glomc00 - The Global Millennium Class
Topic: agriculture & rural development | authors | business & finance | design | economy | education | entrepreneurship & innovation | environment | general | healthcare | human resources | nonprofit | people | policy & governance | publishing | reviews | science & technology | university research
Date: 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | jan'17 | feb'17 | mar'17 | apr'17 | may'17 | jun'17 | jul'17 | aug'17 | sep'17 | oct'17 | nov'17 | dec'17 | jan'18 | feb'18 | mar'18 | apr'18 | may'18 | jun'18 | jul'18 | aug'18 | sep'18 | oct'18 | nov'18 | dec'18 | jan'19 | feb'19 | mar'19 | apr'19 | may'19 | jun'19
How computer science can improve learning in biology | Education Technology, 03 jul 2019
7 healthcare essentials you should always pack in your holiday suitcase | Irish Examiner, 03 jul 2019
Digital Health Literacy - a prerequisite competency for future healthcare professionals | European Public Health Alliance, 03 jul 2019
Nouriel Roubini sees trade war tipping global economy into a recession | Hellenic Shipping News, 03 jul 2019
Selective education and social mobility | The Guardian, 02 jul 2019
In healthcare, ethical AI is a life-or-death issue: Q&A with AI Ethics Lab's founder and director | Becker's Hospital Review, 02 jul 2019
Investors are excited about Southeast Asia. Here's their advice for start-ups | CNBC, 02 jul 2019
The Global Economy's Just About Due for a Rebound | Bloomberg, 02 jul 2019
The Education Deserts of Rural America | The Atlantic, 01 jul 2019
Techdriven agriculture holds promise for African youth | Africa Times, 27 june 2019
Policy & Governance
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 jul 2019
Experts views are divided on how non-profit hospitals benefit communities. In US, non-profit hospitals received tax-benefits valued at over US$ 24 billion annually in 2011. In exchange for tax exemptions these hospitals provide 'community benefits' like free and subsidized care, investments in public health, community-based health initiatives intended to address the social determinants of health, such as food or housing insecurity. But, many observers argue that hospitals avoid making sustained community investments in favor of counting millions of dollars of 'discounts' to low-income patients as community benefits while aggressively pursuing unpaid bills. Krisda Chaiyachati and Rachel Werner, Senior Fellows at LDI University of Pennsylvania, have recently written two research to add information to this debate. They provide detailed estimates of how much hospitals spend on different types of community benefits, whether community benefits are matched to local need, and what effects community benefits have on health outcomes. Mr. Chaiyachati and Ms. Werner analyzed IRS tax data from over 1600 non-profit hospitals. By law, hospitals report total spending on community benefits, broken out by health care-related spending (e.g. free care), community-directed spending (e.g. anti-smoking initiatives or funds for local community organizations), and research and educational activities. To standardize comparisons, the authors measured all spending as shares of total hospital expenditures. Researchers find out that hospitals still rely on discounted charity care to meet community benefits requirements. In 2014, non-profit hospitals reported that they spent an average of 8.1% (US$ 17 million) of their total expenditures on community benefits, more than 80% of which was health care-related. On average, 6.7% (US$ 11 million) of expenditures were on health care services, compared to 0.7% (US$ 1.2 million) for community-directed contributions. The remainder of community benefits were on educational and research initiatives. The results are disappointing in light of a second study from Ms. Werner and Mr. Chaiyachati, which suggests that community-directed spending could improve health outcomes, specifically, 30-day readmission rates. Readmissions rates are a useful measure of health care quality-capturing in-hospital care, discharge planning, and follow-up. Since the Affordable Care Act, hospitals have been financially penalized for high readmission rates. The evidence from research suggests that increased investment in the social determinants of health, rather than simply writing off free care, has a significant impact on measurable health outcomes. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jun 2019
Wikipedia explains 'Spin' as, 'A form of propaganda in public relations and politics that is achieved through knowingly providing a biased interpretation of an event or campaigning to persuade public opinion in favor or against some organization or public figure. While traditional public relations and advertising may also rely on altering the presentation of the facts, "spin" often implies the use of disingenuous, deceptive, and highly manipulative tactics.' Researchers (Paris Descartes University: Isabelle Boutron, Romana Haneef, Philippe Ravaud; Hôpital Hôtel Dieu, Paris: Amélie Yavchitz, Gabriel Baron; Inspire: John Novack; New York University: Ivan Oransky; University of Minnesota: Gary Schwitzer) in their study, 'Three randomized controlled trials evaluating the impact of "spin" in health news stories reporting studies of pharmacologic treatments on patients'/caregivers' interpretation of treatment benefit', published in journal BMC Medicine, found that participants were more likely to believe the treatment was beneficial when news stories were reported with spin. Prof. Gary Schwitzer of University of Minnesota and founder/publisher of HealthNewsReview.org, says, 'This is important research because misinterpretation of the content of news stories due to spin could have important public health consequences as news articles can affect patient and public behavior.' Prof. Schwitzer says that spin can originate in all stages of the flow of information from researchers to the public. Researchers suggest that spin can be managed by taking the following steps - Train researchers to understand how the public uses the media and, in response, frame their communication to the public in a way which is truthful, relevant, understandable and devoid of distortion or hype; Train PR professionals, journalists and other communicators to detect spin and accurately convey research results; Educate news consumers on the resources available to help them critically evaluate health claims; Support research for developing ideal approaches for communicating scientific and health information. Read on...
University of Minnesota News:
Research Brief: Evaluating the effect of spin in health care news
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 jun 2019
According to the research study, 'Comparison of Costs of Care for Medicare Patients Hospitalized in Teaching and Nonteaching Hospitals', published in JAMA Network Open by researchers from Harvard University, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston University and Weill Cornell Medical College (Laura G. Burke, Dhruv Khullar, Jie Zheng, Austin B. Frakt, E. John Orav, Ashish K. Jha), 'Total costs of care are similar or somewhat lower among teaching hospitals compared to non-teaching hospitals among Medicare beneficiaries treated for common medical and surgical conditions.' Researchers analyzed data from more than 1.2 million hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older at more than 3000 major, minor, and non-teaching hospitals from 2014 to 2015 for some of the most common medical and surgical conditions, including pneumonia, congestive heart failure, and hip replacement. Prof. Ashish K. Jha, Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, says, 'These findings are surprising. We always assumed that we had to trade off the better outcomes at teaching hospitals with higher costs. It appears that, at least as far as Medicare is concerned, their payments for care are actually a bit less when patients go to a teaching hospital.' Lead author of the study, Prof. Laura G. Burke of Harvard Medical School, says, 'These findings support the idea that to truly understand variation in health care costs, it's important to look not at just what happens in the hospital but on total spending for an acute episode.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 jun 2019
'Medical reversal' is a term that defines instances in which new and improved clinical trials show that current medical practices are ineffective or misguided. Medical reversals often concern medications but they can also affect surgical procedures. A new meta-analysis of 3000 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published in three leading medical journals over the last 15 years identifies 396 medical reversals (154 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 113 in the Lancet, and 129 in the New England Journal of Medicine). Researchers (Oregon Health & Science University-OHSU: Diana Herrera-Perez, Alyson Haslam, Tyler Crain, Jennifer Gill, Catherine Livingston, Victoria Kaestner, Michael Hayes, Vinay Prasad; University of Maryland School of Medicine: Dan Morgan; University of Chicago: Adam S. Cifu) carried out most of these studies (92%) in high-income countries, while 8% were performed in low- or middle-income countries, including China, India, Malaysia, Ghana, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. Most of the medical reversals occurred in the fields of cardiovascular disease (20%), public health and preventive medicine (12%), and critical care (11%). Specifically, the most common interventions involved medications (33%), procedures (20%), vitamins and supplements (13%), devices (9%), and system interventions (8%). Lead author of the study, Diana Herrera-Perez of OHSU, referring to well-known endeavors to assess the validity of clinical practices says, 'We wanted to build on these and other efforts to provide a larger and more comprehensive list for clinicians and researchers to guide practice as they care for patients more effectively and economically.' Prof. Vinay Prasad of OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, says, 'Once an ineffective practice is established, it may be difficult to convince practitioners to abandon its use. By aiming to test novel treatments rigorously before they become widespread, we can reduce the number of reversals in practice and prevent unnecessary harm to patients. We hope our broad results may serve as a starting point for researchers, policymakers, and payers who wish to have a list of practices that likely offer no net benefit to use in future work.' Co-lead study author Alyson Haslam of OHSU, says, 'Taken together, we hope our findings will help push medical professionals to evaluate their own practices critically and demand high-quality research before adopting a new practice in [the] future, especially for those that are more expensive and/or aggressive than the current standard of care.'Read on...
Medical News Today:
Hundreds of current medical practices may be ineffective
Authors: Ana Sandoiu, Gianna D'Emilio
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 15 jan 2019
According to the recent report published by the British Council and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), 'Developing an Inclusive and Creative Economy: The state of social enterprise in Indonesia', millenials are leading a surge in the creation of business that are working to create positive social and environmental impact. More than 70% of a surveyed sample group mentions that the social enterprises started in the last two years and about 50% of the social entrepreneurs are aged between 25 and 34 years. The reports estimates that there are more than 342000 social enterprises in the region. In Indonesia more than 1/5th of social enterprises work in the creative industries, contrary to other countries in Aisa-Pacific region, such as the Philippines, Sri Lanka and India, where agriculture, education and health dominate. Ari Susanti, a senior program manager for the British Council in Indonesia, says, 'Many young people want to work in an area where they can make change, not just earn a salary.' According to the World Bank, Indonesia is an emerging middle-income country that, over the last 20 years, has seen growth in GDP at the same time as poverty has been cut in half. These conditions are enabling the growth of social enterprises. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, executive secretary of UNESCAP, says, 'UN body would support the development of social enterprise as a key means of building an inclusive and creative economy. Social enterprise is an opportunity for Indonesia...This report provides a solid evidence base to inform future policies and strategies.' These social enterprises mainly support and benefit local communities, women and young people. Moreover, they have also become a substantial source of employment - the number of full-time workers employed by social enterprises increased by 42% from 2016 to 2017. The rise in social enterprises is also proving good for gender equality - the social enterprise workforce is estimated to be made up of 69% women and is responsible for a 99% increase of full-time female employees in 2016-17. Government, corporations and universities have all come together to offer their support to social enterprises. Bambang P. S. Brodjonegoro, economist and the Minister of National Development Planning of Indonesia, wrote in the introduction of the report, 'The government aims to be an active partner of social entrepreneurs and is committed to continue building and nurturing the social entrepreneurship ecosystem.' Read on...
Millennials lead social enterprise surge in Indonesia
Author: Lee Mannion
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 oct 2018
Voters have to apply different standards to political advertising and take them with a pinch of salt. According to Prof. Jonathan Rose, Dept. of Political Studies at Queen's University (Canada), says, 'Political ads aren't subject to the same rules as other kinds of advertising. The Advertising Standards Council is a the professional regulatory body that regulates truth in advertising so I cannot say a nonfactual claim in an ad...But that truth-in-advertising doesn't apply at all to political advertising, so, literally, there's no method of enforcing truth-in-advertising.' Even though there can be limits on spending by political parties and by third parties, but it is hard to enforce the limit on online campaigns as the message can be spread for little to no expense and with virtually no oversight. Prof. Rose says, 'A lot of advertising is priming...priming is putting an item high on the public agenda by way of reinforcing a message...Priming is putting the ballot question in the minds of voters.' There are other tricks that third parties can utilize, for example portraying them as amateurish and create a perception of being a grassroots movement but in reality has been backed by big money. He advises people to be aware of political advertising in any form and be critical and do research about the accuracy of the content. He also suggests, 'At least use the ads to have a conversation with family and friends about the claims they're hearing. If you use an advertisement as a sort of a talking point to thinking about these issues then that’s at least better than accepting them without question.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jul 2018
Collaborative partnerships between local government, community, nonprofit organizations, academia and businesses can do wonders to enhance the various aspects of localities, cities and regions. An old factory site being rehabilitated as a business park in Lackawanna (New York, USA) is an example of sustainable redevelopment and the impact a local government can have on climate change. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Deputy Executive Maria Whyte and others officials visited Conrnell Universuty campus and discussed the redevelopment project with faculty and shared county initiatives focused on sustainability and economic growth, quality of life and building strong communities. Mr. Poloncarz says, 'Strong partnerships and sustainable practices are essential to progress, giving more people a say in their community and making responsible use of our resources to effect change that benefits generations yet to come.' Basil Safi, Executive Director of the Office of Engagement Initiatives at Cornell, says, 'The event was organized as a launching point to further community-engaged research and learning collaborations with Erie County', seeding ideas for potential projects involving Cornell students and faculty.' Initiatives for a Smart Economy (I4SE) is an economic development strategy Erie County enacted in 2013 and updated last year as I4SE 2.0. It contains 71 initiatives and is focused on inclusion and creating shared opportunities for all residents, to address persistent poverty and underemployment. Max Zhang, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Cornell, says, 'I can envision that students team up with community partners to address specific challenges they are facing.' Rebecca Brenner, a lecturer at the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, began a project in spring 2017 in Buffalo (NY) on improving communications during an emergency for that city's diverse, multilingual refugee population, and creating an emergency notification plan with nonprofit resettlement agencies as community partners. Erie County has about 300 current strategic initiatives led by county departments with community partners. They include fostering hiring of disadvantaged residents in high-poverty areas for construction jobs amid Buffalo's building boom; exploring the feasibility of a new convention center to spur tourism; creating an agribusiness park in rural southern Erie County; supporting health and human services agencies and energy programs targeting low-income households; and infrastructure and environmental remediation in county parks. Shorna Allred, associate professor of natural resources at Cornell, says, 'I was quite impressed and intrigued by what they are doing in Buffalo...We are similarly trying to bring together a partnership of people to work on sustainability issues across the city...' Read on...
Sustainable economic strategies spur engaged research interest
Author: Daniel Aloi
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 jun 2018
Food waste is a global concern and innovative solutions are needed to overcome it. Recent data from National Resources Defense Council found that the average American throws out 400 pounds of food a year, meaning that up to 40% of food grown on the farm bypasses the fork and ends up in a landfill. Globally, impact of food waste can be seen in terms of lost resources, wasted water (70% of fresh water is consumed in agriculture), increased levels of climate-change-producing gases, and diverted food that could contribute to alleviating hunger. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) - It is estimated that annually over 60 trillion gallons of water are used to grow food that is ultimately wasted; Roughly 1/3 of the food produced for human consumption every year - approximately 1.3 billion tons - gets lost or wasted, representing nearly US$1 trillion. The cost of producing, harvesting, transporting, and disposing of this food isn't just financial - food waste accounts for about 8% of global climate pollution, more than the nations of India or Russia. According to one report, food waste throughout the US accounts for more than 60 million tons of waste, which translates into US$ 160 billion of produce and, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), represents over 21% of all waste in landfills. Adequate government policy alongwith solutions from for-profit and nonprofit sectors can successfully tackle this challenge. Sherri Welch, writing in Crain's Detroit, highlights two food-box subscription companies that sell produce and other food that retailers won't touch in the Detroit market. One is the Baltimore-based Hungry Harvest; the other is Toronto-based Flash Food. They are both for-profit companies. Denver's We Don't Waste is a nonprofit working on similar lines. Other nonprofits are working with hunger relief organizations and give their customers the option to buy a box of imperfect produce and donate it to a family in need. Phillip Knight, executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan, says, 'At this point, I think we are all working together to feed hungry neighbors, reduce waste and lessen the impact on the environment.' Other solutions include processing food waste as bioenergy. In the Pacific Northwest, Impact Bioenergy develops and manufactures bioenergy products that allow communities and commercial food waste generators to lessen their environmental footprint and conserve local soil resources while also reducing their waste disposal and energy costs. Policy approaches can also play an important role to shift the amount of food entering the waste stream. A May 2017 paper published by Harvard Law School's Food Law and Policy Clinic looks at the 2018 Farm Bill as a portal for changing the national conversation on food waste by integrating strategies and initiatives to support diversion efforts. Policy is a major focus on ReFed, one of the nation's leading nonprofits dedicated to addressing food waste. One of their initiatives in partnership with the Food Law and Policy Clinic is the US Food Waste Policy Finder, a tool that provides research on current food waste policy. Another promising approach is to incorporate the reuse of food that has been rejected by the conventional market into social enterprises. DC Central Kitchen is a job-training catering social enterprise that buys food seconds from farmers and uses that produce in the meals it serves to students in schools and catering event guests, even as the nonprofit also addresses the cycle of hunger. According to ReFed's 'Roadmap to Reduce US Food Waste by 20 Percent', an estimated 15000 permanent jobs could be created through policy initiatives alone. 'Wasted! The Story of Food Waste', a documentary produced by the late Anthony Bourdain, offer a glimpse of ways that nonprofits can expand their missions and collaborate with others to reduce food waste while improving the health and well-being of those in need. Read on...
For-Profit and Nonprofit Firms Devise Creative Ways to Reduce Food Waste
Author: Derrick Rhayn
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jan 2018
Philanthropic giving is often influenced by governmental tax policies, social sector needs, economic conditions etc. Bruce DeBoskey, Philanthropic Strategist and Founder of The DeBoskey Group, explains the transformations that will happen in philanthropy - (1) 'Trickle-down philanthropy' not likely: It is a philanthropic notion that lowering taxes for businesses and corporations will result in increase charity and philanthropic giving. The new federal income tax law doubles the standardized deduction and will likely reduce giving by US$ 20 billion in 2018. Wealthiest 5% only give to big institutions like universities and hospitals and less to local, social service and safety-net nonprofits. While middle class donors, without tax incentives now have less to give to their historical segment, local and smaller charities. Moreover, increased estate tax exemption takes away any tax incentive for all except a minority 1800 richest Americans, further reducing giving by more billions. (2) Trump-inspired giving will sustain: Last year politically-motivated 'rage philanthropy' was a big trend. This will continue in 2018 and most will likely continue to use philanthropy as an important and influential form of civic engagement.(3) Giving circles will continue to grow: There will be growth in collective giving. According to the report by The Collective Giving Research Group, giving circles are 'a highly accessible and effective philanthropic strategy to democratize and diversity philanthropy, engage new donors, and increase local giving.' (4) Impact investing will flourish: According to US SIF Foundation, that monitors sustainable, responsible and impact investing, trillions of U.S. dollars of assets are under management using environmental, social and governance factors. In 2018 more foundations will 'put their money where their missions are' and work to achieve their missions from the engine of their philanthropic assets. (5) Benefits of volunteering recognized: Ichiro Kawachi, professor of social epidemiology at Harvard's School of Public Health, says, 'Voluntarism is good for the health of people who receive social support, but also good for the health of people who offer their help.' Such research studies will inspire increase in volunteering opportunities and activities. (6) Philanthropic strategy to go 'mainstream': Philanthropy now is much more than just a monetary transation. It is considered as a strategic and intentional investment that can be transformational - for both society and the donor. Read on...
The Denver Post:
On Philanthropy - Six trends to affect philanthropic landscape in 2018
Author: Bruce DeBoskey
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 nov 2017
Nonprofits have big ideas for social good but limited resources to accomplish them. Nonprofit-corporate partnerships can be a solution to match the vision and commitment of nonprofits with the resources and practices of corporates for making a better world. According to Danielle Silber, director of strategic partnerships at American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), 'Whether it's tackling the Muslim ban or protecting green spaces, nonprofits have products and services that many companies realize they need to create a healthy business environment, and to contribute to a world their stakeholders - employees, investors and customers - want to live in.' Jessica Scadron, founder of Social Harmony, explains ways to make nonprofit-corporate partnerships successful - (1) A Shared Vision: Although companies and nonprofits have different reasons for partnering, both should agree on the partnership's purpose and outcomes. (2) Define the Partnership: Make sure each organization knows who is responsible for what, how decisions will be made, and which organization will lead the project; Appoint individuals to fulfil commitments; Cheryl Damian, SVP of Ketchum Social Purpose, says, 'Partnership terms are negotiated like any other contract. Not only does it drive accountability, it provides a clear understanding of roles and expectations...' (3) Monitor and Evaluate: Measure progress and figure out how to align metrics with disparate entities; Measurement is critical to the success of the project in order to quickly build on what works, learn from what doesn't, and keep momentum. (4) Communicate: Open dialogue will strengthen your collaboration and lead to better outcomes; Establish processes for communicating with your partner, and your internal team; Create a project work plan, schedule weekly check-in calls, and use technology to communicate. (5) Flexibility: Organizations have their own culture and they evolve and grow, and so do partnerships. Be flexibile and accomodating in approach and resolve conflicts with patience and understanding. Read on...
5 Ingredients to Make Your Nonprofit-Corporate Partnership Succeed
Author: Jessica Scadron
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 sep 2017
Data can be gold for those who can mine and transform it into a valuable form. Mastercard is giving a new meaning to it and evolving a concept of 'data philanthropy.' Shamina Singh, president of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, explains the idea of data philanthropy and how data can be utilized for social good and social impact. She says, 'The initiative first came up through a partnership with DataKind in the United States. They were set up to galvanize data scientists from around the world and plug them into social impact work. And so a number of our Mastercard data scientists signed up to DataKind programs, and this gave us the opportunity to form a much more lasting and strategic partnership between the organizations. It opened a new conversation about data for good, what it could look like, and who was doing what in this space. It was also around this time that we had the United Nations opening up to data and data initiatives, and companies like Microsoft thinking about data for good.' Explaining some of the elements of data philanthropy Mastercard is focused on, she says, 'One is working with actual Mastercard data and trying to figure out if there are uses with anonymized and aggregated data that will not only respect the rules of the road around privacy, but can be used for research. We first opened our data for use by Harvard University, who approached us with a proposal to use the data to understand how economies grow, with a specific focus on tourism data and understanding how tourism dollars move in a country. Using Mastercard transaction data, we were able to provide new insights into this area...The other area of data philanthropy is around data analytics. What we have found is that many social impact organizations or NGOs do not need Mastercard data at all. Instead, they need to understand their own data, but often don't have the capacity or resources to help themselves. In those instances, we provide either a grant to hire a data scientist, fund an expert consultant, or provide our own data scientists to build their capacity and ability to learn. The inspiration for this element of data philanthropy came from our work with an organization called DoSomething...' Providing information on how Mastercard data scientists are internally looking for insights, she says, 'We started something called the charitable donations insight, and that is something that one of our colleagues is doing where she is using Mastercard data and drawing insights to help nonprofits understand charitable giving. We asked what a spending poll would look like for not-for-profits and social impact organizations, and insights is the first attempt at that...What she realized is that a lot of the not-for-profits have to raise their own funds, but there is not a lot of science behind potentially where and how they should be doing this. So she thought if she could unlock some of the data around the charitable contributions that we know of, she could offer insights to assist them. The other thing we did, which was very interesting, was we created a dataset that organizations could pull down if they want to, and mix it with your own data to self-regulate your own work.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 sep 2017
According to various studies corporate ethics and social responsibility (CSR) are becoming integral to the realm of businesses and corporations. Ethisphere Institute has been compiling list of 'World's Most Ethical Companies' since 2007. Robert Reiss, host of CEO TV Show and co-author of 'The Transformative CEO', interacted with business leaders to discuss the state of business ethics and CSR, particularly emphasizing on the concepts and their meaning, relationship between ethics and responsibility, best practices in building an ethical culture, and insights on measuring ethics. Here are their summarized responses - (1) Dan Amos (Chairman and CEO of Aflac): 'Ethics is a mindset, not an option.' Consumers respond to it in positive way; Ethics is a subset of CSR. Ethical companies will always display strong governance and compliance. Socially responsible companies are ethical but also understand their overall obligation to make the world a better place; Culture begins at the top. Communicate and celebrate responsibility regularly. Don't be partially ethical; Annual scientific CSR survey, work with Ethisphere and Reputation Institute to validate the direction of ethics and CSR programs. (2) Timothy Erblich (CEO of Ethisphere Institute): 'Good Ethics is Good Business.' Financial return of ethics is significant; CSR is a critical component of overall ethics quotient just like governance culture, transparency, customers, gender equality, philanthropy etc. Its all combined to build trust; Empower managers at the local level. Top leadership must be all in. Be committed and focus on integrity. Measure and communicate results. Incorporate culture at all levels and in all activites; Measure through peer-to-peer analysis and networking. Directly engage with employees. Routinely survey employees, customers and stakeholders. Join exclusive networks like the Ethisphere's Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA). (3) Rodney Martin (CEO of Voya Financial): 'Ethics is a reflection of our commitment to doing business the right way. We emphasize trust and transparency.'; CSR includes key aspects of company culture like ethics and transparency, diversity, inclusion and equality, environmental sustainability, governance, and volunteerism and philanthropy; Exemplary leadership is essential. It should be part of the core values. Building ethical culture must be centered on doing the right thing in a safe and open environment; Participate in Ethisphere Institute's annual World's Most Ethical Companies. It enables to benchmark the company with other industry leaders. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 aug 2017
Executive pay is always a topic of debate and more so when it is a case of nonprofits. Moreover, when nonprofit healthcare executives are in focus, the dynamics of the issue become even more complex. As healthcare is an essential aspect of everybody's life, rich or poor, and has a humanitarian dimension, the issue is an everyone's concern. In healthcare, just like in education, for-profit and nonprofit delivery models co-exist, but general population treats these sectors as noble and a large number despises the business-like profit-making approach. A debate is brewing up at the University of Vermont Medical Center (USA), a nonprofit healthcare provider, where CEO's salary is more than US$ 2 million. To justify the compensation, hospital board members say that their executive pay is in line with competitors and makes up a small portion of their budget. But there are other differing views. Sen. Chris Pearson (P/D-Chittenden) says, 'To see that the CEO of our hospital is getting US$ 2 million...it's just way out of whack with the Vermont economy.' State of Vermont has 14 hospitals, all of them nonprofits. Kevin Mullin, the state's chief health care regulator, decided to highlight the salaries of top officials in these hospitals. He says, 'I think it might be illuminating to the public.' Scottie Emery-Ginn, UVM's board chair, justifying executive compensation, says, 'Our health care professionals come from a national market...In order for us to get the best people and keep the best people, we need to pay competitively.' There are no clear rules on salaries of nonprofit employees. The IRS requires only that compensation be 'reasonable', which has been interpreted to mean comparable to similar organizations. A Wall Street Journal analysis of Form 990s found that, in 2014, 2700 nonprofits provided seven-figure compensation packages, and 3/4th of those organizations worked in the health care sector. Executive pay is a concern during the debates on cost of medical care. The US spends US$ 3 trillion annually on health care - more than any other country - and administrative costs are 20-30% of that sum. Sen. Pearson says, 'It obviously inflates our health care costs...When you have public-relations people at the state's largest nonprofit hospital making half a million a year, it undermines confidence in the entire system.' Views of other employees are important in this regard. Maggie Belensz, a nurse at UVM's neurological unit, says, 'It's difficult to hear those numbers as a nurse.' Laurie Aunchman, a UVM nurse and president of Vermont Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals, acknowledged the need to pay competitively but said the hospital should balance 'offering someone a million dollars or 2 million dollars' with investing money in 'taking care of the patient.' Mari Cordes, a UVM nurse and health care activist, says, 'We think it's an ethical issue. That excess money could be used to improve access to health care for everyone in Vermont...It could be used to provide support for people actually providing the frontline high-quality care.' Dr. Deb Richter, a universal health care proponent, described executive pay at Vermont hospitals as 'obscene.' Read on...
Seven Days VT:
Million-Dollar Question - How Much Should Nonprofit Hospital CEOs Earn?
Author: Alicia Freese
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 aug 2017
Businesses invest heavily on external communication and PR, but internal PR can sometime take a back seat and get neglected, although it is as important and keeps organizations focused and uniformly branded. Lindsay Nahmiache, Co-founder and CEO of Jive PR + Digital, explains the value of internal PR and provides three creative ways to enhance internal PR strategy. She says, 'Effective internal PR benefits brand identity, boosts employee retention and paves the way for a connected culture where teams are focused on common collaborative goals.' Moreover, digitally evolved workplaces and remote collaboration has brought in new communication dynamics that need to be addressed with robust internal PR strategy. She explains, 'In my experience, creating a forward-thinking internal strategy requires consistent and open two-way communication that is fueled by team cohesion and recognition.' (1) Openness: Promote teamwork; Place trust in your team; Attend outing with employees and do team oriented activities; Start hashtags that reflect your office culture and encourage team member participation; Once a month organize socializing events during office time. (2) Consistent Two-Way Communication: Encourage questions and open discussions on best practices and solutions; Consistency is key for collective innovation and individual responsibility; Publicize internal PR through multiple channels; Hold scheduled weekly meetings with all employees in one place to ensure lines of communication are open about current and future projects; Give higher-level insight into new employee hirings, business decisions, holiday news and more during weekly manager meetings. (3) Team Recognition: Team members respond positively to recognition of their work because it confirms their impact on the bottom line; Take time to reward your team through informal or formal awards; Hold innovation challenges by creating opposing teams; Focus on client wins as much as you do with client struggles. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 aug 2017
Research paper 'Secular Trends and Technological Progress' by Prof. Enrico C. Perotti and Robin Döttling (Ph.D. student) from University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) finds intangible capital or assets have played a key role in shaping growth, asset prices and inequality in recent decades. Researchers explain, 'The transition to a knowledge-based economy and the associated shift from physical to intangible capital is a primary cause for the rising excess savings over productive investment in advanced economies, presented in the 'secular stagnation' hypothesis. Falling interest rates and rising long-term asset values can be interpreted as a direct consequence of this gradual process. Critically, the approach also allows (us) to interpret the growing share of income gained by innovators, the progressive reallocation of credit from productive to asset financing uses (primarily for housing) and the rise in household leverage.' Secular stagnation, with its low inflation and low growth, can be understood by the growth of information economy and the expansion of intangible assets. In the information economy companies rely more on intangible assets and over the years they have boosted their investment in intangibles like intellectual property from about 30% of company capital in 1980 to nearly 70% today. According to the researchers, both intangible capital and skilled labor have outpaced the broad economy in productivity growth. James Saft explains the implications of the research findings - Secular stagnation may be here to stay, at least until the intangible economy starts coming up with projects that require huge capital investment; Monetary policy may be fighting a losing battle to spark investment and build inflation and lower-skilled wage growth; Taxation and redistribution may end up the only way to let the market work in producing innovation and also reach a democratically acceptable allocation of the proceeds. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jul 2017
Richard J. Weller, professor of landscape architecture at University of Pennsylvania, and team of academics have created an online project called 'Atlas for the End of the World', a collection of maps and graphics to help viewers see where and how urbanization is in conflict with biodiversity. According to Prof. Weller, 'We mapped that interface between urban growth and the world's most valuable diversity...That conflict is bloody, it's disastrous, it's happening all over the world.' The project is an answer to Ortelius's 'Theatrum Orbis Terrarum' (Theatre of the World), printed in 1570 and thought to be the first modern atlas. Prof. Weller hopes that by 'mapping the intricacies of ecological conflict...architects, designers, and others can help create more ecologically sustainable relations between people and the planet.' Read on...
Data Activists Map the World's Ecological Conflict
Author: Cyndi Suarez
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 may 2017
Nonprofit boards can be critical resource for the organizations if utilized effectively. Board members bring diverse set of skills, experiences, networks etc. But above all, the passion to do good for the society by supporting the causes of the nonprofits is one of their main driving force. Organizations have to devise mechanisms and methods to effectively use board's time to avail full benefits of the skills and passions. Members of the Forbes Nonprofit Council share the following advice - (1) Pamela Hawley, UniversalGiving: Cultivate a real relationship; Understand board members and their interests; Find out what they care about. (2) Elizabeth Cromwell, Frederick County Chamber of Commerce: Use a consent agenda; Board members are fully prepared and know the deliverables; Productivity is enhanced. (3) Gloria Horsley, Open to Hope: Hold smaller discussions online; Helps to timely address issues; Improves working partnership. (4) Eleanor Allen, Water For People: Engage board members through individual action plans; Customized to each member's strengths; Improves engagement and commitment. (5) Daniel Speckhard, Lutheran World Relief: Seek the board's help with strategy; Engage the board on broad, macro and strategic issues to set the strategic direction of the organization. (6) Peggy Smith, Worldwide ERC: Focus on transparency and efficiency; Stay in frequent contact with board members and perform due diligence on all information - financial, strategic and operational - before it's shared with the entire board. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 may 2017
According to design experts at 'ASEAN Creative Cities Forum and Exhibition' (Philippines), creative industry plays an important role in a country's economic growth. Some of the experts that participated include Prof. John Howkins (Author of the book 'The Creative Economy'), Nora K. Terrado (Chairperson, ASEAN 2017 Committee on Business and Investment Promotion-CBIP), Paolo Mercado (Nestle Philippines), Andrew Erskine (Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy), Katelijn Verstraete (British Council East Asia), Kenneth Cobonpue (Philippines), Anon Pairot (Thailand) and Colin Sean (Singapore). Ramon Lopez, Secretary of Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), says, 'The goal of the event is to channel these (creative) assets into innovation , employment, trade opportunities, and mobilizing it to drive each of the economies in the whole Southeast Asian region.' Rhea Matute, executive director of Design Center of the Philippines, says, 'We really are committed to develop the creative quotient of the Philippines...This is really an important opportunity by which our designers, our creatives, can branch out beyond our borders to have a more open system of having dialogue with our ASEAN partners in view also of the ASEAN integration.' Moreover, the event was also intended to initiate a movement to have at least one Philippine city to be a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN). UCCN currently have 116 cities from 54 countries covering seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Music and Media Arts. It's goal is 'to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.' Following are some takeaways from the forum: (1) Working in the creative industry is a lucrative career. (2) The road to success is challenging yet fulfilling. (3) Always look around you, and be original. (4) Standing up with your decisions. (5) Government plays a big role in developing the creative industry. (6) School plays an important role, too. According to Colin Seah, Singapore-based architect and Ministry of Design's Founder and Director, 'At the school level, I'm not saying you need to train everyone to be a creative but if you introduce design education at an early stage, then what you do is two fold - you unlock any potential for people who may be seeking these professions. Secondly, you train and educate people who will eventually become patrons and consumers...then it becomes a cycle. You have good creatives, and you get people who can pay for creatives.' Read on...
ASEAN Forum - Creativity is the driving force in economic growth
Author: Romsanne Ortiguero
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 mar 2017
According to CMS.gov website, 'Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who come together voluntarily to give coordinated high quality care to their Medicare patients. The goal of coordinated care is to ensure that patients, especially the chronically ill, get the right care at the right time, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors. When an ACO succeeds both in delivering high-quality care and spending health care dollars more wisely, it will share in the savings it achieves for the Medicare program.' ACOs promise to get patients more involved in their own treatments. These healthcare delivery systems are held accountable to meet cost and quality criteria. The study, 'A Multilevel Analysis of Patient Engagement and Patient-Reported Outcomes in Primary Care Practices of Accountable Care Organizations' (Authors - Stephen M. Shortell, Bing Ying Poon, Patricia P. Ramsay, Hector P. Rodriguez, Susan L. Ivey, and Thomas Huber of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health (USA); Jeremy Rich of HealthCare Partners Institute for Applied Research and Education, Los Angeles, CA; and Tom Summerfelt, Advocate Health, Chicago, IL), published in Journal of General Internal Medicine, found that adult patients who were treated in a primary care practice site that promoted a patient-centered culture reported fewer depression symptoms and displayed better physical functioning. According to Prof. Stephen M. Shortell, principal investigator of the study, 'These findings add to a growing literature on the importance of engaging patients in their care to achieve better outcomes that matter to patients like how they function physically and socially. In addition, it breaks new ground by identifying specific features of primary care practices that appear to be associated with achieving such outcomes through increased patient engagement.' He adds, '...more highly activated, engaged patients ask more questions to have their concerns addressed, and, as a result, are more satisfied with their care experience and more motived to achieve desired outcomes.' Prof. Hector P. Rodriguez, study co-investigator, says, 'Healthcare organizations will increasingly need to find ways to efficiently collect patient-reported data and strategies to use this information for monitoring treatment plans, engaging patients in their own care, and improving their health behaviors.' Read on...
UC Berkeley Research:
How patients, ACOs, and researchers partner to achieve better health
Author: Jaron Zanerhaft
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 mar 2017
In recent years, more than 50 countries have increased their restrictions on foreign aid to non-government organizations (NGOs). One of the concerning aspects of the trend is that it's happening not only in authoritarian regimes but also in democracies. The research paper, 'Globalization Without a Safety Net: The Challenge of Protecting Cross-Border Funding of NGOs', by Prof. Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer of University of Notre Dame Law School, identifies this problem faced by NGOs and explores options for countering the restrictions. Some of the new restrictions are - additional registration and reporting obligations, requirements to obtain government approval before seeking or accepting funding and mandates that funding be routed through government agencies or used only for specific activities. Prof. Mayer cites three factors that led to crackdown on cross-border funding - (1) A steady rise over the years in the amount of money flowing from Western donors to NGOs in other countries. (2) An increase in funding designated for human-rights protections and pro-democracy efforts. (3) An overall swelling of nationalist feelings in many countries. Prof. Mayer says, 'I think it's part of the larger trend we see globally of countries becoming more suspicious of foreign influences and the influences of outsiders, and more suspicious of attempts to empower and encourage minorities within countries. They are concerned about the importation of foreign values and views.' The challenges created by restrictions may require alternate strategies. According to Prof. Mayers, 'It creates a huge burden on both the funders and domestic NGOs that seek to challenge these restrictions, because the landscape is constantly changing, and they have to customize their response to every country where they're involved.' Read on...
Notre Dame News:
Professor offers options to counter escalating crackdowns on NGOs
Author: Kevin Allen
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 mar 2017
Tony Bacigalupo, founder of New Work Cities, on his website (Whatiscoworking.com) explains 'Coworking' as - 'The word "coworking" as it is known today originates with a concept put forth by Brad Neuberg in 2005...It is directly related to Neuberg's original concept and had since evolved into a decentralized movement centered around a core set of shared values: Community, Openness, Collaboration, Accessibility, and Sustainability...A Coworking Space is generally a phrase used to describe a business or organization that is dedicated to the full Coworking concept. These spaces represent a critical foundation of infrastructure for a new and growing workforce of people who work where, when, how, and why they want. A coworking space's relationship with its members is one that is primarily predicated on the values that drive the Coworking Movement, in direct and deliberate contrast to a more traditional relationship predicated on renting space from a landlord.' Kara Kavensky, President of Absolutely Consulting, shares how the coworking space 'The Refinery Center' in Marion (Indiana, US), created by Shelby Bowen (VP of Development at Envoy Inc.), is helping economic development of the city along with establishing a sense of community in local population. The space was developed with financial support from the Community Foundation and Indiana Wesleyan University. Jim Swan, owner of the building that was transformed, understood the concept and worked with The Refinery on their financial constraints of starting a coworking space. The Refinery offers low-cost monthly access without long-term leases. The amenities include Wi-Fi, a professional environment with other like-minded people, conference rooms, dedicated workspace, and an on-site cafe. According to Mr. Bowen, 'We listened to the needs of the community. We have not taken a cookie cutter approach to the coworking space. We offer very affordable monthly memberships starting at US$ 30/month and host a lot of meetings here at no charge. We are also a community center in addition to a work space.' Entrepreneurial events at The Refinery are facilitated by Indiana Wesleyan University with the help of the grant from Lilly Endowment. Carol Brown, Associate Dean of Life Calling & Career at Indiana Wesleyan University, says, 'This program is funded through the Lilly Endowment's "Accelerate Indiana" grant, which seeks to encourage entrepreneurial activity among students and local entrepreneurs. We fund internships, even if the company is a student-run business with the goal of creating jobs in Indiana.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jan 2017
Creating long-term and sustainable partnerships between businesses and nonprofits, can play a valuable role in tackling social challenges facing communities. Hussein Farah, founder and executive director of New Vision Foundation, explains how nonprofits can build partnerships with corporations and derive benefits from these meaningful relationships for the communities they serve - (1) Have a strong and relevant mission that provides distinctive value to the community and relates to the values of a corporate partner and identifies it as a significant contributor. (2) Leadership of nonprofits should effectively and compellingly communicate the mission to the corporate partner. Strong marketing effort is required that embodies the mission and displays business sense. (3) Nonprofits should create a solid board that assists in dissemination of its value proposition on a peer-to-peer basis. Boards that include corporate members would be more effective in negotiating the terms of partnerships. Moreover, nonprofits must be clear in their expectations from corporate partners, who should beforehand know their resource commitments. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 jan 2017
Building a successful CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) program requires commitment, consistency, continuity and culture within an organization. Claudia Schiepers, Chief Marketing Officer of Greystone and winner of The CMO Club's CSR Award'2016, helped promote a culture-centric curriculum for CSR and shares valuable insights to inspire marketing leaders to develop a successful CSR program in their organizations - (1) Start from the ground up: 'We try to engrain it in everything that we do. I would say start small, test and grow it from within the company...It's all about making suggestions, trying things out and then rolling them out across the organization.' (2) Assemble a top-notch toolbox: 'We gave them a lot of tools. We have employee engagement data that we share with managers, (teaching) them how to have difficult conversations and great conversations. So, it's all about empowering the managers in your company to use the system, having your employees feel like they are involved in it.' (3) Give instruction: Developed a culture book that outlines standards of behavior when it comes to being charitable. 'We say, at Greystone, (caring) means being interested in or concerned about the wellbeing of others. It means that you actively listen, keep an open mind, seek to understand, treat people with respect and kindness. We don't allow yelling. Mentor others, foster other's development, lead by example.' (4) Know that if you build it, they will come: Strikes a balance between good PR and sincerity by publicly commending their local offices' good deeds on social media platforms. 'I think that makes the story more powerful because it is not a corporate driven initiative. We don't do it to get a pat on the back afterwards. I think that's the key for our social responsibility. That is the biggest return on the investment, that we get people that care about other people to join our company.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 nov 2016
Philanthropic giving continued to thrive in US and exceeded US$ 373 billion in 2015. Educational institutions got 12.86% (US$ 48 billion) of the total. As public funding to education gets reduced, colleges and universities are realigning strategic objectives and development goals to suit the funding priorities for donors and organizations. Donors have their own criteria to determine the funding goals that make an impact. According to Charles Koch, businessman and philanthropist, 'It is simply identifying organizations which want to make life better by empowering free will and enterprise. I decided that I wanted to give as many people as possible ideas so that they could transform their lives. That's been my motivation.' Michael Lomax, President and CEO of UNCF.org, recently shared his views on the potential for social modeling between UNCF and Charles Koch Foundation, and their US$ 29 million partnership for tuition assistance and career development. He says, 'The success of this program lies in our shared vision that a mind - and a life - is a terrible thing to waste. It is why our partnership's ultimate goal is to give students the opportunity to explore the values and skills of an entrepreneur, and better understand how an entrepreneurial mindset will benefit both them and their communities.' Nicholas Perkins, Founder and CEO of Perkins Management Services Inc, explains about his support to Howard University, 'Anytime that a minority company has an opportunity to partner with an historically black institution, that partnership should be the base from which growth and progress for that particular campus comes. So we always try to fit ourselves into that puzzle.' Educational institutions often find funding success by proactively tapping into the goodwill of graduates and stakeholders. Miami University of Ohio invested a substantial amount from its fundraising campaign towards enhancing academic programming in media studies, writing and gerontology. It launched 'Miami Plan', a 36-credit hour course mandate for all students to be immersed in and appreciative of the impact of liberal arts across all career paths. Gregory Crawford, President of Miami University of Ohio, says, 'For me, people don't expect a physicist to have such a passion for the liberal arts, but it had such a big impact on my life, my leadership style and my interests. I couldn't be more enthusiastic in sharing how it helped me to learn about human flourishing and in thinking more holistically, which was super important to me in the physics world.' He adds, 'Many of our own alums and donors understand the value of the education provided to them, and they love what we're doing with the Miami plan, so they freely invest in that vision.' Read on...
What inspires people, corporations to give to higher education?
Author: Jarrett Carter
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 06 nov 2016
Organizations should continue to seek innovation to stay relevant and competitive. Achieving continuous innovation is challenging and organizations have to create an innovation-driven culture as a long-term strategy to sustain it. Manoj Vig, Enterprise Architect at Shire Pharmaceuticals, shares his views on innovation, how to establish innovation teams and what should be done to ensure innovation success - (1) Organizational DNA: Innovation is neither a project nor a process, it needs to be part of organizational DNA; Focus on teams and groups. (2) Collaboration is important: Collaborative environment helps innovation to sustain and succeed in innovation; Collaboration develops and refines innovative ideas. (3) Find zoom out team members: Include members with diverse set of skills and competencies, and those who can zoom out to get a bigger picture. (4) Innovation teams and performance engines: Innovation teams are necessary to provide performance teams to work better. Better coordination and partnership between the two for seamless and continuous innovation. (5) A crazy man's idea: Nurture ideation in organizations even though ideas may initially seem difficult or impossible; Encourage sharing and free flow of ideas. (6) Glocalization and reverse innovation: Innovation teams should learn from these concepts and seek out what has been successfully done as a prlect for a specific use case at one place and reconfigure it for a larger user base within the organization. (7) Innovation catalysts and champions: Look for innovation catalysts that will become part of a dedicated team and then find innovation champions within existing and potential user communities to work with catalysts to solidify the innovation-based culture thinking within the organization. (8) Don't worry, be crappy: As Guy Kawasaki once said the phrase to make a point that when something is done to be radically different and better, waiting for perfection is not a good strategy; Deliver products and services quickly and without fear of failure. Such products/services can be tagged as beta or in incubation for user awareness. This helps engage with users early, set the right level of expectations and create a positive feedback loop. (9) Don't just focus on problems: Solving current problems with users provide quick wins and credibility boosters and must be used by innovation teams to expand their focus and work towards identification of opportunities for users that did not exist before; Focus on creating new opportunities and disrupting current ways of doing things. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 oct 2016
Conflicts and wars, apart from taking human lives, causing destruction and displacing ordinary people, also disturbs affected children's educational future and creates regional human resources imbalances. The ongoing Syrian Civil War has led to an estimated quarter-million young people getting deprived of college education. Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister of UK and currently UN Special Envoy for Global Education, explains collaborative role of charities, philanthropists and nonprofit foundations to overcome educational deprivation of displaced students. He advocates the need of realizing the potential of social enterprises to fill the gaps in global education. He says, 'With 260 million children not in school worldwide, education needs more champions to match the enthusiasm of advocates in, say, the global-health and environmental movements. There is more room for innovation in education than in any other international-development sector, especially as digital technologies and the Internet become more accessible even in the world's poorest regions.' He shares how Catalyst Trust for Universal Education, an education focused social entperise founded by former New York University President John Sexton, is helping out in global education efforts. Catalyst Trust participates in PEER (Platform for Education in Emergencies Response) project intended to connect college-ready Syrian refugees with refugee-ready colleges. Explaining the future of PEER project, he comments, 'In time, PEER will serve as a conduit to higher education for displaced students worldwide, and it will cater to all education levels, by providing web-based information, points of contact, and much-needed counseling and support.' He advocates support to social startups like Catalyst Trust, that are working on various aspects of education globally. He encourages education reformers to learn from pioneering work of Sir Ronald Cohen on social-impact investing. He cites some specific pilot projects that individuals and organizations can support to make a difference in education - help refugee students in their education; human-rights education to determine how school curricula can best cultivate inter-faith understanding; help the two million students who are blind or visually impaired, and whose educational needs have long been neglected. With new technology, we can now leapfrog the 150-year-old braille system and instantly render text into audio recordings, making all types of learning materials accessible to the visually impaired. Mr. Brown concludes, 'For anyone who cares about education, our task is clear: to furnish millions of poor people, especially in the remotest parts of the world, with the innovations they need to transform and improve their lives through learning. As the Catalyst Trust intends to show, a little social enterprise goes a long way.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 oct 2016
In the world of charitable giving, generally 20% givers use techniques and expert knowledge to maximize their effectiveness, while the remaining 80% are unaware and together pay millions in taxes that would otherwise be used for charitable work. Robert G. Collins, Tampa Bay President of NCF (9th largest US charity), provides specialist philanthropic advice and shares some valuable tools and techniques to enhance value of giving - (1) Use a donor-advised fund (DAF): DAF works like charitable account where the giver gets a charitable deduction when assets are contributed. It is also similar to private grantmaking family foundations without the work and expenses of running a corporation. DAF enables the giver to give when it's convenient for them and decide the amount, timing and recipient of the gift at a later date. (2) Stop writing checks: Giving with cash are after-tax dollars exchanged for a charitable giving. Gift appreciated assets to gain a fair market value deduction, but avoid the capital gains taxes embedded in the asset. This way you get a double benefit i.e. giving pre-tax dollars and still getting the charitable deduction. (3) Plan ahead for tax events: Capital gains taxes are optional taxes - you don't have to pay them if you don't want to. If you are charitable and you have a taxable event expected in future, explore your charitable options today. (4) Have a charitable shareholder: Consider gifting a partial interest in your business or income-producing real estate to your DAF. It is critical that the DAF or charity you are giving to has expertise in taking in business interests. (5) Give generously through your estate: Check out givingpledge.org to find out reasons why many respected business leaders are leaving a charitable legacy. A DAF is a simple, easy solution for a family foundation legacy, but ask the fund sponsor whether they have rules about appointing successors. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 06 oct 2016
According to the IMF's October 2016 'World Economic Outlook' report, global economic growth will remain subdued this year (3.1%), as US slowdown and Brexit happened. Moreover, persistent stagnation in advanced economies could further give rise to anti-trade sentiments and populist call for restrictions on trade and immigration. Maurice Obstfeld, IMF chief economist, says, 'Such restrictions would hamper productivity, growth and innovation. t is vitally important to defend the prospects for increasing trade integration. Turning back the clock on trade can only deepen and prolong the world economy’s current doldrums.' IMF suggests - For near term growth, central banks in advanced economies should maintain easy monetary policies; Governments should spend more on education, technology, and infrastructure to expand productive capacity while taking steps to alleviate inequality; Many countries also need to counteract waning potential growth through structural reforms to boost labor force participation, better match skills to jobs, and reduce barriers to market entry. IMF found emerging markets and developing economies as the only bright spots, where growth will accelerate for the first time in 6 years to 4.2%. They are expected to grow 4.6% next year. Although, prospects differ sharply across countries and regions. Growth in emerging Asia, and especially India, continues to be resilient. India's GDP is projected to expand 7.6% this year and next, the fastest pace among the world's major economies. Sub-Saharan Africa's largest economies continue to struggle with lower commodity revenues, weighing on growth in the region. While, economic activity slowed in Latin America, as several countries are mired in recession, with recovery expected to take hold in 2017. Middle East remains in challenging conditions due to subdued oil prices, civil conflicts and terrorism. Commenting on the policy challenge, Mr. Obsfeld concludes, 'By using monetary, fiscal, and structural policies in concert - within countries, consistent over time, and across countries - the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 sep 2016
According to the first experts' poll conducted by Thomson Reuters Foundation (poll2016.trust.org), in partnership with Deutsche Bank, the Global Social Entrepreneurship Network (GSEN) and UnLtd, the top nations for social entrepreneurs are - (1) United States (2) Canada (3) United Kingdom (4) Singapore (5) Israel (6) Chile (7) South Korea (8) Hong Kong (9) Malaysia (10) France. The poll included survey of about 900 social enterprise experts (social entrepreneurs, academics, investors, policy-makers and support networks) in the world's 45 biggest economies. 85% of the experts said the number of social entrepreneurs finding ways of combining business with social purpose was growing although there is little data tracking the sector. According to Natalia Oberti Noguera, founder of Pipeline Angels (US), 'If someone's interested in financial return on investment, that's not a good fit. We're about so much more. We're about doing good, we're about doing well.' Nearly 60% of the experts surveyed cited three major challenges in the growing sector - people do not know what social entrepreneurs do, which makes raising funds difficult and selling to governments is an uphill struggle. Anne Katrine Heje Larsen, founder and CEO of KPH (Denmark), says, 'There are still too many people who view social entrepreneurs as a bunch of hash-fuming utopian people in knitted sweaters. They couldn't be more wrong.' According to Ayşe Sabuncu, co-founder of Impact Hub Istanbulin (Turkey), 'People do not understand social entrepreneurs create money making businesses like any other business, and they question the philosophy of it if the entrepreneur ends up making profit.' Andy Carnahan, a Swedish social entrepreneur, says, 'A greater understanding of how for-profit businesses can be a driving force for social good would help. We need this (awareness)...among the public who don't realize how much good can be done by a for-profit business that has a social good built into its business model.' Poll found that India, Philippines and South Korea are among those where social entrepreneurs were finding it easiest to access investment. According to Prashanth Venkataramana of Essmart Global, 'A lot of people see India as an opportunity overseas, especially in America.' Bank of America's 2016 survey found that 85% of millennials were interested in having a social impact through investment. It also found that women were more interested in impact investing than men. Peetachai 'Neil' Dejkraisak of Siam Organic (Thailand) says, 'World-class social enterprises are run by women in Asia. They do a really good job balancing the social and financial objectives.' Rosemary Addis, chair of Impact Investing Australia, says, 'Individual enterprises are finding a niche and finding they can engage the market and sell their products or services. But as a sector, the concept of social enterprise and purpose-driven business has not yet got mainstream awareness. That's a job ahead to educate the public.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 07 sep 2016
Students have to be taught about entrepreneurship and innovation early in their educational stage to better prepare them to adapt to the technology-enabled disruptive future of the world of work. Experts predict that technology is transforming work so rapidly that 40% of the jobs of today will disappear within 10-15 years. According to The Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), advances in computer technology and automation would result in around five million job losses. Prof. Stephen Martin, Chief Executive of CEDA, says, 'If we do not embrace massive economic reform and focus on incentivising innovation, we will simply be left behind in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.' Jo Burston, serial entrepreneur and founder of small business platform 'Inspiring Rare Birds', has created an education venture 'Phronesis Academy' with Prof. Richard Seymour of Sydney Business School. According to Ms. Burston, 'Phronesis in Greek means practical wisdom - it's all about learning in action. There is actually no right or wrong and there is no pass or fail because we know that in entrepreneurship those things don't actually exist...We need to have young people thinking as entrepreneurs as they go into businesses because businesses are wanting to innovate. So the people who can innovate and create new revenue lines are the ones who are going to be highly regarded in their positions and I think there's an entrepreneurial mindset around being able to do that.' Jayant Prakash, business teacher at Darwin High School, says, 'It's very important to know entrepreneurial skills because every day we get up in the morning and we are dealing in the world of business, we want our young people to be innovative in nature and this subject gives them the chance to develop ideas.' Read on...
Why High School Is The Best Place To Nurture Our Entrepreneurs
Author: Cathy Anderson
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 04 aug 2016
According to Wikipedia, 'Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) became popular in 1960s and is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. CSR policy functions as a self-regulatory mechanism whereby a business monitors and ensures its active compliance with the spirit of the law, ethical standards, and national and international norms.' While BusinessDictionary.com defines CSR as 'A company's sense of responsibility towards the community and environment (both ecological and social) in which it operates. Companies express this citizenship - (1) Through their waste and pollution reduction processes. (2) By contributing educational and social programs. (3) By earning adequate returns on the employed resources.' According to a Global CSR Study conducted by Cone Communications/Ebiquity, 91% of global consumers expect companies to do more than make a profit but also operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues. From integrating a social mission into cross-departmental activities to engaging in sustainability practices, there are myriad ways in which organizations can adopt both a good business and commerce-driven model. A new report from PSFK Labs, 'Impact Debrief', explores how brands can innovate around this decades-old concept of CSR to elevate their social impact and influence. The study provides 5 key ingredients for creating social innovation - (1) Identify And Unite Around A Relevant Social Problem. (2) Promote Cross-Functional Integration. (3) Incentivize And Empower Employees. (4) Create Value By Maximizing Sustainability Efforts. (5) Deliver Transparency. Read on...
The 5 Fundamentals For Corporate Social Innovation
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jul 2016
Packaging is an important component of product handling, logistics, advertising, marketing and selling. There are variety of materials that are currently in use for packaging. Environmental challenges arise due to the waste generated through discarded packagings. The packaging industry is exploring better materials that can reduce environmental footprint. In spite of scientific breakthroughs in developing new packaging materials, there are issues related to their performance and price, inhibiting their mass adoption and usage. Bryan Shova, packaging designer and industrial design director at Kaleidoscope, explains sustainability aspects of packaging. He says, 'I dream of the day when material science and manufacturing can deliver on the promise of zero environmental impact, high performance, premium finish and low costs.' He explains, 'The viability of true sustainability is a complex economic challenge, and the ugly truth is that few consumers, brand owners or municipalities are willing to pay the premium price for cutting-edge sustainable packaging solutions. True solutions will come through "systems thinking" that requires the material supplier, manufacturer, retailer, consumer and the municipality to share in the premium costs and labor required to design, collect and recycle packaged materials.' He provides 10 principles for designing sustainable packaging - (1) Start with commodity materials that are commonly recycled. (2) Design the package from a single material. (3) Focus on the product-to-package ratio. (4) Design for assembly at the point of manufacture. (5) Avoid gluing and laminations. (6) Design for distribution. (7) Eliminate secondary and tertiary packaging when possible. (8) Design for disassembly. (9) Clearly mark the materials on the packaging components. (10) Use Lifecycle Assessment. Read on...
10 ways to design sustainable packaging with intent
Author: Bryan Shova
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 jul 2016
Prof. Henry Chesbrough of University of California at Berkeley, coined the term 'Open Innovation' in his book "Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology" that was published on 2003. According to website OpenInnovation.net, 'Open Innovation is a paradigm that assumes that firms can and should use external ideas as well as internal ideas, and internal and external paths to market, as the firms look to advance their technology.' Organizations are now more commonly adopting open innovation. As Prof. Chesbrough suggested in his research few years ago that nearly 80% of organizations were already dabbling with open innovation in some form or other. In 2015, Carlos Moedas (European Union's Commissionar for Research, Science and Innovation), outlined the goals for his organization as 'Open Innovation, Open Science and Open to the World'. Recently EU published a paper to highlight its commitment to an open and transparent approach to innovation and related policy initiatives. In terms of supporting open innovation throughout Europe, the EU's focus is in four key areas - PUBLIC SECTOR: By providing a regulatory framework that supports and incentivizes open knowledge and cooperation; FINANCIAL SECTOR: By ensuring that innovation-friendly funding is available; INNOVATIVE BUSINESSES: By reducing market fragmentation throughout Europe to help companies commercialize their work; ACADEMIA: By supporting the development of co-creation capabilities and the ease with which research finds its way into business. Supporting 'Open Science' is a key part of the EU's desire for more effective and open innovation as it facilitates the free movement of knowledge throughout the continent. In this regard, EU is focusing efforts in five key policy areas - Fostering and creating incentives for open science; Removing barriers to open science; Mainstreaming and further promoting open access policies; Developing research infrastructures for open science; Embedding open science in society as a socio-economic driver. The final component of EU's open innovation strategy is to foster international cooperation in research and innovation. Horizon 2020, is one such program in the direction of making open science a norm globally. Moreover, international cooperation is key to tackle issues like climate change, driverless technology etc. The paper concludes, 'Science and innovation are global endeavours and researchers should be able to work together smoothly across borders, particularly on large-scale common challenges. The strategic approach to EU international cooperation aims to develop common principles and adequate framework conditions for engaging in cooperation.' Read on...
Open Innovation, Open Science And Open To The World
Author: Adi Gaskell
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 jun 2016
There are almost 50 million people living in poverty in the United States, almost 15 percent of the population. Although there are continuous efforts by governments, organizations and individuals to eradicate poverty, but the challenge is huge and at times results are not what are expected. Sometimes there is also lack of coordination between nonprofit agencies and difference in approaches to tackle poverty, even in same locations and dealing with same people. Kavitha Cardoza of WAMU shares her views on poverty with Morning Edition host Matt McCleskey. She says, 'As someone who grew up in India, where you interact with tons of poor people every day. But here (US), poverty is so hidden. Think of people who work minimum wage jobs - office cleaners come in overnight; if you have a maid at home, she comes in when you're at work. And if you think of say, a McDonald's, everyone is wearing a uniform and looks the same. We have sanitized poverty.' She explains, 'We tend to see poverty as fixed when it's really fluid. Of course it's about not having enough money, but we tend to forget all the challenges that go along with that. It becomes about food and housing and transportation and healthcare. And each of those problems leads to more problems.' Moreover, owning a cell phone, a TV or a kid having fancy sneakers, shouldn't be questionable in a poor situation, as they may serve a purpose contrary to typical perceptions. She quotes Greg Kaufmann, Editor of Talk Poverty, who says, 'Put yourself in a poor parent's place. People don't want their children to seem poor, they don't want to seem poor. Clearly, we have so much stigma attached to poverty. Kids get teased. Again as a parent, you can't get what middle class kids get - the sports camp or the music class, and so wouldn't you want to try to do something for your kid? And maybe actually that pair of sneakers is the cheapest thing you could do.' Speaking on lack of coordination and cooperation among charities that are helping poors, she says, 'There isn't a lot of incentive to collaborate...Part of it is each has different ideas about tackling the same problem, they want to do it their way and they all have different governance structures. And different ways of measuring success.' She quotes Bruce McNamer, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, which works with lots of human services organizations throughout the area, who says, 'The biggest challenge is charities compete with each other for funds. And that does sometimes create incentives for people not to work as closely or to be jockeying among themselves for the attention of funders...And the funding models that are in place to fund nonprofits in some sense encourage that inefficiency.' She quotes Katherine Boo, author of 'Behind the Beautiful Forevers', a book about poverty in Mumbai, who says, 'Journalists often cover poverty by going to a nonprofit and doing a story on someone who is doing well, they've had challenges, now they're fine. The story ends with everything tied up in a neat little bow. That's doing listeners a disservice because then they think that's how it is. There are no relapses, no challenges, no one who doesn't make it. And that's just not true.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 jun 2016
Family-owned businesses exist through out the world. According to Wikipedia, 'A family business is a commercial organization in which decision-making is influenced by multiple generations of a family - related by blood or marriage - who are closely identified with the firm through leadership or ownership...Family business is the oldest and most common model of economic organization.' During the formative stages, these businesses reflect the decision-making and working style of the owner and the ideas follow a top-down approach. But as the organization grows and become successful, and the management systems evolve there arise a need of outside professionals and top managers to bring fresh ideas and expertise, take over some tasks and roles from the owner, and further accelerate the growth of business. But according to Prof. Marleen Dieleman of National University of Singapore, an expert in strategy and policy, 'Unfortunately, this arrangement frequently does not end well because of a simple, crucial mistake: While they may invest considerable time and money in finding, hiring and training the right outside professional, all too often owners of family businesses assume that an outsider can do the job without the owner changing their own behavior.' If the owners are unable to embrace the change, the approach generally fails. With regards to Asian family businesses, she says, 'In Asia most family firms are built around strong, hands-on family leadership, but are weak in systems.' So to successfully strengthen managerial systems through hiring an external professional, Prof. Dieleman suggests four steps that family firms should consider - (1) Take Stock: Introspection is the first step in the process. Owners should ask themselves critical questions regarding the whys and wherefores. (2) Set Up Formal Corporate Governance Rules: Before hiring an outside professional, build proper procedures and systems. Clearly define responsibilities, performance targets and authority levels. (3) Implement New Routines: Owners should feel comfortable with a hands-off approach and should not overstep their boundaries. This requires awareness, acceptance, training, and practice for all parties involved. It shouldn't be just designing the system, but the discipline to stick to the new rules and roles. (4) Hire Multiple Outside Professionals: Once the system is in place and implemented, then hire for clearly defined roles. Accept increased overheads and cost of professionalization. It may require a team of professionals to fulfil the multiple roles that owner single-handedly performed. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 06 jun 2016
According to the new research by Prof. Eliza Forsythe of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, when hiring slows during recessions, the brunt of job losses is borne by job-seekers in their twenties and early thirties. Prof. Forsythe is an expert in labor economics. She says, 'Younger workers are less likely to be hired during recessions and, when they are hired, they tend to find lower-quality jobs and earn lower wages. More-experienced workers see neither of these effects. In fact, the evidence indicates that these more-experienced workers actually crowd young workers out of the labor market during recessions.' Prof. Forsythe explains that this disproportionate affect on young workers during recession make it difficult for them to acquire skills and experience, and establish their careers. Moreover, it also has negative effects on overall economy. It can become difficult for firms to get trained workers when older workforce retires. Explaining the plight of students who graduate during recession, Prof. Forsythe gives an example of Great Recession when the market for new lawyers collapsed. She says, 'In more recent years, hiring has recovered, but firms prefer to hire new graduates rather than those who happened to graduate during the recession and couldn't find jobs.' Prof. Forsythe suggests that clear understanding of hiring patterns and labor market mechanism during recession, is crucial for the design of effective labor market policies. She says, 'Since there are these long-term consequences, it means we might need to do more active interventions for young workers during recessions to make sure that they're not left behind.' Read on...
Illinois News Bureau:
Research - Young workers hit hardest by slow hiring during recessions
Author: Phil Ciciora
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 may 2016
Altimeter Group's April 2016 report, 'The Race Against Digital Darwinism: Six Stages of Digital Transformation', defines 'Digital Transformation' as, 'The realignment of, or new investment in technology, business models, and processes to drive new value for customers and employees to effectively compete in an ever-changing digital economy.' According to Brian Solis, an analyst at Altimeter, 'Many conversations around digital transformation are focused on the IT side, and technology does play a big role, but there's a human side of the story and it's driven by the customer experience.' He explains that most digital transformation happens without top leadership, and it actually develops from the middle of the organization, from change agents, who act as lawyers, cheerleaders, and politicians, as they have to gather evidence, rally everyone together, and convince people to work together. The report provides six stages for digital transformation - (1) Business As Usual: Digital is present but not prioritized; Leadership is change resistant; Roadmap focuses on technology, not customer experience; Customer strategies and processes are siloed; Teams are not collaborating. (2) Present and Active: Occurence of early adopters experimenting with new technologies; Teams operating independently; Focus on customer experience starts to develop; Change agents are present and engage with colleagues to share latest digital trends. (3) Formalized: More collaboration happens between change agents and early adopters; Decision making driven by data, analytics and insights starts; Conversations revolve around customer experience, digital vs traditional; Need for formal vision regarding digital transformation and executive sponsorship for it; Education and training for digital begins. (4) Strategic: Most parts of the organization are now aware of digital transformation efforts and mapped processes; They start to get streamlined; Change agents become prominent; Role of CDO (Chief Digital Officer) or CCO (Chief Customer Officer) emerges; Data and analytics become more important; More collaboration is visible; Digital investments become ROI focused. (5) Converged: Digital efforts converge and get streamlined; Customer experience efforts now influence all processes; Change agents become leaders; Top leadership gets actively involved in digital transformation; Governing body is established to oversee changes; More collaboration between IT and customer experience teams. (6) Innovative and Adaptive: Digital transformation and innovation become interwoven into the fabric of the organization; An omni-channel system develops and provides consolidated information on customer data and its effects; New teams and roles evolve that prioritize digital. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 may 2016
According to the latest report by PwC, 'Connecting the World: Ten Mechanisms for Global Inclusion', providing internet connectivity to the remaining 4.1 billion people and bringing them online would increase global economic output by US$ 6.7 trillion. It will lift 500 million people out of poverty over five years. The report says that affordability, rather than infrastructure and availability, is the main barrier to internet adoption in most areas. Therefore, the report suggests that improvement of existing technology or even simply installing existing technology in developing nations, will be sufficient to achieve the essential cost reduction. The report was prepared for Facebook, that itself advocates cost reduction through Internet.org project. Facebook's approach of limiting the low-cost access to a subsection of the web, giving access to select sites like Wikipedia and Facebook, termed as 'zero rating', has critics in 'net neutrality' advocates like Tim Berners-Lee, who says, 'I tend to say 'Just say no.' In the particular case of somebody who's offering...something which is branded internet, it's not internet, then you just say no.' On the other hand, Jonathan Tate of PwC argues, 'Facebook's approach is worth it in the long term. While zero rating provides access to a slimmer version of the internet than the full web, it's a crucial stepping stone to full access. The important thing here is to get things moving.' Efforts like Google's Project Loon and Facebook's Aquila, are geared to achieve total connectivity by creating 'disruptive technologies'. Read on...
Connecting everyone to internet 'would add $6.7tn to global economy'
Author: Alex Hern
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 03 may 2016
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web and founder of the Web Foundation, is concerned about governments not providing open access to their data online. He says, 'The lack of free access to government data - or 'data poverty' - is contributing to widening inequality around the world...Inequality and poverty are about more than income. They are also about information.' Openly published data can help fight corruption and improve services for citizens. It can also be of value in understanding and fighting global warming and related issues like deforestation, floods, fall in crop yields etc. The study by the Web Foundation found that that more than half of the 92 countries it studies now have open data initiatives in place. Moreover, fewer than 10% of the datasets surveyed were open, and most of these are in the rich world, and almost non in African countries. Anne Jellema, CEO of the Web Foundation, says, 'Trying to use traditional data sources to tackle complex development challenges like climate change and hunger is like tunnelling through rock in the dark with a teaspoon. It takes ages and you may come out in the wrong place. Making development data open is vital for fast and accurate collaboration on the SDGs (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals), and the urgency now is to move from promises to implementation.' Read on...
Sir Tim Berners-Lee - Data poverty is the next frontier of inequality
Author: Ben Rossi
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 apr 2016
According to a recent study by Prof. Leanne Cutcher of the University of Sydney Business School, a leading expert on intergenerational employment, ageism in the workforce is built on a faulty premise and the most innovative companies are the ones where the age of employees does not matter. Prof. Cutcher says, 'When we say baby boomers are not good with technology and Generation Y don't have enough experience, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because people who have good ideas then don't share them because they have been told they are too old. But you are just going to replicate the same ideas where you start labelling people as either too old or too young for a role. Where that is happening, it is stifling knowledge exchange.' Michael Shaw, Executive Vice President Healthcare at Siemens Australia, comments, 'Siemens takes the best people for the job. Personally, for me it's not important if the person is in their 20s or in their 60s, I am simply looking for the best minds with the best attitude.' Another study by Australian Seniors Insurance Agency (ASIA), based on survey of 1200 people across Australia, found that age discrimination at workplace is rife. According to the study, close to half the Baby Boomer respondents claimed they have been turned down for a job since they turned 40, and 3 out of 5 people over 50 said that they faced substantial obstacles in attempts to find a job. The research also found that more than 3/4 of Baby Boomers adapt well to technological innovations, and 73% are actively seeking training opportunities. According to Simon Hovell, spokesman for ASIA, 'The findings point to what many organisations, academics and economists have known all along - Baby Boomers are a real asset to the workplace.' Read on...
The Sydney Morning Herald:
Companies that use older workers are the most innovative - New research
Author: Anna Patty
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 07 apr 2016
This year's World Health Day, that falls today (07 April 2016), has the theme 'Beat Diabetes!'. The World Health Organization has singled out tackling diabetes as one of the most critical healthcare challenge but at the same time tried to give a strong message that it is not too hard to manage if people can put their thoughts and actions in the right direction. Alex Jones, health economist at the social enterprise Oxford Policy Management and researcher at University of the West Indies, provides historial perspective on how international health organizations and governments over time have developed and implemented different types of policies in tackling global health issues. Sometimes they have utilized a single disease approach and at others they have been more holistic and tried to improve health systems around the world. He further explores two approaches and provides opinion on their long-term benefits. According to him, 'A quick look back through history reveals a disturbingly cyclical pattern: As an international community we've been flip-flopping between the two approaches - vertical and horizontal - for at least the last century.' He explains, 'As far back as the 1920s, the sector saw the growth of what was known as the 'Social Medicine Movement' - based on the consideration that ill health could actually be a consequence of poor social conditions...Throughout the first half of the 20th century the Rockefeller Foundation became one of the most influential organisations in global health, implementing programmes in over 80 countries...it always kept the aim of combating specific diseases through targeted campaigns. Post-war politics saw the creation of a number of international agencies that pursued similar vertical programmes...The failure of the GMEP (WHO's Global Malaria Eradication Project) and the relative success of Mao Zedong's community-led 'Barefoot Doctors' programme in China both helped to swing the global health pendulum towards a more horizontal 'systems' approach. In 1975, the WHO launched its Primary Health Care strategy and in 1978 (after sustained advocacy from the Soviet Union) the famous Alma-Ata conference was held...this was a pledge to build up basic health systems around the world...and heralded the birth of the 'Health for All'...The beginning of the 80's, however, saw the pendulum swing firmly back towards vertical interventions...the last ten years have seen a swing back to the ideals of Alma-Ata and the mantra of putting people - rather than pathogens - front and centre of health initiatives...In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly formally recognised and unanimously endorsed the idea of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).' While explaining the current state of health policy focus and interventions, he comments, 'Given the benefit of hindsight, there's a strong risk that today's current focus on UHC might not survive the constant push towards seemingly more feasible, targeted interventions. This apparently inevitable swing to the vertical, however, misses the point on two key fronts: First, history shows us that morbidities are integrated, both with each other and with our ways of life. Second, when something new comes along, a health sector built around a few target pathogens simply cannot deal with it.' Finally, he suggests, 'Let's continue to focus resources where significant advances in disease eradication are possible, partnering with those who can make this happen - but let's take care not to do this at the expense of overall systems strengthening.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 mar 2016
Food wastage is becoming a substantial cause of concern around the world. France recently passed laws to restrict throwing away or destroying food and UK's biggest retailer, Tesco, pledging to give all leftover food to charities. According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations website (fao.org) - Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year, approximately 1.3 billion tonnes, gets lost or wasted; Food losses and waste amounts to roughly US$ 680 billion in industrialized countries and US$ 310 billion in developing countries. Governments, food chains and retailers, charitable organizations and social enterprises, need to come together to find ways to restrict and minimize food waste and make substantial part of it available to where it is required most. Following are some valuable suggestions - (1) Logistics: Efficient coordination between supermarkets and charities is essential. Supermarkets shouldn't just dump food at charities. Elaine Montegriffo, CEO of SecondBite, says, 'It is not just having enough trucks and storerooms...Some organisation has to take responsibility for coordinating donations so the right food reaches people in useable condition.' (2) Education: Create awareness about food labels and other specifications among consumers. Ronni Kahn, CEO of OzHarvest, says, 'Consumers need to understand what date marks mean.' (3) Food consumed at home should have minimal losses and consumer buying and eating behaviors need to be transformed. (4) Growing less food: Ms. Montegriffo says it's counterintuitive but if producers and retailers were not throwing away 1/3 of the food produced, the cost of producing it would drop. If supermarkets did not over-order food, their costs would reduce. (5) UK's model of collaborative understanding and commitment, between environment ministry, sumpermarkets, manufacturers and packaging companies has been effective and can be emulated. (6) Denmark's model with an organization buying surplus food from other supermarkets and selling at discount can also be helpful to reduce food waste. (7) Legislative measures can be considered and that should evolve with deliberations among various stakeholders. A number of organizations in Australia, for example retailers like Woolworths and Coles, and charities like OzHarvest, SecondBite and Foodbank, are currently working towards achieving minimal food wastes through the following 6 methods - (1) Reasonable and achievable long-term targets through diverse strategies like food donations, commercial composting, fertiliser, electricity production and animal feed. (2) Using food charities. (3) Buying ugly fruit and selling at cheaper rates. (4) Supermarkets are ordering less by using supply chain technologies and ordering systems. (5) Good incentives: Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt introduced an incentive for businesses to reduce food or garden waste in landfill. (6) Talking about food waste and seeking collaborative solutions through participation from wide array of public and private organizations. Read on...
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