Imagine sitting next to a hologram of a student who is actually in Dubai while you are in a lecture theatre in Perth, Western Australia, pursuing your academic studies. That is just a small part of the dream of Curtin University chief operating officer Ian Callahan.
He is one of the people who has presided over the remarkable rise of the university from a middle-of-the-road institute of technology to a cutting-edge university that is well on the way to becoming a global institution.
“Imagine sitting in a classroom with the holograms of all the people taking the course worldwide and the live people. I can’t deliver that and nor can our technology partner, Cisco, at this point, but the point is that you are thinking about how education is going to further change.”
To underscore the point about change, five years ago the university had no collaborative classrooms. Now it has 76 – all video-enabled with cameras that are able to transmit in and out. It has also just opened its first 180-seat classroom that is completely video conference-enabled. That is a challenge.
“You can imagine the scale of 180 seats with people calling in from around the world,” Callahan says. “We don’t know how to use that so we are experimenting with how to do things. We are continually experimenting with new ways to do things, failing in some, succeeding in others, moving on to the next piece.
“That is where our technology partner, Cisco, has been really useful for us as well in that the team has helped us push those boundaries. They have worked with us to experiment and knowing it’s an experiment we allow ourselves to fail because we know that we are pushing the boundaries on something.
“From an individual, location and country perspective, everybody works a little differently and you must have multiple platforms to meet their needs. Whether it’s two people communicating across campus or talking globally from one country to another, Cisco has been able to help enable securely a lot of different things that allow us to both interact in delivering programs and meet our daily collaboration needs. So the relationship with Cisco has really been about pushing the boundaries and finding the best outcomes. The right partner for this journey is essential.”
From Cisco's perspective, the power of digitisation offers three main areas of growth which fit into Curtin's overall perspective: the power to change customer experience; the power to transform the business model/marketplace; and the power to enable staff.
Such thinking has led Curtin to become a 24/7 global university in virtually no time at all. Four years ago, Curtin Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Jill Downie started in the position with the idea of transforming learning. She visited several universities overseas and came back with a vision of Curtin being totally globally connected. Soon after, the idea of Curtin Converged was born.
Curtin Converged is the institution’s model for teaching and learning, a mix of traditional lectures, flipped classes, technology-enriched environments and distributed learning techniques – such as Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) and high-end video and 3D technologies that actively engage students whether they attend classes on campus or from elsewhere.
As Professor Downie points out, there are more than one billion internet users just one hour either side of the timezone in which Perth is located. It gives Curtin a massive audience reach to play with, not that it needs to confine itself to people and countries in similar timezones.
“We already distribute learning to Miri [in Malaysia], we are active in Singapore, we are into parts of Europe, we have a partnership with Aberdeen University in Scotland – subsea engineering will be the first Masters course that will be taught between the two universities –and we will open up a campus in Dubai soon,” she says. “The university is also working on moving into Africa.
“The important thing in all this is the secure and seamless use of technology. We are going through a process of audio-visual standardisation across all our rooms to ensure that it is really easy for academics to be involved. We also have a big professional development program to help academics not only use the technology to connect with citizens around the globe but to help change the pedagogy around teaching which is required in these new and exciting environments.”
Being a 24/7 university throws up all sorts of new challenges, both technological and physical for both students and staff alike, but it has already been broadly embraced. Ian Callahan says more than 35,000 people visit the campus each day. The library will tick over – for the first time this year – to more than two million visitors; on a normal day at 2am there are 200 people in the library, when exams are approaching there are more than 500. There are 5000 bean bags scattered over the campus (we’ll get back to that later), a hammock hotel and 20-plus food trucks visit daily. The nature of how a campus is used has changed irrevocably. The key, however, is a change in thinking on all levels.
“To properly understand a global 24-hour campus you have to look at it from the perspective of it being one system of global interconnected campuses around the world,” Callahan says. “On that broader scale, we must meet the needs of our students, our research partners and industry on a 24-hour basis as we meet their timelines and their requirements in content and delivery. We have to do that in a way that allows us to deliver those resources. That means getting creative about how you go about it. One way is by using resources from our home base in Bentley but we are also looking at ways to share our global resources and deliver around the clock by having this interconnected one campus or global campus mentality.”
It also requires an extraordinary level of interconnectivity, of multiple networks, of everything in sync. It is the Internet of Things in practice. Aligning with innovative companies such as Cisco helps Curtin achieve this vision. In one example, the university moots a semester class made up of 20-30 in-class students, with another 15-30 students participating online from countries around the world such as China, Belgium and Singapore, with the main lecturer on the Bentley campus and expert lecturers in Nigeria and Japan working with students in a live environment.
If this sounds hard to imagine, you would be wrong.
“We deliver that in one area already with our [postgraduate] Sexology program,” Callahan says, “and we have other individual examples where we are doing that or variations on that. The technology is there. It will get better and more intuitive to use. The challenge for us is to securely roll it out on a larger scale now. That depends as much on the human element as the technology because it is about getting the staff trained and able to run classrooms. The logistics of running a classroom like that is very different from having everybody sitting in front of you.”
Ultimately, it is easy to envisage a world where the bricks-and-mortar universities of today are dust and the global hub of interconnected universities delivers everything to its students logged in from home or the office or on the road, wherever there is a connection. Not so, say both Callahan and Professor Downie, the former underscoring that attending the Bentley campus is sold as the premium tertiary experience.
You see, there is more, much more. Curtin has well-documented expansion plans that define its business model change. Professor Downie points to the Greater Curtin Master Plan that outlines a vision for 2030 to create an important economic, research and innovation hub, with diversity in culture and the arts.
Then there is the Cisco Internet of Everything Innovation Centre (CIIC), an industry and research collaboration centre established by Cisco with foundation partners Curtin University and Woodside Energy. With more than 80 researchers and links to advanced facilities and a global industry network, the centre aims to bring together start-ups, industry experts, developers and researchers in an open environment to create ground-breaking solutions that foster growth, provide jobs and help build sustainable economies. The university also has several smart city projects underway.
“People sometimes ask if everything is going to be online and everything is going to be distributed then why are you building Greater Curtin and why are you building refurbished classrooms and putting so much effort into place activation on campus?” Professor Downie says. "My response to that is while everything will be available to students in distributed mode or online or by flexible delivery, there will always be a place for students coming on to campus.”
And that brings us back to those 5000 bean bags. “The students are staying on campus between classes,” she says. “The face-to-face environment has never been more active but students in that environment might be sitting out in a bean bag under a tree, dialling into class at the other end of the campus. If that is what they choose to do, if they are interacting and learning that way and that suits their needs, then that’s the sort of environment we want to provide.”
Tertiary education has never sounded more appealing.
Security training and certification specialist (ISC)² has announced a new programme, One Million Certified in Cybersecurity, pledging to put a million people around the world through its foundation level education programme and certification exam.
Announced at a cyber skills event held at the White House in Washington DC, the programme builds upon the early success of a UK-specific initiative, 100k in the UK, which pledged 100,000 free exams and course enrolments for Britain’s future cyber pros.
The UK programme – which is open to anybody from accurate graduates to people looking for a mid-career change, will – if successful – expand the UK’s existing security workforce by a third and so fill the gap left by security pros leaving the industry, according to (ISC)².
Beginning from September, (ISC)² will offer qualifying individuals free access to its online, self-guided Certified in Cybersecurity course, and the following examination. This covers the basic principles of cyber security; business continuity, disaster recovery and incident response; access control concepts; network security; and security operations practice.
Like the UK pilot, the worldwide programme will be open to anybody wishing to expand their skills and opportunities in the security sector, with a particular focus on individuals working in, or who wish to work in, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
(ISC)² CEO Clar Rosso said research suggested organisations that focus on recruiting and developing entry-level cyber pros are better placed to accelerate the invaluable hands-on training that their new recruits need to start a successful career in the sector.
“Our ‘100K in the UK’ programme garnered more than 10,000 applicants in its first two months. It is a resounding call to action for organisations serious about expanding the cyber security workforce to make the necessary investments now to break down barriers and clear obstacles for anyone interested in a cyber security career,” said Rosso.
“We support the aims of the Biden Administration, the US National Cyber Director and administrations around the world focused on this critical issue. We are proud to announce this initiative alongside so many others who share a strong commitment to addressing our cyber security workforce challenges and look forward to building the public-private partnerships needed to accomplish our goal of One Million Certified in Cybersecurity.”
At the same time, (ISC)² has committed to reaching groups that are historically under-represented in the cyber security sector. It plans to direct fully half of its one million commitment to target students from the US’ historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions (MSIs), tribal organisations and women’s organisations in the US and worldwide.
Successful completion will see candidates become full (ISC)² members with access to further professional development resources, including more advanced qualifications and certifications.
Every day around the world, about 10+ million users log in to Slack to communicate with colleagues, making the platform an indisputable leader in communications technology.
But even though about 90% of a project manager’s time is spent communicating with various stakeholders, managing projects requires the use of multiple tools to ensure success, whether it’s project management for small business or larger enterprises.
So how can Slack, which is primarily a communication and collaboration tool, be used as a project management app?
Let’s find out.
Slack’s story starts with Tiny Speck, a company launched in 2009 by the same people behind Flickr, the photo-sharing service Yahoo acquired in 2005. Tiny Speck’s mission: to build a massive multiplayer online game.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go according to plan. Glitch, Tiny Speck’s flagship offering, closed in 2012. In 2014, instead of introducing another online game, Tiny Speck did a major pivot with its launch of Slack -- and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.
Slack started out as an internal communication tool connecting Tiny Speck’s U.S. and Canada offices. Fast forward to today as more than 750,000 organizations worldwide turn to Slack to communicate, collaborate, and get things done.
Teams that use Slack perform a wide range of functions, including engineering, financial services, sales and marketing, IT, human resources, customer support, project management, and media.
To understand how Slack works, let’s take a look at some of its primary components:
Slack teams, usually from the same project team or organization, have their own workspaces, which are made up of different channels. Within a workspace, teams may:
To join a workspace, you need to be invited. You may also create your own workspace if you’re unable to join any existing ones. Users can join multiple workspaces using the same email address.
A channel is where you find the files, people, information, and tools necessary to successfully complete work. To keep things organized, different channels can be created for different purposes: projects, teams, or topics. Channels can be public or private.
Threads are useful for organizing Slack discussions. Team members and guests can start message threads in channels and direct messages. With threads, you can split off conversations so you don’t clutter the main conversation view.
You can also follow or unfollow threads, depending on whether you still want to stay notified of new replies or activities.
Slack comes with a built-in calling feature, which you can use to call at least one of your teammates via a direct message, regardless of the Slack plan you’re on.
However, calling from a channel or group direct message is only allowed if you’re subscribed to a paid Slack plan. You may also integrate other calling apps with Slack, such as Zoom, join.me, RingCentral, and Cisco Webex.
To start using Slack, someone in your company must first sign up for it, pick a team URL, and then allow team members to join by approving their email addresses.
If your team is new to Slack and you’re still testing the waters, start with the free version. It archives up to 10,000 of your most accurate messages (you can send an unlimited number of messages), which you can search through and retrieve on demand.
The free plan also lets you integrate up to 10 apps, store files up to 5GB per workspace, and create unlimited channels. If you need additional features and more space (e.g., unlimited message archiving and more file storage capacity), here is the price list for Slack’s paid versions:
Users can access and use Slack via:
For more information on the different Slack features, check out The Ascent’s in-depth review.
On its website, the company states: “Slack shouldn’t replace the tools you already use for project management -- but it does make them better.” At its core, Slack is a communication tool and doesn’t come equipped with the robust project management features Asana, Wrike, Jira, and Smartsheet bring to the table.
So how can teams use Slack for project management?
Slack allows teams to create as many project-specific channels as they want. That way, you bring together the correct information and people into the right channel. No more inundating team members and stakeholders with email messages they don’t need.
Plus, you can pin messages and files (e.g., designs, documents, briefs, etc.) to a direct message or channel for easy reference. Pinned items are accessible to anyone in the channel or direct message.
Slack allows you to connect the tools you already use via the Slack app store so you can pull project notifications into Slack and perform actions without switching between applications.
With the Asana-Slack integration, for example, you can create tasks within Slack, turn Slack messages into tasks, or perform task actions without leaving Slack.
You may also build custom apps to address your company’s unique needs using the Slack API.
Meetings, reviews, approvals, status updates -- if you aren’t tracking them carefully or sending yourself (and your team) an automated reminder, there’s a good chance something will slip through the cracks.
You can set up Slack reminders in several ways:
There are multiple ways to manage tasks in Slack:
If you need input on a presentation or final approval on a design, simply upload and share a file to initiate collaboration. You may add files from your computer, mobile device, or storage services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, or OneDrive.
All uploaded files can be shared across your workspace, and everyone in the channel or direct message where a file is added can get the file, save it, or share it to another conversation.
If your team isn’t on Slack yet, now is probably the best time to try it out. But despite the many benefits, keep in mind that it’s fundamentally a communication and collaboration tool, not a full-fledged project management software system.
So if your projects are complex and roles overlap, or you need to define milestones, visualize genuine timelines against the project schedule, compare spending against approved budgets, turn recurring tasks into work templates, or collaborate on tasks using kanban boards, then Slack’s best use is to supplement the capabilities of a project management system.
Slack’s strength, after all, is providing a central place for project discussions -- provided everyone commits to using it, and there are guidelines in place to avoid being overwhelmed.
Sameer Bhatia was always good with numbers. When he was in his 20s, the Stanford University grad came up with an innovative algorithm that formed the foundation of MonkeyBin, his popular consumer barter marketplace. By 31, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur was newly married and running a mobile gaming company.
Then, on a routine business trip to Mumbai, Bhatia started to feel under the weather. He lost his appetite and had trouble breathing. Bhatia chalked it up to the 100-degree weather and unbearable humidity. After a visit to a doctor at one of Mumbai’s leading hospitals, however, blood tests showed that Bhatia’s white blood cell count was wildly out of whack, and there were “blasts” in his cells. His doctor instructed him to return home to seek medical treatment. Upon entering the United States, Bhatia was admitted to the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J. He was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML), a cancer that starts in the bone marrow and is characterized by the rapid growth of abnormal white blood cells that interfere with the production of normal blood cells. AML is the most common acute leukemia affecting adults.
Bhatia was facing the toughest challenge of his life. Half of all new cases of leukemia result in death. But Bhatia was determined to beat the odds and get better. After a few months of chemotherapy and other pharmacological treatment, doctors told Bhatia that his only remaining treatment option would be a bone marrow transplant—a procedure that requires finding a donor with marrow having the same human leukocyte antigens as the recipient.
Because tissue types are inherited, about 25 percent to 30 percent of patients are able to find a perfect match with a sibling. The remaining 70 percent must turn to the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), a national database with more than 8 million registered individuals.
Patients requiring a transplant are most likely to match a donor of their own ethnicity. That wasn’t a promising scenario for Bhatia. He had a rare gene from his father’s side of the family that proved extremely difficult to match. After typing his brother, his parents, and all of his cousins, the closest they got was a 2/8 match. Even more worrisome was that of the millions of registered donors in the NMDP, only 1.4 percent are South Asian. As a result, the odds of Bhatia finding a perfect match were 1 in 20,000. Worse, there were few other places to look. One would think that a match could be found easily in India, where Bhatia’s family was originally from. But India does not have a national bone marrow registry. Not a single match surfaced anywhere.
Bhatia’s quest to find a donor match is a tale of the revolutionary power of social technology. Most of us are inundated daily with e-mails, videos, blog posts, and online invitations to participate in campaigns—pleas we generally ignore. Yet some social media-driven campaigns are so compelling that they beat incredible odds or cause millions to act. We call this phenomenon of using social technology for impact the “Dragonfly Effect.” It is a method that coalesces the focal points of our careers—research and insights on consumer psychology and happiness with practical approaches for infectious action. The Dragonfly Effect is also an outgrowth of a class taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, which brought together students engaged in social media and an ecosystem of collaborators including Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, investors, and faculty and students from Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. Not only did the class demonstrate that people are clamoring for ways to use social media for social good, but it also confirmed our belief that there is a replicable framework to achieve this goal.
Why the dragonfly? The dragonfly is the only insect able to propel itself in any direction when its four wings are working in concert. It symbolizes the importance of integrated effect and is akin to the ripple effect—a term used in economics, sociology, and psychology to indicate how small acts can create big change. To us, the Dragonfly Effect shows how synchronized ideas can be used to create rapid transformations through social media.
The method relies on four essential skills, or wings: 1) focus: identify a single concrete and measurable goal; 2) grab attention: cut through the noise of social media with something authentic and memorable; 3) engage: create a personal connection, accessing higher emotions, compassion, empathy, and happiness; and 4) take action: enable and empower others to take action. Throughout this process, we use the tools of design thinking, a creative approach to experimenting with and building up ideas.1 Design thinking meshes with the Dragonfly method because it quickly takes people through a series of steps, starting with empathy and moving to hypothesis creation and then to rapid prototyping and testing.
Wing 1: Focus Your Goal Bhatia’s circle of friends, a group of young entrepreneurs and professionals, reacted to the news of his diagnosis with an unconventional approach. “We realized our choices were between doing something, anything, and doing something seismic,” says Robert Chatwani, Bhatia’s best friend and business partner. The friends decided they would attack Bhatia’s illness as they would any business challenge. It came down to running the numbers. If they campaigned for Bhatia and held bone marrow drives throughout the country, they could increase the number of South Asians in the registry. The only challenge was that to play the odds they had to register 20,000 South Asians. They figured that this was the only way to find the match that would save his life. The only problem: Doctors told them that they had a matter of weeks to get the job done.
Bhatia’s friends and family (Team Sameer) needed to work fast and they needed to scale up. Their strategy: tap the power of the Internet and focus on the tight-knit South Asian community to get 20,000 South Asians into the bone marrow registry, immediately. One of Chatwani’s first steps was to write an e-mail with a clear call to action. In the message, he did not ask for help; he simply told people what was needed of them.
Dear Friends, Please take a moment to read this email. My friend, Sameer Bhatia, has been diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), which is a cancer of the blood. He is in urgent need of a bone marrow transplant. Sameer is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, is 31 years old, and got married last year. His diagnosis was confirmed just weeks ago and caught us all by surprise given that he has always been in peak condition. Sameer, a Stanford alum, is known to many for his efforts in launching the American India Foundation, Project Dosti, TiE (Chicago), a microfinance fund, and other causes focused on helping others. Now he urgently needs our help in giving him a new lease on life. He is undergoing chemotherapy at present but needs a bone marrow transplant to sustain beyond the next few months. Fortunately, you can help. Let’s use the power of the Net to save a life.2
Robert then instructed readers to do three things. First, he urged them to get registered through a simple cheek swab test. He gave a link to locations where this could be done. Second, he told readers to spread the word. Third, he instructed people to learn more by visiting the website set up to help Bhatia. On it were more details on how to organize one’s own drive and information about AML, plus frequently asked questions on registering. Robert sent the e-mail to Bhatia’s closest friends and business colleagues—about 400 to 500 people, including fellow entrepreneurs, investors, South Asian relatives, and college friends. And that set of friends forwarded the e-mail to their personal networks, and so on. Within 48 hours, the e-mail had reached 35,000 people.
Bhatia’s friends soon learned that yet another man in their ecosystem had recently been diagnosed with the same disease—Vinay Chakravarthy, a Boston-based 28-year-old physician. Bhatia’s friends immediately partnered with Team Vinay, an inspiring group of people who shared the same goal as Team Sameer. Together, they harnessed Web 2.0 social media platforms and services like Facebook, Google Apps, and YouTube to collectively campaign and hold bone marrow drives all over the country.
Their goal was clear and their campaign was under way. Within weeks, in addition to the national drives, Team Sameer and Team Vinay coordinated bone marrow drives at more than 15 San Francisco Bay Area companies, including Cisco, Google, Intel, Oracle, eBay, PayPal, Yahoo, and Genentech. Volunteers on the East Coast started using the documents and collateral that the teams developed. After 11 weeks of focused efforts that included 480 bone marrow drives, 24,611 new people were registered. The teams recruited 3,500 volunteers, achieved more than 1 million media impressions, and garnered 150,000 visitors to the websites. “This is the biggest campaign we’ve ever been involved with,” says Asia Blume of the Asian American Donor Program. “Other patients might register maybe a thousand donors. We never imagined that this campaign would blow up to this extent.”
Perhaps the most critical result associated with the campaign, however, was the discovery of two matches: one for Bhatia, one for Chakravarthy. In August 2007—only a few months after the kickoff of the campaign—Chakravarthy found a close match. Two weeks later, Bhatia was notified of the discovery of a perfect 10 of 10 match. Judging from the timing of when the donors entered the database, both Chakravarthy and Bhatia’s matches were a direct result of the campaigns.
One of the main reasons Team Sameer succeeded was its ability to focus. They didn’t get lost in the size of their challenge. They didn’t try to sign up every single South Asian in the San Francisco Bay Area. Instead they focused on those who were well connected to others and who could relate to Bhatia and his story. Those types of people were easy to identify, and the scope of the challenge quickly came into focus. Perhaps most incredible was that Team Sameer and Team Vinay did not stop with just Bhatia and Chakravarthy. Ultimately, Team Sameer and Team Vinay educated a population about the value of becoming registered donors while changing the way registries work. Above all, they came up with a blueprint for saving lives—one that could be replicated.
Wing 2: Grab Attention Not every social media campaign can grab attention through life-or- death stories. Most need to impress through originality or take people by surprise. Consider the Coca-Cola Co. In 2009 the company was looking for a new way to connect to young consumers. Spending on traditional media or Super Bowl ads would be predictable. Instead, they veered far from what could have been anticipated and delivered the “Happiness Machine.” Just before final exams, Coke installed a vending machine in a cafeteria at St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y. Instead of dispensing normal sodas, however, the machine dispensed surprises. When a student paid for one Coke, she got many Cokes … and then got other treats as well: flowers, a pizza, balloon animals, and even a 10-foot sandwich.
The students in the cafeteria were delighted by the surprises, which brought out the best in them. They shared the treats with fellow students. Coke posted a video on YouTube and advertised it with a single tweet: “Would you like a Coca-Cola Happiness Machine? Share the happiness … share the video.” 3 Within two weeks, the video had been watched 2 million times. Although traditional Coke ads, such as those placed on American Idol, would gain greater reach, Coke’s initial data suggest that the Happiness Machine has had a more meaningful impact on consumers. Coke spent less than $50,000 on the video and proved the power of surprise as a tool to establish a deep emotional connection.
Or consider Nike, which in early 2010 partnered with social marketer (RED) to launch the (RED) laces campaign on World AIDS Day. Nike created eye-catching (RED) shoelaces, donating 100 percent of the sale proceeds to fight AIDS. Working with Twitter, they put an item on the Twitter homepage promoting the movement and turned the text of all tweets red that included the hashtag #red or # laceupsavelives.4 To ignite the Twitter community, they enlisted celebrities such as Serena Williams, John Legend, Ashton Kutcher, and Chris Rock to send the following tweet (or their own variation): “Today is World AIDS Day. Together we can fight AIDS thru sports, www.nikefootball.com/red #red #laceupsavelives.” Nike essentially staged a virtual flashmob with the help of these influencers who were connected to millions of people. Within one day, they reached more than 10 million people with their message, turned more than a half million tweets red through the use of the promotion’s hashtags, and made World AIDS Day a top five global trending course on Twitter, driving sales of the (RED) laces and ensuring further reach well beyond the followers of a particular set of influencers.
When working to grab attention in a social media campaign, we suggest four design principles: 1)personal: create with a personal hook in mind; 2) unexpected: people like consuming and then sharing new information—draw them in by piquing their curiosity; 3) visual: show, don’t tell—photos and videos speak millions of words; and 4) visceral: design the campaign so it triggers the senses through sight, sound, hearing, or taste.
Wing 3: Engage If Wing 2 of the Dragonfly Effect is about getting people to notice your cause, Wing 3, Engage, is about what happens next—compelling people to care deeply. Engage is arguably the most challenging of the four wings, because engaging others is more of an art than a science. Engagement has little to do with logic or reason. You might have brilliant arguments to explain why people should get involved, but if you can’t engage them emotionally, they won’t be swayed.
Barack Obama’s 2008 run for the White House is perhaps the broadest campaign to successfully use social media for social change. Obama’s team effectively used new social media tools—and according to some experts, this bold move secured him the presidency. Analysts at Edelman Research say that Obama won by “converting everyday people into engaged and empowered volunteers, donors, and advocates through social networks, e-mail advocacy, text messaging, and online video.” 5
Although Obama’s grassroots effort was savvy at using a wide variety of existing social media and technology tools, its central channel was My.BarackObama.com (nicknamed MyBO). In many ways this easy-to-use networking website was like a more focused version of Facebook. It allowed Obama supporters to create a profile, build groups, connect, and chat with other registered users, find or plan offline events, and raise funds. MyBO also housed such user-generated content as videos, speeches, photos, and how-to guides that allowed people to create their own content—similar to a digital toolbox. The mission, design, and execution of the site echoed the single goal of the grassroots effort: to provide a variety of ways for people to connect and become involved.
The Obama team, which created the most robust set of online tools ever used in a political campaign, did so in less than 10 days, timing the site to launch around Obama’s presidential campaign announcement. Keeping focused on one clear mission (“involvement through empowerment”) helped them not only to execute fast but also to execute right. In its core functionality, MyBO was the same on launch day as it was on Election Day.
It was no coincidence that MyBO shared similarities with Facebook; the Obama campaign had familiarized itself with Facebook early on, first using it before the midterm elections. At that time, Facebook had just started to allow political candidates to build profile pages, and even though Obama wasn’t a midterm candidate, he still wanted to harness online momentum. The campaign also hired Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes to help it develop and execute its social media strategy.
Hughes’s revolutionary contribution to MyBO was using social media not just to capture people’s attention but also to enable them to become activists (without a single field staffer telling them how). These activists became a team—initially gathering online and then coordinating offline events to evangelize their cause. MyBO integrated behavioral truths (involvement leads to commitment; opportunity leads to empowerment) and social media tools to inspire people to participate in ways that they found meaningful and rewarding. My.BarackObama.com was not merely a website; it was a movement that made politics accessible through social media that people were already using every day. It changed the face of political campaigns forever. But, more important, it made getting involved as easy as opening up an Internet browser and creating an online profile.
Wing 4: Take Action In many ways, Alex Scott was a regular kid. Her favorite food was French fries, her favorite color blue. She hoped to be a fashion designer one day. But in other ways, Scott was different. Just before her first birthday, she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of pediatric cancer. A tumor was removed from her back, and doctors told her parents, Liz and Jay Scott, that if she beat the cancer she would likely not walk again. Two weeks later Alex Scott moved her leg—one of the many early clues about her determination and capabilities. When Scott was 4, after receiving a stem cell transplant, she came up with a plan that would change how she and her family coped with cancer from then on. “When I get out of the hospital I want to have a lemonade stand,” she said. Scott wanted to use the money she made to fight cancer and help other children.
Her parents admit now that they laughed at Scott’s project. Although one in every 330 American children contracts cancer before age 20, childhood cancer research is consistently underfunded. Scott was advised that it could be challenging to raise money 50 cents at a time. “I don’t care. I’ll do it anyway,” she replied.
Like thousands of other junior entrepreneurs around the country, Scott set up a table in her front yard and started selling paper cups of lemonade to neighbors and passersby. Her hand-printed sign advertised that all proceeds would go to childhood cancer research. The 50-cent price of a glass of lemonade was ignored as customers paid with bills ($1, $5, $10, and $20) and allowed her to keep the change as a donation. Scott understood the importance of change management, and the change really added up.
Scott raised more than $2,000 that first year. Her plan was far more than a social entrepreneur’s desire to earn profits for a purpose; rather, it empowered others to act for her cause. She reopened her stand for business each summer, and news of its existence and worthy cause spread far beyond her neighborhood, her town, and even her home state of Pennsylvania. She leveraged that momentum and got others to set up their own lemonade stands. Her approach was “sticky” in more ways than one.6 Before long, lemonade stand fundraisers took place in 50 states, plus Canada and France. Scott and her family appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show as well as The Today Show.
Not one to be easily daunted, Scott set a goal to raise $1 million for cancer research. By the time she reached $700,000, Volvo of North America stepped in and pledged to hold a fundraising event to assure that the $1 million goal would be reached.
Four years after setting up her first lemonade stand, Scott succumbed to cancer. She was 8. In her too-short life she raised $1 million for cancer research, built awareness of the seriousness of childhood cancer, and taught a generation of children (and their parents) about the importance of abstract ideals like community and charity. She also demonstrated that making a difference can be fun.
To carry on Scott’s legacy, her parents established a nonprofit in her name, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF). Since its founding, the 501(c)(3) charity has inspired more than 10,000 volunteers to set up more than 15,000 stands. It has raised in excess of $27 million and donated to more than 100 research projects at nearly 50 institutions in the United States. Scott assembled a band of cancer-fighting evangelists (family, friends, neighbors, citizens, and corporations) that was far more powerful than anyone, even those closest to her, ever thought possible. At first, ALSF stayed connected to its constituents through two electronic newsletters, Million Dollar Monday and Freshly Squeezed Friday News, which included updates and anecdotes from lemonade stands around the country. No explicit appeal was made; they kept the news light and fun. But when ALSF started branching into social media, it found that the old rules didn’t apply. It engaged its community more directly and frequently through Twitter alerts and Facebook posts. With the help of social media—30,000 Twitter followers and 33,000 Facebook fans—the organization garnered a strong and faithful fan base, growing exponentially. ALSF also redeployed its experience to make it dead simple for anyone to hold a lemonade stand. Their site (www.alexslemonade.org) documents, down to the last detail, what one needs and includes downloadable templates and tools. The foundation sends everyone who registers a package of ALSFbranded materials, with banners, signs, posters, and flyers.
People all over the world took Scott’s idea and transformed it into a movement. The success of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation wasn’t as much about raising money as it was inspiring people to take action. The organization recognized that traditional fundraising (dialing or dining for dollars) was a relatively passive act. By helping children around the country set up their own lemonade stands to fight childhood cancer, Scott mobilized a population of young ambassadors whose involvement and heightened awareness made a much more significant impact.
The organization embraced all four wings of the dragonfly: It focused on the goal to honor Scott’s wish to raise money to fight childhood cancer; it grabbed attention by tapping into a deep-rooted American tradition, the lemonade stand; it engaged people’s emotions by telling and retelling Scott’s compelling story. And finally, it excelled at the fourth wing of the Dragonfly Effect, Take Action, the wing critical to closing the loop on previous efforts.
Ultimately, the Dragonfly Effect demonstrates that one doesn’t need money or power to cause seismic social change. With energy, focus, and a good wireless connection, anything is possible.
This article is based on the book The Dragonfly Effect by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith (John Wiley & Sons, 2010).
Jennifer Aaker is the General Atlantic Professor of Marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She is widely published in scholarly journals in psychology and marketing, and her work has been featured in The Economist, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and NPR, among others.
Andy Smith is a principal of Vonavona Ventures, where he advises technical and social ventures in marketing, consumer strategy, and operations. He is a guest lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a contributor to Good Magazine.
Read more stories by Jennifer Aaker & Andy Smith.
Boston – July 28, 2022 – Two VHS Learning students earned top honors on the 2022 National Latin Exam (NLE), with one achieving a perfect score and earning a gold medal. Both students took VHS Learning’s Advanced Placement® Latin course, which is the equivalent of a first semester college Latin course.
The NLE is a test given annually to Latin students across the United States and around the world. The NLE was taken by more than 100,000 students in 2022.
On the Advanced Latin memorizing Comprehension exam, one VHS Learning student answered 40 of 40 questions correctly, earning a gold medal and a summa cum laude certificate. On the Advanced Latin Poetry exam, another VHS Learning student received a silver medal and a maxima cum laude certificate.…Read More
The municipality of Prishtina has granted a 50 year free of charge lease to RIT Kosovo (A.U.K). As part of a wide-ranging master plan, RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) plans to increase its student centered vibrant physical facilities and implement a series of renovations and revitalization of existing learning environments - modernizing classrooms and laboratories, improving safety and accessibility, and creating student-centric spaces where collaboration, and research can take place.
Construct and Equip a new Student Center at RIT Kosovo (A.U.K)
RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) has prepared plans for the construction of a multipurpose student center within RIT Kosovo (A.U.K)’s campus. This new building will include student dormitories, student library, learning commons, a gym and recreational activity area, and an in-house Resident Assistant (RA). This new building will enable more students to live on-campus and will increase the quality of student experience by facilitating access to wonderful recreational and learning areas, including access to a sophisticated collection of books in the student library.
Eco-Friendly Roof retrofitting with Solar Panel Solution at RIT Kosovo (A.U.K)
RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) has created a concrete plan for switching its main campus building to renewable energy, and has acquired market-based offers in this regard. RIT Kosovo (A.U.K)'s proposed plan to switch to renewable energy sources through solar power, will generate up to 200,153kWh of energy during one calendar year. Through energy savings alone, this investment will pay for itself in less than 6 full years after implementation. In addition, over a 25 year life-cycle, this investment is expected to save RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) over 600,000 EUR in energy costs!
Donors that wish to fully-fund the construction and functionalization of our new multi-purpose building will have full naming rights to the building, its hallways, specific areas, lounges centers.
(MENAFN- PR Newswire)
The German carmaker formalizes its contributions with membership in the project that helps developers build custom Linux-based systems
SAN FRANCISCO, July 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced that BMW Group is joining the Yocto Project as a member.
BMW Group's membership restates their commitment to work with, and in, sustainable ecosystems and software and to support open source and key tools they use to build their products. The Yocto Project welcomes this support and looks forward to benefiting from their input and experience. They are joining other members including Intel, Comcast, Arm, Cisco, Facebook (Meta), Xilinx, Microsoft, Wind River, and AWS.
With the rise of devices and sensors being used across every industry, developers today require a common set of tools that help them manage software stacks, configurations, and best practices tailored for Linux images for embedded and IoT devices. Over the last decade Yocto Project has been tuned for this purpose and today is the de facto set of tools for building and supporting a new generation of devices. In short, it helps developers create custom Linux-based systems regardless of the hardware architecture.
The Yocto Project has grown significantly since it was created, rising to the constantly evolving challenge of building custom operating systems for products in a maintainable and scalable way. The project leads in build system technology with bitwise identical build output every time, advanced software manifests, license handling capabilities, and strong binary artifact reuse among many other developments. Yocto Project 4.0 (aka Kirkstone) was released in April. Based on Linux kernel 5.15, glibc 2.35, and roughly 300 other recipe upgrades, Yocto 4.0 supports SPDX SBOM generation and is the latest Long Term Support (LTS) release.
'Recognising sustainability in the context of open source is an extremely welcome development, and we look forward to working more closely with BMW Group to further enhance the project' Richard Purdie, Linux Foundation Fellow. 'We hope that others will follow their lead in sustainability and together we can strengthen and allow open source projects to reach their full potential'.
For more information about the Yocto Project, please visit:About BMW Group
The BMW Group is the world's leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles with its BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce, and BMW Motorrad brands, and a provider of premium financial and mobility services. The BMW Group production network comprises 31 production and assembly plants in 15 countries; the company has a global sales network with representatives in over 140 countries.
Long-term thinking and responsible action are the basis of economic success. Ecological and social sustainability, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to conserving resources are therefore an integral part of our strategy.About Yocto Project
The Yocto Project is an open source collaboration project that creates highly customisable, maintainable, and scalable Linux-based systems primarily for embedded and IOT projects, regardless of the hardware platform and product. For additional information, please visit yoctoproject.org or contact us .About the Linux Foundation
Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation and its projects are supported by more than 2,950 members. The Linux Foundation is the world's leading home for collaboration on open source software, hardware, standards, and data. Linux Foundation projects are critical to the world's infrastructure including Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, ONAP, Hyperledger, RISC-V, and more. The Linux Foundation's methodology focuses on leveraging best practices and addressing the needs of contributors, users, and solution providers to create sustainable models for open collaboration. For more information, please visit us at linuxfoundation.org .
The Linux Foundation has registered trademarks and uses trademarks. For a list of trademarks of The Linux Foundation, please see its trademark usage page: . Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.
Contact:Dan Whiting 202-531-9091 [email protected]
SOURCE Yocto Project
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