43 Company Culture Improvement Ideas (That Actually Work)

Posted on by Brandon Klein

Company culture is shaped through your daily work rituals. Habits that set the social and behavioral norms that go onto hone your company’s unique personality. Improving your company culture requires regular work. Just like exercising and eating well leads to good health, constantly investing in your people has the same effect on your company culture. It takes a little effort to get going, but after a while you won’t notice how natural improving your culture becomes.

Collaborating with WH Smith Self-Adhesive labels 33123516

Posted on by Brandon Klein

Compliments of Fernanda @__deu

When you buy supplies from WH Smith - you expect a certain level of quality.

But, the Self Adhesive labels, specifically the 33123516 ... there is no way to print onto labels. No template.

They are kind enough to print a photocopied version of the dimension, but the photocopy itself has the wrong 'to scale' sizes :(

So Fernanda created a pdf/Illustrator files for anyone to download. Enjoy.


The Corporation As You Know It Is Probably Obsolete

Posted on by Brandon Klein

By Umair Haque

There is a groundswell in new kinds of corporate forms that is gaining steam. Consider the rise of "for-benefit" corporations. They’re a new kind of corporate form, built from the ground up to create wealth, instead of being tiresomely legally bound to return maximum profit to shareholders.

Imagine, for a moment, the new organizational possibilities that the novel legal and contractual design of these organizations opens up, where bonuses are tied to marginal wealth attained by people, communities, and society, roles are created to manage benefits (think "chief impact officer"), and transparent accounts demonstrate real, meaningful benefits, not earnings. You’d have an organization geared to do explosively more than just buy and sell crap that’s slightly updated every year or so, on yesterday’s moldy old terms. You’d have instead an organization tuned not just to make stuff, but to have real relationships, to meaningfully enhance lives, to push the boundaries of elevating human potential, to laser-lock on to creating wealth, to do all the above in ways that matter, count, last, endure, inspire, amaze, and delight—and to do all the above habitually, consistently, and repeatedly.

You might begin to nervously ask yourself: 'Is there a bullet out there somewhere with my name on it?'

Now put that new arsenal of enterprise, its disruptive new set of capabilities, its unexplored, undeployed firepower in the hands of someone with the unsatisfied hunger, unyielding determination, and laser-sharp insight of a Steve Jobs, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, or Richard Branson, and you might just begin to nervously ask yourself: "is there a bullet out there somewhere with my name on it?" Sure, the fact is that there’s no corporation in the world that works quite like this—yet. But the truth is that when there is, it’s going to put "business" as usual out of business.

Ultracompetition Can Only be Won Through Betterness

In the twentieth century, rivalry was most often about a single kind of counterorganization: competitors. That was yesterday: in the twenty-first century, a new range of insurgent counterorganizations must be contended with, hell-bent on toppling imperious incumbents from their comfy, cushy thrones. They are markets, networks, and communities composed of a huge variety of actors: NGOs, peer and trade groups, customer and supplier communities, activist investors, and labor organizations, to name just a few.

Hypercompetition is an increase of like-for-like competitive intensity. Ultracompetition is increased competitive intensity across new kinds of counterorganizations. This turns up the pressure dramatically. Ever consider students a counterorganization? Think again. At Harvard Medical School, students self-organized to pressure professors to stop accepting gifts from pharmaceutical companies, citing a clear lack of interest and diluted objectivity. The result? Harvard profs stopped accepting gifts, and the structure of pharmaceutical marketing changed, just a tiny bit.

How Spotify Balances Employee Autonomy and Accountability

Posted on by Brandon Klein

The squad structure achieves autonomy without sacrificing accountability. Every squad owns its features throughout the product’s life cycle, and the squads have full visibility into their features’ successes and failures. There is no single appointed leader of a squad; any such leadership role is emergent and informal. Results are visible both through internal reviews and through customer feedback, and squads are expected to fully understand successes and failures. Squads go through postmortem analyses of failures to ensure learning, and some squad rooms have “fail walls.” Every few weeks, squads conduct retrospectives to evaluate what is going well and what needs to improve.

To ensure that the feedback process is effective for individuals as well as for the squads, Spotify redesigned its performance management system to separate salary discussion and performance evaluations from coaching and feedback. Before, peer feedback was incorporated into salary reviews; in Spotify’s words, that “incentivized people to gather as many favorable reviews as possible rather than getting feedback around their biggest areas of potential improvement.” Now, colleagues use an internal tool to invite anyone — including managers, peers, and direct reports — to provide feedback on results and on what an individual can do to improve. Employees may solicit feedback as often as they choose. Spotify employee Jonas Aman told us, “The result is a process that everyone needs to own and drive themselves — it is about development and personal growth.”

Learning social network embeddings for predicting information diffusion

Posted on by Brandon Klein

Analyzing and modeling the temporal diffusion of information on social media has mainly been treated as a diffusion process on known graphs or proximity structures. The underlying phenomenon results however from the interactions of several actors and media and is more complex than what these models can account for and cannot be explained using such limiting assumptions. We introduce here a new approach to this problem whose goal is to learn a mapping of the observed temporal dynamic onto a continuous space. Nodes participating to diffusion cascades are projected in a latent representation space in such a way that information diffusion can be modeled efficiently using a heat diffusion process. This amounts to learning a diffusion kernel for which the proximity of nodes in the projection space reflects the proximity of their infection time in cascades. The proposed approach possesses several unique characteristics compared to existing ones. Since its parameters are directly learned from cascade samples without requiring any additional information, it does not rely on any pre-existing diffusion structure. Because the solution to the diffusion equation can be expressed in a closed form in the projection space, the inference time for predicting the diffusion of a new piece of information is greatly reduced compared to discrete models. Experiments and comparisons with baselines and alternative models have been performed on both synthetic networks and real datasets. They show the effectiveness of the proposed method both in terms of prediction quality and of inference speed.

Teams vs. Crowds: A Field Test of the Relative Contribution of Incentives, Member Ability, and Collaboration to Crowd-Based Problem Solving Performance

Posted on by Brandon Klein

Organizations are increasingly turning to crowdsourcing to solve difficult problems. This is often driven by the desire to find the best subject matter experts, strongly incentivize them, and engage them, with as little coordination cost as possible, to pool their knowledge. A growing number of authors, however, are calling for increased collaboration in crowdsourcing settings, hoping to draw upon the advantages of teamwork observed in traditional settings. The question is how to effectively incorporate team-based collaboration in a setting that has traditionally been individual-based. We report on a large field experiment of team collaboration on an online platform, in which incentives and team membership were randomly assigned, to evaluate the influence of exogenous inputs (member skills and incentives) and emergent collaboration processes on performance of crowd-based teams. Building on advances in machine learning and complex systems, we leverage new measurement techniques to examine the content and timing of team collaboration. We find that temporal "burstiness" of team activity and the diversity of information exchanged among team members are strong predictors of performance, even when inputs such as incentives and member skills are controlled. We discuss implications for research on crowdsourcing and team collaboration

The Secret of Buckminister Fuller’s World-Changing Ideas Was Serendipity

Posted on by Brandon Klein

In his 2016 book, You Belong to the Universe, Jonathon Keats sets out to release Buckminister Fuller from “the zany sci-fi designs that made him notorious, and rescue him from the groupies who have impounded him as a cultish prophet.”

Keats, a writer and artist who whips up his own world-changing ideas through trickster gallery and museum exhibitions, comes to Fuller’s rescue by venturing beneath the veneer of his infamous inventions—the geodesic dome, flying car, world peace games, and dome over Manhattan—to expose their broader significance. 

That significance can be summed up in the unwieldy title that Fuller gave himself: “comprehensive anticipatory design scientist.” The most succinct definition of the title is Fuller’s determination, he said, “to make the world work for 100 percent of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.”

The reason he wanted to make a flying car was because his first daughter died of meningitis.

As Keats points out, Fuller’s 100 percent ethos was prophetic “and only becomes more resonant in a society where half the world’s wealth is held by the wealthiest 1 percent.”

One of the qualities Keats most admires in Fuller, who was born in Massachusetts in 1895, is the inventor’s conviction that people learn through serendipity. His bewitching inventions, books, and lectures were designed to spur serendipitous thinking in others. Fuller knew, Keats writes, that “new ideas might emerge from the chance meeting of disparate information in a curious mind.” 

In his own life Fuller courted the lucky discovery. “He was an autodidact and a generalist, meaning that ideas from many realms could intermix freely in his mind,” Keats says. “Society needs generalists, who can bring essential creativity to the world’s problems.”

Fuller’s vision of an interactive world, and antipathy toward specialization, was a theme that ran through an interview I did with Keats before an audience at the AC Institute, an “art think tank” and exhibition space in New York City. Keats and I adapted our talk for the interview below.

In person, Keats is as provocative as he is in print—a quality Nautilus readers know from his essay, “Famous for Being Indianapolis: How Cities Are Like Kim Kardashian.” He is constitutionally incapable of swimming in the mainstream.

Self-segregation: how a personalized world is dividing Americans

Posted on by Brandon Klein

It’s a fact: while Americans have countless tools with which to connect with one another, we are also watching fragmentation, polarization, and de-diversification happen en masse. The American public is self-segregating, tearing at the social fabric of the country.

Many in the tech world imagined that the internet would connect people in unprecedented ways, allow for divisions to be bridged and wounds to heal – a Kumbaya dream of sorts. Today, those same dreamers find it quite unsettling to watch as the tools that were designed to bring people together are used by people to magnify divisions and undermine social solidarity.

These tools were built in a bubble, and that bubble has burst.


If you ask a college admissions officer at an elite institution to describe how they build a class of incoming freshmen, you will quickly realize that the American college system is a diversification project.

Unlike colleges in most parts of the world, the vast majority of freshmen at top-tier universities in the US live on campus with roommates who are assigned to them. Colleges approach housing assignments as an opportunity to pair diverse strangers with one another to build social ties. This makes sense given how many friendships emerge out of freshman dorms. By pairing middle-class kids with students from wealthier families, elite institutions help diversify the elites of the future.

This diversification project produces a tremendous amount of conflict. Although plenty of people adore their college roommates and relish the opportunity to get to know people from different walks of life as part of their college experience, there is an amazing amount of angst about dorm assignments and the troubles that brew once folks try to live together in close quarters. At many universities, residential life is often in the business of student therapy as students complain about their roommates and dorm-mates.

Yet just like in the military, learning how to negotiate conflict and diversity in close quarters can be tremendously effective in weaving the social fabric.

Mathematical Model Reveals the Patterns of How Innovations Arise

Posted on by Brandon Klein

Innovation is one of the driving forces in our world. The constant creation of new ideas and their transformation into technologies and products forms a powerful cornerstone for 21st century society. Indeed, many universities and institutes, along with regions such as Silicon Valley, cultivate this process.

Recommended for You

  1. Using Virtual Reality Underwater Is Weird (but Fun)

  2. AI Software Juggles Probabilities to Learn from Less Data

  3. Patent Office Hands Win in CRISPR Battle to Broad Institute

  4. Who’s Brave Enough to Be a Test Pilot for Flying Cars?

  5. As Goldman Embraces Automation, Even the Masters of the Universe Are Threatened

And yet the process of innovation is something of a mystery. A wide range of researchers have studied it, ranging from economists and anthropologists to evolutionary biologists and engineers. Their goal is to understand how innovation happens and the factors that drive it so that they can optimize conditions for future innovation.

This approach has had limited success, however. The rate at which innovations appear and disappear has been carefully measured. It follows a set of well-characterized patterns that scientists observe in many different circumstances. And yet, nobody has been able to explain how this pattern arises or why it governs innovation.

Data Approach the Helped Trump Win

Posted on by Brandon Klein

The strength of their modeling was illustrated by how well it could predict a subject's answers. Kosinski continued to work on the models incessantly: before long, he was able to evaluate a person better than the average work colleague, merely on the basis of ten Facebook "likes." Seventy "likes" were enough to outdo what a person's friends knew, 150 what their parents knew, and 300 "likes" what their partner knew. More "likes" could even surpass what a person thought they knew about themselves. On the day that Kosinski published these findings, he received two phone calls. The threat of a lawsuit and a job offer. Both from Facebook.

The Three Frameworks You Need to Create Powerful Presentations and Tell Compelling Stories

Posted on by Brandon Klein


I remember many the great TED talks I’ve watched. Sir Ken Robinson’s ,“How Schools Kill Creativity” and the story of a little girl whose genius was unrecognized in school until she was allow do dance, and ultimately became a prima-ballerina, is simply unforgettable. In most of my meetings, I remember Amy Cuddy’s “Body Language” talk for a split-second. Commanding her body language changed her career. And who can forget Steve Jobs announcement of the iPhone?

Presentations can be incredibly persuasive, and particularly in business, whether for closing candidates, pitching investors to fund raise, interviewing with the press and so on, they can materially impact the course of a startup.

But it’s really hard to tell a good story. Most of us have never studied the craft of constructing a story: how to draw the arc of the storyline, how to elicit emotions with dramatic tension, or how to entice the audience into conspiring with us in the plot.

The best book I’ve found on building compelling presentations is Nancy Duarte’ Resonate. In Resonate, Nancy explains the three different key components of memorable, effective pitches: the journey the speaker would like the audience to traverse, the framework for creating a good story, and the mechanism to bring the two together.

Design thinking origin story plus some of the people who made it all happen

Posted on by Brandon Klein

Recently design thinking has gained momentum in the business world through mentions in the Harvard Business Review and Forbes publications. As a thing, design thinking has been described as anything from “a unified framework for innovation“ to the “essential tool for simplifying and humanizing.”

Being in the news though, doesn’t make design thinking anything new. Unlike the radical outcomes it promises, design thinking as an approach has been slowly evolving since the 1960’s. Over the past fifty plus years, design thinking [or design really; let’s be honest] has appropriated many of the best tools and techniques from creative fields, social and computer sciences.

Networked leadership

Posted on by Brandon Klein

These leadership patterns can be restricting or enabling. Knowing in the brain is a set of neural connections that correspond to our patterns of communication. We don’t only connect with people; we link with topics, with information, with technology, and in the future with machine learning. The challenge is to see all the filters and linkages as communication patterns that are either keeping us stuck, running in circles or opening up new possibilities. We need new skills of dynamically connecting to new people and enriching information. This is a growing challenge for our tools. Social tools have developed tremendously on the publishing and social sharing side. The next developments need to take place on the social sense-making side.

Uzzi and Spiro 2005 - AJS - Collaboration and Creativity - The Small World Problem

Posted on by Brandon Klein

success of new musical productions in the twentieth century relies upon two key parameters: the ratio of new blood versus industry veterans, and the degree to which incumbents involve their former collaborators and serve as brokers for new combinations of production teams