Happiness Ignites Innovation

Happiness can be a grand challenge for all of us, especially in an culture where ageism is very real.

According to Dictionary.com ageism is a noun meaning:

  1. discrimination against persons of a certain age group.
  2. a tendency to regard older persons as debilitated, unworthy of attention, or unsuitable for employment.

I spoke about hope and happiness at the 2015 Rural Futures Conference, and I used Project Have Hope as a reference to illustrate my point.  In Uganda, women of all ages are making beautiful pieces of jewelry out of paper.  I found the necklace I am wearing in the photo when visiting the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN.  These fantastic women are putting their entrepreneurial skills to work!  Not only are there actions empowering women in the present, they are fostering success for future generations.  They are empowering themselves and their families.  The women in Uganda are leaders.

Project Have Hope was started by another female leader, Karen Sparacio, who is an entrepreneurial photojournalist.  Karen decided to give back by taking action.  You can find out more about Karen and her work by visiting photosbykisp.com.

Do I think agesim is real?  Yes.  Do I think we can do something about it?  Absolutely!  Did I pause before posting the page out of the conference proceedings?  Yes. Why?  Because it is real, and I can visibly see that I am getting older.  It’s not an easy thing, especially in a culture that values youth and devalues age.  But, I also know that I need to stay positive, practice gratitude and keep moving!  I have learned a lot through the years, including the fact that it takes a village to do so many things, ranging from raising children to growing businesses and communities.  At the Rural Futures Institute, we are committed to changing the rural conversation to one of challenge to one of opportunity.  We also want to connect people and communities to opportunities!  This conversation must include women of all ages, including those that are older than 40.

Happiness ignites innovation.  Check out the Project Have Hope video below and then think about the challenges you typically hear about aging.  Look the extraordinary  attitudes the women in the Acholi Quarter of Uganda have and how much action they are taking because they have hope.

We just celebrated the 4th of July in the United States, which serves as a reminder that we are free to choose our attitudes and actions.   You are free to decide how you live your life at any age and any stage.  So, let me know.  What inspired, hopeful actions are you taking?

Go Wild with Hope, Happiness and Inspired Action!

-Dr. Connie

 

Project Have Hope – Acholi Quarter, Uganda from Katie Kaizer on Vimeo.

 

 

 

 

The Future of Women & Megatrend 3: The Decentralized Global Marketplace

Business is in the age of the “Empowered Consumer” who has a buffet of buying choices. Empowered consumers decide how they want to purchase goods and services. Big Data [collecting information (data) from multiple sources to detect trends, identify patterns and make decisions] is one tool that can be used to develop marketing campaigns, study human behaviors and determine patterns. It is also being used to examine and redesign various areas of the consumer experience.

Entrepreneurs and leaders can use Big Data to capitalize on consumer patterns and demands while creating more customized consumer experiences. Data is collected with every click, and some metrics can be used almost immediately. In 2014, Black Friday was November 28. Data from IBM’s U.S. Retail Black Friday Report was available almost immediately and was published on December 2, 2014. According to IBM, online Black Friday sales grew by 9.5 percent from 2013 to 2014. Retail ecommerce (orders via computer) and mcommerce (orders via mobile device) are predicted to increase by double-digit margins well into 2018 (eMarketer, 2014). Data demonstrates the continued growth of the digital marketplace, and rural businesses must find ways to capitalize on these trends.

The world is fast-becoming an “Add to Cart” society for anything and everything. Individuals are creating local, national and global communities of meaning and change that are self-selected and self-formed. Many of these same individuals are transforming commerce and communities in new and innovative ways.   The definition of community is not limited to a physical location. Technology, combined with the need for meaning, self-expression and self-actualization, has created an increasingly decentralized marketplace.

People are choosing how to meet virtually, and when, where and whether or not to meet face-to-face. They are also connecting around common causes. Commerce, along with so many other areas of life, is becoming increasingly decentralized. Savvy consumers seek and create value they crave to transform their lives. Technology enables the delivery of information, goods and services anytime, anywhere, and from anyone in a way that makes sense while adding value to the lives of consumers.

For example, companies like Stitch Fix (http://www.StitchFix.com) initially get to know their customers with a personal style quiz and continue to gather information about the clientele every month by sending them personalized clothing selections. Orders are delivered to clients and customers pay only for what they keep. Stitch Fix tracks the feedback on likes and dislikes after every shipment and learns how to better serve its customers with the data it continuously collects.

Consumer demands are shaping the marketplace and future trends. Empowered consumers want unique experiences that add value to their lives. Future-focused leaders and entrepreneurs who ask and answer not, “What is the lifetime value of a customer?” but rather, “What value can we add to a lifetime?” will be in a better position to compete in the increasingly decentralized marketplace.

Coaching Tips for Female Entrepreneurs and Leaders:

  • Connect and work together online and offline. Build your support network to generate ideas and get help growing your business.  The most successful entrepreneurs and leaders help one another.  I see this all of the time with authors too!  They promote one another while helping each other grow their businesses and ideas.
  • Get rid of assumptions and use data to make decisions. Take a few ideas from places having success in the marketplace, such as Stitch Fix.

Future-Focused Entrepreneurs and Leaders:  

Take Action with Cooperation, Creativity and Purpose

Interestingly enough, the hottest jobs at Facebook require a “human touch.” Why? Facebook is looking for people who can close sales because its revenue relies heavily on ads (Anders, 2014). Perhaps the most future-focused entrepreneurial leaders are blending “high human touch” with “high-tech” in new and interesting ways that holistically add value to the lives of others.

Future-focused, entrepreneurial leaders can use megatrends and technology to change the game of life. One person cannot do it alone in a world that continues to change at an increasingly rapid pace; rather, rural entrepreneurs should innovate in communities with a spirit of cooperation, creativity, and purpose. Together, with a common purpose, female entrepreneurs and leaders can examine megatrends, utilize emerging technologies, and monitor analytics while creating meaningful experiences and innovating rural businesses in ways not yet imagined.

Go Wild with the Decentralized Global Marketplace!   Watch the video below for more details on how you can innovate your companies and communities with cooperation, creating and purpose!

-Dr. Connie

PS:  Share your thoughts, ideas and actions with the Ask Dr. Connie community.  We would love to hear from you!

 

Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

 

It has been a full week!  One of the big events:  Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.

The Tweet by Melissa Stewart connected me to the story behind Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.  Wendy Diamond, Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Founder and CEO, started Women’s Entrepreneurship Day with great passion and purpose. She is giving women a global voice.  To learn more, read the article published in Fortune about Wendy Diamond:

 

Remember to support women owned businesses when holiday shopping.  Let’s keep the movement going!

Let our team at AskDrConnie know what women-owned businesses you are supporting this holiday season and throughout the year in the comment area below.

Go Wild with Women’s Entrepreneurship!

-Dr. Connie