13 Sites for Human Interest, Business, Innovation and Emerging News

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How are you keeping your company relevant in the midst of economic and social change? That’s not a theoretical question; in fact, it should be a component of your strategic plan.

Staying relevant takes observation, insight, and action.  It requires you to look beyond the issues that impact this month’s billings.  Ironically, it demands that you stay in the present, otherwise you may overlook the threats your customers face today.

Relevancy hangs out at the intersection of today’s problems and tomorrow’s opportunities.  Elite communicators know how to place your company right in the middle.

Here are 13 websites that I rely on for fresh perspectives, ideas, and emerging news.  Feel free to share your opinions of establishing relevancy and suggest other places that readers can look for inspiration.

Reuters AlertNet

News, information, and analysis for everyone interested in emergency relief. Run by Reuters Foundation.

Reuters AlertNet

Reuters AlertNet

EurekAlert.org

Searchable database of science-related press releases from research institutions, universities, government agencies and corporations. Calendar, resources and links. From the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

EurekAlert! - Breaking Science News

EurekAlert! - Breaking Science News

The Economist

Authoritative weekly newspaper from the U.K. focusing on international politics and business news and opinion.

The Economist

The Economist

Benton.org

Works with other groups such as National Urban League, AOL, National Endowment for the Arts to help provide solutions for bridging the digital divide. Links to various foundations including Ford, Kellogg. Offers free on-line versions of reports dealing with technology and access.

Benton Foundation

Benton Foundation

Gapminder.org

Non-profit venture promoting sustainable global development and achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals by increased use and understanding of stats and other data about social, economic and environmental development.

Gapminder.org

Gapminder.org

Journalism.org

An initiative by journalists to clarify and raise the standards of American journalism through research and education. (Project for Excellence in Journalism)

Journalism.org

Journalism.org

Pew Global Attitudes

Unique, comprehensive, internationally comparable series of surveys that encompasses the current state of the world and important issues of the day.

Pew Global Attitudes Project

Pew Global Attitudes Project

Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

Independent, non-partisan public opinion research organization that studies attitudes toward politics, the press and public policy issues. One of seven projects that make up the Pew Research Center.

Pew Research

Pew Research

Gallup

Statistics, news and insights across all (national and global) aspects of management, economics, psychology, and sociology.

Gallup.com

Gallup.com

Springwise.com

News portal whose content is fed by a network of 8,000 spotters who scan the globe for new business ideas and inspiration for entrepreneurial minds.

Springwise.com

Springwise.com

Trendwatching.com

Online content from the Amsterdam-based independent trend firm (by the same name). Global round-up of the most promising consumer trends, insights and related hands-on business ideas.

Trendwatching.com

Trendwatching.com

Salon.com

Original reporting and commentary on news and politics, business and entertainment, culture, and life.

Salon.com

Salon.com

Ted.com

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is an invitation-only event where the world’s leading thinkers and doers gather to find inspiration.

TED

TED

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Bad Things Happen When You Ignore the Competition

Fade in…

A 20-something sales person and his manager sit across from Joan, a new prospect who holds the decision-making and spending power at her Fortune 1000 company.  Joan agreed to the meeting at the request of a colleague who knows the sales manager.

Unbeknownst to the sales duo, Joan has just finished a crisp, pointed conversation with a vendor that had screwed up for the last time. Her pain, though, is the sales guys’ lucky break. The vendor is a competitor.

Despite being overbooked and juiced on anger, Joan offers her full attention to her visitors.  Fifteen minutes into their slide deck, Joan cuts to the chase and asks the question that turns their golden opportunity into a burnt crisp: “Who’s your competition?”she asks.

She catches that classic flash of panic in the rep’s eyes — you know the kind…when the prospect asks a question that is to be answered with a well-rehearsed, canned response. To his relief (and their opportunity’s demise), the sales manager swoops in with this response:

Great question, and I’m glad you asked. We don’t have any direct competitors. In fact, we believe that we don’t have any true competition. What we do and how we do it is distinct from anyone out there.”

Ignoramous Interruptus.

You know where I’m going with this, right? Joan had lobbed the proverbial slow pitch, and the sales manager not only struck out but swung like a rookie.  He insulted an executive-level prospect by wasting her time with his answer. Continue reading

A Mishmash of Little Known Websites (You Help Fund)

Over the weekend, I journeyed through cyberspace to look at the programs that are funded with U.S. tax payer dollars. Let’s just say there aren’t enough weekends in my lifetime to get through that list. I felt like Alice in Wonderland with my never-ending twists and turns and hyperlinks.

My mission revealed a dizzying (and sometimes disappointing) discovery of resources and sites that I’d never heard of.  Here are some of them which held my attention (in no particular order): Continue reading