Book Review: Creative Intelligence by Bruce Nussbaum

October 15, 2013
creative intelligence book review

I finished reading the latest business book written by Bruce Nussbaum this weekend. Bruce Nussbaum is a former assistant managing editor for Business Week. He is now Professor of Innovation and Design at Parsons The New School of Design.

The first thing that is worth mentioning is that it is a book about being creative every day in the corporate world. Secondly, the book was written by a thinker, not a doer, nor an entrepreneur. This is what caused the weaknesses of this book, in my opinion. Nonetheless, I enjoyed reading Creative Intelligence. The chapters about the Makers and the Indie Capitalism were the most inspiring for me because they reaffirmed that I chose the right path when I repositioned my career earlier this year.

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How Grand Designs Inspires Me as An Entrepreneur

October 9, 2013
grand designs

I could talk for hours about why I think that Grand Designs is the best home design show on the planet. I have been a long-time fan. The first time that I mentioned the magazine in a post was in 2005. I did it again in 2007 and 2010. Thanks to BBC Canada, I was able to watch the series for a few years.

This post is not about my passion for modern architecture. Instead, I want to talk about what you can learn, as an entrepreneur, from the structure of the TV show and from the homeowners featured in that show. When you consider what is involved emotionally and economically when you are building a uniquely designed house, you will see that these homeowners face the same challenges that startups have.

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DIY Ideas For a Totoro Costume For My Toddler

October 8, 2013
totoro costumes for toddlers

It will be my son’s third Halloween. Previously, we always bought him a costume. This year, I convinced my husband that we will make his Halloween costume instead of buying one. Last year, they were 4 astronauts at Zack’s daycare. My son’s costume was different than the others but still I don’t want a repeat this year. My mom used to make my Halloween costumes. Homemade costumes are not only more original, they tell more about yourself.

The big question became “Which costume to make?”. It has to be something that he can easily move around. For a two-year old, it is still best to avoid accessories since they won’t carry them for more than a minute. I also want a costume that reflects my values. Zack is still at an age where I have a say, so I am taking full advantage of it.

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Retail: Simple Tips to Improve Your Store Locator Experience

October 4, 2013
think about when and where

Retailers spend a lot of money trying to drive customers into their stores and yet they are neglecting something that is simple to fix. Let me share a little secret; business hours are as important as location.

Last night, I called my husband before he left work to ask him to buy a bottle of wine for supper. Jerome asked me which liquor store was still open? So, I checked online.

I had to open a link for each store that was on my husband’s route to find the answer — there were many. Strangely, the people who created the SAQ’s Web site imagined that most customers will want to know the branch’s fax number. I don’t know about you, but if I use a store locator is because I plan to go to a store.

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Why It Is Never Too Early To Expose Kids To Art

September 30, 2013

Kids as young as two years old are able to appreciate art. Last night, I got another proof that toddlers can be moved by art the same way that we do.

My husband hung a small painting from an established local artist on a wall of my son’s bedroom while I read the bedtime stories to our son in the living room. As he stepped into his bedroom, the painting captured his attention. My son had a true awe moment. The first thing my toddler boy did after he noticed the painting was to sat in front of it to admire it further. I am so glad that I resisted the temptation when I was pregnant to buy him baby art. At the time, I had the feeling that he would outgrow his nursery quickly. He did!

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The Value of Design: Why Everybody Should Care About Design

September 25, 2013
value of design

For me, making people’s life simpler, knowing when to think outside of the box, finding a solution that delights the customers while being profitable are at the heart of everything a business should do. This is why I love design. As an entrepreneur, design plays a big role in the toolbox I use everyday to tackle challenges, discover opportunities and solve problems.

Although more and more companies are starting to understand that, we still need to educate executives and business owners about the value of investing in design. This is why I applauded the making of this video by the Design Council in UK. The video explained, in plain language, how adding design to their process can lead to more revenues for small businesses.

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Content Marketing: How to Produce Quality and Quantity

September 12, 2013
balancing quality and quantity in content marketing

There is no doubt that you can’t expect to become influential if you publish something once a week or even, once a day. The need to often produce and publish quality content can be overwhelming for brands. But it doesn’t have to be that hard. Part of the solution is to better manage your efforts. The way that I achieved the right balance between quantity and quality is by being a curator and a content producer. In fact, each function fuels the other.

The first order of business is figuring out what you can do to share relevant tweets, statuses and posts to your followers. What I found out through my consulting work is that companies have many sources of meaningful information that they don’t put to use. This is where collaboration between several business units at your company can save you time.

For example, talk to the people who follow the news on your industry at your company. It doesn’t have to be their official job. Ask them to feed you the best stories to read, to write about and to share with a comment. Most news should not be about you but about topics that are relevant to your customers and prospects. Make sure to tell the people who follow the news what you are looking for so they can bookmark the right stories and pitch you the right ideas.

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Preparing Our Kids for the Job Market of Today and Tomorrow

September 4, 2013

As an entrepreneur, a citizen and a parent, I am concerned about our education system. I question how we educate kids, and more importantly, how we can give kids the best chances to succeed in life and at work. I am not alone with that concern. Homeschooling and the emergence of digital schools are an indication that some parents and students aren’t happy with the current school system.

Many thinkers, like Sir Ken Robinson, are looking at ways to change education from the ground up. Yes, the conversation goes further than whether kids should use a tablet in the classroom. It is the entire system that must be adapted to a new reality. Changing a few pieces at a time won’t work because there will be missing pieces. For example, you need to have applications and train teachers about the possibilities of the iPad. Turning the old books into a digital format won’t cut it. Teachers will need to reinvent how they teach their courses.

What we need to do is rethink the curriculum, the teaching methods, the tools that teachers and students will use, the workshops, and how this impacts the design of the classrooms and the school. We should also rethink the school calendar and the activities. More importantly, we must rethink the purpose of education in 2013 and beyond.

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