Is America’s Innovation Imagination Trivial?

Is there anything new in innovation? In December, the Wall Street Journal published an article by Robert J. Gordon, a professor at Northwestern University, who presented his opinion that the future of economic growth in the U.S. is bleak, even though we have achieved a 2% growth rate between 1891 and 2007. Nobel laureate Edmund S. Phelps took Gordon’s thought process even further in the New York Times when he commented that less innovation has widened inequality in the United States.

These dire predictions may have caught the attention of the White House as President Obama commented in January that, “The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation.” He laid out a challenge for the U.S. to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the world. Of course the government’s solution is to throw more money at the problem in the form of corporate partnerships for research and development.

But corporate America isn’t much better at the innovation game. When faced with the challenge of a stagnant economy, a stale product, or fickle consumers, the solution is often to gather top executives in a room for an intense brainstorming session. The problem with this approach, according to Albert Einstein, is that “we cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.“

BBC Anchor Simon McCoy Delivers ‘Most Unenthusiastic Report Ever’ On Surfing Dogs

Last Saturday we picked up our new puppy, and Sunday we had to return it to its mother. What should have been a joyful event for us all ended up being a heavy experience.

It was clear to us quite fast that our youngest daughter Bella was too little to be alone with the dog. The reality was that she and the dog would have to be under constant supervision if the many cuddles shouldn’t end in an accident. After the first 10 reprimands in a short period, Bella broke completely down.

We woke up Sunday morning with stress and alarm bells through our body. By afternoon we understood that we had misjudged the situation. We weren’t ready for a life with a puppy. There were too many compromises we didn’t want to make.

Luckily, we agreed. The decision was hard, and we all cried a river. Yet we know by now the immense price of ignoring the clear signs from the body.

This is also part of life. We can make decisions that turn out to be wrong. That doesn’t mean we are wrong, or that life’s wrong. It just means that we have made a decision that’s a contrast to the life we want to live or the person we want to be. And sometimes we must walk the journey to get the insights.

Listening to the inner alarm takes deep courage, especially when we are in love with a dream and when that dream involves other people or a living creature. Broken dreams hurt — even when they don’t fit into the life we envision for ourselves.

Maybe we will get a dog in a few years when Bella is a little bigger. Maybe we’ll never get a dog. Our life and feelings will show us the way. At the moment we just need to get back on our feet again. We miss our furry friend a lot even though we made the right choice. The little puppy when straight to our hearts.

How Daydreaming Can Actually Make You Smarter

Daydreaming gets a pretty bad rap. It’s often equated with laziness, and we tend to write off people with wandering minds as being absent-minded “space cadets” who can’t get their heads out of the clouds.

Though we all spend close to 50 percent of our waking lives in a state of mind-wandering, according to one estimate, some research casts daydreaming in a negative light. A 2010 Harvard study linked spacing out with unhappiness, concluding that “a wandering mind is an unhappy mind.” But could these unconscious thinking processes actually play a pivotal role in the achievement of personal goals?

In a radical new theory of human intelligence, one cognitive psychologist argues that having your head in the clouds might actually help people to better engage with the pursuits that are most personally meaningful to them. According to Scott Barry Kaufman, NYU psychology professor and author of Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, we need a new definition of intelligence — one that factors in our deepest dreams and desires.

“We all have goals and dreams in life — things we want to accomplish out there in the real world,” Kaufman tells The Huffington Post. “And while the kinds of skills that are measured on IQ tests are important … there are so many more characteristics that come into play in helping us to reach those dreams and goals in a long-term way.”

Our traditional standard of intelligence is lacking, Kaufman explains, and it can leave behind many people who don’t perform well on rote cognitive skill tests, but who may be highly adept when it comes to spontaneous cognition.

The Seizure of Our Dis(content)

What I’ll share from here on out comes from my experience as a mother and a student of life. A person who’s seen, experienced and recognized enough and doesn’t believe any longer in much of what I was taught to believe.

I watched and experienced my son through the years. I watched as the storm clouds of his seizures gathered quickly. I watched how he would go into fear, converse with “them,” seize up and close down. I’d talk with him as he was going through the seizures. I’d ask if he recognized “them,” if he could describe “them” and if he understood what they wanted or why they were “there.” He would say things like, “You know… who they are, why they’re here, you know.”

“I do?” I’d ask, stunned that my son and I would share such an acquaintance as “them.” He’d say, “You know.”

As I marinate in life, I’ve only begun to realize and understand I am not separate from my children. Not because I gave birth to them but because I am not separate from them or anyone or anything else. Parenthood, motherhood, fatherhood, sisterhood, brotherhood, childhood, priesthood are all connected. I laughed one day when I heard one of my kids say, “We are all in the hood.” I realized they are right and that we all have the opportunity of co-creating a global village neighborhood of humanity.

Startup Insider: 5 Insights From Day 1 of the Echelon Asia Summit 2015

1. ‘Architect your career and education’
The Echelon Asia Summit was kicked off with a fireside chat between e27 Editor-in-Chief Iris Leung and Freelancer CEO Matt Barrie. He emphasized the changing nature of finding a career and how it has become really fluid. With Freelancer growing rapidly in Asia, people have been hopping from job to job, building their skills and pursuing careers outside of what they studied in school.

He shared, “It is not just about finding the right career anymore, but it’s also about continuously learning and building your skill set.”

2. ‘Each country in Asia is unique’Rakuten Ventures Managing Partner Saemin Ahn sat on a panel on how to find the next Unicorn in Asia. We asked Saemin what he thought were the upcoming trends in Asia and he told us how people should stop talking about Asia like it is just one country. He emphasized how it’s important for entrepreneurs to think about the unique qualities of each country and how you’re going to expand to each one.

3. ‘You need someone to tell you it’s okay’

We got the opportunity to sit down with Cherubic Ventures Partner Tina Cheng, and she shared with us the importance of grit and being able to stay the course as an entrepreneur. She shared her own experience of running her own education startup prior to becoming a venture capitalist.

While the first two years was met with a lot of excitement along with the challenges that comes with running a startup, Tina’s startup was hit with stagnant growth during the third year. This is when she started to question if she was fit to be an entrepreneur. She said, “It’s important to have someone, maybe a mentor, to tell you that things will be okay and that you should keep pushing forward. This can be the difference between success and failure.”

Gift of History: People and Their Stories Matter Within Organizations

Holiday season brings us gifts—some gifts surprise us, some gifts become acquired taste, but all gifts fill us with joy—the joy of sharing with family and friends. In a similar vein, on the career front, what could be a great gift that could propel the talented and passionate? My answer: Gift of history. If you are puzzled, let me explain.

While war veterans have their moments to reflect back and share, what about the rank and file in the business world? What are they proud of? What are their stories within the organization’s history? Does anybody new joining their organization take the time to seek these stories? The most successful ones almost always do.

For others, here is an often repeated corporate story. A “catch” hire, with the requisite pedigree which usually includes words like smart and talented, is announced with great expectations. The new hire is on a mission to prove that he/she is a worthy hire. By the time first deliverables happen, the initial honeymoon is over and reality sets in. The discordant note is usually about fit. Exits like Ron Johnson as CEO from JCPenney, Henrique De Castro as COO from Yahoo are some high-profile examples. I am sure there are other examples in your organization that you can relate to.

Context is important, Her/ His story is key.

On the flip side, let us look at the life of Gandhi. He returned to India in 1915, his most prominent movement was the salt march in 1930—when he broke the salt laws of the then-British Raj at Dandi, it resonated with every person in society. It was a movement that he spearheaded after understanding the stories of the common man.

In the book, Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance?, Lou Gerstner gave us an insider’s view on the turnaround of IBM in the 1990s. In his first 100 days—a more compressed timeline reflecting corporate deliverables—he spent time hearing the stories from customers and employees.

Both of them did not have a preset notion of what to do. They earned the respect and buy-in by understanding the stories that mattered. Leadership loyalty is earned and not given. History is a great tool to understand the context before providing insights, solutions and even leadership.

20 Secrets Only Nurses Know

Answer by Tasha Cooper Poslaniec, OB Nurse, on Quora.

Here are some things I’ve learned as a nurse:

Wearing a wedding/engagement ring and having a patient squeeze your hand while in pain is something you will do exactly once.
You can make a damn good ice pack from cutting open a diaper, filling it with ice, then rolling it closed and sealing it with the tape side.
People in pain are nothing like their normal selves. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was actually written about a woman giving birth. Kidding.
Washing your hands hundreds of times a day over many years will rub off your fingerprints permanently. (Which is why so many retired nurses become criminals. Kidding)
Breaking open an ampule of ammonia and putting it in a “hat” (which really is used in a toilet to catch urine) can stimulate a lazy bladder. Very handy when you’re recovering a same day surgery patient or a woman who just had a baby. (Obviously care must be taken to prevent any contact with skin and is a no-no with children)
You can make a decent hair tie by cutting off the rolled edge of a glove.
There is an art to placing a damp washcloth on a fevered brow.
The most common tell for a lie is a hesitation followed by “Uh..”
Always double the amount a person admits to doing for drugs, drinking and smoking.
Benadryl is a very bad allergy.
People don’t come with labels on their foreheads. It can actually be quite surprising to learn that someone is stark raving mad. Or isn’t.
Life is so not fair.
Mouth breathing is an absolutely essential skill.
Asking a nurse “What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen” is actually a rude question. We don’t (for many reasons) dish about our patients. My answer will always be, “Well, let’s finish with you first.”
Purchase a block of cream cheese, a jar of pepper jelly and several boxes of water crackers. Put the opened cream cheese on a plate and pour the jelly over it. Voila! I’ve just given you the recipe for your next potluck. Can also be done with salsa and tortilla chips. Now get some extra sleep instead of cooking.
The slower you push an IV narcotic, the less likely your patient will vomit or get dizzy.
NO ONE knows everything. Asking questions is a sign of intelligence. NOT asking questions is a big, fat red flag to other nurses.
A nurse’s job is 50% hands on and 50% documenting. Most people don’t realize that we are simultaneously making a record of everything that happens to you while you’re our guest. Most of us despise that half, but we know how incredibly important it is for your care.
Many of us carry psychic wounds from the horrible things we’ve seen. It’s called “Trauma Stewardship”.
Cake is always the solution.