Great things have come from Quirky and its community of inventors. but their biggest project, Aros, strained everyone.
Garthen Leslie is an IT consultant and looks the part. He’s geeky, quiet, and middle-aged, sporting a long, untucked white polo, khakis, and wire-framed glasses. But today, very suddenly, he is also the face of a new ideal—a symbol of how invention itself is being reinvented.
Groupthink can set in for new employees in mere days—which is why you should ask them on Day One what’s wrong with your company.
When something isn’t working out quite right, CEOs are often the last to know. But not at Emerald Therapeutics.
The biotech startup tasks all new hires with an unusual mandate: each new employee must fill out a “fresh-eye journal” criticizing and analyzing all aspects of the company. Newcomers are asked questions like “Describe a decision that the company has made that raises an eyebrow for you?” And their feedback is read by company co-CEOS Brian Frezza and D.J. Kleinbaum.
Frezza and Kleinbaum say they came up with the idea a year ago to help their startup avoid the trappings of corporate dysfunction and groupthink. After all, they founded Emerald with the idea of taking advantage of such weaknesses in the biotech industry.
Nearly 90 of jobs demand social media skills, but it turns out just hiring Millennials isn’t the answer.
In all the talk about the tech about the mismatch between the projected number of STEM jobs (1.2 million new ones in the next six years) and the U.S.-based talent to fill those positions, we’re losing sight of another big skills gap that’s right under our fingers every day.
While her character GoldieBlox engineers fantastical creations, Debbie Starling engineered a successful company, with the help of her market vision and rapid prototyping skills. (A little controversy with the Beastie Boys didn’t hurt either).
Chan has been focusing her business efforts on women since founding Shecky’s, a “girls’ night out” events company since the early 2000s. But it wasn’t until 2010 that she started to feel something was missing. She says her career lacked purpose and it seemed everywhere she turned, women’s media was consumed with stories about beauty, fashion, celebrities, and how to have a perfect body. At events for entrepreneurs, men always filled up the room.
At the same time, Chan started hearing more and more about women’s issues—from poverty plaguing women in the developing world to the massive underrepresentation of women leaders at Fortune 500 companies. Why weren’t more women talking about these issues?
What if Chan could use her girls’ night out rallying skills to get women in their twenties and thirties together around issues most important to them? “How do we get women to obsess about women’s empowerment the same way they do about the Kardashians and Us Weekly?” she asked.
Plan any event and chances are one in five of the people you invite will be late.
A study done at San Francisco State University found that about 20% of the U.S. population is chronically late—but it’s not because they don’t value others’ time. It’s more complicated than that, says lead researcher Diana DeLonzor.
“Repetitive lateness is more often related to personality characteristics such as anxiety or a penchant for thrill-seeking,” she says. “Some people are drawn to the adrenaline rush of that last-minute sprint to the finish line, while others receive an ego boost from over-scheduling and filling each moment with activity.”
“Looking back, you were probably late or early all of your life—it’s part physiological and part psychological,” she says. “Most chronically late people truly dislike being late, but it’s a surprisingly difficult habit to overcome. Telling a late person to be on time is a little like telling a dieter to simply stop eating so much.”
DeLonzor says the majority of people have a combination of late and punctual habits—usually on time, but with a frantic rush at the last minute—but we can all learn from those who are chronically punctual. DeLonzor shares four traits that always on time share:
Just making an exhaustive list of all the things you need to do isn’t enough to help you actually accomplish them. So, in the hopes of leading a more productive, organized life, we’ve gathered three essential ways to create a better to-do list:
What makes a groundbreaking design idea? It can be something as small a heart monitor or as large as a global plan to re-imagine the world’s food supply chain. Here are 165 of today’s most interesting, intuitive, and creative people, products and companies that are pushing the boundaries in business.
If the idea of networking makes you nauseous, you’re not alone—and science backs up your disgust.
According to research out of the University of Toronto, professional networking feels icky for good reason. Relationships formed based on a career need, rather than for sincere friendship, trigger our moral disgust—linked, in turn, to physical feelings of uncleanliness. The researchers theorized that this visceral reaction makes us network less frequently, and less effectively.
We’ve already heard that we need to embrace failure. Now here’s everything we need to know about what that actually means.
It seems like everywhere we turn we’re being told to “embrace failure.” From social media to countless business books and articles and the global failure conference FailCon, the importance of mistakes is lauded as a key stepping-stone for success.
Even advertisers are realizing the power of bragging about getting it wrong. For example, earlier this year Domino’s commercials touted that at their company “failure is an option” with a nod to its failed cookie pizza of 2007.
Despite all the failure-embracing saturation we’re seeing these days, this concept is nothing new. Iterations of “embrace failure” have existed long before the slogan was popular. Before the likes of Steve Jobs and Richard Branson told us to embrace failure, Michael Jordan told us that he fails over and over again. Before that Truman Capote said failure was “the condiment that gives success its flavor.” And before that James Joyce dubbed mistakes “portals of discovery.” Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ford—the list of innovators that used failure to get at their success goes on and on and on.
So why the apparent resurgence? More importantly, what does embracing failure really mean, does it work, and at what point is it too much?
In an effort to find the answers, we consulted a few experts who know a thing or two about failure.
Insights from the time-diaries collected from Americans over the past 11 years show we’re shifting in our priorities.
If you can’t catch a breath during the frantic daily grind, don’t blame it on not having any free time.
Americans actually have more leisure time, are less rushed, less stressed, and sleep much more than we think we do. According to sociologist John Robinson, or better known as “Father Time” to his colleagues, most people have around 40 hours of free time per week.
Robinson, a professor at the University of Maryland and director of the Americans’ Use of Time Project, has been studying how people spend their time for more than 50 years. In 1972, he became one of the first social scientists to collect detailed time diaries of people all over the country. According to his massive studies and research, Robinson tells Fast Company that modern Americans only merely feel like we are working more hours and we also tend to exaggerate about our work hours since the actual hours on the job have been decreasing steadily for the past 40 years.
If this is the case, then why don’t we feel like we have more time and what exactly are we spending our time on? Below Robinson gives us the major findings from decades of time-use and social attitudes research:
Google does it. So does Facebook and Twitter. Are free snacks and drinks making our workplaces better—or more fattening?
A couple of centuries ago, women were taught the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach. In today’s world this dating advice seems overtly old-fashioned, but the theory could partially hold true for companies wanting to retain employees.
According to a recent WorkSphere survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the staffing agency Spherion, if you want a happy worker, then feed them. Around 30% of respondents said the availability of food throughout the day contributes to their workplace happiness.
Whether you offer free cookies in the break room, doughnuts at meetings, or—following the lead of Google, Facebook, and Twitter—provide full-blown meals prepared by a company chef, smart companies should give the idea some thought, but understand that free food doesn’t necessarily equal a more productive staff. It’s more complicated than that, say experts.
“With examples like Google, we’re constantly reminded of the chicken-or-the-egg dilemma,” says Frank Bosco, assistant professor of management in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business in Richmond, Virginia. “That is—is Google successful because they offer all sorts of perks, resulting in better-performing employees? Or, do they offer free food because they’ve been so successful over the years?”