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A recent enlightenment has caused me to take notice to a number of things that had previous not been on my radar. Simple things, really. Like smiling for example. Or the lack of. I find this particularly interesting as we enter the Happy Holiday season. Why? People don’t really seem to be happy at all. If anything, this time of year seems to bring more frowns and stressed-to-the-max looks than ever. This is baffling as we know that by simply putting a smile on your face you will actually feel better. Not rocket science.
Okay, I understand it’s not that simple and there are a number of factors that influence what makes someone happy. JWT’s October trend report took this idea of happiness one step further. Health & Happiness: Hand in Hand, explores the rising notion that a healthier person is a happier person and, in turn, a healthier person is a happier person. I agree with that and can see the correlation.
Now, this idea of health and happiness carries into the workplace as well. JWT Stockholm/SWE Advertising went to the drawing board to develop a new campaign for Adecco, a Swedish staffing firm, with this in mind. The agency used the foundational insight that a lack of praise and flattery in the workplace is one of the biggest contributors to poor health, sick leave and overall dissatisfaction among employees. The agency launched “The Praise Challenge”, a 10-day program activated through an app where both employees and clients were challenged to complete one exercise a day that involves encouragement, positive feedback, appreciation or acknowledgment. The success of the campaign encouraged over 18,000 praises that would have otherwise gone unsaid. A rough translation (via Google) of the campaigns can be found here.
This holiday season I challenge you to make it a Happy Holiday season. SMILE. Make someone else smile. Be the positive attitude in the room. Give a stranger a compliment. Smile some more. Because at the end of the day it’s not about what you get, it’s about what you give. Happy Holidays.
Infomous is a dynamic and intuitive navigation solution – perhaps soon to pop up on websites you visit. Web developers for content-rich sites have integrated word cloud and tablet-style flip navigation over the past few years, but this is a solution that seems to combine aspects of both: reference triggers and dynamic script. The tool is currently available in preview/beta version through a relationship with the provider, but will roll out later this year, ready for embed. More info at Infomous – they have a demo up for world news, a version for sports news, entertainment news, science news. It’s easy to explore and find links to try.
Steve and I have been exploring the online reference site, The Book of Odds. Some of the site’s key functionalities are still in Beta, but for over three years they’ve been compiling odds to create a large database of “the odds of everyday life.” You can sign up for free and provide a little profiling information to begin exploring statements of probability related to your profile, or to anything you want to look up.
The idea is to explore the odds of something happening, and then to calibrate the probability in a comparison. If the topic you explore is included in the database (the four main current topic portals are Health & Illness, Accidents & Death, Relationships & Society, and Daily Life & Activities), you’ll get confirmed probability data on that topic, but you’ll also get leads on unexpected connections, as you compare unrelated events by their likelihood of occurring.
The site also has social and learning functions, and content aside from the odds database (newsletters, blogs, related links, etc.) We’re just getting started exploring this resource, and brainstorming about how we can apply it to our day-to-day reference needs. It’s actually pretty challenging to think about life in terms of probability statements – thinking up queries to get started. But once you dig into the site, there’s quite a bit to learn – not only the small bites of data, but how to calibrate probability, and new approaches to classifying and comparing phenomena.
I periodically engage in an on-and-off conversation with a writer friend about the challenges creative types face in balancing consumption and productivity. This conversation spins off in several directions, depending on how much coffee and/or beer we’re drinking: the differences between consumption of information and learning; the differences between entertainment and art; re-appropriation and the instinct to seek or disregard “newness.” This dialogue is really all over the place and rather heady but can frequently spark a new line of thinking for me, or at least consideration of a new perspective.
I am a creative and productive person, but when it comes to early adoption of web technology and trends, I am more of an absorber of information than a generator of new insight or perspective. I am a big fan of tools that can aggregate sources of information and trends, and lay out the basic information for me. At least giving me the ability to “catch up” within a click or two. I don’t typically engage in the early seek-and-trial behavior that many early adopters do, but I like to know what’s out there.
YouNoodle is a resource that aggregates data on startups. I believe they launched in the middle of last year, but through partnerships and promotion are really starting to swagger recently. Their Startup Predictor decision making tool is a sharp first product, and seems to be helpful to beta testers. However, my main utility here is their Scores directory, compiling data on startups from news sources and indexing each with a quantitative metric to enable easy display on category, industry, and publisher top standings lists.
As an added bonus (for me), you can easily click through any of the startup names on the lists to learn more about them. This will not only give you more in-depth detail on their YouNoodle data, but will simply let you know what these trendy rising-star sites and appliations are. Easy aggregation and easy consumption of information.
What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think Google? Kroger? The Home Depot?
Noah Brier at the barbarian group put together Brand Tags, a web app that asks thousands of visitors this very question for hundreds of different brands. Results are compiled into tag clouds, giving visitors a visual representation of the words most often associated with these brands. While I certainly wouldn’t say the results are scientific, they are nonetheless interesting.
To see how brands stack up against one another, see Battle Mode.