Tag Archives: self improvement

Code Combat: Wield JS, Slay Orcs, Get Jobs!

CodeCombatNever has Javascript been more fun to learn. A startup venture backed by Y Combinator wants to teach you that language you’ve always wanted to learn through gameification – or the usage of elements of game design(e.g., point scoring, competition with others, rules of play)- to enhance motivation and the learning process. Slay orcs and battle minions by programming your units in a real-time web game. Compete against your friends to see who wrote the more robust code. Possibly get a job for your efforts?  Welcome to CodeCombat. Continue reading

Posted in Inspirations, IT, Shifting Perspectives, Software, Technology, video games. Tagged with , , , , , .

Are You Color Blind?

The human eye

The human eye is one amazing instrument – a phenomenon of biological engineering, and the window through which we interact with our world.  The fastest and arguably strongest muscle – it is second only to the brain in its complexity. At Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, where I now work, our mission is to promote healthy vision for everyone.

This doesn’t mean just vision correction! It means treating the full range of optical conditions, from common myopia (short sightedness) to the more complex and currently incurable glaucoma –  and everything in between.  It means designing products that don’t just improve the quality of vision, but are also safe and non-damaging to this special organ.

It’s easy to just focus on simple vision correction, because 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide, and only a fraction of them are treated. But in the spirit of Healthy Vision, I had a very interesting discussion with my coworkers about color blindness – and learned some pretty amazing things! Read on to take a hue test to see how accurately you see the lush colors of the world, and to hear about exciting research into curing color blindness. Continue reading

Posted in Science, Shifting Perspectives, Technology. Tagged with , , , , , .

The Art of Debate & Why It’s So Important

Is Islam a Peaceful Religion?

This question may incite thoughts and feelings that you don’t want to think about right now. That’s ok.  I don’t mind if you don’t feel like confronting this question at this moment. But shortly after the beheading of a British soldier in London on May 22, 2013 by individuals justifying their actions in the name of Allah, the Oxford Union society held a debate on this very question. They decided that they felt compelled to talk about it their feelings.

Oxford Union Debate: Is Islam a Peaceful Religion?More than 450 Oxford University scholars and community members gathered for a debate, with arguments presented by six speakers- three that propose that Islam is in fact a peaceful religion, and three that do not. The speakers would have their time, to speak their piece on the subject. These people came with the most noble of democratic intentions – to hear reasoned arguments for and against something, to determine their position from the arguments poised and their own experiences, and to vote for or against the motion as they saw fit.

I am inspired by the individuals who had the courage to defend their beliefs, the individuals with the courage to question, and by the people that found it worth their time to spend an evening engaging in serious self reflection.  Most of all, I am thankful for the Oxford Union for discussing topics that cause us to question our beliefs and actions, for keeping the masterful art of debate alive.    Continue reading

Posted in Art, Life Lessons, Shifting Perspectives. Tagged with , , , .

John Kao – Mr. Creativity on Large Scale Cultures of Innovation

Kao_JohnA lot of companies are starting to have earnest discussions about innovation. My own company strives to build a “culture of innovation” making it part of the fabric of everything we do.  But what does that look like?

Dubbed “Mr. Creativity” by The Economist, John Kao calls himself an innovation activist.  He is chairman of the Institute for Large Scale Innovation, whose i20 group is an association of 30 national ‘Chief Innovation Officers.’  John coined the term “large scale innovation” to refer to innovation as a societal agenda.  He has advised numerous nations and regions on innovation strategy and execution, including Finland, Singapore, the City of San Francisco, Abu Dhabi and elements of the US government as well as the European Union innovation policy team.

And as the last keynote speaker at the World Innovation Forum, I got to hear his response to his corporate clients trying to build a culture of innovation.  With several wise words and a few musical performances, John earned his nickname and my respect. Continue reading

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Dan Pink – To Sell is Human

"Whether you are peddling cars in the lot or ideas in the meeting, increase your effectiveness by decreasing your power."

Dan Pink is the author of five provocative bestselling books about the changing world of work. I highly recommend his work, as it is easy to get through and extremely informative.  His talk at the conference was around His book, To Sell is Human, about the art of selling: what has changed, what no longer works, and how to sell in a world of information parity.  Check out the video after the break of the core concepts of his book!

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Texting and Driving Infographic

intexticated-teens

Posted in Activism, Health, Life Lessons. Tagged with , , , , , , , , .

Rebecca Henderson – Sustainable Corporate Values

 Rebecca Henderson- Building a sustainable organization, culture, and values

“For the last 50 years we have been focused on reducing our reliance on Labor and Capital. All we have to do now is put the same focus on reducing energy and material dependence.”

In a riveting display of her professorial skills, this co-director of the business initiative at Harvard University “schooled” me on the subject of her career’s research: exploring how organizations respond to large-scale technological shifts, most recently in regard to energy and the environment.

Her success stories, or companies that seem to have been successful in navigating potentially damaging changes to their business, have done so by talking about some previously taboo subjects in capitalism: their values.  She contends that because values are a powerful motivator, and positive motivation has shown to make employees 3x as effective, sharing corporate values could have very positive economic effects.

Industry must become more self-regulating, because national governments just don’t have the jurisdiction to propose meaningful protections everywhere they are needed.  Having clear corporate values can drive to this goal.

Johnson & Johnson has been putting values at the heart of its business model for over a century, and it has paid off. Even after devastating losses in consumer sales due to Consent Decree, J&J acted quickly and responsibly to recall products. Now that these products are starting to return to the shelves, they are finding that the Brand Loyalty has survived, in no small part due to the ethical actions taken to protect their customers, which they put first. When you are against the ropes at a moral fork in the road, there is a lot to gain from taking the highroad.

Posted in Activism, Inspirations, IT, Life Lessons, Shifting Perspectives, Work. Tagged with , , , , , , .

Insights from World Innovation Forum 2013

A few weeks ago I attended the World Innovation Forum at the regal New York City Center, a two-day immersive look at what it means to build a culture of innovation, hearing from a broad range of speakers, across countless disciplines. From the experience, I came back to my work and personal life refreshed and invigorated, as is true of most conferences. I think what makes this experience truly unique is that unlike other conferences, Innovation is not an industry specific thing, and yet has become so widely desirable in so many facets of life. I found insights from this experience that I hope to carry across the broad spectrum of my creative endeavors, both personal and professional, and here, I plan to share them with you.

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Overcoming Obstacles: David Blaine

Nothing is quite as poisonous as the words, “you can’t do it.”  Those words are more caustic than tar, more debilitating than any disease, and have destroyed thousands of dreams. It’s not the words themselves; it’s just a sentence, an opinion, right?  It’s when the public ridicule of your resolve raises to critical mass, and becomes the mantra of the gloomy cloud of people that have already given up hope on their own dreams, and threatens to drown you out completely, that it becomes dangerous.  They start to convince you that, “maybe you can’t,” and it becomes clear that the emphasis on what we can’t do stifles our ability to “do the impossible.”

David Blaine doesn’t listen to these voices, even when the global scientific community insists that something isn’t possible. His insistence on pushing the boundaries on what’s possible can teach us a valuable lesson.  Sometimes, conventional wisdom isn’t true. Sometimes, failing firsthand is better than believing you are doomed to fail at the start. More on that after the break, but first, David Blaine, soft spoken and humble,  tells the story of how he learned how to hold his breath for 17 minutes.

http://www.ted.com/talks/view/lang/eng/id/741

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Posted in Blog, Inspirations, IT, Life Lessons, Shifting Perspectives, Work. Tagged with , , , , .

The Overview Effect

The Overview Effect is a phenomenon experienced by a large number of veteran astronauts, who traveled to the moon and stars searching for answers to ancestral questions about who we are, what is our purpose, and what is our destiny. They were so focused on what was “out there” that it never occurred to them how breathtaking, how awesome, fragile and how perfect their home would look from mankind’s newest vantage point. It is this profound moment when they began to feel an overwhelming sense of inter connectivity, of unity, or purpose. That we are all part of one ecosystem, and that may have been the most important discovery of the journey. Fair warning: this post will get deep.

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