Viewing entries in
Insight worth sharing

How to manage the overflow of news!

How to manage the overflow of news!

Having recently had Chinese New Year, a celebration of clearing out the old to make way for the new – and as we approach Spring in the Western world, with the concept of a spring clean – I was reviewing my various news sources and taking stock. There is an enormous amount of content available. Every few minutes someone I follow is posting new content to their blogs, articles or in LinkedIn groups. I have 3 international and 2 local news apps on my phones. Facebook and Twitter also pop up constantly with news stories. Then there is the business press where I have a magazine subscription as well as articles sent to me by clients and colleagues. There is so so so much, it is hard to know how to focus attention. Much in the same way as my spring clean at home. I seem to accumulated some much stuff – but do I use it all? Its time to take action! 

An article in Forbes a few years ago looked at how much content you need to read to ‘be successful’. https://www.forbes.com/sites/brettnelson/2012/06/04/do-you-read-fast-enough-to-be-successful. Assuming to be ‘good’ at business, you need to read a few news stories, a few business articles and perhaps a good book once a month. But there is also Newsletters, breaking news, LinkedIn pages etc. 

At the average rate of 300 words per minute, to stay ‘up to date’ you would need to “set aside at least 2 hours of reading every day just to keep up.

This does not even include your work emails…or indeed actual work! The article does go on to say you can look to increase your average words per minute (and so be able to consume the content in less time) but where to start? 

Probably not with the news.

It turns out the news itself could actually be damaging our health. A recent article in Time magazine - http://time.com/5125894/is-reading-news-bad-for-you/ shows that more than half of Americans report that the news causes stress. “Many report feeling anxiety, fatigue or sleep loss as a result of the news” In the article Loretta Breuning, a former professor of management at the University of California, East Bay explains that “the human brain is attracted to troubling information because it’s programmed to detect threats, not to overlook them. This can make it hard for us to ignore the negatives and seek out the positives around us,” 

As such, a plan of attack is required. There is never enough time in the day – so how do we stay up to date with what matters, whilst not overloading and making ourselves ill? 

Here are my tips for successfully managing content around you. 

1. The most important aspect is to recognise what types of content there is and to come to terms with when you should read it. For me, these are the content types I look out for

  • Headlines & general news
  • Industry news
  • Specific client news
  • Wider business interest
  • Sport
  • Interesting articles
  • Leisure reading

2. For each of the types of content, I try to engage with them at different times of the day. And for a set period of time. I do this by dividing the content up by how ‘useful’ it is to me at a given time. 
- Time sensitive. Headlines, specific client news, sport are all only relevant in the moment. 
- Occasion dependent. Industry news, wider business interest. Interesting articles. Will all increase my overall knowledge – but are all far less time sensitive. Meaning I can fit them into a suitable occasion. 

For me the Time sensitive catch ups happen early morning, before work. I have 2 dogs so walking the dogs and catching up on the time sensitive news is my way of kick starting my day. Any follow ups etc I can set a reminder on my phone as I go. Around 30-45min is enough to get set for the day. 

Throughout the day I then have 3 potential periods to fit content in. 

  1. Mid-morning. I often try and complete some priority tasks when I first get into the office. However, around 11ish, it is time for a coffee and 10min to catch up on any industry news. 
  2. Lunchtime. I save interesting articles or more in-depth industry summaries to lunch time when I have more time.
  3. Evening – This is a time ear marked for leisure reading. Switching off and reading something that has nothing to do with work is a far better way of unwinding than anything that might spark an action point for work! 

Then when on long trips, holidays or weekends – this is the time to catch up on wider business interest books, articles or blogs.

There is so much content available – but only at certain times can I get around to the ones that are genuinely interesting. But what I need to get around to right now – is spring cleaning my house that I have been putting off!


Innovative research methods - what does that mean in Asia?

Innovative research methods - what does that mean in Asia?

As the year is coming to a close, and as I take stock of projects I’ve worked on and proposals that we should have won, this is a question that I’m increasingly thinking about, and am seeking a perspective on.

This is certainly not a new subject, and as an industry, we have peers who have already proven themselves to be ‘innovative’, at least according to the survey results of this particular report from Green Book (GRIT 2017).

I’m not here to dispute the findings or question the rankings, but as an experienced qualitative researcher, it is second nature to me to want to understand the meaning of such labels as ‘innovative’ and to contextualize it within the specific region that I work in

The greater importance cannot be stressed enough: as an organization, Kadence seeks to raise the status of market research within the region, by delivering insights that inspire and impact businesses. With that as the key focus, 

it is then important to ask whether ‘Innovation’, however it is defined, is truly necessary in the first place.

In the spirit of ‘knowing what you know, and not knowing what you don’t’, it is thus time to fully explore the question, so we can consider how it then fits into the overall narrative of ‘insights that inspire and impact’, rather than for its own sake

To be precise, these are the questions that I’m seeking to answer, in order to truly make sense of the subject:

  1. Can we apply conventional definitions of ‘innovation’ (e.g. disruption, novel/new, creativity, etc.) common to other industries to our own, given that its narrative may/may not be directly applicable?
  2. Even if we can define ‘innovative research’, how does it need to be implemented?
  3. What kinds of ‘research innovation’ does Asia need that is the most relevant and pertinent to how the region is developing?
  4. Ultimately, who benefits more from ‘innovative research’, clients or agencies, and why?

This will be the first of a series of articles on the topic, as I explore its multifaceted nature. I’m hoping that through interacting with my colleagues, peers and clients, I’ll be that much closer to an answer.

Stay tuned for the next article, as I share my immediate findings on the explorations.


Looking for new Ideas. You need Space.

Looking for new Ideas. You need Space.

A popular statistic that was circulated a few years ago is that ‘65% of children entering primary school now – will be in jobs that did not exist 10 or even 5 years ago’.

Seven benefits of displayed thinking that can produce better ideas

Seven benefits of displayed thinking that can produce better ideas

What do you think of when I say the word ‘chair’?

Chances are that you think of the basic construct of a chair – legs, a seated platform, and a back. But beyond that what you imagine and what I imagine could be completely different. You may be thinking of a padded chair, more like a sofa, whereas I could be thinking of a rocking chair. Or you could be thinking of an office chair and me a garden chair.

Finding the Positives in Brexit

Finding the Positives in Brexit

So, Brexit. We voted; our Prime Minister chivalrously bequeathed his successor a legacy as daunting as any in generations; we’ve seen an opposition party in ineffectual disarray; we’ve witnessed constitutional and legal challenges; we’ve even made some limited progress to understanding what Brexit might actually entail!

Think On Paper – Monotasking the Creative Process

Think On Paper – Monotasking the Creative Process

Edward de Bono said it best in his now world famous book, the six thinking hats, ‘the main difficulty in thinking is confusion. We try to do too much at once.’ Humans can’t multitask. That’s not a new insight, all the way back to Adam Smith’s Division of Labor, and before, people have decried our inability to do lots of things at the same time.

Take A Load Off - 3 tips to avoid losing your audience

Take A Load Off - 3 tips to avoid losing your audience

It’s hard to keep paying attention during a presentation. According to molecular biologist, John Medina, a person’s maximum concentration is ten minutes. And that is, according to Medina, a presentation of ‘medium interest, not too boring and not too exciting.’

How psychologists can help us craft better presentations

How psychologists can help us craft better presentations

In a fascinating book, Origins of the human mind, Canadian psychology Melvin Donald suggests that humans are three distinct evolutionary stages above apes in terms of our cognition. These steps are all related to an ability to better communicate with others.

Sharing Gets Personal

Sharing Gets Personal

Sharing – one of life’s greatest, yet simplest pleasures has never been easier. But it’s also never been less personal.

Exploring qualitative research in China

Exploring qualitative research in China

When I was 12 my Dad announced I was to leave my home in Taiwan to attend boarding school in England. The resulting 10 years were to shape me in a way neither he, nor I could ever have imagined. 

A different point of view can never be dumb

A different point of view can never be dumb

We all have those friends that post controversial things on Facebook. We have all entered into debates at restaurants with people who clearly don’t know what they are talking about.

Why – the most important polling question never asked

Why – the most important polling question never asked

So, we find ourselves here again. The polls said one thing, the election the other. First it was the UK election; then Brexit; and now the US election of Donald Trump to being the 45th American President.

What does a post-factual world mean for research?

What does a post-factual world mean for research?

A few years ago, Ralph Keyes coined the term ‘post-truth era’, suggesting that we have reached a stage when the weight and impact of facts and the truth are losing ground.

Is it time for research to diversify?

Is it time for research to diversify?

It seems, at times, that the research industry is tripping over itself to clarify what it should be called and what is within the realms of research and what isn’t. As every new ...

Can you be delighted but left dissatisfied?

Can you be delighted but left dissatisfied?

Common sense suggests that there is a hierarchy to positive emotions towards a product or a service. At the lower end is dissatisfaction; before achieving satisfaction; and then ultimately delight with the brand.