Technology

The Keys to Driving Successful Digital Transformation

The terms “Digital Workplace” and “Digital Transformation” swirl so prominently in the corporate air these days that it is hard to go a day without hearing them, if not inhaling them. In a recent study conducted by IDG Research for Unisys, nearly two-thirds (65%) of respondents stated that it is “highly important” for their organizations to implement digital business over the next 12 months by substantially modifying their technology as well as their IT processes and resources. The survey identified five key priority areas: mobile application development, cloud deployment, social media, data science, and security.

Digital business transformation requires an experimental mindset that is inclusive of the entire business—marketing, sales, services, IT, R&D, and customer and partner communities. Unfortunately, many companies still cling to a vertically oriented, bureaucratic, hierarchical system of operations and governance, essentially the calcified spine of an operational model that once propelled progress but now erects roadblocks to change. Large companies therefore lack the single most important attribute required for successful digital transformation: adaptability. I believe that a lateral, rather than vertical, orientation must form the basis of a new business model that ignites creativity instead of inhibiting it. I will explore aspects of this model in detail below. First, however, let’s examine the central elements of successful digital transformation.

Keys to Digital Transformation:

1. Make Customer Experience (CX) the top driver of digital transformation. Digital Transformation analyst Brian Solis notes that, “Companies that don’t grasp or internalize the customer journey are obstructed from seeing its potential for optimization and innovation.” In far too many cases, IT and marketing departments still influence technology investments without fully understanding customer behaviors and expectations. Customer experience should be a top driver of digital transformation, and organizations should map their processes to the customer journey, rather than, in essence, asking customers to alter their behaviors to fit an existing corporate process.

a. Understand that evolving customer behaviors and preferences are the primary catalyst for change. Customer expectations and behaviors are dynamic. Effective digital transformation is impossible without an understanding of the changing preferences of existing customers and the new ways of thinking that potential customers bring to the table. Businesses must therefore invest in smart applications combined with artificial intelligence, including deep learning, machine learning, and proactive and prescriptive analytics. It is also advisable to include marketing automation technologies that integrate with both services and sales lines-of-business for improved understanding of customer behaviors.

b. Map out the journey of new, connected customers. Twenty-first century connected customers differ in fundamental ways from customers of the past. It is critical to gather information on their unique attitudes, behaviors, and experiences. IDG Research found that 71% of executives describe the number one challenge their organizations face as understanding the behavior and impact of new customers. Yet only half (54%) of survey respondents have completely mapped out the customer journey. Without such a map, it is impossible to implement truly customer-centric changes that improve the overall customer experience.

c. Familiarize yourself with mobile data and the challenges it embodies. Become more familiar with the challenges inherent in mobile data, and deploy this intelligence to drive digital transformation.

d. Respect and improve the mobile customer journey. “Mobile is just the beginning of disruption in the customer journey,” Solis notes. “With the runway for disruptive technologies still ahead (e.g., wearables, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality), companies will need a resilient infrastructure that adapts to not only mobile’s ‘micro-moments,’ but also the impact of all these trends and new devices over time.” Any effective digital transformation strategy has mobile technology as a centerpiece.

2. Focus on the top three digital transformation initiatives:

  • Accelerating innovation
  • Modernizing IT infrastructure with increased agility, flexibility, management, and security
  • Improving operational agility to more rapidly adapt to change

3. Recognize that CMOs and CEOs continue to lead digital transformation. As digitally savvy leaders, CMOs and CEOs must accept personal responsibility for the progress of digital transformation, and must rise to the challenge of leading their companies into the 21st century.

4. Create formalized, cross-functional digital department workgroups. Of the 81% of companies with digital departments, only 40% have a formalized cross-functional workgroup. This deficiency directly impedes the development of a laterally oriented structure that fosters innovation. Create a strong group of four to five full-time employees that focus on digital transformation.

5. Embrace digital transformation efforts and eliminate “fear of disruption.” According to Solis, “Another top challenge facing digital transformation is the very thing that governs the course of business: a culture that is pervasively risk-averse (63%). Boards, shareholders, and stakeholders want to make improvements and increase profitability but are often unwilling to examine and change the governance in place today.” Understand that disruption helps create new customers, products and markets. Embracing disruption spurs future growth.

6. Create short-term plans for digital transformation: The digital world changes frequently. Create short-term plans for growth that leave room for updates and the inclusion of new technologies.

7. Create a multi-disciplinary digital transformation approach. Accelerate innovation by launching a formal “innovation center” to promote the testing and understanding of new technologies and the development of new solutions and services.

8. Combat internal barriers to progress and expand innovation by partnering with startups, investors, entrepreneurs, and universities. These partnerships accelerate the adoption of new technologies, shortening the timeline for digital transformation.

9. Exploit the combination of an innovation center, partnerships with startup ecosystems, and a focus on concept development and product innovation to boost digital transformation ROI. Create a plan that combines multiple areas and harnesses the strengths of each one. Improved cross-sector understanding will facilitate ongoing collaboration and ensure that every sector continuously tracks toward enterprise-wide digital transformation goals.

Implementation and the New Business Model

A recent Huffington Post article serves as a good reference on the six stages of digital transformation identified by Solis, and on how mature companies implement emerging technologies. Yet no matter the level of a company’s commitment to proceeding through those six stages by adopting the principles detailed above, adherence to a 20th-century business model will bring the most well-intentioned efforts at digital transformation to a grinding halt. A new, laterally oriented business model must underpin any digital transformation initiative if the potential ROI is to become a reality.

Social applications of digital technology offer a world of new possibilities for organizing and orchestrating work inside an enterprise. Whereas hierarchical communication structures tend to breed the very sort of toxic, manipulative corporate culture that has driven so many talented people away from large firms, cross-departmental social engagement fosters a spirit of collegial collaboration, boosting morale and productivity at once. Such a model promises to reshape the way executives and employees alike think about internal support functions, by focusing those functions on creating, maintaining, and improving the individual micro-services that form the heart of the organization’s operating platform.

From a management perspective, embedding rules, processes, and workflows in the platform itself is both simpler and more reliable than using manual control methods to enforce them. From a technology perspective, the organization can create an integrated, internal user experience layer that brings together what is usually at present just a collection of point solutions and off-the-shelf software. From the perspective of employees, this shift toward lateral integration cuts the puppet strings that control them from above, instead weaving processes and workflows into a supportive platform that becomes a stage on which to shine. Stage directions still provide guidance, but employees become actors with greater freedom to perform.

Benefits (ROI) and Challenges of Digital Transformation

Research has demonstrated that effective digital transformation realizes the types of ROI any C-suite or board appreciates…

  • Increased market share (41%) and increased customer revenue (30%).
  • Improved employee morale: 37% of respondents stated that second to increased market share, employee engagement was the next big return.

…but it will not happen overnight.

“Digital Darwinism favors those companies that invest in change,” Solis observes. However, he adds that, “Digital transformation isn’t easy though. Its true evolution takes time and resources, with benefits delivered in the long-term. This, to some, can represent deliberate moves away from delivering against quarterly returns. That’s the paradox of investing in digital transformation; it gives returns to those who treat it as a long-term investment versus those who expect immediate impact,” said Solis.

Measuring Outcomes

“Digital strategists must still rethink metrics to chart future development in new channels, experiences, content, and devices,” Solis explains. “Existing KPIs help validate early work in digital transformation. But often, measurement efforts are focused on measuring isolated efforts within each department/function. For example, only 22% of those surveyed cited having a content strategy in place that addresses customer needs at all journey stages, but content analytics are in the top five most important metrics measured. There is disconnect between strategy and measurement in digital transformation efforts.”

Therefore, once the new business model is implemented, exploiting the emergent cross-sector connectivity to develop metrics measuring all stages of the customer journey is crucial.

Measuring internal progress toward transformational goals is equally important, and equally difficult. An Enterprise Social Network (ESN), internal collaboration system, or social intranet is a powerful tool to address this challenge. The network can serve as a human sensor array to help guide improvements to the organization and its functions over time. Input must be sought from people at all organizational levels to identify the key capabilities the organization should possess in order to fulfill its strategic goals and respond to emerging threats and opportunities in its markets.

At the leadership level, these capabilities are typically broad and strategic; at the departmental level, they are often quite tactical; and, at the level of individual teams, they might consist mostly of simple tweaks or solutions to bureaucratic pain points. The ESN facilitates gathering these capability targets as agile user stories. Progress can subsequently be measured using a combination of available data (e.g. Social Network Analysis) and by querying the human sensor network, which will also contribute strategies to realize particular target capabilities.

This simple framework provides a way to bring together all transformation actions within the organization, both those planned and those already underway, and to view them through a common lens of capability development.

Product Management Is Really Innovation Management

What is innovation? Innovation is not new.

Humans are creative by nature. Innovation is written into our DNA. We have our wits, not our strength or speed, to thank for the fact that we didn’t end up as just so much smooth-skinned lion food thousands of years ago.

When faced with challenges, we conceive innovative solutions that change the way we live our lives.

Driven by humanity’s intense need communicate, our ancestors innovated from pictures painted on cave walls to spoken language, then to written language, then from handwritten books to the printing press and newspapers, and on to radio and TV. The spiral of innovation has continued into the Internet age with the creation of electronic books, social media, and search engines that deliver information from all over the world at light speed.

Each step represented a significant improvement upon the previous solution.

Given that humans instinctively innovate, we have to ask the question, “Why do so many companies fail to do so?”

Innovation defined.

This definition is critical because the term is so often misused. Many organizational leaders use the word “innovation” simply to refer to anything new or different.

What is missing from this conception is that innovation is not simply change; it is change that creates value.

Daniel Scocco of the Innovation Zen blog writes, “The first confusion to dismiss is the difference between invention and innovation. The former refers to new concepts or products that derive from individual’s ideas or from scientific research. Innovation, on the other hand, represents the commercialization of the invention itself.”

From a business perspective, effective innovation changes the market by making possible the delivery of increased value to the customer, creating a competitive advantage for the organization.

Jim Andrew, author of Payback: Reaping the Rewards of Innovation, puts it more bluntly: Innovation is about making money.

Innovation occurs when:

  • A currently unsolved problem is solved, fundamentally changing the way that things are done
  • A new solution to a problem emerges that is significantly better than any previous solution, where “better” can be defined as faster, cheaper, easier to use, more reliable, etc.

Importantly, incremental improvements or feature enhancements devised to counter a capability from a competitor or to address a problem impacting product performance do NOT constitute meaningful innovation. This process does not result in significant leaps in product value.  

Products logically step through a gestational period within the organization, followed by an introduction period in the marketplace. The natural arc of a product’s lifecycle is from growth to maturity to eventually decline.

Companies that innovate extend the lifecycle of a product, essentially creating loops back to earlier points in the arc. A genuinely better version of the product can mean a return from maturity back to a growth stage or from decline back to maturity. The introduction of broadband connectivity, for example, dramatically extended the lifecycle of Internet access delivery, forestalling the maturity of the product by over a decade.

Companies that fail to keep pace with innovation see their products and even their reason for being dissolve into irrelevance. A company selling only dial-up Internet access simply would not be in business today.

IBM CEO Samuel J. Palmisano comments on the need for innovation: “The way you will thrive in this environment is by innovating—innovating in technologies, innovating in strategies, innovating in organization model.”

Lafley and Charan, authors of The Game Changer, argue that innovation puts companies on the offensive. Through innovation, companies create a step change in value for the market, thereby surpassing competitive threats.

For innovation to yield rewards, innovation programs cannot simply be laboratories for testing and launching new ideas in the hope that one of them takes flight in the marketplace. Such an approach is a costly exercise, akin to a gambler paying the ante for one poker hand after another, waiting endlessly for the day when he is dealt a royal flush.

There must be a method for identifying lucrative opportunities and a process for execution. The goals of innovation and product management are inherently aligned. Product managers launch and support products in a dynamic, competitive marketplace. For a product to be successful, it must deliver value to its users, value that no competing alternative can match.

A product delivers value to users when it:

  1. addresses a need, solves a problem, or meets an end goal; AND
  2. is delivered at a price point that convinces buyers they have received a fair exchange for their money.   

For a product to remain successful, it must continuously deliver unique value. Achieving this goal is not easy, as competitors constantly enter the market, giving buyers more choices at more prices. Profits therefore tend to be driven downwards over time. Product managers must always be searching for a competitive edge that they can exploit to combat this effect.

Strategic Product Management should therefore be defined as the delivery and maintenance of products that, within their target market:

  • Deliver more value than the competition (user focus)
  • Create a sustainable competitive difference (buyer focus)
  • Generate ongoing benefit to the organization (organization focus)

Scott Berkum, author of The Myths of Innovation, deciphers why most companies are not innovating, noting that:

  • Teams don’t trust one another and hence collaboration is nonexistent
  • Managers are risk averse
  • Innovation is hard work and takes time

According to Berkum, “The main barriers to innovation are simple cultural things we overlook because we like to believe we’re so advanced. But mostly, we’re not.”

Robert Tercek, an innovation consultant, has also pinpointed key reasons for failure. He states that, “The physical environment needs to be conducive to innovating. An office space similar to a rabbit warren will not inspire innovation teams to think creatively.”

Tercek observes that a second reason why innovation fails is that the innovation team often lacks the authority to bring ideas to completion.

Thirdly, innovation fails because those innovating may lack the necessary skills to “sell” new concepts.

Poor product management is a barrier to successful innovation.

From a product management perspective, organizations may struggle to innovate because their product management teams focus on day-to-day minutia, failing to prioritize activities that deliver new solutions to the market.

The entire structure of product management in these organizations runs contrary to the goal of innovation. Product managers cannot perform strategic tasks if they are constantly loaded down with operational and maintenance activities. They cannot discover and understand emerging customer needs and problems. They do not have the opportunity to engage in conversations, ask questions, or even simply observe their customers.

This scenario is a consistent product management problem across many industries. Far too many organizations see product management as a support function to sales, marketing, and engineering. But product management should lead an organization rather than serving it.

Effective product management leads innovation.

Ideas can emerge from anywhere within an organization. Quantitative market research, contextual enquiry, qualitative market observations, and customer visits or complaints can all spawn new ways of thinking.

Importantly, these ideas must be collated and channeled through a review process to determine which have merit. A persistent point of failure in innovation is the inability to sift through a large pool of ideas and identify the ones that are worthy of development.

In our opinion, all ideas should be fed into a product management framework to assess and distill them, leading to eventual action on only the strongest ideas, turning them into profitable products.

A recent Nielsen study (June 2010) of the FMCG industry showed that successful innovators have precise new product development processes:

FMCG companies with rigid stage gates—decision points in the process where a new product idea must pass certain criteria to proceed forward—average 130 percent more new product revenue than companies with loose processes.

Idea Phase

During the ideation phase, product managers should use the market potential formula to:

  • Filter ideas to find those worth pursuing
  • Understand the financial rewards to be gained

To calculate the market potential for a product or service, determine the size of the market problem, the value of the problem to consumers, and the price or the duration over which consumers are willing to pay for the problem to be solved.

Product Strategy Phase

Once a promising idea has been identified, the next stage of the product delivery process involves elaborating on the idea, determining if the business has the capability to develop the idea, and refining projections of the financial return.

During the product strategy phase, the product manager should prepare:

  • A more detailed proposal of the idea
  • A business case to determine the idea’s capability to obtain some or all of the market potential, the costs of delivery, and the likely return on investment

No matter how creative an idea might be, if it will not deliver a return to the business, it is NOT an innovation and should be abandoned during this phase.

It is important to note that during the product strategy phase, the business case is conjectural, since the product idea is still in its infancy.

Product Planning Phase

During the product planning stage, the project management team further defines and assesses the target market’s need for the proposed idea. Seeing the idea through the eyes of a potential customer drives further crafting of the concept.

The product planning stage defines user requirements and sets the boundaries of the new product or service. A market requirements document is the resultant activity of this phase.

Product Definition Phase

During the product definition phase, product managers initiate one of the following activities in order to create a product requirements document that defines the features and functions of the product in detail:

  1. Develop an interactive, high fidelity prototype to test the product idea and to help finalize the requirements before development.
  2. Engage with a technical team to rapidly prototype the product idea and, consequently, discover and describe the rules governing creation of the product.
  3. Create low fidelity, paper mockups of the product to test the idea without exhausting technical resources, basing the product requirements document on the outcomes achieved with the mockups.

 

Activities within the product definition stage are NOT onerous. Without clear documentation of product requirements, an informed final go/no-go decision is impossible.

Final Words

At their cores, product management and innovation have the same goals. Both practices look to the market and to users for problems that are worth solving—problems that, when solved, will deliver value to the user and rewards for the business.

To be successful in achieving these goals, both product management and innovation require continuous effort, time, and a robust, repeatable process. If product management is effectively resourced and outwardly focused on understanding users and buyers in the marketplace, it can become a company’s engine room for innovation.

However, if product management is forced to focus on day-to-day operational activities, opportunities for innovation will seldom arise, and will be overlooked when they do.

Organizations that seek to deliver innovation to the market should therefore resource their product management teams to enable them to focus on emergent market opportunities and potentially disruptive market change.

 

About the Author

With almost twenty years of experience in program and product management, Rachel Everett has led and coordinated large product development efforts across a range of industries. Ms. Everett’s research focuses on customer-centric product design and development. She has written extensively on the topic and lectured at conferences and universities.

Beyond Twitter and Facebook: Other Social Media Platforms Organizations Can Use to Reach Customers

Social media strategies are more important than ever!  Beyond Facebook and Twitter, other platforms may be quite valuable in connecting with customers. Here are a few well worth considering:

  Instagram is a mobile photo & video-sharing service. Users take images or videos, apply digital filters, and share them on the application itself (and on a wide variety of social networking services). Although Instagram does not allow images and videos to have alternative text, users should provide a detailed caption explaining the image. Use Camel Case for multiple words within a hashtag.

  Yelp traditionally showcases crowd-sourced reviews of local businesses. However, as announced this month, GSA is encouraging agencies to launch their own Yelp pages in order to attain public feedback on their services. This could allow organizations to assess customer views of what’s working and what’s not––much more directly than other social platforms.

  LinkedIn focuses on professional contacts, and allows users to collaborate and share articles and ideas through its group message boards. Your LinkedIn profile name should be accompanied by a clear logo or image so users can distinguish you from others with a similar name or brand.

  Pinterest is a visual discovery tool where users create online “bulletin boards” of images, ideas, and videos. All Pinterest content is “pinned” to boards by outside sources. When pinning, it’s a good idea to include a description of your pin, and alert users if it is a picture [PIC], video, [VIDEO], audio file [AUDIO] , or GIF [GIF]). If your pin is not accessible or you didn’t actually create it, it’s important to leave a brief note on the pin making people aware of these limitations.

  Periscope streams live video to viewers who can add comments and questions. It was launched in March. A few organizations have already tested out Periscope: Treasury streamed Secretary Lew’s remarks on the new $10 bill;  The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History showcased their Dinosaur collection; and the Department of Justice broadcasted a Press Conference in Cleveland. While still in its infancy, this kind of technology can be used by agencies to give public access to inside experiences (such as facility tours, major events, interviews, Q&A’s, announcements,and press conferences).

  Reddit is a virtual bulletin board where users can post text, media, comments, and links. Though still more popular with tech-savvy groups, Reddit is becoming increasingly mainstream. The City of Austin took a chance on Reddit and found it was a great way to interact with citizens and drive up content views. Government organizations can use Reddit to host Q&A sessions, to promote events, or to drive co-collaboration with citizens.

  Vine is all about images, which are inherently captivating. (Many agencies have had success with Instagram for that reason.) Vine’s six second videos take images one step further, though. In many ways, Vines act like mini-ads, allowing organizations to promote their missions and work.  Air Force and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are two examples of organizations utilizing Vine in this way. Agencies can use Vine to provide a quick look into what they are doing, to remind people of an upcoming event, to offer public service announcements, or even to recruit.

 social-media

It is critical for agencies to focus their social media efforts, and to be aware of what platforms are out there. It’s an ever-growing field, and having a good strategy can make all the difference in reaching out effectively.

Social media provides a unique opportunity for government organizations to drive citizen engagement. For those interested in trying a new platform for your agency, we welcome your thoughts on how to best be heard.

Top 8 Technologies to Improve Workplace Health

 


8 technology advancements office healthTechnology
advancements improve our workplace productivity, but may have unintended
negative consequences on our bodies.
Health hazards of the office are often hidden and surprising, yet once identified
– hi-tech solutions are quickly developed in response. Here are eight
innovative technologies to improve your health in the office.

8. Video Games Relieve Stress

Work
is always stressful, but for some, this stress can be dangerous. One-sixth of
workers report that workplace anger has led to property damage. Another 2 to 3
percent of U.S. workers (about 3 million people) have admitted to pushing,
slapping or hitting someone at work. Twenty-two percent of U.S. workers report
being driven to tears because of workplace stress (Source).

Video
games may help relieve stress and prepare individuals for work. One study
suggests that workplace playfulness improved communication, creativity, problem
solving and team building. Video game play-time should be
kept to 10 – 15 minutes to maximize health benefits. Studies also suggest that particular
video games may also help children concentrate. 

7. Arm Rested Mousepad Improves Posture 

Repetitive
motions like typing and clicking can cause injury or pain and if this becomes
tingling, numbness, itching or even sharp pain – this could be carpal tunnel
syndrome. In addition, leaning forward to reach your mouse and keyboard can
strain your back.

A
mousepad is now available with an armrest, allowing you to
sit back and not lean forward – to help maintain better posture. One source says that this specialized arm-rest mousepad may help prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and other
Repetitive Stress Injuries while releasing tension in the neck and upper back.

6. Computer Screen Advancements
for Eyestrain

Computer
Vision Syndrome (a.k.a. computer eyestrain) involves symptoms of burning, dry and
strained eyes, headache, neck ache and blurred vision. It’s caused by overuse
or misuse of computer monitors, bad lighting and other environmental factors. Repeated
physical discomfort due to one or more of these symptoms cuts your productivity
sharply over time.

The
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends trying a
different monitor. A wide variety of monitors with distinctive visual
experiences are available to choose from including CRT monitors, flat-screen,
wide screen, high definition, LCD and screens in matte and glossy finishes.

5. Antibacterial Keyboard Defends Against Germs 

Beware:
your desk may be 400 times dirtier than your toilet (Source). Eating at one’s desk is the
leading cause of bacteria because breadcrumbs and other food remnants get in
between keyboard keys, attracting rats and leading to germ exposure.

To
combat germs, use antibacterial wipes to wipe down your work-station daily.
Also, check out this state-of-the-art silicone portable antibacterial keyboard.
The keyboard’s light-weight flexible design makes it easy to carry
anywhere.

4. Track Lifestyle Habits with Fitbit

When busy at work, exercise and sleep can get squeezed – consciously or
subconsciously. Yet lack of exercise and sleep will hurt your daytime
productivity.  To ensure that you are
maintaining healthy lifestyle routines, check out the upcoming Fitbit product, Flex is a wireless activity and sleep wristband coming out in Spring 2013.

3. Touch Screen
Products/Tablets Replacing Desktop Computers

Repetitive typing and
clicking cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and other Repetitive Stress Injuries.
Sitting in one place for long periods of time causes back pain.

In some work
setting, touch screen tablets are replacing desktop computers – reducing typing
and increasing flexibilty to move around the work space. Microsoft’s upcoming
Surface Pro perhaps marks the next generation in PC and tablet technology – promising
to be both a touch-screen tablet and a PC running software like Photoshop,
Microsoft Office and iTunes.

2. Smart Pens for
Creativity

Starring
at a blank computer screen can cause writer’s block and stunt creativity. Smart
Pens like Livescribe allow you to write on paper while
your words are being transcribed onto your computer. In addition, Livescribe
pens record audio so whether you can’t make our your handwriting or got sleepy
during an important meeting, you can re-trace over the spot in your notes to
listen to the audio-playback from this exact moment.

Wacome’s Inkling is an
novel tool for artists and designers who like to draw on regular paper – the
Inkling captures a digital likeness of your work while you sketch with its
ballpoint tip on any sketchbook or standard piece of paper.

1. Upright Desks Increase Movement and Reduce Major Health Risks

Hunched over a computer all day?
While putting in solid hours of hard work, you may also be putting your health
at risk. On average, people are sitting for nine or 10 hours a day – at work,
in commute and at home (Source).

Without regular movement, sitting can
lead to back pain, which is a major cause of missed work for adults of all ages
(according to the Georgetown University Center on an Aging Society). Sitting tightens the hip flexors, the muscles than help pull your legs toward
your body (according to the Yoga Journal). Tight hip flexors contribute to back
pain by forcing the pelvis to tilt forward, compressing the back.  

Even scarier, research shows that just one hour or more of sitting causes the enzymes that
burn fat in the body to slow down production by up to 90 percent. Extended
sitting also slows our metabolism of glucose and lowers our levels of good
(HDL) cholesterol in the blood – major risk factors for heart disease and Type
2 diabetes.

In response, standing desks are gaining popularity in some offices, including Wired
Magazine headquarters with executive
editor, Thomas Goetz and other staff members using the desks. A wide variety of styles and price ranges are now available on the market.

Interestingly, standing at work isn’t
actually “new” but rather a return to old ways. In the nineteenth and twentieth
century, office workers such as clerks, accountants and managers, stood while
working. Sitting was considered slacking. In fact, many intellectual leaders
have been known to stand while working – including Leonardo da Vinci, Ben
Franklin, Winston Churchill, Vladimir Nabokov and Philip Roth.

Treadmill
desks
take things a step farther. By walking very slowly on the treadmill while
working, you can incorporate physical activity into your busy schedule and
lower your heart rate considerably.

In conclusion, technology may sometimes negatively impact our workplace health, but technology may also be part of the solution.

Post by Julie Flygare, a leading health advocate and writer.

White House 2.0

Geeks U.S. President Barack Obama is placing IT and technology on the national stage. He relied heavily on the use of the Internet and social media tools like Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, and text messaging throughout his campaign.  And now he plans to appoint the country’s first chief technology officer (CTO), a cabinet-level position aimed directly on bringing technology in the public sector up to par with private industries.

There is a lot of speculation centered on who will fill the progressive position. Names supposedly on the shortlist include Shane Robinson of HP and Edward Felten of Princeton University.  Never has a U.S. president recognized the importance of IT and technological innovation like Obama. This is certain to be good for IT industry projects down the road. In fact, two of Obama’s three technology pillars on his website indicate increased project activity.

1. Barack Obama will protect the openness of the Internet:
Obama and Biden strongly support the principle of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the Internet.

2. Deploy a modern communications infrastructure:
Obama and Biden believe we can get true broadband to every community in America.

3. Improve America’s competitiveness:
Obama and Biden will ensure our goods and services are treated fairly in foreign markets, invest in the sciences, and will provide new research grants to the most outstanding early career researchers in the country.