Category Archives: Current Affairs

Supernova: Clips from Thursday’s thought leaders

In the final analysis, on this day, anyway, the Internet is human
That's the takeaway of dozens of Supernova conversations, whether they
happened on Twitter with folks miles away from the conference or with
the person right next to you in the room.  The Internet, in all its
technology and technicality, is a tool for intimacy.  We just have to
carve out the boundaries that protect our privacy, our talents, our
corporate competitive differentiation, our social interaction, our
governing systems.  The thing is, we don't have the luxury of waiting
for the Internet to pause.  Like people, the Internet keeps flowing and
leading us to new discoveries about ourselves and the data we produce. 
With luck, our closer proximity will generate and sustain the kind of
trust only humans can do.

Read more of this post at Supernova Hub.

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The creative class: Networked, high performing and disillusioned

Not surprisingly, employee morale and
commitment has worsened during the recession — and in response to
company actions to cope with the downturn. A recent survey finds that
high-performing employees have been substantially more affected than
the rank-and-file.

                                                                                    Lin Grensing-Pophal

                                         Human Resource Executive Online, October 2009

… the creative class: a fast-growing, highly educated, and well-paid
segment of the workforce on whose efforts corporate profits and
economic growth increasingly depend. Members of the creative class do a
wide variety of work in a wide variety of industries—from technology
to entertainment, journalism to finance, high-end manufacturing to the
arts. They do not consciously think of themselves as a class. Yet they
share a common ethos that values creativity, individuality, difference,
and merit.

                                                                                           Richard Florida

                                                                   Washington Monthly, May 2002

Watson Wyatt and WorldatWork just released a survey that tracks, among other things, employee engagement, and Lin Grensing-Pophal explains how companies can do a better job of engagement in a recent article.  But that may not be enough, going forward out of the recession.  The survey's results inspire a look back to an issue economist Richard Florida raised several years ago:  how the drivers of employee performance are changing.  

Today, the combination of networking tools, with a power burst from social technology, and a recession that now appears to be the result of an infrastructure crashing under its own incongruities — foreseen by folks like Florida — is forcing companies to look not just at compensation methods but at how they categorize employee positions from the get-go.  It's no longer the distinction between management and rank-and-file that makes sense in a service-dominated economy, if it ever did in a manufacturing dominated world, but the quality of performance along the scale of creativity and actual contribution.  We're in the midst of another major industrial shift that is exciting at the same time it is mind boggling.  And its impact will be felt not just inside corporations but around the cities and towns they populate. 

… the economy is different now. It no longer revolves around simply
making and moving things. Instead, it depends on generating and
transporting ideas. The places that thrive today are those with the
highest velocity of ideas, the highest density of talented and creative
people, the highest rate of metabolism.

                                                                                           Richard Florida

                                                                                       The Atlantic, March 2009     

This post runs simultaneously on the Supernova Hub.                          

                     

Linwood Holton: How to make politics personal

I grew up in a very small town in a remote corner of Virginia.  Big Stone Gap.

How we got there from an Italian-American enclave in northeast Pennsylvania is a long story.  When we got there, Virginia was dragging itself kicking and screaming into an age of enlightenment.  What I like to think of as an entire society understanding that being reasonable is a continuous learning process.

One of the lights of the age, and there were many, was a native of Big Stone Gap who became the state’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction.  As this article tells us, he now has an autobiography.

Its timing is excellent, as the brief interview in the article demonstrates.  For example.  Governor Holton’s son-in-law, Tim Kaine, is Virginia’s current governor.  And he’s a Democrat.  Both former and current governor have come out for Barack Obama.

Linwood Holton flies out of the pigeonholes that our society so often wants to use for labeling and digestion purposes.  He did it in 1970, and he’s doing it now.  His story reminds us that the most important things are ideas and actions, and in American politics, that the focus should be keeping our nation’s founding principles not just alive but relevant to our daily lives.  Whatever your political philosophy.

In this article, the writer recounts the story of how Governor and Mrs Holton made the decision to send their children to Richmond’s public schools during the big integration ruckus in the state at that time.

Those who knew the Holtons understood this to be neither a political olive branch nor a grandstand.  Like many Virginians, some of whom had to learn it the hard way, the Holtons understood that fairness is the hallmark of a healthy society.

Thumb_holtonAnd something else you should know:  in this famous photograph, Tayloe Holton is wearing a dress made by the people of Miss Virginia, Inc, a garment manufacturer in Big Stone Gap.  Where I worked a couple of summers in the finishing department.  A business my dad started and lost, but one that still managed to produce some winning moments.

Including having the governor of Virginia remember the folks back home as he made a point to a larger world.