Archive for November, 2011

Living Social –Shopping Local

November 24th, 2011 by under Certificate in Innovation Management, Executive Education, Innovation. 3 Comments.

Why wait for either Black Friday or Small Business Saturday when you can shop local start ups as your turkey cooks? There are lots more ways of finding great deals than shopping locally-based Living Social, one of the DC/MD/VA regions greatest start up success stories of recent times. Check out UmbaBox and sign up for a handcrafted little something to be delivered all beautifully wrapped every month from the New Year.

Umbabox sources artisan must-have/don’t need items and mails you a surprise for just $26 a month. A pretty nice holiday gift for your mom or any grown woman–especially if she doesn’t spend much on herself or get many treats. I bought a subscription for myself within two minutes of checking out the site. Just couldn’t resist…

Another instantly appealing idea is Shopsy , founded by Lisa Morales-Hellebo and run out of the DC suburbs. The site is still in development but the idea is easy to explain: you fill in your style preferences and vital statistics and Lisa and her team act as your online personal shoppers, suggesting best buys that will flatter your figure and not break the bank. You can also send them pictures of designer looks you like and they’ll find a way to create the look for much, much less.

There are at least three local start ups working to improve the security of mobile devices, helping you create a secure and searchable archive of your text messages and making it possible to share your SSN without fear. I tried to sign up for Uppidy but had trouble connecting it to my Facebook account. I linkedin to CEO Joshua Konowe and I’m sure he’ll help me sort it out after the holiday. (It’s important to build a relationship with the Steve Jobs’ and Mark Zuckerberg’s of tomorrow before they stop picking up their own emails) Koolspan (their CEO also accepted my linkedin invite) and Gryphn (invitation still outstanding–he probably has family in NoVa for the holiday) are other local enterprises working in the same area.

Speaking of archiving, check out Veenome, a company that can tag video making it possible to search and organize your family or company archive. Television production companies and broadcasters–and I am sure organizations like NASA and NOAA–have been struggling with this for years. Veenome has had angel investment from, among others, the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.

If you are struggling this Thanksgiving and need or would like to change your job, check out Jobon —you can post a video online to allow prospective employees to check you out in person, not just on paper, before they call you for interview. Employers: make sure to post any upcoming positions you need to fill on VeteranCentral.com, a resource to help those who have served with resume-building and job hunting.

If you are one of the 1% who is finding it hard to avoid the other 99%, despair not: go to the excellently named Ruck.us, share your political priorities and make connections with others who feel the same way you do. This is people organizing at the grassroots level, and could be a sort of  flash mob service for anyone who needs a following.

If you recognized yourself in the character of the compulsive listmaker who was the hero of High Fidelity take a look at Rankpad–you’ll love it. Just sign up and create your own top tens or vote on other people’s. Like many of the sites above, you can sign in using your Facebook account and so share your list with your friends–no topic too big or too small. Try it–it’s a lot of fun. I’m thinking of creating a top ten Thanksgiving vegetables list. Look for it if you feel as strongly as I do about Brussel sprouts.

If you are part of a start up in the DC/MD/VA region, plan to join our sessions on Strategies for Managing Innovation, Customer Centric Marketing, Negotiation/Partnerships, Dynamic Project Management and Raising Capital on five Fridays in Spring 2012. You’ll earn a Certificate in Innovation Management from the Smith School of Business and the Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland and you’ll make valuable connections with entrepreneurs and investors like those mentioned above. Find the time and find the money–it will be a good investment in your future.

If you are a start up who was featured in this article, get in touch and let us know how it is going. If you would like to be featured in future posts, contact Liz Barron, lbarron@rhsmith.umd.edu or call 301 405 5387

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What could be more fun?

November 17th, 2011 by under Corporate Culture, Enjoying work, Workplace dynamics. No Comments.

Figaro (not his real name) works in Finance and doesn’t like it much. Never has. “What would you like to do instead?” I asked. Figaro didn’t know–he seemed hardly to understand the question.

“He came to this country as a refugee” said his partner ” He wants a stable job that pays the bills. He thinks that is the only sort of choice you can make about work”

To love what you do and feel that it matters how could anything be more fun?
Katherine Graham, The Washington Post

Figaro’s emphasis on safety and stability made sense when he first came to this country 20 years ago. Now he has a great education, a loving partner and a stable home. Couldn’t  he  begin to move up through Maslow’s hierarchy of needs?  Might there be a little self-actualization in his future?

 Outside work, Figaro is curious and engaged, committed and fun-loving. He expresses strong preferences, speaks up for what he believes in, and pursues many interests with energy and enthusiasm.Then he stops all that and goes to work for 40 hours every week, where he does what is expected of him. His employer is happy with his performance, he says.

Figaro knows that, like an iceberg, fully 9/10s of his true self is underwater at work. He’s beginning to feel it’s a waste.

Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.
Theodore Roosevelt

Jobs are hard to come by at the moment and stable jobs are not to be sniffed at, but if you feel like Figaro take time to ask yourself what kinds of activity, interaction and environment make you feel exhilarated and energized.

  • What brings you joy or satisfaction?
  • What makes you feel useful, valued, productive, smart, absorbed worthwhile?
  • Do you respond well to the company of others or are you happiest when alone?
  • What would your ideal day look like and what kind of paid environment most closely matches that ideal?
  • What would it take to move you closer to your ideal?
  • What are you prepared to give up about your current work environment and what continues to be really important to you?

You may find tools like Schein’s Career Anchors or What Color is Your Parachute?”  useful. Don’t give up and dare to dream. Teddy and Katherine have it right–fulfilling work is not a chore but a life enhancement. Don’t miss out on the chance to love what you do.

Employers: are you concerned that too many of your team are like Figaro? Contact Liz Barron at 301 405 5387 or lbarron@rhsmith.umd.edu to work with Smith School Experts on creating and sustaining a productive, postive corporate culture and check out this HBR blog post on employee engagement.

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It’s What You Know–and Who You Know. Profiting from your Intellectual Property

November 7th, 2011 by under Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Intellectual Property. No Comments.

We’d all like to grow our businesses wouldn’t we? We don’t have to be Steve Jobs but a great product, a big contract or a new customer would be nice, this week and next. But are we looking in the wrong places when we seek our fortunes? Our ebullient adjunct professor Andrew J. Sherman thinks we might be.

In his new book, Harvesting Intangible Assets Andrew argues that many companies are sitting on a pot of gold–their intellectual property. Andrew says businesses large and small are too often blinkered about the worth of what they know…and who they know, for databases and customer intelligence can generate revenue if skilfully licensed. In the book–his 19th–he demonstrates where value hides in companies, and how it can be found and set free.

“Growth Guru and thought-leader Andrew J. Sherman practices what he preaches. When writing Harvesting Intangible Assets he fully leverages his most valuable intangible assets–his formidable intellect, unrelenting curiosity and a lifetime of diverse business and legal experiences–to deliver a comprehensive, practical road map for business success in our hyper-competitive global markets” Dr. Hugh Courtney, Vice Dean, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland.

There is definitely something of Jack and the Beanstalk about Andrew’s new book. He contends that if we use best practices from agriculture–preparing the ground, planting, tending and harvesting (plus ploughing back, rotating our crops, weeding when necessary and traveling regularly to market) we will realize the full value of every good idea and every resource we have garnered or created.

Andrew is one of the entrepreneurs leading our Certificate In Innovation Management courses which will take place at the Ronald Reagan building on five Fridays in Spring 2012. This intensive experience is designed for entrepreneurs and those steering start-ups but please plan to join us if you think your business is missing a trick when it comes to exploiting your own IP. Andrew will be leading a session on Raising Capital but he’ll be happy to talk to you about the best way to reap the rewards of your intangible assets–and of course to sign your copy of his book.

To discover what you can learn while earning your Certificate in Innovation Management from the University of Maryland check out our website or call Liz Barron on 301 405 5387.  We hope to see you in the Spring.

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