Archive for December, 2009

The Disadvantage of Twitter and Facebook

December 31st, 2009 No comments

The Disadvantage of Twitter and Facebook
5:15 PM Tuesday September 8, 2009
by Michael Schrage | Comments (51)

A single question haunts me as I write this:

Will you forward this post to someone you respect?

Every day, people I like and respect — and quite a few I don’t — take a quick moment of their digital time to forward me an article, a blog post, a link, a chart, a URL, a review, a YouTube Q&A that they think I will find of interest. I confess I’m frequently astonished — both pleasantly and not — by who sends me what. When more than two people send me the same thing, I know to pay attention. And furthermore, at least twice a week, these “forwards” trigger something that I will pursue or even change my schedule in order to do. “Forwards” are that useful. I’m happy to get them and I remember who sent them.

I send them too, and whenever browsing online, I always make the effort to find and forward at least a couple of compelling clips and links to colleagues and clients. I want them to know that, not only am I thinking of them but, I’m also constructively acting on those thoughts. I want them to be pleased, grateful, and impressed. An immediate call or exclamatory “Thanks!” in response is a clear “win.” People should feel confident that I’m literally and figuratively looking out for them. That feeling should be core to my “brand.”

Yes, I know that Facebook and other social networking platforms change the posting paradigm and render practices like forwarding a digital anachronism. Perhaps. The real issue here is not the act of forwarding or receiving forwards but the challenge of creative customization. To the extent that posting something on a Wall or a stream or a blog is undifferentiated “broadcasting” rather than a one-to-one exchange, something important is missing. As much as I admire the socialnets, there’s something about the personal quality of the forward — the set-up, the introduction, the annotation, etc. — that makes me feel special when I get one and makes me feel clever when I send one.

I like those feelings, sure; but it’s also good business practice.

Managing communities of colleagues and clients via digital media will come to further dominate our workplace efforts, and smart managers will hone their “forwarding quotient”—their FQ. Unlike mass tweeting, this one-to-one “customized” communication strikes me as a superior business and personal practice. It forces me to be empathetic, anticipatory, and aware. It makes me more sensitive to individual perceptions and needs. And I get feedback telling me how aware and helpful I really am. I even create virtual histories of “forwards” that I can audit, review, and rethink. Imagine if more managers developed these skills.

There’s no simpler, faster or easier way to appear professionally smart and personally attentive than being forward-oriented. Between BlackBerries, iPhones, Google, and Bing, finding and forwarding the goods has gone from technical nuisance to self-disciplined choice. Folks with high FQs are people clever enough to send links and text that make their recipients eagerly look forward to them. Senders build their brands as individuals exquisitely attuned both to the growing wealth of useful information and what their clients/customers/colleagues might need to know. If there’s a quicker or more cost-effective way to make yourself look thoughtfully relevant to people or prospects who matter, I’ve yet to come across it. (Though it can also make you look painfully self-indulgent. Who doesn’t have an idiot colleague or acquaintance who can’t resist forwarding jokes, YouTube videos of kittens, or bilious political commentary? That’s interpersonal brand-building of a different sort.)

As I review my sent mail over the last two years, I estimate I’ve forwarded an average of five items a business day — or roughly 100 a month. When I examine who they were (largely) sent to and the relationships we have, I’d have to say that — on a value-per-unit-time basis — “forwarding” ranks as one of my most productive behaviors either online or off.

You might consider conducting a similar “traffic analysis” and “content review” of your own mailboxes. Do you know your FQ? What’s the FQ of the top five folks forwarding to you? Wouldn’t it be great to have a metric that tracked which of your forwards were forwarded?

And most of all, I’m dying to know: Will you forward this post to someone you respect?

A researcher at MIT Sloan School’s Center for Digital Business and a visiting fellow at the Imperial College Business School, Michael Schrage is the author of Serious Play and the forthcomingGetting Beyond Ideas. His research focuses on the behavioral economics of innovation through models, prototypes, simulations and experiments.

Watson Institute Visiting Fellows

December 29th, 2009 No comments

Watson Institute Visiting Fellows

The Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University seeks several recent PhDs for three year residential visiting fellowships, beginning July 1, 2010. The mission of the Watson Institute is to pursue interdisciplinary research on pressing global issues and to foster more direct engagements between scholarship and policy and public debates. The latest publication about recent developments and current research trajectories can be found in the Watson Institute’s Fall newsletter (PDF).

Successful candidates will pursue their own research and also contribute to the development of collective and collaborative research at the Institute. They will teach one course per semester, chosen in consultation with the Institute’s director, and advise students.

Salary: $55,000 (12 month) plus individual health and dental coverage.

The committee will begin reviewing applications on February 15, 2010.

Brown University is an AA/EEO employer and especially welcomes applications from women and minority candidates.

All Applications must be submitted online. Click here to apply.

Categories: call for papers, Resources Tags:

OSI Chevening Scholarships for study in the United Kingdom

December 29th, 2009 No comments

OSI Chevening Scholarships for study in the United Kingdom
For more information see


January 2010

12th – OSI/FCO Chevening/University of Oxford Scholarships – 9 Month Research & Master’s Awards
The Open Society Institute offers support for postgraduate study in the UK for doctoral students, junior lecturers, and young professionals from Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, FYR Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

18th – OSI/FCO Chevening/University of Essex Human Rights Scholarships
The program offers support to students from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Palestine, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan to pursue postgraduate programs at the Human Rights Centre.

25th – OSI/FCO Chevening/Staffordshire University (MSc in Economics for Business Analysis)
OSI offers support for university graduates from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, or Montenegro with outstanding academic qualifications for the MSc in the Economics for Business Analysis program at Staffordshire University.

25th – OSI/Staffordshire University (MPhil/PhD in Economics)
The Open Society Institute invites university graduates from applicants from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Montenegro to apply for this MPhil/PhD in Economics distance-learning program.

29th – OSI/FCO Chevening/University of Warwick Scholarships
OSI offers support for scholars from Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, and Mongolia with the chance to read for a master’s course at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Warwick.
February 2010

1st – OSI/FCO Chevening/University of Cambridge Scholarships
Scholars from Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan are invited to apply for awards in the social sciences and humanities.

2nd – OSI/FCO Chevening/Royal Holloway University of London Scholarships
This scholarship program provides opportunities for applicants from Pakistan to study for an MSc Democracy, Politics and Governance or MSc Medical Sociology at Royal Holloway.

2nd – OSI/FCO Chevening/University of Sussex Scholarships
The Open Society Institute invites applications from suitably qualified students from Albania, Belarus, and Kosovo for a one-year in MA Contemporary European Studies or an MA European Politics.
2nd – OSI/FCO Chevening/University of Edinburgh Scholarships (Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Jordan, Palestine, and Syria)

The scholarships offer support for independent postgraduate study at the University of Edinburgh for students from Georgia, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, the occupied Palestinian Territories, and Syria.

2nd – OSI/FCO Chevening/University of Manchester Scholarships (Economic Studies)
These scholarships provide opportunities for applicants from Mongolia and Tajikistan to study for a one-year MSc program in economics at the University of Manchester, UK.

2nd – OSI/FCO Chevening/University of Manchester Scholarships (Department of Government)
OSI offers support to scholars from Belarus, Mongolia, Russia, and Uzbekistan to participate in a master’s program in politics at the University of Manchester.

2nd – OSI/FCO Chevening/University of York Scholarships
The program offers scholarships to suitably qualified individuals and/or young professionals from Afghanistan and Tajikistan to pursue an MA Post-War Recovery Studies at York.

2nd – OSI/FCO Chevening/University of Glasgow Scholarships
OSI cosponsors scholarship opportunities for qualified students from Indonesia to study for an MSc in International Politics.

4th – OSI/FCO Chevening/University of Nottingham Scholarships
The scholarships provide opportunities for independent postgraduate study at the University of Nottingham for students from Indonesia, Jordan, and Syria.

4th – OSI/FCO Chevening/University of St Andrews Scholarships
The scholarships provide opportunities for independent postgraduate study at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, UK, for applicants from Indonesia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

18th – OSI/FCO Chevening/University College London Scholarship (School of Slavonic and East European Studies)
These scholarships support students from Macedonia, Moldova, Russia, or Serbia to undertake master’s studies at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London.

For More information see

IREX – Short-term Travel Grants

December 15th, 2009 No comments

2010-2011 Fellowship Opportunity
Short-Term Travel Grants (STG) Program

IREX is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted
for the 2010-2011 Short-Term Travel Grants (STG) Program

STG provides fellowships to US scholars and professionals to engage in
up to eight weeks of overseas research on contemporary political,
economic, historical, or cultural developments relevant to US foreign policy.

The STG application is now available online at:

Completed applications are due no later than 5 pm EST on February 2, 2010.

Postdoctoral Scholars and Professionals with advanced degrees are
eligible to apply for the STG Program. In addition to the
pre-departure logistic support provided by IREX staff, the Short-Term
Travel Grant also provides:

* International coach class roundtrip transportation
* A monthly allowance for housing and living expenses
* Travel visas
* Emergency evacuation insurance
* Field office support

Questions may be addressed to the STG Program Staff at or
by telephone at 202-628-8188.

Countries Eligible for Research:

Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary,
Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova,
Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia,
Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan

STG is funded by the United States Department of State Title VIII Program

SCHOLARSHIP- Weidenfeld Scholarships and Leadership Programme, Oxford Univ.

December 15th, 2009 No comments

SCHOLARSHIP- Weidenfeld Scholarships and Leadership Programme, Oxford Univ.

The Weidenfeld Scholarships and Leadership Programme is expected to
support up to 40 Scholars in the 2010-2011 academic year. This
Programme, launched in May 2007, offers outstanding postgraduate
students and young professionals, primarily from Eastern Europe,
Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, North Africa and the Middle East,
support for graduate studies at Oxford University complemented by a
comprehensive leadership development programme.

In seeking to cultivate leaders of the future, the Programme selects
students and young professional with clear leadership potential, and a
demonstrated commitment to contributing to public life. It offers them
the unique opportunity to:

* Pursue fully funded graduate studies at the University of Oxford
with no restriction as to the chosen academic field; and

* Participate in a comprehensive leadership programme providing them with:
– The knowledge and skills needed to contribute to public life in,
and play a transformational role in the development of, their
countries and regions of origin;
– Lasting professional networks across cultures and continents to be
drawn on throughout their post-university careers.

We are asking friends and colleagues around the world to circulate the
attached information through relevant networks in order to increase
awareness of the scheme and widen the pool of eligible candidates for
the next academic year.

As with other scholarships, candidates need to apply through the
official University of Oxford application process by mid January,
2010. Application documents for the 2010-11 academic year are
available on the Oxford University website. Interested candidates must
be accepted by Oxford before being considered for a Weidenfeld
Scholarship. Please note that applications to the Scholarship are
submitted through the Oxford University application form.
Additional information about the programme, the criteria for
eligibility and the application process is attached. Further
information about the programme is available on the Institute for
Strategic Dialogue website

Should you require any further information about the Weidenfeld
Scholarships and Leadership Programme, please do not hesitate to
contact Victoria Fraser, the Weidenfeld Scholarships Programme
Associate, at or by telephone at +44 207
493 9333.

The professional relationships fostered at Oxford, combined with our
leadership programme, is paving the way for the trans-cultural,
trans-continental and thus sustainable networks of leaders of our
future. We would be most grateful for your assistance in raising
awareness of the Weidenfeld Scholarships and Leadership Programme by
circulating this information to relevant universities, networks of
students, educational advising centres in your country, and
appropriate professional networks.

Talks Thulasiraj Ravilla: How low-cost eye care can be world-class

December 13th, 2009 No comments

India’s revolutionary Aravind Eye Care System has given sight to millions. Thulasiraj Ravilla looks at the ingenious approach that drives its treatment costs down and quality up, and why its methods should trigger a re-think of all human services.

About Thulasiraj Ravilla
Thulasiraj Ravilla is the executive director of the Lions Aravind Institute of Community Ophthalmology, helping eye-care hospitals around the world build capacity to prevent blindness.

Categories: Development, Health Tags:

Inaugural TEDxYouthInspire to be held in Accra, Ghana in April 2010

December 13th, 2009 No comments

Accra, Ghana, December 1, 2009 – On Saturday, April 10, 2010, from 8:00AM – 6PM GMT, the inaugural TEDxYouthInspire conference will be held at the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT in Accra, Ghana. The one-day, free event will be the first TEDx event dedicated exclusively to young African visionaries ages 14-25.

Tasked with inspiring young people to make sustainable transformation, the conference will utilize the theme “A Good Head & A Good Heart”, from former South African President Nelson Mandela’s 1995 autobiography Long Walk to Freedom, to exhibit how radical thought and integrity of spirit combine to create unlimited possibilities for a brighter future.

“It is important that young people are aware of their power as local and global community leaders,” says Raquel Wilson, event curator, “TEDxYouthInspire will encourage participants to collaborate and embrace their shared passions for change.”

Space for TEDxYouthInspire is limited. Young people interested in attending should apply online at Eligible applications must be received by Sunday, January 31, 2010 to be considered for admission.

Individual and corporate sponsorship packages are available. Additional information about TEDxYouthInspire can be found by visiting You can also follow along on Twitter at or on Facebook at

Categories: Development, Health Tags:

Kyrgyz Films at the Madurai International Film Festival, Dec. 15-19, 2009

December 8th, 2009 No comments

The 11th Madurai International Documentary and Short Film Festival in India will be presenting ten award-winning fiction and documentary films from Kyrgyzstan at this year’s festival (December 15-19, 2009). The films cover a range of social concerns in post-independence Kyrgyzstan, and are a showcase of the creative voices and visions of emergent and established Kyrgyz filmmakers. All films presented have English subtitles.

Screenings will take place at the Madura College. The films include:

I Want to Live
Nargiza Mamatkulova, 2006, 8 minutes, documentary.

Aibek Dairbekov, 2006, 10 minutes, drama.

The Border
Marat Alykulov, 2006, 19 minutes, drama.

Tynai Ibragimov, 2007, 12 minutes, documentary.

Duty of the Son
Temir Birnazarov, 2006, 23 minutes, drama.

Everything Is Ok
Akjol Bekbolotov, 2007, 16 minutes, drama.

The Devil’s Bridge
Temir Birnazarov, 1996, 10 minutes, documentary.

Nomad Encampment
Tynai Ibragimov, 1998, 20 minutes, documentary.

The Dog Was Running
Aktan Abdykalykov, 1990, 17 minutes, documentary.

Ludmila Grebenshikova and Anara Birismanova, 2004, 13 minutes, documentary.

More information about the films and the festival can be found at the festival website:

Categories: Arts, Central Asia Tags:

The Year 2015 According to Google

December 4th, 2009 No comments

The Year 2015 According to Google
Monday, November 23, 2009 at 10:15pm

Ever wonder what the world will be like in 2015? Well, Google may have the answer. Google CEO Eric Schmidt made his predictions during a 45-minute interview at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2009 in October. Here are the essence of what he said.

– Five years from now the internet will be dominated by Chinese-language content.
– Today’s teenagers are the model of how the web will work in five years – they jump from app to app to app seamlessly.
– Five years is a factor of ten in Moore’s Law, meaning that computers will be capable of far more by that time than they are today.
– Within five years there will be broadband well above 100MB in performance – and distribution distinctions between TV, radio and the web will go away.
– “We’re starting to make significant money off of YouTube”, content will move towards more video.
“Real time information is just as valuable as all the other information, we want it included in our search results.”
There are many companies beyond Twitter and Facebook doing real time.
“We can index real-time info now – but how do we rank it?”
– It’s because of this fundamental shift towards user-generated information that people will listen more to other people than to traditional sources. Learning how to rank that “is the great challenge of the age.” Schmidt believes Google can solve that problem.
– He also elaborated on point 2, regarding teenagers and this is what he has to say:

Talk to a teenager about how they consume information. And remember – in five years from now, that’s your employee.

That’s the future!

Categories: General Knowledge Tags:

Our ability to learn what we need for tomorrow is more important than what we know today.

December 4th, 2009 No comments

“Our ability to learn what we need for tomorrow is more important than what we know today. When knowledge, however, is needed, but not known, the ability to plug into sources to meet the requirements becomes a vital skill.”

— Siemens, 2004, Connectivism

Categories: Motivational Tags: