Shyam's Slide Share Presentations


This article/post is from a third party website. The views expressed are that of the author. We at Capacity Building & Development may not necessarily subscribe to it completely. The relevance & applicability of the content is limited to certain geographic zones.It is not universal.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Space elevator with inflatable tower patented by Thoth Technology 08-20

Space elevator with inflatable tower patented by Thoth Technology

Space cargo would travel up tower and launch from high altitude or low-Earth orbit

The top of a space elevator platform recently patented by Thoth Technology of Pembroke, Ont. is shown in this artist's concept. The company thinks a 20-kilometre-high version could be built within 10 years. (Toth Technology/Canadian Press)

Pembroke, Ont.-based Thoth Technology has patented an inflatable tower that could carry a "space elevator" higher than passenger jets fly – and eventually into low-Earth orbit.

The patent, which has been granted in the U.K. and the U.S. so far, describes a tower with a space launch platform on top that would initially be built to a height of around 20 kilometres high, but could theoretically be built to more than 200 kilometres high, and reach into low Earth orbit.

It would be made of stacked rings of Kevlar cells inflated with hydrogen or helium to an extremely high pressure. An elevator could ride up the tower, carrying spacecraft, satellites and other goods to be launched into space – along with tourists looking for an extraordinary view.

Carrying space cargo partway with an electric elevator would drastically reduce the amount of fuel needed to send such loads into space, says Brendan (Ben) Quine, the inventor behind the patent and Thoth Technology's chief technical officer.

Right now, rockets carry extra fuel in containers called "stages" that drop off and fall into the ocean as the rocket gains altitude.

Brendan Quine

Ben Quine, inventor of the space elevator tower, is chief technology officer at Thoth Technology and an associate professor of space engineering at York University in Toronto. (Thoth Technology)

Launching from a 20-kilometre-high tower would cut the amount of fuel needed by a third and make the first stage of the rocket unnecessary, Quine said, making fully reusable spacecraft, including rockets and space planes, more practical.

Caroline Roberts, president and CEO of the company, which is also working on getting a Canadian patent, says the tower could work well with the reusable rocket technology that SpaceX is developing.

She also believe the 20-kilometre-high tower would be an attractive tourist destination.

"From the top of the tower looking out, you would be able to see the bright blue rim of the Earth and a view stretching 1,000 kilometres."

The tower could also support massive wind turbines for power generation and be an alternative to satellites as a place to attach communications equipment.

Quine has already built a seven-metre-high scale model, which he unveiled in 2009 at York University in Toronto, where he is an associate professor.

Roberts says the company hopes to build a 1.5-kilometre-high prototype within five years – a height that would make it significantly higher than the current world's tallest building, the830-metre-tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Roberts thinks a version that could reach 20 kilometres above sea level, starting from the top of a five-kilometre-high mountain, could be built with 10 years at a cost of about $5 billion US.

Burj Khalifa

Quine's invention isn't a traditional space elevator, an idea that has been kicking around since the late 19th century. The traditional concept consists of a fine cable with one end attached to weight in space, orbiting the Earth, and the other end tethered to the ground. The cable would be used as a track for attaching "climbers" carrying goods from one end to the other.

There are two challenges with that concept, Quine said:

    It needs to be built in space.

The cable would be degraded by meteor and lightning strikes, and would have to be replaced every six months.


Thoth Technology's elevator tower could be built from the ground up, and easily withstand not just lightning and meteors, but even category five hurricanes, Quine says.
In fact, the design includes gyroscopes to control the tower's movement and actively stabilize it during major storms.

Self-climbing elevator

Quine envisions several possible ways to get the elevator up the tower.
The traditional cable used to raise most elevators wouldn't be possible, since existing elevator cable materials couldn't support 1.5 kilometres worth of their own weight. Scientists have proposed making space elevator cables out of a new, ultra-strong, high-tech material called carbon nanotubes, but "you can't make cables out of carbon nanotubes that are rated for people yet," Quine says.
One possibility is a "self-climbing" elevator attached to claws that reach three-quarters of the way around the tower and wheels underneath the claws to allow the elevator to spiral around the outside.
"My preference would definitely be to have them on outside because then you'd get the view," Quine said. "The safety engineers are going to want it on the inside."
While the company works on the Canadian patent, it is interested in talking to anyone around the world who is interested in licensing its technology and building the prototype, Quine says.
View at the original source

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Changing the Change management 08-20

Changing Change Management 

Research tells us that most change efforts fail. Yet change methodologies are stuck in a pre-digital era. It’s high time to start catching up.

Change management as it is traditionally applied is outdated. We know, for example, that 70 percent of change programs fail to achieve their goals, largely due to employee resistance and lack of management support. We also know that when people are truly invested in change it is 30 percent more likely to stick.

While companies have been obsessing about how to use digital to improve their customer-facing businesses, the application of digital tools to promote and accelerate internal change has received far less scrutiny. However, applying new digital tools can make change more meaningful—and durable—both for the individuals who are experiencing it and for those who are implementing it. The advent of digital change tools comes at just the right time. Organizations today must simultaneously deliver rapid results and sustainable growth in an increasingly competitive environment. They are being forced to adapt and change to an unprecedented degree: leaders have to make decisions more quickly; managers have to react more rapidly to opportunities and threats; employees on the front line have to be more flexible and collaborative. Mastering the art of changing quickly is now a critical competitive advantage. For many organizations, a five-year strategic plan—or even a three-year one—is a thing of the past. 

Organizations that once enjoyed the luxury of time to test and roll out new initiatives must now do so in a compressed period while competing with tens or hundreds of existing (and often incomplete) initiatives. In this dynamic and fast-paced environment, competitive advantage will accrue to companies with the ability to set new priorities and implement new processes quicker than their rivals. 

The power of digital to drive change Large companies are increasingly engaged in multiple simultaneous change programs, often involving scores of people across numerous geographies. While traditional workshops and training courses have their place, they are not effective at scale and are slow moving. B2C companies have unlocked powerful digital tools to enhance the customer journey and shift consumer behavior. Wearable technology, adaptive interfaces, and integration into social 2 platforms are all areas where B2C companies have innovated to make change more personal and responsive. 

Some of these same digital tools and techniques can be applied with great effectiveness to change-management techniques within an organization. Digital dashboards and personalized messages, for example, can build faster, more effective support for new behaviors or processes in environments where management capacity to engage deeply and frequently with every employee is constrained by time and geography. 

Digitizing five areas in particular can help make internal change efforts more effective and enduring. 

1. Provide just-in-time feedback The best feedback processes are designed to offer the right information when the recipient can actually act on it. Just-in-time feedback gives recipients the opportunity to make adjustments to their behavior and to witness the effects of these adjustments on performance. Consider the experience of a beverage company experiencing sustained share losses and stagnant market growth in a highly competitive market in Africa. The challenge was to motivate 1,000-plus sales representatives to sell with greater urgency and effectiveness. A simple SMS message system was implemented to keep the widely distributed sales reps, often on the road for weeks at a time, plugged into the organization. Each rep received two to three daily SMS messages with personalized performance information, along with customer and market insights. For example, one message might offer feedback on which outlets had placed orders below target; another would alert the rep to a situation that indicated a need for increased orders, such as special events or popular brands that were trending in the area. Within days of implementing the system, cross-selling and upselling rates increased to more than 50 percent from 4 percent, and within the first year, the solution delivered a $25 million increase in gross margin, which helped to swing a 1.5 percent market-share loss into a 1 percent gain.

2. Personalize the experience Personalization is about filtering information in a way that is uniquely relevant to the user and showing each individual’s role in and contribution to a greater group goal. An easy-to-use system can be an effective motivator and engender positive peer pressure. This worked brilliantly for a rail yard looking to reduce the idle time of its engines and cars by up to 10 percent. It implemented a system that presented only the most relevant information to each worker at that moment, such as details on the status of a train under that worker’s supervision, the precise whereabouts of each of the trains in the yard, or alerts indicating which train to work on. Providing such specific and relevant information helped workers clarify priorities, increase accountability, and reduce delays.

3. Sidestep hierarchy Creating direct connections among people across the organization allows them to sidestep cumbersome hierarchal protocols and shorten the time it takes to get things done. It also fosters more direct and instant connections that allow employees to share important information, find answers quickly, and get help and advice from people they trust. In the rail-yard example, a new digital communications platform was introduced to connect relevant parties right away, bypassing middlemen and ensuring that issues get resolved quickly and efficiently. For example, if the person in charge of the rail yard has a question about the status of an incoming train, he or she need only log into the system and tap the train icon to pose the question directly to the individuals working on that train. Previously, all calls and queries had to be routed through a central source. This ability to bridge organizational divides is a core advantage in increasing agility, collaboration, and effectiveness. 

4. Build empathy, community, and shared purpose In increasingly global organizations, communities involved in change efforts are often physically distant from one another. Providing an outlet for colleagues to share and see all the information related to a task, including progress updates and informal commentary, can create an important esprit de corps. Specific tools are necessary to achieve this level of connectivity and commitment. 

Those that we have seen work well include shared dashboards, visualizations of activity across the team, “gamification” to bolster competition, and online forums where people can easily speak to one another (for example, linking a Twitter-like feed to a work flow or creating forums tied to leader boards so people can easily discuss how to move up in the rankings). This approach worked particularly well with a leading global bank aiming to reduce critical job vacancies. The sourcing team made the HR process a shared experience, showing all stakeholders the end-to-end view—dashboards identifying vacancies; hiring requisitions made and approved; candidates identified, tested, and interviewed; offers made and accepted; and hire letters issued. This transparency and openness built a shared commitment to getting results, a greater willingness to deliver on one’s own step in the process, and a greater willingness to help one another beyond functional boundaries. 

5. Demonstrate progress Organizational change is like turning a ship: the people at the front can see the change but the people at the back may not notice for a while. Digital change tools are helpful in this case to communicate progress so that people can see what is happening in real time. More sophisticated tools can also show individual contributions toward the common goal. We have seen how this type of communication makes the change feel more urgent and real, which in turn creates momentum that can help push an organization to a tipping point where a new way of doing things becomes the way things are done. 

Digital tools and platforms, if correctly applied, offer a powerful new way to accelerate and amplify the ability of an organization to change. However, let’s be clear: the tool should not drive the solution. Each company should have a clear view of the new behavior it wants to reinforce and find a digital solution to support it. The best solutions are tightly focused on a specific task and are rolled out only after successful pilots are completed. The chances of success increase when management actively encourages feedback from users and incorporates it to give them a sense of ownership in the process.

Article Reproduced from Mckinsey Digital

Saturday, August 1, 2015

“They Burned the House Down”: An Interview with Michael Lynton 08-01

“They Burned the House Down”: An Interview with Michael Lynton

Michael Lynton’s “Black Swan” materialized late last year, when someone—the U.S. government says it was North Korea—pulled off the most devastating hack in corporate history. Lynton, the CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, had to look on as highly confidential company information—salary details, private e-mails (some of them harshly critical of top Hollywood talent), unreleased movies—was leaked for all the world to see. For good measure, the hackers wiped out huge amounts of data on the company’s servers.

The attack pushed a reluctant Lynton to the forefront of U.S. foreign relations when the hackers threatened retaliation if The Interview, a Sony Pictures comedy set in North Korea that includes the assassination of Kim Jong-un, was released. Fearing reprisals, many theaters declined to screen the film, and Sony had to look for alternative distribution. President Barack Obama weighed in, chastising Sony for what he viewed as caving to Pyongyang’s pressure. The R-rated bro film had suddenly become a First Amendment icon.

How does an institution make it through all that? How does it sustain its culture, and retain its talent, as each salacious, embarrassing, top-secret bit of information spills out into public? I visited Lynton in his sumptuous office at Sony Pictures’ fabled art deco complex in Culver City, California, to talk about the experience. He seemed unguarded and optimistic, freely acknowledging the difficulties Sony faced in the weeks after the attack, yet sounding hopeful that the company had made it through intact.

Attacks like this may well be the new normal. Lynton says he can only hope that his company’s nightmare will serve as a wake-up call for other U.S. businesses. —Adi Ignatius

HBR: Let’s go back to the end of last year. Sony had just been hacked. What were your first thoughts?

Lynton: I was on my way to work. It was about 8:00 in the morning, and our CFO called to say that we had been breached. By the time I got to the office, the whole studio was off-line.

And that was just the beginning.
Yes. We received a series of threatening messages warning of a data dump of the information the hackers had stolen, and then the disclosures began. Soon we were dealing with a few things at once. We were trying to keep the business operating. We were dealing with employees who feared their information would be made public. We were dealing with the press, which was publishing some of the e-mails. And then we had the FBI coming in to do forensic analysis.

You were known as a CEO who tended to delegate. Did that change?

Yes, my role changed radically and quickly. The crisis required me to be very hands-on. We set up a command central to ensure that all decisions were made with my understanding and knowledge and approval. That basically became a full-time job, which meant everybody else had to operate the business—which they did, very successfully.

What went into setting up the command central?

The first thing was to establish a means of communication in the absence of e-mail. We were basically analog for a while. We had phones, and that was it. So we set up texting trees and then turned to our employee notification system. That meant we could centrally text our employee population, which we did frequently.

Was this just for crisis-related communications, or to sustain business as usual?

It was for business as usual, making sure people could communicate with one another about the stuff we do on a daily basis—making movies, making television shows, ensuring that everything gets distributed. Then we needed to create a temporary e-mail system. And we had to set up systems to make payroll, pay vendors, and so on. Making payroll alone was a monumental task: The finance department hauled old machines out of the basement to cut checks.

Nightmarish Days: A Timeline of the 2014 Sony Hack


NOVEMBER 25: SPE’s top two executives, Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal, first communicate with employees to commend their hard work while the company strives to resolve the system disruption.

DECEMBER 2: Lynton and Pascal e-mail employees acknowledging that a brazen attack has occurred and stating that SPE is working closely with law enforcement officials.

DECEMBER 5: Certain SPE employees receive an e-mail from someone claiming to be a GOP member, demanding that they disassociate themselves from Sony, and threatening, “If you don’t, not only you but your family will be in danger.”

DECEMBER 6: Lynton forwards an e-mail from the cybersecurity expert Kevin Mandia to all employees to explain the nature of the attack: “This was an unparalleled and well-planned crime, carried out by an organized group, for which neither SPE nor other companies could have been fully prepared.”

DECEMBER 7: The Korean Central News Agency describes the attack as a “righteous deed” but dismisses reports of North Korean involvement as a “wild rumor.”

DECEMBER 8: The GOP posts a message demanding that the studio “stop immediately showing the movie of terrorism which can break the regional peace and cause the War” and linking to sensitive information stolen from SPE.

DECEMBER 11: Pascal issues an apology after her personal e-mails are made public. Sony stages a quiet Los Angeles premiere for The Interview.

DECEMBER 14: David Boies, outside counsel for SPE, writes to journalists reminding them that the leaked material is “stolen information” and calls on media outlets not to read or publish any SPE documents in their possession.

DECEMBER 15: Lynton calls an “all hands” meeting to tell employees they “should not be worried about the future of this studio.”

DECEMBER 15–16: Two separate class-action lawsuits are filed on behalf of former and current employees alleging that Sony did not do enough to safeguard their private information.

DECEMBER 16: The GOP posts a 9/11-type threat against moviegoers who try to see The Interview when it’s released on Christmas Day. Major theater chains start to cancel screenings.

DECEMBER 17: SPE decides not to move forward with the movie’s planned nationwide theatrical release the following week. Lynton and SPE executives begin reaching out to potential digital distribution partners, including Google.

DECEMBER 19: The FBI publicly states that North Korea was behind the attack. President Obama, too, attributes the attack to North Korea. Obama calls canceling the theatrical release “a mistake” and adds, “They should have called me.”

DECEMBER 22: North Korea experiences a 10-hour internet outage; connectivity problems continue for days.

DECEMBER 23: SPE announces that The Interview will have a limited theatrical release on Christmas Day.

DECEMBER 24: The Interview is released on Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft’s Xbox Video, and a dedicated site run by the studio through Kernel and Stripe.

JANUARY 20: SPE announces that The Interview was rented or bought online and through cable, satellite, and telecom providers more than 5.8 million times, for a total of some $40 million in consumer sales, and that the movie has made $6 million in box office receipts through its limited theatrical release.

FEBRUARY 4: SPE says the hack cost $15 million through the end of 2014.

FEBRUARY 5: Pascal resigns.

It sounds like a nightmare. I can’t imagine seeing all my personal information suddenly made public.

Well, that was just part of it. The bigger challenge was that the folks who did this didn’t just steal practically everything from the house; they burned the house down. They took our data. Then they wiped stuff off our computers. And then they destroyed our servers and our computers.

So they had it, and you didn’t.

Correct. We had backup, but we couldn’t access it until we had computers, servers, and systems that would allow us to do so. So you have these very public e-mails out there, some of which are salacious. And then you have the challenge of operating the business when the networked services you’ve relied on are unavailable.

Containing the Damage

What did your employees need most from you at that point?

They needed reassurance. They were concerned that their personal information was out there and available, and we had to explain exactly what we were doing to protect them. Some were afraid that the company might go under as a result of all this.

“When you take a job in a movie studio, this is not what you think you’re signing up for.”

How did you reach out to them?

We held big town hall meetings, with 3,000 to 4,000 people at a time, to talk about what was happening. And we held small forums, where we brought together groups of 50 to 80 and listened to their concerns. I usually ate by myself in the cafeteria and made sure people could just come up and speak with me. Physical presence was very important. I left in the middle of all this to go to Japan for about a day and a half, because I had to make a board presentation on our budget. When I got back, our head of HR, George Rose, said, “Why have you been gone so long?” And I said, “George, I’ve been gone 36 hours.” Time felt very compressed, because things were happening so quickly.

Were your employees also angry?

Some were, yes. And once they heard that the U.S. government thought the hack was done by North Korea, some were angry that we were releasing The Interview. When you take a job in a movie studio, this is not what you think you’re signing up for.

Oleogustus: why we might all be getting a new taste for fat 08-01

Oleogustus: why we might all be getting a new taste for fat

Scientists say they have isolated the ability of the human palate to detect fat as a distinct taste from sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami

The taste of fat might be joining sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami as an official sense of the human palate after scientists said they found people have a distinct and basic ability to detect it.

But it’s nowhere near as delicious as it might seem, either in name or nature – they propose calling the new taste oleogustus, after Latin for fat taste, and say that in its raw form it causes people to gag.

A research team at Purdue University in the US tested lookalike mixtures with different tastes. More than half of the 28 special tasters could distinguish fatty acids from the other tastes, according to a study published in the journal Chemical Senses.

Past research showed fat had a distinct feel in the mouth, but when scientists removed texture and smell clues people could still tell the difference.

“The fatty acid part of taste is very unpleasant,” said study author Richard Mattes, a Purdue nutrition science professor. “I haven’t met anybody who likes it alone. You usually get a gag reflex.”

Stinky cheese has high levels of the fat taste and so does food that goes rancid, Mattes said. Yet we like it because it mixes well and brings out the best of other flavors, just like the bitter in coffee or chocolate.

To qualify as a basic taste, a flavour must have unique chemical signature, have specific receptors in our bodies for the taste, and people have to distinguish it from other tastes. Scientists had found the chemical signature and two specific receptors for fat, but showing that people could distinguish it was the sticky point.

The team started out with 54 people but concentrated on the results from 28 who were better tasters in general.Initially Mattes found that people couldn’t quite tell fat tastes when given a broad array of flavours. But when just given tastes that are generally unpleasant on their own — bitter, umami, sour — they could find the fat.

Robin Dando, a Cornell University food scientist who wasn’t part of the research, praised the study as “a pretty strong piece of evidence” for a basic fat taste, but didn’t like the suggested name — preferring to just call it fat. There is no single scientific authority that names senses.

34 years of Silsila 08-01

34 Years After Silsila, Amitabh Bachchan Shares Pics and Memories

A still from Silsila


It's been 34 years since actor Amitabh Bachchan's seminal Silsila released on July 29, 1981. #34YearsOfSilsila is one of the top trends on Twitter today.

Silsila, a cinematic examination of an extra-marital affair, was made more remarkable by director Yash Chopra's casting coup - he signed Amitabh Bachchan, his wife Jaya and actress Rekha in the roles that formed the three angles of the film's love triangle, one which appeared to mirror a rumoured real life triangle involving the three actors.

Mr Bachchan, now 72, posted a few images on Facebook:

On his official blog, the actor recalled his memories of Silsila:

"How also can one remove from memory the umteenth years that have transpired on the release of some of the films of then- Silsila 34 years."

On Twitter, Mr Bachchan retweeted pictures of him filming Silsila. This image features him with his co-star Rekha, while shooting Yeh Kahan Aa Gaye Hum, which is one of the most memorable tracks from the film:

Here, the Deewar actor is pictured with Mr Chopra, Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia and Shivkumar Sharma, the composers of Silsila's classic melodies:


Silsila was the last film that Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha made together. The actress had a cameo in R Balki's Shamitabh this year, which starred Mr Bachchan, but the former co-stars had no scenes together.

Mr Bachchan in serious conversation with Mr Chopra on the sets of Silsila:

View at the original source