A Creative Fashion
"Our intention was to build a media brand." That is the key here and an outstanding insight from David Lauren ("The Prince of Polo"). For marketers, the creative age must be thought of in terms of three major impacts. First and foremost, the creative application of ideas through social channels as a major vehicle will spawn a new era of truly integrated marketing communications. Second, real-time consumer information and speed of response should be seen as a critical ingredient to developing breakthrough creative insight. And finally, the creative age must blur the organizational lines among marketers, their firms, and their customers.
Boynton Beach, Florida
In the long term, I think the potential fossil-fuel lode in Israel could be good for the country and for the United States ("The Land of Oil and Money"). I don't know what the differences are between Israel's oil-shale deposits and the ones we have in the U.S., but hopefully the same technology can also be used by us to increase our domestic production. The extraction method, at least, sounds a lot more environmentally friendly in comparison to just digging the shale out of the ground.
"The People's Education Army" shows why China, despite its size, will always be second best. Out of chaos comes opportunity; no chaos, no opportunity. China's schools have a 1,400-year-old test, the gaokao, where "the graders don't value creative essays. They want the one answer deemed correct by the exam's authors." Doesn't sound like chaos to me.
Using incentives as a way to encourage people to get vaccinated works not only for the poor but also for the rich ("Bribing The Poor"). Incentive, however, doesn't seem to be the right term. More precise is the one used in the last line of the article: engaging. Questions then go from discussions of how we can get the poor vaccinated to how we can deliver better immunization experiences for them.
So glad to see Fast Company highlighting interesting and different views on development and innovations; this is so critical. However, I'm not sure this article asked and highlighted the right question. I think a better question, rather than whether it's morally right or wrong to offer these kinds of incentives, is about sustainability. Is this kind of incentive program going to work 10 years from now? What's being done to get these kinds of incentives adopted locally? I'm actually left wondering if this is really much different from a traditional handout program. I also wonder about the impact this will have on local markets and entrepreneurs, and if there is a role for the private sector in the distribution of vaccines.
Great story of how analysis can amplify good work and provide a basis for prioritizing investment on impact. Interestingly, incentives for vaccination in the form of government-funded family-assistance payments have long been in place in Australia. My first instinct on reading about it was to feel a little patronized, but subsequent exposure to the often polarized views about immunization has led me to feel a little more comfortable with government being proactive rather than passive.
Alice Springs, Australia
Woman At Work
I was glad to see statistics about women in the workforce included in the September issue. However, the graphic accompanying the article had inappropriate icons from what seems to be another decade. The image shows a woman at a sewing machine with the label "Women's share of the labor force." Attitudes about stereotypical gender roles are part of workplace discrimination and contribute to women's likelihood to be hired less, promoted less, and paid less than men. I hope the visuals in future articles will be in concert with the times and with what I suspect is Fast Company's attitude toward working women.
As your fascinating article on Japan's post-earthquake energy crisis reveals, we do pay significant financial and greenhouse-gas costs for cooling our buildings ("Undress for Success"). Moreover, Japan's urgent campaign to prevent nationwide blackouts has shown that cultural changes—wearing sandals, shorts, and short-sleeved shirts to work in the summer!—can lower energy use as much as technological ones. Perhaps the U.S. government could lead the way in rolling out its own hybrid of cultural and technological changes to reduce energy expenses for its buildings. There's another interesting wrinkle to this story: In an aging population such as Japan's, people devote a lot more of their consumer budgets to energy to mitigate temperature extremes. Now is the time to change.
We've been talking about personalization since the "olden days," when email was our main source of outreach to our target audiences ("Riot Police"). It seems we have a hard time getting it right unless we ask people directly what information they're looking for. It'll be interesting to see if discovery engines can finally crack the code.
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A version of this article appeared in the November 2011 issue of Fast Company magazine.