Community

Blink:

Back in April, I provided detail about the official list of real issues compiled by the United Nations, specifically their online Twitter engagement.  Environment was ranked second.  Usually climate change dominates all Global environment conversations.  To me, we should be equally concerned about food security.  Environmental solution: Community!

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Food security is the state of having reliable access to sufficiently quantity of affordable, nutritious food.  The decline of food security will lead to Global social disruption.  Remember the event that triggered the Arab Spring?  Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire after he was banned by the government from selling fruit at his local market to earn a meager living.  The event sparked public protests throughout Tunsia; the rest is history.

“To build a better world, start in your community.”  Last night’s fortune cookie.

My fortune cookie reminded me of a great TED Talk by celebrity chef/scholar, Dan barber titled How I fell in love with a fish.  He speaks in depth about a fish farm in Spain with a sustainable ecosystem (note: worth googling).  At the end, he concludes we need a radically new agribusiness model; create conditions where every community will feed itself.

A great example of a food community project is Alaska’s Seeds of Change.  Located in Anchorage, it is a vertical, energy efficient hydroponic greenhouse that provides education and employment for young adults (16-24 years old) year-round.  Their leafy greens and herbs are sold at their local market, featured at a local restaurant plus delivered by Artic Harvest to Anchorage consumers.  A community project supplying fresh produce and building skills for future generations.

Are you engaged with a community project?     

The Professionals

Blink:

One of my favorite TV shows is the documentary series on Japanese TV titled The Professionals.  Every week they feature professionals from various fields that share their viewpoints of what motivates them day in and day out.  This past week was about the tofu craftsman (a.k.a. tofu master), Takeshi Yamashita.

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Takeshi Yamashita is the owner of a small tofu shop founded 145 years ago (5th – generation).  In addition to cultivating his own soybeans, he utilizes a natural nigari coagulant in his manufacturing process that produces a delicate texture and rich flavor.  Thanks to decades of experimentation, Takeshi Yamashita has evolved into a renown Japanese tofu craftsman.

Some of his guiding business principles for success resonated for me as I watched the documentary:

  • His father told him to keep the business small and simple (a.k.a. boutique).
  • An avid reader of philosophy, he quoted Aristole: “We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
  • At any age, 40, 50, 60, etc., you need to have intellectual curiosity to truly experience the “Joy of Living.”

What are some of the key attributes you think are important in becoming a true professional?

Intercept Marketing 2.0

Blink:

The original concept of intercept marketing was to provide products/services to capture incremental sales in locations your consumers frequented during their daily routines– FedEx drop boxes, Godiva chocolate bars at Macy sales counters, etc.  Get ready for intercept marketing 2.0.

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Intercept marketing 2.0 will be the utilization of app partnering for complementary brands.  The Weather Channel app is the latest app to integrate complimentary services (e.g., Uber, Groupon, Caviar, etc.) next to their weather forecasts using location-based context.  Weather affects everyone as they plan their daily activities.  Stormy weather forecasted, an Uber button will appear so you can schedule a ride.  Sunny, 75° weather forecasted, a Groupon button appears for local beer garden specials targeting thirsty guests.

Intercept marketing 2.0; smart marketing!

 

 

Lunch Shaming

Blink:

My last post was about an innovative food waste solution – food-waste diversion.  Today I would like to share insight about a source of food waste that is a result of lunch shaming, a byproduct of our government’s inability to manage school meal debt.

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What is lunch shaming?  It is when a school cafeteria employee is instructed to either substitute a hot lunch with an alternative (e.g., white bread cheese sandwich) or throw out the meal if the student has an unpaid school lunch bill.  In some cases, it has been reported, cafeteria workers stamp the arms of children (“I Need Lunch Money”). Embarrassment, embarrassment, embarrassment – lunch shaming!

In 2014, the Department of Agriculture reported that approximately half of all school districts used some form of shaming to compel parents to pay bills.  Last year, the School Nutrition Association surveyed 1,000 school lunch programs and reported that 75 percent of the districts had unpaid meal debt.

School meal debt management is a serious and debatable issue that needs to be resolved.  Lunch shaming (especially throwing out hot lunches which is contributing to the current food waste problem here in America) is mean spirited!

All comments welcomed!

 

Food Waste (a.k.a. Garbage) Diversion

Blink:

I have expressed my concerns regarding food waste, thus praise innovative solutions to reducing America’s food waste – the last time was LeanPath and their leader Andrew Shakman back in 2015.  Today I would like to address the successful trends in the food-waste diversion industry.

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An innovative solution that is gaining momentum is known as food-waste diversion, converting what is considered waste (e.g., spent grain the byproduct of brewing beer, juice pulp, ugly fruit, etc.) into viable food products (e.g., snacks, jams, etc.).  ReFED, a non-profit coalition recently released some food-waste diversion data which revealed that only 11 companies existed in 2011; currently there are 64 established companies.  Overall these enterprises have diverted thousands of pounds of waste that normally goes to landfills, a major source of greenhouse emissions.  Note: It is estimated that 63 million tons of food are wasted per year in the U.S.

Food-waste (a.k.a. garbage) diversion is a starting point.  Do you have any innovative food waste stories to share?

 

 

Forever Relevant – Lessons from Great Artists & Architects (4/9/09)

Blink:
Some posts – forever relevant!  Back in 2009 I indicated I have been inspired by some great people I never met, artists and architects that have guided me on my business journey. The list is long: Leger, Matisse, Picasso, Chagall, Miro, Calder, Dali, Neel, I. M. Pei and Frank Gehry.

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Detailed below are the lessons I have learned from my favorite artists and architects:

– You must start with traditional training before you can breakout and create new ideas.
– Simplicity.
– Scale – sketches that lead to large masterpieces.
– There is no instant gratification when it comes to artistic creation.
– Artists serve people and live in a commercial world, but they need to discover how they can step outside the norm, take risks and slice their sliver/niche.
– When artists/creative people step outside the norm they must accept criticism, wear it like an article of clothing for a while, then toss it and move on.
– What makes it all worth it (the thrill) is the process of pulling together an achievement.
– Don’t compromise your values.
– Treat each client differently and special.
Harmony = Balance.

 
One final thought. Each one of the individuals on my list were larger than life, thus taught me the value of Joie de Vivre, the Joy of Living.

 

 

Social Listening – Part Two

Blink:

Earlier this week I addressed the impact social media has had on consumerism.  Today I want to share some insight how social media has impacted geo-politics and created global negativity.

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There is an official list of real world issues compiled by the United Nations – terrorism, racism, human rights, disease, climate change, etc.  Recently the SOAS University of London analyzed the number of tweets for these topics, more than 150 million in 2016.  By the numbers, 88 percent of the recorded tweets (152.9 million) contained negative words or had an overall negative tonality; 7 percent were either neutral or context related; only 5 percent were positive.  The number one discussion topic was society (60 percent), followed by the environment (slightly less than 20 percent).

Their overall conclusion: Social media has become an important destination for reading, and aggregating news; people are interested and engaged in current events.  However, there is a rise of negativity that might reflect a lack of optimism around the world.

Are you listening today?