47 Marketing Trends found for Human resources / Training/education

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FCC Chairman Sets Ground Rules for Future Broadband Services for Kids

Julius Genachowski, chairman of  the Federal Communications Commission on Friday shared the stage at the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, with a robotic version of Sesame Street's Elmo. Together they outlined the administration's broadband plan for children and families ...

[Estimated timeframe:2010-onward]

Children, said Genechowski, are "our most precious national resource. We must do everything we can to educate and prepare them to thrive in the 21st century and keep them safe."

New technologies, he warned, "can expose our children to new dangers, and can potentially outpace the ability of parents to guide their children."

On the other hand: "The benefits of digital learning aren't just theoretical. They're real. One study found that low-income children who use the Internet more at home had higher GPAs and standardized test scores than children who use it less."

The FCC, he said, intended to set a "clear and non-negotiable goal: every child should be connected to broadband."

Digital literacy, he said, isn't just about learning to use technology but "teaching kids to think analytically, critically and creatively, so that they can find relevant information, assess the accuracy and reliability of that information, distinguish fact from opinion, and create and share new content."

He also said we "have to teach our children to become media literate so that they can evaluate media content and recognize advertising for what it is."

Finally, he stressed digital citizenship, which he described as "the values, ethics, and social norms that allow virtual communities, including social networks, to function smoothly. It means having norms of behavior that facilitate constructive interaction and promote trust."

The "unique challenges" of digital communities enabled people to "remain anonymous or change identities, allowing them to act without regard to consequences." Queried Genachowski: "How do we create a framework of online norms and values [and] who determines what these values and norms should be?"

Key elements of the proposed broadband plan include "modernizing the Universal Service Fund" to include broadband "instead of plain old telephone service." He also called for the establishment of a National Digital Literacy Program that would encompass:

  • An online digital literacy portal to allow any child, parent, or teacher with a broadband connection to take courses on digital literacy.
  • A digital literacy corps to mobilize thousands of technically-trained youths and adults to train non-adopters, including families that are hard to reach because of cultural and language barriers.
  • Better broadband capacity for libraries and community centers so that they can continue to help families become digitally literate.

Parents, posited Genachowski, should "take responsibility for their kids' use of digital media".

This includes communicating positive messages about technology to their children, setting digital media rules, engaging with kids and using technology together, "teaching personal responsibility and reinforcing basic social norms to encourage responsible online behavior."

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: cnet.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5081

EU Sets Innovation Targets for Decade to Come

The European Commission today published its 'Europe 2020 Strategy'  - a dynamic knowledge-based plan the EC hopes will succeed where its former Lisbon Treaty signally failed. Argues the Commission: "Europe must foster innovation and stick to green energy targets to compete successfully in the next decade." If it is to stay ahead of the Asian tigers, the EU must  invest 3% of GDP in research and development and aim for "smart" growth.

[Estimated timeframe:2010-2020]

EC president Jose Manuel Barroso said the global financial crisis of the past 12 months had simply "wiped away" much of the growth and employment generated by the European economy in the past decade.

"We need to invest in smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. We need to concentrate our efforts on the most important levers," he said, warning against spreading EU resources too thinly.

The Commission - the EU's executive arm - has set the bloc's twenty-seven member targets - the most important of which are:

  • 75% of the population aged 20-64 to be in employment
  • Share of premature school-leavers to be under 10%
  • At least 40% of younger generation to have degree or diploma
  • Accelerate roll-out of high-speed internet connections
  • Twenty million fewer people to face risk of poverty.

"It is not acceptable in the modern age that nearly 80 million people in Europe live under the poverty line," Barroso said.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: BBC.co.uk
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5072

India losing English-speaking advantage to China

India is rapidly losing one of its clear economic advantages over China, with the number of Chinese able to speak English on par with its neighbour and rival.

A new study published by the British Council says China may already have more English speakers than India, a remarkable development, given the language legacy of British colonial rule in south Asia.

The study, English Next India, by David Graddol, reveals that India is likely to find it harder to compete with China, which already has better infrastructure and a more flexible labour market.

The study estimates less than 5 per cent of the Indian population speaks English. This would mean that by 2010 only about 55m people in India will be fluent English speakers.

The report compares this with an apparent 20m new Chinese speakers of English each year, a figure attributed to new education policies that require English to be a compulsory subject in China’s primary schools. According to an earlier British Council study, China had 200m English users in 1995.

In both countries exact figures are vague and those cited often confuse the number of students enrolled in English classes with real proficiency.

Nevertheless, English Next India highlights the lack of English-medium education as one main cause of India’s “educational failure”. It says this has hindered the spread of the language despite high demand for it from the employment sector.

Recent studies have shown that India’s talent pool may be drying out. With nearly two-thirds of India’s population under the age of 35, the country has the world’s largest pool of young people but is lagging competitively because of a gap in employer expectations and realities.

A recent survey of 150 Indian companies by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the World Bank revealed that 64 per cent of Indian employers are “somewhat to not-at-all” satisfied with the quality of engineering graduate skills, which most notably include English language skills.

Speaking at the launch of English Next India, Nandan Nilekani, a co-founder of Infosys, an Indian IT company, highlighted the great potential for the Indian economy in sectors such as IT because its huge youth population is set to be the largest in the world in a few decades.

But he also warned that this ”demographic dividend” could turn into a “demographic disaster” if English-language education is not featured more prominently in India’s development plan.

The success of India’s IT sector has shown young Indians that the lack of English means a lack of access to opportunity, Mr Nilekani said. The British Council study cites government figures to show that a big shift from public schools to private schools in India may be because parents are aware of the importance of an English-medium education. The 2009 Annual State Education Report says 26 per cent of children in rural areas attend private school, a 9.6 per cent increase since 2005.

Whether the Chinese population will surpass India’s number of English speakers as a percentage of the population remains difficult to determine, as reports show progress in some sectors and not in others. For example, the bulk of China’s growing peacekeeping mission, which reflects its desire to become a big power, lacks one necessity: good English skills.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: FT.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=4925

US Citizens Less Set for Retirement

It didn't take a deep recession to make Americans improvident when it comes to saving money for their retirement. That behavior is a hardy perennial, evident in good times or bad. But it's clear from survey data and the opinions of people who track such things that Americans' retirement outlook has gone from not so hot to worse. The possible silver lining is that the sharp downturn -- especially in house prices -- may have given a salutary shock to the system of people who'd been neglecting to save.

A report issued last month by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College (titled "The National Retirement Risk Index: After the Crash") gives a picture of the long-standing problem and its recent worsening. Based on federal data on consumers' finances, the Risk Index "measures the share of American households who are 'at risk' of being unable to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living in retirement." The proportion of households at risk was bad enough in 2004 (43 percent) and 2007 (44 percent), when the stock market and house values were robust. Updating the index with estimates for household wealth in the second quarter of this year, this new report says 51 percent of households are now in the at-risk category.

Moreover, the report suggests that the rise in the index number doesn't fully capture the weakening in Americans' financial readiness for retirement. For one thing, "those already 'at risk' are more 'at risk' because of the financial crisis. Similarly, those 'not at risk' are less 'not at risk' than they had been before the crisis." And the report notes a further recession effect that could put more people in the "at risk" category in the future: The downturn "may potentially hasten the decline of defined-benefit plans in the private sector." Workers in companies that freeze or terminate such pension plans "could likely experience a reduction in their expected defined-benefit wealth."

Ironically, the positive spectacle of the nation's current retirees -- the majority of whom "are able to afford a decent retirement" -- may give a misleading indication of what lies ahead for younger people. The report says current retirees are "living in a 'golden age' that will fade as baby boomers and Generation Xers reach traditional retirement ages in the coming decades."

The saving grace in all this is that people who've yet to retire often realize they've done an insufficient job so far of saving for it and must do better in their remaining pre-retirement years. "In our own research, we see more than half the people expressing concern that they won't have enough money for retirement, that their savings aren't adequate," says Paul Ballew, senior vice president of customer insights and analytics at Nationwide Mutual Insurance, which was underwriter for the National Retirement Risk Index study.

Along the same lines, a report earlier this fall from AARP (based on polling over the summer) found 49 percent of 45-64-year-olds not confident that they "will have enough money to take care of your medical and living expenses in retirement." The total includes 25 percent who were "not at all confident" on that score.

Given the shortfall in their retirement savings, many people expect to work past the normal retirement age. A report issued last month by the MetLife Mature Market Institute, based on polling conducted in May among 55-70-year-olds who are working or looking for work, gives an indication of this: 50 percent of respondents said that, within the past two years, they've pushed back the age at which they expect to stop working for pay. Forty-seven percent of respondents now expect to keep working to age 66-70, 12 percent think they'll be working at 71-75 and 10 percent think they'll still be working at age 76 or beyond.

Likewise, a survey this summer by the Center for Retirement Research found about 40 percent of 45-59-year-olds saying they expected to retire later than had been the case before the economy went haywire.

The catch, of course, is that many of these people will find themselves involuntarily pushed out of the labor force, often for reasons of health. A report in April by the Employee Benefit Research Institute noted, "The median retiree actually retired at age 62, and 47 percent of retirees say they retired sooner than planned."

David Certner, legislative policy director for AARP, agrees that older workers' plans to keep toiling may hit one obstacle or another. Among these is age discrimination on the part of employers. "There are plenty of vestiges of age discrimination, even though it's illegal," says Certner. He notes that the recession, with older workers conspicuous among those hit by layoffs, has been accompanied by a surge in age-discrimination suits.


While the recession is now pushing many older workers out of their jobs, the long-term prognosis is for people to work past the traditional retirement age -- especially as the decline of defined-benefit pension plans and a later age for getting full Social Security benefits alters the financial calculation for retirement. "Working longer is a very powerful lever for lifting your standard of living in retirement," says Steven Sass, program director of the Center for Financial Literacy at Boston College. He expects it to become the norm for people to work into their later 60s. "We think that's the big labor-force transition we're heading toward." One factor pushing things in this direction is the much-increased presence of women in the workforce. "Women working tends to keep men in the workforce, too," notes Sass.

Such a transition will not be altogether smooth. It used to be the case that older workers would stick with their employer until it was time to collect the gold watch and retire altogether. As people's work lives extend, the job a person is in at age 50 will be less likely to be the one from which he finally retires. "I think the norm will be changing jobs past age 50," says Sass, "and that's not an easy thing to do."

Of course, working longer (or, at least, intending to work longer) isn't the only change that will be needed to get Americans' retirement finances in order. People will have to save more, too. And they'll have to acknowledge that the mere fact of owning a house (or the part of a house not really owned by the mortgage issuer) is not the same thing as seriously saving. The decline in house and stock values has aggravated what was already a serious deficit in people's accumulation of assets for retirement. AARP's recent survey found 37 percent of 45-64-year-olds agreeing that they "lost a substantial amount of the equity in your home's value that you will need for retirement." And 52 percent reported having "lost a substantial amount of savings in financial markets."

Despite all the attention to people's dismal 401(k) reports of the past year, it's the decline in house values that hurts the most. According to the Center for Retirement Research's Risk Index report, "Almost three quarters (73 percent) of the increase in the percent 'at risk' was the result of the decline in house prices, reflecting the fact that housing is most households' largest asset."

"We certainly saw a large segment of the population banking on house values going up and staying up," says Ballew. And he thinks the shock of seeing their house-value "paper profits" disappear will have an effect on people's future behavior. He notes that savings rates have already gone up. And while this may be largely a response to the current recession and fears about job losses, he expects it to be a more lasting change. "We believe savings rates will go up significantly over the next decade," Ballew adds.


For now, the effects of the recession (including the scary volatility of the stock market) have cut both ways in people's behavior. Certner mentions that some people are saving and investing less, since they're "nervous about the whole system," while others have been saving more in order to make up for declines in the value of their holdings. In its analysis of the Risk Index report, Nationwide noted research of its own on consumer behavior "showing signs that many who were actively preparing before the downturn have now disengaged from the process."

Even among those who are saving more, this may not mean buying more stocks or putting more money into bank accounts, at least so far. Sass mentions the seeming disconnect between government reports of a spike in the savings rate and reports from companies like Fidelity and Vanguard that the rate of investments into funds they manage has been "flat as a pancake." What resolves the seeming contradiction, says Sass, is that people have been improving their finances "by paying down debt. That's how they're saving."

It's certainly not as though people are in the habit of saving in many other ways, apart from contributions to retirement plans at work (if that). As the Risk Index report sternly notes, "Most of the working-age population saves virtually nothing outside of their employer-sponsored pension plan."

Having been badly shaken by the events of the past year or so, will Americans become generally more responsible about saving for retirement? Certner points to the way the Great Depression of the 1930s affected the behavior of those who went through it -- not just at the time, but for the rest of their lives. He says it's "too early to tell" whether our current Great Recession will have a lasting effect. If we emerge soon from the recession, its effect on long-term retirement-savings behavior could be fairly modest. "But if the economy continues to muddle along for some years, we will see a permanent impact," he predicts.

You might think fears about the solvency of Social Security -- a recurring theme of debate in Washington -- would prompt people to save more. But Certner notes that there's nothing at all new about such worries. He mentions a cartoon from the 1930s that displayed this theme, as well as a survey some 30 years ago that showed many young people convinced they'd never get any Social Security payout. "Now, they're about to start getting benefits," he says, "and they're not so skeptical."

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: Adweek.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=4878

Walmart focuses on smaller format

Perhaps goaded by the incursions into western USA by UK retail giant Tesco, Walmart is strengthening the management of its small Neighborhood Markets, the supermarket-style stores that represent a potential avenue for future growth as the expansion of its huge Supercenters slows.

The retailer is recruiting a new team of managers and buyers that will focus exclusively on the smaller stores, which, with just more than 150 locations, currently represent only a fraction of Walmart’s total US sales. It is also recruiting managers to develop staff training and store planning and performance systems that will “meet the unique needs of all small formats”.

At around 42,000 sq ft, the Neighborhood Markets are less than a quarter of the size of Walmart’s more than 2,700 Supercenters. The smaller stores were previously served by buyers and merchandisers primary focused on the large stores that are the engine of Walmart’s profits.

As a result, the stores have generally displayed grocery products in largely the same way as the larger hypermarket-style stores, rather than seeking approaches that might be more profitable or more suited to the smaller format.

Michelle Barry, a retail consultant at the Hartman Group, says the stores have also failed to develop a more local flavour suggested by their name.

“They are just seen as smaller Walmart stores . . . they still do not seem like a local experience,“ she said.

Walmart opened its first Neighborhood Market in 1998, using the format for “fill-in” locations between its Supercenters.

This year, in a sign of its growing interest in smaller formats, it converted two existing stores in Phoenix and Houston to serve local Hispanic consumers under the name Supermercado de Walmart. Walmart also opened four 12,000 sq ft Marketside stores in Phoenix last year, in a market where the UK’s Tesco is expanding its similarly-sized Fresh & Easy chain.

The interest in smaller stores comes as the retailer is seeking to improve the profitability of its existing store network through an extensive remodelling programme.

Walmart has also been working to improve the performance of its inherently low-margin grocery business, which was initially launched two decades ago to attract customers who would spend more on its more profitable general merchandise.

Walmart’s low price model has made it one of the leading beneficiaries of the current frugal mood of US shoppers. But it has been slowing its rate of US store expansion, as cannibalisation of its existing store network started to reduce the return on invested capital on new stores.

Smaller stores could help Walmart penetrate markets such as Chicago, New York and California, where political opposition and land constraints make it harder to open Supercenters. The retailer will announce its capital expenditure plans for its next fiscal year at an analysts meeting later this week.


All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: FT.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=4831

A Google For Rural Africa

Jonathan Gosier, one of the TED Fellows at the conference here, presented his project called QuestionBox that promises to bring answers to the curious in the most remote parts of the developing world. Gosier started by asking the question, how do we know what people want to know? Google knows what we want to know, and builds its search engine around those requests, but that service covers those of us in rich countries with widespread access to PCs and broadband. What about in rural Ghana?

[Estimated timeframe:Q3 2009-onward]

With the help from the Grameen Foundation and a not-for-profit called OpenMind he staffed up a small call-center where mobile phone owners can call up and ask about weather, history, science, whatever they want. For those with no phones, QuestionBox sends men and women in easily identifiable T-shirts and hats into villages to take people's questions. Gosier showed a sweet video in which a farmer in Ghana walked into a town, and asked a volunteer sitting by a hut if the Egyptian pyramids were still standing. The volunteer got on the phone, registered the question with the call center, and gave the man the answer he wanted. Smiles all around. Check it out at questionbox.org.

Design Inspired By Nature

Ross Lovegrove acclaimed product designer (iMac, Muon speakers and, a long time ago, the interiors for Japan Airlines) and wearer of very cool blue pants, spoke of his love for nature as an inspiration for product design. He spent his youth by the sea in Wales, which has the highest and lowest tides in the world. Those tides, yielding up shark´s teeth, shells and mollusks to scrutinize and collect, were all a boy needed for hours of exploration.

Ever since, he has been looking for a way to combine product design with natural design. His new series of projects he calls Genesis do just that, yielding biomorphic designs aided by advanced visualization software. Some examples: a suitcase called the 110 handmade in Japan from carbon and Kevlar fiber, and sold by the British luxury brand Globe-Trotter. It weighs an amazing 3 pounds, or 1.4 kilograms. Lovegrove likes the idea of his luggage doing its part to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by lowering the weight on airplanes.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: Forbes.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=4569

Chief Commercial Officers: Their Growing Importance

A new role is gaining prominence in the C-suite, as companies increasingly are hiring chief commercial officers to oversee sales, marketing and innovation. That's the finding detailed in a new white paper from executive-search firm Heidrick & Struggles. According to the firm, 56 companies appointed CCOs in 2008, up from just five in 2001. And already in the first half of this year, 36 companies have appointed CCOs.

[Estimated timeframe:Q3 2009-onward]

So does this trend portend the demise of the chief-marketing-officer position? "Within consumer companies, we don´t anticipate this being the "end of the CMO by any means," said John Abele, global managing partner of the Marketing and Sales Officers practice at Heidrick & Struggles and author of the white paper, in an e-mail. "However, for some of the consumer organizations who have adopted a CCO, they appear to be seeking an answer to the integration of functional-silos issues that have historically been challenging. In those cases, more often than not, we see a CCO without a CMO. However, exceptions do exist."

Companies that have recently appointed CCOs include MillerCoors (Tom Long), Swiss International Air Lines (Holger Hatty) and JetBlue (Robin Hayes), Mr. Abele said.

The CCO role is typically broader than that of a CMO, incorporating not only marketing but also sales, innovation and customer service, Mr. Abele said. "Given that the CCOs are often the ´buck stops here´ executive for all things relating to customers and/or revenue, the role requires an executive who can go beyond marketing alone."

CCO backgrounds include sales, channel-management and/or product-development experience. And many CCOs have prior experience in a general-management role with profit-and-loss responsibility. Mr. Abele said he expects the CCO hiring trend to continue, and in many cases, CCOs will be better positioned than CMOs for advancing to the CEO slot.

"As outsourcing and off-shoring of functions, especially manufacturing, continue to become more prevalent, the basis for sustainable competitive advantage for many companies continues to shift away from operational efficiency and more toward ownership of the customer. As such, CEOs need a primary executive to handle all things related to the customer and to revenue generation," he said. "In addition, the complexity of customer touch points with the advent of multichannel approaches and the world of digital makes it increasingly difficult for a CEO to manage these disparate elements across the enterprise without a single executive."

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: AdAge.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=4562

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