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I have received some feedback that said that behavioral economics and process mapping did not have a link that impacted on the low and lower middle income members of the community and their efforts to grow assets nor maintain asset levels in retirement years.
This feedback concerned the issue whether their existed a need to integrate lifestyle planning with financial planning. The argument was that the two are two separate issues as lifestyle planning was about values and what clients thought were important in their lives and what they hoped to achieve, particularly in retirement and financial planning was about funding. However, this appears to ignore the fact that people engaged at an operational level and those that work with them are busily discussing how they can better help those low and lower moderate income members of society by managing investment risk better.
This situation has arisen because policy makers have failed to see the link between behavioral economics and process mapping and the need for an innovation forum. In short, congratulations CFED! The paradigm shift has started.
An important event has happened at the 2010 Assets Learning Conference, the question has been asked as to why people act against their own best financial interests. Critical work is being carried out in applying behavioral sciences to encourage less advantage and lower middle income people to build assets. It is only a short journey to ask the question as to whether the process mapping of financial services providers aligns with the goal of encouraging people to build assets.
Around the world financial planners and other financial service providers are participating in professional development training that is looking at similar subjects such as:
-the need to move to Lifestyle Planning as well as Financial Planning.
-revisiting portfolio construction to better manage investment risk
-changes in investor behavior post the Global Financial Crisis
-what is Fiduciary duty and what is its impact
-whether insurance risk management products shouldn’t have minimum opt out standards for public offer retirement savings products
There is an opportunity here for CFED not only to help change the process of providing services to clients so that they can better understand the importance of building assets, but protect people at they do so during their lifetime. This is not only in the United States, but throughout the world.
Throughout the world the aging populations of many western countries is starting to have severe impact on economies as the baby boomer generation start to come to grips with what retirement will mean to their lifestyle. The Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) is leading the world with its 2010 assets Learning conference.
Innovation and The United States 2010 Assets Learning Conference
The Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) is a nonprofit organization that has a mission of expanding economic opportunities for those that are low and moderate income communities and families. CFED is based in Washington DC. The 2010 Assets and Learning Conference will be held on September 22-24. The website can be accessed here ( http://cfed.org/knowledge_center/events/alc2010/).
The organization uses a Think-Do-Invest approach, which consists of:
Think: The organization explores various practices and ideas that may in fact help communities and families have a better opportunity to engage in the larger economy in which they live. The
ideas help to bridge the gaps that currently exist economically.
Do: Once the organization has the ideas and practices, they then seek out funding collaborators as well as those that make the policies in order to carry out and demonstrate the program throughout the nation. Demonstrating is the best way to show exactly what the organization is seeking to accomplish.
Invest: The organization then seeks out investors as well as those that are advocates for policies in order to bring about change on a larger scale.
What is the role of CFED?
The role of CFED is to make changes with policy makers so that within the near future every American will have the same opportunity from birth regardless of economic status.
The main reasons that the CFED has organized the 2010 Assets Learning Conference
The Assets Learning Conference is a way to bring many different people together at the same time in order to figure out ways in which to initiate the change needed to the economy.
• The Assets Learning Conference is where the group plans the 2010 economy focused on saving and investing in the future.
• To bring nationally and international government, researchers, policy makers, business leaders, and entrepreneurs together to lay the groundwork for expanding the economy as well as plan paths to recovery.
• The group is having its first innovation marketplace where they will have on display exhibits.
• The Assets Learning Conference will have approximately 60 sessions back to back demonstrating research, innovations, homeownership, children’s savings programs and many more.
• With the economic crisis and government changes, the conference is way for everyone to put their goals into action and map out the next strategies.
Some main reasons for the First-Ever Innovation Marketplace
The Innovation Marketplace
• A way to bring in-person and virtual leadership together for the first time.
• An opportunity to show innovative ideas and how these can help the next generation’s economically.
• The marketplace will present products that are safer for the environment and which can help the next generation.
• The marketplace brings ideas on the national and global level that allows interaction among participants at the conference.
• The web innovation Marketplace will also be revealed and it allows the connection of innovators and leaders to come together regardless of their locality.
How do you access the Innovation Marketplace?
The Innovation Marketplace is part of the 2010 Assets Learning Conference, so in order to gain access to the Marketplace; you will need to register for the conference.
Why consumers and innovators should participate either in person or online
• It is a way that leaders can truly envision economic change for the better by seeing the innovations underway.
• The Marketplace is a way of demonstrating ways to create economic development in an environmentally friendly way. This way the economy grows without damaging the planet.
• It is an opportunity to meet several different people from all over the world that are like-minded and wish to advance the economy for the next generation.
• Innovations, entrepreneurs, and leaders can all come together either in-person or over the internet virtual marketplace and share and demonstrate ideas that will only benefit future generations.
• By bringing together innovators and leaders together, it is a way to expand and grow the economy for every American.
The Policy Agenda of CFED
Working at the U.S. Federal and State levels the CFED focuses on five issue areas:
• Financial Assets and Income – asset ownership and financial security are interconnected because they enable people to plan for the future.
• Business and Jobs – earning an income from business or wage employment funds the plans and wealth creation.
• Housing and homeownership – owning a home is the chief asset of many households while affordable rental can be a step along the way to achieving homeownership for many.
• Education – education is an asset that produces skills and knowledge resulting in income and asset building for the individual and the country.
• Health Care – access to quality health care is a necessary foundation to fitness to be able to earn income and build assets.
CFED and the Assets Learning Conference is about building the future by creating the positive innovation environment that will generate the ideas that makes the Think-Do-Invest approach work. The Global Financial Crisis has brought to the fore the need for innovation that is easily understood and will create hope for the future by building assets.
Have you or your business been a victim of internet fraud in 2008?According to the 2008 Annual Report of the United States Internet Fraud Complaint Centre there was a 33% increase in fraud complaints. All around the world internet crime is on the rise and the Global Financial Crisis will see individuals under increasing pressure. If you were a victim did you report it?
In you are in the United States the link to lodge a complaint is here : http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx
If you a victim it is not much comfort to know that this is a world wide trend that is growing annually. Those that are committing the frauds are very innovative in the scams that they dream up. Here are a few that have arisen recently:
• Swine flu scams
• SMS windfall
• Credit card scam targeting small businesses
• Government stimulus package scams
• Bushfire appeal scams
• Your computer is infected scams
• Inheritance scam
Cyber fraud in small business
Cyber fraud will rise as employees come under financial pressure and if you are a small business owner be sure you understand the risk management techniques
This is what the Amazon editorial reviewers said on the top 5 star book on the subject:
INCREASE THE LIFE SPAN OF YOUR SMALL BUSINESS
The average small business has a life span of about five years, and inadequate internal controls are the main cause of failure. Cyber fraud, the leading culprit today in internal criminal activity, occurs when advanced technologies are used to steal money or property. The majority of such crimes occur in-house, and the lack of sufficient capital and technological resources committed to protecting company assets makes small businesses especially vulnerable. Awareness of the dangers of internal theft by computer, illegal access to information systems, credit card fraud, and Internet scams is integral–especially as auditors, business owners, and managers are increasingly held responsible for negligence.
Providing critical guidance on what auditors and businesses can do to better prevent and detect the growing number of occurrences of cyber fraud, the information in this one-of-a-kind manual:
• Protects outside auditors by supplying the knowledge to ensure they meet their responsibilities
• Protects small business owners by providing them with the necessary tools to meet due diligence requirements in cyber fraud prevention
• Focuses on the key areas of vulnerability
Take the first step in protecting your company–and your future–with Avoiding Cyber Fraud in Small Businesses, the only book committed to helping you keep your small business free of computer crime.
From the Inside Flap
As a businessperson in the twenty-first century, you have become a member of Cyberland. Whether you were an early technology enthusiast or a stickler for the tried and true, your company is now computerized, making it both more effective–and more vulnerable. In addition to all of your previous responsibilities, you now have another concern–cybercrime. And it is, indeed, your concern, as the major causes of the increase in this type of crime are employees who understand computers and security–and owners and managers who don’t.
Avoiding Cyber Fraud in Small Businesses is the first book designed to empower auditors, managers, and small business owners–the ones who are held accountable–with the knowledge required to prevent and detect criminal activity within their organizations. Provided here is the guidance and information you need to learn how to:
• Be aware of the dangers of internal theft by computer, illegal access to information systems, credit card fraud, and Internet scams
• Ensure that adequate prevention and detection controls are in place
• Locate and properly utilize the appropriate outside advice and expertise
• Understand your company’s legal obligation to protect assets
Including an overview of the various laws covering computer crime, intellectual property, workplace and employee problems, tort law, and compliance programs,Avoiding Cyber Fraud in Small Businesses will serve as an indispensable weapon against the most prevalent internal problem facing small businesses today.
I have placed myself on a Scam Alert email database and I will complete a blog post on any new innovative internet frauds as they are reported
Freelancing, innovation and unemployment for those 50+
Many Americans and other people around the world are finding that they are unemployed for the first time in their lives and many of them are 50+. Barbara Basler in the AARP Bulletin of 1 May 2009 wrote an article about stress and unemployment for those in their last ten years of their normal working lives. It is worth checking the AARP website to read the article.
Many of these unemployed people will have skills that they have accumulated over a lifetime of work. In many cases these skills are transferable to take on tasks on a freelance basis. It takes some time to recover from being suddenly made unemployed as it can be a deep psychological shock… Here are some books that might help you recover and look to the future:
Freelancing, web widgets and innovationThe word widget will conjure up many meanings in your mind and can lead to some confusion if you were to follow a dictionary definition. However, if you were to go to Wikipedia for clarification this is what it says:
Widgets often take the form of on-screen tools (clocks, event countdowns, auction-tickers, stock market tickers, flight arrival information, daily weather etc).
Usage and criticism
Applications can be integrated within a third party website by the placement of a small snippet of code. The code brings in ‘live’ content – advertisements, links, images – from a third party site without the web site owner having to update or control.
End users can utilize Web Widgets to enhance a number of web-based hosts, or drop targets. Categories of drop targets include social networks, blogs, wikis and personal homepages. Although end users primarily use Web Widgets to enhance their personal web experiences, or the web experiences of visitors to their personal sites, corporations can potentially use Web Widgets to improve their web sites using syndicated content and functionality from third party providers.
The use of web widgets has been increasingly proposed as a marketing channel that could replace the less effective targeted banner ads and take advantage of the viral distribution in social networks. This usage has been criticized as ineffective  on the basis that users of a social space are not mainly in a mindset receptive to information exposition but one of content creation.
 Security considerations
As any program code, widgets can be used for malicious purposes. One example is the Facebook “Secret Crush” widget, reported in early 2008 by Fortinet as luring users to install Zango adware.
 Widget management systems
Main article: Widget engine
Widget management systems offer a method of managing widgets that works on any web page, such as a blog or social networking home page. Many blog systems come with built in widget management systems as plug-ins. Users can obtain widgets and other widget management tools from various widget companies.
Here is an example of a widget in operation that relates to freelancing and the news from Elance.com:
Support is building for the freelance community that are aged over 50 and starting out on a second (?) career caused by an unexpected redunancy.
Around the world there are many senior workers being unexpectedly made redundant and needing to reinvent themselves and their retirement. In fact, there has been a number of books written about it Reinventing Retirement: 389 Bright Ideas About Family, Friends, Health, What to Do, and Where to Live
Doing more with less during a recession
Small business owners are often the hardest hit during an economic downturn and the question is how to survive until the recovery begins. This often requires examining every line of expenditure, but at the same time not being blinded to new opportunities. Where do you find guidance as to what you should give priority to?
Who is your accounting software provider and what are they doing to support you?It may seem strange that an accounting software provider would actually go out of their way to help clients when they would be under pressure themselves. Yet that is what is happening. It may be that the provider has an innovative approach to the market place and is proactive in looking for opportunities to support its clients. It is worth a telephone call to ask them and if they haven’t commenced a support program yet, ask them where you can get support.
Look for a Business Resource Centre to support you with ideas
I use MYOB for my accounting software and they have recently started myBRC
(Business Resource Centre) which is aimed at helping small business owners cope with the issues that the recession has brought to their business.
They have done research on how they can best support their clients who use their software. Needless, to say I am very impressed with my software supplier. They have said in their introduction to the service that they recognize that their clients “are time poor and money poor and struggle to find good advisors and source of information to help them make the right decision.”
It is good to see that MYOB should be responding in an innovative manner to the recession to help its clients and to build a sense of community over the internet. I hope that your accounting software provider is responding in a similar way
“The Dawn of the E-Lance Economy”
The above heading was the title of an article that was published in the Harvard Business Review in May 1998. The main thrust of the article was that the use of the personal computer and the internet was changing the basis of how work can be completed. Now, this has happened and there is an actual outsourcing company called Elance. I have used it myself and it works very successfully. Purchasers and suppliers can be located in different countries anywhere in the world. This initially must have presented some management challenges, but these were overcome by working with leading industries for channel distribution, system integration and value added solutions and technology.
There are of course other outsourcing companies other than Elance, but this is the one that I have used. The operations of Elance can be reviewed at http://www.elance.com.
“Get jobs done. Hire, manage, pay experts online”
Ten years ago if you had said to me that one day I would be listing a job for completion on the internet, defining the performance benchmarks, reviewing and paying the supplier on completion totally online I would have laughed at you. I think nothing of it nowdays. I checked the Elance website today and there are 25,018 new jobs posted, 83,230 experts active and the earnings for work done since 2005 is $160,759,740. This is innovation at work throughout the world.
Amazon Product Description
Revised for 2009 and beyond, The Black Book of Outsourcing is a comprehensive guide and directory for the evolving field of outsourcing, including expert advice on how to operate an outsourcing program. Valuable governance checklists, offshoring insights, best practices and one-of-kind resources are featured in this bible of the outsourcing industry. First published in 2005, this topical, bestselling manual explores the evolution of both outsourcing buyers and suppliers.
Outsourcing and research gurus Douglas Brown and Scott Wilson chart a course of advice for business leaders charged with managing sourcing initiatives, present a wealth of opportunities for job seekers, and offer insights for entrepreneurial thinkers and investors worldwide
Can outsourcing help employers and employees during hard times?When a business owner or manager under financial pressure sits down to consider his options and to make decisions high on his list of options will be to hire freelance workers to complete critical work which he longer has the resources to do. Once the freelancer’s work is completed he no longer has the responsibility or cost involved in maintaining their employment. This will help reduce the operational costs of running the business while still completing essential work.
From the redundant employee’s point of view where they have the skills that can be offered on a freelance basis this can help bridge the gap until they can find employment. This means that they can bid for jobs throughout the world without their sphere of expertise. This approach applies to a host of graphic designers, programmers, web designers, writers, freelance consultants and other professionals.
Amazon Product Description
Thinking about becoming your own boss and embarking on the wonderful and rewarding journey of freelancing? The Principles of Successful Freelancing is for you. In this easy-to follow guide you’ll learn what’s important in transforming your skills into a booming freelance business.
This book leads you through the entire process, from getting started, through to winning and keeping loyal clients. Running a successful freelance business is easy, and with the information in this book, you’ll confidently turn your freelancing dream into a profitable reality.
• Learn how to make a smooth transition into freelancing
• Understand how to effectively manage your money
• Ensure you spend your time on the right activities
• Discover why a work/life balance is important
• Learn how your network can support you and your business
• Overcome your fear of selling
• And much more …
The 12 Principles Of Successful Freelancing
1. Get Organized
Keep your workspace tidy and plan ahead (short- and long-term).
2. Control Stress
Remain calm and work through issues to avoid early burnout..
Spend quality time researching your proposed business-it’s more than a five minute web surf.
4. Be Passionate
Love your work! You should enjoy what you do for a living.
Save for a rainy day rather than spend every cent as it comes in.
6. Value your Health
Bad health stops you from working. Take time to exercise and maintain a nutritious diet.
7. Embrace Selling
Enjoy the sales challenge-it’s easier than you think!
8. Satisfy Customers
Don’t do average work-exceed their expectations and make them need you.
9. Grow Your Network
Value family and friends’ support, and meet new people all the time.
10. Maintain Cashflow
It’s what is in the bank that counts, not what you are billing-understand the difference.
11. Continually Learn
Keep acquiring new skills and knowledge, every week. Let it slip and you could be left behind.
12. Achieve a Work/Life Balance
Your life should be more than work-maintain a good balance for health and success.
About the Author
Miles Burke has been involved in designing and developing websites since 1994. In 2002 Miles became the Managing Director of Bam Creative, his design studio located Western Australia. He serves as Chairperson of the Australian Web Industry Association, and was a winner of the “2007 Top 40 under 40” award by Business News.
Outsourcing and freelancing will become a critical means of survival for business owners, managers and redundant employees over the next few years as the world works its way through this recession.
Innovation in Customer Service does not Recognize Recessions
There is an important point to note about good ideas and innovation – it does not matter whether it is thought of in a boom or a recession! A good idea to improve customer service is always welcome.
SMS Prescription Reminder Service
There are not many baby boomers who have not taken a medical prescription in their lives and there are many people who are taking ongoing medication. Remembering to have your prescription filled is a significant issue for many people.
I was pleasantly surprised on my last trip to the chemist when I handed my prescription in I was told that the wait would be half an hour as the chemists were under pressure, but would I like to use their new SMS Prescription Reminder Service.
This is what the service document offered:
FREE SMS PRESCRIPTION REMINDER SERVICE.
Tired of waiting for your prescription to be dispensed?
Always forgetting to get your next repeat filled before your current supply runs out?
Lost any scripts lately?
We can now fix all these common problems with our new FREE SMS PRESCRIPTION REMINDER SERVICE.
Simply sign up for this free service, leave your prescription repeats with us and when you’re next dispensing is due we will SMS you a reminder.
When you reply to our SMS we will prepare your script and have it waiting for you to collect.
What does this service mean for the customer and the supplier?It is clear what this service supplies to the customer, but it also allows the supplier to do the work in down time for their employees. It effectively manages the
employees’ time better and spreads the workload away from peaks and troughs.
Innovation and customer service can clearly be a win /win as in this situation. This principle applies to many customer service interactions and I will look out for other opportunities to comment on. This change could easily have been as a result of a business process improvement suggestion put forward by an employee to a business Innovation Program.
Who is AARP?
Before I can answer the Leadership question it is important to understand who the AARP organization is and who they represent.
AARP was formerly know as the American Association of Retired Persons, but changed its name to AARP to better reflect its mission statement as “a non partisan membership organization for people age 50 and over. AARP is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all as we age. We lead positive social change and deliver value to members through information, advocacy and service.”
With over 40 million members AARP is one of the leading lobby groups for positive change in the United States and the world.
What are AARP activities?
AARP lobbies strongly on issues that affect the aging population. The lobbying efforts are aimed at both state and national governments, but it does not support or oppose any political parties or candidates.
AARP Services was founded in 1999 and provides a wide range of services and products to its members and has established other linked organizations that provide endorsed financial products. The full range of services provided can be reviewed at their website http://www.aarp.org. or an amalgamation of writers’ views at Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AARP.
Communications in its many forms features strongly in AARP services, such as:
• AARP The Magazine
• AARP Bulletin
• Segunda Juventud
• Live and Learn
• AARP radio and television programs
• AARP lifestyle program featuring experts in special fields
• Divided we Fail campaign
• Future Champions campaign
AARP’s Thought Leadership
You cannot help, but admire the non partisan leadership of AARP with their Divided We Fail and Future Champions Campaigns as they seek to engage the American public at all levels in the need for reform. Wikipedia provided an overview at: Divided We Fail. I quote the following sections:
Divided We Fail
In early 2007 AARP launched “Divided We Fail,” designed to address health care and long-term financial security. The initiative was launched with Business Roundtable and the Service Employees International Union, and encompasses advertising in national outlets and in the primary states, online activities, and traditional grassroots work, in order to engage the public, business and elected officials in the debate, and to encourage public leaders to offer solutions, according to the AARP. Nancy LeaMond, executive officer for social impact, said, “We want to really get to these candidates and ask for action, answers and accountability on these questions.”
In November 2007, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) joined the Divided We Fail leadership. 
The initiative uses an “elephonkey” mixed animal as its symbol, with the head and forelegs of the Republican elephant and the ears, hindquarters, and tail of the kicking Democratic donkey. “Champ” quickly became a recognizable symbol of the Divided We Fail initiative, fostered in part by television commercials that ran across the country. In addition, Divided We Fail Florida incorporated the initiative’s mascot into an interactive educational vehicle, dubbed the “Champmobile,” which traveled across the state and throughout the United States encouraging voters to “Let your voice be heard!”
 Future Champions
In February 2007, AARP announced the launch of a new advertising campaign designed to address issues that will impact future generations and showcase the AARP brand. The campaign, called “Future Champions,” features children talking about the state of healthcare and financial security. The multigenerational focus is designed to reinforce the AARP’s Divided We Fail coalition.
AARP has a global view of the reforms needed to help those over age 50 with the many global challenges ahead. It is leading the world in many areas. An example of this is: “On January 8-9, 2009 AARP and the Council for the Third Age gathered more than 400 opinion leaders from 16 countries for the Reinventing Retirement Asia” conference in Singapore. Many of the critical issues for the 50+ were discussed.
AARP International has recognized that it is not only words that will help change the approach to employment for the 50+, but it has introduced awards to recognize employers who have demonstrated innovative workforce or human resources practices for the 50+ employees. For 2009 the award is the AARP International Innovative Employer Awards. Applications can be made online.
It is worth visiting the website of AARP International at http://www.aarpinternational.org/ to peruse the reports that are available to download
It is clear for anyone reading the websites detailing the information, products and services that AARP has a clear vision of what the organization wants to achieve in supporting its 50+ members. I believe that it will change the future because it is reinventing retirement for the baby boomers and future generations of not only American retirees, but those of other countries who will follow its lead through AARP International
The critical issues that the American people 50+ are in many respects universal in nature and if AARP manages to challenge and change the vested interests that produce many of the attitudes, products, policies and services this will lead to change world wide.