The Dark Side of Charitable Donations

Ask yourself these three questions before sending another package into the chaos following a humanitarian disaster.

In the bleak winter days after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, a town in shock after losing 20 children and six adults faced down intrusive reporters, political opportunists – and an outpouring of stuff. Thousands of boxes of Christmas toys, school supplies, gifts and clothing were sent to Newtown, Connecticut, along with more […]

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Why Trade Deficits Aren’t So Bad

We’re better off with trade deficits than imposing tariffs and restrictive policies to prevent them.

Most Americans seem to think international trade deficits are a bad thing. A March poll, for example, showed that more than two-thirds think the U.S. should take steps to reduce the trade deficit with China, even if a resulting trade war drives up consumer prices. That’s in large part because of the notion expressed by […]

5 Things I’m Telling My Kids to Prepare Them for the Future

As young people start to enter the workforce, things are going to be very different than they are now. Here’s how to prepare them.

I have four kids, ages 5 to 14, and I and know they’re very unlikely to follow the same educational path I did. I’m certain they’ll be preparing themselves for a very different job market. As my youngest is in kindergarten and my oldest just started high school, here are my thoughts for them. Technology’s […]

5 Things the Military Can Teach Your Company About Agility

Without improvisation, an organization is only as quick as its slowest central team.

The military is good in a crisis – or so accepted wisdom goes – so if your business is facing a critical period, who better to learn from than those who’ve been on the real front lines? It sounds attractive, but can companies actually apply military lessons on agility? To help answer this question, I interviewed […]

A Solution to Gun Violence Found in US History

By returning to our roots, we can solve today's most contentious problems.

Guns weren’t always the contentious issue they are today in the U.S. Forty years ago, guns were primarily used for sport and recreation, and mass shootings were a rarity. Much has changed since then, and while there’s a lot of debate about how to put an end to gun violence, we’ve yet to put effective […]

Driving Transformation

It's essential that original equipment manufacturers establish firm digital foundations to define themselves as next-generation automakers.

When it comes to buying a car today, connected technologies are the new deal breakers. According to the recent Car Tech Impact Study from AutoTrader, 89 percent of buyers are willing to wait for must-have technology features, and nearly half would switch brands to get the features they want. It’s no surprise then that a recent IBM […]

From Victims to Fighters

This CEO turned her personal struggles into a business – while tapping into the future of healthcare.

Editor’s Note: October is National Women’s Small Business Month, and here at Longitudes, we’re putting the focus on entrepreneurs who are getting big results out of their upstart companies. This is part one of an ongoing series of interviews with women small business owners. Emily Levy, the CEO and co-founder of Mighty Well, believes wellness […]

Send it Back!

Here's how smart retailers box up their reverse logistics strategies.

Buy something online, and there’s more than a one-in-four chance you’ll send it back. Consumers who use e-commerce return their purchases 25 to 30 percent of the time, says a study by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). For brick-and-mortar stores, the return rate is just 9 percent. […]

What Happened When Thousands of Abandoned Rape Kits Were Tested

A national logistics effort can solve the problem of stockpiled rape kits.

In 2009, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and her team discovered more than 11,000 untested rape kits – some dating back to the 1980s – in an old Detroit Police Department storage facility. As soon as they were unearthed, Kym worked immediately to raise millions of dollars to process the kits and seek justice for the thousands of […]

3 Ways Small Business Can Play (and Win) Big

Why the little things make all the difference for upstart companies.

If we do business today the way we did yesterday, then we won’t be in business tomorrow. That axiom always reminds me to keep an open mind to new ideas, trends and strategies. It’s part of the reason why, in 2014, after enjoying a successful career in banking, I left it all behind to buy […]

Bridging the Skills Gap

Apprenticeships could help solve employment challenges around the world.

Editor’s note: Today is Manufacturing Day in the United States, and dozens of manufacturing companies around the country are opening their doors to teach students more about the evolving industry. There’s no doubt manufacturing has a bright future, and that bright future needs an equally bright workforce. In this article, UPS’s Frank Sportolari explains a tried-and-true […]

How Machine Learning Can Teach Us To Build More Effective Teams

Here are three team-building lessons that can help any manager.

Former Marine Corps Lt. Drew Humphreys knows a thing or two about leadership. Before joining the business world, as a platoon commander in Afghanistan, he was in charge of 37 Marines who fought the Taliban and maintained a vital supply route through Helmand Province. He had to reconsider everything he knew about leadership when he […]

Lighting the Way to Industry 4.0

Companies embracing new technologies and business models need beacons to show the path.

With all the talk of rapid advancements in digital technology, it’s important to remember that while this issue of Longitudes may have been delivered digitally, it’s consumed from a physical device. Our lives are built around physical items that start with the sourcing of physical materials manufactured, assembled, stored and shipped to a home or […]

A Makerspace for Everyone

Imagine a place where inventors and hobbyists alike can collaborate, accelerate innovation and build community with magical results.

Growing up tinkering in his father’s workshop, Robin Hooker always had a space to reimagine the world – to modulate, mashup, remix and repair things. As an adult, he realized not everyone has access to a space where they can safely experiment. Hooker argues for democratizing access to public, shared workshops, commonly called “makerspaces,” which provide room […]

The Power to Make a Better Future (for Billions)

You have unprecedented access to the tools and technologies needed to make better decisions about everything you design and make.

As a member of the next generation, are you worried about the future? Are you worried about robots and increasing levels of automation impacting your life and livelihood? Given the headlines these days, this is understandable. I, however, am more optimistic than ever about the future – one with 10 billion people on Earth, most living […]

Navigating the New Industrial Landscape

Here are five tips to survive the most unforgiving terrain in business today: after the sale.

In today’s increasingly competitive industrial distribution industry, thinking beyond the point of sale is essential for cementing customer loyalty and as a means for differentiation. Simply selling products is no longer enough – industrial buyers now expect a higher level of service with that product – and they are willing to shop around for superior […]

Mobile Technologies for Factory Management

How a generational shift is fueling the factory of the future.

Editor’s note: The manufacturing industry as we know it has changed. Gone are the days of rigid supply chains – today’s manufacturers are smart, nimble and customer-focused. This week on Longitudes, we’re taking a look at how technology and people are changing the way we make the world. Factory automation continues to be a driving force […]

The Ebola Crisis Is Another Call to Action

We in the private sector need to do better, do more and act more quickly to prevent another deadly catastrophe.

The Ebola outbreak that emerged recently in the Democratic Republic of the Congo came just one week after a previous Ebola outbreak ended. Although new cases seem to be plateauing, thanks to an early distribution of vaccines and experimental treatments, experts warn that this is no time to cease fighting this deadly, highly contagious disease. […]

Delivering on the Promise of Digital Transformation

How smart, targeted investments in the digital space are forever altering the physical world of tomorrow.

Mobile phones and tablets. Social media and cloud computing. Big data and blockchain. Augmented and virtual reality. The internet and the Internet of Things. These technologies aren’t brand new. But as they have developed and proliferated, their potential to help businesses become more innovative, agile and customer-centered is clear. Companies around the globe are scrambling […]

Why Are There So Few Entrepreneurs?

Here are five reasons would-be entrepreneurs never get started.

Despite founding one of the fastest growing bootstrapped technology companies, I didn’t always think of myself as an entrepreneur. It was a set of coincidences that led me to take the leap – and eventually succeed. By telling my story I want to not only empower ‘wantrepreneurs’ but also underline how many thousands of potential entrepreneurs get […]

What If Our Data Could Be Protected Online?

In the age of e-commerce, must we sacrifice privacy in the name of convenience?

In today’s interconnected world, keeping our personal data private can seem nearly impossible. We’re often forced to give away our personal information to get the services we desire, especially when it comes to e-commerce. “We make the trade of online privacy for convenience,” says data privacy enthusiast, Derek Banta. Instead, he wants us to look […]

What Really Defines Wisdom in the Workplace

Smart companies recognize the value of older workers by establishing formal avenues for cross-generational knowledge sharing.

In 2010, my colleagues and I at the Drucker Institute had the great fortune of receiving an afternoon of consulting from A.G. Lafley, who had just retired as the CEO of consumer products giant, Procter & Gamble. What I remember most about that day was the way that Lafley listened for less than half an […]

How Small Business Can Benefit from Village Banking

Here's a community-based solution with lessons for every small business – no matter where they operate.

Small businesses in the United States fail at an alarming rate. Half close their doors by year five, and 70 percent by year 10. The No. 1 reason? They run out of money. Compare that to small businesses in Ecuador and Guatemala, which are diligent about managing finances and have a nearly 100 percent loan […]

5 Ways Tech Supply Chains Can Survive Trade Policy Changes

Business as usual is no longer an option amid so much global uncertainty.

The technology industry has experienced breathtaking growth, outpacing overall economic progress during the past five years in the U.S. and globally, a trend expected to continue into the near future. These gains aren’t just because of higher performing electronic devices but also the dramatic reduction in the cost of manufacturing and distributing electronics through a […]

Bringing Healthcare to the Home

Why the best treatment isn't always at the hospital.

Nobody likes going to the hospital, whether it’s because of the logistical challenges of getting there, the astronomical costs of procedures or the alarming risks of complications like antibiotic-resistant bacteria. But what if we could get the lifesaving care provided by hospitals in our own homes? Healthcare futurist Niels van Namen shows how advances in […]

3 Ways Business Can Fight Sex Trafficking

From setting clear policies to hiring survivors, the private sector can play a major role in combating a global crisis.

Sex buying doesn’t just happen late at night on street corners in the shady part of town – it also happens online, in the middle of the workday, using company equipment and resources. With this problem comes an opportunity, says attorney Nikki Clifton, because it means the business community is in a unique position to educate […]

5 IoT Applications Retailers Are Using Today

From RFID to the smart store, retailers are taking advantage of the Internet of Things.

At its most basic, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of connected physical objects embedded with sensors. IoT allows these devices to communicate, analyze and share data about the physical world around us via networks and cloud-based software platforms. In the case of retail, the “things” can include RFID inventory tracking chips, traditional in-store […]

E-Commerce Made Easy

A conversation on Ware2Go and other solutions to the most vexing small business problems.

Click here to listen to a conversation between small business expert, Steve Strauss, and Leo Schafer, CEO of PR Diamond Products. There’s good news for small businesses: The playing field is leveling. The e-commerce boom – no doubt, the biggest game changer in recent years – has opened a world of opportunity for businesses of all sizes. […]

How to Get Serious About Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Here's a three-part plan for achieving real equality where it matters most.

Imagine a workplace where people of all colors and races are able to climb every rung of the corporate ladder – and where the lessons we learn about diversity at work actually transform the things we do, think and say outside the office. How do we get there? In this candid talk, inclusion advocate Janet Stovall […]

The Business Case for Being Nice

Simple Roast: A coffee success story.

In 2013, Matt Peirson was gifted with a very small home coffee roaster by his parents and started roasting coffee as a hobby at home. Eventually, he decided to sell it by the bag at a local farmers market and the rest, as they say, is history. Today, he is the owner, roaster, barista and […]