals; Analyze sales cycle; Identify a coolective goal; Use data to set goals; Calculae break-even point; Avoid confusing sales goals and objectives with metrics. Following are 11 real-life sales goals objectives - Increase your monthly, quarterly, or annual sales revenue; Increase average order value (AOV); Increase customer lifetime value (CLTV); Decrease customer churn; Reduce customer acquisition costs (CAC); Reduce sales cycle time; Boost conversion rate; Increase lead generation; Improve gross profit margins; Increase sales per channel (and test new channels); Reduce abandoned cart rate. Once the goals are set, teams should work hard to achieve them - Communicate with sales associates; Offer mentorship and suppor; Provide the highest of level of customer service possible; Ensure your staff are knowledgeable about the products you sell; Use gamification and rewards to motivate sales staff ; Leverage consumer psychology and behavior; Regularly track and analyze sales goals; Put your SMART sales goals into action. Read on...

Shopify: 11 Retail Sales Goals Examples & How to Achieve Them (2024)
Author: Alexis Damen


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 feb 2024

As the internet and websites expand, so does their environmental impact. According to Web Neutral Project website (webneutralproject.com) - Internet accounts for about 10% of global electricity consumption; Internet produces about 2% of global CO2 emissions annually (equivalent to aviation industry); Average web page produces 1.76 grams CO2 per page view; Data centers alone consume an estimated 200 terawatt hours (TWh) of energy. To tackle internet and website pollution it is essential to design sustainable web solutions and reduce web bloat. Gerry McGovern, founder and CEO of Customer Carewords, interviews Vitaly Friedman (web design expert and co-founder of Smashing Magazine) on the issue of this environment waste and sustainable web design. Mr. Friedman says, 'Sometimes if you see developers or designers thinking about accessibility, thinking about design from the perspective of usability, inclusive design, cleanliness, weight, then you have exceptional results, but that is in itself exceptional and rare. Most of the time we just look at the tools in front of us and we build and we design using the tools without thinking about sustainability, often not thinking about performance and sometimes, and this is still quite common, not even thinking about accessibility. So, we just produce visual output and we put it on a server someplace and that kind of works.' Mr. Friedman suggests the need for more conversations around web's environmental impact and sustainable web design, and rethink digital design to work towards sustanability. Read on...

CMSWire: Sustainable Website Design for a Better Environment
Author: Gerry McGovern


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 feb 2024

Healthcare sector challenges such as workforce shortages, financial pressures, health disparities, environmental challenges etc are forcing healthcare organizations to find innovative ways to deliver health services effectively and sustain their operations. Following are the healthcare trends for 2024 - (1) AI-powered workflow automation and optimization: Generative AI in healthcare will boost automation. Bain & Company survey showed that healthcare leaders see the biggest short-term opportunities of generative AI in reducing administrative burden on staff and enhancing operational efficiencies. Applications would include automated documentation and summarization of patient visits - enabling physicians to focus on higher-value tasks. (2) Virtual collaboration addressing staff and expertise shortages: In addition to mitigating staff and expert shortages, virtual collaboration trend will improve access to care in remote and rural areas. Examples include radiology operations command centers, virtual collaboration in ultrasound, Tele-intensive (or tele-ICU) programs, mentoring and guiding by experts etc. (3) Integrated diagnostics supporting multi-disciplinary collaboration: Bringing diagnostic data together that is collected from various sources such as imaging to digital pathology and genomics, will help physicians to deliver precise diagnosis and customize treatment to patients. Moreover, integrated diagnostics will enable different healthcare specialists to exchange patient data more easily, helping them work together more efficiently and effectively. (4) Improved interoperability for better monitoring and care coordination: Healthcare leaders in the Philips Future Health Index 2023 report identified interoperability as one of the top four success factors for providing new ways of delivering care that integrate in-person and virtual care across settings. Healthcare technology providers would require an open ecosystem approach. New interoperability capabilities can bring together disparate medical devices and systems into one interface to create a comprehensive overview of a patient's condition. Visual patient avatar is a recent innovation in this regard. (5) Early risk detection and intervention based on predictive analytics: The Philips Future Health Index 2023 report showed how 39% of healthcare leaders plan to invest in AI to predict outcomes, up from 30% in 2021. Predictive analytics, by deriving operational and clinical insights from real-time and historical data can help healthcare providers improve efficiencies and act preemptively. Predictive analytics is utilized to forecast and manage patient flow, manage medical equipment hardware parts maintenance or replacement, early detection of patient health risks based on vital signs and other patient data, keep a caring eye on patients at home, through remote monitoring etc. (6) Using technology to tackle health disparities: There is need for more equitable and sustainable healthcare. Partnerships aimed at advancing health equity will be key to leveraging technology innovations. (7) Smart technology that helps establish - and maintain - healthy routines: Wearable, customizable technologies such as smart-watches, sophiticated smart health devices etc with continue to help individuals pursue healthier behaviors and lifestyles. Smart technolgoies can assist to maintain better oral health, to monitor children's growth and development etc. (8) Addressing healthcare IT's environmental impact: Even though research indicates that the resource savings unlocked by IT outweigh the increase in footprint caused by the deployment of that technology, but to continue realizing these savings, the healthcare industry needs to focus on building sustainable digital infrastructure, including carbon-free cloud solutions, using circular hardware, and developing sustainable software. (9) Green procurement transforming the healthcare supply landscape: The adoption of sustainable procurement criteria will be necessary strategies for health systems and governments hoping to mitigate climate change and biodiversity loss while safeguarding human health and advancing health equity. (10) Teaming up to reduce healthcare's impact on the planet: Healthcare systems will actively adopt strategies to reduce their environmental footprint. There will be increasing trend towards the adoption of 'natural capital accounting' to support better decision-making around resource use management, and more companies committing to science-based targets for nature. Read on...

PHILIPS News: 10 healthcare technology trends for 2024
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 06 feb 2024

India's interim budget 2024 focuses on short-term allocations for the interim period before the formation of new government after this year's elections. There are minor increases in allocated funds to healthcare and family welfare (1.68%), and women and child development (2.53%). The budget announced the extension of the flagship Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme to all ASHA and Anganwadi workers and helpers. It also upgraded and strengthened the POSHAN scheme (meal scheme for government school children). Dr. Vijayabhaskaran, Executive Director at Kauvery Hospital in Bengaluru & Hosur, says, '...budget for the healthcare sector underscores a multi-faceted approach towards enhancing healthcare education, broadening coverage, and emphasising preventive measures. The initiative to establish more medical colleges by leveraging existing hospital infrastructures aligns with global best practices...in order to effectively manage the primary healthcare needs and address the shortage at the speciality level, it's essential to consider strategies beyond just increasing the number of medical colleges.' Dr. Sanjeev Kumar, Surgical Oncologist at Manipal Hospital in Dwarka, appreciates the announcement for health of young girls. He says, 'Cervical cancer is one of the preventable cancers. HPV vaccination in the age group 9-14 years has been shown to be safe and effective in preventing HPV infection and cervical cancer. Routine HPV vaccination should be included in the National Immunisation Programme.' Sombrata Roy, Unit head of CMRI-CK Birla Hospitals in Kolkata, says, 'We eagerly anticipate contributing to these national initiatives, ensuring comprehensive and inclusive healthcare for all.' Dr. Vijayabhaskaran suggests following to overcome rural-urban imbalance in healthcare provision and shortage of health profesionals - (1) Incentivising Rural Service (2) Enhanced Telemedicine Services (3) Focused Training Programmes (4) Public-Private Partnerships (5) Regulatory Reforms For Health Practitioners. Read on...

WION: What do health experts think of India's interim budget? How can govt improve it?
Author: Srishti Singh Sisodia


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 jan 2024

As India's youth population continues to rise so does the need for educational infrastructure and technologies. Union Budget 2024 is coming soon and educational sector focus is the necessity. Expectations and predictions for education tecnology and higher education would include - Alignment of digital education initiatives and National Education Policy 2020; Enhanced global educational relationships through benefits and support to Non-Resident Indians; Tax relief for education abroad by lowering rate of Tax Collected at Source (TCS); Balacing TCS impact on educational remittances; Boosting efforts towards skill-centric learning in remote areas by leveraging technology; Acomodating and facilitating global educational institutions to establish campuses in India; Reduced GST on educational content and services, and more budget allocatiom on research and development; Enhancing accessibility and affordability to student loans to increase Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) to 50% by 2030. Read on...

: 10 predictions for EdTech and higher education ahead of India's Union Budget 2024
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 jan 2024

According to the National CSR Portal website of Govt. of India (csr.gov.in), India Inc, spent Rs. 25000 crore in 2021-22 toward Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). 18000 companies contrbuted to this and implemented 40000 developmental projects. 65% of this fund has been allocated to health, education and poverty related issues, while the environment sector received less than 7%. Historically, the fund for environmental issues has never exceeded 10%. Anuja Malhotra (Policy Manager) and Abi Tamim Vanak (Director) at the Centre for Policy Design, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), explain the reasons behind this skewed fund allocation and what is required to streamline funds towards environmental sector and steps needed to optimize its potential. Explaining the low allocation, the authors say, 'This may be attributed to a lack of quantifiable metrics in the environmental and ecological sector, the long gestation period required to calculate 'returns' and lack of usable monitoring, reporting and evaluation frameworks. These challenges are further exacerbated by the fact that executing environmental projects requires expertise and often involves engaging and collaborating with highly specialised institutions.' Policy initiatives such as Schedule VII of Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013, includes the environment as a key CSR focus area for implementation, and the Reserve Bank of India’s latest report on currency and finance, equitable CSR funding is listed as one of the key policy options to mitigate climate risk, will streamline CSR funding towards environmental issues. Authors suggest following steps to optimize its potential - (1) Companies interested in investing in protecting and restoring India's natural resource base should prepare for a long-term funding strategy if they want to achieve effective results. (2) Funders must recognise that working in the environmental sector necessitates close collaboration with local communities and other relevant stakeholders. (3) Avoid large-scale but homogenous activities such as tree plantations. Investments in more socio-ecologically responsible restoration strategies require strategic and well planned design and operationalisation of interventions that minimise unintended consequences. (4) investing in the development and use of technology for carbon sequestration potential may prove useful in creating a knowledge base for India's transition to green credits, carbon markets, and green growth. (5) A long-term goal and vision will also help companies plan and pace their expenditures, thereby reducing unspent balances. In addition, companies may align their CSR investment goals with their ESGs (Environmental, Social and Governance) strategies and try to reduce their carbon footprints. Moreover, for long-term continued success, CSR funds can serve as a platform to operationalise the science-policy-practice interface by investing in well-researched and carefully designed projects and, develop collaboration with civil society and policymakers to develop sense of shared responsibility and ownership. Read on...

MONGABAY: How to strategically align CSR funds to meet India’s sustainability goals
AuthorS: Anuja Malhotra, Abi Tamim Vanak


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 14 jan 2024

According to Wikipedia, 'Generative artificial intelligence (generative AI, GAI, or GenAI) is artificial intelligence capable of generating text, images, or other media, using generative models. Generative AI models learn the patterns and structure of their input training data and then generate new data that has similar characteristics.' Positive aspects of generative AI systems include accelerative creativity, egalitarian tech for general public etc, while negative aspects include political propaganda through biased data, human resource displacement challenges etc. Commenting on transformative power of generative AI, Rich Palmer of Launchpad Venture Group, says, 'It's the new electricity.' Jonathan Griffiths, director of Babson College's Weissman Foundry, says, 'Much like a cell phone, AI is going to change how we interact with our computers and with each other in meaningful ways - and, if you don't have an understanding of what generative AI can do and what its limitations are, you're going to be left in the dust.' Joshua Herzig-Marx, a coach for early stage founders, says, 'At this point, if you have a startup and you don’t have a generative AI strategy, your board will be really unhappy with you, because that’s what everybody expects—in the same way that, if you didn't have a social strategy 15 years ago, it was a bad thing.' Prof. Ruth Gilleran and Prof. Clare Gillan of Babson College have designed a compulsory course for all undergraduates, 'Digital Technologies for Entrepreneurs'. Prof. Gillan says, 'We live in a time of tremendous disruption, and the pace of change has only accelerated. I want (students) to land on the right side of that continuous change.' Experts from Babson College provide insights and guidance on generative AI to entrepreneurs - (1) It will enable non-engineers to innovate in new ways: Prof. Gillaran says, 'It further democratizes the entrepreneurial process.' Prof. Thomas Davenport says, 'From an entrepreneurship standpoint, it lowers the barriers for tech expertise to design new products. It's a good thing for entrepreneurs.' (2) It should only be used in certain instances: Mr. Herzig-Marx says, 'Judgment is the big challenge (with generative AI), which is always one of the hardest things for any businessperson. There's no reason to think that whatever pops out of ChatGPT or a text-to-image service is going to be something you would actually want to use.' (3) Knowledge and content management will be transformed: Prof. Davenport says, 'Generative AI will rejuvenate the job of a knowledge manager...I think there are a lot of advantages to doing it for educating your frontline people and customer service applications.' (4) It will generate instant feedback, allowing entrepreneurs to assess viability quickly: Mr. Griffiths says, 'I could see (entrepreneurs) working with generative AI to solve the problems that they may not necessarily have the skills to solve right now.' Prof. Erik Noyes, who teaches Entrepreneurial Opportunities in AI, says, 'Generative AI enables the rapid prototyping of entrepreneurial ideas: literally a visualization and expression of an entrepreneurial idea that you can show to a target customer. You can get feedback on whether you're on a compelling path and creating value, or whether your idea is a dud.' (5) Beware of bias: Prof. Davit Khachatryan, who specializes in machine learning and data science, says, 'Generative AI is merely a means to an end, not an end in itself...Taking the results of generative AI at face value is like the blind following the blind. Today's entrepreneur, or any user of generative AI, needs to have an above-average understanding of how these tools work—and I think that’s where we analytics and data-science educators have a crucial role to play.' Prof. Noyes says, 'If the existing data is biased, there’s a strong likelihood that what’s generated can also be biased. You have to look at anything you’re doing in generative AI through the critical lens of 'How could this just be re-expressing bias?'' (6) Regulatory concerns could constrain creativity: Sam Altman, CEO of ChatGPT creator OpenAI, has urged international regulation of generative AI. Mr. Palmer says, 'When the front-runner (OpenAI) pushes for regulation, it opens up a question of whether anyone else can swim in the wake or not, and if anybody else can catch up again.' (7) Humans still matter: Prof. Khachatryan says, 'Overly relying on the seeming 'magic' that is provided by generative AI is not going to work. To have your leg up, you still need to put your creative hat on and keep it on at all times...it currently has no mechanism in place to evaluate the quality, meaningfulness, or effectiveness of these responses. I don’t think that one should get overexcited about how human-like the responses are because human-like, at the end of the day, doesn’t translate necessarily into meaningful.' Read on...

Babson Magazine: The Age of AI: Seven Things Entrepreneurs Need to Know
Author: Kara Baskin


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 11 jan 2024

According to the research 'Reidentification Risk in Panel Data: Protecting for k-Anonymity' (Authors: Sachin Gupta of Cornell University; Shaobo Li of University of Kansas; Matthew J. Schneider of Drexel University; Yan Yu of University of Cincinnati), published on 07 oct 2022 in Information Systems Research, nearly all market research panel participants are at risk of becoming de-anonymized. The commitment of a market research company towards privacy of panelists cannot be totally practiced as there are ways around it. Prof. Sachin Gupta says, 'When organizations release or share data, they are complying with privacy regulations, which means that they’re suppressing or anonymizing personally identifiable information. And they think that they have now protected the privacy of the individuals that they’re sharing the data about. But that, in fact, may not be true, because data can always be linked with other data.' Earlier research (2006) 'How To Break Anonymity of the Netflix Prize Dataset' (Authors: Arvind Narayanan of Princeton University; Vitaly Shmatikov of Cornell University) showcases the similar risk. Researchers developed a de-anonymization algorithm, Scoreboard-RH, that was able to identify up to 99% of Netflix subscribers by using anonymized information from a 2006 competition, aimed at improving its recommendation service, coupled with publicly available info on Internet Movie Database. Both of these researchs rely on 'quasi-identifiers' or QIDs, which are attributes that are common in both an anonymized dataset and a publicly available dataset, which can be used to link them. The conventional measure of disclosure risk, termed unicity, is the proportion of individuals with unique QIDs in a given dataset; k-anonymity is a popular data privacy model aimed to protect against disclosure risk by reducing the degree of uniqueness of QIDs. Prof. Gupta suggests that even though privacy laws are getting tougher but market researchers will continue to collect and store data, and the challenge of privacy remains. He says, 'The nature of the problem will probably reduce and change, but I don't think it's going away. Read on...

Cornell Chronicle: Protecting identities of panelists in market research
Author: Tom Fleischman


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 dec 2023

Entrepreneurship is an important component of thriving economy and entrepreneurial spirit is needed for growth and success of individuals, companies, organizations and nations. It assists to overcome challenges and helps to stay competitive in a tough environment. Entrepreneurial spirit brings in ability to seek innovation, bring positive change, develop new ideas, enhance creativity, enable intelligent and efficient problem solving, overcome status quo, and achieve success to not only individuals but also brings transformation to the organizations they work for and communities they live in. Entrepreneurial spirit is essential for all - entrepreneurs, professionals, workers, students and anyone who is willing to work hard and achieve their goals. Entrepreneurial spirit enables individuals to seek out new ideas and solutions, get things done proactively, makes them fearless in their approach, helps them continuously strive for growth and make things better. Those with entrepreneurial spirit are curious, ask questions and have conviction to proceed towards their goals. They look to achieve the extraordinary. Entrepreneurial spirit provides ability to find opportunities scattered all around, being positive and ignore obstacles and negativity. What one chooses to do is the key as doing makes all the difference and entrepreneurship is all about planning, partnering and persisting until what one seeks out is achieved. Individual entrepreneur often acts as a pioneer in initially sparking the entrepreneurial spirit. Entrepreneurial spirit links entrepreneurs, businesses, innovation, network, regional development. Read on...

ilmeps/read: The Entrepreneurial Spirit - A Brief Introduction
Author: Mohammad Anas Wahaj


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 dec 2023

Social entrepreneurs leverage technology and innovation to solve societal issues and are often for-profit ventures. Bill Drayton founded Ashoka in 1980 and is considered as the 'father of social entrepreneurship'. Social entrepreneurship ecosystem is growing through socially responsible investing, conscious sonsumerism, corporate social responsibility (CSR), environment concerns, responsible governance etc. Following is the list of 10 most successful social entrepreneurs - (1) Bill Drayton, founder and CEO of Ashoka, is a pioneer of social entrepreneurship and also serves as chair of the board for Get America Working! and Youth Venture. (2) Rachel Brathen, yoga teacher, author of 'Yoga Girl' and founder of yoga studio called Island Yoga Aruba in Caribbean and oneOeight.tv, provides health, yoga and meditation services and is one of the top social media influencers in fitness. (3) Shiza Shahid, co-founder and promoter of Malala Fund, manages operations and efforts of Mala Yousafzai that focus on gender equality, women empowerment and girl education. (4) Blake Mycoskie is the founder of TOMS Shoes that donates one pair of shoes for every one sold by their organization and raises awareness on issues like global poverty and health. TOMS has donated 100 million pairs of shoes as of 2020. (5) Scott Harrison founded Charity: Water in 2006 that works on providing clean water to people in developing nations and funds projects like building wells and sanitation facilities. He is the author of the book 'Thirst: A Story of Redemption, Compassion, and a Mission to Bring Clean Water to the World.' (6) Muhammad Yunus founded Grameen Bank in 1983 and popularized the concepts of microfinance and microcredit. He was awarded Nobel Prize in 2006. Grameen Bank provides funding to villagers to bring them out of poverty and as of May 2022, 90% of its about nine million borrowers are women. (7) Jeffrey Hollender is a consultant, speaker, activist for CSR and author of several books including 'How to Make the World a Better Place'. He is co-founder and CEO of Hollender Sustainable Brands and former CEO and co-founder of Seventh Generation, a popular business for natural products. (8) Xavier Helgesen, Christopher 'Kreece' Fuchs, and Jeff Kurtzman are co-founders of Better World Books , an online bookstore that funds global literacy. (9) Marc Koska introduced a non-reusable, inexpensive syringe that can be used in underfunded clinics. He founded SafePoint Trust in 2006, which delivered four billion safe injections in 40 countries via his auto-disable syringes. (10) Sanjit 'Bunker' Roy founded Barefoot College in 1972, that is a solar-powered college for the poor. Read on...

Investopedia: The 10 Most Successful Social Entrepreneurs
Authors: Shoshanna Delventhal, David Kindness, Jiwon Ma


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 dec 2023

Fashion industry is dynamic and ever evolving through continuous creativity and innovation, and trends keep changing. In India, due to multi-cultural and diverse communities, fashion and related industries are expanding and need for skilled workers is increasing. Raghav Mittal, Chief Creative Director & Managing Director at House of Surya, provides career options for aspiring students and professionals in different areas of fashion industry - (1) Clothing and garment design for various occasions, age groups and demographics. (2) Accessory design that enhances clothing design trends through creation and design of complementary pieces. (3) Textile design that relates to patterns and art work on fabrics that brings into use India's cultural heritage. (4) Fashion styling that utilizes creativity by bringing together all the different elements of fashion for media platforms. Career options include photo shoots, fashion shows, advertising, movies and films etc. (5) Fashion journalism that combines communication skills and fashion and works towards covering fashion trends, industry events etc. As fashion in India continues to evolve there are trends that are becoming prominent in recent times such as concern for environment through sustainable fashion, embracing diversity and inclusivity, and ditial transformation like designing technologies, online retail, social media influencing etc. Read on...

India Today: Fashion designing in India: A thriving industry with endless possibilities
Author: Karan Yadav


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 dec 2023

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platforms are integrating artificial intelligence (AI) to understand customer sentiment and behavior, make product recommendations, enrich data, train employees and also auto-generating targeted campaigns. According to the September 2023 Gartner survey of 1400 executive leaders, there's been a threefold increase in organizations piloting generative AI in the past year and about 47% of organizations are using AI to help them with sales, marketing and customer service, with marketing operations at the top. Frances Karamouzis of Gartner says, 'Organizations are not just talking about generative AI, they’re investing time, money and resources to move it forward and drive business outcomes.' Marketing leaders should focus on the following areas to fully exploit the potential of AI - (1) To understand customer sentiment and behavior by analyzing customer interactions and communications regarding products and services. (2) To train marketing professionals as AI systems can closely monitor employee performance and recommend best practices in real time. (3) AI can enhance and elevate product and services recommentations to customer by closely analyzing their interactions with sales and service personnels and their purchasing behavior. (4) AI tools are capable to enrich and update prospect databases with accurate information in real-time improving efficiency in sales and marketing efforts. (5) AI can auto-develop more targeted campaigns with more personalization. In future, generative AI will evolve into artificial general intelligence (AGI) that would provide a fully-functional assistant that would think like a human. To be fully aware of what AI can currently accomplish and enhance CRM systems, marketers should ensure database accuracy and completeness, formulate an AI policy, and stay close to software vendors to fully understand current and future AI technologies and their value to business. Read on...

MARTECH: 5 ways CRMs are leveraging AI to automate marketing today
Author: Gene Marks


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 nov 2023

In the post-pandemic world, workers in many industries often felt the desire and need to get out of their homes and work from office. But according to the Figma's latest 'State of the Designer' report, 95% of designers are fully or partially working from home and 69% of digital product designers have greater job satisfaction now than they did pre-pandemic. Figma surveyed 470 designers in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region over a three-year period for the report. The report points out, 'Despite many businesses laying off designers in 2022, particularly in high-growth sectors like tech, designers in 2023 are still positive about the job market...Product designers are no longer confined to the sidelines. Instead, they have stepped into pivotal roles within businesses.' Even though there are concerns regarding remote work might lead to isolation effect, but according to the report, 82% of individual design contributors are the most positive about their current roles. Moreover, only 38% felt more distant from their co-workers. The report also finds out thet 53% are using group meetings to design together more often. Read on...

It's Nice That: Remote working seems to be making product designers more job-satisfied, says Figma report
Author: Liz Gorny


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 11 nov 2023

There is a continuous debate regarding AI (Artifical Intelligence) and its impact on jobs that humans perform. Neil Patel, author and co-founder of Neil Patel Digital, provides insights on how AI will influence marketing human resources and what marketers should do to make themselves irreplaceable. According to a survey of 1000 digital marketers conducted by NeilPatel.com in the US, 56.7% of 229 freelancers think that AI will replace human marketers in the near future while 56.1% of 394 in-house digital marketers and 54.1% of 377 running a digital marketing agency think the same. This significantly shows that AI is perceived as a threat to marketing jobs. Other findings from the survey show - 44% feel that AI will have a positive impact on their career; 30% feel there will be a negative impact; almost 30% predict no impact on their career; 20% felt AI's biggest advantage is that it saves money on staffing and tool costs. Overall survey shows that digital marketers have mixed feelings of concern and optimism regarding AI. Mr. Patel suggests to make AI as an assistant and not consider it as a threat, and to do that marketers have to learn AI tools and master them for workflow efficiency. He recommends the use of AI to become a better marketer - analyze vast data quickly and accurately and provide valuable insights into consumer behavior and market trends; develop more effective marketing strategies and campaigns tailored to the needs and interests of specific audiences; create content that resonates with consumers; speed up content creation; workflow automation. AI has the potenetial to replace repetitive tasks, enhance and speed up decision making and routine customer service. But what will make human marketers irreplaceable is their ability to make judgement, be creative and power of empathy. Mr. Patel says, 'Skilled marketers have the ability to create compelling, human-centric content, analyze data to identify trends and insights, and develop effective strategies for promoting brands and products across various digital channels...AI can't develop customized solutions that meet their unique needs. AI may have the insights, but human expertise can materialize actionable steps to achieve them.' Read on...

NeilPatel.com: Will AI Replace Marketing Jobs?
Author: Neil Patel


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 nov 2023

According to the recent report by Great Place to Work India, nonprofit sector in India have 45% women in its workforce which is 24% higher than the other industries. The survey highlighted on average NGOs work across 13 locations, with 323 individuals and 97% of them working full time. The report finds that 80% of NGOs in India primarily focus their efforts on promoting quality education, ensuring good health and well-being, and working towards eradicating poverty. Yeshasvini Ramaswamy, CEO of Great Place To Work India, says, 'Over the years, we've witnessed incredible achievements in initiatives like Polio eradication and the Aanganwadi initiative by the Government of India, which have positively impacted the lives of millions.' According to the NGO Darpan Portal, top states based on number of NGOs are - Uttar Pradesh (15%); Maharashtra (14%); Delhi (8%); West Bengal (7%). Moreover, 94% of NGO employees expressed deep satisfaction with their organisations' societal contributions. Read on...

Zee Business: Indian NGOs employ 45% women, 24% more than other industries: Report
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 oct 2023

Online education has become an integral part of education delivery around the world. COVID-19 pandemic further boosted the expansion of remote learning. Online learning provides higher education students flexibility to study and work due to its convenience and accessiblity. To find out student preferences in online learning models and what aspects of remote education does students value most, McKinsey surveyed 7000 students across 17 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The research covers eight dimensions of the online learning experience encompassing 24 attributes. This provides a broad view of student expectations with online higher education. DIMENSIONS AND ATTRIBUTES - SEAMLESS JOURNEY -> (1) Clear Road Map (Online program structure; Readiness assesment and leveling; Online course preview) (2) Easy Digital Experience (Mobile user experience; Omnichannel; Digital Access Offline). ENGAGING PEDAGOGY -> (3) Balanced Learning Formats (Asynchronous classes; Synchronous classes; Peear-to-peer learning in online setting; Multiple multimedia resources (4) Captivating Delivery (Up-to-date content and faculty relevance; Digital-content attractiveness; Short and dynamic content; Visual content as film) (5) Practical Learning (Skills certification and portfolio building; Virtual reality and simulation; Apprenticeships and internships (6) Adaptive Learning (Intelligent personalized platform). A CARING NETWORK -> (7) Timely Support (Academic success; Coaching; Nonacademic support; Career support; IT support) (8) Strong Community (Institution- or student-led networking). HIGHLIGHTS OF THE RESEARCH - All students surveyed did online classes during pandemic and 65% of them agree to continue aspects of their virtual learning experiences; Students value flexiblity and convenience of online learning and out of 11 learning features that should remain virtual the top 3 mentioned by them are - recording classes and making them available to watch later, easy access to online study materials, and flexibility that enables students to work and study; Top 3 reasons cited by students who do not intend to enroll in online education programs include fear of distraction, lack of discipline, and lack of motivation; In 80% of the countries surveyed, students said the top reason they prefer face-to-face education is that getting help from instructors is easier through in-person rather than online learning; Students' satisfaction with their online learning experiences varies significantly across countries; Three core tenets of successful online education (The basics such as timely content, course structure, and faculty relevance still matters; Expensive features such as virtual reality (VR), simulations, and sophisticated visual content are not necessarily valued; Student age and program type do not significantly influence the perception of online learning experiences' quality); The three steps that help higher education institutions successfully transform their online education programs to boost student satisfaction and engagement (Listen to students, set transformation goals, and evaluate the broader online learning landscape; Combine core attributes of an online program with differentiating elements; Design an action plan and governance structure for implementation and adoption); There are six criteria for higher education institutions to consider when redesigning the online student experience (Scale; Customization; Talent; Speed to market; Regulation; Investment). Read on...

McKinsey: What do higher education students want from online learning?
Authors: Felipe Child, Marcus Frank, Jonathan Law, Jimmy Sarakatsannis, Brenda Affeldt, Mariana Lef


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 oct 2023

Robert Rose, content marketing expert and author of the recent book 'Content Marketing Strategy: Harness the Power of Your Brand's Voice', explains an innovative model of content marketing strategy in the same line as the traditional 4P's model of the marketing mix. This model includes three core pillars of content marketing strategy - Communication, Experiences and Operations. These core pillars are interconnected and overlap, and provide five specific activities for the marketing practitioners to perform. Here are the core pillars and the associated activities - (1) Coordinated Communication: As content is communication, businesses require coordinated efforts to utliize content to acquire, keep, and grow customers and other audiences. The content and the comunication need to be consistent and relevant to diverse set of people. The first core category of activities in the communication pillar is Purpose. This is content-as-a-capability. The Purpose activity intends to develop and manage a clear set of core responsibilities and processes that build and continually assess the allocation of resources, skill sets, and clear charters that a content marketing team will need in order to become a differentiated business capability. The second activity category in the Communication Pillar: The Model, or content-as-coordinated-communications. Successful content marketing strategy would require a well-defined and well-understood governance/operating model. (2) A Portfolio Of Experiences: Experiences are the designed containers of content being created for audiences. Businesses need a strategic approach to how the content it creates will be utilized to power designed platforms such as emails, websites, resource centers, print magazines, PDF files, events, blogs, or even social media channels. Similar to the media company, businesses should think 'content first' and then how to create all the different kinds of containers to deliver that content. These should be managed as portfolio of experiences that exploit valuable content for audiences. Each container should have strategic purpose, goals, and objectives. The two activity categories within this pillar are Audience and Value. Audience is content-as-product. Value is content-as-insight. Meeting all of the designed objectives of a portfolio of experiences delivers the value of the content marketing strategy. (3) Strategic Operations: This pillar is the glue that holds Coordinated Communications and Experiences together. To achieve consistency in replicating success and become a core business strategy, content marketing must have a clearly articulated and replicable process that can flex and accommodate new ideas as they emerge. The activity in this pillar is the Frame, or content-as-standard. Getting content marketing operations right frees creative people to do creative things that enable the business strategy, and empowers the marketing teams to achieve this at scale. A repeatable set of processes must be put in place that are governed by standards, guidelines, playbooks, and technology. The third pillar includes the people, processes, and technology that help create a repeatable, consistent process to connect the coordinated content creators (Pillar 1) with the experiences powered by the content they are creating (Pillar 2). Read on...

Search Engine Land: The Three Pillars Of Content Marketing Strategy
Author: Robert Rose


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 oct 2023

The digital continues to displace print media but print has not totally lost its relevance. Flipping through well designed pages and content in magazines still brings joy to many. Particularly for graphic designers, print magazine can provide inspiration that is tangible and immersive, and gives a different visual way from digital and an alternative design perspective. Here are select design magazines that can provide value to graphic designers - (1) Eye Magazine: Founded by Rick Poynor in 1990, in addition to showcasing design, it tells the stories behind them, giving designers a comprehensive look at the 'why' and 'how' of standout design work. (2) Communication Arts: Founded by Richard Coyne and Robert Blanchard in 1959, in addition to its meticulously curated content, the magazine itself is a testament to the power of good design, with every page exuding creative brilliance. (3) Idea: Founded by Okumura Yukimasa in 1953 in Tokyo (Japan), is a unique printed product in which the design is a play on colors, layouts and paper types. The magazine examines different creative scenes from local and international designs. (4) Creative Review: Launced in 1981 as a supplement to Marketing Week, is now a stand-alone magazine and considered as the top most magazine of the advertising industry. It is always up-to-date with the latest trends and provides critical insights, making it essential reading for forward-thinking designers. (5) Slanted: Started in 2004, the book-like magazine showcases select graphic design portfolios and discusses major events in the international design and culture scenes. It is known for its innovative and visually striking layouts, typography, and artwork, and its international perspective is invaluable for graphic designers seeking to gain insights into different design trends and cultural influences. (6) TYPEONE: Founded in 2020, it focuses on the evolving interaction between typography and graphic design. It provides designers with new developments in typography that includes news, stories, concepts and new work and presents everything in beautifully physical form. (7) Wallpaper*: Founded in London in 1996 by Canadian journalist Tyler Brülé and Austrian journalist Alexander Geringer, the magazine now covers design, interiors and lifestyle. It's interdisciplinary approach pushes designers to think outside the confines of traditional graphic design, encouraging cross-pollination of ideas. Read on...

Creativce Boom: Print's not dead: the best magazines for graphic design inspiration
Author: Tom May


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 oct 2023

Professional Employer Organization (PEO) is an entity that acts as a human resources collaborative bridge that provides lease of employees to business organizations. By managing essential HR functions such as employee benefits, compensation and payroll administration, workers' compensation etc, PEO's take the load off the businesses. PEO's hire for their clients, but keep these employees on their own payroll and they become Employer on Record (EOR) for the PEO. These employees are provided key performance indicators (KPIs) by the client organizations on a regular basis while they operate under the HR guidelines set by PEOs. By working with PEOs, busineses can focus on their strategic issues and core competencies. The extent of HR functions outsourced to a PEO can vary depending on the specific agreement and the PEO's offerings. Another option can be Administrative Services Outsourcing (ASO) for organizations that seek outsourcing benefits without co-employment. Krishan Aggarwal, Senior Manager, International Business Advisory at Dezan Shira & Associates, says, 'The arrangement of Employer of Record (EOR) provides a cost-effective and efficient method for foreign entities to conduct market research activities without the need to establish their own entity, which can be a costly and time-consuming process...the management or control remains with the principal employer, enabling efficient staff management in India.' Multi-national organizations can utilize the expertise and resources of PEOs in India but there are things that they can and cannot do. PEOs can do the following in India - Assist with hiring and onboarding; Mitigating risk and ensuring compliance; Ensure proper payroll management and processing; Enhanced efficiency and time savings; Access to expertise and resources; Cost savings and improved benefits; Scalability and flexibility. PEOs cannot do the following - Serve as the sole legal employer; Take full control of your organization; Be solely responsible for hiring and firing employees; Read on...

India Briefing: Maximizing Business Growth in India with PEOs as Strategic HR Partners
Author: Naina Bhardwaj


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 sep 2023

The World Conservation Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is to be held in October 2025 in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates). The event is intended to galvanize conservation actions to protect the planet amid local and global challenges. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), says, 'The challenges of biodiversity loss remain our most pressing concern and an immediate challenge too. It is critical that the Congress identifies clear directions for implementing actions under the KM Global Biodiversity framework, to stop and reverse biodiversity loss and to restore nature through its 23 targets over the next decade...From climate change point of view, transition to clean energy and developing infrastructure and services to achieve NetZero ambitions will also be a significant challenge...The 2025 Congress in Abu Dhabi will also be important for the South and South-East Asia region as well.' With India's significant influence in the region and at global level, there is a special role that India can play in making an impact in the Congress. She says, 'India can help shape the agenda of the Congress to achieve positive outcomes for biodiversity and environment. India has been an IUCN member since 1969 with two of the former IUCN Presidents coming from India...brings extensive knowledge and expertise, from policy making to natural resources management to livelihood and food security, that will further enrich the Congress discussions...ensuring food and water security for over 1.4 billion people (India's population) will mean both agricultural expansion and infrastructure development. If not planned and executed with care, this expansion can further exacerbate existing challenges of deforestation, air pollution and plastic pollution which can have significant implications for endangered species, habitats, and key terrestrial and marine ecosystems...India, with its enormous technology infrastructure, vast pool of skilled IT resources and advanced space programme, is well equipped to deal with them and demonstrate its leadership to the world.' Read on...

The Hindu: 'Tech infrastructure, skilled IT resources and advanced space programme helps India deal with environmental challenges': Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri
Author: K. C. Deepika


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 sep 2023

According to Mercer's Global Talent Trends 2023 HR Leader Pulse Survey, 50% of the organizations don't have clarity on the skills their employees require in future. HR (Human Resources) has to improve companies' ability to predict skills needed tomorrow and train today's talent. HR leaders in India must focus on skill development, worker fatigue and flexibility for their companies' growth. Shanthi Naresh, partner at Mercer Career India, says, '2023 will be a defining year as an optimistic and ambitious India looks to drive transformation amidst a BANI (brittle, anxiety-inducing, non-linear and incomprehensible) global environment. HR will have to lead the way in readying itself and the business for what lies ahead. In an economically challenging situation, if organizations are looking for ways to identify non-monetary drivers that can engage and retain employees, then investing in supporting flexible workforces certainly seems to be an area of opportunity.' Employee well-being is a critical consideration and 45% of Indian companies in India are redesigning work based on it. Companies are ensuring that their employees have realistic workloads, no-meeting days and a positive work environment. Read on...

Business Standard: Indian firms must focus on skilling workforce, flexibility. HR survey
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 sep 2023

Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the digital advertising space. Those involved in ad-ops are still trying to optimize AI applications and their use for maximum leverage. Eric Mayhew, co-founder, president, and chief product officer at Fluency, a leading innovator of digital advertising management and automation solutions, suggests that for maximum benefits AI should be combined with automation and need to be harmonized with human supervision. He says, 'Today's advertisers face a variety of challenges to growth. Escalating execution complexity, increasing margin erosion and mounting time constraints at all levels consistently rank among the top concerns for ad-ops leaders. Conventional operational approaches, manual campaign implementation and increased talent investment often only compound the problem...automation creates a vast improvement in the productivity and overall engagement of existing ad-ops and strategist teams.' Substantial part of digital advertising is repetitive and delegating tasks to automation gives more time for strategic aspects of marketing and advertising and have the potential to significantly enhance service levels, thus elevating the customer experience and overall satisfaction. On combining AI with automation, Mr. Mayhew says, 'When managed appropriately, AI is in many ways a perfect complement to automation. While automation drives execution efficiency by addressing the processes, settings and nonhuman-to-human interactions, AI can streamline and accelerate more cognitive work, transforming potentially cold messages into compelling interactions.' He also cautions ad-ops leaders regarding compliance and data-usage rights while executing Ai and automation processes. He mentions about emergence of rule systems for self-auditing of AI usage and alleviation of concerns about compliance through RPA4A (Robotic Process Automation for Advertising). Mr. Mayhew suggests, 'To succeed with automation, ad-ops teams must consider brand compliance, the need for advanced experimentation and customization, consistent business data hygiene, organizational inertia and a willingness to embrace new technologies and approaches. The journey toward unlocking the potential of AI in digital advertising requires seamlessly blending AI and automation under the guidance of human insight. Recognizing the nuanced interplay between these technologies, and addressing potential challenges, pave the way for an era of streamlined operations, heightened creativity and unmatched scalability.' Read on...

AdAge: HOW TO UNITE AI AND AUTOMATION TO UNLOCK ADVERTISING SUCCESS AT SCALE
Author: Eric Mayhew


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 sep 2023

Landscape architecture can be a fruitful career option for those that have interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and have design and creative abiities. Kona Gray, the president of the American Society of Landscape Architects and a principal at EDSA Incorporated, says, 'A lot of people take our work for granted. But everything around the buildings and between the buildings is designed by landscape architects. There's a landscape you occupy every day. Landscape architects are responsible for the stewardship and design of those spaces. A building occupies a certain space. But the landscape occupies far more.' Roxi Thoren, department head and professor of landscape architecture at Penn State College of Arts and Architecture, says, 'At The Pennsylvania State University, nearly 60 first-year students joined the major this fall...undergraduate programs are generally four to five years...at Penn State, internships aren't required but a study abroad program is. One popular destination to study cutting-edge sustainability work is Bonn, Germany. It's really amazing work with urban renewal, renovation of industrial sites, urban flooding resilience and green roofs...Landscape architecture students might tackle real-world environmental challenges such as designing for fire- or drought-prone areas, or for extreme heat. They also consider design with psychology in mind, such as creating a park where women feel safe after dark or where parents feel comfortable bringing their children.' Haley Blakeman, the associate director at The Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture at Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge), says, 'The program has about 130 undergraduate and 20 graduate students. BLA students are either direct admit or can transfer from another program. Travel has been a cornerstone of the LSU program since the 1960's. Upperclassmen are expected to attend a weeklong field trip...Coursework includes classes on design and history of design, and a technology series that focuses in part on materials and landforms. The undergraduate program takes five years and students take a semester-long paid internship during their fourth year. We find it incredibly helpful when they come back to school because they have a new skill set once they return. They understand the context of their academic work...another benefit of internships is job offers they get...I do a lot of work in coastal adaptation...Well-designed spaces bring people together. For students, the major is all about problem solving, learning how to talk to community members, and using the design skills they're trained with to come up with solutions.' U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently designated landscape architecture a STEM degree program and international students with F-1 visas whose degrees are on the STEM-designated list may be able to extend their stays in the U.S. According to the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board, there are 100 landscape architecture programs offered at 74 universities around the U.S., including 47 undergraduate and 53 graduate programs. According to 2022 data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for landscape architects is about US$ 73000 per year. Read on...

US News & World Report: Consider a Major in Landscape Architecture
Author: Jennifer Seter Wagner


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 sep 2023

According to the survey by Xealth, conducted between May and June 2023, 90.5% of College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) members have adopted digital health strategies, despite 47.6% citing financial pressures and 19.1% staff resource constraints as barriers to adoption. Mike McSherry, CEO and co-founder of Xealth, says, 'In an industry that is notoriously slow to change, digital health has been relatively fast at reaching a tipping point...It is gratifying to see widespread C-level support and health systems beginning to tie bottom-line growth and reduced readmissions to digital health...' HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SURVEY - 81% of respondents have integrated digital health applications into their EHR workflows; 81% define digital health as downloadable apps and programs with a connected device, 71.4% as patient education, pdfs and videos (not clinical references), while 66.7% define it as remote patient monitoring device data integration; 76.2% respondents stated their health systems have experienced increased patient engagement due to increased digital health adoption and 47.6% of respondents noted clinician ease of use due to this increase; Top motivators in health systems expanding digital health include more payor or employer funded programs (80%), patient demand (71.4%), improved interoperability and ease of integration (66.7%). Read on...

Healthcare Innovation: Survey Finds Majority of Healthcare Organizations Adopting Digital Health
Author: Brenda Silva


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 sep 2023

Social enterprises aim to overcome socio-economic issues, but face myriad challenges themselves due to lack of resources and limited funding. In recent times many social enterprises got started around the world but as the sustainability issues remain their failure rate is also high. The recent research, 'Social Enterprise Performance in South Africa: The Role of Strategic Planning and Networking Capability' (Authors: Willie Tafadzwa Chinyamurindi of University of Fort Hare, Motshedisi Mathibe of University of Fort Hare, Progress Hove-Sibanda of Nelson Mandela University), published in Taylor & Francis Online on 15 May 2023, finds that for social enterprises to enhance their performance, network capability and strategic planning are key. Addressing these challenges can help their owners and managers respond to the challenges such enterprises face. At the core of this is addressing the challenge of funding and sustainability. This research provides new insights into the management for performance of social enterprises, especially in a developing country context. The research included 147 social enterprises in Eastern Cape province of South Africa, one of the poorest regions. Social enterprises were divided into three groups - (1) Focus on poverty alleviation through empowerment projects. (2) Focus on improving livelihoods of communities through agricultural support mechanisms. (3) Focus on assisting communities to respond to health challenges such as HIV/AIDS, the COVID-19 pandemic and tuberculosis. The survey questions focused on asking about how each social enterprise made strategic decisions; the relationship between the social enterprise and its networks; and the enterprise’s continued value creation amid challenges. A model was developed to see how these three issues related to performance. The results showed that three important capabilities were needed to enhance social enterprise performance - (1) The need for strategic planning that involves clearly defining the direction in short and long term, what are goals and tactics, and how to achieve them. (2) The need was for strong networks. Building networks involves continued interaction between the social enterprise and its stakeholders. Networking capabilities allow the social enterprise to remain relevant to other important role players in the community. (3) The need for the social enterprise to keep a focus on its main business, the social aspect mandate of value co-creation. Resarchers recommend - Be proactive in improving their internal processes and structures; Channel financial and non-financial resources such as tangible assets and intangible assets to support strategic planning, networking capabilities and value co-creation; Need clear channels for sharing essential information with stakeholders, including communities, towards achieving the social goal of the enterprise. Read on...

The Conversation: Businesses that address social or environmental problems often struggle to survive: 3 things that can help them
Authors: Willie Tafadzwa Chinyamurindi, Motshedisi Mathibe, Progress Hove-Sibanda


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 aug 2023

According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, in 2022 India ranked 4th most popular destination for startups and attracted 4.2% of global venture capital (USA - 41%, China - 18%, UK - 6%). Moreover, it is estimated that the global venture capital share of India will double by 2030. Sampath Sharma Nariyanuri, CFA Fintech Research Analyst at S&P Global Intelligence and Shankar Krishnamurthy, Head of Essential Tech Center of Excellence & Innovation at S&P Global, looking forward into 2030 answer 3 questions regarding Indian startups and their impact on the economy - (1) Will venture capital (VC) interest in Indian startups continue?: As India is expected to be 3rd largest economy there is huge scope of growth in startup ecosystem. In 2022, starup funding surpassed amount raised by public companies. Growth in mobile internet and government supported digital stack will give a boost to startups. India saw a record 26542 startup registrations in 2022, even amid a global funding slowdown. India had more than 92000 startups recognized by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) as of 28 feb 2023. (2) Which startup sectors will be resilient in India?: The fintech sector has topped the funding charts in India in recent years, attracting a cumulative US$ 9.7 billion in 2021 and 2022. ndia's digital commerce and on-demand services space won more than US$ 10 billion of VC investments over the last two years. Online B2B marketplaces in manufacturing and retail raised US$ 2.76 billion in aggregate in the last two years. Government sponsored initiatives like Account Aggregator (AA) network and the Open Credit Enablement Network (OCEN), will boost and streamline online lending workflows and can be integrated with e-commerce, fintech and marketplace apps. While Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) will bring interoperability across the widely fragmented digital commerce space. Other main sectors that attracted substantial VC funding include E-commerce (US$ 7.320 billion), Edtech (US$ 4.256 billion), Food and Grocery Delivery (US$ 3.462 billion), Media and Entertainment Tech (US$ 3.013 billion), Healthcare Tech (US$ 2.206 billion) etc. (3) What are the emerging sectors for startups in India?: Emerging sectors that got VC funding in 2021 and 2022 combined include AgTech (US$ 1.112 billion), Electric Vehicles (US$ 1.065 billion), Automation (US$ 0.591 billion), Clean Technology (US$ 0.193 billion). Artifical Intelligence, Space Technology and Drones are other significant emerging sectors. Electric vehicles sector will need about US$ 266 billion of investment this decade to meet government targets. In the long-term, India's open APIs and public digital stack will likely act as enablers for new startups. Read on...

S&P Global: Startups Riding Digital Infrastructure Could Transform Indian Economy
Authors: Sampath Sharma Nariyanuri, Shankar Krishnamurthy


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 aug 2023

Public relations (PR) for B2B companies need to evolve to be effective in the changing and shifting business scenario. The usual traditional ways such as set public releases, reporter engagements, minor product upgrade pitches etc don't suffice and PR has to move beyond. Parry Headrick, founder of Crackle PR, is advocating the new ways of handling B2B PR at grander scale through enhancing communication programs by bringing a shift from tactical incremantalism to strategic, sustainable brand building. The following are the ways he suggests to achieve it - (1) Media: Building Credibility Through a Feel-Good Narrative - Focus on how the company and the provided solutions are addressing societal challenges to make a positive impact. This creates an attractive halo effect that make business prospects like to associate themselves with the brand. (2) Podcasts: Increasing Thought Leadership and Visibility for Execs via Emerging Channels - Tradional tradeshows and speaking engagements do provide visibility but expanding the reach through podcast shows brings on new opportunities and increase influence. (3) LinkedIn: An Untapped Channel for PR - Professional networks like Linkedin can effectively expand and enhance business engagement of B2B PR. Sharing valuable content consistently and engaging with audience through comments, likes and other tools will widen the PR reach. Read on...

PRNEWS: The New Rules of B2B Public Relations
Author: Parry Headrick


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 aug 2023

The survey of more than 1000 nonprofit CEOs and 100+ funders on the state of US volunteer engagement by Do Good Institute (School of Public Policy, University of Maryland) and partially funded by the Initiative for Strategic Volunteer Engagement, found that even though volunteers are the lifeline for nonprofits and more so during and after the pandemic as they struggle with increased demand, limited resources and reduced staffing, but those volunteers are now harder to engage. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SURVEY - 64.4% of nonprofits reported an increase in demand for their organizational services in 2022; 51.1% expanded their delivery of services, and 48.5% boosted staff workloads to help meet demand; 28.7% of nonprofits are operating with less funding and paid staff than they had before the pandemic; 46.8% of CEOs say that recruiting sufficient volunteers is a big problem for their organizations; Many nonprofits reported they were retaining very few volunteers, and their volunteers were doing less; Nonprofits seem more convinced of the benefits of volunteer engagement (Volunteers allow the organization to provide more detailed attention to the people served ballooned from 37% in 2019 to 65.6% in 2022. Volunteers increase the organization’s return on resource investments increased from 43%to 68.4% over the same time); There is a gap between funders and nonprofits on both the value and challenges surrounding strategic volunteerism (72.2% of nonprofit leaders and only 25.2% of funders felt that volunteers improve the quality of services or programs. 65.6% of nonprofit leaders and ony 29.3% of funders report volunteers provide more detailed attention to people served). Nathan Dietz, researcher at the Do Good Institute and School of Public Policy at UMD, says, 'This gap in funding and staffing makes volunteers even more important for many mission-driven organizations. Nonprofits will likely face staff burnout or service delivery issues if this continues...' Prof. Robert Grimm, director of Do Good Institute, says, 'While nonprofits are putting more effort behind engaging volunteers today, they are experiencing the triple whammy of greater demand for their services, fewer volunteers and few funders with a track record of supporting volunteering, These troubling trends must be reversed.' Jeffrey Glebocki and Betsy McFarland, co-directors of the Initiative for Strategic Volunteer Engagement, say, 'This research will be used to spark a national conversation for greater philanthropic investment in strategic volunteer engagement - and to equip more nonprofits to embrace strategic volunteer engagement for greater impact.' Read on...

Maryland Today (UMD): New Research Reveals Nonprofit Volunteers More Valued Than Ever, But Scarce
Author: Kaitlin Ahmad


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 aug 2023

There is visible shift in interior design world as fads and micro-trends are giving way to more lasting and sincere design choices influenced by economic and environmental concerns. Heather Goerzen, the design director of Havenly says, '...we're collectively wising up a bit, and learning to listen to what we really love, versus what just everyone else is buying at that moment. Between economic uncertainties as well as environmental concerns about waste, we're craving investment pieces with soul and story that feel like they have staying style - and won't be on next year's 'out' lists. Leading us back to tradition, with a twist.' Here are five trends for 2023 that designers and experts suggest - (1) BOLD HUES: Ms Goerzen says, '...people are seeking more comfort and coziness at home in the form of painted nooks, moody wallpaper, warm wood tones, and rich, colorful upholstery.' Kara Smith, founder of KES Studios, finds a trend of full rooma painted in strong tones like oxblood and emerald green etc as a way to create depth and mood. (2) STATEMENT STONE: Experts predic a rise in unconventional stones like basalt, taverine, soapstone and more, bringing the outside inside with a particular attraction. Lisa Berman and Melissa Rohani, co-founders of Studio Gutow, say, 'People are leaning toward statement marbles with dramatic veining and unique color patterns. This trend allows for a stunning focal point that captures attention and adds a sense of timeless natural luxury.' (3) ORGANIC CURVES: Angular and straight lines are giving way to curve and soft lines in the furniture and home elements. It would include serpentine sofas, curvaceous accent chairs, and all other forms of furniture, plus an infusion of architectural arches: windows, doors, and hallways. Ms. Berman and Ms. Rohani say, 'This trend brings a sense of serenity and fluidity to interiors, allowing spaces to breathe and feel harmonious.' (4) INNER SANCTUARY: With stress seeping in human livces and people seeking calm at home, interior design is accomodating it into the strategy. Ms. Smith says, 'I've seen rooms fully devoted to meditation, reading, and general relaxation.' Jenni Lauri, the principal and founder of Lauri Design Studio, is observing a rise in warm harmonizing colors and mixes of rich, soft fabrics. Marc Ange, the founder of Studio Ange, points out the changes created by pandemic in human behavior and people seeking peace, happiness and a sense of home and family is adding to this trend. (5) GRANNY CHIC: Ms. Goerzen says, 'Traditional design is staging a slow but mighty comeback in the form of ornate woodwork and moulding, vintage-inspired artwork, romantic silhouettes, saturated colors, and pattern play... the focus is once again on warmth, hospitality, and comfort-like a chic, updated take on your grandmother's sitting room.' Read on...

Harper's BAZAAR: The 5 Best Interior Design Trends to Shop in 2023
Author: Tatjana Freund


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 jul 2023

The research study, 'Leveraging Multi-tier Healthcare Facility Network Simulations for Capacity Planning in a Pandemic' (Authors: Varun Ramamohan, of Indian Institute of Technology Delhi; Navonil Mustafee of University of Exeter Business School; Karan Madan of All India Institute of Medical Sciences - AIIMS; Shoaib Mohd of IIT Delhi), published in the journal Socio-Economic Planning Sciences (Aug 2023), demonstrates how a network-based modelling and simulation approach utilising generic modelling principles can - (1) Quantify the extent to which the existing facilities in the PHS (Public Health System) can effectively cope with the forecasted COVID-19 caseload; (2) Inform decisions on capacity at makeshift COVID-19 Care Centres (CCC) to handle patient overflows. Moreover, the research demonstrates how multi-tier healthcare facility network simulations can be leveraged for capacity planning in health crises. The simulation tool developed by researchers analyses emergency handling capacity of a particular region's health infrastructure, and provides details like number of health centres in an area, bed availability, ICU facility, ventilators, oxygen, medicine supply and available number of healthcare workers. Prof. Varun Ramamohan, the lead researcher of the study, says, 'In Delhi there are often shortages of beds during peak of dengue, so our tool can be used for effective planning of operational responses.' Read on...

The Times of India: Researchers develop tool for health emergencies
Author: Shreya Ghosh


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 jul 2023

Machines are designed to perform tasks and solve human problems. Their capabilities range from very large/heavy work to very tiny nano-level mechanisms. French philosopher René Descartes influenced advancements in machine design and development through his ideas on human body and machines. Further progress in physics and mathematics led to the formalization of the study of Mechanical Engineering. Prof. Sudipto Mukherjee of IIT-Delhi provides details on the study of mechanical engineering and the careers that can be pursued in the field. He says, 'It is important to have a good relationship with computers early in your career. But as you seek to enhance human abilities and empower society, the first requirement is to have social skills such as interpersonal abilities and empathy. Mechanical engineering is the right choice if you are passionate about solving physical challenges faced by humans in today’s world. The knowledge needed to provide solutions will come as you progress through a solid mechanical engineering curriculum, starting from identifying needs and ending with delivering the final product.' He further explains what training is provided to those who pursue study in specific fields of mechanical engineering like machine design, industrial engineering etc. Pursuing entrepreneurship, and furthering career in management and business administration are attractive options for mechanical engineers. Prof. Mukherjee points out, 'The world of mechanical engineering is not deterministic, meaning it does not operate based on specific occurrences, It works with expected values, such as statistical means and variance...Mechanical engineering is perhaps the only engineering discipline that sees designing with failure as an integral part of the design process and recognises that it is inevitable...It is worth noting that sometimes mechanical components replace failing human joints and organs...Mechanical engineering is a good playing field for those who have empathy, an outward-looking mindset, resilience, and some mathematical skills.' Read on...

The Indian Express: From entrepreneurship to design, mechanical engineering provides multiple opportunities, writes IIT Delhi professor
Author: Sudipto Mukherjee


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jul 2023

Self-care or wellness is an important topic for years and to have self-care policies in organizations for their employees is becoming a necessary consideration. COVID-19 also exacerbated the issue for businesses and organizations. Joseph F. Duffy, author of the book 'Being a Supervisor 1.0.', SVP of Recruitment at the nonprofit leadership search firm of Dennis C. Miller (DCM) and former president of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Paterson (New Jersey, USA), says that in the post-pandemic scenario the organizational leaders face the challenge of 'great resignation' phenomenon that includes increased instances of employee stress and burnout, and self-care is an important thing needed. According to Mr. Duffy, 'Too often this topic has been referred to Human Resource Departments with the intent of addressing employee self-care needs by modifying employee benefits packages, offering programs/activities such as diet, smoking cessation, exercise classes, stress management etc.' Mr. Duffy suggests a more systematic approach to promoting emplyees' self-care needs and having a proper mechanism to create, maintain, manage and measure it - (1) Include self-care in every employee's job description, up to, and including the CEO. (2) Include it in every employee's annual performance review. (3) Have it as a standing agenda item for supervision meetings. (4) Have it as a standing agenda item for team meetings. (5) Develop a formal written policy and procedure on self-care, definition, statement of importance, expectations, and resources. (6) Consider having this policy and procedure require every employee to have a written self-care plan. (7) Include this self-care policy and self-care education in the new employee orientation program. (8) Include self-care in ongoing employee training offerings. (9) Include self-care opportunities in your employee benefits offerings e.g. exercise, yoga, meditation, mind-fulness classes, nutrition couseliing, smoking cessation, EAP (Employee Assistance Program) etc. Read on...

The NonProfit Times: 9 Steps Toward Staff 'Self-Care' Policies
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jul 2023

Nonprofit sector's human resources departments had been facing challenges, specifically in recrruiting and retaining talent, in the COVID'19 years and after. Nonprofit HR's Annual Talent Management Priorities Survey 2023 provides insights into the concerns of social sector organizations related to human resource management. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SURVEY FOR 2023 - 80% organizations are prioritizing talent acquisition; Top 3 recruitment priorities (66% are attracting/hiring diverse talent; 44% are strengthening employer brand to attract better talent; 50% increasing recruiting budgets); 93% are prioritizing culture and employee engagement; 73% are prioritizing performance management; 79% are prioritizing learning and development; Top 3 learning and revelopment or training efforts (Leadership - 67%; Supervisory Skills - 66%; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion - 73%); 66% are prioritizing total rewards (compensation and benefits); 61% are not prioritizing talent analytics/metrics; 70% are not prioritizing talent-focused technology; 65% have a formal talent management strategy/plan that will guide its work in 2023; Top 3 elements included in formal talent management strategy/plan (Talent acquisition like branding, recruitment, hiring, onboarding - 84%; Retention planning like culture management, employee engagement, feedback management - 84%; Learning and development like staff development, leadership development, mentoring, shadowing - 82%). Read on...

Nonprofit HR: 2023 NONPROFIT TALENT MANAGEMENT PRIORITIES SURVEY RESULTS
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jul 2023

According to the recent research study, 'Influencer marketing and the growth of affiliates: The effects of language features on engagement behavior' (Authors: Parker J. Woodroof of University of Alabama at Birmigham; Holly A. Syrdal of Texas State University; William C. McDowell of Texas State University; Susan Myers of the University of Central Arkansas; Sandipan Sen of Southeast Missouri State University), published in the Journal of Business Research (August 2023), traditionally major brands have embraced affiliate marketing programs, but the factors influencing engagement with influencer-generated content have remained largely unexplored. To bridge this gap, the research team applied the Elaboration Likelihood Model to investigate how the linguistic features of influencers' affiliate marketing posts influence consumer behaviors. Wikipedia defines Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) of persuation, proposed by Richard E. Petty and John Cacioppo in 1980, as a dual process theory describing the change of attitudes. The model aims to explain different ways of processing stimuli, why they are used, and their outcomes on attitude change. ELM intended to provide a general 'framework for organizing, categorizing, and understanding the basic processes underlying the effectiveness of persuasive communications.' Authors of the current study text used text mining and natural language processing techniques and analyzed a vast data set of influencers' affiliate marketing posts from Instagram. The study revealed that specific linguistic styles within these posts can enhance or diminish engagement with the content. Prof. Parker J. Woodroof of University of Alabama at Birmigham, the lead author of the study, says, 'Affiliate influencer marketing is a good example of a social media marketing strategy that is evolving before our eyes in real time...now we see that the industry is maturing and dealing with new concerns around artificial intelligence, bots and fake followers, and brands are still trying to figure out how to utilize influencer marketing in order to drive value...Affiliate influencers offer companies a lower-risk strategy to partner with influencers utilizing a commission-based pay formula rather than an upfront investment, For smaller brands especially, utilizing affiliates may be the winning strategy moving forward.' Micro-influencers could establish trust with their followers and offer authentic brand recommendations, making them an integral part of brand strategies. The study represents a significant contribution to the field as it is the first to examine the impact of language cues on consumer engagement with influencer-generated affiliate marketing content. Moreover, the research helps to understand the dynamics of influencer affiliate marketing and its potential impact on marketing strategies. Read on...

UAB News: New research reveals how influencers' words impact engagement in affiliate marketing on social media
Author: Adam Pope


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jul 2023

Educators can inculcate creativity, and develop problem-solving and critical thinking among kids by introducing them to engineering and design at an early stage. This will also help them develop interest in learning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects. Following hands-on mini projects that involve engineering design processes can bring desired influence needed in kids to think and approach problems and provide design solutions - (1) Understand the Engineering Design Process (Define the Problem -> Identify Constraints in the Solution -> Brainstorm Multiple Solutions -> Select the Most Promising Solution -> Develop Prototype -> Test and Evaluate the Prototype -> Iterate to Improve -> Communicate the Solution) (2) Do the Marshmallow Challenge (3) Enroll Kids in Engineering Camp (4) Design and Build a Paper Airplane Launcher (5) Create a Homemade Lava Lamp Using Household Items (6) Build a Simple Machine Using Lego Bricks (7) Create a Marble Run Using Cardboard Tubes and Other Materials (8) Popsicle stick Catapult (9) Build a Mini Solar-Powered Car Using a Small Motor and Solar Panel (10) Create a Homemade Musical Instrument Using Recycled Materials (11) Build a Wind-Powered Car 12. Create a Water Filtration System Using a Plastic Bottle and Sand (13) Design and Build a Maze Using Cardboard and Other Materials (14) Build a Simple Electric Circuit Using a Battery and Wires (15) Design and Build a Mini Greenhouse Using Recycled Materials (16) Create a Balloon-Powered Car Using Straws and a Balloon (17) Make a Snack Pulley System (18) Design and Build a Glider Using Balsa Wood and Tissue Paper (19) Create a Simple Motorized Boat Using a Small Motor and Propeller (20) Build a Simple Hovercraft Using a Balloon and a CD (21) Design and Build a Simple Robot Hand Using Straws and a String. Read on...

Teaching Expertise: 21 Engineering Design Process Activities To Engage Critical Thinkers
Author: Mike Dave Ayeni


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 jun 2023

According to a study commissioned by The Times of India on CSR spends by NSE listed companies, CSR project spends in FY22 at Rs 14558 crore were marginally lower than Rs 14615 crore in the previous year. On the contrary, the number of companies that become part of CSR community increased to 1278 from 1251 in the previous year. As per 2021 amendment companies can defer CSR funds for a specific period. Companies have option to support multi-year projects and can transfer the unspent amount from an ongoing project to a separate bank account and can utilize it in the next three years. Pranav Haldia, MD of Prime Database says, 'Top areas continued to be healthcare and education, garnering nearly 60% of spends. Another area that gained prominence is the newly-introduced schedule of disaster management.' Shivananda Shetty, Head of ESG Advisory at KPMG, says, 'Companies are formulating multi-year projects of higher value, as the average per capita project expenditure is showing a positive trend. Read on...

The Times of India: CSR spends remain flat at Rs 14.6k crore in FY22: Study
Author: Rupali Mukherjee


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 jun 2023

India's ecommerce market is projected to grow to US$ 150-170 billion by 2027. The growth is driven by increasing internet and mobile usage, booming millennial consumer base, and rise in digital payments. Bain & Company’s 'How India Shops Report' indicates that India's online seller base has grown by 35% annually, with approximately 40% of new sellers emerging from tier-2 or smaller cities. Moreover, Indian government's Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) initiative is poised to democratize the ecommerce industry, providing a level playing field for all sellers in terms of product, pricing, reach, and sales. Narinder Mahajan, CEO & cofounder of ODN, says that to gain a competitive advantage in this new environment, sellers from across India will need to think differently and one of the ways to do this is to better understand their customers by leveraging consumer insights and data analytics. Small businesses can utilize analytics and big data to gain valuable insights about consumers that can equip them to tailor strategies effectivcely to reach customers and expand their businesses. This will also help them to compete in better ways with large businesses. As small businesses work with smaller budgets they can't do extensive market research but utlizing many low-cost data analytics solutions they can identify trends and opportunities in the market, allowing them to create new products or services that meet the needs and demands of their customers. Mr. Mahajan suggests other benefits of data analytics for improving ecommerce business - (1) Enhanced inventory planning (2) Personalized customer experiences (3) Targeted promotions (4) Optimal product pricing (5) New market/platform entry (6) Churn reduction. Read on...

Express Computer: Small Retailers in India: How Consumer Insights and Data Analytics are levelling the Playing Field for Ecommerce Success
Author: Narinder Mahajan


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 jun 2023

Startups with first-time founders work in tight budgets and may not give required importance to design as they focus to get product to market faster. On the contrary, Nicolas Susco (Designer, Entrepreneur & Investor, and founder of ElipseAgency), suggests that design need to be prioritized from the early stages of the startup and provides following reasons - (1) Design Plays a Significant Role in User Experience: Good design can brings new customers and signals to customers and investors that company cares about its products or brand. (2) Design can Hide Flaws and Buy Time: Even at pre-product stage a good designed initial prototype can have positive impact on clients and investors and keep them engaged with the startups as it keeps on working on the product. (3) Design Helps Communicate Value: Visual communication attracts attention and is more effective. A well designed website and creative video can convey company's values, make them appear refined and unique, and create emotional responses in the viewer. (4) Design is the Foundation of Any Brand: Fine details in design are the key aspect of the brand image. Every step adds to the impact that brand has on customers and investors. Read on...

Fast Company: The powerful synergy of design and entrepreneurship
Author: Nicolas Susco


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 may 2023

Collaborations between philanthropic community (nonprofits, NGOs, social enterprises etc) and science & technology leaders and organizations can help solve some pressing problems that world is facing like hunger, poverty, disceases, climate change etc. Here are four ways this collaboration is trying to bring necessary change - (1) Fighting 'Legacy' Diseases in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Example - Bill and Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute (Gates MRI) recently partnered with Calibr, a division of Scripps Research, to study and potentially commercialize a compound that may improve upon current TB treatments. (2) Recruiting Gamers to Advance Medicine: Example - Scientists at Dotmatics, an R&D software development firm that partners with research universities like MIT and the University of Oxford, worked with gaming companies to develop an online video game that recruited thousands of willing 'citizen scientists' to analyze cellular-level changes in patients with COVID-19 and other diseases of the immune system. This took just days instead of weeks and provided reams of data that will be used to make softwares work even faster in future. (3) Growing Sustainable Food Solutions: Example - Good Food Institute (GFI) in partnership with alternative protein developers like Fishtown Seafood and UPSIDE Foods and many others, is working to commercialize and scale cultivated or plant-based meat products and as a result reduce global greenhouse emissions related to agricultural activities and meat production. (4) Electrifying Transportation in Latin America: Example - The Green Climate Fund, a major funder of low-carbon solutions, is partnering with local governments and other stakeholders across Latin America in a large-scale effort to speed the region's transition to EVs (Electric Vehicles). Read on...

Forbes: 4 Ways Technology And Philanthropy Are Supporting Innovation
Author: Serenity Gibbons


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 may 2023

According to the study, 'Annual Survey of States of Marginal Farmers in India', done by the Forum of Enterprises for Equitable Development (FEED), around 2/3 of farmers (68.29%) households are engaged in non-farm activities, such as daily wage labour in road construction and house construction etc, to supplement their income from crop cultivation. Moreover, these marginal farmers (owning less than 2.5 acres) are not able to access government schemes and their farm earnings are less than non-farm earnings. Sandeep Ghosh, who lead the study, says, '...our survey asks is why are the marginal land-holders considered as 'farmers'.' Dr. PS Brithal, Director of ICAR - National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research, says, '...existing disparities on the ground which government need to address.' VV Sadamate, former Agriculture Advisor to the Government of India, says, 'There is a need to re-orientate agri-extension services and make them for marginal farmers.' Read on...

The New Indian Express: Why marginal landholders consider 'farmer', ask new study
Author: Jitendra Choubey


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 may 2023

Businesses have to find innovative ways to enhance customer engagement and involve them in their marketing initiatives. 13 experts from Rolling Stone Culture Council share ideas to guide marketing leaders to drive successful customer engagement - (1) Amanda Reiman of Personal Plants: Match the approach to the customer. (2) Candice Georgiadis of Digital Agency Inc: Give the best possible customer experience. (3) Joshua Adragna of Eyerate: Promote user-generated content (UGC). (4) Adam Ayers of Number 5: Leverage scarcity as consumers seek uniqueness and want to stand out. (5) Christian Anderson (Trust'N) of Lost Boy Entertainment LLC: Do story shoutouts during giveaways. (6) Adam Rumanek of Aux Mode Inc: Offer giveaways and ask audience questions. (7) Theo Sastre-Garau of NFTevening: Create a sense of urgency and exclusivity around campaigns. (8) Jacob Mathison of Mathison Projects Inc: Leverage community-source content and utilize open innovation and design thinking. (9) Cynthia Johnson of Bell + Ivy: Host a contest. (10) Jennifer Sodini of Hidden Hand Media: Gamify your marketing. (11) Igor Beuker of Igor Beuker: Move beyond social media, own your fans and IP, and have opt-in email database. (12) Susan Johnston of New Media Film Festival: Go back to grassroots marketing. (13) Ben Spell of GOOD RANCHERS: Do tease campaigns before they're live. Read on...

Rolling Stone: 13 Strategies to Drive Customer Participation in Marketing Initiatives
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 may 2023

Textile industry has become highly globalized, contributes significantly to the global economy and provides employment to millions. The emergence of 'fast fashion' concept has further increased the production level, nearly doubling in the last 15 year period. The present textile industry system works in a linear way - raw material obtained from non-renewable sources, processed and clothes are produced in mechanised factories in large quantities, consumed for a short period and then disposed of in landfil or incinerated. This linear system is negatively impacting humans and environment - Excess of US$ 500 billion of value is lost every year due to clothing underutilisation and the lack of recycling; Total greenhouse gas emissions from textiles production, at 1.2 billion tonnes annually; When washed, some garments release plastic microfibres, of which around half a million tonnes every year contribute to ocean pollution. The project report, 'A NEW TEXTILES ECONOMY: REDESIGNING FASHION'S FUTURE' [Core Project Team: Andrew Morlet, Rob Opsomer, Dr. Sven Herrmann (Lead Author), Laura Balmond, Camille Gillet, Lukas Fuchs], published in 2017, outlines a vision for a system that works, delivering long-term benefits - a new textiles economy based on the principles of a circular economy. It offers a direction of travel on which the industry can agree and focus its efforts. In a new textiles economy, clothes, textiles, and fibres are kept at their highest value during use and re-enter the economy afterwards, never ending up as waste. Circular economy is a systems solution framework that tackles global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution. It is based on three principles, driven by design: eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials (at their highest value), and regenerate nature. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE REPORT - Globally, the US$ 1.3 trillion clothing industry employs more than 300 million people along the value chain. Clothing - the focus of this report – represents more than 60% of the total textiles used and is expected to remain the largest application; The current clothing system is extremely wasteful and polluting. The recent Pulse of the fashion industry report estimated that the overall benefit to the world economy could be about EUR 160 billion (US$ 192 billion) in 2030 if the fashion industry were to address the environmental and societal fallout of the current status quo; Clothing is massively underutilised. Worldwide, clothing utilisation has decreased by 36% compared to 15 years ago. Globally, customers miss out on US$ 460 billion of value each year by throwing away clothes that they could continue to wear; Less than 1% of material used to produce clothing is recycled into new clothing, representing a loss of more than US$ 100 billion worth of materials each year; Today's linear system uses large amounts of resources and has negative impacts on the environment and people. The textiles industry relies mostly on non-renewable resources - 98 million tonnes in total per year - including oil to produce synthetic fibres, fertilisers to grow cotton, and chemicals to produce, dye, and finish fibres and textiles. Textiles production (including cotton farming) also uses around 93 billion cubic metres of water annually; Should growth continue as expected, total clothing sales would reach 160 million tonnes in 2050 - more than three times today's amount; If the industry continues on its current path, by 2050, it could use more than 26% of the carbon budget associated with a 2°C pathway; The Pulse of the fashion industry report projects that, by 2030, fashion brands would see a decline in earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margins of more than three percentage points, if they were to continue business as usual. This would translate into a profit reduction of approximately EUR 45 billion (USD 52 billion) for the industry; Ambitions For A New Textiles Economy - (1) Phase out substances of concern and microfibre release (Align industry efforts and coordinate innovation to create safe material cycles; Drastically reduce plastic microfibre release). (2) Transform the way clothes are designed, sold, and used to break free from their increasingly disposable nature (Scale up short-term clothing rental; Make durability more attractive; Increase clothing utilisation further through brand commitments and policy). (3) Radically improve recycling by transforming clothing design, collection, and reprocessing (Align clothing design and recycling processes; Pursue technological innovation to improve the economics and quality of recycling; Stimulate demand for recycled materials; Implement clothing collection at scale); Make effective use of resources and move to renewable inputs. Read on...

Ellen Macarthur Foundation: A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning fashion's future
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 apr 2023

Even though India is on a development and growth path, but there are areas that require special attention particularly the social issues like poverty, unemployment, gender inequality, and environmental degradation. According to the Lancet study 'Progress on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators in 707 districts of India: A quantitative mid-line assessment using the National Family Health Surveys, 2016 and 2021' (Authors: S.V. Subramanian of Harvard University, Mayanka Ambade of Laxmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute India, Akhil Kumar of Harvard University, Hyejun Chi of Korea University, William Joe of Institute of Economic Growth India, Sunil Rajpal of Korea University, Rockli Kim of Korea University), India is not on-target for 19 of the 33 SDGs indicators. The critical off-target indicators include access to basic services, wasting and overweight children, anaemia, child marriage, partner violence, tobacco use, and modern contraceptive use. For these indicators, more than 75% of the districts were off-target. Because of a worsening trend observed between 2016 and 2021, and assuming no course correction occurs, many districts will never meet the targets on the SDGs even well after 2030. Abhishek Dubey, founder and CEO of Muskaan Dreams, suggests that India needs more social impact entrepreneurs to make a positive difference in society. Social entrepreneurs are capable to put their talent and energy for social causes that they value along with generating revenue and profits. The are well suited to contribute effectively to India's growth story for following reasons - (1) Tackling social problems at scale (2) Promoting inclusive growth (3) Solving environmental challenges (4) Innovating for social impact (5) Bridging the gap between the public and private sectors (6) Creating sustainable ventures. Read on...

Forbes: Why India needs more social entrepreneurs
Author: Abhishek Dubey


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 apr 2023

Entrepreneurial ecosystem is essential for thriving economy as it creates jobs and wealth. According to the 2022 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER2022), US$ $6.4 trillion of value creation happened due to global startup economy. The GSER2022 ranks startup ecosystems on seven success factors, including performance and talent and at the top are - Silicon Valley, New York City, London, Boston and Beijing. First Site Guide puts USA at the top country with 71153 startups and there over 69% of entrepreneurs having started their business at home. India is the third largest startup ecosystem with 107 unicorns (valuation of US$ 1 billion or more) and a a total valuation of $340.79 billion, as of 7 September 2022. By 2025, India is expected to have 250 unicorns. GSER2022 reports rise in Indian ecosystems ranking - Delhi entered top 30 and now is at 26, up 11 places, while Bangalore has moved up one place and is at 22. According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) India Report 21-22, India’s entrepreneurial activity expanded in 2021, with its total entrepreneurial activity rate(% of adults aged 18–64 who are starting or running a new business) increased to 14.4% in 2021, up from 5.3% in 2020. India has the highest fintech adoption rate in the world at 87%, the global average rate being 64%. India’s largest share from fintech startups is through ‘payments’ and is followed by lending, wealth tech, personal finance, insurtech, regtech and others. Government of India's 'Digital India' also boosted the adoption of fintech. Read on...

Financial Express: Global Growth of entrepreneurship; India not far behind
Author: Archie Bandyopadhyay


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 apr 2023

ChatGPT and Generative AI has already started making inroads in media and advertising industry. At present Generative AI has taken over low-risk functions like mockups and copyrighting but doubts still remain regarding strategically important channels like search ad spending etc. According to Morning Consult, just 30% of US adults have heard or read anything about ChatGPT, and only 10% regard its output as 'very trustworthy.' Moreover, 52% of consumers believe that generative AI will stick around. As Generative AI becomes more trustworthy it is capable to disrupt media and advertising, like for example, the need for intermediate agencies would diminish as platforms could use Generative AI technology to create business ads themselves. Moreover, as the technology can summarize reporting and synthesize press releases, the relatshionship between publishers and search engines has the potential to end. Generative AI could also reshape the economics of search advertising with its definitive responses to search queries. Generative AI could provide raw material, eliminate the need for advertiser A/B tests, help new brands increase output, and keep those in the industry abreast of all the notable developments. But a lot is needed for full scale adoption of Generative AI and its reaching a disruptive stage in the media and advertising industry. Read on...

Business Insider: ChatGPT and Generative AI in Media and Advertising: With Use Cases Set, the Battle for Hearts and Minds Begins
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 apr 2023

Websites are a window to organizations and provide them opportunity to showcase their products and services to their potential customers. Even though different organizations and businesses have different goals and their website design and development projects are unique, but there are some basic and foundational steps that are required successfully implement and complete them. Rahul Varshneya, co-founder of Arkeneo and author of technology articles in reputed magazines, suggests 5 critical steps that are needed to accomplish effective website design and development and provides views on what mistakes that are to be avoided during this process - (1) Define your website's goals: Build a creative brief outlining the website's goals and ask questions related to website's objective, target users, benefits to users etc. Build distinct customer personas, conduct market research and competitor analysis. (2) Plan your website design strategy: Strategic planning with realistic timelines is neccessary for long-term project success. Three promary elements in this are programming language and technology stacks, sitemap and wireframes, content strategy planning. (3) Design and develop the new website: There should be continuity in existing brand elements and new website design. For easy customer recognition incorporate color scheme, fonts, design and company logo. After visual design, coding is the next process. During this development phase from-end and back-end coding will happen to make the website functional. (4) Test your website: Testing and development should happen concurrently. End-to-end website testing includes functionality, user experience (UX), interface, compatibility, performance and website security testing. Some of the primary testing categories include functional testing, usability testing, compatibility testing. (5) Launch and maintain your new website: Strike a balance between form and function. Websites are dynamic and need to be continually updated with content and functionality. Avoid the following design mistakes - poor communication with web developers, making SEO an afterthought, being too generic, not closing the deal, setting and forgetting and not setting up and using analytics. Read on...

Business.com: 5-Step Web Design Process to Create Winning Websites
Author: Rahul Varshneya


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 mar 2023

The ASSOCHAM (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry in India) Foundation for CSR organized a two-day Awareness Summit on 'Illness to Wellness' in New Delhi with an objective to initiate a dialogue on promoting and building a 'New India - Healthy India'. Many experts shared their views in various sessions. Following are comments from experts on the first session related to healthcare human resources. Bhubaneswar Kalita, Chairperson of Parliamentary Committee on Health and Family Welfare, said, 'The main challenge is the lack of diversified and qualified workforce and we must work towards improving the status quo as the workforce is the soul of our healthcare system.' Anil Rajput, Chairperson of ASSOCHAM National CSR Council, said, 'I strongly believe that when the workforce is healthy and capable, our nation can achieve its full potential across all domains. The Government of India has also accorded topmost priority to it, making it a fundamental pillar for a 'Swastha and Samruddha Rashtra'. Read on...

The Times of India: Investment in healthcare workforce key to accelerating India's economic growth: Experts at ASSOCHAM event
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 mar 2023

As the world is becoming more divided and tussle-oriented, the usual development strategies with a top-down approach driven by international trade and investments are losing their effectiveness. Prof. Andrew Sheng of University of Hong Kong and Prof. Xiao Geng of The Chinese University of Hong Kong Shenzhen, explain that in such a scenario a systemic bottom-up approach can yield progress. According to them, 'Poverty, inequality, climate change and environmental degradation are complex systemic challenges. Yet prevailing policy approaches focus on devising separate solutions to specific problems, or even specific facets of problems, with little to no regard for how their solutions - and the underlying problems - interact...Only by recognising the interconnected nature of our social, ecological and economic systems, and addressing problems holistically, can we optimise their functioning and ensure human and planetary well-being.' They quote environmental scientist Donella Meadows's definition of a system as 'an interconnected set of elements that is coherently organised in a way that achieves something.' Prof. Sheng and Prof. Geng further elaborate, 'Multilateral action - implemented by nation-states - tends to be even less efficient...What is needed instead are bottom-up strategies underpinned by community-based and non-profit social enterprises.' According to Peter Drucker, successful non-profits, 'dedicated to "doing good"', but also 'realise that good intentions are no substitute for organisation and leadership, for accountability, performance and results.' Authors suggest harnessing the power of already-existing tools and resources. They explain, 'Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are far better equipped than their large counterparts to deploy the mission-driven management social enterprises require. MSMEs - 90% of all businesses globally - account for 70-80% of total employment...Yet, MSMEs do not have access to formal capital markets, let alone the holistic policy and institutional framework - including supporting infrastructure and a consistent legal environment - that would enable them to act as effective social enterprises...technology has enabled the creation of a 'global knowledge commons', through which social enterprises can access the knowhow - and, through trusted accreditation, the financing - they need.' Read on...

IPS Journal: A social-enterprise development model
Authors: Andrew Sheng, Xiao Geng


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 14 mar 2023

In the B2B sales management, leadership has to ensure that the team works efficiently and effectively. B2B sales is different from B2C as the deal size is larger and sales cycles are longer. B2B sales teams have engagement dynamics with their stakeholders at multiple levels and need to manage internal and external teams for deal success. Oscar Chavez, founder of Growthly Group, provides four B2B sales management strategies to be implemented to help improve B2B sales team's performance - (1) Set Clear, Measurable Goals: The goals should be specific, time-bound, challenging and achievable. This provides sense of direction and purpose and helps to focus efforts and stay motivated throughout the sales process. (2) Provide Training and Development Opportunities: To enhance team's performance provide formal training programs like workshops and classes, and also informal training opportunities like coaching and mentoring. (3) Use Data to Measure and Track Performance: This includes tools like sales metrics, customer feedback and surveys. Helps identify team's areas of excellence and shortcomings. Metrics include the number of deals closed, the average deal size, the close rate, the number of meetings attended within a month and the follow-up rate. Customer feedback is also essential. (4) Remain Flexible and Foster a Strong Company Culture: Create a positive and supportive work environment and foster a culture of teamwork, collaboration and open communication. Have a system of incentives and bonuses for reaching targets and achieving goals. This helps sales team to stay motivated and improve performance. Regularly monitor, evaluate and adjust these strategies to ensure team's best performance. Read on...

Forbes: 4 Strategies To Improve Your B2B Sales Team's Performance
Author: Oscar Chavez


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 mar 2023

In the world of graphic design, computers and softwares are essential tools and it is hard to imagine a creative work without them. But a hand-drawn design work by Prof. Nick Mendoza of the Oklahoma State University (OSU, USA) was selected in the 365: AIGA Year in Design competition in December. The 365: AIGA Year in Design competition, started in 1924, serves as a platform for designers, design teams and their clients to share design solutions for business and organizational challenges. Prof. Mendoza's work 'OSU Design Lecture 2021' was a poster that was created to promote visiting designer Mike Daines' guest lecture and included elements of his designs and a visual journey to the event. Prof. Mendoza says, 'As a design educator, I am humbled to know that my work is shown next to big time design studios with big time budgets; I created my design with paper, scissors and a marker.' Prof. Ting Wang-Hedges of OSU says, 'Having your work awarded from AIGA, especially winning the 365: AIGA Year in Design competition, means your work competes with other design works from renowned designers and studios.' Competition juror Clement Mok says, '[It's] an ode to hand-drawn letters. Wonderfully old-school, yet it feels very contemporary and personal. The letter scrawls are meticulously planned for legibility.' Prof. Mendoza teaches typgraphy, an art and study of arranging type to convey a message and make language legible. Prof. Pouya Jahanshahi of OSU says, '...he guides his students to mobilize principles of layout, composition, psychology and communication to produce powerful artifacts of graphic design - whether the outcome is a poster, book cover or comprehensive branding campaign.' Read on...

OSU News and Media: Graphic design professor's work recognized in international design competition
Authors: Erin Milek, Elizabeth Gosney


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 feb 2023

Even though India's economic growth is a silver lining in the global economic landscape and the big cities are the front runners in contributing to the GDP with 60% share, but all this growth is not translating into the enhanced quality of life of their urban population. About 1/3rd of India's population resides in urban centers. According to the Economic Intelligence Unit's (EIU) Global Liveability Index 2022 five Indian cities are ranked poorly among 173 cities of the world - Delhi (140), Mumbai (141), Chennai (142), Ahmedabad (143), Bengaluru (146). The cities are ranked on the basis of five parameters - political stability, healthcare, culture and environment, infrastructure, and education. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) developed the Ease of Living Index (EoLI) 2022 by evaluating 111 Indian cities based on the quality of life, economic ability, sustainability, and resilience. Bengaluru is ranked at the top with a score of 66.70 out of 100, followed by Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Surat, Navi Mumbai, Coimbatore, Vadodara, Indore and Greater Mumbai. Delhi is ranked 13th. Bangaluru's ranking in the global index (at the bottom among other Indian cities) and the Indian index (at the top), brings a point that more indicators and benchmarks need to be included to achieve reliable insights, particularly for the assessment of quality of life. EoLI indicators for quality of life include affordable housing, traffic congestion, quality of air and the city's ability to withstand natural disasters. Affordable housing situtaion in India's cities is in very bad state. The draft Delhi Master Plan 2041 estimated that 85% of residents cannot afford a regular shelter. The air quality in Indian cities is further deteriorating and some are ranked at the top in global most polluted cities ranking. Similar is the case with disaster management situation with most cities unprepared to handle it effectively. Traffic condition is also deteriorating in these cities. TomTom, the leading geolocation technology specialist measuring city traffic congestion, placed Bengaluru as the 10th most congested globally in 2021, while in 2022 it took the second place. Central government, local state governments and agencies must take appropriate measures to enhance the quality of life in these cities with focus on affordable housing, public transport, sustainable population growth due to migration in urban centers by providing employment opportunities in sub-urban and rural areas, proper policies on environment and tackling climate change, better disaster management preparedness etc. Read on...

Observer Research Foundation: India's economic rise is not translating into a rise in city liveability
Author: Ramanath Jha


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 feb 2023

The COVID-19 crisis brought many challenges to the organizations in the nonprofit sector. Lisa Brown Alexander, president and CEO of Nonprofit HR, says, 'Since 2020, nonprofits have seen decreases in revenue, decreases in funding, decreases in opportunities to host fundraisers, which for many organizations is a revenue lifeline.' The crisis lead to financial challenges to nonprofits on one side while on the other there was increase in demand for their services and hiring requirements. According to the Nonprofit HR's 2023 Talent Management Priorities Survey of leaders in social impact organizations, HR leaders identified talent acquisition, performance management and talent-focused technology as their top three priorities this coming year. In 2022 the focus was on culture, learning and development, and performance management. Rebecca Dixon, executive director of the National Employment Law Project (NELP), says, 'The priority shift to a focus on finding and keeping employees makes sense.' Ms. Alexander and Ms. Dixon suggest 5 tactics for social impact organizations for talent management in coming months - (1) Focus on strategies to keep great talent. (2) Keep pace with your competitors. (3) Invest in technology, particularly tech that supports your staff. (4) Be competitive in pay and benefits. (5) Integrate diversity, equity and inclusion into your organization's talent management. Read on...

WTOP News: 5 ways nonprofits can win at talent management in 2023
Author: Vanessa Roberts


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 feb 2023

According to the research commissioned by Trades Union Congress (TUC, UK) and conducted by academics (Dr. Minjie Cai, Prof. Sian Moore, Dr. Alex Stroleny, Dr. Safak Tartanoglu-Bennett, Dr. Scott Tindal) at the Centre for Research on Employment and Work (CREW) at the University of Greenwich, the pandemic 'intensified existing trends' in online shopping, which meant a renewed shift from traditional shop-floor jobs towards work in warehouses, away from direct contact with customers. The analysis suggests that even though warehouse roles often provide more regular hours, and that competition for staff has pushed up wage rates, but warehouse work was considered by research participants as particularly gruelling ('the job is not human'), explaining labour shortages and high turnover, with a suggestion that automation and robotisation might be necessary to save the physical cost to human physical and mental health. Kate Bell, deputy general secretary of TUC, says, 'It was easy for consumers to forget that what feels like the miracle of rapid home delivery relies on real human labour, and real human labour which is increasingly tough - monitored, repetitive, gruelling.' Adrian Jones, the national organiser at Unite, says, 'Employers seem to be relying more and more on automated performance management tools in warehouses to set standards - and it doesn't take into consideration the massive issues that workers face on a day in, day out basis.' The researchers suggest surveillance of staff is used differently in workplaces where unions have a seat around the table. The report says, 'Where trade unions are recognised, workplace representatives play a key role in mediating technology and constraining its use in disciplinary measures against workers.' Tom Ironside, the director of business and regulation at the British Retail Consortium, says, 'The need for warehouse staff has been rising in recent years, so retailers have worked hard to provide the necessary financial and non-financial total reward to attract the necessary talent. As with all parts of retail, good working conditions are a key way of attracting and retaining staff, and warehouses are no exception.' Read on...

The Guardian: 'The job is not human': UK retail warehouse staff describe gruelling work
Author: Heather Stewart


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 feb 2023

Industrial designers are involved in the creation and development of many products and services that humans see and use in their life. They influence and contribute in shaping the physical and virtual experiences. Dr. Liam Fennessy, associate dean for industrial design at RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia), says, 'It's not just tangible products or buildings, it's programs, experiences and digital products and digital interfaces too. Some industrial designers specialize for products in a particular industry while others get involved in projects in multiple and diverse areas. Those involved in consultancy services often work in diverse projects and interdisciplinary teams. Tim Phillips, an industrial designer and owner of Tilt Industrial design, utilizes multidisciplinary approach and focuses on built environment. His team of industrial designers design large-scale, site-specific design features for architects, landscape architects or artists. Explaining the approach in designing the operable façade at UTS (University of Technology Sydney) building where industrial design process is used to achieve architectural goals, Mr. Phillips says, 'The façade delivers a specific environmental function and a unique aesthetic. This combination of impacts is at the heart of what Tilt is trying to achieve in the built environment.' Even though an undergraduate degree in industrial design is generally a basic requirement to pursue a career as industrial designer but experts explain that having diverse and broad skills and excellent communication capabilities are necessary to achieve success. Mr. Phillips says, 'A great industrial designer must be able to deliver an amazing end-user experience and an equally successful commercial project outcome.' Read on...

The Sydney Morning Herald: The people who make everything around us
Author: Sue White


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 jan 2023

According to the research by Prof. Praveen Kopalle from the Tuck School of Business (Dartmouth College), Prof. S. Arunachalam of the Rawls College of Business (Texas Tech University), Prof. Hariom Manchiraju of the Indian School of Business (ISB), and Prof. Rahul Suhag of the Kenan-Flagler Business School (University of North Caroline at Chapel Hill), what's good for society and the environment can also be good for a company's bottom line. Firms spending on CSR activities impacts their profitability. Researchers studied data from 2320 unique firms in India between the years 2012 and 2017, completing two forms of empirical analysis - (1) A difference-in-differences design, analyzed companies' CSR spending, advertising, and gross profit margins before and after the passage of the India's CSR law. (2) A regression discontinuity, looked at firms very close to law's threshold (on both sides) and compared the differences in their pricing. According to Prof. Kopalle, 'If both techniques are pointing in the same direction, then we can establish a casual inference that the law is what's making the difference.' After making data more comprehensible, researchers identified three categories of the firms - (1) Newspender: Firms that started spending on CSR after the law was passed. (2) Prosocial: Firms that spent on CSR even before the law was passed. (3) Nonspender: Firms that didn't spend on CSR after the law, and chose to explain to the government why they didn't do so. Mentioning key findings, Prof. Kopalle says, 'The Newspenders start saying more about CSR in their ads and it ends up positively impacting their gross margins...consumers reward socially responsible, profit-maximizing companies and absorb the corresponding price increases without reducing their purchase quantities...At the company level, you can do well by doing good. It's not a zero-sum game...Between using advertising and price as leverage, and having the law as a backup, it gives a cohesive and well-founded story to consumers, so they say it's worthwhile to pay more for products from these companies.' The research also provides proof that governments in emerging economies can use mandatory CSR laws as an innovative strategy to nudge companies to contribute to social causes. Read on...

Tuck School of Business News: Corporate Social Responsibility is not a Zero-Sum Game
Author: Kirk Kardashian


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 jan 2023

Even though for founders making their sart-up known, to grow the brand and innovation are essential components, but intentionally adopting PR strategies are often overlooked. Jenna Guarneri, founder and CEO of JMG Public Relations, with focus on innovators and startups, suggests ways for founders to get involved in the PR process as they are the most knowledgeable, committed, passionate and enthusiastic about their startups - (1) Understand Who You Are: Better understand the identity of the company and its goals and communicate it effectively to the customers. (2) Understand Your 'What' And 'Why': Understand what the brand represents and infuse core values and build the messaging accordingly. This will help in developing how the audience perceive the brand. (3) Create An Impact: Proactively create a positive image and be cautious while using digital media as a communication tool as any mistake can dilute the hard work done while building the image. (4) Build A Loyal Following: Relationships are a critical component of PR. Nurture and grow relationships with customers, and create a connection and develop trust to gain loyal following. (5) Know Your Competitors: To differentiate your brand, fully understand the competition and create a unique messaging to communicate how good you are at what you do and at addressing the pain points of your customers. This make you stand out from competition. Read on...

Forbes: 5 PR Tips That Every Founder Needs To Know
Author: Jenna Guarneri


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 jan 2023

Landscape design starts with applying the basic principles of design to the new project or renovating the existing one. Basic principles of design mean the standards by which designs are created, measured, discussed and evaluated. Following are the sicx principles of design - (1) Balance: Includes the state of being and seeing. Balance can be symmetrical, asymmetrical or proximal/distal. (2) Focalization of Interest: Good designs have a focal point that attracts viewers attention. (3) Simplicity: Intended to make viewer feel comfortable. It eliminates unnecessary change. Doing too much can create complexity. Less is more. (4) Rhythm and Line: Rhythm is created when something repeats substantially with a standard interval. The most essential lines are the lines and angles of the house. Designers repeat the lines and angles of the house with those of the landscape materials. One of the most common line plantings is the foundation planting. (5) Proportion: Defines the size reletionship between all the features of the landscape. Includes both the vertical and horizontal relationships as well as space relationships (6) Unity: Unity brings all the separate parts of the design together into a total unified design. Read on...

The Lawton Constitution: The principles of landscape design for your yard
Author: Jim Coe


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 jan 2023

India continues to face many challenges in its agricultural sector. As the population continues to grow, food security becomes a prominent issue. In addition to this India has to take care of risks like climate change, supply chain inefficiencies etc. India has to make effective use of technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) among others to mitigate risks in agricultural sector. World Economic Forum has an initiative called Artificial Intelligence for Agriculture Innovation (AI4AI) that is directed to do just that. The initiative led by Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) India and the Platform for Shaping the Future of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, encourages collaboration between government, academia and businesses to develop and implement innovative technological solutions. 'Saagu Bagu' pilot was launched with Government of the Indian state of Telangana to implement a framework for scaling up emerging technologies to improve productivity, efficiency and sustainability in the agriculture sector. The C4IR India developed the AI for Agriculture framework for public-private partnership in 2021. The framework includes Intelligent Crop Planning, Smart Farming, Farm-gate to Fork, Data-driven Agriculture. About 7000 farmers are now using the technologies to monitor the health of their crops, perform quality control and test soil. Read on...

World Economic Forum: AI for agriculture: How Indian farmers are harnessing emerging technologies to sustainably increase productivity
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 dec 2022

Technology brings out innovative ways for nonprofits to raise funds. Online tools add a new layer to the fundraising mechanism and expands the reach to vast pool of potential donors. As the technologies and strategies for fundraising are maturing, merely a website is not enough. Nonprofits have to differentiate themselves to attract donors. A select group of Forbes Nonprofit Council members provide strategies to effectively utilize online fundraising - (1) Aaron Alejandro, Texas FFA Foundation: Establish a digital presence beyond just a website to gain a competitive advantage to attract audience attention. (2) Tony Siebers, Catholic Charities Community Services (AZ): Know what your target audience want by using data analytics and customizing communication and interaction. (3) Sterrin Bird, Salesforce: Use data to personalize engagement that assists in the acquisition and retention of donors. (4) Francisco Tezén, A Better Chance: Have a consistent and integrated communications strategy that engages with audience on multiple channels. (5) Sarah Evans, WellBeyond: Reduce digital friction by providing smooth digital experience and focusing on usability and simplicity during audience interaction. (6) Robin Ganzert, American Humane: Use social media effectively to engage with supporters, increase brand awareness and promote fundraising campaigns. (7) Jessica Hall, American Eagle Foundation: Don't suffice with the traditional online platforms and also engage with emerging ones as users often shift with new technologies. (8) Betsy Chapin Taylor, FAHP, Accordant: Utilize storytelling and audio-visual communication to make connect with audience and make an impact. (9) Rob Harter, CCPC: Conduct audit of the website to make sure that donation is simple, easy and user-friendly. (10) Kristen Jaarda, American Council on Gift Annuities: Create engagement opportunities like volunteering, educational and learning interaction etc, by using tools to enable direct user response. (11) Victoria Burkhart, The More Than Giving Company: Create a user-friendly donation process that is easy, simple and hassle-free. (12) Jesse Bethke Gomez, Metropolitan Center for Independent Living: Effectively communicate the impact that donor contributions make to encourage future donation possibilities and build trust. Read on...

Forbes: Fundraising Online? 12 Strategies To Adopt For Nonprofit Success
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 dec 2022

Since ancient times art and design has been a part of Indian culture and society and the skill-based learning system existed where the master imparted the skills and shared his experience with his pupil, who often learned by observing and doing. In India there existed communities of design and in most cases the skill got passed as part of the family tradition from generation to generation. There was generally no formal design institutions imparting design education in earlier times. The formal design education in India, in the modern sense, began when the National Institute of Design was established in 1961 in Ahmedabad (Gujarat). Prof. Bhaskar Batt, Director of School of Design at Anant National University, explains what design is all about, how design education is evolving in India and its relevance in modern times. He says, 'Design, as we say, is a creative problem-solving process used to develop innovative solutions and services to make our lives better. Contrary to the expressionist approach of art, design is strongly focused on the identification of the user and market needs, and thus is a process-centric exercise to develop new and innovative solutions.' McKinseys 2018 report emphasises the value of design and found that design-led companies grew twice as compared to non-design ones. Explaining design in Indian context, he says, 'Design in India focused on the social sectors prior to liberalisation of the economy and industry post the millennium. Whilst design embraced the industry, designers retained the philosophical bedrock of trying to make the world a better place. In the following two decades, India has seen a dramatic rise in manufacturing and services, with design as an enabler for product and service creation.' India's education system now have exclusive design schools and design focused departments in universities, both public and private. Many specializations exist similar to design schools in other countries that have advanced design education system. This include industrial and product design, communication design, fashion and textile design, interaction design and many more. Indian design schools have a teaching methodology that is a mix of theory and practicals involving innovative project-based learning. Prof. Bhatt explains, 'Unlike traditional courses which are evaluated through exams, most design schools evaluate through juries, where professional designers from the industry evaluate students' work through rigorous debate...There are three traditional exit pathways in design education - employment in studios and large companies, entrepreneurship or solo consulting, and further education...Design education is strongly influenced by market forces. In the recent past, we have witnessed two meta forces (internet in the 1990s and the smartphone revolution in the 2000s) that have changed the course of human development.' Read on...

India Today: Explained: The growing impact of design education in India
Author: Bhaskar Bhatt


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 10 dec 2022

Online is a medium that is advantageous to all - sellers and buyers. Digital marketing not only brings benefits to the businesses that implement the strategies but also to the consumers who shop and buy from them. Traditional marketing practices in the technologically advance world fall short on many counts when dealing with customers that are becoming more and more tech savvy and are looking for ease, comfort and satisfaction during their purchase experience. Digital marketing adds and enhances the marketing practices. It expands marketing's reach to the global level at an affordable cost. Digital marketing provides businesses capabilities to effectively measure marketing investments and efforts. With digital marketing companies can precisely reach their target audience and also dynamically shift strategies in response to the changes in markets. Digital marketing not only provide instant connections with target audience and customers but also assists in having continuous interactions and build long term relaionships. Digital marketing involves a combined set of processes that need to be strategically designed to achieve desired results. Digital marketing strategy includes - Online Advertising; Search Engine Optimization (SEO); Search Engine Marketing (SEM); Content Development and Management; Influencer Marketing and more. Even though digital marketing strategies are different for different businesses and need to be customized as per requirement, but there are some common processes and frameworks that can be applied and implemented to ensure the effectiveness of the campaign - Identify Marketing Goals; Solidify Sales Process; Identify and Separately Group Target Customers; Select Marketing Channels; Set Clear Benchmarks and Measure Progress; Provide Relevant Content At Each Stage of Buyer Journey; Adjust and Adapt The Strategy When Needed. As digital marketing is driven by technology and consumer preferences, it continues to evolve. Marketers who want to stay at the top adapt effectively to changes in technologies and consumer behavior. Events like Covid-19 pandemic also bring shifts in business processes and customer needs, and marketers that can handle the change do much better then those who don't. Some of the main marketing themes that will be significant in the realm of digital marketing going forward will include - Multichannel Marketing Hubs; Conversational Marketing; Personalization Engine; Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning; Consumer Privacy and Consent. Read on...

ilmeps/read: Digital Marketing To Connect, Engage And Serve Customers - Part II
Author: Mohammad Anas Wahaj


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 nov 2022

Asian Impact Leaders Network (AILN), launched by Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN) in partnership with Rockefeller Foundation, intends to highlight the efforts and contributions of Asia's social leaders (social innovators, investors and policy makers). As G20 was recently hosted in Indonesia and next turn would be of India in 2023, Asian social impact leaders too require a place at global stage providing solutions to world problems. Tamara Abed, AILN member and MD of BRAC, is one such exemplary leader making an impact through Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), world's largest NGO. It was founded in 1972 by Fazle Hasan Abed with a mission to empower people and communities in situations of poverty, illiteracy, disease and social injustice. BRAC launched its social enterprise Aarong in 1978 that sells products made by women and other artisans in rural areas and has become an upmarket fashion brand. BRAC Enterprises now has 10 social enterprises in its portfolio, ranging from agriculture and farming to retail and craft making. Ms. Abed started her career with Aarong in 2002 after graduating from Columbia Business School and working for a short period in investmenet banking in New York. She says, 'My hope is that with all of the things the world is going through, there's a collective realisation amongst leaders that more of the same isn't going to take us to the future, that we really need to rethink, re-strategise and re-prioritise, and redo allocations in our budgets for what's important to people - like health and education for example.' Talking about the value of AILN, she says, 'I'm excited about the Asian Impact Leaders Network because it's a good place to network with impact leaders in the region, and see what kind of opportunities and collaborations are possible. It opens up doors and it's also good to know what others are doing. It gives ideas for what can be done. It's a great way to meet, interact, network and collaborate and look at possible opportunities to collaborate.' Read on...

Pioneers Post: The Asian Impact Leaders profiles: Tamara Abed
Author: Laura Joffre


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 nov 2022

Branding for startups begins from the early stage when founders interact with investers, build their team and launch their product. It can be a conscious or unconsious process. Even though the success of branding efforts is hard to measure effectively while building a fast-paced startup, but Daria Gonzalez, founding partner and CEO at Wunderdogs, a brand consultancy, suggests a process that startups can keep in mind while making investments in building a brand. She says, 'Start by defining very specifically what your brand should be communicating to your audience and who this audience is. This means clearly defining the building blocks of your brand, especially your positioning, tone of voice and target audience.' She suggests developing a 'brand baseline' and answer some important questions like how audience view the brand vis-à-vis competition; how the website make audience feel; what does audience feel like coming back when they first interact; is communication giving intended results etc. Comparing the answers to ideal scenarios can provide good measure of branding progress the startup is making. In addition to qualitative measurement it is also important to consider measuring branding with quantitative data by analyzing website engagement data and social media listening. Another important success measure is getting information through direct audience interactions. This can be done by talking to customers, talking to the team and talking to investors. After establishing brand baseline it is necessary to monitor branding efforts regularly keeping in view the long-term branding goals. Read on...

Forbes: How To Measure Your Startup's Branding Success
Author: Daria Gonzalez


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 nov 2022

Design experts suggest that office design plays a role in employee productivity, creativity and satisfaction. A 2015 research study, 'Does Workplace Design Affect Employee Attraction?' (Authors: Steve Coster of Hassell, Cassie Govan of Empirica), presents unique and compelling evidence that links the physical workplace (i.e. office design) to employer attractiveness and therefore successful staff attraction and retention. Steve Coster, Principal at Hassell, says, 'This study suggests that investing in workplace design and organisational culture can be a more cost effective strategy for talent attraction than offering higher salaries. The way a workplace is designed can impact on the extent to which an employee connects and identifies with their colleagues and the organisation as a whole.' In addition to proper lighting, a flexible layout and biophilic features, better furniture design is an essential requirement for good workspace. Sustainability in furniture design is an important concept to consider (8.5 million tons of office furniture finds its way into US landfills). The C2C certification, based on the concepts derived from the book 'Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things' (Authors: William McDonough and Michael Braungart), is a globally recognized measure for products that are safe, circular and responsibly made. Furniture manufacturers should follow ecodesign principles to incorporate sustainability in all stages of an object's life cycle. Read on...

Arch Daily: Sustainable Office Furniture: Promoting Circular Design in the Workplace
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 nov 2022

In a panel discussion in TechSparks 2022 titled 'STEM Education: Key to a future-ready India' experts talked about the importance of experiential learning, particularly in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects, for India to have a sustainable and future-ready workforce. Amit Chatterjee, Startup Program and Strategic Business Initiatives at Intel India, says, 'We have more than 1.4 lakh schools in the country...National Education Policy 2020, which says we need to be more activity-oriented, have more experiential and practical-oriented education. And what we want to do today is to have the conversation on how exactly we can enable that.' Harish Rawlani, Co-founder and Director of MakerInMe Technologies, says, '...How to create something which will allow students to learn technology - is one of the key challenges when it comes to the technology aspect of STEM education. We have to abstract out technology so that students can learn and find it engaging.' Manila Carvalho, Principal of Delhi Public School(Bangalore East), says, 'In schools across rural and urban areas, most of us [teachers] do not belong to the digital era. We are learning and we are trying, but the pace in which we are doing it is very slow compared to the children who are in the school. So they definitely require support — maybe external support if teachers are not equipped enough...Teachers need to be trained for whatever changes, whatever new things we will bring to the schools. If they are convinced, the product will work well...' Pooja Goyal, Co-founder and COO of Avishkaar, says, 'The customer acquisition cost is so high, that you end up raising lots of money from venture capital...I think in education, you do need a little bit of patience to build a solid business over a period of time. And the current model of funding is not completely attuned to that pace at which it needs to be built...Children must learn important skills like tech literacy and problem solving skills...So for some of these skills, it is more about teaching computational thinking skills, the vocabulary, how it is applicable to solutions, building real solutions, and that's a very challenging job.' Read on...

YourStory: Why India needs to focus on STEM education and creative learning methods
Author: Christopher Isaac


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 oct 2022

According to the new report 'Giving in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): Evolving Towards Stretegic Philanthropy' by University of Cambridge and LGT Private Banking Group, 'Philanthropy and charitable donations by private individuals and families in the Gulf Cooperation Council is estimated at US$ 210 billion and expected to grow...Wealthy individuals and family offices in the region are increasingly deploying capital with a focus on social or environmental impact...As Millenial and Generation Z family members emerge to take the helm of family businesses and philanthropic activities, their aspirations will shape the evolution of the sector in the coming years.' H.S.H. Prince Max von und zu Liechtenstein, Chairman of LGT, says, 'What the study has shown is that there is plenty of opportunity and there is a need to go deeper in this segment.' Professor Mauro Guillén, Dean of Cambridge Judge Business School (UK), says, 'A particularly noteworthy finding is the growing interest in strategic philanthropy, inspired by the view held by philanthropists that more strategic, collaborative and evidence-based approaches can have a greater impact in society.' Read on...

Reuters: Gulf's $210 bln philanthropy pot expected to grow - Study
Authors: Rachna Uppal, Josie Kao


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 oct 2022

Jeff Cannon, in his 1999 book 'Make Your Website Work for You: How to Convert Online Content Into Profits', wrote, 'In content marketing, content is created to provide consumers with the information they seek.' But many content marketers still struggle to effectively accomplish this basic goal. According to the '2021 LinkedIn-Edelman B2B Thought Leadership Impact Report', 71% of decision-makers say that half or less than half of the thought-leadership content they read or watch gives them any sort of valuable insights. So what should content marketers do to stay relevant and effective? Gavin Jordan, publishing manager of Open Mic (The Drum's self-publishing content marketing platform), provides marketers ways to approach content marketing now and in the coming year 2023. He suggests content marketers to keep up with the current industry trends and what type of content consumers are flocking to. He predicts the following content marketing trends for 2023 - (1) E-commerce: E-commerce continues to grow. According to Morgan Stanley's 2022 report, 'Stronger for Longer in Global E-Commerce', in the U.S. e-commerce could reach 31% of sales by 2026, up from 23% now, as brick-and-mortar stores close and consumers prioritize convenience. Similar upward trends are predicted in other regions of the world. Marketers should look for content that covers these topics - Hybrid shopping; Personalization; Social commerce; Live shopping. (2) Metaverse and Gaming: Gen-Z and Gen-Alpha are flocking to 'metaverse'. Chris Sutcliffe, reporter at The Drum, says, 'The metaverse ultimately represents potential.' Metaverse will grow into an US$ 800 billion market by 2024, and the number of gamers worldwide totalling a staggering 3.2 billion. In 2023 brands will be looking for actionable advice on how to enter the metaverse/hone their metaverse strategies, as well as the marketing opportunities within these virtual worlds, be it in-game advertising, audio ad opportunities or by utilizing virtual influencer marketing. (3) Data & Privacy: Collecting, measuring and utilizing audience data through cookies will become challenging. In 2023, marketers will be preparing to fill the cookie-shaped hole of the future, and content that helps them do this will reign king. Moreover, marketers also look to analyze data and now they will search for content that helps them overcome attribution challenges, or else provides a clear alternative. Data & privacy are dry subjects and marketers have to find ways to make content surrounding them more enjoyable and engaging. (4) Audio: Number of podcast listeners is rising and so is the opportunity to advertise there. Marketers have to apply effective podcast strategy. Moreover, brands are also looking for in-game visual ads and can also explore audio ads. According to a study by AudioMob and YouGov, 75% of mobile gamers prefer audio ads over video. There is audio opportunity in metavers also. (5) Influencer Marketing: As influencer marketing continutes to grow, content marketers can create quality content that can help make it successful for brands. Virtual influencers and live shopping have disrupted traditional notions of influencer marketing, and brands will be looking at thought-leadership closely to monitor these areas. Read on...

The Drum: What will be the top 5 content marketing trends of 2023?
Author: Gavin Jordan


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 oct 2022

India's large talent pool has exacerbated the growth of Global Capability Centres (GCCs). Currently there are about 1300 of them set up by global corporations. Keerthi Kumar, partner at Deloitte, provides analysis of their evolution and how they are becoming value added research and innovation centres. He says, 'This shift has borne multi-faceted benefits not just for parent organisations but also for India. First, in India's journey towards digitalisation, GCCs have provided a considerable push in skilling and developing a highquality and tech-savvy workforce. Further, the sector has acted as a channel of support for India’s social and environmental objectives. GCCs spend ~US$ 100 million on CSR, of which, 40% is relegated for educational initiatives, and save between 190 and 200K tonnes of GHG emissions through green initiatives. The sector makes a considerable and holistic impact across the economic, human capital, innovation, social, and environmental dimensions of India. Currently, the sector contributes ~US$ 103 billion to India in direct, indirect, and induced output-amounting to ~1 percent of the country’s GDP. Additionally, GCCs also bring forth investment opportunities, with global parent organisations having invested ~US$ 1.5 billion in India, while also directly contributing ~US$ 15 billion to start-up revenue annually.' The main focus is now towards Engineering Research & Development (ER&D). According to the 2022 Global Engineering R&D Pulse Survey by Deloitte and NASSCOM, 85% organisations indicated using a GCC for their ER&D activities. Further, ~75 percent of those were already based in India, while many more are expected to come in. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SURVEY - The GCC sector generates employment for close to 5.5 million Indians, directly employing 1.2–1.3 million Indians (~25% of the direct employment generated by the Indian IT sector); 85% companies' leadership indicating a positive experience with their India GCCs; 90% surveyed organisations intend to maintain or increase their spend on India GCCs in the immediate future. Half of these organisations intend to increase their spend by more than 10% this year, a higher percentage than the global increase in the R&D budget; There is a growing propensity amongst India GCCs to forge partnerships with start-ups, academia, and Engineering Service Providers (ESPs); Co-creation is thus, quickly emerging as the model of choice with ~70% companies exploring or already being involved with start-ups and ESPs in co-creating; ER&D GCCs in India are likely to drive front-line innovation for their parent organisations and oversee end-to-end product development over the next three years; Upward trend to set in over the next three years in terms of volume of tasks migrated to GCCs in India, making India both a 'volume' and a 'value' creator. To maintain its lead India has to ensure that the talent pool remains competitive and future ready, start-up ecosystem continues to grow and ER&D strengthens. Read on...

DATAQUEST: Engineering innovation: India's opportunity to emerge as the world's engine room
Author: Keerthi Kumar


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 oct 2022

Choice of field to pursue education and career is not an easy task for a student who is just out of school. The decision involves many aspects like personal interests, subject skills, level of commitment, qualifying exam performance, financial aspects and so on. Students need to prepare themselves with all requirements that would assist them in pursuing their educational dreams in their field of interest. Architecture is one field of study that requires students to understand as much as possible regarding what they are getting into and what is expected of them to successfully complete the courses to get architecture degree. Nuzhat Shama, a Research Assistant at the Center for Inclusive Architecture and Urbanism, BRAC University (Bangladesh), says, 'Drawing, colours, paint, and art fascinated me from a young age. I studied science during my O and A-levels hoping to pursue a medical degree. However, I have been intrigued by architecture since the sixth grade. Being the perfect amalgamation of art and science, this choice came very naturally to me...The architecture curriculum often consists of courses covering topics like history, art, music, environment and ecosystem, etc. For someone with little to no idea about the curriculum, this may come as a surprise...When you are an architect, you are responsible for creating the environment which shapes human beings including their habits, mindsets, cultures, lives, leisure, memories, and so on...Tunnel vision leads to projects which are bound to fail eventually. Objectivity and critical thinking are of utmost importance. An architect needs to be a well-rounded professional, which is why such courses are so important and contribute so much to the making of an architect...' In addition to classroom learning and courses, architectural students also have to take part in experiential learning, hands-on projects and thesis projects. These require high level of commitment and work hours. Pantha Shahriar, an Associate Architect at Triangle Consultants (Bangladesh), says, 'Building and structure design is the art and science of architecture. The understanding of physics, engineering, and mathematics is needed to produce designs that are both aesthetically beautiful and structurally sound. For developing comprehensive plans for entire cities and regions, many architects also collaborate with landscape architects, interior designers, and urban planners. So, we also need to learn the basics of landscaping, interior designing and urban planning. Thus comes the need for so many courses and therefore, so many credit hours...Project management is also something we must learn about...We also have to learn the basics of electrical connections and plumbing that run inside the structures we design, making the curriculum more extensive...Besides the tuition fees, there are some hidden costs in studying architecture that many are unaware of...Majority of the cost is generated from the materials for the models, but there are other significant investments an architecture student may need to make...' Read on...

The Daily Star: What students can expect from a major in Architecture
Author: Faisal Bin Iqbal


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 sep 2022

E. Jerome McCarthy's 1960 book 'Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach' first proposed the four P's of marketing - price, product, promotion and place. The concept continues to be relevant, but over the years the business environment has evolved and major component of this change is technology and most recently COVID-19 exacerbated the digital push. All this brought about an additional P to the marketing mix - the payments. The fifth P brings about a new element to the customer journey as they demand seamless experience till the end. B2C companies have adopted efficient payment systems but B2B companies are trying to refine them. According to DigitalCommerce360's '2022 U.S. B2B Ecommerce Market Report', 51% of business buyers are attracted to B2B sites with an excellent B2C-like user experience. In present times B2B companies can't ignore the fifth P - payments - and risk losing B2B customers expectations of seamless transactions. B2B companies can learn a lot from B2C as they have mastered the understanding of customer preferences and have designed their systems to offer fast convenient ways to pay their way during a seamless, omnichannel experience. Even though most B2B buyers pay online through credit cards but that is not their most favored method. According to the statistics from TreviPay's 'Why More Payment Options Mean More Purchases' report, 'Although more than half of B2B buyers use credit cards to make online purchases, but they don't want to and 50% actually prefer to pay with methods other than credit cards when given the option...90% of B2B buyers research payment options before purchasing from a new supplier...15% of B2B buyers spend more when offered trade credit,..82% would choose one vendor over others if that vendor offered invoicing at checkout with 30-, 60- or 90-day terms.' According to Forrester Tech Tide 2022, 'B2B payment augmentation is increasingly critical to companies' ability to win, serve and retain business customers. Offering trade credit and net terms invoicing, automatic onboarding, instant decisioning and digitizing A/R are all needed...' To stay ahead B2B organizations must provide B2C-like payment methods; digital and mobile purchasing options; payments, invoicing and billing in one centralized location; invoicing, account reconciliation and overdue reminders; risk management and sophisticated fraud detection; more working capital for buyers; and integrations with a myriad of technology vendors. Including the 5th P in the marketing mix offers customer-centric benefits the entire organization should champion. This benefits would include offering buyers consistent, quality service and support throughout their entire customer journey, creating a virtuous cycle of repeat purchases. Read on...

Entrepreneur: Why B2B Companies Can't Ignore the 5th P of Marketing - Payments
Author: Brandon Spear


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 sep 2022

Technology startups have different sets of thought and work processes that differentiate them from the ways of traditional corporations. They often work with tight budgets and keep a high focus on fulfilling customer needs. They work with an out-of-the-box solution approach. Many times nonprofits work in the same environment and face similar challenges. 15 Forbes Nonprofit Council members suggest ways through which nonprofits can adopt 'tech startup mentality' to better serve their communities - (1) Dominic Kalms, B Generous: Have an agile mindset. (2) Kimberly Lewis, Goodwill Industries of East Texas, Inc.: Do your due diligence. (3) Gloria Horsley, Open to Hope: Assess the user experience. (4) Jennifer Hill, Refugee Protection International: Be ready to wear multiple hats. (5) Christopher Dipnarine, 4MyCiTy Inc: Create a flexible work environment. (6) Deidre Lind, Mayor's Fund for Los Angeles: Prioritize your staff's needs. (7) Sepideh Nasiri, Women Of MENA In Technology: Pay your staff well. (8) Jono Anzalone, The Climate Initiative: Embrace failure. (9) Pablo Listingart, ComIT: Understand how society is being impacted. (10) Jennifer Thompson, National Association of Social Workers New Jersey/Delaware: Take risks. (11) Albert L. Reyes, Buckner International: Lean on your team's rookiness. (12) Victoria Burkhart, The More Than Giving Company: Make technological investments after careful thought. (13) Jesse Bethke Gomez, Metropolitan Center for Independent Living: Commit to lifelong learning. (14) Betsy Chapin Taylor, FAHP, Accordant: Let go of past traditions. (15) Jose Luis Castro, Vital Strategies: Be adaptable. Read on...

Forbes: 15 Simple Ways To Adopt A 'Tech Startup Mentality' In Your Nonprofit Organization
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 sep 2022

India's healthcare challenge is to be taken seriously at all levels - policy, public, private etc. Considering the large population size, an estimated 1.4 billion, it requires consistent and unfaltering efforts to standardize healthcare across all regions, both urban and rural. Within many challenges facing India's healthcare, the two important ones are affordability and accessability. Indian government spends only 2.1% of GDP on healthcare compared to 9.7% across OECD countries. This is one of the main reasons for the large portion of healthcare burden going to Indian people's pockets, which amounts to more than 55%. Another statistics that is disturbing in India's healthcare is vast divide between rural and urban health delivery. India's urban population is 28% while they have access to 66% of the hospital beds. Moreover, 67% of the doctors work in urban areas. One aspect of the solution related to India's many healthcare challenges is collaboration and partnership between public and private entities. The recent COVID-19 challenge highlighted the value of public-private partnerships (PPP) in healthcare. Collaborative public and private efforts in diagnostics, technology and treatment, helped India take the challenge of saving lives during the pandemic. The CoWin portal for vaccination is one such example. There are many instances of such public-private collaborations during the pandemic that provide evidence for the success of PPP model. This model can be taken further to improve and enhance the quality, affordability and accessability of the overall healthcare system in India. In the last few years PPP focused policy initiatives have led to increased investments in PPP projects. India received US$ 7.7 billion of committed investments across 25 projects in 2021, the largest in the South Asia Region. The three ways the PPP projects can help overcome affordability and accessability challenge in India's healthcare are - (1) Expertise: Private sector with urban focus have 58% hospitals and 81% doctors while public sector have most infrastructure in rural areas. Collaboration between urban and rural health by making the private sector services and expertise available in rural public health facilities can become a transformative strategy for improving India's healthcare. (2) Technology: Can be fully utilized to improve affordability and accessability in rural areas. Telemedicine is one such strategy. eSanjeevani, the national teleconsultation service, is an example. (3) Efficiency: The existing healthcare infrastructure can be uplifted through ehnanced efficiencies by implementing PPP model. Read on...

World Economic Forum: How public-private partnerships could be the booster dose for India's healthcare ecosystem
Authors: Neelima Dwivedi, Ruma Bhargava


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 12 sep 2022

The U.S. National Science Foundation's (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) program established in 2011 is an experiential education and training program designed to facilitate entrepreneurial innovations in universities towards commercialization and expand their economic and social benefits and impact. The program has three aims - (1) Train an entreprenneurial workforce (2) Bring cutting-edge technologies to market (3) Nurturing an innovation ecosystem. According to the NSF website (nsf.gov) article 'NSF expands the National Innovation Network (NIN) with 5 new I-Corps Hubs' dated 08 sep 2022, NSF now has 10 hubs in total spread all across US with each hub funded for up to US$ 3 million per year for five years and comprises a regional alliance of at least eight universities. The I-Corps™ Hubs work collaboratively to build and sustain a diverse and inclusive innovation ecosystem. Erwin Gianchandani, NSF Assistant Director for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships, says, 'I am delighted the I-Corps™ Hubs that we are awarding today will expand the footprint of the National Innovation Network, harnessing the innovation potential that exists all across the country by establishing clear pathways for researchers to engage with NSF's Lab-to-Market Platform. Each regional I-Corps™ Hub provides training essential in entrepreneurship and customer discovery, leading to new products, startups and jobs. In this way, the I-Corps™ program will open up new economic opportunities throughout the United States.' Vanderbilt University is the lead institution for the new Mid-South Region Hub and will coordinate the program through the Wond'ry Innovation Center. Daniel Diermeier, Chancellor of Vanderbilt, says, 'This role aligns perfectly with our position as a leading center of research and innovation, and with our efforts to help cultivate a thriving ecosystem supporting invention and entrepreneurship in our region...' Wond'ry's Charleson Bell, director of entrepreneurship, biomedical innovation and I-Corps™, and Deanna Meador, deputy director, in a joint statement say, 'The Mid-South I-Corps™ Hub is for everyone. Led by Vanderbilt with an intentional emphasis on inclusive innovation, this hub will accelerate the translation of groundbreaking university research outcomes into commercialized ventures that seed emergent, prosperous innovation ecosystems across the Midsouth. We are thrilled to extend our local successes with I-Corps™ to the greater Midsouth and help underrepresented innovators bring their ideas to life.' David A. Owens, Evans Family Executive Director, and Mandy Lalrindiki, program manager of innovation and design research, are other members of I-Corps™ team. The effort received broad bipartisan support from politicians including Tennessee's U.S. Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty, and U.S. Reps. Jim Cooper, Tim Burchett and Chuck Fleischmann. C. Cybele Raver, provost of Vanderbilt, says, '...In keeping with NSF's aims, Vanderbilt drives discovery, harnessing big ideas in ways that dramatically increase their economic and social impact...' Padma Raghavan, vice provost for research and innovation at Vanderbilt, says, 'The spirit of collaborative innovation that defines our Vanderbilt community is key to our success...advance the development of an inclusive innovation corridor.' Read on...

Vanderbilst University Research News: The Wond'ry, Vanderbilt's Innovation Center, named National Science Foundation Innovation Corps Hub lead institution
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 aug 2022

Market research analysis is the methodology to understand the target market, customers and competitors. It provides businesses the insights that they can apply to build products and continuously improve them depending on what customers and market needs. This also assist companies to devise effective marketing and selling strategies. Market research analyst is the key human resource in the field of business and their demand is high. According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics the job outlook for the industry is 22%, and the median annual wage is around US$ 64000. There are certain set of qualifications and skills that make a good market research analyst - (1) Getting a business or marketing degree builds the foundation for a successful career. (2) As data is one of the most essential component of market research, it is important to be skilled in sorting, storing and analyzing data. Knowledge of software tools like Excel, Sheets, Tableau etc is needed. (3) Other necessary skills include both technical and soft skills. Analytical skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, data analysis, and logical reasoning are required. Verbal and written communication skills are a must when explaining data in the form of presentations and writing reports. (4) Getting relevant experience while pursuing education in the form of internships help in getting initial placement. Moreover, obtaining specialized market research related degree can pave the way for better placement. (5) Building relevant industry contacts and networking will assist in getting guidance and mentoring and to stay on course for successful career. (6) There are many specialized online courses that can help in honing existing skills and getting new ones. As the field continues to grow and progress taking online courses will assure skill development while staying in the job. Read on...

MakeUseOf: How to Become a Market Research Analyst: The Ultimate Guide
Author: Raji Oluwaniyi


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 aug 2022

According to Rajesh Verma, Secretary in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (Govt. of India), 'Indian companies have spent more than ₹1 trillion in CSR since the framework for corporate spending on community came into force in 2014-15. Investments in ESG (Environment, Sustainability and Governance) will play a key role in not only meeting the US$ 5 trillion economy goal, but also sustainable development goals (SDG) by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2070.' He suggests that for the survival and betterment of the world, and to overcome present and future challenges - like COVID-19, climate change, resource scarcity, inequality etc - needs people to be responsible, accountable and considerate towards each other. In these challenging scenarios large corporations have special role to play that they can perform through CSR and similar responsible activities. Many Indian companies are even spending more than they are required to under the CSR law. To encourage spending the law allows credit for the excess spending in a year which can be set off against future spending obligations. Indian companies are spending mor Green finance is a growing field. According to RBI bulletin of October 2021, global issuance of the green bong had surpassed US$ 250 billion in 2019 and among the list of emerging economies, India is secong to China in the cumulative emerging market green bond issuance. Read on...

Livemint: India Inc spent ₹1 trillion on CSR over seven years
Author: Gireesh Chandra Prasad


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 aug 2022

3D printing is a computer-aided design enabled additive manufacturing process that makes products through extruded materials layer-by-layer. 3D printing types that have developed recently include fused deposition modeling, stereolithography, selective laser sintering, selective laser melting, digital light processing, fused filament fabrication etc. Benefits of 3D printing include cost-effectiveness; time, resource, and energy savings; significantly less material waste; enhanced design freedom etc. In addition to various industries like manufacturing, aerospace, transportation etc where 3D printing has found extensive use, it is now finding application in textile industry. 3D printing can bring more efficiencies in the fabric production and make it more sustainable. It has potential to reduce consumption of resources like water and materials, and substantially eliminate the waste produced that would reduct textile industry's large carbon footprint. Moreover, 3D printing provides ability to manufacture 'smart' fabrics with embedded functionalities and, complex and unique structures. Even though there is potential for 3D printing in textile industry, it also has many challenges that need to be overcome to its widespread use. 3D printed fabrics are more stiff, less flexible giving rise to impediments in their wearibility and comfort level. Scientists have proposed many solutions to 3D printed textiles to impart properties like stretchability, softness, and flexibility. Three approaches towards this goal are printing flexible structural units, printing fibers, and printing on textiles. Read on...

AZoM: How is 3D Printing Changing the Textile Industry?
Author: Reginald Davey


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 jul 2022

Over the years, use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides has grown tremendously. Even though it has benefited farmers in increasing yields and saving crops from pests, but its indiscriminate use had negative effects on soil, environment and human health. This overuse is creating concern in farming communities, governments and nonprofits, and giving rise to a farming movement, often termed as 'organic farming' or 'natural farming', that utilizes old techniques of farming in a new and more scientific way. Indian government highlighted this method of farming in 2021 Economic Survey and work towards lessening use of chemicals in farming. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her 2022 Budget speech said, 'Chemical-free natural farming will be promoted throughout the country, with a focus on farmers' lands in 5 km wide corridors along river Ganga, at the first stage.' Currently only about 3.8 million hectares, or 2.7% of the total area under farming in India, is farmed organically or through natural methods. Experts differ in their views regarding the level of transition required towards 'natural farming' and how much beneficial it would be for India's agricultural economy. Experts supporting 'natural farming' point out the benefits to farmers like reduce input costs, improve soil health and water efficiency, increase farm produce prices, but others experts mention concerns like lower yields, crops becoming more vulnerable to pests and plant diseases etc. Most debates related to agriculture in India often get politicised, but what is needed in India is a more long-term sustainable model in agriculture. G.V. Ramanjaneyulu, executive director of the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (Secunderabad), says, 'The focus should be on reducing agro-chemicals, water use and energy utilisation.' Economist Mihir Shah, in a January 2022 report in the journal 'Ecology, Economy and Society', wrote that due to impact of Green Revolution and current situation of pandemic, 'there is an urgent need to scale up alternative approaches of farming.' PM Narendra Modi in his speech to farmers in 2021 National Conclave on Natural Farming said, 'We have to take our agriculture out of the lab of chemistry and connect it to the lab of nature.', referring to agroecology, which guides public policies towards sustainable agriculture and food systems, according to the Food and Agriclture Organization (FAO). 'Natural Farming' and 'Organic Farming', both used interchangably, come under agroecological practices. Natural farming focuses on the use of bio inputs prepared from farm and local ecosystems instead of purchasing those from outside. Sridhar Radhakrishnan, activist and independent agriculture researcher based in Thiruvananthapuram, says, 'Organic farming is defined now more from a perspective of product certification. Except for such certification, organic and natural farming in India are largely similar.' R. Ramakumar, an economist at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), says, 'What binds organic and natural farming proponents is the thrust on the absence of application of chemical fertilisers or chemical pesticides during cultivation...But [some] natural farming proponents argue that even these external applications are not required, as the farm itself can generate much of the inputs required, therefore, they call it Zero-Budget Natural Farming.' Zero-Budget Natural Farming is one of the many methods of natural farming, popularised by agriculturist Subhash Palekar. Vineet Kumar, deputy programme manager of Sustainable Food Systems at CSE (Centre for Science and Environment), says, 'There is scientific evidence on the benefits of natural farming, but the government has to take the initiative to formally collate like it did under AI-NPOF.' Kavitha Kuruganti, a social activist with the Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA), says, 'A modern agricultural scientist may not even be able to explain why a concoction sprayed by a farmer increased yield in natural farming, while the scientist may understand how chemicals work.' India's way forward in agriculture would require a robust scientific and economic approach that keeps in mind the interests of the farmers, quality of produce, environment and human health, agri-employment etc. Read on...

IndiaSpend: Explained: What Is Natural Farming?
Author: Shreehari Paliath


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jul 2022

Recent research report, 'The State of Shipping Report 2022: Why Faster Shipping Matters', developed in partnership between X Delivery and Retail Management Institute of Santa Clara University, points out the importance of fast, free, and effective shipping on online brands' customer relationships. According to the report, 62% of shoppers expect their orders to arrive in less than 3 business days when choosing free shipping. On the contrary, more than 4/5ths of leading fashion and apparel retailers are still using 5-8 day delivery options to service free shipping orders. Prof. Kirthi Kalyanam, Executive Director of the Retail Management Institute of Santa Clara University, says, 'Customers want shipping to be free and fast — and they’re willing to abandon carts and walk away from brands that fail to deliver on both fronts. Today’s consumers are more demanding than ever, and it’s up to merchants to give them the streamlined, expedited shipping experiences that they crave.' Peter Sheldon, SVP of Strategy & Business Development at X Delivery, says, 'Everyone understands the ROI of free shipping, but many retail brands aren't yet providing affordable and convenient expedited shipping options. retailers that step up and elevate their delivery options have an opportunity to upgrade their brand experience, reduce cart abandonment, and capture significant ROI.' Read on...

Retail Dive: Survey: 62% of shoppers expect their free shipping orders to arrive in 3 business days
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 jul 2022

To provide best digital experience, web design has to continuously evolve with changing human expectations, requirements, culture shifts, technological advancements etc. The latest report 'The Biggest Design Trends of 2022 So Far' by Editor X, provides the 2022 design trends that are influencing online experiences. The trends include - (1) Metaverse Mayhem: As more people shift to metaverse, the virtual world platforms, it is expected that the brands will too and therefore the design creativity will come into play to provide the necessary experiences. The big names like Meta, gaming platform like Roblox etc are betting big for the sector and it is expected to grow to US$ 700 billion by 2030. Benjamin Bertram Goldman, metaverse advisor at Sequin AR, says, 'Businesses and brands will want to future-proof themselves for this new age of immersive technology, and that means they'll begin giving preference to designers who have experience designing for immersive experiences, including AR/VR, games, and other 3D media.' Prof. Janet Murray of Georgia Institute of Technology says, 'A lot of money will be thrown at VR and AR applications over the next few years.' (2) Dopamine Colour Palettes: Fashion trend, 'dopamine dressing', that involves colorful clothes in an array of happiness-inducing rainbow hues, is now getting popular in web design. Use of bright, bold and vivid palettes is visible online. This trend is getting traction as people are trying to overcome Covid-induced depressive environment through joyful colors. (3) Web Kitsch: Clean and less cluttered website design is back. It includes default fonts, patterned backgrounds, old-school browser windows, simple layouts, decorative sticker icons etc. Other trends in the report include digital fashion, 3D interactive elements, 3D lettering and zen energy (calming design aesthetics). Read on...

Creative Boom: Revealed! The three most impactful web design trends of 2022 so far
Author: Tom May


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jul 2022

According to the study, 'Analysis of future wind and solar potential over India using climate models' (Authors: T. S. Anandh from Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM); Deepak Gopalakrishnan from IITM and Center for Prototype Climate Modeling (NYU, UAE); Parthasarathi Mukhopadhyay from IITM), recently published in the Current Science, 'changing climate patterns over the next 50 years are likely to reduce the generation of solar power in India and affect the major wind power plants in certain regions... the renewable energy sector should work on improving the efficiency of solar farms given that radiation is likely to dip by 10 to 15 watts per square metre (sqm) across all seasons.' The team utilized three projection models - CORDEX-SA, CMIP5, and CMIP6 - to analyse solar and wind potential in India. Parthasarathi Mukhopadhyay of IITM, says, 'We have tried to show the difference between historical climates and the future scenario. All the models show an overall decrease in wind and solar power generation potential in India. Every model has its own uncertainty, but we have used three sets of models to analyse solar and wind potential over the peninsular region.' SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF THE STUDY: Both wind and solar potential are decreasing in some regions e.g. western India; Central and south-central India must be considered for the sector during pre-monsoon months, as the potential loss was minimum in these regions; North-western India - the biggest solar energy hub - is likely to see a loss in its energy capacity; Global warming would result in a drop in wind potential in some regions, and a rise in others; The southern coast of Odisha and the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu show promising potential for wind energy in the climate change scenario. Researchers predict that the deficits in solar and wind potential in India could be overcome by including more farms and using highly efficient power generators. Read on...

ThePrint: Bad news for renewable sector - study says climate change will hit solar & wind energy in India
Authors: Mohana Basu, Tony Rai


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 jul 2022

Nonprofit governance is a challenging issue and typical measures like reducing boards size, identifying best practices etc arent' able to assure better quality governance. According to 2021 'Leading with Intent: BoardSource Index of Nonprofit Board Practices' survey, board performance receives average marks for key responsibilities. Researchers from UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, Prof. Paul Jansen and MBA student Helen Hatch, conducted a research for Center for Social Sector Leadership and explored the new idea of having a dedicated Chief Governance Officer (CGO) who is a board memeber. They interviewed 30 experienced nonprofit directors representing over 100 nonprofit boards and found that CGO could catalyze improved board performance. Researchers summarize here the common sources of inconsistent governance quality and outlines the expected benefits of appointing one director as a CGO. EIGHT SOURCES OF INCONSISTENT GOVERNANCE: (1) Nonprofit directors often lack a shared understanding of what good governance means. (2) Nonprofit boards do not always have the right voices in the boardroom. (3) Pressure to help organizations meet annual fundraising targets shifts attention away from governance. (4) Boards fail to regularly assess governance performance and develop improvement plans. (5) Poor governance processes push boards to underinvest in critical issues and governance activities. (6) A low-accountability board culture leads to inconsistent effort by individual directors. (7) Confusion between the board’s role and that of management. (8) Governance has gotten tougher (Challenges - Financial complexity; Technology; Sociocultural shifts; Increased public scrutiny; Evolving legal duties). DEFINING THE CGO ROLE: (1) Ensure compliance with legal and social expectations. (2) Champion the adoption of proven governance practices that enable the board to help the organization fulfill its mission effectively and efficiently. Anne Wallestad, CEO of BoardSource, in her 2021 SSIR article 'The Four Principles of Purpose-Driven Board Leadership', defines 'Purpose-Driven Board Leadership', a mindset characterized by four fundamental principles, mutually reinforcing and interdependent, that define the way that the board sees itself and its work: (1) Purpose before organization. (2) Respect for ecosystem. (3) Equity mindset. (4) Authorized voice and power. The CGO should play a hands-on role in four activities: (1) Leading a bi-annual review of governance effectiveness and monitoring initiatives to improve board performance. (2) Driving new director governance training and shaping supplemental training and education over time. (3) Monitoring external governance-related developments pertaining to the law, regulations, and social expectations on behalf of the board. (4) Engaging with the CEO on how staff can best support high quality governance. The best suited candidate for CGO role should have a certain set of skills that should include - an independent, objective, organization-first mindset and willingness to ask hard, sometimes uncomfortable questions is essential to this role; legal skills; communication and persuasion skills; trained in board governance. Organizations should find their own way of implementing the CGO role. Some suggestions are - Recruit the skill set; Make CGO an officer of the board; Have the CGO report to the board; Sponsor the CGO to receive governance training and certification; Support the CGO's membership in good governance forums; Arrange for access to outside counsel; Consider adopting the role on a temporary basis. Read on...

Stanford Social Innovation Review: Does Your Nonprofit Board Need a CGO?
Authors: Paul Jansen, Helen Hatch


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 jun 2022

Selling is an evolving art and it has become more challenging to connect, convince, engage and build relationships with the tech-savvy and freedom prefering consumers when they embark on their buying journey. 11 members of the Forbes Coaches Council have experienced advice for salespeople for success in 2022 - (1) Merge The Old With The New (Divya Parekh, DP Group): 'It is critical to know current market trends and become familiar with how people think and act...The goal is to help your customers find a solution to their problems. This allows customers to see the value you offer and create trust...' (2) Become A Trusted Advisor (John Lowe, Ty Boyd Inc.): 'To become a trusted advisor, a rep needs to leave their sales baggage at the door...People don't want to be sold; they want you to help them make a decision to buy.' (3) Utilize In-Person And Social Selling Platforms (Antonio Garrido, Absolute Sales Development): 'Follow a successful "hybrid" sales and prospecting process which includes remote/virtual as well as in-person selling...Follow a behavioral plan, and hold yourself accountable for it. Ask for feedback and critique. Become a lifelong learner.' (4) Ask Good Questions And Actively Listen (José Luís González Rodriguez, ActionCOACH): 'The most revolutionary selling technique is the Socratic method...The most professional sale is the one made by the client...' (5) Connect With Your Customers' Values (Natasha Charles, Intuitive Coaching w/ Natasha Charles): 'Your customers desire a personalized, customized experience...' (6) Understand How People Think (Chuen Chuen Yeo, ACESENCE Agile Leadership Coaching and Training Pte. Ltd.): 'Don't rely on tactics that manipulate clients...Think about winning ambassadors, not customers. Connect with curiosity and have the real intention to serve.' (7) Build Honest Relationships With Customers (Michael Thiemann, Strategy-Lab™): '...Remember that customers are less interested in the product than in the result. Your product may only help solve part of their problem; help them solve the other parts too.' (8) Build Relationships The Old-Fashioned Way (John M. O'Connor, Career Pro Inc.): 'Take someone out to eat. Invite them to a talk. Send them a thoughtful, handwritten note with an article in it that you cut out of the newspaper or a magazine...Try to focus on building a more personal relationship and not so much on making transactional sales.' (9) Be A Presence Of Honesty And Integrity (Natasha Ganem, Lion Leadership): '...The only thing they need to sell is a good relationship. Get good at being in a community and in relationships with people in meaningful ways, and then sales will follow.' (10) Help Customers Avoid Pain And Gain Pleasure (Csaba Toth, ICQ Global): 'The highest level of influence is when somebody can connect their message to the other person's highest values and vision in a language they understand. Otherwise, the message gets lost, and even if the client needs a service or product, they would not want it...' (11) Seek To Understand Before Offering Solutions (Bryan Powell, Executive Coaching Space): 'Meet your clients where they are. In today’s environment, it is imperative for the "modern salesperson" to develop a curious mindset and seek to understand before offering a solution...' Read on...

Forbes: 11 Essential Tips For The Modern Salesperson In 2022
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jun 2022

Effective visualization brings communication to the next level and graphic design is the creative skill that makes it happen. As per reports by research firms - The Business Research Company: 'Global market size of design services is projected to grow to US$ 249.5 billion by 2022 from the US$ 153 billion that it had touched in 2018'; IBISWorld - Global graphic designers' industry market size, which stands at US$ 43.4 billion, is expected to increase by 3.7% in 2022'. Anu Kiran, a graphic designer and motion graphic artist at One Source, says, 'The very essence of graphic design is the ability to convey ideas and resolve complex problems through a platform - a visual and design message board - which appeal to and communicate through the primal sensory touchpoint of sight.' Most industries utilize graphic design when they communicate visually with their customers. Graphic designers need specific skills to excel in their careers. Mohammed Zeeshan, CEO and co-founder of edtech firm MyCaptain, says, 'Apart from knowing the basics, the theories of design and the concepts, you must also be able to possess an understanding of what the user wants. Being a user-first designer helps not only you but also the businesses.' Job titles in graphic design include apparel graphic designer, logo designer, packaging designer, web designer, multimedia designer, art director, UI/ UX artist etc. As the demand for the trained talent in graphic design grows, India has to fulfil it by focusing on creating quality design institutes and upgrading the existing ones. Read on...

Outlook India: As Visual Appeal Takes Centre Stage, Opportunities Open Up For Graphic Designers
Author: Sanyukt Kulshrestha


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 jun 2022

Social entrepreneurship provides opportunity to do business along with social good. There are some qualities that are inherent to being a social entrepreneur - (1) Think Outside Of The Box: Creativity and teamwork to find solutions to complex social problem. (2) Build A Leadership Tribe: Nurturing leadership and continuously learning, growing and adapting to evolving social issues. (3) Use Your Personality: Good temperament and relatable personality is essential for success as social entrepreneur. (4) Fight Through The Tough Times: Persistence and winning temperament will help overcome hurdles and pushbacks. Diplomatic approach with excellent communication can help lead and convince both those support and oppose. (5) Keep That Passion: Internal spark and continuous passion is necessary to reach the goals. Prioritize passion for selective tasks can help channelize energy in the right direction for sustained success. Read on...

Entrepreneur: Social Entrepreneurship Qualities to Harness
Author: Baptiste Monnet


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 may 2022

Internships are an important component of education and learning ecosystem that provide students with practical learning opportunities while still pursuing formal education in academic settings. Internships provide students with skills and experiences that anhances their career prospects. Prof. Rajnish Jain, Secretary and Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) of University Grants Commission (UGC), recently released the 'Draft Guidelines for Research Internship with Faculty and Researchers at Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)/Research Institutions'. He says, 'HEIs research outcome catering to social and industrial needs is essential to strengthening self-reliant economic growth. The major push for research promotion initiatives in National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 provisions UG Honours degree with a research internship...As a part of the NEP-2020 implementation, it has been decided to have a robust mechanism to develop plan and strategies, encourage & motivate students for Research Internship at HEls/Research Institutions.' Summer internships are becoming mainstream. Sarvesh Agrawal, founder and CEO of Internshala, says, 'As compared to other months, the summer internships (April to June) are more popular because students have their college vacations going on and have more time to pursue full-time internships. Some of the popular internship profiles for which summer interns are being hired include management profiles like digital marketing, business development, sales and marketing, branding, customer service, market research, finance, human resources, and operations.' Area wise distribution of internships is as follows - Management (46%), Media (25%), Design and Architecture (9%), Commerce (1%), and other areas (2%). Prof. Ranjan Banerjee, Dean at the Birla Institute of Technology School of Management (BITSoM) Pilani, says, 'Internships have always been mandatory for students pursuing full-time two-year MBA programmes right from when the first B-schools started in India. This has been true for engineering students as well since the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) mandated internships in 2017 to improve the employability of engineering graduates. Now we are seeing a trend of undergraduate students in other disciplines also seeking out internships to get a preview of working in the organisations and industries that they aspire to make a career in, and strengthen their CVs at the same time.' Read on...

The Times of India: Why summer internships are on the rise
Author: Rajlakshmi Ghosh


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 may 2022

According to the research paper, 'Leveraging Creativity in Charity Marketing: The Impact of Engaging in Creative Activities on Subsequent Donation Behavior' (Authors: Ravi Mehta of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Lidan Xu of the University of North Texas, Darren W. Dahl of the University of British Columbia), published in Journal of Marketing, 'engaging potential donors in creative activities can positively influence their propensity to donate money to a charitable cause.' Prof. Ravi Mehta says, 'Participating in creative activities such as drawing or cookie decoration in support of a charitable cause induces a sense of autonomy in participants, which leads to a positive affective state, resulting in 'enhanced donation behaviors' - that is, a greater likelihood of donating to the cause and a greater monetary amount donated.' Prof. Mehta further explains, 'Charities are constantly looking for new and more effective ways to engage potential donors in order to secure the resources needed to deliver their services. This paper demonstrates that creative activities are one way for marketers to meet this challenge. We think that this research will have substantive implications for understanding how creativity can affect subsequent behavior, and how marketers and advertisers can incorporate creative activities into fundraising efforts, charity events and social media campaigns as a viable fundraising strategy.' Read on...

Illinois News Bureau: Paper: Engaging donors in creative acts can boost charitable fundraising
Author: Phil Ciciora


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 may 2022

Steven R. Kovey in his book, '7 Habits of Highly Effective People', mentioned 'Begin with the end in mind' as the second habit, which means all things are created twice - first in our minds and then when they are created in the physical world. The concept is being utilized by organizations to collectively champion their efforts for larger goal. PR industry is using this concept while doing cross-agency collaboration by working together with the same client. Pandemic and conflicts have further demonstrated the significance of cross-sector collaboration. Jessica Starman, co-founder and CEO of Elev8 New Media, explains that cross-agency collaboration in PR is the way forward and can be effective in serving more clients. Traditional PR agancies are finding numerous challenges in changing environment, with large scale use of technology and social media, and one-size-fit-all solutions not much effective in this scenario. Flexible, agile, specialized and customized approaches are becoming prominent with creation of smaller PR agencies. Ms. Starman provides the following benefits of cross-agency collaboration - Wider array of expertise and more resources; Larger audience reach and exposure; More innovation and opportunities; More new and resourceful contacts for campaign acceleration. In the more digitalized and connected marketplace, the new normal for PR agencies is through collaboration to achieve common goals. Read on...

Forbes: Cross-Agency Collaboration: The Future Of Public Relations
Author: Jessica Starman


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 may 2022

As mentioned on the sciencedirect.com website, 'Tribology is the study of the science and engineering of interacting surfaces in relative motion and includes the study and application of the principles of friction, lubrication and wear.' The word was coined by Prof. Peter Jost in 1966 and is derived from the Greek word 'tribos' which means 'rubbing'. Vern Wedeven, founder and president of Wedeven Associates Inc., explains how the challenge of friction and wear in mechanical and electromechanical systems, specifically in the fields of nanotechnology, aerospace and biotechnology, can be overcome by incorporating 'Tribology-by-Design (T/D)' as it will facilitate building of enduring products by including friction, wear and lubrication in the design process. Tribology is often not applied in design process due to its complexity. There are many mechanisms at play that would include variety of small contact points, enormous loads, variable motion and speed, high stresses, heat generation, unfamiliar interface materials and so on. The challenge is enormous to design for life and durability under these complex situations. The new approach, 'Tribology-by-Design (T/D)', reduces the risk and help engineers better understand tribology challenges and more competently design for them. T/D combines a theory, a set of test and analysis tools, and a methodology. It was developed to get powerful tribology mechanisms into engineering design. Mr. Wedeven suggests, 'Using T/D theory, test and analysis tools, and methods to discover and apply new technologies will open the door to a much more rapid response to tribology challenges, faster innovation, reduced costs and mitigating risk.' MIT's (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Professional Education course, 'Tribology: Friction, Wear and Lubrication', teaches T/D to engineers around the globe. In one of the session Mr. Wedeven is an instructor and explores how T/D connects and differs from axiomatic design (AxD), a widely adopted design methodology developed by the course's lead instructor, Dr. Nam Pyo Suh, Cross Professor Emeritus at MIT. Read on...

Machine Design: Tribology by Design: A Revolution in Tribology
Author: Vern Wedeven


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 may 2022

According to Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) 2021-2022 Report on Currency and Finance (RCF) named 'Revive and Construct', the losses due to COVID-19 pandemic will take 15 years to overcome. The report suggests that India should focus on seven wheels of economic progress - aggregate demand; aggregate supply; institutions; intermediaries and markets; macroeconomic stability and policy coordination; productivity and technological progress; structural changes and sustainability. Moreover, price stability is an essential condition for strong and sustainable growth path. Shaktikanta Das, Governor of RBI, emphasises the need to create a virtuous cycle of greater opportunity for entrepreneurs, businesses, and the fiscal authority. For India's economic growth structural reforms that are needed include - enhancing access to litigation free low-cost land; raising the quality of labour through public expenditure on education and health and the Skill India Mission; scaling up R&D activities with an emphasis on innovation and technology; creating an enabling environment for start-ups and unicorns; rationalisation of subsidies that promote inefficiencies; and encouraging urban agglomerations by improving the housing and physical infrastructure. Read on...

India Today: Indian economy will take 15 years to overcome Covid losses, says RBI report. Here are the key takeaways.
Author: Aishwarya Paliwal


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 apr 2022

Collaboration at University of Minnesota Twin Cities between Dr. Amr El-Bokl and Dr. Gurumurthy Hiremath of Department of Pediatrics at the Medical School, and Prof. Carlye Lauff and undergraduate student Levi Skelton of Product Design Program at the College of Design, is leading to create a knowledge product to teach children and their families about congenital heart disease (CHD). CHD is a birth defect in the heart of children. CHD leads to varied abnormalities in the heart as the child grows, making it difficult for children and their families to understand and manage it. Dr. El-Bokl says, 'There is a tendency to try and protect children from information...Slow and early introduction is one of the best ways to become familiar with the medical information, but we don’t have many child-friendly tools.' Design process was initiated with a collaborative effort. Skelton says, 'I started by researching what CHD is, how it can manifest, be managed, and sometimes corrected. Dr. El-Bokl was both my client and mentor. While he was teaching me about CHD, he was also telling me what he wanted out of the product.' Learning and understanding about CHD involved interactions with childrens that have the condition. After research, a companion toy product was decided to be designed. Skelton adds, 'Having children simulate a doctor/patient interaction with themselves and a toy has been proven to help children feel more comfortable as a patient during a visit to the doctor. Once I decided on creating a toy, I researched animals with unique hearts and chose the octopus because it has three of them.' The prototype is termed as 'Octo'. It is designed with a removable 3D-printed heart and has an accompanying digital app for kids to administer checkups and learn about cardiovascular functions.' Read on...

University of Minnesota News: Demystifying congenital heart disease through product design
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 apr 2022

Nonprofits, with their limited budgets, have to implement human resource management strategies with great care, more effectively and efficiently. Nonprofits generally hire only essential full-time employees and are more dependent on short-term temporary workers and volunteers. To seamlessly manage diverse set of human resources for maximum output would require HR technology tools. Moreover, nonprofits on a growth trajectory would need a well thought out long-term planning and ulilization of HR technology. This would require analyzing what technologies are used currently and what new technologies are needed. Engaging staff is necessary to evaluate benefits of implementing a new HR system. There are six ways nonprofit can utilize HR technologies for a long-term - (1) Reduce manual workload: Integrated HR software would reduce time spend in compiling and aggregating separate spreadsheets for various purposes. It helps to easily import and export data for reporting. (2) Prevent manual errors: Managing different set of employees (full-time, contract, short-term, volunteers etc) may lead to manual errors in onboarding, payroll, benefits and compensation. HR systems prevent manual errors as they automate calculations. (3) Track your budget in real-time: This helps in anticipating and managing funds for nonprofit's growth and explansion. Guarantor requests, compliance and audit needs are also managed well with budget tracking. (4) Provide important data for grantors' reporting: Well managed payroll reporting helps to provide grantors essential data to release grants that fund employee salaries in a nonprofit. (5) Reduce audit errors: HR technology can identify payroll budget variances or duplicate employee records and helps in preventing fraud, and also ensures cleaner audits in long-term. (6) Improve employee access to benefits, payroll and information: Nonprofits, just like other organizations, need to attract and retain talent for growth and success. HR technology can assist in providing information regarding benefits, compensation and W2 tax form, whenever and wherever they need it. Read on...

Employee Benefit News: How nonprofits can leverage the benefits of HR technology
Author: Neil Taurins


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 apr 2022

Generating positive word-of-mouth (WOM) is one of the important component of brand influence. Nowadays, brands utilize influencer marketing strategies to get WOM. The study, 'How implicit self-theories and dual-brand personalities enhance word-of-mouth' [Authors: Arvind Sahay (Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad), Sudipta Mandal (Indian Institute of Management Indore), Adrian Terron (Tata Group), Kavita Mahto (Tata Sons Ltd)], published in European Journal of Marketing, investigates how and why consumers' mindsets can influence their WOM intentions toward a brand and the consequent implications for a brand's personality. The research study finds that fixed (growth) mindset individuals exhibit greater WOM intentions than growth (fixed) mindset individuals for motives of 'impression management' ('learning and information acquisition'). Moreover, the study results also demonstrate that brands that exhibit dual personality dimensions simultaneously, one salient and the other non-salient at any instant, garner equivalent WOM intentions from both fixed and growth mindset individuals, contingent on the fit between the salient brand personality dimension and the dominant consumer mindset. Finally, using a real brand, it can be seen that WOM intentions actually translate into behavior'. Prof. Arvind Sahay says, 'In today's world, influencers, both offline and online world, influencers, both offline and online, help you to sell your brand. Many of these influencers will have different kinds of personalities. As a brand, if I can build personalities of the brand itself, that appeals more to different kinds of influencers, they will generate more word-of-mouth.' Prof. Sahay suggests, 'Brands which have a purpose, brands which empathise with their customers, brands who try to connect with their customers are going to do better.' Read on...

The Economic Times: Brands could have dual personalities in an influencer-led economy: Arvind Sahay, marketing professor, IIM-A
Authors: Chehneet Kaur, Prasad Sangameshwaran


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 apr 2022

Leaders are expected to have strong decision-making and showing of doubt is considered a weakness. They are supposed to have answers to all questions and a clear understanding of how they will lead into the future. Being unsure and insecure make them vulnerable. But, a team of academics and researchers, Prof. Manoj Joshi (Amity University and co-author of the books 'The VUCA Company' and 'VUCA in Start-ups'), Prof. Ashok Kumar (Amity University and co-author of the book 'VUCA in Start-ups') and Suhayl Abidi (Consultant and co-author of the books 'The VUCA Company' and 'VUCA in Start-ups') explain that even though decisiveness is key characteristic required in leaders in normal and stable times but due to uncertainty, unpredictability and possibility of multiple scenarios leading to success, a different set of mindset is needed among leaders to navigate the environment and sail their organizations into the successful future. According to them, 'Today, we can't predict what will work to achieve the organisation's goals or purpose. What worked yesterday might not work tomorrow. There is no fixed recipe and patterns emanating from hindsight. It is far more complex and intertwined. New problems, which have not been tackled before, require new paradigms. We need CEOs with different mindsets who encourage exploring the world around us. Leaders need to ask better questions, engage in deeper dialogues and look for fresher perspectives. Weak or distant signals are subtle clues to what's coming next. Some distant signals are audible only to you. Other signals may bypass you, but others may be listening. It is the innate quality of a leader, honing the strategic foresight, ready to counter the unexpected-unknown-unknown.' Prof. Bob Johansen, a futurist, writes in his book 'The New Leadership Literacies', 'In this emerging world, the best companies will be very clear about where they are going, but very flexible about how they get there. The future will reward clarity but punish certainty.' Research shows that an absence of doubt leads to flawed decision-making. In the new VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity) world, having a bit of doubt with openness to change, being flexible and adaptive with changing scenarios is needed. Authors suggest, 'Uncertainty is here to stay. By visualising multiple futures and working back to the present, companies can prepare for any VUCA event. Doubt should not be seen as leading to pain and paralysis but a productive form of questioning and discovery.' Read on...

Businessworld: In VUCA - Doubt Is Good, Embrace It
Authors: Manoj Joshi, Suhayl Abidi, Ashok Kumar


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 mar 2022

Diversity and inclusion is one of the most important social issues for organizations, communities and countries. In the scholarly and research publishing industry, efforts are underway to analyze researcher diversity. Global publishers, amounting to more than 50 and representing 15000 journals, have come together to build a secure demographic database of researchers by asking them questions about race, ethnicity, gender etc when they send their research papers for publishing, and also when they edit and review manuscripts. This is intended to analyze demographic representation and detect biases in editing and review in what gets accepted and published. Many researchers support the idea and achnowledge issues of racism and under-representation in scholarly publishing. Holly Falk-Krzesinski, VP of research intelligence at Elsevier, says, 'If you don’t have the data, it is very difficult to understand where you are at, to make changes, set goals and measure progress.' Joel Babdor, an immunologist at the University of California and cofounder of the group Black in Immuno that supports Black researchers in immunology and other sciences, says, 'It is never too late for progress. Now we want to see these efforts being implemented, normalized and generalized throughout the publishing system. Without this information, it is impossible to evaluate the state of the current system in terms of equity and diversity.' Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) led 11 publishers in signing a joint commitment to track and reduce bias in scholarly publishing. This group has grown to 52 publishers now. The process to build a standard international database has challenges as cultural understanding of race and ethnicity differs from country to country. Nicola Nugent, publishing manager at the RSC, shares her experience of using computational algorithms to measure gender diversity. Analyzing 700000 manuscripts submitted to RSC journals between 2014 and 2018, identified biases against women at each stage of the publishing process. But Ms. Nugent says, 'Collecting those data was crucial - without the baseline numbers, it was hard to see where to make changes.' Prof.Casey Greene, computational biologist at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, says, 'Publishers could glean insights from these methods, if they apply them to large numbers of names and limit analysis to broad ethnicity classes - especially when examining past papers, for which it might not be possible to ask authors directly.' A team led by computer scientist Steven Skiena at Stony Brook University in New York used millions of e-mail contact lists and data on social-media activity to train a classifier called NamePrism. It clusters names into similar-seeming groups, and uses curated lists of names with known nationalities to assign nationalities to those groups. Ariel Hippen, a graduate student in Prof. Greene's lab, scraped biographical pages from Wikipedia to train a classifier that assigns names to ten geographical regions. A team including Prof. Greene, Hippen and data scientist Trang Le at the University of Pennsylvania, used the tool to document under-representation of people from East Asia in honours and invited talks awarded by the International Society for Computational Biology. Natalie Davidson, a postdoc in the Greene lab, used the same tool to quantify representation in Nature’s news coverage, finding fewer East Asian names among quoted sources, compared with their representation in papers. A team led by physicist Danielle Bassett at the University of Pennsylvania found that authors of colour in five neuroscience journals are undercited relative to their representation; the team's analysis suggests that this is because white authors preferentially cite other white authors. Cassidy Sugimoto, an information scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, says, 'Computational methods are largely incapable of addressing the most pressing questions about racial diversity and inclusion in science...Race and ethnicity classification is infinitely more complicated than gender disambiguation.' Jory Lerback, a geochemist at the University of California at Los Angeles, says, 'Given those complex dimensions, the best option for collecting data is simply to invite scientists to self-identify.' Raymond Givens, a cardiologist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, also started privately tallying editors' ethnicities. The efforts got reported on website STAT. He says, 'A lot of journals have all of a sudden been shocked by being confronted in this way. But it's important to ask why it has taken them so long to start thinking about how to collect this kind of information.' American Chemical Society (ACS) pledged in June 2020 to collect demographic data to make its journals more representative of the communities it serves. Sarah Tegen, SVP at ACS journals publishing group, says, 'Designing the categories required some market research, with a goal of being inclusive and crafting questions that are clear and easy to answer...the data are a useful baseline for understanding the demographics of ACS journals.' Ann Morning, demographer at New York University, was hired by publishers as consultant to design a framework for asking about race and ethnicity. The draft questionnaire was pilot tested with 1000 anonymous repondents. Greater than 90% reported their race and ethnicity, and more than two-thirds said they felt well represented in the schema. About half said they would be comfortable providing this information when submitting a paper. Also some respondents were not willing to provide information. Keletso Makofane, a public-health researcher and activist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says,'The efforts of publishers are a fantastic start. But it's not just about authors and reviewers, it's important to look at the people who make the higher-level decisions about policies of the journals.' Ms. Lerback says, 'To engage the historically marginalized populations they hope to reach, publishers (and researchers studying how ethnicity affects scholarly publishing) must commit to engaging with these groups beyond simply asking for data. They should build trust by following up findings with action...Data is the currency of which policy gets implemented.' Read on...

Nature: The giant plan to track diversity in research journals
Authors: Holly Else, Jeffrey M. Perkel


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 mar 2022

Diversity and inclusion is one of the most important social issues for organizations, communities and countries. In the scholarly and research publishing industry, efforts are underway to analyze researcher diversity. Global publishers, amounting to more than 50 and representing 15000 journals, have come together to build a secure demographic database of researchers by asking them questions about race, ethnicity, gender etc when they send their research papers for publishing, and also when they edit and review manuscripts. This is intended to analyze demographic representation and detect biases in editing and review in what gets accepted and published. Many researchers support the idea and achnowledge issues of racism and under-representation in scholarly publishing. Holly Falk-Krzesinski, VP of research intelligence at Elsevier, says, 'If you don’t have the data, it is very difficult to understand where you are at, to make changes, set goals and measure progress.' Joel Babdor, an immunologist at the University of California and cofounder of the group Black in Immuno that supports Black researchers in immunology and other sciences, says, 'It is never too late for progress. Now we want to see these efforts being implemented, normalized and generalized throughout the publishing system. Without this information, it is impossible to evaluate the state of the current system in terms of equity and diversity.' Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) led 11 publishers in signing a joint commitment to track and reduce bias in scholarly publishing. This group has grown to 52 publishers now. The process to build a standard international database has challenges as cultural understanding of race and ethnicity differs from country to country. Nicola Nugent, publishing manager at the RSC, shares her experience of using computational algorithms to measure gender diversity. Analyzing 700000 manuscripts submitted to RSC journals between 2014 and 2018, identified biases against women at each stage of the publishing process. But Ms. Nugent says, 'Collecting those data was crucial - without the baseline numbers, it was hard to see where to make changes.' Prof.Casey Greene, computational biologist at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, says, 'Publishers could glean insights from these methods, if they apply them to large numbers of names and limit analysis to broad ethnicity classes - especially when examining past papers, for which it might not be possible to ask authors directly.' A team led by computer scientist Steven Skiena at Stony Brook University in New York used millions of e-mail contact lists and data on social-media activity to train a classifier called NamePrism. It clusters names into similar-seeming groups, and uses curated lists of names with known nationalities to assign nationalities to those groups. Ariel Hippen, a graduate student in Prof. Greene's lab, scraped biographical pages from Wikipedia to train a classifier that assigns names to ten geographical regions. A team including Prof. Greene, Hippen and data scientist Trang Le at the University of Pennsylvania, used the tool to document under-representation of people from East Asia in honours and invited talks awarded by the International Society for Computational Biology. Natalie Davidson, a postdoc in the Greene lab, used the same tool to quantify representation in Nature’s news coverage, finding fewer East Asian names among quoted sources, compared with their representation in papers. A team led by physicist Danielle Bassett at the University of Pennsylvania found that authors of colour in five neuroscience journals are undercited relative to their representation; the team's analysis suggests that this is because white authors preferentially cite other white authors. Cassidy Sugimoto, an information scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, says, 'Computational methods are largely incapable of addressing the most pressing questions about racial diversity and inclusion in science...Race and ethnicity classification is infinitely more complicated than gender disambiguation.' Jory Lerback, a geochemist at the University of California at Los Angeles, says, 'Given those complex dimensions, the best option for collecting data is simply to invite scientists to self-identify.' Raymond Givens, a cardiologist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, also started privately tallying editors' ethnicities. The efforts got reported on website STAT. He says, 'A lot of journals have all of a sudden been shocked by being confronted in this way. But it's important to ask why it has taken them so long to start thinking about how to collect this kind of information.' American Chemical Society (ACS) pledged in June 2020 to collect demographic data to make its journals more representative of the communities it serves. Sarah Tegen, SVP at ACS journals publishing group, says, 'Designing the categories required some market research, with a goal of being inclusive and crafting questions that are clear and easy to answer...the data are a useful baseline for understanding the demographics of ACS journals.' Ann Morning, demographer at New York University, was hired by publishers as consultant to design a framework for asking about race and ethnicity. The draft questionnaire was pilot tested with 1000 anonymous repondents. Greater than 90% reported their race and ethnicity, and more than two-thirds said they felt well represented in the schema. About half said they would be comfortable providing this information when submitting a paper. Also some respondents were not willing to provide information. Keletso Makofane, a public-health researcher and activist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says,'The efforts of publishers are a fantastic start. But it's not just about authors and reviewers, it's important to look at the people who make the higher-level decisions about policies of the journals.' Ms. Lerback says, 'To engage the historically marginalized populations they hope to reach, publishers (and researchers studying how ethnicity affects scholarly publishing) must commit to engaging with these groups beyond simply asking for data. They should build trust by following up findings with action...Data is the currency of which policy gets implemented.' Read on...

Nature: The giant plan to track diversity in research journals
Authors: Holly Else, Jeffrey M. Perkel


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 mar 2022

Just like in most businesses, digital in business-to-business (B2B) is transforming customer relationships. Digital transformation is the way forward to succeed in B2B space. According to Michiel Schipperus, CEO of Sana Commerce, mentioned in ITProPortal article 'Why should e-commerce sit at the heart of a business’ digital transformation?' (25 may 2018), 'In a recent survey that we conducted with 300 global B2B organisations, 75% of respondents said that their customers had demanded to buy online, and three quarters of those gave 'ease of online purchasing' as the reason...Our survey found that over half of companies believe that web stores are the most important route to market...our survey found that 63% of organisations have a digital transformation strategy in place...According to our research nearly 70% of companies will use the Internet of Things (IoT) or machine to machine technology to enable automated and/or predictive ordering for customers. While 67% believe that virtual reality will help personalise the B2B buying experience.' Chris Shalchi, President and CEO of Mavecca Group, explains the benefits of digital transformation for B2B businesses and what is required to provide value and meet customer expectations in the highly competitive B2B ecosystem. He provides 4 benefits of transforming to digital-native ecosystem - (1) Managing buyer expectations is easier through digital as more and more customers prefer purchasing online and find it comfortable for subsequent buying. (2) Through right B2B e-commerce software businesses can provide enhanced buyer experience with improved processes and automation. With data and analytics, the knowledge about consumers can help organizations customize buyer experience for better relationships. (3) With digital B2B businesses can develop an automatic cross-sell and up-sell suggestion program to reach existing customers and expand customer base, thus increasing sales. (4) Using data and analytics to enhance decision making is one of the key benefits of digital. With the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) that would provide predictive analytics, organizations have better control and enhanced decision-making, resulting in improved processes. As substantial decision-making in B2B purchases happens before a sales person is contacted, B2B businesses can create and deliver engaging content and have an elaborate communications strategy through digital channels for initiating purchase. B2B organizations have to fully understand what their customers want. Aligning of marketing and sales functions, and efficiently using data is important for overall customer-focused digital strategy. Read on...

Forbes: Make Your B2B Business A Digital Business
Author: Chris Shalchi


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 mar 2022

The outdoor space of the house is an important part of the home design and should seamlessly gel with the interior. It should be a space that provides the best experience to the residents and the guests. The furniture that should be incorporated in the outdoor space should be intended to provide feeling of freshness and compatibility with the surrounding environment. Moreover, it should be durable and made of long lasting materials that are resistant to varied weather conditions. Rebecca Breslin, Wayfair Professional's Senior Design Manager, says, 'As you're planning your outdoor space for the warmer months, start with pieces that define the area you'll be using - think mosaic floor tiles, a pergola, or outdoor rugs. For the continuity of your home, carry the design aesthetic of the interior into your outdoor space.' Experts suggest following ideas for outdoor space - (1) Look for grounding and space-defining pieces. (2) Continue your indoor aesthetic to the outdoors. (3) Maximize the space for end-use. (4) Durability is key while selecting furniture and weather-proof materials should be preferred. (5) Elevate the space. Brynna Lee, Wayfair's Professional Stylist, says, 'The newest product of the ’70s revival, mesh accents are back with a twist. Metal cutouts and finely woven rattan add texture to sleek silhouettes, giving this retro design element a modern feel...Floral motifs remain relevant in outdoor design. This time around, we're seeing a more stylized approach–a vibrant and striking homage to nature.' Hayley Drew, Wayfair's Professional Stylist, says, 'This year, we're welcoming in a more elevated take on classic coastal style. Organic materials pair with crisp whites and tranquil sea-glass hues for an effortless ocean-inspired look...From floral-draped pergolas to rustic mosaic tiles, this relaxed yet refined look borrows the best that wine country has to offer.' Cojo Barnes, Wayfair's Professional Stylist, says, 'From classic navy blue to sunny yellow, cabana stripes are brightening up furniture, drapes, tiles, and more.' Read on...

House Beautiful: The Top Outdoor Furniture Trends You'll See Everywhere in 2022 According to Experts
Author: Medgina Saint-Elien


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 mar 2022

India's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) law, Section 135 of the Companies Act 2013, makes it mandatory for companies to spend 2% of their average net profit made during last three financial years on CSR activities in the current financial year. The companies that come under this law include - (i) Net worth of Rs. 500 crore or more. (ii) Turnover of Rs. 1000 crore or more (iii) Net profit of Rs. 5 crore or more. Some of the areas where these funds can be applied are poverty and hunger eradication, education, healthcare, rural development, women empowerment and environmental sustainability. To incorporate CSR in such a way is quite unique when compared to CSR as practiced around the world. Adhip Ray, founder of WinSavvy.com, explains the benefits of CSR as applied in India and how other countries and businesses operating there can apply this model for greater good to the society. India's CSR law provides for forming a CSR committee that should be created and enforced by three board directors, giving it more powerful role. The CSR policy should be elaborate, money spent should be audited, details of activity to be provided on annual report and also on company website. Indian companies are taking the law seriously and competing with each other to better spend CSR funds. This helps companies to enhance their value in communities they operate and provides them with great branding opportunity. India's dedicated approach to CSR can be internationalized. Mr. Ray suggests the following basic principles that companies must adhere to for effective CSR - (1) Get the highest management on board. (2) Create OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) for enforcing your policy. (3) Fix accountability on the top management. Read on...

Sustainable Brands: Why the Business World Should Use India as a Model for Corporate Social Responsibility
Author: Adhip Ray


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 feb 2022

Climate change and environmental issues are prompting landscape architects to consider carbon as an important aspect in their planning and designing. Landscape practitioners and experts came together at ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) 2021 to discuss various approaches and tools that can help in creating a positive impact on environment and reduce carbon footprint of building and construction projects. Pamela Conrad, founder of Climate Positive Design and principal at CMG Landscape Architecture, says, 'Approximately 75% of all emissions are from the urban built environment, with 40% from buildings and 35% from transportation and landscapes. We need to keep warming to 1.5°C. We can only add 300 gigatons of additional carbon to the atmosphere and need to work within this remaining carbon budget. We need to reduce emissions by 65% by 2030 and hit zero by 2040.' Climate Positive Design, ASLA, IFLA (International Federation of Landscape Architects) and Architecture 2030 are collectively committed to attain these targets through the development of Climate Action Commitment and Architecture 2030's 1.5°C COP26 Communiqué. Climate Positive Design's Pathfinder App helps landscape architects find ways to reduce space for carbon-intensive hardscapes and increase carbon-sequestering trees, shrubs, and grasses. Chris Ng-Hardy of Sasaki says, 'We realized we need to consider carbon from the beginning, before the project even starts. Measuring embodied carbon is about 10-15 years behind the curve in terms of measuring operational carbon.' Team at Sasaki developed Carbon Conscience App to help with the preliminary planning decisions that determine a project's long-range carbon footprint. The research at Sasaki led to following conclusions for landscape architects - don't destroy ecosystems; add wetlands, prairies, and forests; minimize hardscapes and concrete; and reduce the use of plastics and metals. Deanna Lynn, landscape designer with Wild Land Workshop, says, 'Soil carbon sequestration is hard to study. But generally, the more life there is in ecosystems, the more carbon is stored in soils.' Underground there is a complex web, made up of tree roots, organic matter, microbes, earthworms, mycorrhizal fungi, and insects. In the book, 'The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate? Discoveries from A Secret World, the author Peter Wohlleben, describes one aspect of this underground world - mycorrhizal fungi - which form a subterranean 'world wood web' that enables trees to share carbon, nutrients, and information across their roots. Soils are complex adaptive systems, and while designing for carbon sequestrian the goal should be to support the self-organizing systems of soil life. Ms. Lynn says that more carbon can be stored naturally in ecosystems and soils if species diversity is increased and suggests that andscape architects can introduce more woody plants; warm season grasses; deciduous trees, which are denser; and nitrogen-fixing plants, which enable the productivity of the entire plant communities. She also advocates the use of native plants, which have deeper roots, are more productive and resilient and therefore will store more carbon over time. She suggests that while designing new forested landscapes it is important to mimick the arrangement of treas and plants that exists in surrounding ecosystem and also planting an understory of plants that tolerate leaf litter, as it helps build carbon in soil. Read on...

The Dirt: Designing with Carbon
Author: Jared Green


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 feb 2022

Investopedia defines co-branding as a 'marketing strategy that utilizes multiple brand names on a good or service as part of a strategic alliance...Each brand in such a strategic alliance contributes its own identity to create a melded brand with the help of unique logos, brand identifiers, and color schemes. The point of co-branding is to combine the market strength, brand awareness, positive associations, and cachet of two or more brands to compel consumers to pay a greater premium for them.' According to the Visual Objects survey of 501 US consumers conducted in May 2021 to determine which components of co-branding partnerships best appeal to audiences and yield successful products - 71% of consumers feel positive about co-branding partnerships, making partnership opportunities appeal to prospective brands; 61% of consumers avoid purchasing products with a negative brand reputation at least sometimes, emphasizing the importance of wisely selecting a co-branding partner; 43% of consumers would likely try a co-branded product from a company they already liked, making co-branding a solid opportunity to reengage returning consumers; 41% of consumers think a brand's values are essential for purchasing decisions, indicating that co-branding partners should spend time discussing values alignment. Essentials for co-branding success include - (1) Positive Brand Reputations: 2/3rd of consumers (61%) avoid purchasing products associated with a negative brand reputation at least some time. Jerry Han, CMO of PrizeRebel, says, 'Before we partner up with a company and offer rewards or discounts on their behalf, we make sure that the impact on the customers will be a positive one and would make them feel excited [to receive our services].' (2) Audience Alignment Between Brands: It is important to bring together customers of partners in co-branding efforts. Samuel Klein of Astor Chocolate says, 'A co-branding partnership should have shared goals for the type of people they want to reach. There needs to be an overlap in target audience size such that neither party is risking too much by choosing this particular business arrangement.' (3) Appeal To Loyal Customers: 43% of consumers would try a co-branded product from a company they already supported. John Li, co-founder of Fig Loans, says, 'Co-branding can help loyal customers venture out and try new products. If they already have trust and loyalty with you, they're more likely to trust your recommendations.' (4) Brand Values Agreement: 41% of consumers think that brand values and mission statements help inform purchasing decisions. Terri Rockovich, co-founder and CEO of Jinx, says, 'Value alignment should be at the core of a co-branding project since both brands will be inextricably linked. If you focus on just connecting a growing audience with a co-brand initiative, the partnership can feel inauthentic and strained for both a brand's current audience and their partner brand's audience. The best collaborations are those that truly bring value to both sides, elevating the values of the other and complementing each others' offerings with something unique that is created through the partnership.' Read on...

Visual Objects: 4 Essentials for Co-Branding Success
Author: Sydney Wess


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 feb 2022

Social entrepreneurship can fill the gap in India's healthcare infrastructure and delivery through the combination of innovation and the spirit to do social good. Maanoj Shah, co-founder of Mission ICU, provides how social enterprises can be boon to India's healthcare infrastructure, particularly in the underserved rural and remote areas, and bring positive change through entrepreneurial spirit and the commitment to serve the community. Pandemic induced crisis highlighted the importance of social and community based efforts in healthcare system. The need is to consolidate these scattered and individual efforts through developing social enterprises. Mr. Shah suggests following ways in which social entrepreneurship could uplift India's healthcare infrastructure - (1) Devise solutions based on detailed research: Use of technology and digital solutions at the grassroots level; Conducting thorough studies to find out gaps in healthcare delivery to rural communities; Create awareness regarding hygiene and health. (2) A focus on long-term, sustainable impact on healthcare infrastructure: Social enterprises with their commitment to service to society can bring long-term sustainable impact by channeling capital and resources where healthcare facililities are scarce; Committed healthcare personnel can be deployed in rural areas and make healthcare accessible and affordable. (3) Collaborations with local partners: Working with local social service organizations and communities is essential for successful implementation of healthcare projects; By this collaboration it will be easier for social entrepreneurs to identify and understand local needs and find opportunities and create tailored solutions; Partnerships are a necessity where the resources are scarce and help efficiently utilized them for better outcomes. (4) Bridge administrative gaps to complement the public health system: Government schemes can only be successful when implemented effectively and efficiently and that's where social enterprises can contribute significantly; Social enterprises with innovative and creative focus can bridge the implementation gap and work to strengthen public healthcare system. Read on...

IndiaInfoline: How social entrepreneurship can play a role in augmenting India's healthcare infrastructure?
Author: Maanoj Shah


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 feb 2022

Healthcare in rural India is a challenge that needs to be taken seriously and sincerely. The infrastructure is in dismal condition. India's rural population is substantial, was about 903 million in 2021, and is expected to increase to 905 million in 2022. Priyadarshi Mohapatra, founder of CureBay, provides overview of India's rural healthcare sector and the challenges. He also explores the startup ecosystem and suggests how proper use of techology can be a game changer to improve accessibility and affordability of healthcare. Accessibility of quality healthcare is major issue in rural areas. The growing chronic diseases is also a cause of concern. Government run schemes, like Ayushman Bharat Health, Infrastructure Mission and Jan Arogya Yojana, when implemented effectively, can boost rural healthcare infrastructure. According to Invest India's study, 100% FDI has been allowed by the government under the automatic route to invest in developing hospitals. Moreover, 100% FDI is also permissible under automatic routes in medical device manufacturing. Health-tech entrepreneurial and startup ecosystem can play an important role in filling the gaps through innovation. The size of the market that is expected to reach Rs. 485.4 billion by 2024. According to Invest India's report, there has been a 45.06% increase in total investments in health-tech startups. A report by London & Partners and Dealroom.co published last year says that Indian health-tech startups have raised US$ 1.9 billion alone in 2021 from VCs. This ranks India just behind the US, China, and the UK. Currently, there are over 3000 health-tech startups in India and it is further growing. The investment will also provide employment opportunities to the sector. Government's healthcare infrastructure schemes, health-tech startup ecosystem and substantial investment can provide an upgrade to rural healthcare resulting in accessibility and affordability in healthcare delivery to rural population. Read on...

The Times of India: How the changing dynamics of healthcare industry are making rural India healthy?
Author: Priyadarshi Mohapatra


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jan 2022

Internet and technology has been consistently driving the shift in the retail sector processes. COVID-19 pandemic accelerated it and also significantly changed the consumer shopping behavior. According to McKinsey article titled 'The great consumer shift: Ten charts that show how US shopping behavior is changing' (Authors: Tamara Charm, Becca Coggins, Kelsey Robinson, Jamie Wilkie), 75% of US consumers are trying a new shopping behavior during pandemic in response to economic pressures, store closings, and changing priorities. This general change in behavior has also been reflected in a shattering of brand loyalties, with 36% of consumers trying a new product brand and 25% incorporating a new private-label brand. Moreover, most consumers intend to continue this behavior beyond the pandemic-induced crisis. The McKinsey research find 10 key consumer behavior shifts: FLIGHT TO ONLINE (1) Digital shopping is here to stay. (2) Millennials and high-income earners are in the lead when it comes to shopping online; SHOCK TO LOYALTY (3) Consumers are switching brands at unprecedented rates. (4) Brands need to ensure strong availability and also convey value; NEED FOR HYGIENCE TRANSPARENCY (5) US consumers are changing how they shop in response to health and safety concerns; BACK TO BASICS AND VALUE (6) Consumer shopping intent is focused on essentials. (7) Consumers want value for their money - especially in essential categories; RISE OF THE HOMEBODY ECONOMY (8) Americans are changing how they spend their time at home. (9) Americans are concerned about going back to regular activities outside the home; BEHAVIORS VARY BY CONSUMER SEGMENT (10) 'Great consumer shift' trends vary by consumer segment. With high levels of uncertainty and competitiveness in the market, retailers have to apply innovative strategies to retain and gain consumers. Ravi Pratap Maddimsetty, Chief Technology Officer of MobStac (a physical-to-digital experience management solution), suggests use of 'phygital' marketing, a hybrid marketing channel that captures customer data to deliver a personalized experience, and provides three aspects of phygital marketing that retailers must know before integrating it into their marketing strategy - (1) Retailers Can Enhance In-Store Convenience Through Phygital Marketing: 46% of consumers still prefer to shop in person, although 63% of shopping journeys start online; Retailers needs digital infrastructure to integrate online and in-store experience; 87% of shoppers say they would prefer to shop in stores with touchless or robust self-checkout options like QR code technology. (2) Not All Phygital Solutions Maintain the Same Security Standards: Prioritize data security while choosing a phygital solution; Consumers trust retail experience that secures their data; Evaluate the security of your phygital solution through the integration of safe QR code use. (3) Phygital Marketing Drives Customer Engagement With Proximity-Based Tactics: Utilize geofencing to create digital campaigns within a defined physical radius; Geofencing strategy should capture the frequency of customer foot traffic and push out relevant notifications for past customers and potential customers. Phygital delivers enhanced retail experiences and the opportunity to better customer engagement and retention by correctly implementing phygital marketing is growing. Read on...

Total Retail: Phygital Marketing: 3 Things Retailers Should Know About the Newest Marketing Channel
Author: Ravi Pratap Maddimsetty


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 jan 2022

Design thinking is a concept that has found acceptance in many organizations and industries to develop a framework for creativity and innovation. The concept challenges the status quo and its application intends to bring distruptive change. The term 'design thinking' was first mentioned in the book 'Creative Engineering' by John E. Arnold that was published in 1959 and explained that the approach has 'the ability to resolve existent problems or propose an entirely new way of using a product, decrease production costs, and increase sales.' Many academics during 1960's started working to 'scienticize' design by understanding its characteristics, influences, processes, and methodologies. In the next decade 'design thinking' became popularized in various fields and the concept utilized 'creativity' as a means of addressing the accelerating need for innovation. Later on 'design thinking' evolved as a human-centered problem solving approach which utilizes the way consumers interact with a product as a basis to further develop it, instead of only relying on theoretical research, assumptions, and hypotheses. The approach involves various steps that include context analysis, observation, problem finding, brainstorming, ideation, creative thinking, sketching, prototyping, testing, and evaluating. It is a continuous improvement process and the steps may not be always in the same order. Design thinking is not specific to field of design and is utilized in variety of fields, disciplines, industries, markets etc. The early period of architectural study involves learning about the creative process of design, with an emphasis on individualistic expression, experimentation, and critical analysis, along with the basics of the technical and theoretical aspects of the profession. This provides the learner of architecture to look beyond the build space and explore and understand it as a response to the urban, communal, and environmental needs. Here the architect is thinking in a similar way as any other designer like graphic, web, interface, industrial etc, with just a different medium of implementation. Those architects that considered architecture discipline as too structured and traditional pursued careers in fields like UX design, design consultants, product and business innovation specialists etc. There they implemented their creative and innovative thinking and justified the shift. Many architects utilized design thinking approach within their profession to develop new systems for cities, buildings, and communities that are designed to fulfil the needs of the consumers instead of implementing the standard and traditional architectural approach. Even though many architects find it challenging to involve users in their creative process, a pre-requisite for design thinking process, but there is an overall scope to change and evolve the traditional architectural practice through design thinking approach. Read on...

ArchDaily: The Rise of the Design Thinking Movement and its Relation to Architecture
Author: Dima Stouhi


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 05 jan 2022

COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the challenges to the already struggling India's overall education delivery system. The school closures had not only affected the learning process but has led many students to drop out completely citing diverse reasons. Sudden transition from in-school learning to online learning took many by surprise - both teachers and students. This has been the case particularly with government-run and low budget private schools in small towns and rural areas, and students belonging to low socio-economic status (SES) households. Children had been deprived of mid-day meals that they use to get in schools, leading to a further challenge of malnutrition. Even though India has been undergoing digital transformation and evolving as a digital society, but the pandemic disrupted the gradual process. Many students, as well as a large number of teachers, found adapting to the technology-enabled learning difficult to handle efficiently and the process lacked effective learning outcomes. According to the School Children's Online and Offline Learning (SCHOOL) survey overseen by economists such as Jean Dreze, Reetika Khera etc, 77% of families in urban areas and 51% in villages have access to smartphones, a healthy number. But, only 31% of children in cities and 15% in villages are able to make use of smartphones for academic purposes. This shows how challenging it had been for children to use phones as an educational device. The Ministry of Education (Govt. of India) reported to the Parliamentary Committee of Women's Empowerment that about 320 million children got affected due to school closures and out of this 49.37% were girls. The Ministry of Education told the panel, 'Post pandemic, this can lead to a higher risk of girls permanently dropping out of school and reversing the gains made over recent years. One cannot also ignore the fact that there is a gender dimension in digital access to learning. In families which possess a single smartphone, it is likely that sons will be given the preference to access online classes, followed by girls, if time permits.' According to the report 'State of the Global Education Crisis: A Path to Recovery' prepared by World Bank in cooperation with UNESCO and UNICEF (The Indian Express, 13 dec 2021), Jaime Saavedra, World Bank Global Director for Education, says, 'The COVID-19 crisis brought education systems across the world to a halt. Now, 21 months later, schools remain closed for millions of children, and others may never return to school. The loss of learning that many children are experiencing is morally unacceptable. And the potential increase of learning poverty might have a devastating impact on future productivity, earnings, and wellbeing for this generation of children and youth, their families and the world's economies.' The challenges remain as new variants of the COVID-19 like Delta and Omicron keep arising and pushing governments to implement measures like curfews, lock-downs, school closures etc. So, the online education will continue to remain the mode of learning in these times. Governments, nonprofits, technology companies, etc have to make sure that the process is able to provide optimal outcomes as it is a question of the country's and the world's future. Read on...

The Siasat Daily: The chaos of online education in India's pandemic times
Author: Manogna Chandrika Matta


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 dec 2021

Many nonprofits had been ray of hope for people during the COVID-19. But as the sad saga continues, it keeps on bringing more challenges to the sector. On one side of the spectrum are health and welfare related organizations with high demand for their services and subsequently getting funding attention from donors but on the other side are art and culture nonprofits that had been hardly hit and continue to struggle. But overall, getting sufficient funding to fulfil the required demand is not an easy task for all nonprofits during tough times like these. Kenneth Cerini, Managing Partner at Cerini & Associates LLP, provides innovative suggestions to get ahead in the virtual funding game in COVID times - (1) Monitor messaging in funding campaigns and adapt to changing scenarios. (2) Do targeted campaigning and select audience and design campaings accordingly. (3) Videos are a great tool to reach out to audience effectively. (4) Focus on retention and convince those who gave once to give again with pursuasive messaging of how their earlier contributions were utilized. (5) Personalize and customize the communication to the donors. (6) Continue to diversify revenue streams as the pandemic changes the standard funding processes. (7) Learn from the experience gained from the challenges of the last couple of years and, elevate and improve on what worked. Read on...

Long Island Press: OpEd: Nonprofits Must Use Innovative Fundraising Methods in Covid Times
Author: Kenneth Cerini


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 dec 2021

India's handicraft sector is an important part of the economy, both from local consumption and export point of view. According to ibef.org (India Brand Equity Forum) website India has around 7 million artisans as per official estimates, but unofficial figures consider this figure to be huge 200 million. Moreover, there are more than 3000 art forms in which these artisans are engaged in. The website (ibef.org) further provides the following statistics related to Indian handicraft and handloom export (FY21): Woodwares at US$ 845.51 million; Embroidered and crocheted goods at US$ 604.38 million; Art metal wares at US$ 468.66 million; Handprinted textiles and scarves at US$ 339.03 million; Imitation jewellery at US$ 186.65 million; Miscellaneous handicrafts at US$ 826.68 million. Indian government is also providing special push to this sector through various schemes, as described on the handicrafts.nic.in (Development Commissioner Handicrafts, Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India) website - NATIONAL HANDICRAFTS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME - NHDP (Includes Marketing Support and Services; Skill Development in Handicraft Sector; Ambedkar Hastshilp Vikas Yojana [AHVY]; Direct Benefit to Artisans (Welfare); Infrastructure and Technology Support; Research and Development ). COMPERHENSIVE HANDICRAFTS CLUSTER DEVELOPMENT SCHEME (CHCDS) that aims to enhance the insfratructural and production chain at handicraft clusters in India and bring them to global standards. According to Prof. Syed Khalid Hashmi of Millennium Institute of Management, Aurangabad (Market for Indian Handicrafts, Excel Journal of Engineering Technology and Management Science, Dec-Jan 2012), 'The handicrafts sector plays a significant and important role in the country's economy. It provides employment to a vast segment of craft persons in rural and semi urban areas and generates substantial foreign exchange for the country. The handicraft sector has, however, suffered due to its being unorganized, with the additional constraints of lack of education, low capital, and poor exposure to new technologies, absence of market intelligence, and a poor institutional framework...Indian handicraft has great growth potential in the changing scenario with its basic strength being the abundant and cheap availability of manpower and being a traditional profession of millions still requires very low investment compared with other countries barring China.' A new book, 'Crafting a Future: Stories of Indian Textiles and Sustainable Practices' by Archana Shah, explores the contribution of artisans, designers, NGOs etc to handcrafted textiles sector by focusing on the skills and processes of the creators, and weaves the stories of their accomplishment and success. Ms. Shah is worried about the competition that handcrafted textiles face with tech-powered textile manufacturing and has been working to revive and rejuvenate several craft skills. She is the founder of Ahmedabad's Bandhej (a handcrafted textile fashion brand founded in 1981), and has been collaborating with artisans around the country for the last 40 years to create textiles for urban markets. The book is the result of her interactions with artisans over her long career. She says, 'It is broadly divided into three sections of natural fibres: cotton, a plant-based fibre; silk produced by insects; and wool, obtained from animals. It resonates with Gandhiji's concept of developing khadi and village industries to rejuvenate the rural economy and stimulate development through a bottoms-up approach.' The book addresses two major challenges - unemployment and climate change. Ms. Shah says, 'By making productive use of their time and skills, women and marginalised communities involved in this sector will be empowered, and enjoy a sense of self-worth and dignity. Families will benefit from sustainable livelihoods in their own locations, protecting them from the misery of forced economic migration to urban centres where regular work is difficult to find. The challenge is how to bridge the gap, connect the producers with the markets, create products that are 'Handmade in India' for the local, national and global markets and in the process, make the world a better place for future generations.' Read on...

Deccan Chronicle: Handmade in India
Author: Swati Sharma


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 dec 2021

Marketing focuses on fulfilling customer needs and the process initiates leads and attracts customers. Marketing involves making a connect with prospective customers wherever they are available. According to Chartered Institute of Marketing, 'Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.' Traditional marketing with outbound methodology involves various channels like newspapers, magazines, television, radio, billboards etc to reach out to prospective customers. It is static and is mainly a one-sided push communication, where these media show to the public what the brands want them to see, without any direct engagement with them. The rise of internet and consumer technologies, with large section of the public connected through computing devices, led marketing processes to evolve. Digital marketing is an evolution of traditional marketing and many foundational concepts are same. Digital marketing with inbound methodology creates brand awareness and promotes business through utilizing digital channels and internet that would include blogs, podcasts, videos, enewsletters, ebooks etc. Digital marketing process is dynamic with two-way communication and reaches out to customers where ever they are available in the digital media and serve them at different stages of their interaction and purchasing journey. Connecting and engaging with customers is not difficult in digital. What is important is how to achieve and maximize value through this engagement to better serve the customer requirements. Success of digital in marketing depends on how well marketers can understand the consumer behavior through technology-enabled interactions and analytics tools and how well they manage those interactions to fulfil consumer needs. Digital marketing channels, powered by internet, create, accelerate, and transmit product and services information and value to consumers, through digital networks. These channels include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Social Media Marketing (SMM), E-mail Marketing, Content Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Online Public Relations, Display Advertising, In-game Advertisng, Native Advertising, Video Advertising, SMS Marketing etc. Marketers of today and future have to keep pace with technological advancements, stay informed and skilled, and be innovative and creative, to connect, understand, engage, and serve the digitalized modern customer. Digital marketing will continue to evolve, but a balanced and mix approach to traditional and digital marketing would provide better results. Mobile Marketing, Internet of Things (IoT), Analytics, Big Data, 3D Printing, Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Consumer Neuroscience/Neuro Marketing are some of the most interesting and challenging domains where the future marketers are expected to deliver. Read on...

ilmeps/read: Digital Marketing To Connect, Engage And Serve Customers - Part I
Author: Mohammad Anas Wahaj


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 nov 2021

Online education has been part of education strategy for many institutions and organizations even before COVID-19. According to National Center for Education Statistics (US Department of Education) website (nces.ed.gov), more than 30% of all students enrolled at postsecondary institutions took at least one online course in the fall 2016 term. Moreover, online education advocates suggest that departments offering online courses can support their students through the ease of access to coursework. But, 2013 research study 'The impact of online learning on students' course outcomes: Evidence from a large community and technical college system' by Di Xu of Columbia University and Shanna Smith Jaggars of Columbia University, indicates that students perform slightly worse and have lower course retention within online learning compared to traditional face-to-face classes. Recent study published in the journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis titled 'Increasing Success in Higher Education: The Relationships of Online Course Taking With College Completion and Time-to-Degree' (Authors: Christian Fischer of The University of Tübingen in Germany, Rachel Baker of University of California at Irvine, Qiujie Li University of California at Irvine, Gabe Avakian Orona University of California at Irvine, Mark Warschauer University of California at Irvine), examines how online courses relate to students’ four- and six-year graduation rates, as well as time-to-degree-completion for students who graduate college within six years. According to the findings of the study, 'Online course-taking is associated with more efficient college graduation. Students who are given the opportunity to take classes online graduate more quickly compared to students in departments that offer fewer online courses. We also find that online course-taking is associated with a higher likelihood of successfully graduating college within four years. Importantly, our findings seem robust for students who are generally considered at-risk in college environments.' Even though Online education may not be as effective as face-to-face education but the study suggests that there are other benefits that help in overall long-term educational success of students. Keeping online education portfolio, even after the pandemic, is a valuable proposition for educational institutions. Read on...

Brookings: Access to online college courses can speed students' degree completion
Authors: Christian Fischer, Rachel Baker, Qiujie Li, Gabe Avakian Orona, Mark Warschauer


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 nov 2021

Environment influenced by pandemic, enhanced use of mobile devices, considerations for privacy and safety etc are some issues that would have an impact on the website trends in addition to the normal evolution of technology and design concepts. Paul DeLeeuw, Director of Interactive at ddm marketing + communications, provides trends that will shape web design in 2022 - (1) Sharing Not Telling: Enhanced visitor engagement with website with visuals and interactions. Micro-interactions and micro-animations are lively add-ons on the website. Integrating them effectively with overall look and feel of the website without overdoing them brings energy to the website. (2) Simplicity: Customer engagement needs to be seamless with less roadblocks and impediments. Precise information, soft colors, vivid imagery and clarity in calls to action will be effective. (3) Safety First: Websites are adapting design to the new normal. They are trying to give people space, reduce anxiety, and feel comfortable and safe. Emphasis is on aesthetics and feelings. Designs that feel spacious, inviting, and accommodating will speak to the visitors' sense of security and safety. (4) Customisation and Accessibility: Accessibility needs to be integrated in the design process from the beginning. More website are integrating theme and font customisations. They are supporting operating systems, and accessibility features like font scaling and contrast adjustments. Sites with these features stand out as they signal that they are caring for their customers. (5) Positive Mindset: Prevalence of negativity and information overload is the reality of modern internet. Better websites in 2022 will reduce this and try to create experiences that help and assist the user, and generate positive thinking and goodwill. Read on...

Creative Bloq: 5 exciting web design trends for 2022
Author: Paul DeLeeuw


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 nov 2021

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) is an important human resources issue in public relations field and needs consideration from various stakeholders. Recent research by Prof. Caitlin Wills of the University of North Georgia, published in The Public Relations Journal titled, 'Diversity in Public Relations: The Implications of a Broad Definition for PR Practice?', examines how the top 50 PR firms (Holmes Report) communicate about diversity on their websites. Their specific definitions are important as it showcases their understanding, policies and implementations regarding diversity. According to the research, 'Over half of the websites sampled contained definitions; the majority included expanded conceptualizations of differences, and most did not mention demographic characteristics specifically. Of the nine firms that outlined distinct activities, such as employee networks, all of the activities addressed demographic characteristics of diversity.' Prof. Caitlin says, 'The field has been slow to change and reflect the diversity of society, and fundamentally does not reflect the diversity of its audiences...The PR field is not yet diverse in traditional terms. The field needs to diversify in that way before they can move to broader definitions that ignore race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.' In the research article Prof. Caitlin made following recommendations for PR firms - (1) Develop a definition of diversity based on specific criteria that includes both traditional and broad characteristics of diversity. (2) Show organizational commitment to diversity initiatives by communicating the definition and activities across organizational communication to all stakeholders. (3) Align diversity-related activities to the criteria identified in the definition to allow assessment and ensure effectiveness. She further says, 'A definition of diversity that reflects the PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) guidance might help focus policies and programs on many types of diversity and inclusion, thus, moving the field of public relations toward fuller diversification. Once a definition is identified, it should be communicated clearly to employees and the public on the website. All employees, especially CEOs, should know how their organization defines diversity and defines inclusion. In addition, initiatives should be expanded to address other diversity factors and linked to the criteria identified in the definition.' Read on...

University of North Georgia Newsroom: Wills points out diversity disparities
Author: J. K. Devine


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 nov 2021

The book 'Unshackling India: Hard Truths and Clear Choices for Economic Revival' authored by Ajay Chhibber and Salman Anees Soz explores expectations from India's economy in the next 25 years and whether it will become a mature democracy and developed economy by 2047, the hundredth year of its independence. The authors argue that India needs to look ahead to achieve economic prosperity and inclusivity with realistic approaches and new ideas. They say, 'What India needs is an aspirational goal. GDP targets - US$ 5 trillion or even US$ 10 trillion - do not inspire the broader citizenry.' The book consider China a threat and suggests a competitive approach towards it. Also, 'Samriddh aur Sajit Bharat @100' (Prosperous and Inclusive India @100) is a slogan that all political parties should adopt as their motto. For Indian corporations, the book says, 'They should aim to grow at home and abroad instead of looking for tweaks in tariffs and regulations to serve very narrow short-term interests.' Mentioning COVID-19 crisis and government's approach towards it with existing substandard healthcare infrastructure, authors say, 'New lockdowns ensued, guaranteeing a slowdown in economic activity and prospects of further misery for the poorest and most vulnerable sections of society...India has been forced to reset by the COVID-19 crisis. Perhaps that is how India reforms - in response to crises. While COVID-19 may have set us back by several years (or longer), India could convert this into an opportunity to revitalize and structure our economic system for the future.' The crisis also created global economic challenges and India has to manage them effectivcely to pursue its expected growth trajectory. Read on...

Devdiscource: Book takes critical look at Indian economy
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 oct 2021

Continuous innovation and improvement in strategies is the key for success with rapidly changing market dynamics. Business-to-business (B2B) marketing is no different. Even though basics of B2B marketing are same as for B2C (Business-to-consumer) but it requires some special considerations as business customers are bulk buyers and B2B is the largest market transaction-wise. Marketing strategies in this case need to be fine-tuned for effectiveness. Here are few time-tested and latest B2B focused marketing strategies that should be part of companies dealing with B2B customers - (1) Account-Based Marketing: It has one of the highest conversion rates. It is a targeted marketing strategy with customized and curated campaign specifically designed for select clients. (2) Live Chat Strategy: Live chat is capable of converting a prospective lead into a client through answering queries effectively. Webchat platform reports that it has seen 2.8% more conversions than the business that doesn't use live chat support. It has also reported a 60% increment in B2B sales due to provision of live support to customer during entire purchase journey. (3) Word-of-Mouth: McKinsey reports that 20-50% of all purchasing decisions are based solely on word-of-mouth. (4) Long Content Pieces: Long-form content strategy generates more leads and requires engaging and highly curated content to target the specific business profile. (5) Podcast Marketing: COVID-19 pandemic has increased the listener base for podcasts. According to a survey, 155 million people listen to Podcasts in the US. Considering this curated podcast content is an opportunity to be tapped for reaching out to broader prospective clients. (6) AI Marketing Strategy: AI-based strategy would require product recommendations to prospective customers based on prior purchase data and behavior. (7) E-mail Marketing Strategy: It has over 122% lead generation. Targeted emails with specific content suited to prospective clients is key to the effectiveness. (8) Influencer Marketing: With rise of video-sharing platforms, influencer marketing has become an effective tool to reach clients. (9) Virtual Events: COVID-19 has exacerbated the use of virtual events for targeted marketing. It has expanded the audience reach with less efforts as compared to physical events. (10) Omnichannel Marketing: This strategy helps in reaching out to target audience through multiple channels with a unified marketing approach and helps reduce buyer friction and generate more leads. Read on...

UNB: B2B Marketing: Effective Strategies in 2021
Author: Shahriar Rabab


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 oct 2021

Communication is the key to propagate ideas and concepts. Graphic design is one such communication tool that can send a message across effectively and create an impact through visuals. Dr. Rebecca Green, graphic design lecturer and researcher in the School of Art & Design at the University of New South Wales (UNSW Syndney, Australia), says, 'Understanding graphic design principles is an untapped opportunity in the fight against climate change. Graphic designers have a critical role in helping to address the most crucial problem of our time - by communicating climate change messages through powerful and compelling visuals that resonate. Climate change is also a social problem. It's caused by humans and can be solved by humans. Communication is how we socialise; it's how we find the groups we identify with, and graphic design provides the symbols and signs that help us identify these groups or ideas. Dr. Green's research focuses on graphic design and its influence on humans. She tests how graphic design impacts reception, trust, and belief across climate change, as well as other complex issues. Critical components of visual communication, such as colour, imagery, logos and style - all work together to convey meaning, lead to trust (or mistrust) and ultimately influence the uptake of strategic climate messaging. Dr. Green says, 'Using the right combination of elements in the graphic design of climate change communication can not only help boost understanding and engagement with the issue but also build communities. Graphic design language really has the power to unite or divide. So, graphic design needs to be careful to make sure it fosters communities based around the global good, using the right symbols, the right authority, and the right logos.' Read on...

UNSW Newsroom: Graphic design can build trust and community in climate conversation
Author: Ben Knight


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 oct 2021

India's changing socio-economic scenario is urging corporates, entrepreneurs and individuals to focus on solving social problems and creating a positive social impact in lives of those who are at the bottom of the pyramid, a concept that was first propagated by C. K. Prahalad and Stuart L. Hart in their article 'The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid' (Strategy+Business, 2002). It proposed that companies should innovate and also focus on the needs of those at the bottom of the pyramid. By doing so they will not only expand their markets but will also serve the marginalized communites and uplift their socio-economic conditions. According to the article 'Budget 2014: Tapping the aspirational class of India' (Shuchi Bansal; Mint, 11 Jul 2014), while presenting the budget in 2014 Late Mr. Arun Jaitley, the then Finance Minister, referred to aspirational Indians and what he called the 'neo middle class'. He said, 'India unhesitatingly desires to grow...those who have got an opportunity to emerge from the difficult challenges have become aspirational. They now want to be part of the neo middle class.' In the same article, a research study by Quantum Consumer Consulting, finds that 34% of these strata are aged between 10 and 25 years and aspires for a better life. Ravi Narayan, CEO at T-Hub, explains how this aspirational class can be an opportunity for social entrepreneurs to focus on and make a real difference in the innovation ecosystem. He says, 'It is about time social changemakers start tapping into India's aspirational class, who are tomorrow's neo-middle class. Understanding this under-served stratum is key to unlocking the potential of the Indian economy.' He provides examples of organizations from India's impact ecosystem that are making a difference. According to Mr. Narayan, 'India's strong digital infrastructure has been a gamechanger for those who want to leverage the power of technology to create a social impact on a larger scale. The growing smartphone penetration and high-speed internet connectivity in rural areas have empowered social entrepreneurs and innovators to create new models for change to accelerate social impact.' EdTech, AgriTech, healthcare and microcredit finance are critical areas where social entrepreneurs and incubators are offering inclusive and sustainable solutions to ensure the upward mobility of the marginalized class. Mentioning the best practices in social innovation in India's context, Mr. Narayan says, 'Speaking from experience, I am convinced that social innovation in the Indian context is not clearly defined by an evidence-based approach. Perhaps therein lies one of its bigger challenges. Social entrepreneurs working to create an impact on the scale have to contend with operational challenges, such as a lack of market access, besides inadequate investor connect and mentoring opportunities. Also, technologically and in terms of scale, it is difficult to solve problems in this sector as the risk factor is high for social entrepreneurs. Besides, the educated class with its worldview isn't contributing enough to the growth of this sector. Such pain points highlight the need for open innovation to solve India's most complex social problems.' He also says that maximizing inclusion is key and this cannot be attained by merely leveraging technology. There has to be a larger objective of creating a holistic inclusive social impact ecosystem. A fragmented innovation ecosystem cannot thrive in the absence of a comprehensive social innovation policy. He concludes, 'I believe that social innovators - be it individuals, social incubators, governments, corporates, academia, or startups - who put people first will help create new and exciting markets and facilitate a synergistic innovation ecosystem.' Read on...

Entrepreneur: How to Address the Yawning Gap in India's Social Impact Sector
Author: Ravi Narayan


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 sep 2021

With changing donor behaviors and perceptions, nonprofits should modify their fundraising strategies to stay successful and impactful in the communities they serve. Annual galas, glossy annual reports, generic charity requests etc have been norms in charity fundraising. But, according to a new report, 'Transforming Partnerships With Major Donors' by the Leadership Story Lab, wealthy donors are now seeking new relationships and expecting innovative fundraising approaches from nonprofit organizations before donating. The report found that donors seek more personalized and customized pitches from nonprofits. Moreover, the report found that many self-made givers avoid public recognition of their donations and are more focused on making an impact and solving social problems that are close to their heart. Joe Pulizzi, a marketing and communications entrepreneur in Cleveland, got disillusioned with traditional ways of nonprofit fundraising and after joining the board of one nonprofit he found that much of the donated money was going to pay debt and covering significant overhead. This prompted him to start his own nonprofit and focus more on spending money where it is needed the most - in solving the social problem that nonprofit was set out for. Esther Choy, the president of the Leadership Story Lab and author of the report, said that gift officers didn't always know the potential donor's story and, instead of asking specific questions, led with a pitch about the greatness of their organization. Ms. Choy says, 'Sometimes everything feels too polished. If they can make their solicitation as human as possible, it would work better. It shouldn't be about putting someone on a pedestal.' Michael Wagner, co-founder of Omnia Family Wealth, says, 'People are really looking for something more than a transaction. It's about building a partnership based on a relationship. People used to be OK with just giving the money and being done with it, but that isn't the case anymore.' Mr. Pulizzi says, 'Many nonprofits have a kind of salesmanship that needs to go away. If the nonprofit is calling on someone with means, I think they need to form a better communication strategy so it's not a commercial. They need get to know that person and invest some time.' Many donors want a more educational approach to fundraising from nonprofits then just plain marketing. Tyson Voelkel, the president and chief executive of the Texas A&M Foundation, says, 'The more trust we can earn, the more money donors will give...We have to convince them that we're the best place to put their philanthropic dollars.' Read on...

The New York Times: Raising Money for a Nonprofit? Try a Personalized Approach
Author: Paul Sullivan


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 sep 2021

According to Investopedia, Augmented reality (AR) is an enhanced version of the real physical world that is achieved through the use of digital visual elements, sound, or other sensory stimuli delivered via technology. It is now a pervasive digital technology trend and has become particularly ubiquitous in consumer products like smarphones, with advancements in camera technologies, computer vision techniques, AR software development kits, digital content availability etc. But, its utilization in industrial and manufacturing setting is a bit restricted even though early adopters there have demonstrated its importance. Boeing has tested AR in factory setting. Brian Laughlin, IT Tech Fellow at Boeing, says, 'By using augmented reality technology, technicians can easily see where the electrical wiring goes in the aircraft fuselage. They can roam around the airplane and see the wiring renderings in full depth within their surroundings and access instructions hands-free.' Paul Davies, Boeing Research & Technology Associate Technical Fellow, says, 'Our theory studies have shown a 90% improvement in first-time quality when compared to using two-dimensional information on the airplane, along with a 30% reduction in time spent doing a job.' Volvo Group has also found AR valuable in attracting and retaining employees. Bertrand Felix from Volvo Group says, 'Using visuals and AR is definitely attractive in a manufacturing industry universe. It certainly helps to recruit younger generations, as well as creating new jobs along the value chain who can generate the new digital visual instructions. Many can be created by experienced employees and, in that way, their knowledge is passed on carefully to the younger generation.' Volvo also employs AR to make training more efficient for its operatives. There are many examples like these where AR is finding value. IDC projects a 78.5% global spending increase on AR/VR in 2021. But, what is holding the proliferation of Industrial AR to the depths of manufacturing supply chains, including small-sized contractors is the issue of 'Interoperability'. For many years there have been interoperability challenges between engineering design and manufacturing. Standards Development Organisations (SDOs) have continued to focus on holistic and persistent descriptions of design and fabrication requirements to bridge the gap. Engineering software tools have also made progress in addressing interoperability issues but as manufacturing is moving more towards distributed operations new interoperability challenges crop up for developers. Moreover, for industrial AR the interoperability challenge is further compounded as AR authoring suites often force developers into a silo, which can lock the customer into a particular platform and framework. The lack of suitable interoperability for AR in Industry 4.0, and manufacturing in particular, is costly. Although one-off AR installations have demonstrated value but they are fragile and if the reference data and models change and the use of AR is to continue, the assets of the AR experience must also be modified. In industrial AR installations, automated and persistent data linking, oftern termed as 'digital thread', has not yet been realized. Efforts are being made to bring engineering practice, manufacturing and AR together. Workshop held at IEEE ISMAR 2020 with participants from diverse expertise, including geospatial information scientists, AR software architects, and manufacturing engineers suggests that much of what's needed to realise an AR-capable digital thread is already underway across a number of SDOs. To move forward, manufacturing industry stakeholders and standards working groups must plan for adoption of emerging technologies, such as Industrial AR and address the issues of interoperability between domain-specific models. Without interoperability, manufacturers will continue to struggle with improving the maintainability, reproducibility, and scalability of Industrial AR installations. Read on...

The Manufacturer: Closing the gap between engineering practice and augmented reality
Author: William Bernstein, Christine Perey


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 sep 2021

Consumer packaged goods (CPG) marketers are looking to boost above-average growth in the COVID-19 pandemic era. The challenges are real and according to McKinsey's latest research 78% of CEOs are now banking on marketing leaders to drive growth. The research study looked at how 860 global executives are prioritizing investments and capabilities that help accelerate growth. The study finds that three elements - creativity, analytics, and purpose - that constitute a 'growth triple play' that provides at least two times the growth of peers who don't invest in all three in tandem. Another McKinsey research based on interviews of CPG marketing and growth executives seeking answers about the new reality found that - to attain extraordinary growth requires more sophisticated, predictive, and customized marketing strategies. New approaches and tools are the need of the times. Even though some basics like broad reach, powerful, resonant storytelling, and creativity are critical, but marketers have to utilize data and analytics at scale to crack the code that enables more targeted and engaging interactions to shape consumer behavior. 2/3rd of CPG companies say they have put data-driven marketing at the top of their agenda [Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) 2021 Virtual Conference]. Large number of CPG companies are still not able to fulfil the promise for delivering impact at scale from data-driven marketing. Accoring to another McKinsey research, truly sustainable, marketing-led growth has to be granular, focused, and scaled across the entire marketing organization, delivering the right message to the right consumer, at the right moment, at the right place - all the time. To thrive in this new ara of CPG marketing, companies have to - build a continuously updating, AI-powered consumer-intelligence engine that ingests enough signals and data points to not only identify demand but to predict it; use advanced analytics and marketing technology to recommend high-value actions; learnings from hundreds of tests per week need to feed back into this engine, helping drive rapid decision making and informing adjustments to brand plans, spend allocation, tent-pole campaigns, and always-on activation. This new marketing model will require new kind of talent, new organizational capabilities and midsets and adoption of new technologies. CPGs that would succeed and utilize next-level AI (Artifical Intelligence) consumer-intelligence need to have five essential ingredients to unlock data-driven marketing impact at scale - (1) Opportunity/Demand Identification: A 360-degree view of consumers and pockets of growth, supported by predictive and prescriptive insights. (2) Rapid Activation: Delivering the right message at the right time in moments that matter - and measuring the impact. (3) Martech/Data Enablement: Activating a fit-for-purpose data and tech-enabling customer-centric strategy. (4) Agile Operating Model: The new ways of working needed for an agile, modern, marketing organization. (5) Capacity-building: The talent, culture, and infrastructure required to scale impact. Read on...

McKinsey: The new marketing model for growth: How CPGs can crack the code
Authors: Tiffany Chen, Michele Choi, Jeff Jacobs, Brian Henstorf, Ed See


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 sep 2021

Healthcare infrastructure, both public and private, in small towns and rural areas of India is still rudimentary and lacks quality and efficiency. COVID-19 pandemic has further demonstrated the sorry state of healthcare delivery. Moreover, during pandemic times healthcare facilities became out of reach for non-COVID patients with other diseases and healthcare issues. Fear of COVID infection was one of the major factor that made healthcare delivery situation worse. Most OPD's and in-patient treatment in big hospitals, both public and private, was restricted. Technology-enabled healthcare and telemedicine came to the rescue during this time. Many healthcare facilities even tested advanced digital technologies to fill the gap and to keep themselves afloat businesswise and manage revenue streams. Technology also helped healthcare to expand reach to rural and remote areas. Keeping this in mind, last year the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), NITI Aayog, and the Board of Governors (BoG) Medical Council of India (MCI) released the initial formal guidelines to regulate practices across India leading to democratization of healthcare delivery, especially telemedicine. Remote healthcare delivery also hastened during this time. Concept of remote or smart ICUs also became prevalent considering the shortage of critical care staff in hospitals. Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices came handy in remote and digital healthcare. With AI, predictive analytics, electronic health records etc medical consultation has become more efficient. This particularly helped during pandemic and is very relevant for areas where physical healthcare delivery is limited or unavailable. The scope of remote healthcare in India is promising. According to the latest McKinsey report telehealth is projected as a quarter trillion-dollar industry post-COVID. The report states that telehealth use has increased 38 times from the pre-COVID-19 baseline. The industry is projected to reach a size of US$ 10.6 billion by 2025 in India. The healthcare delivery for rural and remote areas has to combine both digital and physical modes, the evolved 'Phygital Model'. As India's rural population is sizeable, about 65% of total population, the healthcare efforts would require contribution from both public and private sectors. Currently, patients from rural areas and small towns have to travel to larger cities to avail better healthcare facilities, increasing the load on already burdened healthcare infrastructure there. Moreover, it also increases the cost of healthcare for those who travel. Use of phygital model will reduce the cost of healthcare and lessen the burden on large cities. Innovative startups and entrepreneurial spirit of India's youth can help bring this healthcare transformation with support from government and investors. Read on...

Businessworld: How Are Advances In Digital Technology Making Healthcare Delivery In Rural India More Efficient?
Author: Col Hemraj Singh Parmar


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 aug 2021

Diversity is an important issue in industrial design industry. Research finds that women account for 85% of consumer purchases but most products are not designed by women. Another research suggests that 85% designers are males in industrial design industry. So industrial firms that are women-led are rare and need a special mention. Women can provide different perspectives and approaches to products. Here is the list of 20 design and innovation firms with women in leadership positions - (1) Rinat Aruh, founder and CEO of Aruliden (2) Jo Barnard, founder of Morrama (3) Cheresse Thornhil, design director at S.E.E.D. at Adidas, the School for Experiential Education in design (4) Merle Hall, CEO of Kinneir Dufort (5) Jeanette Numbers, co-founder of Loft (6) Alyssa Coletti, founder of NonFiction Creative (7) Angela Medlin, founder and director of FAAS (pronounced 'faze', stands for Functional Apparel & Accessories Studio) Design Collab (8) Natalie Nixon, PhD, founder of Figure 8 Thinking (9) Nichole Rouillac, founder of Level (10) Maaike Evers, co-founder of Mike&Maaike (11) Liz Daily, founder of Liz Daily (12) Jessica Nebel, managing partner at Neongrey (13) Antionette Carroll, founder, president, and CEO of Creative Reaction Lab (14) Ayse Birsel, co-founder and creative director of Birsel + Seck (15) Stephanie Howard, founder of HOW AND WHY (16) Phnam Bagley, co-founder of Nonfiction (17) Kelly Custer, design director of Knack (18) Isis Shiffer, founder of Spitfire Industry (19) Wonhee Arndt, co-founder of Studio Gorm (20) Betsy Goodrich, co-founder of Manta. Read on...

Core77: 20 Woman-led Industrial Design & Innovation Firms
Authors: Kristi Bartlett, Ti Chang


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 aug 2021

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is becoming an essential tool for businesses to not only participate in a greater good but also differentiate themselves in a highly competitive business environment. Businesses can utilize CSR as a source of competitive advantage by strategically applying CSR in the communities they work. Companies with serious CSR planning and implementation signify that they operate in ethical and sustainable way and care for the environment and are sincere about their social impacts. Particularly for companies that work in developing world with poverty related challenges, CSR is a great tool to demonstrate that they care and contribute for a better world. Here are few points that represent the value of CSR for businesses in today's world - (1) Creates Greater Job Satisfaction: As per the study published in HBR in 2018, 9 out of 10 workers are willing to earn less income to do more meaningful work. Companies with strong CSR culture can increase employee satisfaction and can attract better employees. (2) Encourages Customer Loyalty: Customers are now more interested in how the companies operate with respect to society and environment. When customers find out about CSR aspects of a company they trust it more and would buy products from them. Millenials as customers are more inclined towards such aspects of companies before they buy products from them. (3) Makes Businesses More Sustainable: When companies apply more sustainable practices then their models become more sustainable too and they will reap the benefits in the long run. Read on...

South Coast Herald: Why Corporate Social Responsibility is Essential for Businesses
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 aug 2021

The new study 'Why Do Some Advertisements Get Shared More Than Others' by Prof. Jonah Berger of the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania and Daniel McDuff of Microsoft Research published in Journal of Advertising Research, explores the emotional triggers - happiness, sadness, and even disgust - that make people want to share advertising content. Prof. Berger is also the author of the books, 'Contagious' and 'The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone’s Mind'. The study investigates the link between emotional responses to video ads and sharing. The researchers found that positive emotions resulted in more sharing, but so did feelings of disgust. Prof. Berger says, 'Everyone wants their content to be shared - from companies with their ads to 'influencers' with their videos to content marketers with their content. But actually getting consumers to share is harder than most people think.' Prof. Berger mentions that for the study they used facial expressions of participants as indicator of emotions. He says, 'It certainly seems easier to ask people how they feel or have them rate their response on scale. But there's a problem: Self-reports are often inaccurate. People don't always have a good sense of what they are feeling, and even if they give you an answer, it's not always correct. Further, people sometimes bias their responses based on what they think you want to hear. So, facial expressions can be a valuable alternative. Our face often signals how we're feeling even if we don’t realize it.' Stating the key findings and implications of the study, Prof. Berger says, 'While ads that made people smile were more likely to be shared, some negative emotions, like sadness or confusion, decreased sharing, while others, like disgust, increased it. Consistent with other research we've conducted, this highlights that rather than just being about feeling good or bad, sharing is also about the physiological arousal associated with different emotions. Emotions that fire us up to take action, like anger and anxiety (and in this case, disgust) boost sharing, while emotions that power us down (like sadness), decrease sharing. This has a number of important implications for marketers. First, if you want people to share, making them feel good isn't enough. Feeling content isn't going to make people share. You have to fire them up. Make them feel excited, inspired, or surprised. Second, you don't have to shy away from negative emotions. Because they fire people up, anger, anxiety or even disgust can be leveraged to encourage word of mouth.' Read on...

Knowledge@Wharton: What Makes Some Ads More Shareable Than Others?
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 aug 2021

India is predominantly an agrarian society with 2/3rd of its population associated with agriculture and related sectors. Moreover, 1/3rd of rural India still lives below poverty line. These statistics points towards an imbalance in rural and urban society and leads to migration by rural population towards cities in search of livelihoods. Long-term well thought out planning and implementation is a necessity to pursue rural development and make rural economy a thriving force to bridge the rural-urban divide and provide opportunities to rural population and enhance their quality of life in rural areas. Some of the steps that would be required to make it a reality would include - (1) Skilled Manpower: Improve availability of educational and vocational skill-based training for rural youth to enhance their employability; Awareness and knowledge about modern agricultural practices to rural population; In addition to education, public health and sanitation, women empowerment, providing better electricity and irrigation, facilities for agriculture extension, research, loans and credit availability, along with skill development for employment, are some of the steps needed in this regard. (2) Aiding Growth: To reduce unplanned migration towards cities it is required to provide opportunities to youth in rural areas. It is necessary to invest time and resources in promoting investment and creating infrastructure for better employment opportunities; Quality of agricultural jobs should be improved and there should be better human resources practices in such jobs to make them attractive for rural youth. (3) Building Opportunities: Entrepreneurship is one concept that should be seriously introduced in rural and agricultural sector to increase opportunities and support growth. It is important to create micro-entrepreneurs and economic clusters in rural India; For rural entrepreneurs to thrive government has to improve rural infrastructure through investments in roads, electricity, irrigation networks, and national cold chain grids in the rural areas; Welfare funding is another area that need to be addressed. But overall the most important thing is to empower rural youth to become entrepreneur and become generator of employment opportunites within the rural setting will be turning point in rural economy leading to sustainable rural development. Read on...

YourStory: How can rural economy contribute to the socio-economic growth of India
Authors: Sanjay Rai Sherpuriya, Suman Singh


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 jul 2021

According to the report, 'Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment: Does Volunteering Increase Odds of Finding a Job for the Out of Work?' (Authors: Christopher Spera, Robin Ghertner, Anthony Nerino, Adrienne DiTommaso) by Corporation for National and Community Service (CSNA, USA), there is a statistically significant and stable association between volunteering and employment and irrespective of economic conditions volunteering may add an advantage to the out of work seeking employment. The study found that volunteering is associated with a 27% higher odds of employment. Moreover, more than 77 million Americans volunteer a total of 6.9 billion hours a year doing everything from fighting fires to raising funds for cancer research. These efforts help others and support communities, and also benefit the volunteers themselves. Prof. Jennifer Amanda Jones, scholar of Nonprofit Management and Leadership at University of Florida, suggests four ways in which volunteering benefits volunteers - (1) Boosting your health, especially if you assist others: According to a long-term study, researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that volunteering was linked to psychological well-being, and the volunteers themselves said it was good for their own health. Researchers have suggested public health officials educate the public to consider volunteering as part of a healthy lifestyle. A team of social scientists combed through data collected in Texas and they found that people who volunteered in ways that benefited others tended to get a bigger physical health boost than volunteers who were pitching in for their own sake. (2) Making more connections: Volunteering done on a regular basis provides volunteers to develop strong networks and relationship as compared to those who do episodic volunteering. In making connections through volunteering consistency is important. (3) Preparing for career moves: Volunteering helps to gain and strengthen variety of skills and develop professional networks. This actually can provide opportunites to get paid jobs and advance careers. Volunteering adds to resume and when done in the field related to volunteer's professional qualification and prior experience will help build careers. (4) Reducing some risks associated with aging: According to various studies, older people who engage in mentally stimulating leisure activities on a regular basis may have better memory and executive function than those who don't. Volunteering can be considered as a highly stimulating leisure activity. Read on...

The Conversation: 4 ways that volunteering can be good for you
Author: Jennifer A. Jones


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jul 2021

Sales teams are mostly a people game, but there are always some additional components that need focus depending on the industry's nuances. Chris Thrasher, Director of North American Sales at ABM, provides three characterists of a biological sales team - (1) Have A Strong Understanding Of Agronomy: Biological sales people work like consultants. Understanding of agronomy is important. Need to build upon the previous generations of agricultural knowledge and ability to understand the positives and negatives of the past in the industry can help in the sales process. (2) Have Integrity and Relate To The Customer: Sales team should be able to related to the farmers in addition to distributors and dealers. As farmers/producers are the end customer, it is essential to know what they really want and to build trust through sincerity and integrity. (3) The Ability To Hear The Word 'No': As biologicals are an add-on sales, they can become a difficult sell during adverse situations like global pandemic, abnormal weather conditions or bad commodity prices. They are not essential goods and sales persons have to be patient with the clients and have the ability to hear negative responses from customers. Lot of uncertainty is ingrained in farming regarding the future and farmers are looking for mainly basic buying of seeds, fertilizers and chemicals, biologicals are not their priority. The challenge for sales team to understand this and act accordingly. Read on...

Seed World: 3 Characteristics to Look For in a Biological Sales Team
Author: Chris Thrasher


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 jul 2021

Fashion industry is one of the most polluting industry in the world. The World Economic Forum article 'These facts show how unsustainable the fashion industry is' (Author - Morgan McFall-Johnsen; 31 jan 2020) provides data to emphasize the fashion industry's polluting aspects. Here are the few of these facts - (1) In total, up to 85% of textiles go into landfills each year. That's enough to fill the Sydney harbor annually. (2) Washing clothes releases 500000 tons of microfibers into the ocean each year - the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles. (3) A 2017 report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimated that 35% of all microplastics - very small pieces of plastic that never biodegrade - in the ocean came from the laundering of synthetic textiles like polyester. (4) The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of humanity's carbon emissions. (5) The fashion industry is the second-largest consumer of water worldwide. (6) Textile dyeing is the world's second-largest polluter of water, since the water leftover from the dyeing process is often dumped into ditches, streams, or rivers. (7) Fashion industry is responsible for 20% of all industrial water pollution worldwide. Fast fashion is one of the main reasons behind the negative impact of fashion industry. According to Wikipedia article 'Environmental impact of fashion', fast fashion is 'an approach to the design, creation, and marketing of clothing fashions that emphasizes making fashion trends quickly and cheaply available to consumers.' The idea is that speedy mass production combined with cheap labor will make clothes cheaper for those buying them, thus allowing these fast fashion trends to maintain economic success. The main concern with fast fashion is the clothes waste it produces. According to the Environmental Protection Agency 15.1 million tons of textile clothing waste was produced in 2013 alone. Recently a webinar was organized by Department of Design and Crafts at BBKDAV College for Women with experts in the field discussing the sustainability concepts in fashion and design industry. Prof. Raghuraman Iyer, a master of Design in Product Designing from IIT (Mumbai) and Head of Punyaa Education and Research Foundation, said, 'The need to move towards sustainable practices in designing and crafting of the products is more than ever now. Sustainable and sensible crafting will lead to less textile waste, less harm to animals, fairer wages and working conditions and a better tomorrow for the future.' Prof. Prabhjot Kaur, Department of design at BBKDAV, said, 'Even while investing in furniture of the house, one needs to be cautious as the chemical polish used on it releases toxic fumes. We can overcome such issues by keeping high oxygen generating indoor plants or having good ventilation system.' Dr. Pushpinder Walia, Principal of BBKDAV College for Women, said that after experiencing the pandemic, our generation must become more responsible. Read on...

Tribune India: 'Killing' it with fast fashion
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jun 2021

COVID-19 has brought about a massive online education transformation in India. There are many challenges that the traditional education system already faces and with the advent of the new tech-enabled education at such a large scale the challenges have multiplied. Dr. K. Kasturirangan, former chairman of the Indian Space Research Orgnisation (ISRO) and chairman of the committee that drafted the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP), voiced out his concerns while speaking at the 'Development Dialogue', a virtual interaction hosted by the International Centre Goa. He said, 'This is the beginning of online learning. Certainly, there is a digital divide. Whether it is internet connectivity, internet-enabled devices or a quiet study environment, these are all grossly underestimated in their complexity to be integrated into an Indian educational system. Quite a lot of research is going on but to have a system that can be adopted in an operational, scalable and affordable sense, I think we still have to wait.' He also emphasized the need for children to learn regional languages as recommened in the new NEP. He also talked about the importance of learning foreign language, particularly English, and mentioned that the new education policy will provide more opportunities to learn foreign languages. Read on...

The Indian Express: 'Digital divide in online education does exist, research on to find operational solution'
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 jun 2021

In today's world, social media is capable to make or break a brand. Every organization needs a well thought out social media strategy and requires a skilled human resource to deliver it successfully to enhance the value and reach of the brand. Tracey Wallace, Director of Marketing at MarketerHire, analyzes the critical role of social media managers and explain the skills they need to lead the social media strategy of the organizations they serve. She says, 'Social-media marketing has become a much more critical role within the internal marketing teams at startups as well as at Fortune 500s...modern social-media management requires a deep generalist, with charisma and negotiating capabilities, fantastic copywriting and community-building skills, and the availability and drive to be nearly always on.' Many experts believe that that social-media managers are the CMOs of tomorrow. Matthew Kobach, Director of Content Marketing at Fast, says, 'Social media professionals understand the following about your company: Marketing, Comms (especially crisis), Branding, Industry trends, Customer service, Creative (graphics, imagery, photos, video), How to create and nurture brand advocates. They are the future CMO/CCOs.' Amanda Goetz, founder and CEO at House of Wise, says, 'I can't believe people still think of social as a 'channel' or 'side hustle.' SMMs are the future CMOs. They understand user insights, positioning and brand marketing like no one else.' Ms. Wallace provide the skills to look for in a social media manager - (1) Creative strategy and channel-assessment capabilities (2) Short-form writing and storytelling (3) Community management (4) Internal communication. Read on...

Entrepreneur: Social-Media Managers Are the Next Generation of CMOs
Author: Tracey Wallace


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 jun 2021

According to the 2019 Reuter's report based on a study by Center for American Progress titled 'How Much Nature Should America Keep', the US needs to set a goal to protect 30% of land and oceans by 2030 to stem the rapid decline of natural areas, which will protect the country from the worst impacts of climate change and wildlife extinction. The report mentioned that the US has lost 24 million acres (9712455.41 hectares) of natural area, between 2001 and 2017 due to agriculture, energy development, housing sprawl and other human factors. This phenomenon is happening worldwide and many countries and cities are working to create open spaces and 'rewild' their communities to combat the global loss of nature. Rewilding restores an area to its original, uncultivated state, shifting away from the centuries-long practice of controlling and managing nature for human need. It incorporates both the old and the new, allowing wildness to reclaim an area and/or incorporating new elements of architectural or landscape design, like growing greenery on the facades of buildings. Rewilding is generally carried out in wild areas that have gone through deforestation. Many rewilding projects aim to restore biodiversity in an ecosystem. But now many cities are trying to rewild. Rewilding in urban areas might include reintroducing native plant species, building parks on empty lots, incorporating more biophilic design when building new structures, or simply allowing nature to reclaim space. A major draw to rewilding in urban areas is the proven positive impact of nature on human health - particularly for city-dwellers with less access to outdoor spaces. Following are the select 8 cities that are significantly embarking upon rewilding - (1) Singapore: The Gardens by the Bay have transformed Singapore from a 'Garden city' to a 'City in a Garden'. 18 'Supertrees' are dispersed throughout the landscape. They are not living things themselves, but these trees are home to over 158000 plants and mimic the functions of regular trees by providing shade, filtering rainwater, and absorbing heat. Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park is also an example of rewilding in Singapore, incorporating elements of water-sensitive urban design and reducing the urban heat island effect in the city. Beyond parks, Singapore maintains more than 90 miles of Nature Ways - canopied corridors that connect green spaces, facilitating the movement of animals and butterflies from one natural area to another throughout the city. Singapore has also developed a City Biodiversity Index to examine and track the progress of biodiversity and conservation projects. (2) Nottingham, United Kingdom: The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has proposed a new vision for the empty Broadmarsh shopping center in the city - an urban oasis of wetlands, woodlands, and wildflowers. Replacing these 6 acres of development could set a precedent for how such spaces are redeveloped in the future. (3) Haerbin, China: The city of Haerbin which is the capital of China's northernmost province and which sees 60-70% of its annual precipitation from June-August, has taken a creative approach to address flooding by fostering a wetland in the middle of the city. The Qunli National Urban Wetland provides invaluable ecosystem services - collecting and filtering stormwater into the aquifer, recovering a native habitat vital to the surrounding ecosystem, and supplying a place for recreation in the city with a network of raised paths and viewing towers for visitors. (4) Dublin, Ireland: One-third of bee populations in Ireland are threatened with extinction, so the country has begun retiring their lawnmowers and letting grasses grow high. Dublin created a 2015-2020 Biodiversity Action Plan, aimed at reducing mowing and herbicide use in parks, roadsides, and other green spaces. By letting native plants grow instead of maintaining monocropped, chemical-laden lawns, native insect, bird, and bee populations thrive. 80% of the city's green spaces are now 'pollinator-friendly'. (5) Sydney and Melbourne, Australia: Australia has caught on to the biophilic cities movement - a different design approach that brings nature and urbanites together, welcomes back native species, and makes even the densest cities more 'natureful'. The biophilic One Central Park in Chippendale – a suburb of Sydney – is known for its vertical hanging gardens, which incorporate 35200 plants of 383 different species more than 1120 square meters of the building's surface. Melbourne has also taken similar action with the Green Our City strategic action plan, which outlines how nature can be brought back into the city through green walls and roofs. (6) Hanover, Frankfurt, and Dessau, Germany: As a part of the Städte Wagen Wildnis ('Cities Venturing into Wilderness', or 'Cities Dare Wilderness') Project, Hanover, Frankfurt, and Dessau, Germany have agreed to set aside plots in cities – such as the sites of former buildings, parks, vacant lots, etc. – where nature will be allowed to take over. The resulting wildflower gardens and untamed nature will create new habitats for plant and animal species, and thus will increase the overall biodiversity of these cities. (7) New York City, United States: On the site of a former elevated railroad, the High Line gardens have become a staple attraction of Manhattan. The High Line gardeners work to facilitate the natural processes occurring in this landscape, allowing plants to compete, spread out, and grow/change as they would in nature. a valuable habitat for native butterflies, birds, and insects – and, of course, the hundreds of plant species covering its surface. (8) Barcelona, Spain: After the six-week coronavirus-induced lockdown in April'2020, the population of Barcelona found that the city was bursting with growth. With parks closed, nature had begun to reclaim spaces. In May and June of 2020, the Urban Butterfly Monitor Scheme found significant increases in biodiversity - 28% more species per park overall, 74% more butterflies, and an explosion of plant growth during the spring rains that supplied more insects for birds to feed on. Inspired by these changes, the city is now working to create 49000 square meters of 'greened' streets and 783300 of green open space. Furthermore, beehives and insect hotels have been dispersed throughout the city, as well as 200 bird- and bat-nesting towers to encourage even more biodiversity. Read on...

EcoWatch: 8 Cities Rewilding Their Urban Spaces
Author: Linnea Harris


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 may 2021

COVID-19's recent second wave in India has brought about a healthcare crisis that has never been seen before. The situation is so difficult that it requires all the possible efforts by government, private sector, social organizations, individuals etc and even then they generally fall short considering the large population size, infrastructural deficiencies and systemic inefficiencies. But in this grim scenario the spirit of social entrepreneurship is trying to bring a ray of hope and their contribution is making life of many, particularly vulnerable communities, a little easier in these hard times. Social entrepreneurs have been effective due to their on-the-ground presence and their ability to act as first responders in support of vulnerable communities. Following are the six social enterprises from the Schwab Foundation's community of social innovators that are working to save lives during current COVID-19 crisis in India - (1) Goonj NGO (Providing resources to the most vulnerable): Distributed more than 8800 tons of rations and other essential items, provided more than 362000 meals, sourced 225000 kgs of vegetables from farmers, reached out to more than 380000 families (about 1.5 million people) and produced more than 800000 face masks and more than 1200000 cloth sanitary pads. (2) SEWA - Self-Employed Women's Association (Helping women in the informal economy): Provides support to self-employed women and on behalf of its 1.7 million women workers in 18 states of India, urged the government to declare income support to all the families of the informal economy workers to tide over this crisis, issue a circular to all the states to declare a compensatory package of Rs 5000 per month to all registered workers, provide a free public distribution system for ration supply as long as the crisis lasts, and offer six months amortization on repayment of all loans.(3) Aajeevika Bureau (Providing resources to migrants): Provided relief to stranded migrant workers, daily wagers and their households to see them through this period of distress. Relief included emergency food distribution, cash transfers, health care and help to workers in distress. They also provided travel assistance to migrants attempting to return home and also facilitated the transition of those who returned to their villages. (4) Glocal Healthcare (Providing healthcare to people in remote areas): Recently launched a free telemedicine consultation for COVID-19 screenings. This can be accessed both from phone line as well as from websites and apps. The goal is to prevent panic; ensure correct screening, triage and treatment before conditions become too serious; and prevent the health infrastructure from collapsing. (5) Jan Sahas (Supporting migrant families, survivors of sexual violence and frontline workers): Within 100 days of the COVID-19 lockdown, Jan Sahas drew support from more than 30 philanthropic and private sector donors (resulted in more than US$ 2 million) and worked with 42 nonprofits across 19 states in India to address the needs of more than 1040000 migrant families, 1237 survivors of sexual violence, 12480 frontline health workers and state actors through immediate relief support. (6) Mann Deshi (Providing women with access to finance): During COVID-19 it had been working non-stop to provide relief - including providing food packages, masks and PPE kits. It also partnered with a district government to build a 300-bed COVID-19 hospital by refurbishing an old unused rural hospital and turning it into a free dedicated COVID-19 hospital. It is also working with the district administration 24/7 to provide oxygen beds, ventilators, Remdisvir and Tocilizumab to critical stage patients. Read on...

World Economic Forum: 6 ways social entrepreneurs are saving lives during India's COVID-19 crisis
Author: Pavitra Raja


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 may 2021

Social entrepreneurs are impacting the world by doing good in various fields. Here is the list of 40 social entrepreneurs that stood out and are to be followed in 2021 - (1) Ruben Harris (Founder of Career Karma): Career Karma is a member of Y Combinator's 2019 class and since then has been helping people that want to become software engineers by matching them with the right coding bootcamp and supporting them throughout their careers. (2) Robert Luo (Founder of Mi Terro): Mi Terro is a biotechnology company that reengineers leftover milk into sustainable fibers that can replace plastic in the fashion, medical and packaging industries. (3) Tiila Abbitt (Founder of Aether Beauty): Aether Beauty is a cosmetics and beauty products company with focus on clean organic cosmetics and sustainable packaging promoting zero waste concept. (4) Bonnie Gringer (Founder of Sharethelovely): Sharethelovely is reimagining wedding shopping through a multi-sided resale marketplace providing consumers and the bridal industry sustainable products and services for fairytale weddings at a fraction of the cost. Through an online concierge resale model with an offline 'try-before-you-buy” shopping option, it is bridging the online and offline shopping experience critical to brides. (5) Topaz Smith (Founder of EN-NOBLE): EN-NOBLE, by using an international network of independent travel suppliers, offers customers the opportunity to experience local cultures, safe in the knowledge that their money is also strengthening those communities: the company pledges 1% of its revenue will be be reinvested with local partners. (6) Quinn Fitzgerald and Sara Dickhaus de Zarraga (Founders of Flare): Flare makes beautifully designed, modern safety jewelry that empowers wearers to get out of uncomfortable situations at the push of a button. Each piece of jewelry has a hidden button that triggers text messages and GPS tracking to friends, a pre-recorded call to your phone, or even connecting with the police. (7) Brendan Brazier and Mark McTavish (Founders of Pulp Culture): Pulp Culture is a healthy alcohol brand that blends alcoholic beverages that use 100% raw, fresh juices that naturally ferment over three months. Called 'wild fermentation', the result is a zero-additive, zero-sugar, bone-dry beverage with 6 billion naturally-occurring probiotics, B vitamins, and 4.9% ABV. (8) Dinesh Tadpalli (Founder of incrEDIBLE): incrEDIBLE is the first company to mass-produce edible cutlery and help alleviate waste from 100 million plastic utensils used every day in America. (9) Alexandre Koiransky (Founder of FAIR): FAIR is a spirit brand on a mission to support farmers in developing economies for the last decade. When you buy Fairtrade certified spirits, it makes sure that workers who grow the crops are paid a fair price. Fairtrade standards promote direct and meaningful impact within key Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) areas. (10) Shireen Jaffer (Founder of Edvo): Edvo is a venture-backed startup in Los Angeles that empowers people with the tools to think better and live better. It provide the tools for a life full of meaningful learning, critical thinking, and better results. (11) Maya Mutalik (Founder of Hope Sews): Hope Sews is an impact-driven fashion brand that creates contemporary clothing made from artisanal fabrics from around the world and provides women entrepreneurs in developing communities with the resources they need to grow their businesses. (12) Garik Himebaugh (Eco-Stylist): Eco-Stylist is an online marketplace for eco-conscious and ethically made men's clothing. Everything at Eco-Stylist is eco-friendly, socially responsible, and ethically sourced. At Eco-Stylist all ethical and sustainable brands are first researched with Remake’s sustainable brand criteria. (13) Laura Alexander and Liza Moiseeva (Founder of Brightly): The Brightly platform focuses on brand + product recommendations, actionable + research content, and authentic community connections to empower people to make a difference for the planet. (14) Abdullah Choudhry (Co-founder of Arbor): Arbor is a platform that brings conscious information to consumers at the forefront of purchasing. Arbor helps users patronize companies that align with their values. (15) David Simnick and Daniel Doll (Founders of Soapbox): Soapbox is a company whose mission is to empower customers with the ability to change the world through everyday, quality purchases. For every product sold, the company gives back through bar soaps, health, and hygiene initiatives in communities both domestically and around the globe. (16) Julia Pennington and Allison Lange (Founder of Hera The Dog Vodka): Hera The Dog Vodka is crafted from 100% organic wheat non-GMO distilled 7 times slow-filtered using gravity through walnut husk carbon distilled. The founders have devised a more sustainable way to raise funds for animals in need and to help these driven, boots on the ground rescue organizations. When they formed the benefit corporation, Animal Spirits, they also created the Animal Spirits Foundation as a separate non-profit entity. A percentage of the funds raised through the sale of Animal Spirits’ products will be donated to the Animal Spirits Foundation to help support rescue groups, sanctuaries and individuals needing help with their four-legged family member through financial grants. (17) Spencer Arnold and Tim Hollinger (Founders of Bathing Culture): Bathing Culture is designed for the adventurous, the design-driven, and the sustainably-minded. Featuring everything that bathing ritual needs, the collection is highlighted by its hero product, the Mind and Body Wash - an organic, biodegradable, all-purpose and concentrated soap. They use plastic bottles made from 100% pre-existing recycled material. (18) Adila Coker (Founder of The Good Tee & Source My Garment): 'Source My Garment' is an essential book written on how to responsibly offshore manufacturing. The Good Tee's mission is to make it easier for any size brand to sell responsibly made products. The Good Tee is a collection of sustainable basics which are a blank canvas for brands to print on. The Good Tee champions responsible manufacturing - slower production schedules, ethical working conditions, and fair deals for all. It has a Fairtrade certification. (19) Kathy Hannun (Co-founder of Dandelion Energy): Dandelion Energy is the largest residential geothermal company in the US. Dandelion transitions homeowners from fossil-fueled to geothermal heating and cooling using their custom geothermal drilling suite and Dandelion Air heat pump. (20) Paul Shapiro (Founder of Better Meat Co.): The Better Meat Co. is creating the future of food sustainability through technology and cellular agriculture. He is the author of the national bestseller 'Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World'. (21) Dr. Lydiah Kemunto Bosire (Founder of 8B Education Investments): 8B Education Investments is a fin-tech company that aims to facilitate affordable financing to African students in leading global universities. (22) Jonny Crowder (Founder of Cope Notes): Cope Notes sends daily mental health support via text message to the subscriber in order to help train their brain to combat negativity, stress, anxiety, anger, and doubt. All the texts are written by peer support advocates, so these are people with lived experience with hardship or trauma, illness, and loss. (23) Chami Akmeemana (Founder of Blockchain Learning Group and Convergence): Convergence has successfully deployed several blockchain projects in the developing world to connect individuals to simple human rights and create new businesses in areas never thought possible. (24) Priya Prakash (Founder of HealthSetGo): HealthSetGo integrates technology and health care to empower parents, schools, and governments to make data-driven decisions to improve the health and lives of children. (25) Roberto Milk (Co-founder of NOVICA): NOVICA is a marketplace for artisans and features the work of more than 20000 artisans for sale, improving the economic prospects of artists in some of the world's most remote areas. Showcasing their products on NOVICA, offers artisans fair prices, no binding contracts and the freedom to make a success of their craft by building a sustainable business. NOVICA also gives artisans access to no interest microcredit loans that help build their businesses. NOVICA has empowered global artisans through greater access to international customers, freedom to set their own prices, and the ability to focus on their craft, creating a visible and profound impact on the communities around them. (26) Ryan Shearman (Co-founder of Aether Diamonds): Aether is a public benefit corporation that extracts harmful CO2 from the atmosphere and transforms it into valuable raw materials and consumer products. (27) Lucy Ashman (Founder of Tierra & Lava): Tierra & Lava produces skincare products using only purest form of ingredients (aka just whole plants and minerals). It now offers over 70 natural products with no fillers and only natural preservatives. (28) Matt McPheely (Partner of Chapel): Chapel is a 43000 sq ft office, event, and restaurant space in the heart of a mill village community with a mission of changing the way real estate projects are financed, built, and operated, as a force for good in the neighborhoods. Working with the community is the focus and will include job training, investment into local entrepreneurs, providing a safe space for kids, and offering our flex space as a resource for the neighborhood. (29) Chad Hickey (Founder of Givsly): Givsly is a for-purpose company built around the belief that as the world around us evolves, so should our options to create social impact. Givsly turns business meetings into opportunities to support the favorite nonprofits. Givsly platform introduces a portfolio of ways for professionals to give back, while doing business. (30) Ian Rosenberger (Founder First Mile and Day Owl): First Mile has redirected over 96 Million plastic bottles from landfills and the ocean and transformed them into consumer goods for global brands trying to find value in authenticity, transparency, and responsibility. Day Owl is a direct-to-consumer brand that has created a backpack out of First Mile materials that the team feels will prepare everyone to take on the world. (31) Yasmin Grigaliunas (Co-founder of World's Biggest Garage Sale): World's Biggest Garage Sale is activating the circular economy and resource recovery of dormant goods for good, powered by purpose to provide meaningful employment and pathways for disadvantaged youth. (32) Christian Shearer (Co-founder of Regen Network): Regen Network is an ecological agreements platform working to accelerate the adoption of Regenerative Agriculture. The platform is serving to align economics with ecology to drive regenerative land management. (33) Reese Fernandez-Ruiz (Co-founder of Rags2Riches): Rags2Riches's (R2R) focus is on community sourcing, community-based weaving, and sustainable market access. In addition to providing a sustainable livelihood for partner community artisans, R2R has also co-developed an artisan academy, a savings and micro-insurance program, and opportunities for full-time employment. (34) Margaret Andriassian (Founder of Life Originelle): Life Originelle is a shopping platform where women can shop from beautiful small businesses, and support a cause, all in one transaction. As an impact based shopping website, Life Originelle donates 10% of their proceeds from each order to their cause of the season. Read on...

CauseArtist: 40 Social Entrepreneurs to Watch for in 2021
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 may 2021

Online retail has been consistently eating into the share of brick-and-mortar retail. COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the decline of physical retail in US due to numerous lockdowns, restrictions, social distancing norms, consumer behavior changes etc, and it is struggling for survival. Michelle Greenwald, CEO of Catalyzing Innovation, provides reasons for this decline that will continue to happen even beyond the pandemic - (1) Fewer stores and farther to travel. (2) Retail store experience worsening because space is being devoted to fulfilling online orders. (3) With a lower percent of sales coming from physical retail, allocation of items and sizes to stores can be less, hence it can be harder to find what you hoped to walk out with. (4) Fewer random/unplanned impulse store visits from passing by. (5) Corporate resource/investments are increasingly focusing on further improving online experiences, at the expense of retail. (6) Making stores truly experiential is costly, and hard to justify for many locations. (7) Retail is no longer expected to pay for itself. It's viewed by many as a marketing awareness investment. (8) Muscle memory and post COVID traumatic stress associations make many think twice about shopping in crowded stores. (9) Less in-person retail can reduce the ease of discovering new items. Key Insights - Digital experience is important and it needs to replicate positive in-person experiences; Products might need to limit endless SKU proliferation and focus on fewer, surer bets; Physical stores need to be more exciting and attractive with great locations, venues for events, product sampling, demos etc; In-store customer experience shoud not be effected by online order fulfilment from physical store. Read on...

Forbes: 9 Reasons Why The Future For U.S. Retail Is Dim
Author: Michelle Greenwald


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 may 2021

Architecture is a continuously evolving field, and with technology it is re-inventing itself. Innovation is at the core of architectural design. To stay competitive, architects have to keep on learning new technologies and processes, and innovate. Start-up and entrepreneurship culture is now getting into architecture. Architects are finding innovative solutions and experimenting with new ideas and aiming to develop entrepreneurial ventures. Here are few examples of architects that have pursued entrepreneurship - (1) Eric Reinholdt: Owns a YouTube channel '30 x 40 Design Workshop' with 800k subscribers provides general insight into the world of architecture. He also experiments with alternative modes of practice like selling floor plans by the bundle or selling AUTOCAD and SketchUp drawing templates on his website. He has also written a book 'Architect + Entrepreneur' that provides insights into starting a design business. (2) Safia Qureshi: An architect, designer, and environmentalist, founded CupClub in 2015. CupClub is a tailored, end-to-end returnable packaging service that helps to reduce single-use plastic packaging. CupClub's cups can by used 132 times before they are recycled. Her architectural training has been a catalyst in creating this socially responsible business. (3) Clifton Harness (Architect) and Ryan Griege (Software Developer): Founded TestFit, a software tool that streamlines the design process of projects. The software is capable of providing site and urban configurations based on real-world variables, solving geometry based on constraints such as building codes. competing variables and constraints such as building codes. TestFit is an example of collaborative entrepreneurship between an architect and technologist. Providing entrepreneurship education to architects and designers, and cross-disciplinary collaborations will pave the way for creating innovative solutions and developing entrepreneurial ventures. Read on...

ArchDaily: The Potential of Architects in Entrepreneurship
Author: Matthew Maganga


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 apr 2021

According to the 2018 report 'Indian Giving Benchmarking Report', building strategy and attracting new donors are the two key fundraising challenges Indian nonprofits face. The research report was a collaborative effort of India Development Review (IDR), Samhita and the Collective Good Foundation to understand what nonprofits are doing when it comes to fundraising, and what is working in the individual donor fundraising space in India. The report is based on a 40-question survey filled by 682 nonprofits out of 2800 organizations in Samhita GoodCSR's network in 2018. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE REPORT - Nonprofits raised an average of INR 49 lakh (approximately USD 68000) from 191 individual givers; The median amount raised from individuals was INR 3.5 lakh (USD 4860) from 30 donors; Nonprofits had a diverse mix of revenue sources, with individual donors representing the largest share of total income at 35%, followed by government (18%), and CSR departments (13%); For small organizations, individual givers account for 60% of annual revenue. For large nonprofits, the figure is 16%, while for very large organizations, it's 10%; When it comes to CSR, very large nonprofits received 35% of their income from companies, compared to 7% for small organizations. KEY INSIGHTS - (1) Fundraising Strategies And Approaches: 72% find new donors through their founder's network and commonly leverage social media and board members to acquire new donors; Only 38% stated that their board members give money or are involved with fundraising; 68% find asking money face-to-face as the most effective way to solicit donations. (2) Donor Engagement: Annual reports (64%) and, beneficiary updates, letters, and interactions (62%) top the list of activities to build relationships with donors; Other engagement strategies include texting donors (31%), impact reports (33%), social media (39%), and face-to-face meetings (32%); 54% of nonprofits had a volunteer program to engage their potential and current donors. (3) Challenges When Fundraising From Individuals: 46% don't know how to attract new donors, and a third dont have a clear fundraising strategy; Some of the other challenges include lack of staff (26%), Crowdfunding platforms are not working/bringing in new donors/money (22%); Don't have clear and compelling message (22%); Don't have experience asking for money (18%); Don't know wealthy people (18%). Frontline fundraisers need to work hard and effectively to overcome challenges and to make serious and sincere efforts to identify donors and, to build and nurture relationships with them. Particularly in the time of pandemic, with many nonrprofits struggling to stay alive, nonprofits need innovative strategies so they can continue serving the communities. Read on...

India Development Review: The fundraising challenges plaguing Indian nonprofits
Author: Morry Rao Hermón


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 apr 2021

COVID-19 pandemic has brought numerous changes in how businesses go about their processes to create and deliver products and services to their customers. New trends are emerging in digital marketing too. While experts suggest to better what already exists in terms of digital marketing but they also hint at technology enabled shifts particularly with advancements in artificial intelligence. Having elaborate content strategy combined with data will remain a major trend along with focus on omni-channel marketing. Digital customer strategy will continue to be a must in the post-pandemic scenario. Here is what digital marketing experts recommend - (1) Martin Luenendonk (Co-Founder of FounderJar): Companies need to be everywhere. More businesses are focusing on omnichannel marketing and becoming less dependent on one single traffic and revenue driver. (2) Denise Langenegger (Outreach Strategist at Instasize): Focus on stories. Make use of all features of stories options on various social media platforms. The stories format allows brands and marketers to be more candid and post as much as they want. (3) Sandra Chung (Sr. Content Marketing and Partnerships Manager at PlayPlay): Repurpose existing video content for social media. Empower internal teams to create video content. Customer case studies and product tutorials can be transformed into engaging video stories. (4) Olena Zherebetska (Content Manager at Pics.io): Invest in digital asset management software. This will help you access, organize, and distribute assets easily. Some features include meta-tagging, AI-powered technology, advanced search capabilities, shareable public websites etc. (5) Lukas Mehnert (CMO at Smartlook): Focus on your own unique data for content marketing. Choose the unique content produced by the company or hire specialists who will help master this process. Make it properly distributed in the appropriate channels. Utilize industry influencers to spread the content through win-win relationships. (6) David Cacik (Head of Marketing at CloudTalk): High quality content enriched with structure data will rule search engines. Follow Google's guidelines for creating a website structure and creating content. Google assesses content according to the E-A-T methodology (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness). (7) Kristina Ziauke (Content Manager at sixads): Voice search, AI and personalization will be key. Optimize written content for voice searches, implement more and more AI features on the websites like chatbots, product and content recommendations, e-commerce transactions etc. (8) George Mathews (Founder at Kamayobloggers): Artificial Intelligence will change digital marketing forever in 2021. Communication, product recommendations and personalization are all going to be more targeted thanks to AI. (9) Raul Galera (Partner Manager at CandyBar): Focus on retention. Three main risks that online merchants will have to face in 2021 are - (i) the continued growth of online marketplaces (ii) the rise of ad costs (iii) the massive competition in the ecommerce space. Explore areas like subscription options and loyalty points to keep your clients engaged with your brand. Create an omnichannel approach to connect with customers who have found about brand in marketplace. (10) Andrzej Bieda (CMO at Landingi): Continue to nurture and educate your customers. Develop well-functioning marketing funnels, lead magnets, webinars, and sales processes. (11) Maciej Biegajewski (Digital Marketing Specialist at LiveWebinar): Predefined personalization in all digital engagement. Create various patterns (they can be service patterns, advertisements, messages, or even the appearance of the entire online store) that seem to suit this one customer, but have been defined earlier, and now only substitute the collected data and present the recipient. (12) Olga Petrik (CMO at NetHunt CRM): Trust and credibility are more important than ever. Pay more attention to loyalty and retention by developing customer success program. Utilize influencers. Create offers and run campaigns for micro-segments. Address highly-targeted pain points to trigger more responses. Neal Schaffer, founder of the digital marketing consultancy PDCA Social and teaches executives digital marketing at Rutgers Business School and the Irish Management Institute, says, 'Use social media for customer and influencer collaboration, not promotion...reimagine your digital relationships with your customers and celebrate them in social media...over time companies should try their best to source the type of user-generated content from their fans and nano influencers that generates trust and credibility with the public.' Read on...

ClickZ: 2021 digital marketing trends you need to know from 13 marketing experts
Author: Neal Schaffer


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 mar 2021

India's healthcare ecosystem is continuously evolving with changes in health policies, advancement in technologies, financial innovations etc. But, what is most critical is patient centricity, that should be at the core of all products and services development. Digital transformation is enabling this patient focus in healthcare. According to the World Economic Forum Report 2016 (weforum.org) titled 'Building the Healthcare System of the Future', the future of healthcare will be 'consumer-centric' and there are four digital themes that will be critical for digital transformation of healthcare over the next decade - (1) Smart Care (2) Care Anywhere (3) Empowered Care (4) Intelligent Healthcare Enterprise. The new structure for the healthcare system will include - Continuous Monitoring; Retail Clinics; Connected Home; Auto Paitent Access; Virtual Care Circles; Omni-channel Experience; Intelligent Treatments; Me, My Data and I; Augmented Wayfinding; Seamless Financing; Intelligent Machines; Virtual Care Team; Connected Care; Coordinated Ecosystem. Rehan A. Khan, Managing Director of MSD (India Region), explains how the patient-centered digitally-led healthcare ecosystem is developing in India driven by disease management, prevention and focus on wellness. He says, 'By leveraging disruptive innovations, we are personalizing patient and physician experience, and transforming healthcare access. We are around a close corner from a future where personalized medicines, curative therapies, digital therapeutics and precision intervention through robotic surgery, nanotechnology, 3D printing etc. will redefine healthcare across the globe and in our country.' Healthcare policies focused on digitalization are already in place and the initiatives are beginning to shape the future. There are now over 1 million registered Health IDs, 2900 verified 'digi doctors', a robust Health Facility Registry with over 1400 approved health facilities and a Live NDHM (National Digital Health Mission) application available on Android store. National Policy on Security of Health Systems and Privacy of Personal Health Records developed in accordance with the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019, will enable swift implementation of big data analytics. Mr. Khan suggests, 'Developing innovation hubs, forging strong Public Private Partnerships and driving patientcare digitally are critical pillars for driving Health For All.' Read on...

The Economic Times: Reimagining healthcare in India
Author: Rehan A. Khan


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 mar 2021

According to a survey by The Conference Board, 61% of major global companies spent more on philanthropy in 2020 than budgeted, with 58% of respondents using incremental funds for COVID-19 efforts, and 54% of respondents using incremental funds to help address racism in the US. Moreover, more than 2/3rd of the surveyed companies said they plan to maintain or increase their total level of giving in 2021. A 2017 Cone Communications CSR study found that 87% of respondents will purchase a product because a company stood behind an issue they cared about. And a 2016 Cone Communications study on millennial employee engagement found that 64% of millennials consider a company's social and environmental commitments when choosing a workplace. There is a win-win relationship when corporates focus on long-term social and community involvement. This activity benefits communities and helps improve and build brand value, and also achieve business objectives. Cheryl Goodman, Head of Corporate Communications/Corporate Social Responsibility at Sony, provides key steps that needs to be taken for strategic long-term CSR - (1) Identify Causes To Support: For strategic CSR choose causes to support that reflect company's ethos. Determine tangible societal benefits of the CSR efforts. There need to be a correlation between the beneficiary of the CSR efforts and the business that company is involved in. Survey employees to find causes to support. This helps employee to be more involved and engaged in the charitable efforts as they feel heard. (2) Determine Proper Structures To Achieve Success: To determie the structure, companies should think diligently what will make a long-term impact on communities. Companies should have systems in place to measure the impact and success of their efforts. Quantitative key performance indicators (KPIs) won't reveal themselves immediately, but qualitative measures are essential from the beginning. Companies should evaluate their resources and determine time and financial commitment they will be able to make to achieve desired outcomes. (3) Give Nonprofit Partners Space To Lead: Create an action plan to work with nonprofit partners. Develop trust and understanding with these partners, as they have experience working on the ground and know better how to serve communities. Collaborate early, communicate often and support each other authentically to achieve desired outcomes of the charitable efforts. (4) Get The Good News Out Without Missing The Mark: Secure strategic press coverage by involving the right internal and external stakeholders. Involve the right people from the company and nonprofit that can deliver the message right, and establish solid relationships with members of the media. Messaging should also include any relevant data points and stories that help explain why the cause is pressing. (5) Practice Humility And Transparency: By exercising humility, companies can decrease the likelihood of appearing opportunistic. Read on...

Forbes: How Companies Can Strategically Build Purposeful Corporate Social Responsibility Programs In Five Steps
Author: Cheryl Goodman


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 mar 2021

Web design continuously evolves with latest technologies and consumer tastes and behaviors. This results in new trends keep coming up. Most recently cool futuristic design has been prevalent, but now at the beginning of the new decade the trend is shifting to more minimalist and realistic design. Increasing web access on mobile is popularizing this trend. Following are top 10 trends for 2021 - (1) Minimalism: Involves using only essential elements – simple text and typefaces, plenty of space, monochrome or duo-chrome color palettes, and simple graphics. Simple designs are easy to read and functional. (2) Subtle yet intentional parallax scrolling: In this the background moves at a slower pace than the foreground. This adds depth and movement to the browsing experience. It creates an immersive experience for website visitors. (3) Non-traditional scrolling: It can grab attention creatively and quickly. It allows the website to have a fresh new feel. Helps website to stand out from competition. (4) Interactive landing pages: Landing pages help turn visitors into customers. Custom-designed attractive, creative, and interactive questionnaire and unique landing pages will be an important trend in 2021. (5) Dark mode option: Dark mode features light text and images on a dark background. It offers less eye-strain in low-light conditions and improved battery usage than its light-themed counterpart. (6) 3D visuals all around: Higher quality screen resolutions offer the ability to show hyper-realistic or high quality rendered designs that perfectly compliment website content. (7) Custom illustrated graphics: These graphics are welcoming, enticing, and elevate viewers' experience. They provide a more personable experience and a more welcoming feeling. (8) Gradients: Gradients add depth, eye-catching backgrounds, or texture behind an illustration. They are a simple and effective solution to elevate boring and old-school designs. It makes content pop and graphics stand out. (9) Exciting multimedia: Multimedia elements like photos or videos help a visitor learn without reading and can also create an immersive environment to keep a person engaged while browsing website content. Multimedia will be incorporated in new and exciting ways - voice-enabled interfaces; animations with sound effects; immersive and interactive videos. (10) A focus on functionality, usability, and accessibility. Read on...

Crowdspring: 10 biggest web design trends for 2021
Author: Ross Kimbarovsky


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 mar 2021

According to a research paper that is part of the wider report published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on how protected areas were affected by the pandemic, India was among the 22 countries which has enacted or proposed changes to its environmental regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic. In India there are at least 31 proposals to open up national parks and sanctuaries for infrastructure, extraction and development projects, including coal mining. The pandemic's impact around the globe on nature conservation efforts include - job losses among protected area rangers, reduced anti-poaching patrols, and deaths among indigenous communities living in those lands. Pandemic has further made the protected areas more vulnerable. Out of the 60 countries surveyed, 17 countries have maintained or increased their support to protected areas despite the crisis. This includes 8 countries from the European Union. The researchers argue that to reduce further pandemic risks, more protected areas need to be created and the existing ones should be made sustainable. Mariana Napolitano Ferreira, head of science at WWF Brazil, and one of 150 researchers that are part of the research report, says, 'During a time when all eyes were obviously on covid...you had governments reducing budgets or weakening environmental protection. In this moment of economic and humanitarian crisis, we have an unique opportunity to stop and think on how to rebuild. We have to look at (protected areas) differently.' Dr. Bruno Oberle, IUCN Director General, while mentioning about the research papers published by IUCN (iucn.org) in a special issue of PARKS, the journal of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, says, 'While the global health crisis remains priority, this new research reveals just how severe a toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on conservation efforts and on communities dedicated to protecting nature. Let us not forget that only by investing in healthy nature can we provide a solid basis for our recovery from the pandemic, and avoid future public health crises.' Read on...

Livemint: India rolls back environmental regulations during the pandemic
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 feb 2021

For startups, often struggling with resources and looking for more funds, investing in PR is a difficult but essential decision to be made with a well thought out plan. COVID-19 has further exacerbated the challenge in this conundrum. But in the new year, most businesses are now able to adapt to the new normal and are looking towards growth of their businesses. Last year, they were more cautious towards PR as the countries were entangled in COVID-19 and most news coverage was focused towards overcoming the situation. Moreover, companies were finding it difficult to pitch brand-specific stories with a fear of negative backlash. Some companies shifted to thought-leadership approach in the PR campaigns during this period. Jenna Guarneri, founder and CEO of JMG Public Relations, shares her experience in leading a startup focused PR firm and suggests ways to effectively handle PR. She insists that startups should have PR strategy in place and good PR can help with investors, increase backlinks to the website, increase brand awareness and help companies claim the title of 'the first of their kind'. PR is important for new businesses as it helps in improving their image and facilitates products/services selling. To achieve effectiveness in PR, whether in-house or outsourced, long-term consistent approach is the key. Relationships with media are not made overnight and require time and patience. With limited resources, startups must try to obtain high return on PR investments and they can get it by leaving their PR strategy in expert hands. But founders should not totally disengage themselves from it and should continue to have strategic involvement in it through good communication exchange, building comfortable relationships, understanding the PR processes, staying accessible to PR team and making PR a strategic priority for the business's growth. Read on...

Forbes: Why Startups Need A PR Strategy (And How To Make It A Success)
Author: Jenna Guarneri


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 feb 2021

Personalized, mindful and attractively designed interiors are essential components of good living spaces. The design should be harmoniously aligned to facilitate better living and growth of occupants. Nandita Manwani, founder of The Studio by Nandita Manwani (Bangalore, India), suggests 5 key design elements to make home interiors well-balanced and with a warm and nice feel - (1) Furniture: Includes the shape, material, colour, theme, placement and size. (2) Lighting: Requires layering of ambient lighting, task lighting and accent lighting. (3) Painting/ Wall Finishes/ Floor Finishes: Includes well thought out selection of materials, textures and finishes for good overall outcome. (4) Furnishing (5) Décor. Furnishing and décor should be part of the financial planning from the start. Any budgetary compromise at the end on furnishing and décor will adversely affect the overall outcome of the interior design. All these 5 elements should be blended together in balance to provide quality design. Moreover, Ms. Manwani adds another important 6th element to the interior design essentials - the people for whom the design is done. Their life-stage, lifestyle and aspirations. This personalization component is one of the most valuable part, as all other 5 elements will revolve around this and make home design truly different and unique. Read on...

The Times of India: Interior design - The sixth element
Author: Nandita Manwani


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 feb 2021

Charities often work under limited resources and specific set of pressures. Moreover, COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated their operational challenges. Use of performance metrics and marketization, lack of resources, increased visibility due to social media etc further add to the pressure. It is reported that at present one-in-ten charities remain at immediate risk of closure in UK. Considering the state of financial management in charity sector, studies of impact reporting have found that a concerning number of nonprofits are producing insufficient reporting. A Charity Finance Directors' Group study found that whilst more than half of charities reported on output and outcome, broader impact reporting was a far less common practice. A recent report published as part of the Organizational Financial Literacy Project - a collaboration between Charity Digital and Sage Foundation, in consultation with Solid Base Non-Profit Support, examines the current state of organisational financial literacy and impact reporting in the UK charity sector. The report delves into the root causes and proposes solutions. During the pandemic public trust in charities have increased and to maintain this trust nonprofits need to work responsibly and transparently, and with more accountability. Organizations that have better financial management and impact reporting will attract more funds. In charities, particularly smaller ones, the financial reporting tasks are handled on a part-time basis and often deprioritized. There is huge reliance on the use of Excel and paper-based accounting methods, resulting in infrequent and insufficient records. Impact in nonprofit sector is measured in terms of engagement with service users and meeting targets set by trustees and this information is needed by stakeholders to assess whether operations are succeeding or not. This information is critical for governance and to secure funding. The main reason for charities not able to have better financial management and reporting is due to limited resources available to accomplish such tasks. Moreover, well trained finance professional are generally not hired and the tasks are undertaken by non-finance professionals that find accounting and finance software tools complex and difficult to operate. The report identifies a four-part framework for overcoming or mitigating these obstacles - (1) Practical: Software and Processes (2) Educational: Training and Resources (3) Supportive: Extended Support Service (4) Social: Networking and Best Practices. Automation is at the core of this digitization strategy. Read on...

Charity Digital: The state of finance management in the charity sector
Author: Aidan Paterson


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 jan 2021

According to the World Bank's most recent statistics - India's rural population is 66% of the total population (2019); 41% of the total employment is involved in agriculture and farming (2020); Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, value added, contribute 16% to India's GDP (2019). Moreover, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (fao.org) says , 'Agriculture, with its allied sectors, is the largest source of livelihoods in India. 70% of its rural households still depend primarily on agriculture for their livelihood, with 82% of farmers being small and marginal.' Considering these statistics it is evident that India is substantially dependant on agrarian economy. The sector is looking for transition from an inefficient, unorganized and archaic one, that pushes farmers to commit suicide, to more modern with incorporation of technology and scientific methodologies, to make it profitable and sustainable to the agricultural community. The recent protest of the farmers at such a large scale has also brought the need of handling any transformation in the sector with caution and is to be carried out in a peaceful and democratic way by taking into confidence those who are affected the most with any policy change. The need for consultation and understanding is the only way to bring the needed evolution of the agricultural sector and make it thrive. Digitization and varied use of technology is a step that pushes agricultural economy towards this goal. NITI Aayog's report on Artificial Intelligence (AI) says that to maintain annual growth rate of 8-10%, agriculture must grow at 4% or higher. Technologies that can be applied include those on the farming side like sensor-assisted soil assessment, automated monitoring of free-ranging animals on pastures, targeted control of agricultural machinery, use of high quality seeds, optimum and measured use of fertilizers and pesticides, modern farming equipment and methods, scientific approach to agriculture etc, and there are technologies that need to be applied post-production, from farm to the market, like digitization in farm product management, supply chain management, logistics, Mandis and retail selling etc. This will lead to better produce with agri-waste reduction and efficiency in cost optimization. The three most essential elements that would lay the foundation of digitization in agriculture would include - Internet of Things (IoT); Nanotechnology; Digital Education. There are two most important technology related concepts in farming - 'Precision Farming' involves creating new production and management techniques that make intensive and efficient use of data regarding a specific location and crop; 'Smart Farming' or 'Farming 4.0' is the application of information and data technologies for optimising complex farming systems. To implement these concepts at a large scale in India's massive agriculture sector comes up with many challenges that need to be overcome - Digital divide; Lack of farmer literacy; Lack of financial resources particularly in case of small and medium farmers; Interruptions in rural power supply. Even though government and private sector knows the potential of digitization and technological transformation, major challenge is to involve farmers in the process by creating proper awareness and showcasing the benefits of technology-enabled agriculture. Government and private sector have already initiated the various projects in this regard like for example Microsoft has developed an 'AI-Sowing App', in collaboration with International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT), that sends advisory to the farmers regarding the optimal date of seed-sowing; NITI Aayog has partnered with IBM to develop a crop yield prediction model backed by AI to provide real-time data and communicate the required advisory to farmers; 'Blue River' project has designed and integrated computer vision with machine learning technology that will help cultivators to reduce the use of fertilisers and herbicides by spraying only where and when needed. Government projects in digitization include - Kisan Suvidha, Pusa Krishi, Farm-o-pedia App, Crop Insurance Android App, Agri-Market, M-Kisan Application, Shetkari Masik Android App etc. Read on...

Businessworld: Digitisation In Agriculture: A Necessity For India
Author: Urvi Shrivastav


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 jan 2021

COVID-19 pandemic has brought the focus on online learning and educational technologies. Even though the initiatives have been around for quite some time, but they have not been implemented at such a large scale. It is also observed that there is an imbalance in terms of preparation and implementation of online education in various countries and institutions. Some were able to execute online strategies better as they have been experimenting and utilizing such learning technologies and educational methodologies for many years. Prof. Ray Schroeder, Associate Vice Chancellor of Online Learning at University of Illinois at Springfield (US), explains how online education has rescued education during adverse circumstances and what the future holds for higher education after the pandemic has subsided and traditional education gets back on its feet. He cites an example of innovative strategy of UK unversities during SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) epidemic in Asia 2002-2003 when they offered online delivery of class materials to students at Hong Kong universities. He says, 'I was studying the implications of online learning interventions during SARS when Katrina devastated nearly two dozen college and university campuses along the US Gulf Coast. With my colleague Burks Oakley, then associate vice president for academic affairs for the University of Illinois, we brought the opportunity for online learning intervention to the attention of Frank Mayadas, program director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. This quickly expanded to engage a host of other higher education leaders...The remarkable effort was chronicled by George Lorenzo. Ultimately, the effort dubbed "The Sloan Semester" engaged more than 100 colleges and universities in offering online classes at no charge to students displaced by the hurricane. The intent was to provide transfer credit for those students to continue their degrees from wherever they took refuge while their campuses were closed and under repair.' He explains the current state of higher education with falling enrollments in US institutions and students opting for alternative and economical modes of learning through MOOCs and other at-scale online programs. There has been many fold increase in enrollment in such programs during the pandemic. Moreover, with decreasing US population growth and oversupply of colleges and universities the disruption of the education sector is expected. He further explains, 'The shakeout has begun with faculty layoffs, program cuts and deep deficits. The trends I have been following show this to be undeniable and pervasive. That brings us back to online learning to the rescue. As the U.S. Department of Labor reports the average tenure at an employer is just 4.2 years, we are seeing an ever-increasing number of adults returning to universities for continuing and professional education to retool and upskill for new and changing careers. And, by and large, they are doing this online.' He suggests that it will be an opportunity for education providers and they should focus on 'the "60-year learner" who returns again and again to prepare for work in an ever-changing economy fueled by artificial intelligence.' Read on...

Inside Higher Ed: Online Learning to the Rescue: Again
Author: Ray Schroeder


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 jan 2021

Forrester's SiriusDecisions 2020 Metrics Study looked at metrics that B2B marketing leaders use on their company's CMO dashboard to manage performance and found valuable insights regarding the state of B2B marketing today and provides a perspective on how successful companies focus on performance measurement. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE STUDY - (1) Leadership Attention Is Precious: On average, 8 metrics on the dashboards need consistent review, emphasizing to focus on metrics that summarize marketing's value. Prioritize metrics that highlight marketing's performance against key growth strategies. (2) Sourcing Metrics Continue To Dominate: Marketing-sourced revenue and marketing-sourced pipeline are two most commonly focused metrics, emphasizing that marketing organizations are utilizing more energy to manage their ability to sources net-new opportunities. But sourcing isn't well aligned with many of the go-to-market strategies B2B organizations are embracing. With declining sourcing rates across the industry there is a need for marketing leaders to quickly diversify the metrics they use to more comprehensively capture the contribution of their function. (3) CMOs Aren't Emphasizing Lead Metrics: Less than a quarter of organizations focus on lead volumes and conversion rates. The concern is that these metrics exist within top 10 metrics used at B2B organizations, but these metrics drop out of top 10 for organizations with high rates of revenue growth (greater than 10%/year). (4) High-Growth Companies Focus More On The Customer Lifecycle: Low-growth companies (less than 5%/year) emphasize more on measuring demand metrics but high-growth ones focus on metrics that describe value created during the customer lifecycle (e.g., retention rates, customer lifetime value, customer satisfaction, customer advocacy). (5) Top Performers Are Minding Cost Efficiency: At high-performance companies customer acquisition costs and cost of efficiency of demand generation were used on 27% and 23% respectively, while only 5% and 9% for low-growth ones. This points out at the need for marketing organizations to utilize the resources entrusted to them most efficiently to be accountable contributors to growth. Read on...

Forrester: What B2B Marketing Leaders Are Measuring: Five Key Takeaways
Author: Ross Graber


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 jan 2021

More and more educators and experts are advocating inclusion of design and creativity focused subjects in the mainstream school level curriculum. In a webinar titled, 'Why Design Education is Important for Odisha', educators and policymakers discussed the value of design education in India and specifically for the state of Odisha. Prof. Pradyumna Vyas, Senior Advisor of Design and Innovation at Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and former Director of National Institute of Design (NID) at Ahmedabad, says, 'We are in the fourth industrial revolution. Everything is merging with the other and as such design education can't be thought of in isolation. While the dependence on technology has been rapidly increasing, we have been losing touch on a human level. But the focus has to be on people. It should be remembered that technology is just an enabler, humanising that tech is design. If the pandemic has shown anything, it is that human beings can't be ignored.' Dr. Amar Patnaik, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), says, 'There is a need to mainstream design education and for that, it should be started at the school level. A curriculum should be built to incorporate design education as well. Design should be approached holistically and therefore it needs to be taught at the grassroot level and not during adulthood when it needs to be applied.' Prof. G. V. Sreekumar, former Head of the Industrial Design Centre (IDC) at IIT Bombay, says, 'There is a need to merge design with science, technology and art and looked at as a whole...More than a mere design school, the need is to build a design research center.' Prof. Paresh Choudhury, Founder of Odisha Design Council and former Head of National Institute of Design (NID) in Andhra Pradesh (AP), proposed the need to set up a design school in Odisha. Odisha Design Council (ODC) is a social nonprofit enterprise that intends to spread education, research and development and innovation in the field of design. Read on...

edexlive.com: Design education must be taught at the grassroot level: Rajya Sabha MP Dr. Amar Patnaik
Author: Bidushi Das


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 dec 2020

Social enterprises have been part of the Indian social sector ecosystem for a long time, albeit not in the theoretically and legally defined framework that exists now. According to the study, 'The State of Social Enterprise in Bangladesh, Ghana, India and Pakistan' (British Council, 2016), led by Emily Darko, Director of Research at Social Enterprise UK (SEUK), there are roughly 2 million social enterprises operating in India. The study based on a survey of 258 social enterprises found a young social enterprise scene with 57% being 5 years old or younger. Moreover, these social enterprises work in many sectors - skills development (53%); education (30%); agriculture/fisheries/dairy (28%); financial services (26%); energy and clean technology (26%). From the surveyed social enterprises, 80% reinvest to further social or environmental goals, and they have supported a total of 150 million beneficiaries over their lifetime. The report found a total of 39 central government policies relevant to social enterprise and entrepreneurship. A notable policy with a specific mention of social enterprises was the 'National Skill and Entrepreneurship Policy' announced on 15 July 2015 by the Ministry of Skills and Entrepreneurship. The policy includes a section on social enterprises that aims to foster social entrepreneurship and grassroots innovation. The research study, 'Social Enterprises in the Indian Context: Conceptualizing through Qualitative Lens' (Journal of Global Entrepreneurship Research, Springer Open, 15 jan 2018) (Authors: Subhanjan Sengupta of Birla Institute of Management Technology, Arunaditya Sahay of Birla Institute of Management Technology), researches the meaning of the 'social enterprise' construct in the Indian context, and develops a conceptual framework that represents the construct. The purpose of this empirical study is to develop orientation needed for aspiring social entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurship researchers to familiarize with 'social enterprise' phenomenon in India. Authors explains, 'India is a country with socio-economic and cultural diversity, and a very high population. The country offers no legal definition for social enterprises. The ecosystem of social entrepreneurship in India is created by different organizations and universities/institutes advocating, promoting, and supporting social enterprises. Multiple stakeholders such as these have formulated their own meaning of social entrepreneurship in India; their work being influenced by the social, economic, and cultural diversity across the geographical length and breadth of the country, and the regulatory frameworks of the state and central governments...The key constructs that emerged to be clustering together to form the concept of social entrepreneurship in the Indian context are social value creation, market orientation, social entrepreneur, and balanced impact.' Recently, an India focused book on social enterpreneurship, 'Social Entrepreneurship in India: Quarter Idealism and a Pound of Pragmatism', is authored by Madhukar Shukla who is a Professor of Strategic Management at XLRI Jamshedpur. The book documents rise of the social innovation movement in India, along with profiles and roadmaps. ON COVID-19 - Prof. Shukla says, 'The pandemic, and the subsequent abrupt lockdown, create an unprecedented humanitarian crisis which has still not ended...In many ways, it was also a watershed event in the civil society and social entrepreneurial space - particularly for many social entrepreneurs, who, with reference to the typology in my book, I would describe as 'Public Goods Providers'. For instance, many of the established social ventures...which were already working in the space of relief and with migrant informal sector workers, spurred up their efforts to meet this challenge. There were also many other innovative initiatives from other ventures. At a smaller and localised level, there were many initiatives taken by individuals, citizen groups, and small organizations such as helping the migrants in their journey back home, providing basic subsistence necessities like rations and sanitary pads to marginalised communities, and so on. Why I used the term 'watershed' is because what I see is that many of these efforts, which started as a response to a crisis, also brought in new talent in the sector, and many are now evolving as viable and sustainable social ventures.' ON ROLE OF ACADEMICS - Prof. Shukla says, 'Academics can and does play a useful role in the social entrepreneurship field by identifying and documenting trends, principles, and models from practice. These can help the entrepreneurs to make more informed decisions.' ON SCALING UP CHALLENGES - Prof. Shukla says, 'When organizations scale-up and try to replicate the model which has succeeded in one place, they have to deal with a new set of problems and challenges. They need to consider and plan for three critical challenges...One, scaling up into other locations also increases the complexity of operations...Secondly, scaling up would also need hiring new talent to manage increasingly complex operations of the venture...Lastly, there is the danger of 'mission drift'.' ON DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY - Prof. Shukla says, 'Over the last decade or so, with the increasing affordability of and access to digital technology, it has become a part of the models that are used by many social entrepreneurs. In my experience, three important ways in which it helps creating social change are Access, Aggregation, and Democratisation.' Read on...

YourStory: From start to scale: Tips for social enterprises from Madhukar Shukla, Author of 'Social Entrepreneurship in India'
Authors: Madanmohan Rao, Suman Singh


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 dec 2020

Logos are a brief visual representaion of the organizational identity and help differentiate them from each other. They assist to instantly recognize brands and over a period of time can become one of the most important component of their identity. Traditionally, organizations utilize the services of graphic designers to get their logos and the process has artistic and creative orientation. But now powered with technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), there are online logo design software tools that can design logos instantly once some specifications are submitted. These tools also provide editing and customization features. Technology is transforming the creative field of logo design into a more scientific one. Research paper, 'Letting Logos Speak: Leveraging Multiview Representation Learning for Data-Driven Logo Design' (SSRN, 25 nov 2019) (Authors: Ryan Dew of Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Asim M. Ansari of Columbia Business School at the Columbia University, Olivier Toubia of Columbia Business School at the Columbia University), proposes a more data-driven approach to logo design in which the authors developed a 'logo feature extraction algorithm' that uses modern image processing tools to break a company's logo into many visual constituent parts like font, color scheme, and many other meaningful features, and a multiview representation learning framework that links the visual components to text that describes the company like industry, value propositions etc. Researchers then applied this framework to a large amount of data available on companies to predict their logo features. Prof. Ryan Dew explains, 'There are things that data and models can say about the design process that can help firms develop brand identities - visual brand identities that are doing the right things for them...we looked at hundreds of different logos, and we also looked at a bunch of textual data describing these firms - taken mostly from the firms' websites. And we also got consumers to react to these logos and the textual descriptions by rating these firms according to what's called a 'brand personality scale'...we developed an algorithm that lets us work with logos as a source of data. We call this our 'logo feature extraction algorithm'...and then we also have all this text, which can be anything...It conveys what the firm does and what their brand is...The idea is, we want to link these two domains to try to get the words to describe what the logo is trying to say. Let the logo speak. Conversely, this is actually how the design process works. You start with a textual blurb describing - 'This is what my brand is. This is what my firm does'. And then you go from that to a logo — to a logo template. This is where the concept of data-driven design comes in. We both, in the first sense, are able to use text to understand logos, but in the second sense, we're able to go from text to new logo templates that will let firms develop logos that are consistent with their brand identities...a more fundamental thing that the current paper can address is this idea of coming up with the 'right template' to convey what you want to convey visually. That is, in some sense, firms should be a little cautious when they're designing logos...understanding these templates and having this model of data-driven design can help with the creative process, to come up with new redesigns or new logos that will excel.' Read on...

Knowledge@Wharton: Why a Data-driven Approach Can Enhance the Art of Logo Design
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 dec 2020

Corporate volunteering is an important part of employee development with a reason to facilitate their engagement with local communities and to demonstrate corporation's social commitments. Currently there is special focus on corporate social responsibility and many organizations are pursuing it as an essential component of their strategy. According to the 2020 Deloitte Global Millennial Survey, employees have been re-examining the companies they work for with an eye toward purpose and impact on society. Research suggests that businesses benefit when they integrate employee volunteering programs with corporate giving, and these programs improve employee satisfaction, foster employee engagement, and boost retention. Macquarie University Graduate School of Management (Australia) research study undertaken as part of the MGSM Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Partnership Network, led by Dr. Debbie Haski-Leventhal, found that 93% of employees who volunteer through their company report being happy with their employer, and 54% of those who are proud of their company's contributions to society are engaged at work. In August 2019, the Business Roundtable (US) redefined their statement on the purpose of a corporation from a shareholder only focus to a larger commitment to stakeholders - customers, employees, suppliers, communities, and shareholders. Beth Bengtson, CEO and Founder of Working for Women, provides an approach to establish corporate volunteering programs with a long-term focus and avoid short-term 'once-and-done' experiences. She explains, 'This new approach requires having your team help a nonprofit solve organizational or operational challenges and/or deliver specialized resources to the population served by the nonprofit. This involves identifying a nonprofit where your employees can lend their skills and expertise over a designated period of time or on a series of connected events...In this strategic model, a tangible and sustained relationship is created between the corporate and nonprofit partners...The result in this model is that mutually beneficial skill-based volunteering adds up to a quadruple win when done right. Purposeful partnerships allow for impact to be measurable for all parties involved.' She developed following guidelines at her organization, Working for Women, - Identify and match the needs and the skills on both sides; Once there's a well-defined project and two willing partners, develop a detailed brief for each engagement; Do the work to understand what your nonprofit partner does and who they serve; Measure impact after each engagement, and before planning next steps; Replicate and scale as needed. Read on...

Harvard Business Review: Reimagine Your Corporate Volunteer Program
Author: Beth Bengtson


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 dec 2020

Access and affordability, along with innovation and sound regulatory mechanism and government policies, are the essential components of developed and modern healthcare system. India has to pursue consolidated strategies to become a better healthcare system and leverage its R&D human resources to become a design hub for medical devices with a focus on global markets. Pavan Choudary, Chairman and Director General of Medical Technology Association of India (MTaI), in conversation with Viveka Roychowdhury, Editor of Express Pharma and Express Healthcare, explains his views on India's healthcare sector, medical devices and medtech industry, COVID-19 pandemic and post-pandemic challenges, government policies, investments in the sector and the way forward. EXCERPTS FROM THE INTERVIEW - (1) ON HEALTHCARE SYSTEM: • 'Value-based healthcare will bring together all modalities of care delivery to create a well-coordinated 'continuum of care'. It is important for government to devise incentive systems to work for patients by encouraging companies and healthcare systems to deliver quality and better outcomes.' • 'India can take learning from countries like Philippines and Turkey who have over the time strengthened their health care infrastructure, but this has been done by making a conscious effort to increase their healthcare spend. At 1.29% of GDP spent on healthcare, India needs to considerably increase its healthcare budget to at least four per cent of the total GDP; by doing so, we will have started our journey towards last mile healthcare delivery.' • 'Telemedicine is another avenue that the government can facilitate to improve access to healthcare. The sheer size of India's 1.3 billion demographic means that the applications for telemedicine are immense. Telemedicine will also enable India to address its poor doctor-patient ratio of 0.85 which means barely one physician per 1000 people as compared to four physicians per 1000 people in Europe. A 2019 report by McKinsey Global Institute, 'Digital India: Technology to Transform a Connected Nation', states that India can save up to US$ 10 billion by 2025 if telemedicine services could replace 30 to 40% of in-person consultations.' (2) ON MEDTECH, MEDICAL DEVICES, INVESTMENTS & COVID-19: • 'Instead of implementing price caps on medtech products, the government should adopt a mechanism to rationalise trade margins which will achieve the objective of reducing high MRPs as well as allow medtech industry to continue bringing the latest technology in healthcare to India, increase affordable access to quality care and support skilling and training of health care workers.' • 'India also reduced custom duties on a few essential medical devices used in the treatment of COVID-19, however for the rest of the products it did not lighten the load of the 5% cess ad valorem imposed in April earlier this year. This, coupled with the INR depreciating by almost 7-8% in March 2020 against the EUR and the USD, meant a very significant hit for the medical technology industry where more than 80% of the products are imported.' • 'To be ATMANIRBHAR (self-reliant) in medtech, we should also be able to design in India medical devices for the world by utilising India's rich talent in R&D. India is the third largest medtech R&D employer of the world, next to only US and Germany.' • 'We must also be cognizant of the financial challenges that the pandemic has brought. There are some other aspects which the government needs to closely evaluate and consider to reassure the industry, these aspects include creating policies which provide a level playing field to all players, agnostic of their country of origin and a stable regulatory climate for the industry. Addressing these will move the make in India needle, steadily forward. The global companies hope to be eventually and once again, the main movers of this needle.' ATMANIRBHAR BHARAT is the Prime Minister's vision to make India a self-reliant nation. Read on...

Express Healthcare: To be Atmanirbhar in medtech, we should also be able to design in India medical devices for the world: Pavan Choudary
Author: Viveka Roychowdhury


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 dec 2020

Organizations now have large amount of data available to them, but the challenge is to obtain actionable insights by using right data analytics tools and processes that help in making right organizational decisions. Data-driven decision-making has become a common practice with organizations trying to find purpose for the data. But it is not necessary that all analytics processes answer the right questions and it's also not a safeguard against the influence of preexisting beliefs and incentives. Prof. Bart de Langhe of Esade - Ramon Llull University (Spain) and Prof. Stefano Puntoni of Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University (Netherlands) propose a new approach termed as 'decision-driven data analytics' - 'Find data for a purpose, instead of finding a purpose for data.' They explain, 'Data-driven decision-making anchors on available data. This often leads decision makers to focus on the wrong question. Decision-driven data analytics starts from a proper definition of the decision that needs to be made and the data that is needed to make that decision...Data-driven decision-making empowers data providers and data scientists. The risk is that decision makers take data that is consistent with their preexisting beliefs at face value.' Elaborating their approach, they say, 'To move to a decision-driven data analytics approach, a company must start by identifying the business’s key decisions and the people who make them, and finding data for a purpose rather than finding a purpose for the data at hand.' Data-driven Data Analytics (Anchor on data that is available; Find a purpose for data; Start from what is known; Empower data scientists). Decision-driven Data Analytics (Anchor on a decision to be made; Find data for a purpose; Start from what is unknown; Empower decision makers). To allay fears of executives who might confuse decision-driven approach with preference-driven data analytics (where decision makers use data to support a decision that has already been made and fall prey to confirmation bias), authors suggest leaders to take three important steps - Step I: Responsibility of decision makers to form a narrow consideration set of alternative courses of action. Step II: Joint responsibility of decision makers and data scientists to identify the data needed to figure out which course of action is best. Step III: Choose the best course of action. Read on...

MIT Sloan Management Review: Leading With Decision-Driven Data Analytics
Authors: Bart de Langhe, Stefano Puntoni


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 15 dec 2020

Motivation is an engine or fuel that is associated with human nature and is free to achieve success and reach a better stage in life. Motivation is a catalyst for better change. It brings a transformation in human beings from the state of lethargy, procrastination and avoidance to the state of thinking, action, creation, and success. Humans have many aspects of life where they need motivation - personal life, student life, work/professional life, social life etc. Every moment of life requires optimal amount of motivation to enjoy the moment. Lack of it makes the moment dull and useless, and eventually lead to disappointments and finally to the more disastrous state of depression. From childhood to youth to old age - motivation is one thing that can keep one together psychologically and survive crises of life and come out of them without regrets and live a life of fulfilment, happiness and success. In present time, depressive environment created by COVID-19 pandemic is demotivating in many ways. Stay at home, work from home, study at home etc have become the new normal. Restrictions have become part of life which people have not been used to before at such a massive scale. This has put people in a totally different psychological state. People have to self motivate to get on with the current situation and to remain efficient and productive, and above all happy and satisfied. Motivation has become the topic that is on everyone's mind. Experts consider motivation as an internal state or condition (sometimes described as a need, desire or want) that serves to activate or energize behavior and give it direction. There are various theories of motivation categorized as - Behavioral; Cognitive: Psychoanalytic; Humanistic: Social Learning; Social Cognition; Transpersonal or Spiritual; Achievement Motivation and others. Keeping oneself motivated with an internal drive and goal setting is the best recipe to accomplishment and well-being. In a learning environment motivation of student is an important component that determines learning outcomes. Motivation in education can have varied impact on how students pursue learning and how they behave towards subjects, courses, classes and online lectures. In a work/business environment motivation of employees is key to the success of the organization. Leadership and management have to keep teams motivated to give results and enhance value of the organization and keep shareholders and customers satisfied. Employees need motivation to increase productivity at workplace. To solve real world problems, it becomes essential to engage people in the process and motivation can be key to align them towards the achievable goals. Empowering people by applying principles of motivation and providing them genuine purpose can help them attain value and meaning not only to their own lives but can also bring positive change to their environment and world. Read on...

ilmeps/read: Motivation - It Keeps People Going To A Better State In Life And Overcome Adverse Situations
Author: Mohammad Anas Wahaj


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 nov 2020

Nonprofits are facing challenging times during COVID-19 pandemic and they need any kind of help to pursue their mission. Laura Plato, chief solutions officer at VolunteerMatch, says, 'Traditional in-person volunteering has dropped off precipitously since the pandemic began, while need has only grown. Our nation's nonprofits are having to really get creative and reinvent what volunteering looks like.' Research on teens and adults finds that volunteering has many benefits like for example reduced rates of depression and anxiety, and meaningful improvements in life expectancy. Akua Boateng, a psychotherapist, says, 'But for children volunteering can also be a positive component of their developmental process - helping them understand their place in the social fabric - and is associated with a higher sense of self-esteem.' Prof. Peter Levine of Tufts University's Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life cautions that how parents frame volunteering is important and suggests, 'It's crucial to talk about social inequity in the right way with children to avoid communicating a sense of superiority.' Karen Daniel, VP of programs at Youth Service America, says, 'We have a project ideas database on our website...We really believe in helping kids start with something they love so that the project is fun for them, too.' Pandemic has lead to the mainstreaming of work from home culture and kids can volunteer along with their parents. There are also programs to help kids reach out to military personnel and first responders, or to write letters and cards to older people separated from their loved ones. Moreover, kids can also help by informally volunteering within their local community. Virtual volunteering can also be a good volunteering aveneue for kids. According to Katie Stagliano of Katie's Krops, a nonprofit that helps children start gardens across the United States, community gardening can continue in the colder months with winter crops such as cabbage, carrots, kale, turnips and collard greens, which can then be distributed to families struggling with food insecurity. Lydia Elle, a writer in Los Angeles, and her 10-year-old daughter, London, have started partnering with organizations in 2019 to donate books to children in need. Ms. Elle says, 'During the summer, because we couldn't get out and distribute books in person like we normally would have, we made a huge donation of books to our local food bank instead.' Read on...

The Washington Post: Volunteering can give kids purpose in uncertain times - and there are still ways to do it
Author: Connie Chang


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 nov 2020

According to the latest report by Oxford Economics, India will be worst-affected among the world's major economies even after the pandemic lessens, with output 12% below pre-virus levels through the middle of the decade. Priyanka Kishore, head of economics for South Asia and South-East Asia at Oxford Economics, says, 'It's likely that headwinds already hampering growth prior to 2020 - such as stressed corporate balance sheets, elevated non-performing assets of banks, the fallout in non-bank financial companies, and labor market weakness - will worsen.' Ms. Kishore projects potential growth for India at 4.5% over the next five years, lower than 6.5% before the virus. A recently published paper by Reserve Bank of India predicted Asia's third-largest economy has entered a historic technical recession. The International Monetary Fund predicts GDP will shrink 10.3% in the year to March 2021. Ms. Kishore further adds, 'All supply-side factors feel the effect, with only human capital's contribution unchanged from the pre-virus baseline. Capital accumulation takes the biggest hit because we expect balance-sheet stresses to worsen following the crisis, lengthening the investment recovery cycle.' Read on...

ThePrint: Indian economy will struggle even after Covid, grow at 4.5% until 2025 - Oxford Economics
Author: Anirban Nag


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 nov 2020

Industrial designers earlier carved foam, machined wood, and molded clay to test ideas, refine designs, and get product concepts to clients. This process was slow and labor-intensive. Now 3D printing is preferred for this as it is simpler and faster. Nathan Pollock, founder of Katapult Design (Byron Bay, Australia), says, 'In my career, I've seen 3D printers go from being a bit of a novelty, to an expensive tool, to more of an essential part of design services. Greater reliability, better UX, and much better quality have all had a big impact on acceptance.' David Block, principal of Studio Redeye (New York, US), says, 'At this time, in product design, 3D printing has become a tool of the trade.' Jonathan Thai, co-founder and partner of HatchDuo (San Francisco, US), says, 'If you do not have a 3D printer, and you are in the product development space, you are behind.' 3D printing accelerates the product design process. Mr. Pollock says, 'The top advantage is primarily the speed. We can get quick, concept-level evaluations and adjust or refine our thinking immediately. Not just proofs of concepts, 3D printers can deliver functional mechanical parts and intricate multi-component prototypes. Oscar Daws, director of Tone Product Design (London, UK), says, 'We print everything from quick block models to test the form and proportions of a design, through to high-fidelity working prototypes that allow us to perfect a detail or a mechanism. 3D printing allows us to rapidly iterate complex shapes and accurate details, which means we don’t have to compromise on the design of a prototype in order to physically test it.' Lucas Lappe, partner at Doris Dev (New York, US), says, 'In-house 3D printers enable us to show clients physical representations of their future products and the design engineering work we have completed to date. 3D printers have kept us ahead of the competition, and without 3D printed prototypes, clients often do not understand where their products are in development.' Sanandan 'Sandy' Sudhir, CEO of Inventindia Innovations (India), 'We use 3D printed parts very early in our design process to make some quick proof of concept models, and, at a later stage, for more refined parts to assemble the first-level functional prototypes.' Industrial design firms don't have to own 3D printers and can outsource 3D printing services. Ian Peterman, CEO of Peterman Design (Los Angeles, US), says, 'In the longer term, in-house printing should save you some in print costs, and really save you shipping costs for all those parts, and lead times.' Designers may still outsource 3D printing due to complexity, but some experts believe it is no longer an issue. Mr. Lappe says, 'Every engineer at the company is trained to manage the 3D printers. This gives everyone who designs and is working with 3D printed prototypes and understanding of the process.' There are various 3D printing technologies and printer brands that offer different advantages and disadvantages in terms of available materials, the quality of the final printed parts, ease of use, printing speed, and cost. Mr. Daws says, 'Carefully consider what you will be using it for, as this will have a big impact on the technology you choose. For industrial designers, I'd suggest starting with a high quality FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) printer, which will allow you to do most things quickly and relatively cheaply.' Mr. Sudhir says, 'We prefer to use normal FDM printers for preliminary proof of concept models so that we can do quick and dirty prints and test our ideas.' Mr. Lappe says, 'Buy something that everyone on your team can use. Something that is easy and does not require a dedicated technician. That allows more people to use the printer and makes it a part of everyone's workflow.' SLA (Stereolithography), a raisin printer, is another type of printer popular with industrial designers. These produce finer details and smoother surfaces than FDM. Mr. Sudhir says, 'SLA printers are good for using transparent materials to understand fit and finish related issues as well as mechanical interference with the internal parts. But generally SLA parts are brittle, so they are not appropriate for simulating the exact material properties of plastic parts.' Experts expect further improvements in 3D printing technologies to suit the needs of industrial designers. Read on...

All3DP: How Industrial Designers Embrace 3D Printing
Author: Carolyn Schwaar


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 nov 2020

An effective advertising pitch along with an innovative idea and solid foundation is what it takes to come closer to landing a client for a marketing agency. Six experts from Ad Age Collective provide advice to develop a successful pitch - (1) Explain who you are and don't sell: Reid Carr, Red Door Interactive - '...they help the prospective client find the best match for their business. Winning a pitch isn't really a win if the relationship isn't a long-term fit between partners and peers.' (2) Lead with the result: Patrick Ward, Rootstrap - '...they (audience) care about what the product can do for them. So focus on the result that will accrue for the audience. Tap into FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) so they will see what they lose by not purchasing the product.' (3) Understand all the stakeholders: Maggie O'Neill, Peppercomm - '...what drives their path to purchase or engagement...You need to know what, when and where their audience wants to hear from them. This audience-first mindset will set up and provide the rationale for any strategy, and creativity that follow.' (4) Focus on building consumer connection: Dan Beltramo, Onclusive - '...clearly convey that you understand what motivates the consumer or customer relative to the objective of the campaign and how your recommendation delivers against that...' (5) Explain how you're solving a particular problem: Duran Inci, Optimum7 - '...Give them a reason to pay attention to you and hear you out. Tell them how you are going to solve a particular problem and why it matters to your audience...' (6) Provide examples of similar campaigns: Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner - '...collect examples of previous ad campaigns that are similar and to present the results. Another option is to find data about your target market and why they would respond positively to your ad...' Read on...

AdAge: Six Essential Steps To An Effective Advertising Pitch
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 oct 2020

India's newly released National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 recommends internationalization of higher education sector. NEP has developed a vision to make India global study destination by 2030. Top universities of the world will be allowed to operate in India and a legislative framework will be created to facilitate this. Moreover, the Ministry of Education is preparing the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) bill to pave way for foreign universities to open their branches in India and Indian universities will be allowed to open campuses abroad and collaborate with foreign institutions. Reasons for this internationalization focus by NEP is due to current dismal standards of higher education - (1) Despite being second largest higher education system India, with its 990 universities and 40000 colleges, none figure in World University Rankings. (2) India ranks as low as 72 among 132 countries in the latest Global Talent Competitive Index which gauges country's current ability to grow and attract talents. (3) Top foreign universities would bring in capital, latest education technology, innovative pedagogy and facilitate institution mobility that is missing in India. (4) Higher education brain drain is a common phenomena in India. In 2019 alone, some 750000 students went for abroad to pursue higher studies. On an average, students spend US$ 15 billion per year to earn these degrees. Historically the policy of internationalization of education has been debated continuously since the inception of economic reforms and liberalization in 1991. There has always been some voices of opposition to such educational reforms. Moreover, there are also other challenges - Many Anglo-American universities are already struggling with financial issues and budget cuts along with drop in enrolments; Indian educational systems's bureaucratic hurdles that contrasts with operational freedom and academic autonomy that foreign institutions often expect. There can't be total guarantee that the legal framework and regulatory environment that NEP desires to create will provide these institutions such freedoms; Academic human resources will see heightened competition and local institutions will be on the receiving end as reputed foreign universities with more benefits will be attractive; Public universities in India work with a social and welfare agenda and emphasize on inclusion. Entry of foreign universities may impact this inclusion aspect. Also, neither NEP nor the HECI bill elaborate how India's public universities opening branches/campuses in other countries will help out the education system at home and at what cost. Indian government's budgetary allocation for education has already been witnessing a decline in recent years. Read on...

Observer Research Foundation: Why internationalisation of higher education can be a game changer for India
Authors: Niranjan Sahoo, Jibran Khan


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 oct 2020

Sales people often learn their skills on the field by continuous improvement and by tweaking their sales processes for effectiveness every time they interact with their prospective customers. But organizations have to create and nurture their sales teams through structured and proactive approach to sales training to sharpen and further refine their skills. Sales training need to be a frequent event to keep the team in right mindset and updated skillset, and clear focus on accomplishing the organizational sales goals. Sales training helps to improve skills and it is a source of motivation and inspiration. Interactions with peers and mentors during training also involves learning through sharing of experiences. Research by Sales Readiness Group shows that companies who had excellent sales training programs that exceeded expectations had higher win rates at 52.6% compared to companies that either met expectations 48% or needed improvement 40.5%. Organizations can consider three types of sales training based on their requirement - (1) Sales Skill Training (2) Sales Methodology Training (3) Product Training. Following are 20 best sales training activities, ideas, and games to enhance sales team effectiveness - Embrace Field Training; Craft a Great Incentive Strategy; Hold 1:1 Meetings; Improve Your Processes; Ramp Up Your New Employee Onboarding; Shift to Assessment-Based Learning; Institute Daily Micro-Training; Assign Mentors to New or Struggling Sales Team Members; Do Group Training the Right Way; Offer Feedback Often; Listen to and Analyze Sales Call Recordings; Conduct a Competitive Analysis; Encourage Certifications; Have Your Team Do Objection Handling Exercises; Provide Subscriptions to Industry Newsletters, Podcasts, and Publications; Display or Present Your Buyer's Journey; Play Sales Training Games; Focus on Each of Your Sales Rep's Strengths; Bring in Outsiders; Identify the Red Flags of Bad Customers. Read on...

Business2Community: 20 Sales Training Ideas to Empower Your Team to Close More Deals
Author: Erika Giles


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 oct 2020

Pandemic, combined with politics in many countries, is creating uncertainty for both for-profits and nonprofits. In US, racial protests and electioneering, is adding to the instability. Philanthropic activity is at the crossroads and future seems uncertain. Understanding the change by analyzing past trends and anticipating the future by listening to the wisdom of experts can help nonprofits prepare better for their fundraising needs. PAST TRENDS: According to the 2019 survey of philanthropy 'Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy' - Individual giving remains the largest source of contributions (69%); Looking at growth in sources, corporate giving increased by 13.4% (includes gifts-in-kind), and giving by individuals increased by 4.7%; Recipient sectors who benefited most were ones where high-net-worth individuals tend to concentrate their giving, with public-society benefit increasing 13.1%, arts, culture, & humanities increasing 12.6%, and education increasing 12.1%; Philanthropy often thrives on economic results, and 2019 was a strong year with the S&P 500 increasing by roughly 29%, personal income growing by 4.4%, and GDP growing by 4.1%. But now 2020 is altogether a different year, with pandemic impact and struggling economy, the future holds uncertain challenges. FUTURE TRENDS: By utilizing Delphic Panel Approach, in which you ask to a team of experts to consider future questions and offer their opinions on likely outcomes based on their experience and insight, a select group of 20 fundraising experts share their predictions on philanthropy and fundraising in coming years. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SURVEY: 61% were reasonably confident that philanthropy overall would grow during the next 3 years. A decline in giving is not likely to be long-lasting and there is hope for growth; 67% suggested that their organizations or clients would be investing more in fundraising during the next three years. Respondents were fairly evenly split regarding retaining fundraising staff and hiring more fundraisers. So, despite the short-term news of layoffs, there should be opportunities in development; Individual donors will continue to remain essential in future fundraising while no change or reduction is expected in other streams of fundraising revenue. Community/event fundraising will expect a reduction; Digital will be a main fundraising acquisition channel in which organizations are expected to spend. Other growth areas identified by the survey include DM (direct mail), DRTV (direct response television), and a resurgence in telemarketing. Print advertising channel is expected to retreat. Read on...

Nonprofit Quarterly: Crisis Crystal Ball: The Future of Fundraising?
Author: Alan R. Hutson Jr.


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 oct 2020

According to the new research by doctoral student Sweta Iyer at University of Borås (Sweden), luminescent textiles can be created by using a bioluminescent reaction system. The study was conducted using enzyme immobilization and eco-technology methods such as plasma treatment. The luminescent materials have wide range of applications in areas like biomedicine, biosensors, and safety to architecture and aesthetics. These materials have multifunctional properties such as UV protection and antibacterial properties. Ms. Iyer's doctoral thesis is titled 'Luminescent Textiles Using Biobased Products - A Bioinspired Approach'. Ms. Iyer says, 'Bioluminescence phenomena in nature and their reaction mechanisms have been extensively studied in biology and biochemistry, but previously not applied to textiles. The important research question was to understand the bioluminescent reaction mechanism that exists in different living organisms and the selection of the reaction system. This was important in order to make it possible to use the luminescent effects in textile.' Read on...

University of Borås News: Biobased products can create luminescent textiles
Author: Lena Carlsson


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 oct 2020

Small women-run farm collectives became a success story of self-sufficiency during COVID-19 lockdown in Tamil Nadu (India). These informal groups have been facilitated by a grassroots nonprofit 'Women's Collective' that encourages poor women, who neither own land nor are able to lease land on their own, to come together and lease land collectively to grow food. In the IndiaSpend article dated 09 sep 2019, author Shreya Raman states, 'In a country (India) where 73.2% of rural women workers are engaged in agriculture, women own only 12.8% of land holdings.' Sheelu Francis, co-founder of Women's Collective, says, 'We began with five collective farms in 2010, with the intention of helping landless single or widowed women achieve food security. With collective farming, we ensure nutrition and food security for landless women at the household level.' There are now 89 collective farms with a total of 695 members spread across Tamil Nadu. Each collective has 5-10 members. Women's Collective is responsible for training and providing agricultural know-how. Farmers utilize organic farm methods and avoid chemical fertilizers. The size of the plot determines the choice of crops the women farmers will grow. Landlord usually gets 1/3 of the harvest as rent while the members distribute the rest among themselves. Read on...

The Guardian: Fruits of shared labour: The Indian women joining forces for food security
Author: Anne Pinto-Rodrigues


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 sep 2020

COVID-19 lockdowns, with stay at home norm and confinement, has brought about more emphasis on gardens, balconies, backyards etc, as they became refreshing and relaxing spaces. The pandemic will impact the future of garden design and following are some ways to consider while designing outdoor spaces in future - (1) More Emphasis On Optimizing Outdoor Spaces: Before outdoor space has often been considered a luxury but the pandemic brought about its essentiality to the home. In future it will become an integral part of the home design. Landscape designers have to make use of every inch of space and make it more usable. (2) Gardens As A Fifth Room: As open spaces become essential more importance will be given to their design. They will be updated more often and will be reorganized to adapt to different usages throughout the day. 'Transterior' (term used by Jamie Durie and Nadine Bush in their book 'Living Design' to describe the space where the interior and exterior of a home merge) spaces will be more in demand in the future. (3) Bigger Focus On Sustainability And Self-Sufficiency: Urban farming saw a boom during lockdowns as more people took to growing their own fruits and vegetables. The trend has been around, but now it will continue with more urban produce growing spaces. The greater focus on sustainability will also influence building materials used in landscaping. More emphasis will be on durable, natural materials like reclaimed wood, hard-wearing garden tiles and natural stone. (4) A Need For Mindful Outdoor Areas: Health benefits of green open spaces is well known - reducing stress and anxiety, and also promoting mindfulness. Use of homes to create a sense of security and wellness will continue and open green spaces are an important part of it. Garden design in the 'new normal' will be about using outdoor areas to evoke a sense of calm and serenity through thoughtful design. Read on...

Total Landscape Design: The world's 'new norm' and what it means for garden design
Author: Suhayl Laher


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 sep 2020

COVID-19 brought about changes in buyer behavior and retailers responded with tech-driven solutions to help them adapt to pandemic-driven restrictions. These solutions are not totally new, but current situation brought them to the fore. Three retail technology trends that became part of the 'new normal' are - (1) Online Grocery Delivery: Shutdowns, social distancing norms, fear of infections etc combined with essentiality of grocery requirements help exacerbate this trend. Even non-traditional retailers jumped on this trend. (2) Contactless Payment: According to the 2020 State of Retail Payments study released by the NRF in August, 58% of retailers accept contactless cards and 56% take digital wallet payments on mobile phones. Since January 2020, no-touch payments have increased for 69% of retailers surveyed, of whom 94% expect the increase to continue over the next 18 months. (3) Virtual SMB Product Pitches: Number of retail platforms invited small-to-mid-sized businesses (SMBs) to virtual competitions. COVID-19 brought about homogenization and consolidation of retail and only two types of retailers will survive in this scenario and beyond - the mass and the niche. Mass retailers can enhance their product offerings through SMBs and differentiate themselves from competitors. Read on...

Chain Store Age: Three hot retail tech trends from the summer of 'new normal'
Author: Dan Berthiaume


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 sep 2020

Senior citizens often find themselves struggling with latest consumer technologies that are evolving at a rapid pace. These technologies on the other hand, are a normal part of the daily life of the new generation. If senior citizens can be made to learn these technologies in an effective senior-friendly way, they can benefit from them immensely and improve their quality of life. COVID-19 pandemic has also brought the issue to the fore with social distancing norms and extra vulnerability of senior citizens to viral infections. A nonprofit, AnewVista, founded by Shalini Gupta and Eric Gee, has been working for the last couple of years with senior citizens to help them overcome the barrier to using latest technologies. Before the pandemic the nonprofit hosted in person workshops at senior centers, retirement communities and centers of trust locally. But now most of the learning classes are happening virtually through video conferencing apps. AnewVista offers 40-50 topics, such as cleaning out email folders, navigating social media and finding reliable news and podcasts, as well as some higher-level concepts. Ms. Gupta says, 'When it comes to these simple devices, which are made for younger people, they struggle. Intellectually, they are very smart, but it's just the hands-on part that gets very hard sometimes - and once you open the wall for them, it's all there for them to enjoy. Basically, we cover all bases, like how they can be safe, how they can be creative, how they can be social and how they can enjoy more things for fun, communication wise.' Mr. Gee says, 'The trick is to really find what's the obstacle for older adults to engage with technology or engage with the digital economy. We invite everybody to enjoy and just learn a little bit more, especially in these times of sheltering in place, which isn't going to end anytime soon.' Read on...

Los Altos Town Crier: Nonprofit helps seniors stay connected with evolving technologies
Author: Marie Godderis


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 10 sep 2020

According to Wikipedia, Ibn Sina or Avicenna (b.23 aug 980 - d.22 jun 1037), a Persian polymath, is regarded as one of the most significant physicians of Islamic Golden Age. His two most influential works are Al-Qanun fi al-Tibb (The Canon of Medicine), a medical encyclopedia, and Kitab al-Shifa (The Book of Healing), a philosophical and scientific encyclopedia. 'The Canon of Medicine' was a standard medical text at many medieval universities and remained in use as late as 1650. In the article, 'The Vast Influence of Ibn Sina, Pioneer of Medicine' (JSTOR Daily, 29 jan 2020), writer Liz Tracey, explains, 'The sections of the Canon dealing with applied (rather than theoretical) medicine seem modern - cataract surgery, the use of forceps during difficult infant deliveries, and an approach to scientifically testing drugs for efficacy and dosage, in effect creating the framework for clinical trials.' In an article, 'How Ibn Sina's work became a guiding light for scientists facing contagions' (TRTWorld, 15 apr 2020), writer Ufuk Necat Taşçi, searches the work of Avicenna to find out his scientific discoveries regarding contagions. In 'The Canon of Medicine', published in 1025, Ibn Sina argued that a 40-day period of quarantine was essential to weaken the spread of contagious infections. Of the 450 works Ibn Sina is believed to have written, 240 have survived. And out of these at least 40 of his manuscripts are about medicine. Recently a book based on Avicenna's 1000 year-old manuscript, 'Risalah al-Adwiya al-Qalbiyah' (The Treatise on Cardiac Drugs), is published and released at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College (JNMC), Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). The book 'Pharmacology of Avicennian Cardiac Drugs' is authored by Prof. Syed Ziaur Rahman of the Department of Pharmacology at JNMC, AMU and is a useful resource material for scholars who want to make a thorough assessment of the Avicennian Cardiac drugs that have cardioprotective activity and indirect improvement of blood supply to all body organs. Prof. Rahman says, 'Avicenna had given descriptions on heart and psychological diseases that affect the cardiovascular organs' physiology. Avicenna mentioned simple and compound natural cardiovascular remedies and it is imperative that the modern medicine practitioners go through all these methods and remedies for cardiovascular diseases with modern perspectives.' Prof. M. U. Rabbani, Chairman of the Department of Cardiology at JNMC, says, 'This book is a precious source of hypothesis for further researches on psychosomatic aspects of cardiovascular diseases as well as phytopharmacological studies on cardioactive medicinal plants.' Prof. K. M. Yusuf Amin, a medical pharmacologist and professor at the Department of Ilmul Advia (Unani Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical Sciences) of Ajmal Khan Tibbiya College at AMU, says, 'The author has attempted to correlate the fundamentals of cardiology and psychology, integrated by the Ruh (Pneuma) as described by Avicenna in the light of present research.' Read on...

Aligarh Muslim University News: Modern take on Avicennian manuscript in new book
Author: Omar Saleem Peerzada


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 aug 2020

COVID-19 has brought about new challenges for brands and businesses. Changing consumer behavior, excessive use of social media, prevalence of fake news, fast spread of public opinion through internet etc has exacerbated the problems that businesses are facing. The large amount of content that is generated at this time is filled with mixed emotions - happiness, anger, fear, and disgust. Anubhav Mishra, professor of marketing at the Indian Institute of Management Ranchi, provides a solution for brands to follow to manoeuver through the current marketing challenges - a simple LAC Model - that stands for Listen, Act, and Communicate. He explains - (1) LISTEN: 'Social media listening is the first step, which most of the brands regularly do as part of their digital marketing strategy. Brands collect information and do a sentiment analysis to understand the emotions hidden in those tweets or Facebook posts. Sentiment analysis reflects what consumers are feeling about that brand. A careful filtering of the information should reveal consumer's expectations and challenges from the brand.' (2) ACT: 'The next step is to act on the information collected in the listening process...Brands should find innovative ways to act on the information to ease the pains of consumers.' (3) COMMUNICATE: 'A critical aspect of communication is to gather free media and support from consumers...A firm must resist the temptation to chest thumping which can severely backfire. Many people are dying globally and there is a general atmosphere of fear and mistrust...Consumers are showing signs of distrust and skepticism toward any communication. In such scenario, content must be created to show feelings of concerns towards the severe spread. Brands should reflect that they care for their consumers in these testing times.' Read on...

Campaign India: Opinion: Marketing in the time of Covid-19
Author: Anubhav Mishra


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 aug 2020

COVID-19 pandemic has affected art and culture sector, and significantly impacted talent associated with it. Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO in her message on World Art Day (15 April 2020), celebrated on the birthday of Leonardo da Vinci, said, 'Bringing people together, inspiring, soothing and sharing: these are the powers of art, the importance of which has been made emphatically obvious during the COVID-19 pandemic.' The art community is adapting to the new challenges and finding innovative solutions to keep the spirit alive. The program, 'Arts and Culture Education Change-Up', a collaboration between South Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Korea Culture and Arts Education Service and the Seokyeong University Arts Education Center, has come up with something positive during the pandemic. The program teaches and supports creative people who are interested in social entrepreneurial projects in the field of arts and culture education. Han Jeong-seop, professor and dean of the Seokyeong University Arts Education Center, says, 'If it were not for COVID-19, we might not have brought those international guest speakers or have participants from Jeju Island due to geographical factors...We wanted to showcase how overseas cultural social enterprises play a role in resolving social problems between the public and private sector.' The participants in the online interaction included representatives from STEPS (Canada-based charitable public art organization that develops one-of-a-kind public art plans, installations and engagement strategies that foster vibrant communities), and Starcatchers (Scotland-based art organization specializing in creating performances and exploring creative activities for babies, toddlers and young children up to the age of five and the adults who care for them). Anjuli Solanki, program director of the STEPS Initiative, says, 'Applying our multidisciplinary expertise, we strive to develop a strong contextual understanding of the neighborhoods and sites we are working in for all our projects. Our goal is to create iconic public works that attract widespread attention by transforming underutilized public spaces.' Bebhinn Jennings, program manager at STEPS, says, 'The pandemic has highlighted our need to connect, to be inspired and to contribute to our communities. As such, art and public art in particular are increasingly important as they offer numerous entry points for engagement. Public art can both beautify a space, and ignite dialogues around important issues such has climate change, public health and systemic inequalities - all conversations that have been active throughout the pandemic.' Rhona Matheson, chief executive of Starcatchers, says, 'We know we are not going to be able to tour any of our productions until at least spring 2021 so our focus is on providing a range of activities that parents or childcare settings can share with very young children. Retaining a connection with audiences has been very important and making the offers through our online activities has been essential. Similarly, being able to retain connection with the families who participate in our community engagement programs has been very important - this has been a means to offer support to young families who experience social and rural isolation and have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.' Lee In-kyung, an art instructor at an alternative school on Jeju Island, says, 'If it were not operated online, it would be very difficult and time-consuming for me to participate in a training program held in Seoul. Now I can communicate with other social entrepreneurs while on Jeju...We made environmental picture books and tried junk art, campaigning for environment. I realized that students could learn better through empirical art education.' She developed such experiences into an idea for a social enterprise, aiming to support teenagers to cultivate creativity, problem-solving skills and empathic abilities. Kim Soo-jung, CEO of Open Your Arts and in the second year of Change-Up program, says, 'I wanted to provide sustainable art education for socially disadvantaged children, but it was impossible to solve the problem as a volunteer. So I came up with this art educational kit developed in collaboration with artists...Their (Starcatchers and STEPS) business model is not based nor suitable for online, but it was interesting to see the possibility of online platforms, transcending physical or regional limitations.' Read on...

The Korea Times: Social enterprise bridges art, community amid pandemic
Author: Kwon Mee-yoo


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 aug 2020

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been around in its various forms for many years. But now it is reaching a level of disruption in many industries and has potential to influence many more. There are major investments in AI with tech giants leading the pack. Businesses are seeing value in AI to make process improvements, enhance efficiencies etc to improve bottom line and at the same time there are concerns related to job losses. Even creative industries like graphic design, that require exceptional human skills to thrive are being significantly influenced by AI. Graphic design softwares are now AI-powered and can mimic human designers by understanding client requirements effectively. These may not not be emotion-powered like humans, but can provide outputs that are fast, affordable and customizable. Moreover, these softwares have their own limitations at this time and the role of designers is not becoming obsolete. In fact, on one side these tools are designed and developed by incorporating inputs from designers and on the other they are complementing and enhancing the capabilities of designers and assisting them to achieve even better outcomes. Following are some limitations of AI in graphic design - Understanding nuances that come naturally to humans; Originality of humans that is derived from being highly imaginative; Human touch that is needed as part of a personalized interactive experience. Read on...

ClickZ: The rise of AI in graphics design
Author: Carl Dean


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 aug 2020

Timing, as in most things in business and elsewhere, is the key to get the most effective and valuable outcome. Public relations for organizations and brands is no different in this regard. When and how much PR is needed requires diligent research and assessment. To avoid costly PR mistakes, April White, founder of Trust Relations, suggests ways to evaluate PR-readiness of a brand. She emphasises that both clients and PR professionals should assess the PR requirement for optimum results. She says, 'A brand is PR-ready when it has a great product, service or story to tell - and assets to support them.' Following are the 10 tips - (1) Professional website providing sufficient information is a must for credibility. (2) Clear brand positioning with defined mission statement, core values, SWOT analysis, competitive landscape etc. (3) Identified target audience to achieve business and marketing goals. (4) Expertise or thought leadership of executives running the company and their credibility to provide industry commentary and insight. (5) Professionally designed packaging to match with the stories brand wants to tell. (6) Supportive research about the product or service like market data, white paper on industry topic, survey regarding demand etc. (7) Dedicated and trained spokesperson to handle queries and interviews. (8) A client representative with the capacity to effectively manage a PR team and be a communication link. (9) Relevant and compelling content in the form of professional images, videos etc to share with the media. (10) Brand's ability to scale to meet the demand after the PR efforts are done for long-term value. Read on...

Forbes: When Is A Brand PR-Ready? 10 Things For Agencies And Clients To Have In Hand
Author: April White


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 aug 2020

Collaborative and coordinated efforts by multiple agencies and institutions are needed to manage, control and overcome a crisis like COVID-19 pandemic. Team from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is partnering with Commonwealth of Pennsylvania agencies and stakeholders in the areas of public health, economics, and emergency management, to create data-based tools for informed decision-making and strengthen planning efforts of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to re-open the state's economy. Some of the main criteria to determine when a region is ready to re-open and return to work will include - The incidence rate of COVID-19 cases per capita will be evaluated and several public health requirements must be met; A region need to have an average of less than 50 cases per 100000 individuals over the course of 14 days to return to work; Enough testing available for individuals with symptoms and target populations; Robust case investigation and contact tracing infrastructure need to place; Identification of an area's high-risk settings must be made and would include adequate healthcare facilities with sufficient safeguards and equipments. The model dashboard developed through the collaboration will take a regional and sector-based approach to re-openings, the easing of restrictions and response. This data-driven decision support tool will help to better understand the current health and economic status, as well as the inherent risks and benefits to re-opening certain businesses and industry areas. Using data that considers worker exposure and spread risks, health care capacity, economic impact and supply chain impact, the administration will prioritize re-openings where it has the potential for the most positive impact on the economy for workers and businesses, while mitigating risk to public health and safety. Ramayya Krishnan, dean of CMU's Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy and director of CMU's Block Center for Technology and Society, says, 'The purpose is to provide important information to the governor's team to make data informed decision. For example, all indicators could point to opening a specific county, but other factors, such as population density around a hotspot, availability of supplies to ensure workers are protected, or Department of Health criteria could make the county unfit to open.' The multidisciplinary team from CMU involved in the project include - Laurence Ales; Kasun Amarasinghe; Scott Andes; Gary Franko; Rayid Ghani; Jared Kohler; Tim McNulty; Illah Nourbakhsh; Roni Rosenfeld; Randy Sargent; Richard A. Stafford; Chris Telmer; Anne Wright; Ariel Zetlin-Jones; Xuege Zhang. Other contrubutors to the project include - Beibei Li; Lee Branstetter; Jon Caulkins; Karen Clay; Baruch Fischhoff; Marty Gaynor; Joel Greenhouse; Po-Shen Loh; Dan Nagin; Rema Padman; Wes Pegden; Lowell Taylor; Hai Wang; Peter Zhang. Read on...

Carnegie Mellon University News: CMU Dashboard Will Help Inform State Decision-Makers During Pandemic
Author: Jason Maderer


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 aug 2020

The 'Report of the Committee on Business Responsibility Reporting' was recently released by Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA, Govt. of India) by MCA Secretary Rajesh Verma. The expert members of the committee include Gyaneshwar Kumar Singh (Chairman of the Committee & Joint Secretary, MCA), Amarjeet Singh (Executive Director, SEBI), Chandan Kumar (Deputy Director, MCA), Ashish Garg (President, The Institute of Company Secretaries of India, ICSI), Atul Kumar Gupta (President, The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, ICAI), Balwinder Singh (President, The Institute of Cost Accountants of India, ICMAI), Shankar Venkateswaran (Adjunct Faculty, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, IICA) and Viraf Mehta (Adjunct Faculty, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, IICA). The report, as part of new Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR) regime, suggests that businesses will have to disclose in detail how they try to influence regulatory policies and public opinion and list the public policy positions they advocate. The report proposes two different reporting procedures - one comprehensive mandatory reporting for large listed and unlisted companies and the other 'lite' reporting version for smaller businesses to adopt voluntarily. Disclosure of lobbying is considered an essential reporting requirement. The report says, 'Businesses, when engaging in influencing public and regulatory policy, should do so in a manner that is responsible and transparent.' Businesses also have to disclose details of public policy positions they advocate, methods resorted to for advocacy and whether information on this is available in the public domain. The report considers inclusion and diversity, and environmental considertations as important components of reporting. Former Secretary of MCA, Injeti Srinivas, who formulated the committee, writes in the report, 'With several global companies being larger than many nation states in terms of turnover, the responsibility of businesses to their stakeholders will only increase in the coming years. The NGRBC (National Guidelines for Responsible Business Conduct) and its companion BRSR is a significant step to enable businesses in India to not just behave responsibly, but to also demonstrate to its stakeholders that it walks the talk. We can then proudly say 'Make in India - Responsibly'.' Gyaneshwar Kumar Singh, Chairman of the Committee & Joint Secretary in MCA, writes in the report, 'The endeavour of the Committee has been to ensure that the BRSR reporting format would serve as a single source for all non-financial disclosures. Over the last two decades, public policy across the world, has been moving in this direction. In designing the structure of the report, the Committee has made a conscious effort to balance the objective of self-regulation through disclosures while ensuring that there is no undue compliance burden on companies.' Read on...

Livemint: 'Firms must reveal how they influence policy'
Author: Gireesh Chandra Prasad


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 jul 2020

India has developed expertise in chip design and microchip design related services and its R&D centers are world renowned. On the contrary, it lacks sunbstantially in chip fabrication and manufacturing facilities. Over the years not much investment has been made in this regard and India lags far behind countries like Taiwan, China and the US. Experts suggest that building chip fabrication facilities and ecosystem require huge investments and takes time along with conducive government policies. Moreover, manufacturing is expensive unless it can achieve economies of scale like in Taiwan and China. To reduce its dependancy on China and finding an opportunity to become an alternative destination for chip manufacturing, Indian policy makers and businesses have to consider long-term strategic planning in this regard. Aditya Narayan Mishra, Director and CEO of CIEL HR Services, says, 'Chip design and manufacturing is a highly capital-intensive business...We need access to capital, favourable policies and investment on the ecosystem from design to application engineering...The government has to decide if this is an industry which needs to be promoted.' Dr. Satya Gupta, Chairman of India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA), says, 'A fabrication facility for chip manufacturing requires on an average US$ 8-to-10 billion of investment...Most chip designers outsource to third-party manufacturers who have the expertise and scale in developing such chips.' Ganesh Suryanarayanan, CTO of Myelin Foundry Pvt. Ltd., says, 'Companies in China and Taiwan have had a lot of government support over the last couple of decades to foster such an ecosystem, which consists of materials, machinery, manufacturing, testing, packaging, and sales...Indian government tried one initiative called the Hindustan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (HSMC)...which did not take off-based on the need for heavy initial investment and delayed return on investment.' Read on...

THE WEEK: Why India is good at designing chips, but not at manufacturing them
Author: Abhinav Singh


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jul 2020

For B2B marketing effectiveness segmentation is a reliable strategic tool. But with evolving B2B e-commerce marketplace traditional broad macrosegmentation may not suffice. According to the report, 'Microsegmentation Yields Contextual Customer Experiences That Convert' by Lori Wizdo (VP and principal analyst for B2B marketing at Forrester Research) with Caroline Robertson, Aldila Yunus and Kara Hartig, to fulfil the growing customer demand for more contextually relevant shopping experiences, B2B marketers should leverage new data and analytics tools and strategies to fine-tune macrosegmented audiences into microsegments. The report says that new data and analytics capabilities now allow B2B marketers to break macrosegmentation, that places audiences into large demographic groups such as company size, industry, geography and the end market served, down further into microsegments - covering, in addition to demographics, such criteria as customer buying behavior, record of sales growth, price sensitivity and aspirations - which allows sellers to reach even more targeted audiences. The report further says, '68% of buyers say it is important that vendors provide relevant content at each stage of their buying journey without having to rely on sales reps to deliver it. By targeting the drivers of customers’ actions, you can build trust through more empathetic, relevant content and accelerate the buyer's journey.' Some of the other valuable points of the report are - Microsegmentation will boost a B2B company's return on its content marketing and inbound strategies by using customer information to customize experiences that persuade and influence specific clusters of customers; Microsegmentation will help B2B companies build a high-yield marketing portfolio; Microsegmentation benefits both the B2B customer and the B2B seller because it results in more relevant shopping experiences for the buyer and increased conversions for the seller. Read on...

DigitalCommer360: How microsegmenting boosts B2B conversion rates
Author: Cate Flahardy


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 jul 2020

Downtime for workforce is a reality that needs to be managed well. Experts provide suggestions to web designers to effectively utilize downtime, whether it is normal as in between projects or unusual circumstances like COVID-19 pandemic - (1) Support Your Juniors: Priscilla Coates, managing director at Magma Digital, says, 'Our developers focus on continuous learning as a principle...they engage in targeted supervision opportunities to support more junior developers more closely...we embrace the notion of working on the business as well as in the business.' (2) Test Your Skills With A Side Project: Melin Edomwonyi, director of product for Illustrate Digital, says, 'Downtime is a great opportunity to work on something you've been needing or wanting to do for a while...If the downtime is short, i.e. less than a day, then we'll use this time to explore new UX trends or tidy up our code library to make future projects more efficient.' (3) Read A Good Book: Bryony Sutton, UX and UI designer at Banc, says, 'When a project ends, I take the opportunity to meditate my mind and desktop...To help draw a line under a project, I like to read. I find that completing a book separates one project from the next and puts my mind in a different space.' (4) Host A Hackathon: Paul Ferry, director and co-founder of ShopTalk, says, 'At ShopTalk, we have an internal initiative...a quarterly design-hackathon where the team get to apply their creative skills to their own ideas, and ShopTalk invest in helping to make these happen.' (5) Learn A New Skill: Benoit Soucaret, creative director of experience design at LiveArea, says, 'Downtime can present an opportunity to upskill...So while disruption can see many projects shorten, downtime can still be used productively. There are more opportunities to learn than ever before, designers and developers simply have to open to them.' (6) Improve Your Processes: Arrann Diamond, digital director at Greenwich Design, says, 'I use downtime to improve our processes...I also like learning about new ways to make projects run more smoothly...As digital director, really understanding a developer’s point of view and having a good knowledge of technologies and build processes is essential...Understanding information, rather than just relaying it, is very different, but it’s the key to conveying trust with both clients and developers.' Read on...

Creative Bloq: The web designer's guide to dealing with downtime
Author: Tom May


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 jul 2020

A crisis like COVID-19 pandemic brings challenges and causes disruptions that in turn creates new opportunities and invigorates entrepreneurial activity to search for innovative solutions. Startup companies are a normal progression of this entrepreneurial activity. In the context of India, studies have shown that around 90% of startups fail within the first five years because of various reasons including lack of innovation and guidance. Now Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K) is partnering with Entrepreneurship First (EF) of UK to support and fund entrepreneurial talent and early-stage startups. EF will help to build co-founder teams, offer mentorship, strengthen the business model and provide pre-seed investment to the startups. IIT-K will provide the business incubator facility as the next step to build a network of expert advisors, access to prototyping facilities and grants. Amitabha Bandyopadhyay, faculty head of IIT-K Incubator, says, 'While India has a huge pool of talented tech-enthusiasts, they are not necessarily knowledgeable about setting up and expanding an enterprise. Industry partnerships can help boost the success rate of early-stage startups in India...The post-COVID-19 world will have a different way of life and technology will become an extension of every process, transaction or interaction.' Esha Tiwary, general manager of Entrepreneur First (India), says, 'Most often, successful enterprises are formed during the times of crisis...The concept of investing in individuals before they have a registered company is in its nascent stage in India as well as across the world. To improve India's startup ecosystem, it is crucial to invest in individuals with unique ideas and early-stage startups.' Read on...

The Times of India: Covid-19 to boost tech entrepreneurship in India
Author: Sheetal Banchariya


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 11 jul 2020

According to the survey conducted to find out impact of COVID-19 pandemic on 567 small businesses and nonprofit organizations in US by the research team of Prof. Samantha Paustian-Underdahl of Florida State University, 15.2% of its participants closed permanently, and 14.5% of participants closed temporarily. Another 31% of participants are operating below 40% capacity, while close to 40% of participants are operating at 40% or higher during COVID-19. The survey also found that 46.7% laid off their employees during COVID-19, while 51% reported that they did not. The average number of employees laid off was 10.5. Prof. Paustian-Underdahl says, 'Small businesses and nonprofits have taken a huge hit during this time, with nearly 30 percent of our sample needing to close temporarily or permanently as of early May. The good news is that most organizations are getting some help.' The survey revealed that 92% received some type of financial assistance from the government's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and/or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). 75.5% applied for one or both types of government aid. Of participants who applied, 28.9% received PPP funding only, 26.8% received EIDL only, 11.3% received both PPP and EIDL, and 8.3% did not receive anything. Moreover, researchers also found that business owners and nonprofit leaders are experiencing different effects of COVID-19 on their overall well-being and performance, depending on their gender. Prof. Paustian-Underdahl says, 'Consistent with recent research by Gallup , we found that women who own small businesses are experiencing higher levels of stress and burnout during COVID-19 compared to men. While some may assume this could be due to higher work-family-conflict, we found the men surveyed are reporting higher work-family-conflict than women.' Some of the strategies and solutions that respondents have implemented to meet the challenges faced during COVID-19 include - increased communication with employees; an increased focus on implementing technology and creating online content; creating unique ways to contact and keep existing clients instead of seeking new one; increased focus on healthy living, exercise and mental health for their employees and customers. Read on...

Florida State University News: Survey reveals COVID-19's impact on small business, nonprofits
Author: Calvin Burrows


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 jun 2020

In the recent report, 'Free Universities: Putting the Academic Freedom Index Into Action' by Katrin Kinzelbach (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg - FAU), Robert Quinn (Scholars at Risk Network), Janika Spannagel (Global Public Policy Institute - GPPi) and Ilyas Saliba (GPPi), that introduced Academic Freedom Index (AFi), India has a low score of 0.352 out of the maximum value of 1. India is in the same category [D Status (0.2-0.4)] as Algeria (0.357), Cameroon (0.361), Palestine/Gaza (0.371), Russia (0.364), Saudi Arabia (0.278), Vietnam (0.379) etc. The top category [A Status (0.8–1.0)] include countries like Uruguay (0.971), Portugal (0.971), Latvia (0.964), Germany (0.960), UK (0.934) etc while the bottom category [E Status (0.0-0.2)] include countries like North Korea (0.011), Eritrea (0.015), Bahrain (0.039), Turkey (.097), United Arab Emirates (0.103), Iran (0.116) etc. India is also one of a handful of countries whose AFi dipped by at least 0.1 points in the five years until 2019. The AFi has eight components. Three are based on factual data and the remaining five are 'expert-coded' - they’re based on the 1810 scholars' assessments 'integrated in a Bayesian measurement model'. The components are - (1) Freedom to research and teach (2) Freedom of academic exchange and dissemination (3) Institutional autonomy (4) Campus integrity (5) Freedom of academic and cultural expression (6) Constitutional protection of academic freedom (7) International legal commitment to academic freedom under the the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (8) Existence of universities. Atanu Biswas, a professor at the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI-Kolkata), says that the report's accompanying 'codebook' doesn't have many details about the technique used to 'integrate' the assessments, called 'Bayesian factor analysis'. Madhusudhan Raman, a postdoctoral fellow at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR-Mumbai), also cautioned against over-interpreting conclusions based on one figure. Read on...

The Wire: India Registers Low 'Academic Freedom Index' Score in New International Report
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jun 2020

COVID-19 has brought to the fore the issue of medical textiles as masks, gowns and other personal protective equipment (PPE) are necessary for safeguarding healthcare workers against virus infections. The use of mask specifically became more widespread among general public and the debate centered around the type of material of the fabric that can minimize spread of the virus from person to person and also be affordable. As the demand for PPEs rose the challenge for the scientific and manufacturing community has been to find a way to provide better protection while allowing for the safe reuse of these items. Team of researchers from University of Pittsburgh - Anthony J. Galante, Sajad Haghanifar, Eric G. Romanowski, Robert M. Q. Shanks, Paul W. Leu - has created a textile coating that can not only repel liquids like blood and saliva but can also prevent viruses from adhering to the surface. Their research titled, 'Superhemophobic and Antivirofouling Coating for Mechanically Durable and Wash-Stable Medical Textiles', was recently published in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. Lead author of the paper, Mr. Galante, who is the Ph.D. student in industrial engineering at Pitt, says, 'Recently there's been focus on blood-repellent surfaces, and we were interested in achieving this with mechanical durability.' The coating is unique as it is able to withstand ultrasonic washing, scrubbing and scraping. Prof. Leu, co-author and associate professor of industrial engineering, says, 'The durability is very important because there are other surface treatments out there, but they’re limited to disposable textiles. You can only use a gown or mask once before disposing of it. Given the PPE shortage, there is a need for coatings that can be applied to reusable medical textiles that can be properly washed and sanitized.' Prof. Romanowski, Research Director at Charles T. Campbell Microbiology Laboratory, says, 'As this fabric was already shown to repel blood, protein and bacteria, the logical next step was to determine whether it repels viruses. We chose human adenovirus types 4 and 7, as these are causes of acute respiratory disease as well as conjunctivitis (pink eye)...As it turned out, the adenoviruses were repelled in a similar way as proteins.' Prof. Shanks, Director of Basic Research in the Department of Ophthalmology at Pitt, says, 'Adenovirus can be inadvertently picked up in hospital waiting rooms and from contaminated surfaces in general. It is rapidly spread in schools and homes and has an enormous impact on quality of life - keeping kids out of school and parents out of work. This coating on waiting room furniture, for example, could be a major step towards reducing this problem.' The next step for the researchers will be to test the effectiveness against betacoronaviruses, like the one that causes COVID-19. Read on...

University of Pittsburgh News: Pitt Researchers Create Durable, Washable Textile Coating That Can Repel Viruses
Author: Maggie Pavlick


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 jun 2020

User-Generated Content (UGC) is getting more prominence for charity marketing and communications in the COVID-19 pandemic turbulence. Charities are struggling with funds and resources and have substantially reduced marketing and advertising spends. UGC helps charities in creating content to promote their brand, do fundraising, and advertise their accomplishments. Content created by those who were directly supported by charities is more authentic and relatable. When users share their stories they connect better with potential supporters. Following are the ways UGC benefits charities - (1) Marketing budgets are shrinking and UGC can provide a practical, cost-effective solution amid cuts, through users becoming charities' ambassadors online through videos, blogs, podcasts and social media posts. Hiring marketing agency is costly and current social distancing norms are restricting professionals to do location filming. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NVCO) has estimated that UK charities lost around £4 billion in the first three months of the COVID-19 crisis. According to COVID-19 Marketing Report by Influencer MarketingHub, more than 2/3 (69%) of brands expect they will reduce their advertising spend in 2020 due to COVID-19. 3/4 say they are posting less on their social media accounts as budgets shrink. (2) Charity's frontline staff, beneficiaries and volunteers are able to enhance their digital skills during lockdown. Charities are certainly keen to empower their workforce to support users in creating content. The 2020 Charity Digital Skills Report found that half of charities would welcome guidance on helping their staff adjust to change and stay motivated and productive amid the pandemic. (3) UGC is more authentic and relatable. Last year's Stackla survey found that the public believes UGC is 2.4 times more authentic compared to brand created content. However, too often the power of UGC is not being realised by marketers. The survey showed that marketers are 2.1 times more likely to believe that brand created content is more authentic compared to UGC. Read on...

Charity Digital: How and why User-Generated Content is changing charity marketing
Author: Joe Lepper


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 jun 2020

COVID-19 impacted the retail sector and brought about unforeseen challenges. Recent study by Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at University of Warwick (UK) and Blue Yonder examined how retailers have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure their survival. The study is based on the survey responses from 105 different retailers from Europe, Asia and the Americas and identified the human vulnerabilities across the supply chain and the need for future investment in flexibility, visibility and automation to improve future resilience. Some of the challenges that retailers faced are - unprecedented demand for some products while no demand for others; many stores were forced to close, or adapt their operations to accommodate social distancing; shift to online shopping wherever possible but it had its own operational challenges. REPORT HIGHLIGHTS - (1) The majority (61%) of retailers used inventory to buffer against the disruption of COVID-19. Supply chain processes and systems were effective, but more than half (58%) of retailers said a high degree of manual intervention was required to respond to the fluctuation in demand and supply. (2) Workforce issues were dominant issues for retailers with 59% of warehouse and 48% store operatives being affected by quarantine or illness. This often resulted in the closure of online operations and the need to recruit temporary staff. (3) Retailers were polarised in their treatment of supplier payments, with 37% delaying payments and 30% making early payments. Prof. Jan Godsell of University of Warwick says, '...only just over a quarter (29%) of retailers relied on suppliers with more agile manufacturing and distribution networks, which is a potentially more resource efficient and resilient response. With 75 to 80% of products seeing a demand fluctuation, retailers were slightly better at responding to decreases rather than increases in demand...' Wayne Snyder of Blue Yonder says, 'A critical learning for retailers is the need to invest in creating supply chains with greater flexibility, visibility and automation. Here technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning will play a key role in helping retailers navigate future disruption, whilst still meeting customers’ expectations.' Read on...

University of Warwick News: New study provides insights into how retailers have responded to COVID-19
Author: Alice Scott


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 jun 2020

India's agriculture should scale up to the next level in terms of empowerment to farmers, enhanced supply chain and logistics networks, advanced technological usage, superior quality of produce and global competitiveness. Recent announcement of reforms by the Finance Minister of India, Nirmala Sitaraman, focusing on amendment in the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act, the Essential Commodities Act, and facilitating contract farming through price and quality assurance, has drawn a positive response from Ashok Gulati, former chairman of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, who termed it as 'A 1991 moment for Indian agriculture.' M. R. Subramani, executive editor of SwarajyaMag, explains the present focus and what more is required for India's agriculture to revolutionalize itself and move into an era of overall success. He points out three areas - (1) Food Stocks: Going beyond fulfilling domestic demand; Food Corporation of India (FCI) show that current foodgrain stocks in the country are nearly three times the mandated operational and reserve storage norms; Indian agriculture should look more closely at consumers' interests, export markets and making optimum use of its human resources; Focus on producing healthy foods like diabetic-friendly varieties etc; Encouraging the production of coarse grains such as ragi, maize, bajra and sorghum will help farmers diversify and getter higher returns. (2) Focus on Inputs: Focus has been on the input side of agriculture such as seeds, pesticides and insecticides only and most subsidies are directed here; Efforts should focus on the output side of agriculture such as marketing and meeting consumer needs; Change in farmer's mindset is needed to think beyond just selling their produce only to meet their next crop's input costs and keeping a portion for personal consumption; To keep next generations engaged in farming new methods and processes are to be introduced for increased productivity and profitability. (3) Minimum Support Price (MSP) System: Indian MSP policy is under the scrutiny of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for distorting markets and is supposedly flawed as it does not reward productivity; Incentivise foodgrain production by rewarding farmers producing more per hectare, and this is necessary particularly when the outlook shifts towards meeting the consumer or export market demand, in addition to staying self-sufficient. Read on...

The Hindu: India needs a paradigm shift in agriculture
Author: M. R. Subramani


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 may 2020

During Covid-19 related lockdown many countries faced issues related to providing food to where it is needed the most. There were huge challenges in food distribution and logistics from farms to markets to homes. In many cases farmers had to dump their produce due to the broken supply chain. Moreover, farmers lacked the resources to transport their produce themselves as markets were unwilling to buy that at reasonable price. Amid all this, in Philippines, one social enterprise led by Cherrie Atilano has found a way to get food from farms to consumers and enabled farmers sell their produce that otherwise would have been wasted. Agrea, her social enterprise, in normal times intended to end rural poverty by helping farmers move from subsistence to small-scale commercial farming. But, during pandemic crisis farmers and the food distribution networks collapsed, so Ms. Atilano started #MoveFoodInitiative to overcome the produce dumping by farmers. She used her extensive network to appeal to private truck owners to help ship the food to consumers in towns, villages and the capital. In addition to moving fruits from farmers to families, the initiative is also donating food to community kitchens set up to feed frontline medical staff treating people with coronavirus. 'Movers', as the workers associated with the project are called, have created impromptu community fresh food markets at various locations. Ms. Atilano also plans to encourage the development of urban farms and says, 'It is time to learn how to produce food near to you. This is the new normal that we need to prepare for.' Dom Hernandez, COO of Philippine fast food chain Potato Corner, is another entrepreneur helping to get food from farms to urban consumers. He has set up a scheme to allow farmers in his home province of Benguet to sell directly to consumers through the use of social media and his family owned bus network. Read on...

World Economic Forum: This entrepreneur is helping farmers get food to consumers during lockdown
Author: Douglas Broom


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 may 2020

A group of researchers led by Prof. Raul Gonzalez Lima and Prof. Marcelo Knorich Zuffo at the University of São Paulo's Engineering School (POLI-USP) in Brazil have developed a mechanical ventilator that costs only approximately 7% as much as a conventional ventilator. Prof. Lima says, 'Our ventilator is designed to be used in emergencies where there's a shortage of ICU (Intensive Care Unit) ventilators, which are more monitored, but it has all the functionality required by a severe patient. It also has the advantage of not depending on a compressed air line, as conventional ventilators do. It only needs an electric power outlet and piped oxygen from the hospital or even bottled O2.' In developing the ventilator, the researchers needed to analyze the range of oxygen flow rates and levels it could offer patients. For this purpose, they simulated the various breathing frequencies of human lungs using a gas analyzer and gas flow meter in a lab headed by Prof. Guenther Carlos Krieger Filho, also a professor at POLI-USP. Animal tests were conducted under the coordination of Denise Tabacchi Fantoni and Aline Ambrósio, both of whom are professors at School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science (FMVZ-USP). The tests were performed at Medical School's (FM-USP) anesthesiology laboratory (LIM08) under the supervision of Professor José Otávio Costa Auler Junior, in collaboration with Denise Aya Otsuki, a researcher in the lab. The first human trials involved four patients undergoing treatment at FM-USP's Heart Institute (INCOR). They were led by Auler Junior, with the collaboration of Filomena Regina Barbosa Gomes Galas, the supervisor at INCOR's surgical ICU, nurse Suely Pereira Zeferino, and physical therapist Alcino Costa Leme. The researchers are now preparing a clinical trial with a larger number of patients. This will be one of the last steps before production of the ventilator is approved by ANVISA, Brazil's national health surveillance authority. Read on...

News-Medical.Net: Brazilian researchers design low-cost mechanical ventilators
Author: Emily Henderson


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 may 2020

CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) spend is mandatory for certain profitable corporations in India. Most businesses are strategically utilizing their CSR funds. Moreover, Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent directive by government for corporates to participate in Covid-19 relief as part of their CSR activity, has prompted companies to innovate their CSR spends. Gaurav Patra, founder of Value360 Communication, explains how marketers are utilizing the challenge posed by Covid-19 as opportunity to strengthen their brands by strategically focusing on CSR to support society and connect with communities. He says, 'In this hour of global crisis, various marketers are stepping up and aligning their strategy in line with the announcements made by the government. Brands should take this as an opportunity to look inward and be as resourceful as possbile towards the cause. Many companies and businesses are donating certain amounts to the 'PM Cares Fund' formed by the Government of India, while others focus on facilitating vital necessities like masks, sanitizers, gloves, medicines, food to the underprivileged, health institutions, hospitals, etc. Marketers and brands are also committing a certain portion of their CSR funds towards Covid Fund. They are also placing health check-up camps in tier-2 cities in order to help migrants get tested first hand. Few brands have also come forward to manufacture ventilators, sanitizers, thermal testers, drones lending assistance to the government in combating this pandemic situation.' Companies are utilizing various media channels like print, television, social media etc to create awarenesss and educate the masses through creatively designing campaigns with Covid-19 theme. Mr. Patra suggests, 'Given the scale and urgency of the situation, brands should co-create their solutions as an effective response to Covid-19 outbreak. Together, through the right channel, one voice, we can safeguard our nation and help fight this global pandemic.' Read on...

Business Insider: How marketers are now focusing on CSR in current COVID-19 situation
Author: Gaurav Patra


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 may 2020

According to Wikipedia, 'Experiential marketing or engagement marketing is a marketing strategy that directly engages consumers and invites and encourages them to participate in the evolution of a brand or a brand experience...Consumer engagement is when a brand and a consumer connect. Brad Nierenberg says that experiential marketing is the live, one-on-one interactions that allow consumers to create connections with brands.' With experiential marketing brands can develop more interest among consumers about their products and services. Covid-19 has brought new challenges to experiential marketing. 13 experts from Forbes Agency Council explain the current and future impact that experiential marketing is likely to have on the industry and how leaders can adapt to its effects - (1) Continuing To Build Relationships And Leadership (Serenity Thompson, A23 Advisors): 'To play well as experiential marketing, virtual events will include moderated group breakouts, gamified agendas and in-app click-to-share social content at a minimum.' (2) Emphasizing The Power of Shared Experience (Steve Wilson, Wilson Dow): 'When delivering a virtual experience, keep a people-first approach.' (3) Reinventing Experiences And Platforms (Lili Gil Valletta, CIEN+): 'Experiences matter; we just need to innovate in where and how they come to life.' (4) Connecting With Audiences During Social Distancing (Jon Waterman, Ad.net): 'Whether it be through VR, playing an interactive game, attending a virtual concert or a live streaming demo, experiential marketing will move towards brand engaging audiences for experiences online.' (5) Offering Consumer-Level Multisensory Experiences (Hamutal Schieber): 'Experiential marketing can benefit from emerging technologies to create personalized, multisensory experiences.' (6) Delivering Personalized Experiences To Wider Audiences (Nicolas Van Erum, Sid Lee): 'Brands will quickly pivot to digital efforts...with greater avenues to track, measure and attribute consumer behavior.' (7) Leveraging New Technologies With Social Spacing (Jackie Reau, Game Day Communications): 'Experiential marketers will need to consider how to use new technologies with social spacing to connect with consumers in an engaging manner.' (8) Growing The Number Of Virtual Conferences, Activations (Scott Harkey, OH Partners): 'As we navigate through this pandemic, brands are challenged to pivot to provide a utility, adopt new technologies and continue to provide value and insight to consumers.' (9) Helping Brands Stand Out From The Crowd (Anna Crowe, Crowe PR): It will be an important part of an integrated marketing strategy to communicate brand stories and grow awareness and loyalty.' (10) Creating A Community (Dmitrii Kustov): 'They (brands) now have the opportunity to find real connections with their audience.' (11) Providing Immersive Experiences Via Influencers (Danielle Wiley, Sway Group): 'Influencers who provide enjoyable, immersive experiences boost brand visibility, build audience connections and drive action.' (12) Leveraging Augmented And Virtual Reality (Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS): 'Every company is ready for it. Apple and Android support it.' (13) Bridging The Gap With Video Demos (Francine Carb, Markitects, Inc.): 'By promoting technical experts as the heroes, customers can gain valuable insights, and companies can more intimately represent their brand.' Read on...

Forbes: How Will Experiential Marketing Evolve? 13 Experts Share Their Views
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 14 may 2020

Covid-19 pandemic is affecting all aspects of human life, and even when the immediate severity of the crisis has subsided and nations start to ease lockdowns in hope of bringing their economies and people's lives back on track, the world will continue to see the after effects for a long time ahead. Experts share their views on pandemic's impact on future of design and how it will change the built environment in healthcare, hospitality, residential living etc - (1) Impact on Healthcare (Rahul Kadri, partner and principal Architect, IMK Architects): New generation of hospitals will be designed; Integrate tech-driven solutions; Better natural ventilation to minimize cross-infection; Segregation of general, semi-sterile and sterile zones; Net zero designing; Demarcation and separation of service and maintenance areas from the procedure areas; Rapid time to build and construct; Medical hub model. (2) Impact on Hospitality (Amit Khanna, design principal, Amit Khanna Design Associates): Screenings will become a part of entrance design in hotels; Use of automation to avoid human contact; Automated sliding or revolving glass door; Rethink on facilities like swimming pools, salons and health clubs; Top-end hospitality projects may prefer to redesign their communal facilities. (3) Impact on Urban Design (Mitu Mathur, director, GPM Architects and Planners): Towns need to be designed for all classes of society; Ensure housing-for-all; Promote affordable housing; Special design focus on migrant workers. (4) Using AI for Construction (Anand Sharma, founder partner, Design Forum International): Architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry will have more use of artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing etc; Building Information Management (BIM) Development promotes workers of industry to be collaborative, connected and transparent; Future of construction will innovate like utilising the Internet of Things and leveraging 3D imaging to replicate the experience of a site. (5) Impact on Housing Design (L. C. Mittal, director, Motia Group): Adoption of advanced technology in elevators and entrances, like voice-enabled elevators and key card entry systems respectively, to eliminate human contact; Sanitisation of common areas would become a mandatory exercise for societies; Daily needs shopping store will become an integral part of housing societies. Read on...

India Today: A post-pandemic design revolution
Author: Ridhi Kale


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 apr 2020

In the digital era, it is imperative for nonprofit leaders to embrace technology and adapt to change effectively. Practicing concepts of 'change management' helps in the technological transformation. Aparna Kothary, director of technology operations at Global Citizen Year, had to implement new technology to help her nonprofit, which organizes gap year study-abroad programs for high school seniors, measure the impact of their work. She says, 'When you put a lot of work into building something, you think it's great and you want everybody else to think it's great, but approaching it with humility is so important...If our end goal is user adoption, it's our responsibility to train people in a way that that works for them.' Setting expectations for new technology adopters is also important. She adds, 'Instead of saying - Here's this shiny new tool we are going to use forever - maybe say - This is phase one of a three-year project, and every year w're going to improve a little bit more...' According to the second annual Nonprofit Trends Report produced by Salesforce, leadership must not only lead the adoption of new technologies but also help nurture a culture that is open to embracing new technology in the first place. But 45% of nonprofits state that they lack the flexibility and adaptiveness that the adoption of new technology demands. Prof. Alva H. Taylor of Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College says, 'Leadership has to understand it and know the importance of it, and also communicate (that importance) to everybody in their organization...might involve showing how the new tool is compatible with how they've done their work in the past, while 'really trumpeting the benefits' of adoption.' The Nonprofit Trends Report also shows that, on average, different departments have different rates of adoption of new technologies, and suggests that without full adoption of technology nonprofits may not get the maximum return on investment. Planning is essential along with leadership. 85% of the nonprofits surveyed in the report say that technology is key to the success of an organization like the one they work for, but only 23% say they have a long-term vision for the technology they plan on implementing. Sarah Angel-Johnson, CIO at the education nonprofit Year Up, says that it leads to 'rocks and pebbles' problem. She comments, 'Let's not talk about the technology or the architecture first. Let's talk about the human on the other side (experiencing a digital innovation). If you have a jar and you fill it with sand first, then pebbles and rocks, it won't all fit. But if you fill the jar first with rocks and the pebbles and then finally sand, it will all fit.' This means that leadership needs to establish priority projects and execute on them before pivoting to anything else. Developing nonprofit-wide strategy requires leadership buy-in and is necessary for long-term success. Jarrod Bell, CTO at Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, says, 'Painting what the vision was for technology at our organization, tying that to the mission, having that message come from our president and CEO, having that message resonated by our board...reverberate those messages as well, and then repeating it over, and over, and over again.' Rebeca Johnson, VP of constituent experience and digital transformation at the American Heart Association, says, 'Transformation is difficult, because transformation is change, and change is hard. But the world has changed and we have to change with it.' Read on...

Stanford Social Innovation Review: Being a Digital-First Leader
Author: Adrienne Day


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 apr 2020

It is important to be selective and careful while choosing which nonprofits to support and promote. Even more so during times of crisis or economic recession as every dollar of contribution or effort needs to be most effective. In such situations, like the present COVID-19 pandemic, nonprofits are expected to serve more while facing resource challenges. Prof. Amanda J. Stewart of NC State University, whose research focuses on nonprofit organizations and foundations, suggests what to consider while supporting nonprofits during disasters like COVID-19 - (1) Nonprofits that provide essential services: Sustained support is needed for nonprofits that respond directly to human suffering in crisis and also essential human services and local community needs. (2) Nonprofits that need cash: Financial donations are critical as they support nonprofits to pay their bills etc and gives them freedom to provide services where most needed in whatever form. (3) Generosity can be specific to these times: Creativity in generosity becomes valuable. Like for example face masks being sewn, remote volunteering options, socially safe distant blood drives etc during current pandemic. Consider what generosity looks like in your neighborhood or what is within your capabilities during crisis time. (4) Give responsibly: While doing so be aware that some 'responsible giving' criteria are biased. Before donating use your best judgment and look for signs of legitimacy and accountability. Smaller niche nonprofits with more grassroots efforts can be effective and responsive in crisis times. (5) Nonprofits are often local businesses: After the crisis has passed many nonprofits just like local businesses would need support to get back to start working. Consider the nonprofit causes you want to see sustained and support the nonprofits to resume functioning after the crisis. Read on...

NC State University News: How Can I Tell Which Charity to Support During This Crisis?
Author: Matt Shipman


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 apr 2020

Diversity and inclusion at workplace brings creativity and enhances culture of innovation. There is inclination towards bridging the gender gap and promoting gender parity in organizations. According to McKinsey's 'Women in the Workplace 2019' report, since 2015 the number of women in senior leadership has grown and in the C-suite the representation of women has increased from 17% to 21%. Moreover, in 2019 44% of companies have three or more women in their C-suite, up from 29% of companies in 2015. The 2017 study 'What Women Want - And Why You Want Women - In the Workplace' by Center for Creative Leadership (ccl.org) found that having more women in the workplace actually makes an organization a better place to work. Moreover, having a higher percentage of female talent in an organization predicted - More job satisfaction; More organizational dedication; More meaningful work; Less burnout. The study also found that having more women in the workplace was also positively related to employee engagement and retention. Top architectural and design schools in US are setting the examples in academia by bringing women at leadership positions. The following five thought leaders are now molding the next generation of talent and reshaping the design field for the 21st century - (1) J. Meejin Yoon (Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning): 'I'm optimistic about architectural education going forward and the role of the academy as a leader around critical social and environmental issues, as well as emerging technologies and their impact on the built environment. It feels significant to be a part of this group of women academic leaders, all of whom are deeply committed to both education and practice...Diversity means better research, better education, better design.' (2) Sarah Whiting (Harvard University Graduate School of Design): 'Our mandate is to identify questions that are relevant and urgent, questions like ethics, climate change, and housing. It's important to make sure the world knows that design is not a frivolous add-on to our lives but rather at the root of how we live.' (3) Mónica Ponce de León (Princeton University School of Architecture): 'Architecture materializes culture. We have the capacity to put on the table alternatives to the status quo. But if architecture is going to impact culture, it has to represent and argue for a broad cohort of communities. Diversity is key.' (4) Deborah Berke (Yale School of Architecture): 'One of the ways that we can make the profession more inclusive is to reduce the enormous burden of student debt...I am a strong believer in what I call built environment social justice. Those most vulnerable are those being most hurt...Everyone is entitled to beauty in their everyday life. The built environment can, at its very finest, bring joy.' (5) Amale Andraos (Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation): 'Architecture got cut up into all these different disciplines, leaving us with a very small, cosmetic part, limiting what the field can mean and what practice can do. Unless we integrate and collaborate, we cannot engage with the scale of issues such as climate change...Academia can change the profession.' Read on...

Architectural Digest: These Trailblazing Women are the New Deans of American Design
Author: Sam Cochran


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 apr 2020

Fake news at the time of crisis like the current COVID-19 pandemic is a double whammy that further adds to confusion and creates panic. Propagation of false and misleading information through social media and other tech platforms has multiplied. It not only exploits the emotional vulnerability of common public but also impedes and hinders the efforts to collectively and scientifically fight the pandemic and minimize its socio-ecomic effects. But an evergrowing group of Indian scientists have come together to create 'Indian Scientists' Response to COVID-19 (ISRC)' that is working to fight false information. It is a pan-India voluntary effort with more than 400 scientists across more than twenty scientific and research institutes in the country. It counts among its volunteers astrophysicists, animal behaviourists, computer scientists, mathematicians, engineers, chemists, biologist, doctors, social scientists and others. The purpose of the group includes analysing all available data and support national, state and local governments for evidence-based action, in addition to verifying and communicating information. There are sub-groups working on - mathematical modelling of disease spread and transmission, outreach and communication in simple terms for the public and media, translating basic resources in local languages, developing hardware solutions and apps. Aniket Sule, a science communicator with the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education in Mumbai, says, 'Since science communication is my area of interest, I volunteered to be a part of this effort. In this crisis, everyone has a role and each person can contribute by doing what they know best.' R. Ramanujam, a theoretical computer science professor at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc) in Chennai, says, 'While people in the medical and healthcare community are doing their work, we thought, what about others like us, what can we do?' Rahul Siddharthan, a computational biologist at the IMSc, says, 'How an individual gets infected is definitely a biology problem, but what we are looking at is how an infection spreads in society, and we are dealing with large numbers of people. Physicists have a lot of experience in dealing with dynamical systems modelling, differential equations, and computer/data scientists can analyse the data that is available. It has to be an interdisciplinary approach and we need people to be talking and on the same platform.' T. V. Venkateshwaran, senior scientist at Vigyan Prasar, says, 'In a situation like this it's important to do two things, one is communicating to people that they need to be alert, not alarmed...The other thing is falling for wrongly circulated remedies and rumours. We need to counter all the misinformation going around so people feel at ease.' The group is putting together links, videos and articles in Indian languages and also working on translating others. Anindita Bhadra, an animal behaviourist and associate professor at IISER Kolkata, says, 'I am not an expert in virology or epidemiology or modelling, but I am interested in science communication so I thought I should help with that as well as translation. You need people who can transmit all this to the public.' Read on...

World Economic Forum: How 300 Indian scientists are fighting fake news about COVID-19
Author: Bhavya Dore


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 apr 2020

Experts say that technology companies are now more inclined to hire people with background in humanities as they have better understanding of customer needs and have capacity to help design more relevant software. Scott Hartley, author and venture capitalist, in his book 'The Fuzzie and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts', says, 'The best engineers are those who are also deeply versed in and passionate about philosophy, psychology, and ethics. They play music, are refined in culture and have a deep sense of their own values.' Kalika Bali, principal researcher at the Microsoft Research Lab in Bengaluru (India), says, 'As technology becomes more pervasive and human-centric, professionals with expertise in social sciences are needed to understand how it is best used by individuals and societies.' Here are the few of the many examples that highlight this trend globally - Bess Yount of Facebook (communications and sociology); Stewart Butterfield of Slack (philosophy); Jack Ma of Alibaba (english); Brian Chesky of Airbnb (fine arts); Susan Wojcicki of YouTube (history and literature). Sean O'Brien, vice president of education and training at SAS, says, 'Many liberal arts degrees require extensive research and writing. And good writing requires precise expression of thinking. So liberal arts majors often have the most training in how to think and how to communicate their ideas in spoken and written form. Few engineers get that kind of writing experience. In an age of 280 characters, IM and Slack, clear communication skills have atrophied. The technology values speed and compression over precision and completeness. This communications scarcity is a gap that liberal arts graduates are ideally fit for.' Ashok Srivastava, chief data officer of Intuit, emphasises the idea of breaking up a problem into smaller pieces and tracing the history behind the decisions made. He also says, 'I have found that teams that have varied backgrounds function better as they have a better understanding of the customer needs.' Richard Lobo, head of human resources at Infosys, says, 'By building a new hybrid talent pool, which draws on broad-based liberal arts foundations and promotes cognitive diversity, we can leverage the liberal arts and technological know-how required to create complex and advanced technology solutions.' Kaushik Banerjee, business head at staffing firm TeamLease, says, 'An education in liberal arts is broad and diverse, rather than narrow and specialised. Most of the successful UI/UX designers are from creative arts.' An average tech company hires about 20% from liberal arts, and a combination of liberal arts with STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) subjects or an MBA is a huge plus. Kamal Karanth, CEO of staffing company Xpheno, says that between the two ends of software industry (tech end and user's end), there's now a critical layer of non-tech talent and skillsets that operates close to both ends. Read on...

The Times of India: Why tech companies are hiring people with humanities degrees
Authors: Avik Das, Arpita Misra, Swati Rathor


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 15 apr 2020

COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecended disaster that is simultaneously affecting all parts of the world. Global healthcare infrastructure has been found wanting to effectively face the challenge of the outbreak with some of the best healthcare systems struggling to cope with the deluge of patients. On the economic and social front the impact of the pandemic will continue even after the direct health threat has subsided. World has to proactively strategize and plan to stop such outbreaks from escalating and individual countries have to better prepare their healthcare systems to tackle them. The current pandemic will provide lessons and bring subsequent changes to the global healthcare systems - (1) Reskilling of health workers will be taken with focus on infectious diseases. Changes in health education and training are expected to better prepare for such outbreaks. Global health governance will need further improvement. (2) Global governance organizations like UN and OECD need to coordinate and work better in such circumstances. Global organizations need a rapid realignment of roles to respond in global pandemics and disasters. (3) Maintaining strategic stockpiles of essential goods and medical supplies will prove advantageous. (4) Greater government control over essential pharmaceutical production and medical equipment manufacturing. (5) More emphasis on vaccine research with focus on its availability to all. (6) There will be bridging of the traditional divide between the developed and developing world in terms of global health practice. Developing countries will start investing in building their own public health capacity with long-term focus. (7) Universal Health Coverage (UHC) should become the top priority in the global health agenda. More investments are required in health and there is need to build strong primary healthcare system. Read on...

Moneycontrol: COVID-19: 7 changes to expect in the global healthcare system
Author: Philip Mathew


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 mar 2020

India needs to upgrade its education system to build trained human resources and benefit from the demographic dividend. Amit Dasgupta, former Indian diplomat, author, educator and Inaugural India Country Director of UNSW (Sydney, Australia), explains, 'In a world of ageing societies, this demographic dividend can be leveraged to global advantage. But for this to happen, the young population needs to be in tune with the demands that future societies would require. This is fundamentally where Indian education fails as it clings on to an obsolete system of pedagogy with an acute resistance to change.' He says that education is about individual's overall development and Australian education makes it possible for students with diverse career aspirations, to gain deeper knowledge in the sectors of their interest. Moreover, it is not restricted to classroom and relies on broad engagement activities, personality development seminars, and soft-skill workshops. He provides lessons that India can learn from Australia's education system - (1) Need for dynamic faculty: Consult with potential employers, understand their expectations and design courses accordingly. Enhance learning experience through experiential or project-based learning. (2) Globalising education: Include, accept and celebrate diversity. Nurture and value different ideas and perspectives. Welcome students from all walks of life and different backgrounds. (3) Quality education: Avoid exclusivity and broaden intake of students. Have clarity in educational objectives. Institutions shouldn't function like business ventures but they should be knowledge imparters and focus on human development. (4) Robust research culture: Research is crucial part of the teaching and learning process. It provides students with in-depth knowledge on the subject and assists individuals in forming clearer opinions and promotes innovation. Read on...

India Today: 4 things we can learn from Australia's education system
Author: Amit Dasgupta


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 mar 2020

Designers are utilizing their creative expertise to find innovative solutions to fight against COVID-19 pandemic. Italian architects Carlo Ratti and Italo Rota designed a series of interconnected intensive care unit (ICU) pods from shipping containers. A prototype of the pods is now being built and is called Connected Units for Respiratory Ailments (CURA). Industrial design brand Dyson also announced that it has developed a CoVent ventilator after UK PM Boris Johnson requested the company to fulfil the hike in demand. Danish startup Stykka has created a design for a simple flat-pack workstation that can be easily assembled from three pieces of folded cardboard. Architectural designers Ivo Tedbury and Freddie Hong have developed a 3D-printed device that can be attached to door handles to enable hands-free opening. Ukranian architect Sergey Makhno forecasted the changes in living spaces in the aftermath of the pandemic that include people preferring houses over apartments, wanting to become self-sufficient with their own water supply and heating, and more attention placed on creating a workplace at home. Dezeen's editor Tom Ravenscroft predicted that the huge amount of people being forced to work-from-home will have long-term impacts on how companies approach remote working. Graphic designer Jure Tovrljan recreates iconic brand logos to highlight current situation. Cartoonist Toby Morris and microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles created playful animated illustrations and graphs to depict social distancing necessity. Read on...

Dezeen: This week, designers created objects and structures to help fight coronavirus
Author: Natashah Hitti


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 mar 2020

Global COVID-19 crisis has made content marketing vital for lead generation as all events and roundtables have been cancelled. According to the CMO Council's latest report 'Making Content Marketing Convert', only 21% of marketers are sufficiently partnered with their sales counterparts in developing and measuring demand generation programs, and most view their content marketing process as ad hoc, decentralised, and driven by internal stakeholder, rather than customer, interests. CMO Council's another report 'Better Lead Yield in the Content Marketing Field', highlighted the critical need for marketing organisations to bring more discipline and strategic thinking to content specification, delivery, and analytics. Donovan Neale-May, executive director of CMO Council, says, 'Marketers must act quickly and decisively to increase the impact, scope, reach and return of their content marketing investments in 2020.' The report said good content is vital in the selection of vendors, and peer-powered organizations are the most trusted and valued sources of online content - 67% of respondents named research and whitepapers from professional organisations among the most trusted content sources. The report recommends the following top 10 essentials for effective authority leadership-driven content marketing - (1) Partner with credible and trusted sources. (2) Produce relevant and compelling strategic insights. (3) Add customer-contributed views and validation. (4) Present authoritative, newsworthy and enriched content. (5) Engage qualified, verified and predisposed audiences. (6) Target the whole influencer, specifier and buyer ecosystem. (7) Embrace multi-channel distribution, promotion + syndication. (8) Authenticate content consumption and buyer engagement. (9) Ensure lead legitimacy and compliance. (10) Cultivate, activate and convert prospect flow. Read on...

CMO: Why content marketing can make the difference amid the COVID-19 closures
Author: Vanessa Mitchell


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 mar 2020

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor's (GEM) 2019-20 Global Report, more than 40% of entrepreneurs in 35 of 50 countries agree or strongly agree that their motivations to launch a business are to make a difference in the world. Fifty economies participated in the GEM 2019 Adult Population Survey (APS) and more than 150000 individuals took part in extended interviews as part of the research. Entrepreneurs are trying to blend profits with social good and environmental sustainability, giving rise to innovative business models. In 2006 a company called TOMS popularized social entrepreneurship with a 'One For One Model' to provide a free pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair purchased. Jake Strom, co-founder of TOMS, now invests in and consults companies that intend to incorporate social business models into their existing businesses. He termed this as 'Profit + Purpose Model' that encourages for-profit ventures with deeply woven social benefits. Following are key takeaways from this approach - (1) Create Evangelists, not Customers: Company's story is key branding element. Emphasize the social good aspect to inspire customers to become brand champions. It eventually becomes a competitive advantage. (2) Popular Perception Has Shifted: The idea that a for-profit business could do well and do good at the same time has become substantially acceptable. Profit + Purpose model will further grow in future. (3) Purpose-Driven Brands Can't Take Shortcuts: Effective business planning is essential. Do whatever is needed to provide best products and services and work to gain profits. Purpose would provide added motivation. (4) Think Long-Term: Balance the demands of Profit vs. Purpose. Making a sincere effort to put people, planet and long-term sustainability before short-term gains. (5) There is Never a Perfect Timing: The great idea to do good shouldn't wait. Start with whatever knowledge, resources and expertise is available. Keep learning, growing and evolving along the way. Scale-up when the concept is proven in the market. Read on...

Entrepreneur: 5 Takeaways From an Entrepreneur's Profit + Purpose Social Business Model
Author: Jared Polites


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 mar 2020

Landscape architects can utilize sustainability and environmental design while providing beautiful landscapes. This showcases sensitivity towards the larger ecosystem. Cheryl Brown and Holley Owings, landscape architects at Earth Design, share a landscape design process for better outcomes - (1) Determine your Goals: Create a list of likes and dislikes. Get photo example, property's sitemap or survey for planning. (2) Define your Style: Ms. Owings says, 'We look at a landscape from an environmental and ecological standpoint which supports a range of styles.' She suggests natural, low maintenance landscapes. Outdoor elements include moss gardens, permeable hardscapes, raised beds for vegetable gardens and cut flowers, and she-shed garden cottages. (3) Seek Professional Guidance: Ms. Brown says, 'Many times, we have to think outside the box to meet a homeowner's specific goals and budget.' Landscape architects have the skills to provide creative solutions for difficult landscape challenges. (4) Landscape Assessment: Assessing the present condition of the property is the start of the design process. Ms. Brown says, 'We're taking into account sun, shade, location, and water and looking at what the landscape wants to be. We don't want to go against nature.' An assessment reveals design challenges, as well as identify some of the most common problems. (5) Selecting Plants: Good design is about form, texture and layering, and good landscape design hinges on choosing and grouping the right plants in the right place. Ms. Owings says, 'Your outdoor space should be a sanctuary. It should attract the things that bring you joy, such as birds and butterflies, so plant choices are important.' (6) The Master Plan: Ms. Brown says, 'A landscape project should be looked at as a whole...a master plan is such an important investment. It includes everything in one place, even if it's installed in stages.' Read on...

Greenville News: Building Your Dream Landscape
Author: Renata Parker


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 mar 2020

Social media has demonstrated its effectiveness for B2C and it has a lot to offer to B2B marketing when done with the right audience. Social platforms are all about interacting and engaging with people and B2B customers are people too. According to Forbes, 83% of executives use social media as part of their consideration of a vendor when making purchasing decisions. Of that group 92% said that they had been influenced by social media in a purchasing decision in the last year. Moreover, among B2B marketers, 82% prioritize social media marketing among their channels. Susan J. Campbell, founder of SJC Marketing, explains the benefits of going social with B2B marketing and suggests ways to do it better. She says, 'First, remember that sales and marketing are always social...Social media works for the same types of conversations...We also see social media as an opportunity to show off what we know...We offer content that we know adds value and allow our contacts to notice that we seem to have some insight to offer...This also ties in with your search engine optimization (SEO). When traffic makes it to your website via social media, it bumps up your search rankings.' According to Accenture, 94% of B2B buyers say that search is an important part of their purchasing process. Ms. Cambell suggests - Set clear goals along with related metrics to track success; Consider social media as an add on to overall B2B marketing; Develop a social media strategy focusing on conversations and engagement with potential buyers; Be consistent and share messages that target audience expect. Read on...

Business 2 Community: B2B Social Media Marketing: Because Purchasers Are People, Too
Author: Susan J. Campbell


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 mar 2020

Empowering women and girls in rural India is a necessity that can't be ignored. Initiative taken by Gurdev Kaur Deol of Ludhiana (Punjab, India) is trying to achieve it by a self-help group (SHG). She is marketing their produce through Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) and making them self-reliant with sizeable income. There are other nonprofits that are transforming lives of women and their families by engaging in various ways. Ms. Kaur says, 'Initially, I formed SHGs involving 15 rural women...Later, I made 'Global Self-Help Group FPO' which is now engaged in production, manufacturing, processing and marketing of food processing items such as pickles, squash, honey besides staples. Currently, we have 300 farmers with 50% of them being women.' Deepika Sindhwani, president of NGO Mahila Kalyan Samiti, says, 'These rural women are talented and need guidance. We have formed 350 SHGs...We have imparted them training in phulkari, jute bags and food processing.' National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is also assisting through SHG Bank Linkage Programme by providing credit, skills and micro entrepreneurship development training. J. P. S. Bindra of NABARD says, 'During the past one decade, we have also started forming Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) to increase farmers' income. A few of our FPOs have successful women farmers.' Read on...

The Tribune: Self-help groups empowering rural women in Punjab
Author: Vijay C. Roy


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 feb 2020

Volunteer time off (VTO) is the new concept in employee benefits in which a company offers paid time off for its employees to volunteer with nonprofit organizations. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) around 21% of American companies offer VTO, while Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose (CECP) says that more than 60% of enterprise-level companies are going all-in on VTO. Organizations implementing VTO can benefit in many ways - (1) Recruitment: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of employees who are voluntarily quitting their jobs is higher than ever. VTO can help attract the attention of young, fresh talent. A report from Fortune showed that Millennials were more likely to work for a company that has a proven history of social activism and corporate volunteerism. (2) Retention: The 2019 Global Talent Trends Study showed that 51% of employees wish their company offered more flexible work options. VTO is the most desired option that companies can give to philanthropic employees. According to NP Source Charitable Giving Statistics For 2018, employees who engaged in corporate giving programs tended to have 75% longer tenures with the company. (3) Corporate Visibility: According to NP Source stats, 90% of companies indicated that partnering with reputable nonprofit organizations enhances their brand and 89% believe partnering leverages their ability to improve the community. Turning employees into employee brand ambassadors empowers them to represent your company in a positive light. (4) Company Culture: Companies are highlighting their workplace culture as a way to retain current employees and recruit top talent. A 2017 study from Project ROI showed that companies investing in corporate responsibility are seeing the fruits of their labor - Turnover reduced by 50%; Employee productivity increase by up to 13%; Employee engagement increased by up to 7.5%. A 2017 Glassdoor survey showed that 75% of employees expect their employer to get involved in charity work either through donations or volunteer efforts, and nearly half of all employees surveyed expect their employers to allow them to company time to advocate for social change through volunteering. (5) Employee Growth: Employees seek growth opportunities. Volunteering has become popular to build resume and sharpen skills, thus making VTO attractive to employees. NP Source showed that 92% of surveyed HR executives agree that contributing business skills and expertise to a nonprofit can be an effective way to improve employees' leadership and broader professional skill sets. Following are some tips to effectively implement VTO - (i) Organize your time-off request process. (ii) Communicate with employees. (iii) Use software to optimize (corporate volunteering platform). Read on...

G2.com: Here's Why VTO Is the Next Big Thing in Employee Benefits
Author: Lauren Pope


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 feb 2020

Australia's retail industry is in turmoil with some of the big ones entering into voluntary administration. Tom Youl of Ibis World says, 'Weakness in the Australian economy, in particular, deteriorating conditions for households, has been placing pressure on the retail sector...Weak wage growth has been a contributing factor to decreasing discretionary incomes, but rising household costs have also played a part. The bad news for store-based retailers is online players are going to continue to grab a larger share of the pie.' Eloise Zoppos of Monash Business School says, 'Customers are seizing control of the retail landscape and those retailers not up to the changes proposed by their loyal shoppers will be left behind. Friendly and knowledgeable staff, and eye-catching and easy-to-navigate store designs, can help create memorable experiences that customers can share with their friends and family after their purchase.' Even though online shopping is on the rise but Monash's 2019 consumer survey reveals that more than 70% respondents prefer to shop in bricks-and-mortar stores. A positive story coming out of the retail churn is that of an electronics store JB HI-FI. Retail expert Amanda Stevens explains, 'If you've been into JB Hi-Fi lately, it's a fast-moving big box retailer, but they really have knowledgeable staff, which is always a sigh of relief for consumers versus other retailers you go into, and you could spend up to 15 minutes finding someone to give your money to.' Regarding the future of Australian retail Mr. Youl suggest, 'Many retailers have been thriving in recent years. A sound brand strategy and market position are always vital to success, but these factors become of paramount importance over periods of weak growth, as we have been experiencing.' Read on...

Yahoo Finance: Why Australia's retail industry is drowning
Author: Anastasia Santoreneos


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 feb 2020

Shrinking living spaces in cities along with small and tiny house movement is bringing new ideas in space utilization and maximization in interior design. According to Rakhee Bedi and Shobhit Kumar of RSDA, 'Scale and proportion should be carefully strategised to craft the sense of space in design. One of the most important aspects of 'making space' is by decluttering.' Following are some ways to do so - (1) Consider an Open Floor Plan: Remove walls and doors. Open floor plan should be between the living room, dining and kitchen. Vivek Singh Rathore of Salient, 'Dividing spaces by functionality, rather than solid partitions is essential to augment the volume.' (2) Choose a Light Colour Palette: Subdued colors reflect light and make the space seem large and breezy. Also for a pop of hue, go in for bright accessories or plants. Pankaj Poddar of Hipcouch, 'Light colours on walls blur the boundaries between the wall and ceiling, essentially making the ceiling seem higher. This is valid for flooring as well. Use light tiles or wood to maximise the effect.' (3) Bring in Sunlight: Natural light is a space enhancer. Use simple blinds or sheer curtains. Moreover, avoid dim lights, dark corners and low-level lighting. Ensure that the light is focused on the central areas of the space. Ms. Bedi and Mr. Kumar suggest, 'Wall sconces help by evenly spreading light and saving floor space while adding to the aesthetics.' (4) Use the Magic of Mirrors: A large mirror in front of the entrance reflects natural and artificial light and creates an illusion of space. Mirrors with artistic, vintage frames or even plain wood frames create an elegant look. Mr. Rathore explains, 'Using mirror-panelled walls also curates a sense of a larger space by adding volume.' (5) Opt for Multipurpose Furniture Pieces: Use furniture pieces that serve more than one purpose. Match the colour of the furniture with the scheme of the walls to create more depth and a feeling of space. (6) Furnish With Light Upholstery: Choose light and breezy fabrics for decoration. Avoid heavy rugs and drapes. Full length curtains or even sheers can be used to make the space look airy and light. Half-length window curtains inadvertently make your space look smaller. Mr. Poddar says, 'Full length curtains or even sheers can be used to make the space look airy and light. Half-length window curtains inadvertently make your space look smaller.' (7) Keep it Simple: Avoid anything over-the-top or grandiose. Opt for simple art pieces rather than elaborate pieces. Avoid complicated colour palettes, patterns and prints. Declutter and organise on a regular basis. Minimalistic approach is the key to make small space look big.Read on...

Architectural Digest: Living Room Interior Design: 7 ways to make more space
Author: Rashmi Gopal Rao


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 12 feb 2020

Recently published book 'Make Health in India: Reaching a Billion Plus' by Prof. K. Srinath Reddy, president of Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and adjunct professor at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, analyzes India's health sector since the 1990s, explores the challenges in delivering healthcare to the large Indian population and provides recommendations on various policy and management matters. The book starts with health data and indicators. This provides how some overall figures have improved but digging deeper shows marked inter-state variations. Due to this it is recommended that there is a need to customize policy-making specific to each state. India has poor immunization rate (62-64%), which is even lower than some under-developed economies of sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, public health expenditure in India is among the lowest in the world (0.9-1.2% of the GDP). Another chapter explains how 55-63 million people in India have been pushed to poverty over the past decade because of out-of-pocket expenditure on health as families spend 10-40 per cent of their income on health. WHO recommends out-of-pocket expenditure not to exceed 15-20% of the total health expenditure. The book says, 'To achieve that even in stages, India must aim to bring it to 50% or lower as first step,' suggesting his would require 5-6% of GDP. The book discusses tussle between center and states over increasing in health budgets with Niti Ayog asking states to double their contributions. Currently center contributes 1/3 of total public health spending. Niti Ayog's proposal to hand over district hospitals to private medical colleges in public-private partnership (PPP) mode makes the author to term it as the 'partnership-for-private profit' model, showing discontent with the concept. Another chapter tackles the issue of inaccessibility of medicines - out of 55 million who became poor due to healthcare expenditure in 2011-12, about 38 million were impoverished because of spending on medicines alone. Although India is known as the producer of inexpensive drugs and is recognized as 'global pharmacy'. The book explains, 'While the low purchasing capacity of a large segment of the Indian population may be a contributing factor, the main reason is that many drugs in India are priced higher than they should be. While a reasonable level of profit is acceptable, high mark-ups over the manufacturing cost makes the drugs costlier than they need to be.' The book also addresses Ayushman Bharat scheme and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) - 'While the activation of HWCs (health and wellness centers) is welcome, but the budgetary allocation to the National Health Mission (which covers rural and urban health missions) in 2018 and 2019 does not reflect the commitment to boost rural primary healthcare to the level needed. It is also disappointing to see that the Urban Health Mission component has been virtually ignored in these budgets.' 'In absence of effective primary health services, the uncontrolled demand for services under PMJAY will drain the health budget, and in turn, reduce the funds available for primary care and public sector hospital strengthening.' To address shortage of healthcare providers can debilitate the health system, the book recommends creation of a National Commission for Human Resources in Health. To tackle 'maldistribution of doctors', the book recommends establishment of a National Medical Service which should recruit fresh graduates in rural areas, post-graduates in district hospitals, and create a permanent cadre of specialist doctors. Read on...

DownToEarth: Unhealthy affair: Book review - Make Health in India
Author: Banjot Kaur


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 jan 2020

According to recent ad industry reports large traditional advertising agencies are facing challenging times. Larry Light, CEO of Arcature (a brand consultancy), explains how the existing model of advertising that built the industry is undergoing transformation and how digital technology, changing human behavior, mobile phones etc is changing how brands communicate with customers. He says that if TV is watched in a mute then except for logos the ads of some big name restaurants are indistinguishable. 'This commonality in creativity is illustrated by the use of generic thinking,' he adds. He further explains the use of common phrases in various ad campaigns. He says, 'This kind of brand thinking is a reflection of the overuse of research testing over creativity. Asking consumers to be creative is a certain road to genericization of communication.' He quotes Ryan Reynolds, 'Ads are generally disposable pieces of content,' and comments, 'These advertising greats (David Ogilvy, Bill Bernbach, Mary Wells Lawrence and Phil Dusenberry) would be horrified to learn that advertising has been demoted to disposable, fleeting bits and bytes of single use creations. With the digital advances making short-term marketing spend easier to measure, the marketing focus has shifted away from long-term brand ideas...Advertising messages are now short-lived, disposable throw-aways, meant to capture someone's attention for a moment and then disappear in the ether.' He advocates, 'The primary role of marketing in general, and advertising in particular, is to create, reinforce and increase brand loyalty...Regardless of the small screen digitization of our world, a great advertising campaign can be a key driver for establishing and maintaining brand loyalty. Response to advertising is selective: experience with a brand strongly affects one's response to an ad and advertising can affect one's response to a brand experience. The most important effect of meaningful brand advertising is to build and reinforce brand reputation. Advertising helps to reinforce a customer's personal perceptions of the total brand experience...Brand loyalty is something that grows, slowly and incrementally. A brand can generate clicks and views but not necessarily build brand use or brand loyalty. However, if you are predisposed to a brand, you are more likely to be influenced by the brand messages.' Read on...

Forbes: Advertising As We Know It Is Dead
Author: Larry Light


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jan 2020

Earlier web development was in silos with front-end and back-end design, development and management requiring different set of skills. But now full stack application development approach is more integrated and involves end-to-end development. This requires front-end developers to have broader set of skills and working knowledge of multiple technologies. Tarun Nagar, founder and CEO of Dev Technosys, suggests must-have skills for front-end developers in 2020 - (1) HTML, a language that communicates with the browser, and CSS, which is responsible for the styling of the page and the betterment of the user interface. Together they are essential component of front-end development. (2) Javascript, a client-side programming language, makes the webpage elements functional. For audio, video, animation and hat features, Javascript library and jQuery extensions are used for faster functions widely used by full-stack web development services. (3) JavaScript frameworks like Angular Js, ReactJS and Vue.js, make the JS code easier to use and make development faster. (4) CSS preprocessing is the advanced CSS version. It is a better version of the primary CSS classes, which enhances the website features. (5) Version Control Software or Git is the most popular software used for the large team of developers. The version control system helps in collaborating with the changes and making a better software development process. (6) Testing and debugging is an integral part of the development process. (7) Automated building software makes the front-end development easier. The performance is usually measured at the loading time. Functional User Interface, collective term for HTML, CSS and Javascript, is used wisely as best web development company practices. (8) Browser tools are the browser component, which helps in developing the browser-friendly pages. This helps the developers in increasing the UI quality give optimum website development services. (9) Responsive design ensures that web page UI is compatible with every screen size. (10) Command-Line Interface (CLI) is used to give functionality, unlike Graphical User Interface (GUI) which is used to build the page and perform the tasks in the front-end. (11) Good problem solving skills make the developer work effectively in a team and efficiently handle large projects. Read on...

Customer Think: 11 skills to become a Front-End developer in 2020
Author: Tarun Nagar


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 jan 2020

Father of Artificial Intelligence, John McCarthy, said, 'Artificial intelligence is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs.' AI is a growing field of technology globally and India is also making strides to stay ahead in this space. According to the 2018 PwC report, 'Artificial Intelligence in India - Hype or Reality' (Authors: Sudipta Ghosh, Indranil Mitra, Prasun Nandy, Udayan Bhattacharya, Deboprio Dutta, Shruti Kakar), 71% of respondents (business decision-makers and employees) believe AI will help humans solve complex problems & live richer lives; 67% would prefer AI assistance over humans as office assistants; 43% agree that the government will apply AI to improve global climate, health and education; 60% would prefer AI assistance over humans as financial advisors or tax preparers; 72% believe that AI can provide a better experience of one-to-one personalisation. The report also finds out that nearly all (93%) have major concerns regarding data privacy. Indian researchers are also influencing and contributing to the development of AI field. Here is the list of top AI researchers and influencers in India - (1) Sankar Kumar Pal (Scientist and former Director of the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata): Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning; Image/Video Processing; Data Mining; Soft Computing; Granular Computing; Fuzzy-Rough Computing; Neural Nets; Web Intelligence; Bioinformatics; Social Networks; Machine-Mind Development. (2) Krothapalli Sreenivasa Rao (Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur): Signal Processing and Machine Learning in Speech Applications; Robust speech interfaces in the context of Indian languages; Signal processing and machine learning paradigms for automatic processing of Hindustani music; Big Data Analytics for speech, music, audio and video document representation, indexing, and retrieval tasks. (3) Bidyut Baran Chaudhari (Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata): Digital Document Processing; Optical Character Recognition; Natural Language Processing; Statistical and Fuzzy Pattern Recognition; Computer Vision and Image Processing; Cognitive Science. (4) Pushpak Bhattacharyya (IIT Bombay): Natural Language Processing; Machine Learning; AI. (5) Sriparna Saha (IIT Patna): Text Mining Pattern Recognition; Natural Language Processing; Multi-Objective Optimization; Biomedical Information Extraction. (6) Sunita Sarawagi (IIT Bombay): Neural Models for Sequence Prediction with applications to dialog generation, translation, grammar correction, and time series forecasting; Domain Adaptation and Domain Generalization; Continuous, Reusable, Human intervenable and Modular Learning; Machine Learning models for reliable aggregate statistics over predicted variables; Graphical models for selective node labeling in social networks; Structure extraction from tables and lists on the web; Inference algorithms for graphical models in information extraction task. (7) Anush Sankaran (IBM Research): Applications of Machine Learning and Deep Learning with applications to computer vision and natural language processing. (8) Anuprriya Gogna (GE Healthcare): Optimization algorithms and learning architectures for various applications in the domain of healthcare, recommendation engines, and signal/image processing; Sparse Recovery; Matrix Factorization/Completion; Deep Learning; Recommender System Design. (9) Balaraman Ravindran (IIT Madras): Machine Learning; Spatio-temporal Abstractions in Reinforcement Learning; Social Network Analysis; Data Mining. (10) VP Subramanyam Rallabandi (National Brain Research Centre, Gurgaon): Mathematical Modeling; Neuroimaging; Machine Learning; Computational Biology; Knowledge-based Image Retrieval; Artificial Neural Networks; Fuzzy Logic; Soft Computing. Read on...

Analytics Insight: THE 10 REMARKABLE AI INFLUENCERS AND RESEARCHERS IN INDIA
Author: Smriti Srivastava


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 jan 2020

Team of researchers led by Prof. Saptarshi Ghosh of Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur have developed an AI-based (Artificial Intelligence) system to automate reading of legal case judgements. Although in countries like US, Britain, Japan, Singapore and Australia, AI is utlilized for legal research, review documents during litigation and conduct due diligence, analyse contracts to determine whether they meet pre-determined criteria, and to even predict case outcomes. But this research can become pioneering in Indian context as AI use in legal field is just taking off. India follows a Common Law system that prioritises the doctrine of legal precedent over statutory law, and where legal documents are often written in an unstructured way. The paper, 'Identification of Rhetorical Roles of Sentences in Indian Legal Judgments', based on the research received 'Best Paper Award' at JURIX 2019, the International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems, at Madrid. Other researchers in the project are - Paheli Bhattacharya (IIT Kharagpur), Kripabandhu Ghosh (Tata Research Development and Design Centre, Pune), Shounak Paul (IIT Kharagpur), Adam Wyner (Swansea University, UK). Prof. Ghosh says, 'Taking 50 judgments from the Supreme Court of India, we segmented these by first labelling sentences...then performing extensive analysis of the human-assigned labels and developing a high quality gold standard corpus to train the machine to carry out the task. We are trying to build an AI system which can give guidance to the common man about which laws are being violated in a given situation, or if there is merit in taking a particular situation to court, so that legal costs can be minimised.' The neural methods used by the team enables automatic learning of the features, given sufficient amount of data, and can be used across multiple legal domains. This method can help in several downstream tasks such as summarization of legal judgments, legal search, case law analysis, and other functions. Read on...

Outlook: IIT Kharagpur develops AI-powered tech for reading legal cases
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 11 jan 2020

Food security problem is a global concern. Everyone should become a part of the solution. Technologies like drones, data analytics, blockchain etc can assist in solving some of the issues related to farming and agriculture. This is what Agriculture 4.0 is all about. It is a new age of food production that leverages digital technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) to cater more precisely to the needs of crops, farmers and consumers. The coming together of - farming communities, researchers and policy makers; farm equipment and machinery, biotechnology, computer and telecommunication companies - can bring agriculture to a new state of success. Multinational agriculture and biotech companies are competing in the race to achieve the technological breakthroughs and expand their businesses and profits. Advocates of Agriculture 4.0 believe that it will solve the food security problems of the future. While critics on the other hand caution that without proper regulation few big companies will attain huge monopolistic power in global agricultural decision-making that will adversely affect small producers. According to the 2018 report Agriculture 4.0 by World Government Summit, approximately 800 million people currently suffer from hunger and by 2050 we will have to produce 70% more food to feed the world. Juanita Rodríguez, Vice-Chancellor of Innovation at Ean University (Colombia), says, 'Even though it's still not widely known, this fourth revolution in agriculture has been agile and its benefits are beginning to show, helping farmers maximise crop yields and developing ways to stop the epidemic of waste that destroys 45% of our supply.' In Mexico, Mexican engineer Julio López and German economist Manuel Richter, have created a platform helping producers to manage their crops using drone and satellite technology. Mr. Richter says, 'There is a huge potential to make the work more efficient, reduce agro-inputs, improve water use, lower environmental impact and create more economic sustainability for the farmer.' Big data use and privacy are other areas that are part of Agriculture 4.0. In 2018, North American companies spent almost US$ 20 billion on third-party data, 17.5% more than in 2017. Silvia Ribeiro, Latin America director of the Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration (ETC), says, 'Companies have a huge amount of data at their disposal. They can convert it into another business. What lies behind this is the generation of new profits.' Gabriel Cuéllar, an AI researcher, says, 'Data is the new oil. Companies today need data to make their systems more powerful.' Big data and analytics has positive side in agriculture and can assist farmers in effectively detecting pests, spotting failures in agricultural processes, or understanding market demands. The question with data is not only who is collecting it, but who can analyse it, and who wins or loses as a result. In the report 'The Unsustainable Agriculture 4.0 - Digitization and Corporate Power in the Food Chain', Pat Mooney of ETC explains his concerns on big data in agriculture. He believes that the concentration of power in agricultural data collection could result in a few companies controlling seed patenting data, pesticides, fertilisers and machinery, leaving little or no option for farmers and workers to choose what they buy. In recent times many multinationals have been drawn into controversy regarding Agriculture 4.0. According to Ms. Rodríguez, there is also a significant hacking risk associated with Internet of Things devices. Dennis Escudero from UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says, 'The profile of the farmer is changing. It is more digital. You have to understand the new tools. They don't threaten farmers, they empower them.' Read on...

Diálogo Chino: Agriculture 4.0 promises to transform food production
Authors: Emilio Godoy, Alejandra Cuéllar


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 jan 2020

Tackling climate change and protecting environment is critical for the better future of our planet. Current agricultural practices and economic policies that surround it have substantial impact on the natural environment. Prof. Benjamin Houlton, director of the John Muir Institute of the Environment at the University of Califoria at Davis and champion of the One Climate Initiative, says, 'Agriculture might just be the single most important industry on the planet for creating negative carbon emissions under current economic policy. Carbon farming is the key to help solve climate change. Farmers and ranchers can capture carbon and store it in the soil. They can create negative emissions, which means the amount of greenhouse gases that are going into the air from their industry is lower than the amount that they're drawing out of the air.' Prof. Houlton plans to further develop the carbon farm project through One Climate. He explains, 'The One Climate vision is about transforming society in a way that is sustainable, produces the jobs we need, trains the next generation of leaders and creates a climate-smart workforce. And one of the centerpieces of One Climate is creating the world's most innovative carbon farm.' Carbon farming involves using resources such as compost, biochar and pulverized rock, and using enhanced weathering - basically, accelerating Earth's natural processes - to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Explaining about biochar, Prof. Houlton says, 'We've teamed up with industry partners to use biochar, which is taking organic carbon like trees, vegetation and manure, and burning it slightly at a high temperature. It becomes more resistant to breakdown and helps with water and nutrient use, while also storing carbon for longer periods of time.' In California, biochar can reduce wildfires by removing trees that could be a fire risk and putting it into the soil. Similarly, compost deposits green waste or food waste into the soil to create a carbon sink. Read on...

UC Davis Magazine: How Can Agriculture Be a Part of the Climate Solution?
Author: Ashley Han


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 dec 2019

According to nseinfobase.com, CSR spends of Indian corporates have increased 17.2% to Rs. 11867.2 crore in FY19 from Rs. 10128.3 in FY18. This is the highest spend since FY15 (Rs. 6552.5 crore), when the CSR spend was made mandatory through Companies Act 2013. It is observed that corporates are increasingly using their CSR spends on charitable contributions. The highest amount of Rs. 4406 crore were for schedule VII (II) that focuses on education. The next big spend was Rs. 3206.5 crore under VII (I) for eradicating hunger, poverty, malnutrition and promoting health and hygiene. Rural development got Rs. 1319 crore and remaining went for projects that include environment protection, benefits to the armed forces, disaster management etc. From geographical point of view Maharashtra and Gujarat were at the top to get contributions while Bihar and North-East states got the least CSR funds. Experts say that large spends have also seemed to have prompted closer attention to how the money is spent. Amit Tandon, founder and MD of Institutional Investor Advisory Services India (IiAS), says, 'There are more and more companies who are doing impact assessment...people recognise the need to do it.' Pranav Haldea, MD at Prime Database, says, 'Low CSR budget could act as a constraint for some companies to adopt monitoring mechanisms. It may only make sense for firms with very large budgets. Smaller companies may find it too expensive to employ an agency for external audits on a regular basis.' Read on...

Business Standard: Companies spent Rs 11,867 cr on CSR activities in FY19; highest so far
Author: Sachin P. Mampatta


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 dec 2019

Graphic design continuously evolves and experts spot the trends and also make predictions. Here are graphic desing professionals predicting trends for 2020 - (1) Intensifying minimalism: Brian Dixon, creative director at Grady Britton; Paul Levy, designer; Adam Murdoch, senior art director. (2) Abstract 3D and vibrant colours: Tamryn Kerr, associate creative director at VMLY&R; Consuela Onighi, UX designer at Illustrate Digital; Alex Halfpenny, design director at Elmwood. (3) Type-only approaches: Emily Benwell, digital design and marketing specialist at Liberty Marketing; Davide Baratta, design director at Impero; Nazar Begen, head of project at Crello; Steve Sharp, director of Fat Cow Media; Chris Willis, head of design at VMLY&R; Katie Larosa, designer at Grady Britton. (4) Super-maximalist and ultra-minimalist: Justin Au, designer at Gretel. (5) Taking GIFs to the next level: Steve Sharp, director of Fat Cow Media; Mark Chatelier, executive creative director at StormBrands. (6) Multisensoral moving content: Davide Baratta, design director at Impero; Iain Acton, head of motion design at DixonBaxi; Emma Newnes of B&B Studio. (7) Motion with intent: Kelli Miller, creative director and partner at And/Or; Dan Healy, image and motion director at Bulletproof. (8) Ingrigue overtakes legibility: Alex Halfpenny, design director for Elmwood; Emily Benwell, digital design and marketing specialist for Liberty Marketing; Dave Gee, co-founder of Jam_. (9) Graphical disruption: Sarah Sanders, head of strategic insight at Precipice Design; Kelli Miller, creative director and partner at And/Or. (10) Backlash against Insta-perfection: Jennie Potts, design director at B&B Studio. (11) Focus on Gen Alpha: Lee Hoddy, creative partner at Conran Design Group. (12) Organic look and feel: Andy Capper, creative director at Echo Brand Design. (13) Action on sustainability: Charlie Smith, creative director at Charlie Smith Design; Steve Austen-Brown, creative director at Avantgarde London; Alex Halfpenny, design director at Elmwood. (14) New perspectives on gender and sexuality: Lee Hoddy, creative partner at Conran Design Group; Davide Baratta, design director at Impero. (15) A spirit of rebellion: Maisie Benson, designer at B&B Studio; Curro de la Villa, creative director at 72andSunny Amsterdam. (16) Device dependent design: Harry East, co-founder and creative director at Equals Collective. (17) Cause-based branding: Adam Murdoch, senior art director at Grady Britton. (18) Immersive experiences: Dave Gee, co-founder of Jam_; Mark Davis, creative director at me&dave; (19) Making brand stories more believable: Andy Askren, partner and creative director at Grady Britton. (20) Uncertainty: Alex Halfpenny, design director at Elmwood. Read on...

Creative Bloq: 20 top graphic design trends for 2020
Author: Tom May


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 dec 2019

Social enterprises can become an important pillar of Indian economy just like corporations and businesses. India has more than two million social enterprises that include nonprofits, for-profits and hybrid models. According to a McKinsey study, 'impact investors' in India poured a total of US$ 5.2 billion between 2010 and 2016, with substantial focus on sectors like financial inclusion and clean energy. A survey conducted by Brookings India found that 57% of the social enterprises identify access to debt and equity as a barrier to growth and sustainability. In the budget Indian government proposed a social stock exchange (SSE) to list social enterprises and voluntary organisations. Suresh K. Krishna, MD and CEO, and Geet Kalra, portfolio associate, at Yunus Social Business Fund, explain what benefits this social stock exchange will bring to the social enterprise ecosystem and suggest that careful planning is needed in designing it. They explain, 'SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) set up its working committee on SSEs on September 19, however, many experts have already proposed distilling learnings from those of other countries. Some of these exchanges are either information sites, like in the case of the London Stock Exchange, or list nonprofit projects only. Canada's Social Venture Connexion (SVC) and Singapore's Impact Investment exchange are more advanced in terms of accreditation, valuation and monitoring, whereas the Brazilian model didn't use such valuations at all. While formulating a similar product for India, we need to have an extensive as well as 'cautious' approach. There is no consensus in the wider social impact community about what is and isn't a social enterprise, therefore the definition itself first needs more objectivity...Once we have a shared frame of reference in place, we can design impact valuation parameters for social enterprises based on social and environmental mission, target beneficiaries, service delivery, stakeholder involvement, and impact measurement.' SSE listing will provide visibility to social enterprises and assist in attracting funds in the form of private equity and debt. Listing debt products on the SSE would encourage banks, NBFCs (Non-Banking Financial Company) and other investors to participate in the growth of social enterprises and enhancing their impact. Moreover, SSE impact valuation will encourage development of more innovative financial products. SME exchanges operated by BSE and NSE can also provide valuable learning in effectively designing SSE. Mr. Krishna and Mr. Kalra suggest, 'For a social stock exchange to meet its intended objectives, we need to take measures such as: educating market participants about the valuation metrics weighing both on social and financial returns; amplifying the efforts of creating and supporting social businesses; bringing policy and regulatory reforms to support investors, and facilitating research and development for small social enterprises.' Read on...

The Hindu: A social stock exchange will help in raising capital
Authors: Suresh K. Krishna, Geet Kalra


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 10 dec 2019

Customers are at the core of any business. No one can think of products and services without thinking of their buyers. Profits are made with happy customers because they continue to buy products and services from those companies and organizations that keep them satisfied. They also recommend to others what they themselves like. For organizations to become truly customer-centric it is essential to create a customer oriented mindset and at the same time develop procedures and actionable tools to provide best possible customer service. This would also involve continuous training and learning on the part of customer service executives and workers. As the customer behavior changes over time with technologies so should the interactive behavior of customer service personnel to adapt to changing scenarios. But above all, the personnel who deal directly with customers should keep the care of customers in their mind and behavior at all times. Organizations should develop a proper framework for customer service excellence. Read on...

ilmeps/read: From Customer-Centric Mindset To Doing What Customers Want - Finding Ways To Do Customer Service Right And Avoiding What Not To Be Done
Author: Mohammad Anas Wahaj


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 nov 2019

Traditional market research involves quantitative methods like group surveys or self-reporting to obtain valuable data, but to get the whole story, Prof. Rebecca Rast of marketing department at Missouri State University, has embarked upon a new methodology of research that utilizes iMotion software technology and uses facial expression analysis to develop a deeper understanding into the complexity of human behavior in the marketing field. iMotion technology captures physiological reactions, such as how humans think, feel, act and respond, in real time and helps to quantify engagement and emotional responses. The software can measure seven core emotions: joy, anger, fear, disgust, contempt, sadness and surprise. Prof. Rast says, 'I'm continuing to think of other applications I can use the software for to continue to look at marketing behavior...If I can share it with my students so they understand the outcomes, then I can apply it right back into the classroom when it comes to topics such as consumer behavior.' Read on...

Missouri State News: Understanding consumers through emotion
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 nov 2019

Team of researchers from Poland's Łódź University of Technology (ŁUT) led by Prof. Katarzyna Grabowska, the dean of the Faculty of Material Technologies and Textile Design, have developed a textile charger, which allows to charge phones, tablets, and other portable electronic devices using the power generated by their users' physical activity. Monika Malinowska-Olszowy, the vice dean of the faculty and member of the research team, says, 'The textile charger for mobile electronic devices is an inseparable part of the fabric or knitwear from which it is made, such as clothing...This invention replaces heavy, large batteries and power banks that often contain toxic substances. It is shock resistant and weatherproof. The main purpose of this technology is to ensure its users with uninterrupted access to electricity to sustain the operations of their mobile devices. As a result, this will exclude various problematic processes related to frequent charging of mobile phones or tablets.' ŁUT research has focused on the development of innovative textile inventions. Some of the latest examples include textile clothing for premature infants that is to protect them against dehydration and ensure thermal stability through special layered textile systems, and a prototype textronics solution that allows the integration of muscle-stimulating electrodes within various types of clothing, such as underwear, wristbands and socks, and use it to treat patients with various diseases that require such stimulation, among others. Read on...

Innovation In Textiles: Polish researchers develop textile mobile device charger
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 nov 2019

Philanthropy is a huge industry and technology is enabling it's transformation. It's contribution to the U.S. economy is significant. According to The 2019 Nonprofit Employment Report (2019), authored by Lester M. Salamon and Chelsea L. Newhouse of the Center for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University, nonprofits account for roughly one in 10 jobs in the U.S. private workforce, with total employees numbering 12.3 million in 2016. Over the decade since 2007, nonprofit jobs grew almost four times faster than the for-profit ones. Madeline Duva, CEO of Fluxx, provides insights into technological transformation of philanthropy and the positive impact it has on overall growth of nonprofit sector. She says, ' The philanthropic space has begun to adopt new technologies in earnest in order to increase capacity, improve employee job satisfaction and accelerate long-lasting impact. This transformation is further helped by the tech industry entering the space both as a funder of nonprofits and provider of improved tool sets. The innovations that made Amazon a world leader in supply chain optimization are now being repurposed to help nonprofit organizations work more efficiently and collaboratively with their own data, ultimately driving more dollars and hours toward solving long-entrenched societal and systemic issues in the U.S. and beyond.' Philanthropy is on rise and tech industry and their employees are major contributors. According to 'Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018', researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI, in 2018 Americans gave nearly US$ 428 billion to charity, with US$ 76 billion of that coming from foundations and another US$ 20 billion coming from corporations. Tech industry's interest in philanthropy and nonprofit sector is seeing increase in specifically designed tech solutions. Ms. Duva explains, 'I've seen a steady increase (but slower industry adoption) in solutions that help foundations leverage data and efficiency and manage teams, all while scaling their work. Grantmakers (both public and private) and grantseekers (nonprofits and charities) have begun to streamline their operations through SaaS solutions, using data and workflow best practices to create more efficient processes and free up time and resources.' For tech companies seeking to work and design solutions for the philanthropic sector, she suggests - Prioritize flexibility and usability in your solutions; Understand that most nonprofits operate on extremely thin financial margins; Recognize the huge variance in the philanthropic space. One-size-fits-all approach doesn't work this space that covers and touches so many industries. Read on...

Forbes: Technology Improves Nonprofit Sector Growth
Author: Madeline Duva


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 14 nov 2019

Achieving global food security is a challenge that requires all humanity to participate and work together. It is imperative to improve food production and distribution, tackle environmental degradation and climate change, alleviate poverty and resolve conflicts through peaceful means. Prof. Miguel Altieri of University of California at Berkeley focuses his research on the concepts of agroecology. His group's research and publications aid in the emergence of agroecology as the discipline that provides the basic ecological principles for how to study, design, and manage sustainable agroecosystems that are both productive and natural resource conserving, and that are also culturally-sensitive, socially-just and economically viable. He explains that urban agriculture has potential to enhance food security in US cities. According to him, 'I believe that raising fresh fruits, vegetables and some animal products near consumers in urban areas can improve local food security and nutrition, especially for underserved communities.' US Dept. of Agriculture estimates that for 1 out of 8 citizens food insecurity is a near-term risk. The current food distribution system in cities of Califormia, where large population resides, requires enormous amounts of energy and generates significant greenhouse gas emissions. Prof. Altieri says, 'The food it delivers fails to reach 1 of every 8 people in the region who live under the poverty line - mostly senior citizens, children and minorities. Access to quality food is limited both by poverty and the fact that on average, California’s low-income communities have 32.7% fewer supermarkets than high-income areas within the same cities.' In the past 30 years, urban farming has grown by more than 30% in the US. Moreover, it is estimated that urban agriculture can meet 15 to 20% of global food demand. But, it is yet to be seen what level of food self-sufficiency it can realistically ensure for cities. There are limitations and challenges. According to a survey, 51 countries do not have enough urban area to meet a recommended nutritional target of 300 grams per person per day of fresh vegetables. Moreover, it estimated, urban agriculture would require 30% of the total urban area of those countries to meet global demand for vegetables. Land tenure issues and urban sprawl could make it hard to free up this much land for food production. Prof. Altieri explains, 'Although urban agriculture has promise, a small proportion of the food produced in cities is consumed by food-insecure, low-income communities. Many of the most vulnerable people have little access to land and lack the skills needed to design and tend productive gardens.' Cuban model of urban farming can be applied, where local urban farmers were trained to use well-tested agroecological methods to cultivate diverse vegetables, roots, tubers and herbs in relatively small spaces. In Cuba, over 300000 urban farms and gardens produce about 50% of the island's fresh produce supply, along with 39000 tons of meat and 216 million eggs. Most Cuban urban farmers reach yields of 44 pounds (20 kilograms) per square meter per year. Access to land and unaffordable water for irrigation are critical challenges for urban farming in US. Discounted water rates and land reforms specifically for urban farming can provide a boost to the concept. Prof. Altieri says, 'Cities have limited ability to deal with food issues within their boundaries, and many problems associated with food systems require action at the national and international level. However, city governments, local universities and nongovernment organizations can do a lot to strengthen food systems, including creating agroecological training programs and policies for land and water access. The first step is increasing public awareness of how urban farming can benefit modern cities.' Read on...

The Conversation: How urban agriculture can improve food security in US cities
Author: Miguel Altieri


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 07 nov 2019

Human health is closely linked to the condition of the surrounding environment. According to the National Health Report (NHP) released on 31 October 2019, a degraded environment filled with air and water pollution continues to affect health of people in India. Air pollution-linked acute respiratory infections contributed 68.47% to the morbidity burden in the country and also to highest mortality rate after pneumonia. While contaminated drinking water caused acute diarrhoeal diseases that led to second highest morbidity at 21.83%. Moreover, cholera cases went up to 651 in 2018 from 508 in 2017. While releasing the 14th National Health Profile 2019, Dr. Harsh Vardhan (Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India), said, 'Data helps us to navigate health needs and issues, and helps devise area specific programme strategies.' But despite the increasing burden of diseases in the country, the budgetary allowance for controlling diseases has been steadily dipping in the last few years, says the report. According to 2017-18 budget estimates, India spends only 1.28% of its GDP as public expenditure on health. The NHP report pointed out that per capita public expenditure on health has gone up to Rs 1657 in 2017-18 from Rs 621 in 2009-10. While states are bearing 63% of this expenditure, out of pocket expenditure by the patients are not included in this estimate, which is known to be the biggest reason behind increasing debt in the population. Read on...

DownToEarth: Diseases linked to a degraded environment continue to ravage India
Author: Vibha Varshney


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 oct 2019

Nonprofit organizations and employees operate in a challenging environment and the human resources issues can be different from the for-profit sector. According to the 2017 Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey of 420 nonprofits by nonprofitHR, 28% of nonprofits said the top challenge they faced was hiring qualified staff, and 81% of nonprofits said they can't get the staff they do hire to stay. Moreover, nonprofits are unable to do much to address the human resources problems. According to 2019 Talent Management Priorities for Nonprofits survey of 488 nonprofit leaders and HR professionals by nonprofitHR, three reasons employees give for leaving nonprofits are - dissatisfaction with their career opportunities, compensation and benefits, and workplace culture. Prof. Kim Brimhall of Binghampton University, The State University of New York, explains her research on nonprofit human resources and finds out that when employees feel valued and that their colleagues and bosses appreciate them, talented staff members become more likely to stick around. Lower salaries and compensation in nonprofits are not the only factor that makes it difficult to retain talent. Prof. Brimhall says, 'I recently completed a study regarding how managers at hospitals can improve employee performance through greater inclusivity. Inclusion...is also about helping employees feel appreciated as unique individuals and helping them feel valued as key members of their team.' According to 2018 State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey of about 3400 nonprofit leaders by Nonprofit Finance Fund, more than half of all nonprofit jobs are in the health care field and even though nonprofit hospitals generally pay their workers better than other nonprofits, they also have trouble hiring and retaining qualified staff. Prof. Brimhall recommends nonprofits to make their workplace more inclusive and to adopt the following best practices - Engage and involve employees in important work-related decision-making; Appreciate feedback of all employees irrespective of their position; Consider and treat each employee as a unique individual and provide regular training and opportunities to enhance their career; Communicate a shared sense of purpose and inspire a collective vision of the future. Read on...

The Conversation: Making employees feel welcome and valued can pay off - especially for nonprofits
Author: Kim Brimhall


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 oct 2019

Visibility is critical for the success of business ventures. Public relations is what provides businesses just that when done right. Deborah A. Geiger, CEO of Geiger Communications, suggests a 3-step process to create winning pitches that provide meaningful coverage - (1) Introduce Yourself: Reporters need professional information and capabilites of those they cover in their stories. Provide them all the required details and make them confident about yourself. (2) Place Your News In Context: For the winning pitch place your news in geographical, historical and industry context to make your business and work stand out. Make your story truly unique and newsworthy. Do competitive analysis and differentiate yourself. (3) Consider The News Cycle: News cycle is predictable. Understand it and time your pitch accordingly. Select reporters who cover events and news related to your area of expertise. Keep communication with them helpful and positive, and offer your expertise for their future stories. The core of best PR pitches is simplicity and clarity in communication. 'If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.', said Albert Einstein. Keeping this in mind, with no confusion about who you are, what you do and how you can help, you will no doubt make a positive impression. Read on...

Entrepreneur: How to Write a Winning PR Pitch
Author: Deborah A. Geiger


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 oct 2019

For CPAs (Certified Public Accountant) to successfully transition from the for-profit sector to the nonprofit sector requires a specific mindset and skill sets. Even though their for-profit experience will highly benefit and enhance the value of nonprofit finance department, but they would need add-on soft skills - (1) Adaptability: Understand and adapt to the new organizational culture. (2) Flexibility: Ability to multitask. With resource challenges nonprofits lack support staff and CPAs would need to handle administrative tasks. (3) Leadership and the ability to drive change: Emphasize the value of accurate financial reporting and use of latest processes and technologies for effective and efficient finance department. Explain that doing so will enhance chances of funding. Implement change through collaborative approach. Nonprofit organizations can benefit from for-profit CPA's in many ways - (1) Technology implementation: Many nonprofits are not fully equipped with latest financial and accounting technolgoies. For-profit CPAs bring the experience to do so. Implementation of online technology maximizes productivity, increases transparency, facilitates document flow and approvals, and improves accuracy and timeliness. (2) Documented policies and procedures: The implementation and maintenance of a documented accounting policies and procedures manual ensures continuing operational efficiency and governance, accuracy, and reliability of financial statements, as well as well-defined roles and responsibilities. (3) Effective and efficient internal controls: The system of internal controls is necessary to mitigate risk, increase transparency, and safeguard the organization's assets. For-profit CPAs are familiar with identifying and evaluating internal controls and aware that the process requires understanding and documenting the step-by-step processes that staff members follow to perform their jobs. (4) Audit management and oversight: CPAs with auditing background are familiar with the types of schedules and documents the auditors will request. The books and records of the finance department should be maintained throughout the year so that when the books are closed, only year-end adjustments are needed. Although CPAs spend most of their time with numbers, processing transactions, generating financial reports, and racing to meet numerous internal and external deadlines, but in nonprofits it is more than that - a mission to improve the lives of those in need and to make the world a better place. The transition to nonprofit career can be highly rewarding both professionally and personally. Read on...

The CPA Journal: Making the Transition to the Nonprofit Sector
Author: Roberta Katz


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 oct 2019

Even though AI (artificial intelligence) and big data are enabling automation in marketing and customer interactions, enhancing consumer experience, saving cost and improving ROI, but customers still seem to prefer the great old human touch. According to the report by Calabrio titled 'Are You Listening? The Truth About What Customers Want in a Digital World', three out of four consumers in the US and UK are more loyal to businesses that give them the option to interact to human as opposed to only chatbots or digital channels. Morever, 37% even question the legitimacy of the company itself, if not given the option. Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group and author of 'Mean People Suck', explains how organizational empathy is the key to benefit from marketing automation along with becoming more human at the same time. He mentions limitations of AI, automation and martech - Complexity of implementation; Robotic customer service; Uncertainties in decision-making. He explains, 'When businesses use technology such as AI and automation to boost efficiencies, the outcomes will scale quickly. Managing the consequences calls for not just empathy, but alignment of "purpose" between the brand and its consumers. But while humans survive on meaning and a sense of fulfillment, machines thrive on clear instructions...By clarifying their strategic purpose, organizations can not only provide better customer experiences, but also increase brand loyalty, build a community, as well as foster a meaningful and productive work culture.' Kate O'Neill, author of 'Tech Humanist', says, 'Businesses that transform themselves digitally need to do so in a human-centric way and communicate their purpose to their customers.' Mentioning empathy as the missing link between AI and humans, Mr. Brenner says, 'Empathetic Marketing connects companies, brands, employees and customers in a harmonious, productive and win-win way. You might be forgiven for thinking that ROI and the bottom line is all that matters to companies. While authoring my first book 'The Content Formula', I stumbled on the counter-intuitive secret to selling: Don't talk about the stuff you sell. Then what should we talk about? I hear you asking. Show, don't talk. Show empathy towards your customers. Help, don't sell. Help them solve a problem.' Empathy is the only antidote for the phenomenon termed by Google's Noah Fenn as 'collective amnesia of marketers', where marketers begin to see 'people' as users, leads, personas, prospects, audience, cohorts or whatever label is the flavor of the day. Mr. Brenner suggests 'be human, do human' and in order to fix the brand-customer empathy gap, you need to ask (and honestly answer) yourself - Do you understand the core emotional motivators of your customers? Does your messaging resonate with these motivators?; Do you build a connection before you attempt a conversion?; Do you test your assumptions and biases for every marketing campaign?; Does your AI-driven revenue model incorporate the nuances of empathetic marketing? Read on...

Chief Marketer: The AI Paradox: Why More Automation Means We Need More Humanity
Author: Michael Brenner


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 oct 2019

Concrete is a preferred material, second-most used (about 22 billion ton annually), in the building and construction industry. But, it is also second-largest emitter of Carbon dioxide, as cement manufacturing accounts for 5-7% of annual emissions. According to Lucy Rodgers of BBC News, 'If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third-largest emitter in the world - behind China and the US.' In order to meet the requirements of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, annual cement emissions must fall by 16% by 2030. This situation brings concrete at the cusp of innovation, encouraging architects and scientists to experiment with concrete and help evolve its greener variants. Most innovations in this regard focus on reduction of cement in the concrete mix. MIT researchers developed an experimental method of manufacturing cement while eliminating CO2 emissions. Researchers at Lancaster University in the UK unveiled a novel approach of using nanoplatelets extracted from carrots and root vegetables to enhance concrete mixes. Dr. Sandra Manso-Blanco's approach of 'bioreceptive concrete' has structural concrete layered with materials to encourage the growth of CO2-absorbing moss and lichen. Another alternative mixture becoming mainstream in construction is GFRC (Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete). The material consists of a mortar made of concrete, sand, alkali-resistant glass fiber and water. Plasticity is one of the main qualities of GFRC, enabling the molding of thinner and thus lighter façade pieces. Another novel approach to concrete used by Zaha Hadid Architects is 3D-knitted shell. Termed as KnitCandela, it is inspired by Spanish-Mexican architect and engineer Felix Candela's inventive concrete shell structures. The knitted fabric for KnitCandela was developed at ETH Zurich. ETH Zurich has been at the forefront of a number of innovations concerning concrete. With the intention of maximizing available space and avoiding steep construction costs, researchers from ETH Zurich's Department of Architecture have devised a concrete floor slab that with a thickness of a mere 2 cm, remains load-bearing and simultaneously sustainable. The institute also showcased the potential of robotically 3D printed concrete. Read on...

ArchDaily: What is the Future of Concrete in Architecture?
Author: Niall Patrick Walsh


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 oct 2019

Christopher Charles Benninger, India-based US architect and author of the book 'Letters to a Young Architect', while speaking at a World Habitat Day event in Kochi (Kerala, India) advocates that Indian students should not go to US to study architecture citing higher cost incurred and subsequent settling there, but instead, they should spend 8-9 months travelling across India to see the country's traditional architectural marvels and the materials used for their construction. He suggests that architects should make use of the local climate, materials and labour force. V. Sunil Kumar, founder and MD of Asset Homes, says, 'Among the economically-backward people of India, there is a dearth of 2.5 crore homes while lower income group also lacks 3 crore houses.' Read on...

The Hindu: 'Architecture should be rooted to local culture'
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 oct 2019

Personalization and customization of education is becoming a possibility with use of latest technologies. Traditional education systems with 'one-size-fits-all' approach are facing challenges and their ineffectiveness is becoming visible. Every learner has individual capabilities and traits, and educational delivery that caters to his specific needs would work best. Lasse Rouhiainen, author of 'Artificial Intelligence: 101 Things You Must Know Today About Our Future' and an international expert on artificial intelligence (AI) and disruptive technologies, explains that personalization is future of higher education and how correct implementation of AI and big data analytics will help in creating personalized learning experiences that can overcome some of the challenges that educational institutions face like disengaged students, high dropout rates, skills mismatch etc. He says, 'With a personalized learning experience, every student would enjoy a completely unique educational approach that's fully tailored to his or her individual abilities and needs. This could directly increase students' motivation and reduce their likelihood of dropping out. It could also offer professors a better understanding of each student's learning process, which could enable them to teach more effectively. Here's what this might look like: AI-based learning systems would be able to give professors useful information about their students' learning styles, abilities, and progress, and provide suggestions for how to customize their teaching methods to students' individual needs.' One of the key ingredient of this learning approach is the access to large amount of student data. Privacy is the challenge in this regard. But if student data could be collected and processed in a way that is ethical, secure, and transparent, it would allow AI to be used to effectively improve various areas of study. Use of chatbots and virtual assistants can assist in handling routine questions and tasks and will also provide data that represents students' concerns and requirements. This will benefit in designing education that responds to their needs. Moreover, as AI-enabled systems takeover routine tasks, teachers will have more quality time for students and engage them to pursue higher learning. Their role would be to guide, support, and mentor students, assist them to understand their learning, it's value, and it's application in the real world. To some extent chatbots can also be used to assist sudents to manage their mental well-being - to reduce stress and improve motivation to study. This will be beneficial, atleast for immediate relief, as many university health systems are struggling to handle large population of students in their on-campus mental health counseling programs. The outcome of education and learning is to finally prepare students for the world of work and be productive in whatever career they pursue. As the work environment is becoming more technology intensive and routine tasks are automated with AI-enabled systems and robots, it is essential for education systems to provide skills and train students to effectively adapt to such work environment and become successful. There is no substitute for humans. Technology is an enabler. Right mix of AI technology and human abilities can help evolve the education and learning systems for better outcomes. Read on...

Harvard Business Review: How AI and Data Could Personalize Higher Education
Author: Lasse Rouhiainen


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 oct 2019

Agriculture is one of the critical sectors of Indian economy as it employs about 50% of the working population and contributes 15-16% to GDP. Even though government policies are designed to make the sector benficial for those engaged in it, but the media is full of news describing the ailing condition of India's agriculture at the ground. Can entrepreneurs, full of ideas and working zeal, coupled with effectiveness and efficiencies of technology, become harbingers of change and transform the condition of not only the farms and their produce, but also the farmers and all other hard working people employed in the sector. Abhishek Agarwal, co-founder of TechnifyBiz, suggests that agri-tech entrepreneurs can tackle some of the problems of Indian agriculture and help grow the sector. He cites following issues - Depleted ground-water, low-quality seeds and ravaged soil quality due to over-use of chemicals; Lack of market linkage creates a considerable gap in the industry; Inadeguate transporation and storage; Scarcity of credit and high lending rates. He suggests that agri-startups can assist in standardization of agri-market practices through technology, aggregation and organized marketing. According to NASSCOM, sector had secured a funding of US$ 73 million in 2018. The agri-tech industry has been able to raise financing of over US$ 248 million till June 2019. Accenture says that digital agricultural services market is set to touch US$ 4.55 billion by 2020. Mr. Agarwal explains, 'Market linkage, farmer markets in the digital space, superior database management, digital agriculture and micro-financing are gaining in popularity, making the sector conducive to attract funding.' Agri-startups are encompassing both the production and after-harvest side of agriculture. He says, 'The various areas of improvement, like the reduction of input costs, better nutritional value in food crops, better quality seeds that drive crop production and improving soil quality. Using technology to predict weather patterns, irrigation cycles and soil quality are the focus of some startups. This enhances the quality of production...The use of smart technology and superior logistics infrastructure has created a new eco-system of agri-marketing. New-age startups are leveraging technology to tap the retail as well as B2B marketplaces through digital agronomy startups.' Read on...

India Today: Agri-tech: The emerging field for an Indian entrepreneur to grab more opportunities
Author: Abhishek Agarwal


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 sep 2019

To tackle complex issues facing the world like environment protection, peace building, human rights, poverty, hunger etc, requires coming together of people, organizations and governments to find solutions through sharing diverse ideas, collaborative efforts and pooled resources. Around the world various platforms are developed to provide just that. At Stanford Social Innovation Review's (SSIR) Nonprofit Management Institute 2019, leaders and experts from diverse fields converged to address the economic and emotional anxieties facing civil society leaders and shared advice for moving forward with confidence. Prof. Tyrone McKinley Freeman of Indiana University said, 'We must pull more people into the philanthropic circle.' Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland said, 'We have got to think big and be less afraid of losing something through collaboration.' Jeffrey Moore, Chief Strategy Officer of Independent Sector, said, 'We have to co-create everything with community.' Charlotte Pera, President & CEO of ClimateWorks, said, 'We have to work together in and across philanthropy, civil society, government, academia.' Mayor Michael Tubbs of Stockton said, 'Change in collaboration really only moves at the speed of trust.' Bradford Smith, President of Candid, said, 'Building those relationships will take more than nice memos about teaming up - try joint projects.' The event had various sessions and here are the highlights - (1) THE CHANGING FACE OF AMERICAN PHILANTHROPY: Kim Meredith, Executive Director of the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, and Prof. Tyrone Freeman of Indiana University and co-author of 'Race, Gender, and Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations', discussed common myths of modern philanthropy, the true history of giving by minority groups in the US, and ideas on how to better connect with givers in anxious times. (2) MOVING FORWARD - MERGERS AS A GROWTH STRATEGY: David La Piana, Managing Partner of La Piana Consulting, Rinku Sen, a racial justice activist, author, and strategist, and Bradford Smith, President of Candid, discussed the upsides and risks of nonprofit mergers.' (3) VITAL BALANCE - INNOVATION AND SCALING FOR IMPACT IN THE SOCIAL SECTOR: Christian Seelos, co-author of the best-selling book 'Innovation and Scaling for Impact and co-director of the Global Innovation for Impact Lab at Stanford PACS, examined various 'innovation pathologies' that can derail organizations and 'innovation archetypes' - case study-based models that sidestep these threats, blending innovation with scaling. (4) LEVERAGING TALENT - THE POWER OF SKILLS-BASED VOLUNTEERING: Danielle Holly, CEO of Common Impact, Cecily Joseph, former VP of CSR at Symantec, and Greg Kimbrough, Lead Director of executive development at the Boys & Girls Club of America, shared insights gleaned from their experiences with volunteer programs. They talked about how can skills-based volunteering engage and strengthen your teams amid transitional, high-anxiety, or crisis situations. (5) ACHIEVING GREAT THINGS - THE ART AND SCIENCE OF ASPIRATIONAL COMMUNICATION: Doug Hattaway, President of Hattaway Communications, explored the best ways to use strategy, science, and storytelling to connect with an audience. (6) WORKING TOGETHER - HOW PUBLIC SECTOR AND NONPROFIT LEADERS CAN COLLABORATE TO TACKLE TOUGHEST CHALLENGES: Mayors Libby Schaaf of Oakland and Michael Tubbs of Stockton spoke with Autumn McDonald, Director of New America CA, about the best ways to build successful, mutually beneficial partnerships between local government and nonprofits. (7) TRUST, POWER, EQUITY - TELLING BETTER STORY TO OURSELVES AND THE WORLD: Jeffrey Moore, Chief Strategy Officer of Independent Sector, examined trends with the potential to restore the nonprofit sector's self-confidence and bring back the public's trust in it. (8) WEATHERING THE STORM - LESSONS ON EFFECTIVELY MANAGING THROUGH TOUGH TIMES: Maria Orozco, Principal of The Bridgespan Group, explored lessons from the last recession and drew from her organization's work in the years since to share insight on surviving and thriving in difficult times. (9) ACTIVATING AUDIENCES - PARTNERING BEYOND THE 'USUAL SUSPECTS' TO SPOTLIGHT SOCIAL ISSUES: Jessica Blank, a writer, director, actor, lecturer, and social innovator, Nicole Starr, VP for social impact at Participant Media, Marya Bangee, Executive Director of Harness, and Prof. Courtney Cogburn of Columbia University, discussed how storytelling can expand and accelerate social change and provided advice on how to wield narratives. (10) LEADING WITH PURPOSE - ACCEPTANCE, MINDFULNESS, AND SELF-COMPASSION: Leah Weiss, lecturer at Stanford GSB and the author of 'How We Work', described how to lead with acceptance and resilience using proven self-compassion and mindfulness techniques. (11) CLIMATE CHANGE - THE POWER OF TRANSCENDENT ISSUE TO MOTIVATE AND AFFECT REAL CHANGE: Larry Kramer, President of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Charlotte Pera, President & CEO of ClimateWorks Foundation, discussed the impact of climate change on society and nonprofits. Read on...

Stanford Social Innovation Review: The Speed of Trust in an Anxious Era: Recap of the 2019 Nonprofit Management Institute
Authors: M. Amedeo Tumolillo, Barbara Wheeler-Bride


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 sep 2019

In the closing speech of United Nations Climate Action Summit 2019, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, 'You understand that climate emergency is the fight of our lives, and for our lives. I thank young people around the world for leading the charge – and holding my generation accountable. We have been losing the race against climate crisis. But the world is waking up. Pressure is building. Momentum is growing. And - action by action - the tide is turning.' Not so long ago, Ernest Hemingway (Novelist and Nobel Laureate) said, 'The world is a fine place and worth fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.' And now the stern remarks of Swedish teenager, Greta Thunberg, in the UN Climate Summit resonated around the world and were call to action for governments, businesses and all those responsible. Although all humans have responsibility to maintain the environment, but along with governments, businesses have extra responsibility towards the upkeep of environment, particularly those that use natural resources or have direct impact on natural environment. So, what it takes to be a sustainable business? The answers are many and approaches different. In 1987, the United Nations Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as 'meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.' For businesses to be sustainable would require change in current practices and they come with a cost. They have to evolve strategies towards sustainability by taking all the stakeholders on board. Moreover, one's move to sustainability may impact the environment in some other way. So, there are challenges to attain sustainability. Here are 4 reasons why it's hard for businesses to be sustainable - (1) THERE IS NO SINGLE DEFINITION OF 'SUSTAINABILITY': UN's Mr. Guterres in the recent Summit sets the goal to completely transform the world's economies to be more sustainable and find solutions to climate change. A daunting task considering the slow pace governments and businesses have been moving in that direction so far. Geoffrey Jones, a business history professor at Harvard University and the author of 'Profits and Sustainability: A History of Green Entrepreneurship', says, 'There is a crippling vagueness about what sustainability means. While carbon emissions are receiving much of the focus because of climate change, deforestation, water shortages and soil erosion are also serious problems that should not be ignored.' Lack of clear definition translates to lack of accountability. At present few companies can provide hard evidence that their businesses are not negatively impacting environment. Socially responsible investment funds (Environmental, Social & Governance - ESG) often include oil & gas companies, and also those that have plastics as an essential component of their business model. Businesses are tryig but it is a long way to go before they become truly sustainable. (2) DETERMINING THE VALUE OF SUSTAINABILITY: Switch to sustainability is costly for businesses. Bruno Sarda, President of the Carbon Disclosure Project North America, says, 'Someone can come up with a cost of doing something different much more quickly than determining what is the value to the business.' Sustainability solutions can be complex and expensive. (3) CONSUMING LESS CAN REDUCE PROFITS: Experts suggest that less consumption is road to sustainability. But, it is contrary to the basics of businesses - more consumption, more profits. There are exceptions though. Doug Freeman, COO of Patagonia (an outdoor clothing and gear company), says, 'We hope our existing customers do indeed buy less. But we hope to attract more customers that are interested in our message: to build the best product, to reduce our impact and cause the least amount of environmental harm.' (4) CLIMATE SOLUTIONS REQUIRE COLLECTIVE ACTION: 'Tragedy of the commons', an economic problem, creates a situation of competitive consumption of natural resources thereby depleting them. To overcome this, collaboration and cooperation, is imperative. Companies are now teaming up with each other and with environmental nonprofits. Joanne Sonenshine, CEO of Connective Impact, says, 'By working together, companies gain more leverage in the national and global marketplace and legitimacy in the eyes of consumers. If you have a group of very respectable nonprofits or research agencies saying we are working with this company because we believe they can make a change, that puts a lot of credence behind what they are trying to do.' Read on...

PBS: 4 reasons it's hard to become a sustainable business
Author: Gretchen Frazee


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 sep 2019

Utilizing technology to connect with audience & customers is effective and efficient. But, bringing the human element with personalization & customization, and engaging with them to build long-term relationships is even better. Best organizations often try to do that. Gabe Cooper, tech entrepreneur and nonprofit consultant, have suggestions for nonprofit organizations to build personalized communication strategies and making full use of automation technologies available. He says, 'When it comes to marketing software, in particular, nonprofits have long tried to make square pegs fit in round holes, getting locked into software and marketing practices that are fundamentally designed for for-profit marketing or that are based on legacy fundraising practices. This has resulted in mass marketing efforts that make your donors feel like 'sales opportunities' rather than crucial stakeholders in your cause.' Fundraising is an important activity for nonprofits and considering that they lack resources, it becomes even more crucial to be done right. He says, 'In our modern world, impersonal fundraising is a wet blanket on generosity, and that's a problem when you consider that nearly three-quarters of people who give a single gift never give again. They simply don't feel appreciated. That's where personalization through marketing automation comes in. Personalization allows each and every donor feel as though you're talking directly to them...Great personalization provides every donor with the right message at the right time based on their individual passions, capacity and relationship to your organization. Personalization, in this way, creates extreme loyalty.' He advocates a 3 point approach to apply personalization in nonprofit fundraising efforts - Know; Automate; Amplify. (1) KNOW: Gather as much information about your donors as is possible. (2) AUTOMATE: Use marketing automation software to send tailored messages - at the right time - based on what you know about each donor. (3) AMPLIFY: Use data analytics to understand what the right 'ask' should be. He also provides other ways to personalize marketing efforts: Keep the new donor campaigns running to engage them, and make them repeat donors; Use persona segmentation and apply the personalized content to connect with them; Utilize personalization technology/marketing automation that is designed specifically fo nonprofits. Mr. Cooper concludes, 'Taking a more personalized approach to your nonprofit fundraising efforts can result in more donor engagement, higher average gifts, big increases in donor loyalty, and most importantly, you donors will feel that they're part of your cause.' Read on...

Business.com: Personalization Is the Engine That Drives Today's Givers
Author: Gabe Cooper


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 sep 2019

Jeff Bradford, PR expert and President & CEO of Bradford Group, suggests that now it is imperative to think about business-to-business (B2B) marketing strategy the same way as thinking about building relationships. He says, 'We expect to gain something from our friendships or relationships. Potential customers have the same expectations. You need to prove your value. Tactics like targeted media exposure contributed content, influencer relations, social media, speaking engagements and website downloads invite potential customers into your company story as friends versus onlookers. A strategic B2B marketing approach builds a relationship with the customer by providing valuable, relevant and consistent content.' He provides 3 ways to build lasting customer relationships - (1) Get Social: According to GlobalWebIndex's latest report on social media trends 2019, more than one in three internet users revealed that they go to social networks when trying to find out more information about a brand, company or product; Share recent company news, media coverage and industry articles to keep a steady stream of content; Add CSR initiatives, videos and behind-the-scenes photos to enable deeper customer exploration of brand; Aim to win customer engagement and share content that encourages dialogue; Implement gated content. (2) Tell Your Story: Have a compelling story to reveal to potential customers, just as in new friendships; Each piece of content should invite customer to the brand; Highlight CSR efforts on social media and website; Welcome new faces to your brand by proving you have a clear vision and showing how they can be a part of it; Make sure to honor customer's time by using your social media, website and media exposure to explain how you can help solve your customer's problem, not simply sell your services. (3) Renew And Recycle: Extend value of content by updating and resharing to reach wider audience; Repurposing a blog post into a series of social media posts linking back to the blog, a YouTube video, an infographic or a pitch for a bylined article; Strike a balance between quantity and quality of content; Existing content can be a foundation to build more content. With all this done right will make marketing to businesses simple, making them brand friends and customers for life. Read on...

Forbes: Three Ways To Bolster Your B2B Marketing
Author: Jeff Bradford


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 sep 2019

Project-based work is resulting in the rise of flexi or contractual staff hiring in India, partcularly in the IT-ITeS (Information Technology and IT-enabled Services) industry. According to the Talent Radar 2019 report by Infosys, the top 5 technical skills in demand for digital projects are - analytics, user experience, automation, IT architecture and artificial intelligence. Indian Staffing Federation (ISF) says that IT-ITeS sector tops flexi-staff adoption with around 12 out of every 100 employees being contractual or flexi staff and, this workforces is expected to grow to 720000 by 2021 from 500000 in 2018. Pankaj Khanna, VP of talent acquisition at Mindtree, says, 'The first advantage of flexi hiring is that demand can be fulfilled faster...Secondly, for requirements that are short term, it makes business sense to leverage the subcontracting/flexi hiring models without increasing the headcount.' U. B. Pravin Rao, COO of Infosys, says, 'As enterprises progress in their digital journeys, the winners will be those who utilize multiple hiring sources and reskill workers in a culture of lifelong learning.' According to Broadband India Forum, the IoT and AI-based applications will create over 2.8 million jobs in rural India over the next 8-10 years generating Rs. 60000 crore every year. Rituparna Chakraborty, President of ISF and co-founder of Teamlease, says, 'With emerging technologies such as AI and big data, new skill requirements are in demand. Flexi staffing is a solution to find out the right skills, based on project requirement.' Sivaram S., engagement manager at Zinnov, says, 'The focus on flexi-staffing is to quickly deploy talent for new-age areas such as AI, Machine Learning, and IoT, and drive velocity/agility in transformative engagements. It can be viewed as a means to augment existing digital engineering workforce in an organization, as there are challenges associated with hiring for specific skillsets.' Siddharth Pai, IT consultant and venture capitalist, says, 'The reason for the proliferation of project-based work, as opposed to long-term contracts is the global slowdown that is leading companies to hire for one-off projects so that they can easily let people off when there is no requirement.' According to Nomura Research, subcontractors are typically 15-20% (more) expensive than employees and are a margin headwind going into FY20F. Apurva Prasad, Research Analyst (IT) at HDFC Securities, says, 'Increase in sub-contracting resulted from a combination of surge in demand and staffing challenges on account of tech supply crunch.' Read on...

Livemint: Increase in flexi-staff hiring may eat into IT industry's margins
Author: Ayushman Baruah


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 sep 2019

According to Learning Enterprise Institute (lean.org), the book, 'Designing the Future' by James M. Morgan and Jeffrey K. Liker, describes the robust new Lean Product and Process Development (LPPD) framework and shares real-world examples from a diverse set of industries. The book explains how the leading companies are using LPPD to create better futures for themselves and all their stakeholders. Authors go beyond broad generalizations on how to 'be innovative' and dig deeper into the theoretical bedrock and concrete development practices that are generating exceptional results at pioneering LPPD companies. Examples in the book show specifically how companies are redesigning product development systems to consistently design and deliver a progression of market-leading products and services. The book explains how LPPD is different from traditional ways of thinking and doing product development. The book helps in learning how to - (1) Avoid the 'extremes' that turn milestones into a 'coercive bureaucracy' and instead turn them into the foundation of a lean development process. (2) Drive out fear, but not accountability. (3) Develop high-performance teams and team members. (4) Cultivate chief architects with complete product and business responsibility. (5) Create flow and reduce rework in the development process. (6) Apply leadership lessons from Alan Mulally and other senior development leaders, as well as the critical elements of a powerful management system. (7) Use the Obeya (big room, war room) system to increase transparency, collaboration, focus, and speed while engaging the entire enterprise. (8) Improve the scientific thinking skills of engineers and developers. (9) Apply the seemingly contradictory concept of 'fixed and flexible' - Yin and Yang - of lean product development as an opportunity, not a conflict. (10) Hire the right people using different approaches, including extreme interviewing events. (11) Use a Commodity Development Plan to develop components in parallel that are on time, functional, and fit together. (12) Improve development problem solving through effective use of A3s and employ a simple but effective 'trick' to check the quality of an A3 report. EXCERPTS FROM INTERVIEW WITH AUTHORS - James M. Morgan: 'The book is for all serious practitioners who are working to find a better way to develop products, processes and services. Especially for those who are in leadership positions who want to improve organizational development capabilities in order to create great products and a great place to work.'; 'Deep immersion at the gemba (the actual place) during the study period to truly understand your customer and their context. To truly study and listen deeply to your customer in a very intentional way. To look broadly across your industry to understand the current state and conduct detailed product or service dissections where called for. Creating an active learning plan and experimentation to test ideas and close knowledge gaps. To create a concept paper to clarify your thinking and engage and enroll others.'; 'Milestones are the key to orchestrating development across functions. They are the primary mechanism for integrating work and for understanding normal from abnormal conditions so that the development team may act accordingly.'; 'The obeya space needs to become the center and the heartbeat of the project. Whether the team is collocated or not, it is the place where they come together to share and collaborate. It is the primary source of project information.'; 'I believe that it (to build aligned and focused teams) is impacted by hiring/selection of people, development of people, manager selection and promotion and of course leadership behaviors. One key is to develop an effective management system. In my view a management system is comprised of two key elements: leadership behaviors and an operating system.'; 'The best leaders have the grit to keep going - and to keep their team moving forward. One key is to look at problems as gems, as opportunities to improve your product, your process, your team - yourself.'; 'Make it okay to experiment, make mistakes, question things and raise issues. Create time and resources for learning - both capturing and applying learning. Design reviews are an excellent mechanism for learning. Then make knowledge available in user-friendly way.'; 'Apply the LPPD principles and practices in your transformation. Start by deeply understanding your current state, develop a compelling vision, learn through pilot experimentation, create an aligned plan, and focus on relentless executing leveraging tools like obeya, milestones, reflection events and design reviews.' Jeffrey K. Liker: 'We also talk about the role of the chief engineer - an overall architect for the product who assimilates all the data and spends time with customers and integrates many perspectives into a vision. These are specially developed people who become the chief architects.'; 'The main failure mode of milestones is viewing them as checkpoints. In LPPD there is feedback and adjustment happening all of the time. The checkpoint is a major opportunity to reflect and learn. It should not feel like passing a test.'; 'The obeya paces the work of many functional specialists so they are checking the status of their work products in short intervals, seeing how they can help each other, seeing gaps between plan versus actual and taking corrective action. It should focus on deviation management.'; 'A big part of the management system is the target setting process. The chief engineer sets the product targets and each function develops appropriate targets to support the chief engineer.'; 'It is also critical to have knowledge gatekeepers for each function who are the keepers of the know-how database for their specialty to avoid lots of information that never gets used.'; 'An exciting culture leads to an exciting product. We also talk about the importance of strong functional groups that are teaching the deep knowledge of their engineering discipline.' Read on...

InfoQ: Q&A on the Book 'Designing the Future'
Authors: Ben Linders, James Morgan, Jeffrey Liker


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 07 sep 2019

Trust between patients and care givers is one of the critical factors in determining success of healthcare system. And trust develops over a period of time through positive experiences that are achieved by providing quality care at the right time, effectively and efficiently at the right price. But, it seems, India's healthcare is lacking behind in satisfactory healthcare delivery. According to the recent report by Ernst & Young (EY) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), 'Re-engineering Indian Healthcare 2.0', based on an online survey of 1000 patients across six geographical zones in India, 'There is a growing mistrust among patients against healthcare providers and the Indian healthcare system needs to tailor its current model for inclusion and mass healthcare to deliver true care with a focus on primary care, wellness and health outcomes.' The report finds that - 61% patients believe that hospitals did not act in their best interests; 63% of patients indicated that they were not happy with hospital responsiveness and waiting times; 59% patients felt the hospitals were not concerned about feedback and do not actively seek it. Kaivaan Movdawalla, Partner at EY India (Healthcare), says, 'For realising the aspired levels of efficiency, it is imperative for healthcare providers to shift from an incremental performance plus approach to a radical design to cost or direct-to-consumer approach for redesigning their operating models and cost structures.' Dr. Arvind Lal, Chair at FICCI Healthservices Committee and CMD of Dr Lal PathLabs, says, 'There is an urgent need to bridge the 'trust deficit' between the patient and the doctor; patient and the hospital; as well as government and the private healthcare provider for the Health of the Indian Healthcare.' EY recommends a '5E Framework' for building trust across all principal stakeholders, that is, policymakers, healthcare providers, payors and the public. This framework comprises integrating empathy, efficiency, empowerment, ease and environment to achieve the agenda of universal health access and the right to health. Read on...

Business Today: Most patients are dissatisfied with India's healthcare system, says EY-FICCI report
Author: P. B. Jayakumar


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 05 sep 2019

Healthcare technologies enhance efficiencies, improve access and create informed patient-doctor relationships. Around the globe there is fast-paced adoption of these technologies. India too is undergoing health-tech transformation. According to a 15-country Future Health Index (FHI) 2019 report by Royal Philips, about 76% of healthcare professionals in India are already using digital health records (DHRs) in their practice. Moreover, 80% of healthcare professionals have shared patient information with other professionals inside their health facility, which is equal to 15-country average. India also meets the 15-country average when it comes to the usage of artificial intelligence (AI) within healthcare at 46%. Report also finds that a majority of Indian healthcare professionals who use DHRs in their practice report that DHRs have a positive impact on quality of care (90%), healthcare professional satisfaction (89%), and patient outcomes (70%) when compared to the 15-country average of 69%, 64% and 59% respectively. Rohit Sathe, President of Philips Healthcare (Indian Subcontinent), says, 'The report confirms that digital health technology is a pivotal pillar in delivering value-based care across the healthcare continuum in India. Tools including telehealth and adaptive intelligence solutions can help lower the barriers between hospitals and patients, thereby improving access to care and enhancing overall patient satisfaction, particularity in tier II & III cities in India.' Read on...

Livemint: Digital Health Technology can revolutionise healthcare in India: Report
Author: Nandita Mathur


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 aug 2019

Considering increase in online population and also number of websites, it becomes imperative for those with websites to give special emphasis on latest web design and technologies to differentiate. Peter Boyd, attorney and founder of PaperStreet, suggests latest web design, development, content, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay Per Click) trends to increase traffic and improve engagement to the website - (1) Design Trends: Bigger is better and embrace wide designs to give more space to visual images; Consistent branding across all media; Mobile friendly design is a must; Incorporate compelling videos before the fold to increase conversion rates; Include reviews feed on website; Declutter website with minimalist design approach; Have detailed information on the leadership team for better connect and personal touch; Give opportunities to audience to interact through drop-down menus, hover states, unique pages leads, chatbots etc. (2) Development Trends: Mobile optimization; Chatbot technology; Americans with Disability Act (ADA) compliance; Push notifications; Fast website loading speed. (3) Content Trends: Long-form content; Include knowledge and education resources; Use storytelling approach to connect at a personal level with audience. (4) SEO & PPC Trends: Cross-channel marketing including paid search, organic search and social media ad campaigns; Use organic link building and naturally used keywords and keyword phrases; Niche marketing to the specific practice area and demographic; Facebook targeted advertising. Read on...

Forbes: The Hottest Website Trends Of 2019
Author: Peter Boyd


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 aug 2019

Technology innovations are often associated with taking up jobs from humans. Consider some experts predicting that Artificial Intelligence (AI) could take over 40% of jobs by 2035. But, there is a brighter side to it. The tasks that are taken away by AI are generally those that are repetitive and monotonous, requiring less human creativity. This would infact provide more opportunities for people to be innovative and creative, making their jobs more fulfilling. Charities too have to take advantage of AI to improve efficiencies and let their workforce focus on doing good better and impact lives. Rhodri Davies of Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), the author of Public Good by Private Means' and an expert on philanthropy and technology for giving, says, 'There are plenty of new jobs that will be actually created in the wake of the AI revolution.' Here are some of the charity jobs that artificial intelligence and machine learning can enhance - (1) Fundraiser: Chatbots can support in fundraising tasks. Organizations are already making use of online platforms to do so effectively and reach out to far-flung donors. (2) Support Services Assistant: Charity chatbots can help in guiding people towards the general information they require. This will help human staff to focus on more complex and sensitive queries. (3) Translator: AI-driven language translation can assist charity workers to communicate effectively with populations they serve and have language barrier with. (4) Conservation Scientist: Data science and machine learning is used in sustainability studies. AI can be used by wildlife and conservation charities to understand patterns such as habitat loss, climate change, water use, poaching etc. This will help better understand human impact on natural world and plan ahead. (5) Medical Researcher: AI and robotics are used in diagnostics and patient care. AI-driven data analysis helps spot patterns in behvior, symptoms and treatment effects. Thus providing effective treatment. Read on...

Charity Digital News: The charity jobs that could soon be enhanced by AI
Author: Chloe Green


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 aug 2019

According to Wikipedia, 'Place branding (including place marketing and place promotion) is a new umbrella term encompassing nation branding, region branding and city branding. Place branding is the process of image communication to a target market. It is invariably related to the notion that places compete with other places for people, resources, and business...A place brand is a network of associations in the place consumers' mind based on the visual, verbal, and behavioral expression of a place and its' stakeholders. These associations differ in their influence within the network and in importance for the place consumers' attitude and behavior (Erik Braun, Sebastian Zenker; 2017). It therefore aims to affect the perceptions of a place and position it favourably in the minds of the target groups. Place branding can even be considered as a governance strategy for projecting images and managing perceptions about places (Erik Braun, Jasper Eshuis, Erik-Hans Klijn; 2014).' Bill Baker, veteran place brander and author of the recent book, 'Place Branding for Small Cities, Regions and Downtowns: The Essentials for Successful Destinations', while speeking with Bobby McGill, founder and publisher of Branding in Asia, shares insights based on his long experience in destination marketing and tourism development. Mr. Baker says, 'Tourism can play a very positive role as part of an economic development strategy. However, locations around the world are recognizing that there is the need for a tourism masterplan to balance the marketing of the destination with the need for sustainable and harmonious development to meet community values and aspirations while meeting the needs of external audiences.' Explaing some of the mistakes in place branding, he says, 'The most common mistake or weakness that we see in place branding very often relates to positioning. Defining the brand position for a city, downtown or region is, without a doubt, the most important and trickiest part of the entire process. If they don't get this part right, everything else will miss its mark, since it's the positioning and its relevance to target audiences that informs and shapes all other elements of the brand. Compounding this is the challenge of dealing with the many competing voices of stakeholders.' He also cautions, 'Place branding can be a perilous journey. Some do a great job with defining their brand identity, but soon falter or fail when it comes to deployment and brand management, and the consistency needed to follow the agreed strategy. Others are unable to sustain the leadership, funding, personnel, and partner enthusiasm required to succeed...Our experiences have shown that a lack of understanding about branding, particularly among key decision-makers can be the Waterloo or graveyard for a place branding initiative. Unless staff and committees can get beyond thinking in terms of logos and taglines, or mistaking a snappy campaign theme, then their efforts to define and deploy a genuine, unifying place brand will likely fail.' Regarding the book, he says, 'The focus of my book is on smaller cities and regions, and their focus may not be on tourism alone. Instead, their brand development may be centered on an overarching brand to embrace tourism, economic development, education, relocation and inward investment. Developing an overarching brand often brings to the table many participants who may not be familiar with branding, or in some cases, marketing.' He suggests, 'A multitude of stakeholders will be, or at least should be, involved in revealing a city or downtown brand, and this will depart from the accepted path for branding corporate products and services. One reason for this variation is the composite nature of places. They are a compilation of many independent and competing businesses, products, and experiences that are owned and managed by many different entities. There's no single custodian or owner of the brand. Community leaders who are aware of the differences in branding places and consumer goods are in a much better space to adapt to these challenges when they become evident...One of the leading determiners regarding who will lead the effort comes down to who is funding the project. Place branding frequently involves a single source of funding...Economic development organizations and DMOs (Direct Marketing Organizations) are usually the best-situated entities to plan, coordinate, and manage a place branding initiative...Determining the lead organization can involve balancing acts...Hence, the calls for DMOs to broaden their roles within communities and bring all parties together.' Read on...

Branding in Asia: Q&A: Insights from Veteran Place Branding Guru Bill Baker
Author: Bobby McGill


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 aug 2019

Researchers from IIT-Madras (Tamil Nadu, India), Prof. Asokan Thondiyath and research scholar Nagamanikandan Govindan, have designed and developed a multimodal robotic system, termed as 'Grasp Man', that has good grasping, manipulation and locomotion abilities. Their research, 'Design and Analysis of a Multimodal Grasper Having Shape Conformity and Within-Hand Manipulation With Adjustable Contact Forces', is recently published in ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics. The robot is fitted with a pair of graspers that provide morphological adaptation, enabling it to conform to the geometry of the object being grasped, and allowing it to hold objects securely and manipulate them much like the human hand. The two graspers are equipped with a robotic platform that provides behavioural adaptation. The robot will have various industrial applications such as pipe inspection, search-and-rescue operations, and others that involve climbing, holding, and assembling. Prof. Asokan says, 'The motivation behind this research is to realise a robot with a minimalistic design that can overcome the need for task-specific robots that are capable of navigating and manipulating across different environments without increasing the system complexity.' Read on...

YourStory: IIT-Madras researchers design robot with graspers that function like the human hand
Author: Teja Lele Desai


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 aug 2019

Research study, 'Onboard Evolution of Understandable Swarm Behaviors', published in Advanced Intelligent Systems by researchers from University of Bristol (Simon Jones, Sabine Hauert) and University of the West of England (Alan F. Winfield, Matthew Studley), brings development of a new generation of swarming robots which can independently learn and evolve new behaviours in the wild a step closer. Researchers used artificial evolution to enable the robots to automatically learn swarm behaviours which are understandable to humans. This could create new robotic possibilities for environmental monitoring, disaster recovery, infrastructure maintenance, logistics and agriculture. This new approach uses a custom-made swarm of robots with high-processing power embedded within the swarm. In most recent approaches, artificial evolution has typically been run on a computer which is external to the swarm, with the best strategy then copied to the robots. Prof. Jones says, 'Human-understandable controllers allow us to analyse and verify automatic designs, to ensure safety for deployment in real-world applications.' Researchers took advantage of the recent advances in high-performance mobile computing, to build a swarm of robots inspired by those in nature. Their 'Teraflop Swarm' has the ability to run the computationally intensive automatic design process entirely within the swarm, freeing it from the constraint of off-line resources. Prof. Hauert says, 'This is the first step towards robot swarms that automatically discover suitable swarm strategies in the wild. The next step will be to get these robot swarms out of the lab and demonstrate our proposed approach in real-world applications.' Prof. Winfield says, 'In many modern AI systems, especially those that employ Deep Learning, it is almost impossible to understand why the system made a particular decision...An important advantage of the system described in this paper is that it is transparent: its decision making process is understandable by humans.' Read on...

Engineering.com: Robots Learn Swarm Behaviors, Aim to Escape the Lab
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 aug 2019

Startups are enabling tech-based transformation of India's retail sector through Android-based smart PoS (Point of Sale) devices. The promise of these devices goes beyond payments and makes supply chain more efficient with data analytics and potential credit scoring. Vicky Bindra, CEO of Pine Labs, says, 'Retailers and merchants from diverse sectors such as electronics, food and beverage, fashion, pharmacy, telecom, and airlines are adopting the new smart PoS machines to improve their efficiencies and enhance consumer's shopping experience.' Praveen Hari of industry association iSPIRT says, 'Today a smart PoS device is not just accepting cards, but they can also provide UPI (unified payments interface) pull transactions, QR codes (displayed on screens), NFC (near-field communication) transactions, wallet transactions, or basically, any payment mode that is available in India.' Ashish Jhina, co-founder of Jumbotail, says, 'Today smart PoS machines can do four key business functions: payment, billing, inventory management, wholesale procurement.' Smart PoS data is also valuable for credit scoring. Mr. Hari explains, 'The GST data itself is good enough for a lender to make a lending decision and the shopkeeper or his FMCG distributor now has an incentive to report all the transactions. The transaction data itself can help a lender make a lending decision.' Manish Patel, CEO of Mswipe, says, 'We have engineered a credit model where when our merchants can borrow money (to make wholesale purchases) from any of our NBFC partners, based on data we provide...In terms of recollection, the merchant can opt to pay back in daily and monthly instalments.' Read on...

Livemint: Wireless, smart PoS devices revamping India's retail landscape
Author: Salman S. H.


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 aug 2019

Social enterprises tackle societal and environmental issues utilizing business concepts for the larger interest of the society and reinvest profits back to sustain themselves. They support in building inclusive economy. According to the most recent statistics, there are around 5600 social enterprises in Scotland with an economic contribution of around £2 billion, ranging from community co-operatives to housing associations, enterprising charities and more. Duncan Thorp, policy and communications manager at Social Enterprise Scotland, explains how social enterprises are contributing to Scotland's economy and advocates collaborations between them and private sector for greater economic and social benefits. He explains why engaging social enterprises with private sector is win-win - 'Firstly, social failure is bad for business. Unemployment, homelessness, drug addiction and other issues negatively impact on businesses. People without work and opportunity don't have money to spend on goods and services. Social enterprises work at the frontline to solve these social problems. Private sector businesses should also engage with social enterprises because they bring real benefit in terms of opening up new markets and new business opportunities. Joint bids for public contracts and similar partnership working are options too. Businesses can contract social enterprises into their supply chains. This could be a catering contract, graphic design, meeting space hire or something else. It's also about private sector employees volunteering in social enterprises, in a skills exchange, for learning and personal development.' He advocates three key areas of partnership work - consumer demand, supply chains and contracting and procurement. He suggests that building mutually beneficial relationships between social enterprises and private sector businesses paves the way for knowledge exchange, positively influencing business culture and build an economy that benefits all. Read on...

The Scotsman: Social enterprise is good for business - Duncan Thorp
Author: Duncan Thorp


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 05 aug 2019

People with the twin passion of design and development of new products can transform into design entrepreneurs. They are able to control both the design and business processes. Vijayant Bansal, founder of World University of Design (India), explains what it takes to be a design entrepreneur and explores the shifting landscape of design entrepreneurship in India. He says, 'We are in the midst of a design revolution and increasingly design is gaining a lot of focus...But it's not easy starting from ground zero and working yourself towards achieving credibility, recognition and last but not the least, generating demand. This involves having to create a balance between what we want to create with what the customer wants; what is possible technically and how much of a resource pull will it involve.' Contemporary design entrepreneurship includes new product development, restoring crafts, innovating existing products and providing design services based on new & emerging technologies. Explaining the design revolution, he says, 'Designing is undergoing a metamorphosis, aided by new technologies and digital transformation of today. New and disruptive technologies like Artificial intelligence, IoT, Machine learning etc., are the biggest enablers, disrupting traditional processes and systems, enabling out of the box thinking and new ideas, which in turn reshape the entire user experience.' Universities can play an important role in guiding and mentoring students to pursue design entrepreneurship. Industry experts can also play a role in this and enable students to participate in hands-on training. Virtual products have also expanded the scope of design entrepreneurship with designers engaged in designing and developing games and apps. Design entrepreneurship is the new career paradigm. Mr. Bansal suggests, 'Today the scenario has undergone a sea change, with almost every industry, be it apparel, automobiles, film making, animation, product design or gaming, with design playing an intrinsic role in the entire process from an idea to the end product. It's worth the challenge if financial security and stability are not foremost on your mind and you have the patience and inclination to see through the entire process of making the design-centric idea into a successful venture.' Read on...

Entrepreneur: The Rise of the Contemporary Indian Design Entrepreneur
Author: Vijayant Bansal


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 jul 2019

According to the online research by Booking.com, 59% of youth surveyed want to give back to society as part of their travel experience. This is almost double the global average (31% of Gen Z) that want to volunteer while travelling. Report surveyed 21807 respondents of 16 years or above in 29 markets with about 1000 from each country. 71% of Gen Z travellers consider volunteering as enhancement to their trip's authenticity - more interaction with local people and making a difference. Sustainability travel is also on the rise with care for environment at the top of traveller's mind. Ritu Mehrotra, country manager India at Booking.com, says, 'Over 71% of all travellers want to reduce their carbon footprint by limiting the distance travelled. This number increases further among the Gen Z to 76% as they want to use more environmentally-friendly transport, walking or biking, during the holidays.' Read on...

Devdiscourse: More youth want to volunteer while travelling: Report
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 jul 2019

Even though India has achieved success consistently in agriculture sector through policy and reforms, but there is still a lot to be desired. Farmer suicides and droughts become headline news from time to time. Ken Ash, Director of Trade & Agriculture at OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), and Silvia Sorescu, Policy Analyst at OECD, provides an overview of India's state of agriculture and what needs to be done to tap opportunities. According to them, many smallholders have not been able to exploit the opportunities opening up to them; they remain hampered by low productivity, an under-developed food processing and retail sector, and water and environmental degradation. They explain that India faces 'triple challenge' in the agricultural sector similar to other countries - delivering safe and nutritious food to a growing population at affordable prices; providing a livelihood for farmers and others in the food chain; and overcoming severe resource and climate pressures. According to the OECD and the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) report in the Agricultural Policies in India 2018 study and the 2019 OECD Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation, India's domestic and trade policies (like restrictions due to agri-marketing regulations, export restrictions, huge farm subsidies for farm inputs etc) have combined to reduce Indian farm revenue by an estimated 5.7% in the past three years. Moreover, funding for public services - such as physical infrastructure, inspection, research & development, and education and skills - that are essential to enable the long-term productivity and sustainability of the sector has not kept pace. India can draw lessons from Ashok Gulati's analysis of farm policy developments in China, and also from EU's (European Union) agricultural policy reform experiences. Persistence is critical for the success in the sector. Electronic National Agricultural Market (eNAM), the 2017 marketing model act, and the recently implemented direct cash transfers scheme to small-scale farmers, are steps in the right direction. Authors suggest, 'Scarce financial resources should be directed towards investment in public services that enable a productive, sustainable, and resilient food and agriculture sector. Doing so would require strengthening the institutional framework; eliminating duplication and fragmentation is a pre-requisite to ensuring coherent policy packages are developed and consistently implemented. Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and addressing the 'triple challenge' will require new policy directions in India, as elsewhere.' Read on...

Financial Express: Opportunity knocks for Indian agriculture
Authors: Ken Ash, Silvia Sorescu


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 jul 2019

Good content is essential for every content marketing strategy. But, getting requisite return on investment (ROI) defines it's business success. Steven van Vessum, co-founder & VP of Community at ContentKing, suggests ways to maximize the chances of success of content marketng strategy - (1) Best Content Is Not Equal To Most Successful Content: Be selective and start small; Assess competitor's weaknesses and know your strengths and leverage that; Put together a content promotion strategy that works for you. (2) Create Multi-Purpose Content: As lot of research and resources are used to create content, leverage it to create other types of content to get better ROI; An evergreen content piece can be partically repurposed as a conference talk, a support article, a podcast topic or a guest post. (3) Creating the Best Content Is Not That Hard, It's Just Hard Work: Focus on creating content that provides most value to the visitors and fulfils their search intent; Create a content piece that makes you think not to give it for free. (4) Core Content Is the Key to ROI: Core content is content that your target audience is interested in, and that's close to your products and/or services. Helps in transition to soft sale; Create core content, and build related content around that. (5) Control & Protect Your Investment: Social media and content platforms are easy to use and have large audience reach but they provide limited control. Moreover, they may shut down or modify their terms of service as per their convenience; External platforms often don't support adding Call-To-Action boxes or newsletter signup forms. This results in questionable or reduced ROI; Better option is to publish a summary or introduction on these platforms and link it back to the detailed or full content on your own website. Read on...

Search Engine Journal: Content Marketing: The 5 Most Important Things You Need to Know
Author: Steven van Vessum


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 jul 2019

Experts' views are divided on how non-profit hospitals benefit communities. In US, non-profit hospitals received tax-benefits valued at over US$ 24 billion annually in 2011. In exchange for tax exemptions these hospitals provide 'community benefits' like free and subsidized care, investments in public health, community-based health initiatives intended to address the social determinants of health, such as food or housing insecurity. But, many observers argue that hospitals avoid making sustained community investments in favor of counting millions of dollars of 'discounts' to low-income patients as community benefits while aggressively pursuing unpaid bills. Krisda Chaiyachati and Rachel Werner, Senior Fellows at LDI University of Pennsylvania, have recently written two research to add information to this debate. They provide detailed estimates of how much hospitals spend on different types of community benefits, whether community benefits are matched to local need, and what effects community benefits have on health outcomes. Mr. Chaiyachati and Ms. Werner analyzed IRS tax data from over 1600 non-profit hospitals. By law, hospitals report total spending on community benefits, broken out by health care-related spending (e.g. free care), community-directed spending (e.g. anti-smoking initiatives or funds for local community organizations), and research and educational activities. To standardize comparisons, the authors measured all spending as shares of total hospital expenditures. Researchers find out that hospitals still rely on discounted charity care to meet community benefits requirements. In 2014, non-profit hospitals reported that they spent an average of 8.1% (US$ 17 million) of their total expenditures on community benefits, more than 80% of which was health care-related. On average, 6.7% (US$ 11 million) of expenditures were on health care services, compared to 0.7% (US$ 1.2 million) for community-directed contributions. The remainder of community benefits were on educational and research initiatives. The results are disappointing in light of a second study from Ms. Werner and Mr. Chaiyachati, which suggests that community-directed spending could improve health outcomes, specifically, 30-day readmission rates. Readmissions rates are a useful measure of health care quality-capturing in-hospital care, discharge planning, and follow-up. Since the Affordable Care Act, hospitals have been financially penalized for high readmission rates. The evidence from research suggests that increased investment in the social determinants of health, rather than simply writing off free care, has a significant impact on measurable health outcomes. Read on...

Penn LDI Blog: How Do Non-profit Hospitals Give Back?
Author: Aaron Glickman


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 jul 2019

Landscape design needs to be both functional and artistic. Landscape professional should work towards embodying these elements for beautiful gardens and lawn creations. Here are few ideas to bring art and aesthetics in landscape design - Irrespective of the size of landscaping, massing serves an artistic purpose. Massing is basically grouping of one kind plant species in one big section. It provides good visual impact and also brings balance and proportion to the landscape. Massing plants together helps create texture, form, larger pops of color and it can reduce maintenance in some situations. Incorporating vertical and horizontal layers can provide unique look to massing. Proportioning is also a critical component of garden design if the space has a pool, patio, outdoor kitchen or other similar structure, as their size must fit accordingly with the size of the house; While working with smaller spaces accentuate long views across the garden, as this will help add a greater sense of depth to the area. Instead of creating paths that haphazardly wind around, consider keeping the pathways in one continuous, straight line, as this will help emphasize the garden's length and create more dramatic focal points at each end; Experts suggest use of native or indegenous plants as they would be more resistant to pests and more durable; Landscape lighting also plays an important role as gardens can be utilized in evening. Eliminate hot spots as these will make the lighting look unnatural. Utilize lighting to highlight features in the landscape that should be accentuated, which will also let less important aspects fade into the background; For tiny garden area go vertical. Smaller gardens will feel larger if eyes can be drawn up and over the neighboring fence. Take advantage of vertical gardens along the fence line, running up an arbor or trellis or stretching upward on a brick wall/side of the house. Read on...

Total Landscape Care: More than meets the eye: The artistry behind landscape designs
Author: Beth Hyatt


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 jun 2019

According to 'Annual Status of Education Report (Aser) 2017' by nonprofit Pratham, about 42% of rural youth between the ages of 14 and 18 were employed in January 2018, despite going to school. Among these, 79% were working in agriculture, while at the same time only 1.2% of the youth surveyed wanted to become farmers. India's rural population residing in about 600000 villages has not benefited substantially from economic growth and opportunities are limited, resulting in large migration of youth to urban areas in search for greener pastures. But, they are not well equipped in terms of education and skills, to compete in a challenging urban environment to avail better opportunities and respectable lifestyle. Education, coupled with skill development, is the key to bring them at par with their urban counterparts. Ashweetha Shetty, founder of Bodhi Tree Foundation, is trying to bridge this rural-urban divide by building confidence and self-esteem among young people living in rural areas. Explaining the work of her nonprofit, Ms. Shetty says, 'Our foundation works with rural youth between the ages of 17 and 23. We help them build life skills and enlighten them about opportunities. We achieve all this through intervention at our village centers. We have a residential program for girls, and we also work with district administrations on initiatives, particularly those which concern the children of sanitation workers. Most of the rural youth we help are usually first generation college goers. Bodhi Tree helps them to think about their future. These young kids have many inferiority complexes, and there is an information gap. We are trying to bridge that through our organization.' Regarding the life skills that her organization is trying to build, she says, 'We do self-development, self-awareness workshops, and provide exposure to opportunities - we help the children to discover what they want to do in life and understand their strengths and weaknesses. We enable them to develop themselves through public speaking and other skills. We also conduct workshops on resumé writing to help them achieve their goal.' Differentiating her nonprofit from skill building organizations, she says, 'Bodhi Tree is completely different from skill building organizations. We don't want to build a skill in someone and send the message that it's the only thing they can do. Skill building programs have no progression, no scope for dreaming. I feel it robs opportunities from the children. Children should have access to government jobs, schemes, internships - they should have knowledge and know what to do with it. I think that's the difference between us and skill building initiatives. Maybe our model is not working that well because we are not focused on one skill, but I think this is a conscious choice we have made where we don't tell people about what skills they can inculcate. Rather, we tell them what kind of dreams you should have, we make people realize their potential. For us, the immediate impact is more like standing up for yourself and going to college.' Read on...

Fair Observer: Helping India's Rural Youth Unlock Their Potential
Authors: Ankita Mukhopadhyay, Ashweetha Shetty


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 jun 2019

Collecting the right customer data and then understanding it to create usable insights is the key to e-commerce analytics success. But, implementing an effective and efficient analytics strategy and selecting the best tools and solutions from among many that are available in the market is no easy task. Ateeq Ahmad, consultant and founder of Albany Analytics, provides a set of ideas and road map to build an e-commerce analytics solution that would finally be used for predictive analysis. Mr. Ahmad outlines the process flow as - (1) Setting up data collection within current data sources. (2) Merging all data sources into one platform and automate such a collection. (3) Analyzing patterns in these datasets to build reports and dashboards based on KPIs. (4) Based on past behavior of customers, create prescriptive and predictive analytics around key metrics and goals. Data that is collected should include transactional data, social interactions and offline customer data. At the stage of merging all data sources into one central repository there are two possible methodologies - build own data warehouse or buy it from market. Of course, there are trade-offs involved in this selection. The best option seems to be to go initially for an available data merging tool, as it is cost effective, and then once sufficient experience and ROI is obtained graduate to build it in-house. Analyzing data and translating it into valuable business speak that paves the way for data-driven decision making is an essential part of successful analytics implementation. To provide right and timely predictive analyses it is critical to have an analytics team with strong data science expertise. Read on...

Albany Analytics Blog: A Paradigm for Business Intelligence Evolution
Author: Ateeq Ahmad


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jun 2019

Wikipedia explains 'Spin' as, 'A form of propaganda in public relations and politics that is achieved through knowingly providing a biased interpretation of an event or campaigning to persuade public opinion in favor or against some organization or public figure. While traditional public relations and advertising may also rely on altering the presentation of the facts, "spin" often implies the use of disingenuous, deceptive, and highly manipulative tactics.' Researchers (Paris Descartes University: Isabelle Boutron, Romana Haneef, Philippe Ravaud; Hôpital Hôtel Dieu, Paris: Amélie Yavchitz, Gabriel Baron; Inspire: John Novack; New York University: Ivan Oransky; University of Minnesota: Gary Schwitzer) in their study, 'Three randomized controlled trials evaluating the impact of "spin" in health news stories reporting studies of pharmacologic treatments on patients'/caregivers' interpretation of treatment benefit', published in journal BMC Medicine, found that participants were more likely to believe the treatment was beneficial when news stories were reported with spin. Prof. Gary Schwitzer of University of Minnesota and founder/publisher of HealthNewsReview.org, says, 'This is important research because misinterpretation of the content of news stories due to spin could have important public health consequences as news articles can affect patient and public behavior.' Prof. Schwitzer says that spin can originate in all stages of the flow of information from researchers to the public. Researchers suggest that spin can be managed by taking the following steps - Train researchers to understand how the public uses the media and, in response, frame their communication to the public in a way which is truthful, relevant, understandable and devoid of distortion or hype; Train PR professionals, journalists and other communicators to detect spin and accurately convey research results; Educate news consumers on the resources available to help them critically evaluate health claims; Support research for developing ideal approaches for communicating scientific and health information. Read on...

University of Minnesota News: Research Brief: Evaluating the effect of spin in health care news
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 jun 2019

Technology is enabling charitable and philanthropic organizations to perform better in many ways - (1) Donations have just become a click away with expanded reach through online financial payment systems. Moreover, online transactions provide anonymity to donors who prefer it. (2) Crowdfunding has become a great tool to gather funds from all kind of donors, big or small, for the causes that one suppports. Crowdfunding websites are convenient to use and make it easy to reach out to prospective donors. (3) Technology has brought transparency and accountability. Donors are now more aware about how their contributions are utilized. Moreover, financial management tools provide charity organizations ways to efficiently and effectively track their funds. (4) Social media has proven to be effective to spread a charitable cause and seek support. Read on...

CIO Applications: Technology Revamping Philanthropy
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jun 2019

Creativity is at the core of art and design. They both are visual and material culmination of varied degrees of human expression. Vibhor Sogani, fusing the lines between design and art, between being a product designer and public installation artist, says, 'At the end of the day, it is all about creativity. People may deem art superior to design but designing is serious business and a very responsible job.' He explains the value of public art for the growth-oriented country like India, 'Since India has so many people and so many public spaces, it is an ideal ground for engaging with them through art. The all-important ingredient of public art is engagement with people.' On balancing creativity and guidelines in commissioned projects, he says, 'We all need a sense of direction. After all, you need to align yourself with something. I think the brief given to me by my client is only a starting point. Thereafter, I am free to follow my vision.' An alumnus of National Institute of Design (Ahmedabad, India) and having worked in the field of industrial design, he is well-versed in the craft of materials as well as technology. He follows both reactive and proactive approaches to pursue his creative work. He suggests that while thinking of an idea is instant, putting it into a tangible shape of art is slow and time consuming. His public art works include Joy in Dubai, Sprouts in New Delhi and Kalpavriksha in Ahmedabad. Read on...

The Tribune: Blurring the line between art and design
Author: Nonika Singh


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 jun 2019

According to the research study, 'Comparison of Costs of Care for Medicare Patients Hospitalized in Teaching and Nonteaching Hospitals', published in JAMA Network Open by researchers from Harvard University, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston University and Weill Cornell Medical College (Laura G. Burke, Dhruv Khullar, Jie Zheng, Austin B. Frakt, E. John Orav, Ashish K. Jha), 'Total costs of care are similar or somewhat lower among teaching hospitals compared to non-teaching hospitals among Medicare beneficiaries treated for common medical and surgical conditions.' Researchers analyzed data from more than 1.2 million hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older at more than 3000 major, minor, and non-teaching hospitals from 2014 to 2015 for some of the most common medical and surgical conditions, including pneumonia, congestive heart failure, and hip replacement. Prof. Ashish K. Jha, Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, says, 'These findings are surprising. We always assumed that we had to trade off the better outcomes at teaching hospitals with higher costs. It appears that, at least as far as Medicare is concerned, their payments for care are actually a bit less when patients go to a teaching hospital.' Lead author of the study, Prof. Laura G. Burke of Harvard Medical School, says, 'These findings support the idea that to truly understand variation in health care costs, it's important to look not at just what happens in the hospital but on total spending for an acute episode.' Read on...

HarvardSPH News: Total costs of care similar or lower at teaching hospitals compared to non-teaching hospitals among Medicare beneficiaries
Author: Todd Datz


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 jun 2019

'Medical reversal' is a term that defines instances in which new and improved clinical trials show that current medical practices are ineffective or misguided. Medical reversals often concern medications but they can also affect surgical procedures. A new meta-analysis of 3000 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published in three leading medical journals over the last 15 years identifies 396 medical reversals (154 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 113 in the Lancet, and 129 in the New England Journal of Medicine). Researchers (Oregon Health & Science University-OHSU: Diana Herrera-Perez, Alyson Haslam, Tyler Crain, Jennifer Gill, Catherine Livingston, Victoria Kaestner, Michael Hayes, Vinay Prasad; University of Maryland School of Medicine: Dan Morgan; University of Chicago: Adam S. Cifu) carried out most of these studies (92%) in high-income countries, while 8% were performed in low- or middle-income countries, including China, India, Malaysia, Ghana, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. Most of the medical reversals occurred in the fields of cardiovascular disease (20%), public health and preventive medicine (12%), and critical care (11%). Specifically, the most common interventions involved medications (33%), procedures (20%), vitamins and supplements (13%), devices (9%), and system interventions (8%). Lead author of the study, Diana Herrera-Perez of OHSU, referring to well-known endeavors to assess the validity of clinical practices says, 'We wanted to build on these and other efforts to provide a larger and more comprehensive list for clinicians and researchers to guide practice as they care for patients more effectively and economically.' Prof. Vinay Prasad of OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, says, 'Once an ineffective practice is established, it may be difficult to convince practitioners to abandon its use. By aiming to test novel treatments rigorously before they become widespread, we can reduce the number of reversals in practice and prevent unnecessary harm to patients. We hope our broad results may serve as a starting point for researchers, policymakers, and payers who wish to have a list of practices that likely offer no net benefit to use in future work.' Co-lead study author Alyson Haslam of OHSU, says, 'Taken together, we hope our findings will help push medical professionals to evaluate their own practices critically and demand high-quality research before adopting a new practice in [the] future, especially for those that are more expensive and/or aggressive than the current standard of care.'Read on...

Medical News Today: Hundreds of current medical practices may be ineffective
Authors: Ana Sandoiu, Gianna D'Emilio


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 may 2019

Prof. David Dubois, who teaches marketing at INSEAD (France), explains that by customizing digital technology according to customer relationships can provide B2B companies competitive advantage. Marketing spend is not defining factor for success, but how well companies integrate technolgical solutions is. Prof. Dubois says, 'A company's digital investment does not necessarily translate into marketing return on investment (ROI). For that to happen the firm needs to build a digital marketing organisation – data-driven marketing capabilities around the customer. A pivotal and enduring dimension of success in B2B markets lies in the relationship a company has with its clients. Thus, identifying the type of relationships that you have or would like to have with your customers is an excellent starting point to select and embed digital technology into your strategy. And this process is increasingly important for B2B companies if they are to maintain growth even as digital disruption accelerates the shift from B2BigB to B2SmallB.' He suggests defining customer-centricity by relationship type. Susan Fournier of Boston University offers a useful framework by likening customer relationships to friendship and romantic relationships. Once this has been done companies should select a technology that matches the relationship. According to Prof. Dubois, getting customer-centricity right in the digital age involves three steps after the relationship is clearly defined - (1) Test and learn: Consider the technologies and communication channels that are adapted to strengthening each type of relationship. Companies would do well to test and learn strategies. (2) Match technology to client (3) Integrate tech and new practices: Understanding the customer relationship should be an ongoing process. One part of that solution is mining big data on social media and news outlets. Prof. Dubois points out, 'At a time when the giant markets of SMEs such as China and India offer unprecedented opportunities, the roadmap to customer-centricity has never been more relevant.' Read on...

INSEAD Knowledge: Driving B2B Digital Transformation Through Customer-centricity
Author: David Dubois


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 may 2019

India's CSR legislation is a step in the right direction and is globally praised. Recently, 47 participants from 33 global multinational companies that are associated with WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development) visited India to learn about sustainable businesses. WBCSD Leadership Program is a year-long series of engagements and learning exercises in partnership with Yale University. Rodney Irwin, Managing Director of WBCSD's Redefining Value and Education program, says, 'The legislation asking large companies to spend 2% of their profit on corporate social responsibility (CSR) is appreciable, but large companies should not stop there. These large firms should look at making their businesses sustainable by integrating the concept of environmental, social and governance advantages into the core business.' He advocated the need for integrating sustainable approach to doing businesses along with maintaining profitability. He adds, 'In long-run, profitability can be greater if you embrace opportunities that accompany sustainable approach.' Since a number of large Indian companies are family-owned, he says, 'The companies that have family connections tend to not just make the businesses successful but they want to make sure that the business can be passed on to the next generation. They have a long-term vision.' Read on...

IndiaCSR: Large companies should look beyond CSR mandate at sustainable ways: Rodney Irwin
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 may 2019

Graphic design enhances the value of the brands and creates their visual memory in the audience's mind. Check out the latest trends in graphic design and keep evolving - 3D design and Typography (Brings life and depth to flat designs); Mid-century Modern Elements (Give both a mid-age and modern touch to any design); Custom Illustrations (Heavily influenced by natural and botanical elements, with softer lines and less bold text); Buxom Serifs (Serifs are smarter, better, and make content stand out); Open Compositions (Make the elements appear to be floating off of the screen); Isometric Design (Creates an entire universe in the tiniest of spaces and gives depth to any design and object); Pops of Vivid Color (Provides attention grabbing graphics); Strong Typographic Focal Points (Make content visually strong and readable, a function much needed for small devices and social media feeds); Light and Dark Color Schemes (Create a visually stunning impact); Futuristic Influences into the Mainstream (Make the brand stand out and be influencer in the marketplace); Complex Gradients and Duotones (Look great on mobile devices. Add depth and create a timeless look); Colorful Minimalism (Combining design with necessary components using minimalist approach. Limited color use); Art Deco (Add glamour quotient); Bookman and Old-style Serifs (High legibility and contrast of the traditional serifs make them a great choice to highlight the brand's value); Subtle Motion (Enhances user experience and engages users with the interface. Adds seamless transformations and transitions); Abstract Geometry and Shapes (Fits in any design that demands a modern and expressive look. Makes visuals stand out); Asymmetrical Layouts (Create visual tension. Elements have a more complex pattern); Variable Fonts (Are flexible within the multidimensional space. Consume less bandwidth and load websites or web pages faster). Read on...

G2 Crowd: 18 Innovative Graphic Design Trends for 2019
Author: Prateeksha Mathur


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 may 2019

The research, 'Development of a pathological healthcare system for early detection of neurological gait abnormalities', by Prof. Anup Nandy of National Institute of Technology (Rourkela, India) in collaboration with Prof. Gentiane Venture of Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT, Japan), aims to address human aging utilizing low-cost software solutions to early diagnose neurological gait abnormalities. Anomalies and abnormalities found in a person's walking style are termed as gait abnormalities. As human beings have different anatomical structure depending on age, gender and body-weight, they are prone to various gait abnormalities. Due to lack of awareness of such diseases and problems, the abnormalities get unnoticed at the initial stages. Moreover, the assessment becomes a little less credible without proper software and automation that uses data analysis. Scientists applied high level Machine Learning Algorithms for detection and periodic assessment of abnormalities. The software with the techniques of deep learning detects the various gait (walking) patterns, assess the collected data on specific parameters and the identified data is used in the detection or observing patient's improvements in various abnormalities like Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson's Disease and Equinus gait. Prof. Nandy says, 'As computer science enthusiasts and researchers, it's our responsibility to serve society and contribute to the betterment. This noble approach bridges the gap between Computer Science and Medical Science and is instrumental in the detection and assessment of various diseases. The low-cost software becomes affordable to everyone and can be beneficial to many in general.' Read on...

Monday Morning - NIT Rourkela: IMPACTING LIVES AND BEYOND: PROF. ANUP NANDY'S RESEARCH ON GAIT ABNORMALITIES
Author: Animesh Pradhan


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 may 2019

Ad-free environment is an expected reality with subscription-based models, ad blocking tools and alternatives to traditional media already available. Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer at Proctor & Gamble, predicts that we're evolving into a 'world without ads' as brand engagement with customers changes with technology and consumer requirements. Gary Ellis, Co-founder and COO of Remesh, explains how branding will shift and survive in this ad-free environment. He says, 'There are infinite possibilities for filling the void left by traditional advertising. Success will depend on translating traditional advertising insight into new engagement tactics. Advertisers will need to focus on how they can fit themselves organically into their customer's experience, rather than disrupting a customer's experience as is often associated with traditional advertising.' He adds, 'Consider what is central to the brand building experience, which ranges from embedding tech in products to targeted ads. Pritchard predicts an increased desire for personalization, an interest in learning about a brand's values and more brand experiences. This means a brand's ability to connect with people on a human level plays an even more critical role in this new engagement paradigm. An emotional function will serve as the main connector, and one that can come in many forms.' He further explains, 'Targeted advertising is about two things: relevant content and demonstrating comprehension of customer needs. It stems from the desire to be 'helpful' – providing an audience with the information they need so that they can quickly and easily find what they are looking for. In an ad-free world, what were once targeting challenges can be avoided. This means not just focusing on personalization, but context.' Read on...

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