Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Failing Syria's refugees

Sent to you by klcreative via Google Reader:

via David Rothkopf by casey.marye on 12/2/12

   -- The Middle East Channel Editor's Blog -- 
 There are plenty of strong reasons for the United States and the international community to remain deeply cautious about taking a deeper role in Syria's internal war. Concerns about the nature of the Syrian opposition and the unintended effects of arming them, fears of a slippery slope from limited to direct military involvement, and questions about international legitimacy remain as urgent as ever.  But what could possibly justify the failure to adequately address the humanitarian needs of the expanding Syrian refugee population?  
Nobody can seriously question the magnitude of the Syrian refugee crisis. There are now more than 465,000 refugees registered with UNHCR in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and North Africa. By past experience, this likely dramatically undercounts the real number as many refugees shy away from registering with official organizations. That does not count the internally displaced, which likely number in the hundreds of thousands. Most of the refugees are living in harsh conditions, inside or outside of camps.  [[BREAK]]
But, as with the Iraqi refugee crisis of the mid-2000s, the international community is once again failing to respond to this urgent humanitarian problem. The United States has given almost $200 million to help Syrian refugees, and Britain some $85 million. But it clearly is not enough. As a harsh winter approaches, international relief agencies report significant shortfalls in their funding appeals and failures to deliver on promised contributions. UNHCR reports that donors have met only 35 percent of its $500 million appeal. Save the Children claims a $200 million shortfall and only 50 percent funding of its refugee relief needs. On Tuesday, the United Nations World Food Programme expressed deepening concerns over rapidly deteriorating food security inside Syria, compounded by inhibited distribution with the escalating and expanding conflict. Meanwhile, host governments complain of the economic and social burden, and many fear their destabilizing impact.
The international community should have learned more from its poor performance in dealing with Iraqi refugees over the last decade, of the deep human cost and the long-term destabilizing effects of such refugee flows.  Dedicating serious resources to assisting Syrian refugees seems like an obvious and core part of any effort to contain and mitigate the regional fallout of the crisis -- whether or not Assad quickly falls, and regardless of the questions surrounding military intervention. 
The shortcomings of the international response to the Syrian refugee crisis across the region is difficult to fathom given its obvious humanitarian and strategic importance. It is even more difficult to justify given that helping refugees offers such an obvious way to "do something" without committing to military options deemed unwise. Humanitarian aid to the Syrian refugees should be a high priority that does not get lost in the ongoing debates over arming the opposition, the course of the internal war, and possible military interventions.  The problem here is not really the United States, which has provided the largest share of official relief, but rather the Gulf states which have not matched their words of support with money, other states which typically step up in such situations, and the broader donor community. 
POMEPS and The Middle East Channel recently spoke with Northwestern University Assistant Professor Wendy Pearlman, who has just returned from over a month in Jordan interviewing Syrian refugees. Watch the video here:
For more from the Middle East Channel on Syrian refugees, see:
- David Kenner, "Winter is Coming"  (Nov 1)
- Justin Vela, "Turkey's Men in Syria" (Sep 18)
- Daniel Byman and Kenneth Pollack, "Syrian Spillover" (Aug 10)
- Stephen Kalin, "Little Solace for Syrian Refugees in Egypt" ( Aug 10)
- Justin Vela, "No Refuge" (Mar 7)
- Nicholas Seeley, "Jordan's open door for Syrian refugees" (March  1)

Things you can do from here:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Appreciating What's In Front of You: Today!

I am really thinking about these words at the end of the piece.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Throw "IT" in the Trash

I recently responded to a comment made on one of my post. The comment centered on me being thankful for things. While I may not express it all the time, I am very grateful, for everything that I have been able to experience in life. But the conversation reminded me of one of the primary principles that leads my living in life. Here's my response:

I'm not sure I agree with your point. There's not much one can learn, moving forward, from success. I don't believe in ceremonies or celebrations, just wins. However, that doesn't preclude me from being grateful for the things I have accomplished. I am very thankful. :-)

My professor in a 3-D Concepts course made us throw our assignments (sculptures, renderings, etc.) in the trash after the critique and grade. It wasn't a big deal when I knew I produced a half-done sub-par product. I could have trashed it before class started. But when I finally spent some time and created something extremely beautiful and useful (a sculpture made totally out of pretzels), the act of throwing it in the trash was very problematic.

I now live by that process for everything that I do in life. Professor Owens-Hart's point was that the true value in producing masterpieces does not lie in the artifact itself, but in one's ability to replicate it at any point in time. The great ones can call it up at a moment's notice, and are so finely tuned that the concern is on the 5% that's not right. Throwing it in the trash is not an act of being ungrateful. It's an act of investing in yourself by saying, "if I had to, I could do it all over again, but even better". Success is not a destination, it's a process.

I think I will make a post on this.

I find that many people go through life through the lens of destinations. You hear it all the time - "They are changing the software again!" - or - "He will just have to accept me as I am!". If there is one thing that's constant in life, the notion of process and change would be it. The privilege of earth centers on have a moment in the vast space of time to change and interact with the things around you, not in the way that comets collide with on another, but in a manner where most can become better. 

For a moment, imagine if you had to throw it all away - your possessions, your accomplishments, and everything else that you have used to identify your value. How problematic would that be for you? I'm not talking about the inconvenience of it. Most people get bent out of shape when they have to refill out a library card application. I'm talking about your resolve that you could do it again, and would do it again, and would do it better. 

People create masterpieces everyday and go unnoticed, and life moves on. That doesn't mean it's not a masterpiece. It doesn't mean that it's not useful to society. It only means that the circumstances were not right for that masterpiece to be accepted by society - that's all. But, should that stop the person from doing it all over again tomorrow? If we have learned anything about the great ones, the answer is clearly "no", because that's what they do, and that's who they are. 

I understand the pain of being unaccepted, ignored, rejected - having our stuff trashed by others. I know how it feels to give it your all and have it be laughed at, or something much worse. The pain is often driven more by the fact that you want that artifact, that expression, to be a full representation of you. The reality is that it's only an artifact or an expression that comes from something that is built to repeat that process over and over again. From now on, make masterpieces over and over again. Give them more than is expected. And after you do it, THROW IT IN THE TRASH, and go back to the lab and do it again. You will be conditioning yourself for greatness. TRUST ME!

Monday, December 03, 2012

A Personal Update

Okay, here we are on Monday heading into the home stretch to conclude the 2012 year. This moment reminds me of a preacher that was just released from prison for child-support evasion. He began his sermon by saying these words:

"Man never runs out of chances. He runs out of time."

Whatever you planned for 2012, either you did it, or you didn't. Time is up for this year. Whatever resulted from your plans this past New Year's Day, I hope in some respects you have grown, matured, and developed into a better warrior - a better thinker. I have one last project to conclude for this year - prospectus submission and defense - that was part of my plans for the year. I did not achieve everything planned for the year, but this one will be vitally important for very personal reasons. I have learned that packing your life with small, medium, and large goals helps you go through the process of refining your life to be more effective.

In a recent conversation with my good friend and counselor, I told him that I now have the focus of a an addict. I know I could use a better analogy, but hear me for a second. First, I recognize that any addiction is a bad thing, and an unfortunate situation for all those impacted by this psychological phenomenon. Addiction is a reality that most of us deal with in some form or fashion. But my point centers on the reality of the focus of an addict, to ignore things around them, to commit themselves to a lifelong pursuit for the purest experience possible, to being intolerant of the things that interfere with that pure experience. No substitutes, no additives, and nothing that does not lead to and produce the pure experience.

They say the process for obtaining a pure element like gold requires a process of enduring high levels of heat and pressure to separate the impurities from the core essence of the desired element. I am finding myself going through this refining process to be the best professional and problem-solver I can be in life - in the tradition of the addict.

Make the choice to be effective today.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Tweet from Wall Street Journal (@WSJ)

Wall Street Journal (@WSJ)
Employees who are the most productive are also the happiest at work. Ways to raise both metrics:

Download the official Twitter app here

Thank You,

Kenyatta Lovett

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Chris Curry (Marqueo) The Artist

When time permits, please check out my good friend Chris Curry's site ( to look at some if his pieces. They are great works, and Continue to be amazed at his talent and ability. From Madison Avenue to Soho, it doesn't matter, Chris gets it done.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

‘Angry Birds’ Fuels Finland Game Boom as Investors Seek Next Hit

'Angry Birds' Fuels Finland Game Boom as Investors Seek Next Hit

The success of "Angry Birds" is helping Finland's other mobile-game fledglings take wing.

Enticed by the title's rapid rise to fame, venture-capital investors are flocking to the Nordic country in search of the next hit. The game developers attracting attention include the makers of "Clash of Clans," "Hay Day" and "Hill Climb Racing." Each of those has had millions of downloads, joining "Angry Birds" in Apple Inc. (AAPL)'s application store's top lists.

Expanding at an annual pace of 57 percent, gaming has emerged as a niche growth industry for the country of 5 million seeking to diversify its economy as once-dominant mobile-phone maker Nokia Oyj (NOK1V) shrinks and cuts thousands of jobs. "Angry Birds" maker Rovio Entertainment Oy attracting $42 million in venture money in 2011 has helped local rivals including Supercell Oy and Grey Area Oy also lure international backers.

"There's an amazing critical mass here," said Sean Seton- Rogers, general partner at London-based Profounders Capital, who joined thousands of investors and entrepreneurs in the Nordic region's biggest startup event, Slush, in Helsinki this week. "Once you start having a viable ecosystem, it feeds off itself."

Helsinki-based Supercell's "Clash of Clans" was the top- grossing iPhone app in the U.S. as of Nov. 21, meaning its players spent the most money, including in-game purchases, according to Oulu, Finland-based Fingersoft Oy's "Hill Climb Racing" was the most downloaded free game. Rovio's "Angry Birds" was named the most downloaded paid app ever this year by Apple, and its "Angry Birds Star Wars" edition is the most popular paid app now, according to

Mobile Boost

While Finnish startups are benefiting now from the extra engineering talent available as Nokia cuts jobs, the country's gaming industry is decades-old and began developing in the era of personal-computer titles. A shift in player preferences toward mobile phones and tablets, resulting in Rovio's success, gave the industry a shot in the arm, Seton-Rogers said.

"The market has really grown with the growth in mobile gaming," said Seton-Rogers, who helps manage 30 million euros ($39 million) of venture funds and first invested in a Finnish startup, mobile gaming cross-promotion network Applifier, last year. "As that's taken off, people pay more attention now."

Supercell got a $12 million investment last year from Accel Partners, which also has a stake in Rovio and was an early backer of Facebook Inc. Grey Area, maker of the location-based multiplayer game "Shadow Cities," has raised money from investors including Index Ventures and London Venture Partners.

'Insanely Powerful'

While Finnish game makers compete in some areas, they cooperate in others, sharing experiences as they seek global growth. Helping with that goal is Startup Sauna, a non-profit organization focused on polishing small businesses into world- beaters, based on pro bono input from coaches like Rovio Chief Marketing Officer Peter Vesterbacka and Supercell Chief Executive Officer Ilkka Paananen.

"It's all about the community, which makes it insanely powerful," said Vesterbacka, a co-founder of Slush, welcoming visitors in his trademark red hooded sweatshirt to the event whose attendance doubled from last year to 3,000. "It's cold and dark, but once you get inside, there are amazing startups."

Developers also tend to move around, spreading talent. Supercell CEO Paananen, for instance, has held top positions in companies including Digital Chocolate Inc. and Sumea Oy, which developed games in the early 2000s in cooperation with Nokia.

Gaming Cluster

Finnish game-industry veterans including Matias Myllyrinne are embracing the new competition. Myllyrinne is the CEO of Remedy Entertainment Oy, the developer behind "Max Payne" and "Alan Wake," which beat "Angry Birds" for Time magazine's game of the year in 2010.

"It's absolutely fantastic -- the birth of a gaming cluster is good for everybody in the field," he said in an interview. "The threshold for me to call up the guys at Supercell or Rovio is not very high, and vice versa."

In a change of pace from blockbuster titles developed for Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360, Remedy has also tried its luck in mobile gaming, selling more than 10 million digital copies of "Death Rally".

"We've started looking at tablets and mobile phones, there are fine opportunities for us to bring our knowhow," he said. "One can go see 'Lord of the Rings' on a big screen or watch YouTube clips, they serve a different function."

Plush Toys

As mobile games typically cost a maximum of a few dollars, and many are free, the revenue the startups generate from game sales is limited. Many target extra revenue from selling ads and in-game features, as well as merchandise such as the ubiquitous "Angry Birds" T-shirts, plush toys and candy.

The game industry in Finland grew 57 percent in 2011 to 165 million euros, according to the Finnish chapter of the International Game Developers Association. Growth has continued this year, with Supercell alone now grossing "clearly above" $500,000 a day, helped by "Clash of Clans" and "Hay Day," Paananen said in an interview. Apple takes a 30 percent cut of what a game on its system grosses, with the developer keeping the rest.

To help fuel the growth, Finland's government is planning tax breaks for minority investments in unlisted growth companies. Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen attended Slush, wearing colorful nail polish as he made his opening remarks, part of a publicity stunt for guitar-learning game "GuitarBots."

The nascent political support, coupled with the thriving game-industry community and the "Angry Birds" success, make it easier for startups to stay in Finland and less necessary to relocate to Silicon Valley to gain funding.

"Helsinki is the best city in the world to build games at the moment," Paananen said. "People understand that it's possible to become global from Finland -- to have an example like Rovio is very inspiring and motivating."

To contact the reporter on this story: Kasper Viita in Helsinki at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christian Wienberg at

Find out more about Bloomberg for iPhone:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Digging Google Analytics

I rarely have time to explore the new features in Google Analytics, but I stumbled across this one, which gives me some great information as a casual blogger. I can imagine the benefits to businesses in understanding their traffic and their customers.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


All too often, I feel like the dumbest person on the planet. I am disregarded in many ways. But, this news about Starbucks and Teavana is very interesting. Here's my comment to a conversation in 2007, and 2009.

  • I think this report is a good approach at addressing the essential aspects of the brand that have led to the unusual success of Starbucks. The inclusion of marketing concepts like aroma show the complexity of their brand appeal, and the expertise of John and Paul, with respect to addressing these current sales issues.   However, I don’t think their problem has to do much with product or process, but evolution. Once Coca-Cola had done all they could do for the soft-drink, they tried to create the New Coke to get beyond the stagnation they were experiencing in the market. They brought back Classic Coke with great success, but that still didn’t address the problem. It wasn’t until they began to diversify their product line and expand their brand to different beverage market segments that movement began to happen again for them.The most amazing thing about the Starbucks phenomenon is the speed of their growth, but its growth nonetheless. I’m not sure they can do much more to improve on what they have accomplished, with respect to the retail experience. I would rather see them begin to expand their brand from maximizing the coffee experience to maximizing the warm-beverage experience. By expanding into the tea market and emphasizing “relaxing stimulation”, I believe they would find more success than improving on something that has succeeded beyond the understanding of the market.I’m a big fan of Teavana, which in my opinion is a spinoff of the Starbucks experience. They’ve taken the tea concept and built a great product and accessory line around it. As I see this retail newcomer expand in the U.S., I realize the product cycle for these types of retail environments is coming to an eventual end, in terms of unusual growth. Before the Starbucks concept totally loses its appeal, why not acquire an alternative experience like Teavana to support the brands mission to enhance the warm-beverage experience?Although Starbucks didn’t invent coffee, I believe their strongest segments (obviously without justifiable research data) value both innovation and exploration. I would venture to say the average Starbucks customer is progressive, compared to the norm, but they lack the time to explore authentic and culturally-enhancing products. Through convenience and iron-clad mainstream brand control, Starbucks has offered this opportunity for Americans to consider themselves unique and different, in a mainstream way. To capitalize on this appeal, I think, would create various opportunities that are not available to existing companies who have failed to initially address the cultural, explorative and enlightening aspects that the “New America” values today.Again, I’m a novice at this, but I hope this helps.
  • Kenyatta … I agree totally with you that the problems SBUX is facing has a lot to do with its hyper-speed evolution. In the past, it would take business six-decades to reach the place SBUX did in three-decades.Not sure the tea opportunity is big enough to make a difference at SBUX. Since we are talking tea, I have to express my disappointment in how SBUX has handled the TAZO brand. SBUX bought the offbeat but high-quality TAZO tea brand in around 2000. They’ve buried it. They’ve homogenized the funky TAZO personality–the package redesigns have sucked the creative soul outta the tazo brand). They’ve blown it with TAZO. TAZO is irrelevant to SBUX. Back in the day we SBUX-marketers were hoping the company would open up TAZO retail stores, but they didn’t.Teavana has been increasing their presence. I’ve been to a few and found them to be adequate. But adequate ain’t good enough. They do nothing remarkable beyond selling tea. It seems they are trying too hard to be the SBUX of Tea than to be the Teavana of Tea. Dig?

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Don't ask my why I love this movie, but it helps me get focused. I need to focus more.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Jusasecretary : Other responsiblities as assigned....

Jusasecretary : Other responsiblities as assigned....: Other responsibilities as assigned which translates into team leader for the coordination of Holiday events within the office.  You know...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Public Administration Timeline

If you haven't tried it yet, I highly recommend doing a timeline in TimeToast. I provides a good visual display of certain concepts.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

BCG research: US skills gap in manufacturing isn’t as bad as feared -

BCG research: US skills gap in manufacturing isn't as bad as feared

By Chris Reidy, Globe Staff

A shortage of US manufacturing skills isn't as bad as feared, according to new research by the Boston Consulting Group.

BCG estimates that the U.S. is short some 80,000 to 100,000 highly skilled manufacturing workers, which works out to less than 1 percent of the nation's 11.5 million manufacturing workers.

And in many cases, the skill shortages are localized. Baton Rouge, Charlotte, Miami, San Antonio, and Wichita, for example, appear to have significant or severe skills gaps, BCG said.

One cause for concern: The average US high-skilled manufacturing worker is 56 years old.

''Shortages of highly skilled manufacturing workers exist and must be addressed, but the numbers aren't as bad as many believe,'' Harold L. Sirkin, a BCG senior partner and co-author of the research, said in a statement. ''The problem is very localized. It's much less of an issue in larger communities, where supply and demand evens out more efficiently thanks to the bigger pool of workers.''

BCG is a global management consulting firm specializing in giving advice on business strategy. It has 77 offices in 42 countries.

Chris Reidy can be reached at

Thank You,

Kenyatta Lovett

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, October 12, 2012

Working With People & Being Effective

I decided to take some time to do some leisure reading to get my mind off my doctoral work - comps and prospectus. So I grabbed a Wired Magazine to get a little geek-therapy. As with all Wired editions, I enjoy the perspectives, and the writing gives me some creative inspiration. The August 2012 issue has a cover/feature article on Steve Jobs, an analysis of his eccentric approach to life and leadership. There were arguments on both sides of the critique; one analyzing the ends and the other concerned about the means.

In any case, the article focused more on the people around Steve Jobs than the man himself. It is a question of balance, and how we can organize our sacrifices to find some form of happiness. Sure, it is easy to tell yourself that you don't have to sacrifice much if you can limit your expectations for your work. And for most people, that idea may work. But please understand that Steve Jobs wasn't that disconnected from people. If that were the case, you wouldn't wait in line for his products. True, the lifestyle may not be for you, but one must admit that the lives of the innovators are necessary in our world. Maybe you don't have to sacrifice much, because the jerks are out there putting it all on the line, putting in the hours, and doing so at the expense of the leisures of life.

My recent journey has shown me one thing for sure. It's hard to be serious about a goal and not find value in the approach that Jobs and others have taken to get things done. It's not something that comes a la carte, in that you can be brutally honest with a product developer, and be totally different when you get home. Even the smallest quest for success requires war, friction, and confrontation. So if it takes horse-trading, political fights, side-deals, and manipulation for an alderman to get a sidewalk built in his/her district, what do you think it takes to make meaningful change in the world?

It's just a thought. I see the downside of the life of Jobs, and there are as many tragedies as successes in his story. I just don't know if there is another option if we so choose to advance our civilization.

Dedicated to those who have made the choice to be warriors at all cost.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Some Tragedies Aren't Tragic At All

In one of the most recent issues of Wired Magazine, Ben Paynter wrote a piece titled The Fire Next Time (2012, p. 21), which focused on the perception that close calls are something to be celebrated. Some bloggers have already commented on this article, and I would like to add something to his point, which may be way off point.

For some time now, I have been chatting with a few of my friends about issues and problems in the world, especially in situations close to us. I often I say that "some tragedies aren't tragic at all", which is my way of pointing out how disasters and tragedies are often cumulative effects; an atomistic compilation of various bad decisions. Before you go to jail on your third strike, you must accumulate two strikes before that one. In every aspect of life we see how misfortunes can accumulate into something worse. Based on Paynter's point, not only can we witness a bad behavioral approach to mistakes or bad decisions in organizations, but we can clearly visualize it in everyday life.

In golf, most good players will tell you that they never follow up a bad shot with another bad shot. But what if the bad shot turns out okay? Will we correct our errors on the course, or count it all victory? And what happens when the same swing, in a different situation, creates disaster for us in the result of a shot that lands in the center of a lake? Can this bad outcome be traced to some previous action that was noted as a success? The dangerous thinking stems from viewing success as a destination, and not a continual process. In academics, a math test can reveal the exact same correct answers in a given classroom, but the process to getting the answer may tell a different story, which is much more relevant to the overall success of the student. Where one student used the correct process, another guessed the answer, while another copied the answer from the one that guessed the answer. I believe this problem in our societal thinking is what Mr. Paynter is talking about.

I will leave this blog entry with a basic statement.

There's not much we can learn from success, and plenty to learn from failure and misfortune. Both deserve the attention and scrutiny necessary to make the improvements necessary to be successful in the future.

Paynter, B. (2012). The Fire Next Time. Wired Magazine, August 2012, pp. 21.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Discussion on Art

A blog entry will soon come from me that is related to the future of art education at the community college level. I know that my focus was to remain centered on expounding my thoughts on structure solutions for organizations in higher education. This entry will certainly pertain to this concept indirectly, and will also highlight my concerns regarding the paradigm currently in practice for higher education, and possibly education as a whole.

In the meantime, please consider and review the current and past literature on the importance of discussing and understanding the key elements of paradigms: ontology, epistemology, and methodology. These concepts will be very relevant to my overall argument, and why the difficulty in improving education relates to a misalignment of the current paradigm and circumstances that exist in today's world.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Another Good Point From the Book Nudge

In chapter 4 of the book, Nudge, titled, "When Do We Need to Nudge?", the authors make a very powerful point about the challenge for people to make choices "that test their capacity for self-control".

Check this statement out:

We have seen that predictable problems arise when people must make decisions that test their capacity for self-control. Many choices in life, such as whether to wear a blue shirt or a white one, lack important self-control elements. Self-control issues are most likely to arise when choices and their consequences are separated in time. At one extreme are what might be called investment goods, such as exercise, flossing, and dieting. For these goods the costs are borne immediately, but the benefits are delayed. For investment goods, most people err on the side of doing too little. Although there are some exercise nuts and flossing freaks, it seems safe to say that not meany people are resolving on New Year's Eve to floss less next year and to stop using the exercise bike so much.

At the other extreme are what might be called sinful goods: smoking, alcohol, and jumbo chocolate doughnuts are in this category. We get the pleasure now and suffer the consequences later. Again we can use the New Year's resolution test: how many people vow to smoke more cigarettes, drink more martinis, or have more chocolate donuts in the morning next year? Both investment goods and sinful goods are prime candidates for nudges. Most (nonanorexic) people do not need any special encouragement to each another brownie, but they could use some help exercising more.

The authors go on to make points around this statement, one being "Knowing What You Like". The change we need today involves a level of self-control that is difficult to grasp by most people. And even though we choose to avoid dealing with the problem, it doesn't make things easier; difficult is probably the inevitability more so than anything. I don't really have a point today, other than to recommend reading the book, if you haven't done so already. And also, I encourage us all to spend time thinking about what decisions we have avoided socially and collectively that impact our performance today and in the future. We now enter an era where both sides of the political line are racing to the extremes to an ideology that centers on great self-control either fiscally or morally. In any case, one must ask if these choices are truly realistic given the assessment of human nature provided in this passage.

Thaler, R. and Sunstein, C. (2008). Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. Yale University Press, New Haven and London.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Data. Information. Decisions. Action. Change

Watch Middle School Moment on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

During my lunch break today, I took a quick view at this video on Frontline. The story has an interesting perspective on the use of data to inform decisions and actions. As in my title the flow should be:
  1. Data produces information
  2. Information influences decisions
  3. Decisions inform action
  4. Action leads to change

This is nothing new to you as a reader of this post. What I question is this. What did it take to make the change? How did this appear on the solution table as an option for the administrators? How many people were involved in the decision to use data?

If you have any advice in counsel on this, I would be most interested in your comments and feedback.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Transactional Cost That Don't Add Value

It is crucially important that you analyze all the transactions that take place in your operation, and objectively consider each point. Some may not be required, and others may have a better solution. Don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting outsourcing or automating everything. But, you have to consider your long-term options, and how these transactions may render you ineffective in the future.

The human nature of most individuals is to do all that is possible to be necessary and required, no matter how their skills or talents fit into the value-chain. As a manager, you have to consider what resources are necessary to build a valuable product/service as efficient as possible. My rambling is just to say that every now and then, it is helpful to question everything you do.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Going Beyond!!!

I'm not sure how to put it, but it's totally okay to go beyond the norm. Really, it's okay. Going beyond is how we get better. How championships are won. How things change.

I'm just saying. Just reach a little. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Interesting Perspective from an Old Book

I ordered Robert Denhardt's book In The Shadow of Organization. The book deals with the dynamic between the individual and the organization, in terms of today's societal context. Let me know your thoughts on the book, if you have reviewed it.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Check out: 'Cutting School' on the Foreign Policy

I thought you might find this Foreign Policy article interesting:

Cutting School
By Michael Peck

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Benefits of Disagreement and Conflict

I would like to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Product of Higher Education

Again, this is a series of posts related to my discussion on designing higher education organizations by product, as opposed to function. So, let's talk about the product of higher education. What is the product? Many deem the product to be the student, and others believe it is education. I consider the product of higher education to be the credential - form of currency. As a potential employee, I can hand you a bachelor degree credential from Harvard, or I can hand you one from State University. Both in concept appear to be the same credential - currency. However, you as an employer have an understanding that you will have to pay more for the Harvard credential. The person makes no difference, nor the knowledge the person actually brings to the table. It's all understood in the currency he or she brings to trade for real dollars in wages.

And that's where we will remain in this framework to understand my point about organizing higher education by product, as opposed to function. For universities that remain fairly consistent in the credentials they produce, function can be a more efficient way to structure the organization. This approach is even justified by the works of Walker and Lorsch, as well as Burns and Stalker. Community colleges, on the other hand, are extremely fluid in the types of credentials offered in any given semester, and thus lend themselves to more efficient organization based on product. So, I argue that the community college structure may have some better forms of efficiency if there was more emphasis, value, on the product form of organizational structure.

I understand there will be many arguments that emphasize the constraints of this approach, and the potential myopic view I have by this decision. I will address these points at a later time. For now, I encourage you to give this some consideration, and begin thinking about the community college product, including applying useful analogies to strengthen the conversation. Think of the assembly line approach, and concepts such as time-to-completion, change-over costs, components, and other aspects of production. My next post will discuss the materials needed to produce this product/credential, in the form of a supply-chain and value-chain perspective. I believe it will shed some better light on the concept of the nation's completion agenda.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Predicament: To What Extent Should You Make Your Point?

So, I find myself in a strange situation, not quite to the point of an impasse. Rarely do I use this blog to express personal concerns, especially when expression has so much emotion it. But I have no choice.

It appears that this world has made a commitment to selfish behavior, probably indirectly tied to the concept that freedom involves only the pursuit of happiness. And I get it, what is more fulfilling than to have all of your efforts return back to you in the form of benefits you deem appropriate for the value you have placed on yourself? But, when the act of sharing, considering, and supporting those things that do not have a clear and immediate benefit to your quest for happiness becomes an uncomfortable inconvenience, I have no choice but to ask why do you involve yourself in things that require teamwork or cooperation?

I get it. You joined forces with someone or others to amplify the benefits coming to you, but surely you see the error of your ways.

I am committed to making a point from now on, to show the selfish how little they understand the concept. One, you rely on others to make it happen for you. Two, you have no mechanism for gratitude or genuine appreciation. And finally, you are horrible at faking it.

So here's what we are going to do. I'm prepared to being a very unpleasant person to deal with - no more pleasantries of appropriateness. I'm tired of pretending. I intend to tear down bridges, and leave it up to you to figure out how to rebuild it, if you deem it necessary. And just when you get the last piece of material on the bridge you had to rebuild, I plan to tear the bridge down again. I think it would be appropriate for anyone who refuses to understand, and is incapable of changing.

Let's do this so I can move on.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Random Thoughts

As soon as I think I will have time to develop blog entries on a consistent basis, life takes over and changes my plans. Anyway, I have plans to begin discussing a blog entry that has been very popular on my blog - organizational structure based on function or product. If you read my entry on this matter, I suggest the potential for a new approach to organizing community colleges based on goals I deem more relevant to the function of community colleges in higher education. The proposed  structure favors product more than function, and it also addresses factors of legitimacy from an institutional perspective.

If time permits, and I can only hope that it will, I will dedicate my next series of entries to a discussion on my structural design, including the pros and cons associated with such a solution. In the mean time, please take a look at this article as food for thought.

Have a good week.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

ACT Official Describes ‘Next Generation’ Tests

The Assessment War Begins!


Sent to you by klcreative via Google Reader:


via Head Count by Eric Hoover on 7/26/12

After the ACT announced plans this month for a new assessment system, an array of provocative headlines followed. The Associated Press proclaimed: "Kindergarten Career Test in the Works by ACT."

Is that an accurate description?

Not really. On Thursday morning, Jon Erickson, president of the ACT's education division, stopped by The Chronicle's office to discuss the organization's plans for its new "college and career readiness" testing system, a digital assessment scheduled to make its debut in 2014. Initially, the system will span grades 3 through 12; later it will expand to cover kindergarten through the second grade.

In short, the purpose of the new series of tests isn't to identify the 5-year-olds who will go on to become doctors, engineers, and asbestos-removal technicians, as deliciously terrifying as that might sound. There will not be a question designed to weed out those who aren't cut out to be astronauts.

As described by Mr. Erickson, the system will assess skills and knowledge associated with success in college and careers, starting with basic reading and mathematical ability, and then progressing to higher-level skills. It will track students' academic progress and professional goals. And it will include measurements of "academic behavioral skills," such as teamwork and motivation.

The assessments, Mr. Erickson said, will help teachers understand which students need help with what as they go along (within courses, at the end of courses, and at the end of the academic year). "This will provide a running movie of students," he said, "rather than a single snapshot in time."

I asked Mr. Erickson what admissions and enrollment officers should know about the tests, which would culminate with the ACT examination. "First, they should know that, hopefully, the pool of students will be larger and more prepared, and that they will hopefully see a reduction in the need for remediation," he said. "Second, there will be opportunities for them to get a feel for what the coming groups of students look like, what their interests are."

Many details—such as the content of the tests, and the costs to states that adopt the assessments—have yet to be revealed. In the coming months, some educators will probably hail the ACT's new system as a breakthrough even as others, wary of too much testing, will condemn it.

Mr. Erickson described the system as a way of unlocking the power of data in real time—and of confronting challenges students encounter well before they're old enough to apply to college. "We know that if you're off-track even by middle school," Mr. Erickson said, "it can be too late."


Things you can do from here:


Symptoms of a New Approach to Online Education

Please take a look at this article. If you are up on the developments by MIT and others, you will notice that a tipping point is soon to occur in how we look at online education, and probably education as a service/organization.

Let me know your thoughts.

Article Link

Friday, June 29, 2012

CFOs Value Human Capital

I finally had time to leisurely read today's Wall Street Journal. I ran across an interesting article about the wish list for leading CFOs - top five. Among the five, two of the future needs centered on human capital - recruitment and education.

These bright minds highlight the importance of having good people inside an organization, with the ability to be innovative and effective. I think their points speak for themselves, please check it out.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

New MacBook Pro

Today, I took home my fourth Apple Laptop in a span of almost twenty years. I am very excited to begin using it. Hopefully, it will inspire me to do more writing.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Help Wanted. But Not For Mid-Level Jobs

I found the following story on the NPR iPhone App:

Help Wanted. But Not For Mid-Level Jobs
by Yuki Noguchi

NPR - May 27, 2012

Unemployment figures for May come out Friday. While the numbers will show how many jobs have been added or lost, they won't tell us much about the quality of positions filled or illustrate what economists already know: that the middle of the job market is hollowing out....

Thank You,

Kenyatta Lovett

Sent from my iPhone

Random Thoughts

I really don't have anything to post today. Rather, I have a small window of time, with not much to do. I could use this time to study for comps, catch up on work, or take care of some things around the house. Instead, I think I will do some exploring today, and reflect on some things I have experienced lately.

I guess the most important thing I have to report to you centers on losing my good friend this past week. His passing away has reminded me how much I haven't done, or paid attention to in life. Not in the way that people come to the same realization after a funeral to do better and connect more with family. I'm talking about realizing how the time is now to make an attempt to change lives on a mass scale. I'm not sure what my contribution will be to the world, but this situation has me thinking about making a meaningful run toward an extremely high level of success - professionally, personally, and spiritually.

Look your friends square in the eye today, and tell them how much you appreciate their presence in your life, and what it means to your journey. And then, leave it at just that - nothing more.

As much as I always say "it is what it is", for the first time in my life, I am struggling to say it today.

Go out and make a difference!

Thursday, May 17, 2012 Article: Facebook IPO Range Final, $45 Price Absolute Maximum Article: Facebook IPO Range Final, $45 Price Absolute Maximum

Facebook's IPO price range is now final, and there will be no amendments to it on Thursday, a source tells CNBC.

Full Story:

Download CNBC Real-Time from the App Store for Free and get Streaming Real-Time quotes, breaking news and the latest videos from CNBC.

Thank You,

Kenyatta Lovett

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Check out: 'The Silence in Sudan' on the Foreign Policy

I thought you might find this Foreign Policy article interesting:

The Silence in Sudan
By Colum Lynch

Thank you,

Kenyatta Lovett
Sent from my iPad

My Guiding Quote Moving Forward

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

Thursday, May 03, 2012 Article: Nouriel Roubini to Michael Milken: 'We May Be Dead in the Short Run' Article: Nouriel Roubini to Michael Milken: 'We May Be Dead in the Short Run'


Full Story:

Download CNBC Real-Time from the App Store for Free and get Streaming Real-Time quotes, breaking news and the latest videos from CNBC.

Thank You,

Kenyatta Lovett

Sent from my iPhone Article: Harvard and MIT to Offer Online Courses. A Step in Lowering College Costs?<> Article: Harvard and MIT to Offer Online Courses. A Step in Lowering College Costs?

Harvard and MIT announced they're forming a new organization to deliver online courses to students around the world. The Christian Science Monitor reports.

Full Story:

Download CNBC Real-Time from the App Store for Free and get Streaming Real-Time quotes, breaking news and the latest videos from CNBC.

Thank You,

Kenyatta Lovett

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Fourth Quarter

The only reason there is a fourth quarter is to give you one last time to make your point. If you cannot make your point by the end of the fourth quarter, then maybe you have no point.

Translation: Make your point, or your point will be made for you.


Monday, April 23, 2012

NYTimes: How Exercise Could Lead to a Better Brain

A mouse that runs all the time is smarter than one that doesn't. Probably true for people, too.

Thank You,

Kenyatta Lovett

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, April 13, 2012


Mexico's IPC Index Plunges After 'Wrong Order' | April 13, 2012 | 05:46 PM EDT

Mexico's benchmark IPC index plunged nearly 2 percent within minutes in late trading Friday after a "wrong order by a broker," the exchange's chief executive told CNBC.

"We are in the process of fixing it," said Luis Tellez, chairman and CEO of the exchange.

Earlier, a spokesman for the exchange said the matter was being looked into to determine whether certain trades were errors that could be corrected or be allowed to stand.

Tellez declined to give further details about the trades involved, but said the sides involved would have to agree to undo them, since "they were operations that were registered in the system."

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Update and Commentary for Today

I know it has been a while since my last personal post. I've been doing way too much in life, including a bizarre trip to Ireland. I have to share my stories about my experiences there a little later this month. But overall, Ireland is a beautiful place with beautiful people. I just can't say the same for everyone that I traveled with.

On to something more interesting - global economics and politics. I had a little free time today to read this month's issue of Foreign Policy, and in my quick skimming, I ran across one of the best articles I've read in a while. It presents a series of meaningful questions about how this world actually functions, and the relationship between public and private entities. Kudos to David Rothkopf for a well-written article that caught my attention. Please let me know if you cannot identify with this brief clip from the article:

"In the United States, it is the defining political issue of the moment. Is government too big, a burden to society, and a threat to individual liberties? Or is it too ineffective a protector of average people, co-opted by big business and moneyed interests? Is it contributing to the general welfare, or is it institutionalizing inequality, serving the few -- the 1 percent -- rather than the many?

In Europe, such controversies also roil furiously but are joined by an intense argument over how much power individual countries should pass on to a collective European Union, and about whose interests are best served by such collaborative governance -- a departure from the traditional idea and role of the nation-state. Ask a German and a Greek this question, and you'll get vastly different answers. " (Rothkopf, D., 2012, Foreign Policy, pp. 46)

If any of my Ph.D. professors are reading this post, please note that I think it ties in well with the Raadschelders book, especially the discussion on the boundaries of government. It also ties into concepts of network theory and New Institutionalism (DiMaggio and Powell). Please give me your thoughts, and let me know what you found interesting about the article. If you are from one of the countries that were compared against some of the U.S. corporate giants, I would love to hear your perspective.

Inside Power, Inc. - By David Rothkopf | Foreign Policy

Inside Power, Inc. - By David Rothkopf | Foreign Policy

Friday, March 30, 2012

BBC E-mail: RIM's strategy may be risky business

I saw this story on the BBC News iPad App and thought you should see it.

** RIM's strategy may be risky business **
With a renewed focus on business users, Blackberry may be able to improve its fortunes - but it will be far from straightforward, writes Dave Lee.
< >

** Disclaimer **
The BBC is not responsible for the content of this e-mail, and anything written in this e-mail does not necessarily reflect the BBC's views or opinions. Please note that neither the e-mail address nor name of the sender have been verified.

Thank you,

Kenyatta Lovett
Sent from my iPad

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Will Improving Economy Bring Surge Of Job Seekers?

I found the following story on the NPR iPhone App:

Will Improving Economy Bring Surge Of Job Seekers?
by Scott Neuman

- March 9, 2012

William Johnson, a graphic designer by trade, recalls with much bitterness the long, grinding job hunt that followed his 2007 pink slip in Milwaukee.

"There were some people I emailed or called 10 or 15 times," he says. "After a few years of that, not hearing back from people ... slowly but surely I just sort of gave up."

Johnson, 44, is one of about 5 million jobless Americans who have stopped looking for work and are therefore no longer counted in the Department of Labor's monthly unemployment rate, which stands at 8.3 percent.

If that number included those discouraged workers, it would be closer to 10 percent. And if it counted the millions of people working part time because they can't find anything full time, the broader rate — known as U-6 — would be more than 15 percent.

As the U.S. labor market slowly improves and the economy gains traction, many frustrated job seekers will dust themselves off and start submitting resumes again.

How Many And How Fast?

In fact, there are signs it's already happening. Friday's jobs report shows that the labor participation rate edged up, meaning more people are looking for work. Meanwhile, Manpower, the country's largest employment-services firm, says it has seen a 20 percent to 30 percent increase in inquiries from job seekers in just the past few weeks.

"We're seeing people whose unemployment insurance has run out who are taking a more serious look at their prospects again," says Sunny Ackerman, vice president and general manager for major markets at Manpower.

But nobody seems to know exactly how many people will come off the sidelines or how rapidly they will move. If it happens quickly, it's possible the unemployment rate could edge up, because people who had dropped off the Labor Department's radar would suddenly be counted again.

Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute, doesn't think workers will flood the market "until job prospects improve significantly" — and at the current rate of job growth, that could take years.

"We don't have some historical perspective to compare this to and go, 'OK, we know from experience that when the unemployment rate gets to X, or the number of jobs gets to whatever, that's when people will start coming back,' " she says.

The Role Of Demographics

Regardless of how many people re-enter the fray, they aren't likely to cause any major swings in the unemployment rate. A recent study by Wells Fargo Securities concludes in part that there's a natural attrition at work — baby boomers are retiring, moving out of the job pool and leaving a bit of room for others.

Economists also say many older people who lost jobs late in their careers are finding it hard to get rehired and may never come back. And many younger and middle-aged people, frustrated with their prospects, are hoping that more education may give them new, marketable skills.

"A lot of these people have opted out of the labor market by going back to school or staying in school," says Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist for IHS Global Insight.

That's where Johnson's path led him. Things got so tight financially that he was forced to move in with his elderly parents in Racine, Wis., where he became the primary caregiver for his ailing mother.

"I began to think, 'The heck with resuming a job search in graphic design, I'll see what I can do in health care,' " Johnson says. He's planning to cash in part of his retirement savings and go back to school to become a certified nursing assistant.

The two-year program will likely keep him out of the job market for some time.

'I'd Take Anything'

Younger, less educated job seekers have had it particularly tough since the downturn that began in late 2007. But even those who are middle-aged and hold advanced degrees have had difficulty.

Mindy Martin of Olympia, Wash., has a master's degree in counseling and lost her job three years ago.

"I'd take anything, really, that would offset the cost of child care and make it worth me being out of the home," says the 38-year-old mother of two young children.

Jobs in her field that once were advertised at starting salaries of about $32,000 a year are now being offered at minimum wage, Martin says.

In the meantime, she says the family has been scraping by on her husband's job, which is steady but not well-paying. They are current on their house payments but have racked up about $15,000 in credit card debt in the months since her unemployment insurance ran out.

Martin says she still looks at the job listings a few times a week, though she finds the whole process demoralizing.

"I am an optimistic person, so I like to imagine in five years that I will be doing something that will both pay the bills and is satisfying work for me," she says. "But my track record is not very good. I just don't know."

Slowly But Surely?

Azhar Iqbal, a co-author of the Wells Fargo report, says he is cautiously optimistic about the future for discouraged workers. The job market, he says, is slowly getting better.

"Once people have really grasped that, they will say 'OK' and get back in the market," Iqbal says. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

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