About 10% of men and 1% of women have color deficiencies, most frequently an inability to distinguish red from green. If you aren’t color blind, you can see what the world would look like if you were, here. You can also download a free tool from this site to see how your images will appear to those in your audience who are color blind.
And if you are color blind, you may be interested in learning more about Daltonization, which uses specific techniques to make images distinguishable to those who are color blind. The examples are interesting, not only for their content, but for the realizations they bring about what it means to be color blind. We were especially struck by what color blindness might mean for scientists needing to interpret data from colored displays such as dyes, flouresence and computer-generated images. You’ll also find an online engine you can run to Daltonize your own images.
If you like dominoes and Rube Goldberg machines, you’ll like this $20 million ad from Guiness. After you enjoy the show, let us know:
HBR’s Working Knowledge has yet another recently-released article that is particularly relevant to the current business environment. We haven’t dealt with a fundamentally inflationary environment in the US in any significant way since Jimmy Carter’s stagflation. And even for those of us who were around for that, it’s important to think about how the rules of the game have changed.
This recent article from HBR’s Working Knowledge talks about the subject of price increases in a very practical way. If you’re wondering whether, how, or when to increase your prices, give this article a look. It’s seven tips provide a nice base to kick-start your thinking.
Have other ideas? We’re considering making this a topic of an upcoming Grey Matter. Submit your ideas for consideration (and credit for your brilliance).
Thank you to Caliban23_ of Flickr for the photo art
Burnett argues in this piece that by the very virtue of how we identify top performers and those we want to keep during lay-offs, we not only lay off our best problem-solvers, but we also intimidate any remaining employees into not taking the risk of problem-solving.
Burnett points out that when looking for our star performers to keep, we look for those who work well in teams, get along with others, do what we ask of them without being questioning or argumentative, and exhibit other signs of high emotional intelligence.
We also tend to like, and feel more comfortable with, people who are like us. So we weed out those who think differently.
But perhaps even more interestingly, Burnett argues that many of the skills that make someone a good problem-solver also tend to put them on the opposite end of the pole from those high emotional intelligence workers we want to hold onto. It’s not just their ability to look at things differently.
If you’re contemplating a lay-off, or would just like some tips for identifying who might be your best problem-solvers, check it out. Burnett has some interesting ideas.
In this story from Summer 2008’s S+B, Tom Erhenfeld explores the myths we create around companies, magic fixes and management wisdom. He notes that Starbucks has spawned no less than eight books by current or former employees, all recounting the mythical story of Starbucks, from founder Howard Schultz to silver-spooned barista Michael Gill Gates. Most of these books, as Erhenfeld puts it, add to the halo effect of Starbucks. But do these stories really tell the truth? Why DO some companies inspire a stack of books, and do the secrets revealed in those books recount the real reasons the company has ended up where it is?
Commenting on one of the more balanced books, here’s Ehrenfeld’s take:
“Unlike the field of science, in which one can conduct replicable activities with relative certainty about their outcome, in business, managers cannot assume that following a formula will produce predictable results. So they gravitate toward stories, which represent ‘a way that people try to make sense of their lives and experiences in the world,’ writes Rosenzweig. ‘The test of a good story isn’t its responsibility to the facts as much as its ability to provide a satisfying explanation of events.’”
Certainly not everyone who writes an article or a book has discovered the real reasons behind an organization’s success or failure. And typically it’s not just one reason. Organizations are made up of people simultaneously making choices about where the organization is going. But I think in their cautioning, Erhenfeld and his favorite Starbucks author, Phil Rosenzweig, go a bit too far. In my opinion some principles are basic, and can’t be ignored in most contexts.
My rule: Apply the common sense test. If it makes sense, think about whether it holds in most cases. If so, you probably have a good rule of thumb.
Are you excited by blank walls or repetitive airport annnouncements? No? Didn’t think so.
You may not notice it when you’re hungry, flirting with that interesting person across the room, or hiding from that interesting person’s angry significant other, but when other more pressing issues are not at play, your brain is an infovore. In this American Scientist article USC’s Irving Biederman and NYU’s Edward Vessel advance their theory of how our opiod-addicted brains crave the pleasure of learning. Addicts click here.
Have you ever wondered if you are more creative than you think? Or perhaps less creative? How about your ability to inspire creativity in others? If you’d like to measure your creativity quotient against thousands of others, and get suggestions on how to improve it, check out the creativity test here.
In this video Professor Richard McKenzie of UC Irvine talks about his new book, Why Popcorn Costs So Much at the Movies and Other Pricing Puzzles. He shows us that we actually end up paying more when we choose the big bucket typically shown in the position of the largest size. With his explanation he also demonstrates how very poor most of us are at comparing volume, an important factor in designing graphical reporting as well as packaging.
In this Harvard Working Knowledge post Jim Heskett asks whether organizations do enough deep thinking. He cites Jeffrey Immelt’s (GE) insistence on protecting those who make the time and effort to think deeply about innovations that will assure GE’s longer-term success. Even at GE, truly deep thinking and discussion are so rare, so culturally uncommon, that the company’s CEO must vow to protect those working on the breakthroughs from the “budget slashers” focused on short-term success.
Have you ever been so caught up in what you were doing that you didn’t notice changes going on around you? This failure to notice change, even when it’s right under our noses, is known as change bias. And it happens to organizations as well as people. Kodak didn’t seem to notice the changes going on in the image market. Starbucks didn’t seem to notice the changes going on in its stores (until Howard Schultz wrote his memo during the holidays bemoaning the disappearance of soul from its stores). Many businesses miss market changes until it is nearly too late, like children shrieking as they race up the beach, the incoming waves lapping at their heels. Noticing change requires staying alert to the environment around you.
Check out your own change savviness at Cognitive Daily, or get an even more expansive understanding of our ability to miss change in this summary of study results in the Journal of Vision.