Training Article

Nicholas Wyman’s picture

By: Nicholas Wyman

It’s a new year, with a new president and new opportunities to boost modern apprenticeship programs in the United States that can help get people back to work and stimulate the economy.

Getting people into apprenticeships has never been more vital, as job losses caused by the pandemic continue to affect millions. Young people in particular have been hit hard, as they’re most likely to be employed in retail and hospitality, two sectors essentially shut down during the Covid-19 crisis. Speed is vital. We can’t risk losing an entire youth cohort to sustained joblessness that could affect their entire lives. Funding new apprenticeships not only provides jobs now, but also generates high, long-run gains in skills, productivity, and earnings for young workers and companies.

Luckily, there are proven strategies for creating apprenticeships and getting young people employed. We just need to look abroad: Australia and the United Kingdom have strong apprenticeship programs and moved quickly to protect apprenticeships when pandemic-related job losses hit last summer. Their experience highlights four strategies that could be adopted by the Biden Administration and funded through the next stimulus program.

Andrew Peterson’s picture

By: Andrew Peterson

Manufacturing robotics is to some extent following a similar path of advances to those in machining and fixed automation systems. Though the ROI is most easily measured in efficiency and cost savings, manufacturers are looking for robotic technology to help them resolve a pain point in their operation or to create new opportunities. It might be to link processes more efficiently or eliminate the need to outsource a specific function or two.

The growth path for small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) with robotics is therefore increasingly focused on applications and added capabilities, not just efficiency and continuous improvement. The key to increasing adoption of robotics in SMMs is making the robots easier to use and reuse.

In essence, adoption is dependent upon robots having more human-like dexterity and self-control.

NIST Labs has designs on making robots easier to use

Scientists and engineers at NIST Labs are working to close a significant gap between cutting-edge technology and what is currently deployed on many manufacturing shop floors. This is largely due to the lack of measurement science to verify and validate emerging novel research and thus reduce the risk of adoption.

Henrik Bresman’s picture

By: Henrik Bresman

Right now it seems far away, but a post-Covid world is coming. Is it closer to us than the start of the pandemic? We can’t say with any certainty, but we must think about how we will work in the future. The sudden changes of early 2020 showed us how we are capable of extraordinary transformations.

Before the disease struck, teams were adapting to the tremendous pace of technological and social developments. In fact, the arc of change was very much in motion when it was slammed into overdrive by the pandemic-sparked move to working from home.

Teams had to adapt immediately. Previously one or two colleagues might have been “remote”—different from the rest of the group—but within days everyone was untethered from the physical office. Team members found new ways to connect, adding an extra layer of work in the midst of a global pandemic, itself a time of incredible stress.

Renita Kalhorn’s picture

By: Renita Kalhorn

Steffen Heilmann is a firm believer in empowering his people and giving them opportunities to grow. During his early weeks as CTO at Aroundhome, he and his staff were heading into an important negotiation with their data center provider to take over responsibility of a mission-critical database.

Steffen had confidence in the abilities of his head of ops to take full ownership of the process, so he said something to the effect of, “You handle it.”

A few days later, however, he sensed something was off. When he sat down with his head of ops to learn more, Heilmann realized the misunderstanding. Instead of feeling empowered, his head of ops felt abandoned—as if his boss were simply offloading all the responsibility and pressure onto his shoulders.

This was far from the case. In fact, Heilmann had plenty of negotiating experience and was only too willing to share his expertise.

Ah, the challenge of translating leadership concepts from theory into practice.

Michelle LaBrosse’s picture

By: Michelle LaBrosse

Do you find the idea of having to do project management almost as much fun as getting a root canal? If so, you’re not alone. But it doesn’t have to be as bad as a painful dental procedure to adopt more effective ways of managing your projects.

Nor does it have to be extremely boring or some type of mandatory activity folks know is good for them, but no one wants to take the time to do. That is the problem with how many good people approach what passes for “project management.”

Often, project management approaches seem to be to satisfy some bureaucratic mandate issued from on high.

In other words, someone somewhere thought someone else improving how they did their projects would be a great idea.

This is the lip-service approach to project management. It doesn’t grasp the why or how of effective project management.

Effective project management is essentially effective leadership

Here are 10 tips to be a more effective leader when doing your projects:

1. Start far fewer projects. Yes, you read that correctly. When you take the time to do a thorough feasibility analysis, establish the cost-benefit analysis, and evaluate the potential risks you could encounter, it’s likely most projects won’t even get off the starting block. This is a very good thing.

Alena Komaromi’s picture

By: Alena Komaromi

When your own inbox is overflowing with unread messages, it may not seem like the best tactic, but with the right approach, email can be a powerful negotiation tool, not least in the B2B realm. According to 2019 research by IACCM, a global contract management association, about 75 percent of contract negotiations are completely virtual. 

Nowadays, many B2B sales negotiations involve an open-bid process with a standardized communication where relationship bonds are less important. In that context, emails offer a number of advantages. For instance, they can be instantly accessed, often by many parties in an organization, thus creating transparency. Emails also allow a rich diversity of materials to be used as attachments.

Negotiations via email can be particularly suitable when gender, age, or racial biases—or linguistic issues such as a strong accent—could mar the process. It can also help when there is a power distance between parties, or when some voices risk being unheard.

Manufacturing USA’s picture

By: Manufacturing USA

The future of advanced manufacturing in the United States is being built at innovative facilities that enable experimentation in process and product development. The people and organizations at these next-generation facilities are part of a collaborative effort to remove barriers of entry and create an ecosystem to build supply chains and provide a path for the commercialization of emerging technologies.

These facilities are working on initiatives that include:
• Using advanced fiber technology to make programmable backpacks that have no wires or batteries but connect to the digital world.
• Using light instead of electronics to power cloud-based data centers, increasing the speed of transfer tenfold while drastically reducing energy use and cost.
• Extending the range of electric vehicles by reducing weight and mitigating energy loss during transfers.

This would not be possible without Manufacturing USA, a network of 16 manufacturing innovation institutes and their sponsoring federal agencies—the Departments of Commerce, Defense, and Energy. Manufacturing USA was created in 2014 to secure U.S. global leadership in advanced manufacturing by connecting people, ideas, and technology.

Jane Bianchi’s picture

By: Jane Bianchi

Let’s pretend, for a moment, that you’re a primary care physician and you refer one of your patients to another doctor for a colonoscopy. Will the patient follow through? If not, how will your team know to remind him or her? If the patient does receive a colonoscopy, will your team be alerted so you can evaluate and respond to the exam results?

High-performing healthcare teams that are organized and trained to do what’s best for the patient can shine in this type of scenario, while low-performing teams can inadvertently let patients fall between the cracks. How do you make sure your healthcare team is one of the effective ones?

New research co-authored by Sara Singer, professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business and professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, provides answers.

Anthony D. Burns’s picture

By: Anthony D. Burns

Augmented reality (AR) means adding objects, animations, or information, that don’t really exist, to the real world. The idea is that the real world is augmented (or overlaid) with computer-generated material—ideally for some useful purpose.

Augmented reality has been around for about 30 years. But it’s only during the last five years or so that it has been widely used on mobile devices. If you have wondered why your new iPhone 12 has a LiDAR depth sensor, the answer is, in part, for augmented reality. Almost all modern phones now have depth sensors for AR. LiDAR makes depth sensing more accurate.

Unlike virtual reality (VR), AR on mobiles requires no special equipment. There’s no need for headsets or handheld devices. All you need is your mobile phone.

More than fun and games

Although games are probably the most notable use of AR on mobiles (Pokémon Go is a good example), there are business and training applications as well. Perhaps the simplest AR business application is labeling real-world objects. Google Maps, for example, recently launched Live View, adding real-world labeling of objects and directions via the mobile phone’s camera. Real-world objects, when viewed through the mobile phone, can show added text, objects, or 3D animations. Live View has all of these.

Multiple Authors
By: Phanish Puranam, Julien Clément

Covid-19 has dealt most businesses a heavy blow, but the pandemic has at least one under-acknowledged upside. By moving organizations from the office into the virtual space, the pandemic has cracked open a treasure trove of data that can be used to streamline and optimize how organizations operate. We wrote a (free) ebook to help you capitalize on it.

The inner workings of organizations used to be largely invisible. Before many of us started working from home, pivotal decisions were made around a conference table, at a restaurant over lunch, or even in the lift—where interactions are hard to track. But virtual work, largely conducted via digital platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, makes the intangible concrete. Chat logs, video recordings, and activity trails on collaborative projects form a comprehensive, real-time record of organizational activity, offering managers new levels of insight into everything from employee morale to how informal ties among employees affect the outcomes of business decisions.

Syndicate content