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Weekly Inspirations: January 29th, 2016

Here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:

What Kind of Thinker Are You?

We all aspire to work better together. Technology is making some of that effort easier. But digital tools are only part of the answer. It’s people who ultimately make the difference. The problem is that technologies for collaboration are improving faster than people’s ability to learn to use them. What can be done to close that gap? A year ago we set out to find the answer, drawing on the collective experience of dozens of collaborative communities and learning organizations. This article from the Harvard Business Review is a fantasic guide to understanding what type of thinker you are so you can better understand how to have better ideas faster than you ever have before.
Read the article here.

BMW Is First Carmaker to Integrate with IFTTT

Want to turn your house lights off by turning on your car? BMW’s new integration with the IFTTT service could allow personalized connections just like that. Like many automakers, BMW is hard at work testing and implementing new technology applications in the cabins of its cars through its BMW ConnectedDrive services. For some additional help validating and improving new programs still under development, BMW is reaching out to customers through a new BMW Labs portal that just launched on January 19.
Read the article here.

The New Science of Building Great Teams

If you were looking for teams to rig for success, a call center would be a good place to start. The skills required for call center work are easy to identify and hire for. The tasks involved are clear-cut and easy to monitor. Just about every aspect of team performance is easy to measure: number of issues resolved, customer satisfaction, average handling time (AHT, the golden standard of call center efficiency). And the list goes on. Why, then, did the manager at a major bank’s call center have such trouble figuring out why some of his teams got excellent results, while other, seemingly similar, teams struggled? This mystery reinforced his assumption that team building was an art, not a science. This article also from the Harvard Business Review is a fantastic look at what are the elements of great teams.
Read the article here.

Just Touch Your Ear To Hear Voicemail On Samsung’s Crazy Smartwatch

It’s not so helpful to see a call on your smartwatch when you have to pull our your phone to take it anyway. And therein lies the problem with products like the Apple Watch: They’re often not a replacement for your phone, but an intermediary to inevitably using it. But at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Samsung’s secret R&D lab—the same lab that’s giving you hands in mobile virtual reality—showed off a promising concept to fix one of the biggest problems with smartwatches. Called TipTalk, it’s technology that can send sound from your smartwatch through your arm so when you touch your finger to your ear, you can hear a call or a voicemail—no headphones required.
Read the article here.

Don’t Waste Your Time on Inspiration

You could spend entire work days browsing galleries and portfolios online hoping to find a spark for your own creative ideas. Unfortunately the pursuit of inspiration is a way to feel productive without actually producing anything. Designer David Mikula recommends that instead of wasting our time looking for inspiration, we should spend it making our own inspiration, even if the experience makes us feel dumb. This is something I have talked about before because I do think as you go on in your career it is critical for you to be able to figure out how to inspire yourself and find ways of driving yourself forward.
Read the article here.

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