Tapping into the Power of Mindfulness

Los Angeles Times • 23 February 2013

Keeping cool. In todays pressure-cooker work environment, businesses are turning to mindfulness training to improve employees' ability to focus and process negative emotions. The concept meshes meditation with neuroscience to give trainees the tools they need to override the "limbic" response typically triggered by fear or anger. "Stress reduction is important, but the real value comes in the ability to step out of whatever reaction you're having—which is usually habitual or automatic—so you can do something different," says Drucker School of Management professor Jeremy Hunter.

Yep. Paying attention is hard. I had to grin at the titles of some of the courses (Neural Self-Hacking) but I'm not dismissing them despite "mindful" being well on its way to a buzzword bingo term. Recently when I mentioned to a colleague that a criticism just meant he should be more mindful about that behavior he said "Well, at least I'll be self-conscious." (Michalko)


Edge • 25 February 2013

Discomfort zone. Psychologist Adam Alter says the benefits of fluency have been well-documented in studies showing that people make hiring, voting and financial investment decisions based on names and concepts that are common and easy to pronounce. What's not as well recognized are the benefits of disfluency—unfamiliar ideas that may be more difficult to process but that create the cognitive building blocks for higher level reasoning. Alter suggests a combination—using disfluency to flex mental muscle, while capitalizing on fluency to curry favor and connect with customers.

Some of this seems quite similar to the "priming" research that we pointed out in Power of Suggestion—a featured article in the 25 February 2013 ATF. I found the phrase "illusion of explanatory depth" quite powerful in explaining why I think I know more about things than I actually do. I recommend Big Questions from Little People & Simple Answers from Great Minds as well as The New Way Things Work as antidotes. (Michalko)

Where Does Innovation Happen—at Home or at Work?

Knowledge@Wharton Today • 1 March 2013

Beyond the water cooler. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's announcement that the company will curtail employee telecommuting arrangements has sparked controversy over the role of physical proximity in creative synergy. But is shoulder-rubbing really that critical? Read on for more on workplace encounters that foster innovation but don't require being in the office.

I think we all know that it's not enough for everybody to just be in the same place. It's about their attitude, expectation and mode of interacting when they are together. Read the actual memorandum. (Michalko)

The Incredible Shrinking Ad

The Atlantic • March 2013

Tailoring for tiny. As content morphs to fit smartphone screens, advertising-revenue-dependent companies like Facebook and Google are scrambling to come up with an effective—and lucrative—mobile strategy by incorporating location- and context-based features. Read on for some ideas about mobile advertising that could lay the groundwork for expanding useful services for customers on the go.

The directions mentioned here might make for a valuable, even welcome, mobile ad experience. Before that can happen we'll have to be re-sensitized to their presence. I just did a test. I looked at the first two screens of apps on my iPhone and then tried to remember which ones presented me with ads. Out of fifteen candidates I correctly identified two as ad-supported when there were really eight. Anybody notice those Gmail ads down the right column anymore? (Michalko)

Digital Files and 3D Printing—in the Renaissance?

Smithsonian • 1 March 2013

History lesson. Check out this fascinating profile of Leon Battista Alberti, a 15th century Renaissance "maker" who conceptualized the idea of 3D reproduction using plotted coordinates and a set of computation instructions to enable anyone to reproduce the original work. Today's most sophisticated apparatus operates on the same basic principle.

I love this. Talk about the way things work. (Michalko)

The Google Glass Feature No One Is Talking About

Creative Good • 28 February 2013

Nowhere to hide. Check out blogger Mark Hurst's take on the potential privacy ramifications of living in a world where every Google Glass wearer in your proximity is recording your conversations and sending them to Google's vast database without even knowing it. "The most important Google Glass experience is not the user experience—it's the experience of everyone else. The experience of being a citizen, in public, is about to change," says Hurst.

A credible concern. A rant that engaged me. I am very happy when someone focuses on the experience of being a citizen rather than assuming the consumer experience is primary. (Michalko)

Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, as users of digital information progress through the educational stages, the digital literacies they employ become more sophisticated, true or false?

Get the answer.