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Friday, June 13, 2014

The Ugly Truth About Meetings

No matter where you work, chances are that you spend a lot of time in meetings. But are meetings a good use of time? Do they help us accomplish things, or distract us from getting real work done?

We found this clever infographic from Fuze called, “The UglyTruth About Meetings,” that paints the picture. It’s not good. According to the graphic, 92 percent of people admit to multitasking while in meetings and 67 percent of meetings are unproductive. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Pocket Zones: How to Build Livable Megacities

The key to smarter cities will not be technology, but the existence of dense walkable zones made for easy living.

The MIT Tech Review speculates that in the coming decades, much of the population growth will happen in cities. By 2050, some 75 percent of the world’s population is expected to be living in them. What will make cities click is an ease of life—where daily living is the focus, says Kent Larson, an architect who directs the MIT Media Lab’s Changing Places Group. “If you design for living, you’re going to get the good stuff: the eco-friendly, green, low-carbon city,” and more innovation will spring out of the interactions of the people living and working there, Larson argues.

Cities have sprung up to serve many purposes, such as commerce and manufacturing, but the key to making them more innovative could be simply to make them more livable and walkable.

Larson believes that a few features will make highly dense, but livable cities possible:

1. Urban farming, which might involve adding a lightweight “skin” to buildings where crops can grow in a process that is 100 times more land-efficient than conventional farming, and also uses much less water and produces much less carbon dioxide. In China alone, “you have 250 million people moving to cities, mostly farmers, and they’ll need jobs, so it’s a no-brainer,” says Larson.

2. Rethinking transportation. Larson envisions micro-scale cars that can be shared, allowing for a 50-fold benefit in how much land is actually needed to accommodate parking, he said.

3. Micro housing. Look for a rise in micro-scale housing units, such as 200-square-foot apartments with various sliding units so that beds, dining room tables, and even bathrooms can expand and collapse.

The intersection of livability and sustainability is a hot spot that we continue to watch. As we trundle through the streets of Chicago, we see eco-friendly projects popping up everywhere.  Stay tuned as we share more trends and consumer behaviors that will accelerate this next wave of livable, sustainable growth.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Cowbird: Making the Web Better for Humans

Three years ago, on the eve of unveiling his storytelling and photo-sharing platform, Jonathan Harris called his investors and gave back their $500K investment. Rather than caving into pressure to maximize profitability at the expense of the user experience, Harris stuck to his vision for Cowbird....full story at Huffington Post.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Smart Social Brands Keep it Real with Instagram

The best people I know are real. Never phony. Oh, they may strut and turn up the volume at times. But mainly, they’re reliably natural in the way they communicate. You can believe in them. 

In the same way, better brands know that keeping it real earns trust when it comes to social media. Now there’s evidence. Our colleagues at Laundry Service have been tracking the use of Instagram in campaigns. The results are impressive:
-- Using regular photos, they saw a 2.35% click-through rate. 
-- With Instagram-style shots, click throughs increased to as high as 8%.
-- When tying ad performance to sales, conversion rates increased by 25%.

Method: The data was drawn from over 100 million impressions, spanning campaigns from more than 15 advertisers.

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