Creating Generational Legacies

Friday, May 26, 2017

Zuckerberg and Altman push for BAsic Universal Income

Mark Zuckerberg joins Silicon Valley bigwigs in calling for government to give everybody free money

  • Zuckerberg presented to Harvard Students  and called for universal basic income, echoing other elite members of Silicon Valley

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What Next in a Global Labor Landscape in Flux?


By Kimberly Hogan

Focus on job creation 

“I see aspirations converging all over the world and I’m really worried about it because unless we move more quickly in fighting poverty, unless we move more quickly in creating jobs, thwarted aspirations could turn into something really negative.”

– Dr. Jim Yong Kim, World Bank Group President

How would you describe the modern work landscape? Confusing, upside-down, stark, ever-changing? Many factors have contributed to this disorientation: technology, information access, constant connectivity, globalization, and much more. Even the concept of a traditional work week has eroded.

The gig economy is here to stay - risk transference from the corporate to the individual

As of January 2016 regular “remote work” among the non-self-employed population, has grown 103 percent since 2005 in the U.S. and continues to grow globally. Meanwhile, the ranks of independent contractors swell as on-demand services become a more prominent segment of the workforce. 

What are the repercussions of such a disruption and how are our employers, recruiters, education systems, and communities responding?

Those are the themes that framed a Skoll World Forum session called A Work Landscape in Flux for Young People

As Jim Kim mentioned in the opening plenary of Skoll Week, now more than ever we need to pay close attention to these dynamics and anticipate the impacts. “Aspirations linked to opportunity yield dynamism,” he told the crowd. “Aspirations linked to frustration yield conflict, violence, and extremism.” There seems to be no better time to have this discussion.

Marina Gorbis, Executive Director of Institute for the Future (IFTF), set the stage by describing what she calls the “digital coordination economy.” This is our current age: built on the foundation of technology, connectivity, context, and coordination. New forms of efficiency, driven by individuals connecting those in need to services available, has created a dynamic gig economy.

Sounds like a western perspective? Other panelists described similar shifts in other regions of the world. Marwa Moaz, Co-founder and COO of Bamyan Media, described how gig economies help formalize the informal work sector in Egypt. Forty percent of Egyptian Uber drivers were previously unemployed. Driving Uber, said Moaz, gives them autonomy and a reliable income, and they get paid on time.

Dina El Mofty, CEO and founder of INJAZ Egypt, described how young people are at the forefront of this movement, creating their own economy, especially in the Middle East, a region with the highest youth unemployment rate in the world. Organizations like her own have empowered 500,000 young people in Egypt and 1,000,000 in the Middle East by focusing on addressing work readiness and entrepreneurship.

Education and upskilling is key

Fhazil Wamalwa, an educator and social entrepreneur who works with the M-Soma Institute and DISA Energy Management, said that the youth unemployment rate in Kenya is over 40 percent. He stressed how we need to help young people improve their skill sets to better match emerging jobs. Perhaps this is a root cause of the issue of global unemployment, he offered.

In the gig economy, the weight of risk is moved from the corporation to the individual, a burden for which many are unprepared. Healthcare options and individual insurance are harder to come by for those juggling jobs for a living wage.

Many growing job sectors rely on independent workers: military, IT / computer science, agriculture, fishing, and forestry. We may need an overhaul of the social safety infrastructure to mitigate this growing problem of individual risk.

The opportunity - matching jobs skills to jobs available - 

Each of the voices in this session found consensus around the need to match job skills to jobs available. But by whom, and how?

El Mofty noted that engagement with the government is critical. She cautioned though against waiting for government-led curriculum shifts; the marketplace is changing far too fast. INJAZ Egypt works with the Ministry of Education to partner with the private sector to teach work-ready skills to young people. These programs can create appetite, she said, and link students to the outside world through mentorship.

VET - vocational education is key as part of the solution -

Gorbis mentioned how some U.S. community colleges are implementing a “learning is earning” model that requires students to be employed while earning their degree (preferably in a job related to their field of study). This approach encourages students to apply new skills in real time. Still, education and training must adapt curricula to match the actual needs of the marketplace, and quickly!

Parents can exacerbate the issue by pressuring their children to follow more traditional routes where there may no longer be a job market, said Moaz. Media has an opportunity to educate and shift mindsets. Wamalwa spoke to an interesting approach that M-Soma Institute has developed to quickly scale up individual technical skills by offering short-term training courses to young people before they pursue costly post-secondary studies. This not only equips students with a new set of “real time” applicable skills, but also allows them to earn an income and save for college or university.

The future of jobs will be different to what it is now  - if we don't chang- it will be at our peril! 

The question remains: can we adapt fast enough? It’s the pace that makes navigating this “brave new world” such a challenge. Will we forever play catch up? This loops back to Jim Kim’s thoughts. We need a sense of urgency, of personal responsibility, and of community to tackle these challenges. We need to play our part in empowering, educating, and creating opportunity for the next generation. We can all be mentors, and perhaps that’s one place to start.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

7 ways to prevent your ideas from getting killed

Great article by 

A lot of my business ideas got killed in my 30-year-career. In practice, I have learned the hard way that if your new idea doesn’t fit your organisation, it will be rejected and nothing will materialize in the end. That's why I like to help you with 7 ways to prevent your ideas from getting killed.

Ideas are stopped by a lot of "NO's"

The single biggest obstacle at the start of innovation is one single word: NO. 

If your idea is not new,  it’s not innovation, it will get a lot of opposition. 


As startup partners and financers will confront you with a lot of doubts. As a corporate innovator it will be your colleagues and managers giving comments like:

  • No, we have always done it this way...
  • No, our customers won’t like that!
  • No, we don’t have time for this…
  • No, it’s not possible...
  • No, it's too expensive!
  • No, let’s be realistic…
  • No, that’s not logical…
  • No, we need to do more research…
  • No, there's no budget…
  • No, top management won’t agree...
  • No, the market is not ready yet...
  • No, it might work in other places but not here...
  • No, that's way too risky...
  • No, it doesn't fit our strategy...
  • No, that’s for the future...

Be prepared to be met by all these idea-killers along the way. It might even spin you out of your company, as there is strong evidence that many of the new ideas implemented in new ventures are generated while the employee was working for a parent firm in the same industry:

 71% of all startups replicated or modified an idea encountered in previous jobs.

People and companies are risk-averse

The origin of all the opposition you encounter is that in essence most people and companies avoid risks. Moving beyond what they normally do makes them uncertain. In my lectures when I ask, “Who of you wants to be an innovator?” most hands go up in the air. When I follow up with, “Who of you wants to run a personal risk?” a lot of those hands go back down. For corporate innovators it’s very frustrating when you’ve been assigned to come up with great new ideas only to see nothing materialize because the same managers who gave you your assignment say ‘no’ to every idea, business case or prototype you present. First of all, it’s a pity for all the work you and your team have put into it. And secondly, your organization is still lacking innovative solutions. However, your chances of surviving the innovation maze will rise if your idea meets the company’s strategy and innovation criteria.

7 Ways to check if your organisation is prepared to adopt your idea and make it reality

Helmut Panke, the ex-CEO of the BMW Group, said, 

“My biggest challenge is saying ‘no’ to projects that are exciting, but don’t fit BMW’s strategy.” 

He hits the nail on its head. Your idea might be really exciting, but if it does not fit your company it will be killed sooner or later, most often early on at the front end. That’s why it’s wise to check this is as early as possible in the innovation process.

In my view there are 7 ways you to check if your idea fits your organization, preventing your idea from getting killed. Just ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Has your idea the potential to attain revenue -, cost saving - or profit targets for your organisation? If not, rethink your business model.
  2. Does your idea fit the processes of your company? If not, would your organisation be open to partner, or co-create them with others?
  3. Does your idea fit the people of your company? If not, would your organisation be open hiring new people with different skill sets or operate it with others?
  4. Does your idea fit the strategy of your company? If not, how can you tweak your idea to make it inclusive?
  5. Does your idea fit the investment budgets of your organisation? If not, how can you lower the investments and/or find external financers to join in?
  6. Does your idea fit the customers of your organization? If not, how can you get access to these new target groups? Can you co-market the idea?
  7. Does your idea fit the present brand(s) of your organization? If not, can you introduce a new brand or co-brand the idea?

Well, if you have ticked six or seven boxes you’ve got a match. You can proceed with the next activity and work out the details later in the new business case. If you have ticked three to five boxes the match with your organisation is doubtful at the very least. Try to pivot your idea and business model to come up with a great idea which matches your organisation better. Or you might spin out your idea as a separate startup. If you have ticked two or even fewer boxes, there is no match at all with your organisation and spinning out your idea and the intellectual property rights could be a good option.

So check first if your idea fits the goals of your managers and your organisation, if you want to prevent your idea to be rejected. I wish you lots of success on your innovation journeys.

Do you want to improver your innovation skills and results? Join our next training in the FORTH innovation methodology Oct 29 - Nov 3, 2017. Check it out at:


  • “Performance Driver: Helmut Panke”, Businessweek, June 7, 2004, p. 40.
  • Developing New Ideas: Spin-outs, Spinoffs or Internal Divisions, Radoslawa Nikolowa, May 2011, working paper, p 2.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Elon Musk goes into solar power

Bob Pritchard's Column 

The new Tesla Solar Roof went on sale last Wednesday and Elon Musk’s enthusiasm for the product is amazing, rivalling that of the new Tesla, his Mars colonization, the Hyperloop, AI or his Boring Tunnels company.
Musk has always been a huge supporter of solar power. He likes to point out that humanity has a compelling alternative to fossil-fuel energy: the giant fusion reactor in the sky that bathes the planet every day with free power.  Solar also fits into his master plan, which involves eliminating greenhouse-gas emissions by electrifying transportation; backing up the biosphere with SpaceX, which would make humanity a multi-planetary species; and powering it all with solar energy.
If you are building a new property or replacing your roof, why not replace it with a roof that generates power and saves you money over the long haul? If you stay in your house for 25 – 30 years you’ll replace your roof at least once. With a traditional roof, at a cost of about $US10,000, you maintain the value of the home, but you don’t necessarily add much to it. The Solar Roof should last  at least twice as long as a traditional roof and it will reduce your electricity costs and, paired with a Tesla Powerpack battery, provide you with backup energy.
The up-front costs are high, but a Solar Roof could net a homeowner tens of thousands of dollars over 30 years.  In addition, Musk’s solar roofs look great with four different tile choices for the Solar Roof by 2018. Last week, Musk said for far too long, we’ve been deprived of rooftop beauty  and that Tesla had struggled to find sufficiently beautiful roofs upon which to base its designs.
The Solar Roof could be financed through a homeowner’s mortgage (adding, say $US20,000 for an effectively 30-year net savings of around $US5,000, making the roof effectively free). If the home’s value rises in line with the rate of inflation it will become part of an appreciating asset, further enhancing the homeowner’s bottom line and net worth.  In fact, outside of financial instruments, there really aren’t that many ways to buy products that will actually be worth more tomorrow than today.
There will be some depreciation with a Solar Roof, and maintenance costs could be a factor. But when the real-estate value of the property is taken into account, a homeowner should come out well ahead.  As Musk said “ In the future we want to look around and see beautiful roofs that draw energy from the sun.”
Sounds good to me.
The use of solar energy has not been opened up because the oil industry does not own the s

Monday, May 15, 2017

Will Walmart survive?

Another great gem from Curtis Carlson

PS WalMart is an interesting study.  An efficiency company (they all go away if they don’t innovate) that could have become Amazon and missed it.  Nokia all over again.  Can they recover?  In all the world’s history only a tiny fraction make it.  

Infomedia : Sky’s the limit with cloud EPC

05/15/2017 | 05:59 am

By Jonathan Rubinsztein | CEO of Infomedia. 

The Infomedia team celebrated a very important win recently. We proudly announced that after a global competitive tender,Infomedia was selected to be a technology partner to Nissan Motor Company.

We signed an exclusive agreement with Nissan to supply ourMicrocat Electronic Parts Catalog software (EPC) to Nissan's global dealership network.

Nissan's General Manager of Global Service Engineering, Mr. Shigeru Narita, said: 'We are very excited to have selected Infomedia as our partner. We believe that they have the best technology, people and organisation for our global rollout, and we look forward to implementing their EPC throughout our business to drive the business change needed to get us onto a world leading platform.'

We think some of the reasons our customers select Infomedia are:

  • Established global operations - Ability to deliver a localised EPC in 29 languages, to over 180 countries, and provide regional support in 16 languages.
  • Trusted Partner - Simple, all-inclusive business model.
  • Fast, accurate and intuitive EPC - Easy to learn, easy to use EPC.
  • Solution for the entire Parts Supply Chain - Capabilities to extend parts selling beyond the Dealer to Collision and Trade customers.
  • Technology leadership - Industry leading SaaS infrastructure that supports 150,000 users.

In terms of our technology leadership, we have the ability to replace their legacy system with a next-generation cloud-based EPC, with automated data updates and 'always on' infrastructure.

Some automakers like Nissan, have established a clear direction for their cloud strategy, backed by a deep understanding that cloud is a powerful enabler for innovation and brand growth. For other automakers, the clock is ticking, as the rate of vehicle technology change increases and customer attitudes towards dealership service evolve.

Cloud-based technology offers automakers and dealerships new capabilities to not only improve employee productivity, but limitless potential to improve customer service and satisfaction.

My view is that new consumer and competitive requirements are creating a perfect storm that will place even more importance for dealerships to adopt cloud applications.

Next generation technology - easy, with no fuss

Here at Infomedia, we were the first to have a 100% online, commercially released EPC. So why do we believe in cloud so strongly? Because we can remove the hassle, risk and cost associated with fixed dealership technology.

My philosophy is: systems and processes should only be implemented if they reduce the complexity of a process, reduce cost, and speed things up - and that's exactly what cloud technology does.

For a busy parts counter at a dealership, removing the need to install, update and manage catalogue data means more time can be spent with the customer. Our Microcat software provides affordable technology with an always on, always up-to-date solution that allows dealerships to focus on business growth.

For automakers, cloud technology empowers hassle-free data updates with self-serve tools that publish parts pricing information in real-time. Our automaker customers tell me this is a very powerful and big competitive advantage for them.

Increasing business agility for the fast-paced world

When I speak with our key OEM customers, I hear a common story: dealerships are under constant pressure from aftermarket competitors. Customer expectations are evolving, and I believe cloud technology and comparable retail experiences are playing a key part in defining those new customer expectations; eBay and Amazon make it so simple!

To customers, fast delivery times are a standard expectation - the sooner the part is delivered to the workshop, the faster the customer can pick up their car. Therefore, ordering the right repair part, the first time, is crucial for a dealership's parts department. This is where I believe cloud EPCs like Microcat have the advantage. Faster cycle times in this industry means a tangible impact on customer satisfaction and profitability, and cloud technology is the enabler.

With cloud-based applications, users have more business agility and flexibility. This is backed by a study from Harvard Business Review, where 64% of respondents reported that the use of cloud has increased their organisation's agility. Cloud applications mean instant access to information, better customer experience and potential for harnessing actionable insights in real-time.

Flexibility to work anytime, anywhere

Being someone who is constantly travelling and on the move, it's imperative for me to be able to work remotely, as and when I like. All my files, data, information and detail is stored online in the cloud. I don't need to be tied to a single computer or laptop, and I can switch between multiple devices.

Our cloud applications also bring this freedom of movement to dealership staff - we empower them to go beyond the parts counter and be innovative with their sales strategies. A cloud EPC can easily be used on location by field staff when selling parts to collision and mechanical trade customers.

Exposing the dealership catalogue information to trade customers is also made easy by using cloud applications. Self-service and digital transformation of the sales process can mean a gigantic leap in dealership efficiency, and we are seeing increased interest in our Trade EPCs by OEMs who want to transform their retail parts environment.

Collaboration & insights

Not only do we build great cloud applications, but we are also fearless adopters of cloud technology for our internal organisation. One of the most challenging things about leading a global company is consistency. We might have multiple office locations around the world, but we are 'One Infomedia', and the cloud enables us to collaborate seamlessly.

With all data and information being stored centrally, and available 24/7, it's much easier to communicate, collaborate and draw insights.

I believe collaboration is an area of opportunity for automakers and dealerships. During the past year, I have seen many examples of vehicle and customer data being stored on automaker network silos. However, dealerships will not capitalise on this information until OEMs invest in cloud applications.

Our Microcat EPC platform is designed to scale, and we implement a large volume of local parts information at country level. This not only assists dealerships with more relevant and faster sales transactions, but it also creates potential for OEMs to use analytics via the cloud to monitor and improve supply chain processes.

The cloud and its silver lining

These reasons are precisely why Nissan has chosen to implement our cloud-based Microcat EPC to their global dealership network. With automatic online updates, dealerships will have access to the latest automaker parts data, right at their fingertips, 24/7.

Having easy and instant access to accurate parts information means Parts Managers also have greater insight and control. They are more agile, and are empowered to act on the information and implement actions in a shorter turnaround time. This benefit extends to Nissan's customers, who will be able to get their car repaired in a timelier manner.

We're delighted to have Nissan onboard, and we're confident that our technological innovations will continue to reinvent their parts operations into the future.

Given the significant opportunities presented by cloud technology, I expect more OEMs to adopt cloud-based EPCs to keep up with fundamental shift in user experiences, customer expectations and competitive pressures.

Jonathan Rubinsztein BCom (Hons), MBA, FAICD
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) & Managing Director

Jonathan Rubinsztein commenced his appointment as CEO & Managing Director on the Board of Infomedia in March 2016. Mr Rubinsztein has a proven track record of leading high performance teams in the technology sector.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

How Amazon Killed The Department Store, In Five Charts

The following five charts demonstrate how Amazon has taken  on retail - one of the most venerable sectors of the US economy, one which employs nearly 16 million workers... and won.

No growth in department stores in the past decade:

Department stores vs Internet shopping total sales:

And annual growth, or lack thereof...

At the current pace, online sales will surpass total General Merchandise sales in the next 2-3 years.

Finally, the market cap of Amazon alone is more than 8 times the entire US department store index.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Face-to-face contact improves our health

Courtesy Bill Gross - idea labs 

Susan Pinker gave a great talk showing how different parts of your brain light up with human contact, but only face-to-face contact and interaction engaged the brain that way. 

Passively watching a video didn’t do the same thing.

 She studied a small village in Sardinia where the population has an above-average number of centinarians, male and female, which she attributes in part to the constant/close personal interactions of the villagers.

She showed this graph of staying alive:

Social integration and close relationships topped the list, even above smoking, drinking, exercise, being overweight, and clean air! 

She said that genes account for 25% of the variance in longevity, and lifestyle accounts for 75%. 

She said that women live longer than men because they are more likely to prioritize close, in-person friendships. 

She urged people to “build your village, it’s actually a matter of life and death.”