for W3c validation
Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive.
Empowering Employees to Build Value in a Digital World
Anne says: The digital workplace is a complex environment to navigate, design and sustain. This week I’m featuring a series of short videos from a long-term friend of the Ripple Effect Group, MIT CISR Researcher, Dr. Kristine Dery.
Kristine has been researching employee experience in the digital workplace and shares the insights into her research in this short video series. In the first video, she outlines the key concepts, then moves into providing examples through one of the research case studies based on DBS Bank in Singapore. The fourth and final video reiterates the six key elements the research has uncovered.
There are some powerful messages in Kristine’s work and for those who are in the process of introducing, enhancing or even mature digital workplace practices, this research will provide valuable insights.
Video #1: Empowering Employees to Build Value in a Digital World: Overview
Video #2: Empowering Employees to Build Value in a Digital World: Case Study—DBS Digital Capabilities
Video #3: Empowering Employees to Build Value in a Digital World: Case Study—DBS Responsive Leadership
Video #4: Empowering Employees to Build Value in a Digital World: Application
3D printed guns are now legal… What’s next?
“With nothing but the Ghost Gunner, an internet connection, and some raw materials, anyone, anywhere can make an unmarked, untraceable gun in their home or garage.”
Nat says: What could possibly go wrong? With news breaking this past week that the company Defense Distributed (DD) won their case against the US Department of State; online blueprints are now able to be officially released so that people can print their own gun from the comfort of their home. According to one article, the State Department had argued in the legal case that such blueprints should be considered as ‘exports’, which would make their distribution illegal. The counter-argument from Defense Distributed was all about the second amendment (the right to bear arms, which reminds me of this segment from Family Guy), along with them counter-suing the State Department for encroaching their right to free speech. Free speech, in the 3D gun debate, has been discussed for several years (including when the blueprints first emerged online ‘illegally’); the idea being that any attempt to block the sharing of these blueprints — a form of printed communication — also goes against the first amendment right in addition to the second — hence why DD won their case.
Along with pirated movies and child pornography, the shared article claims that such gun files will now join the ranks of those files that become impossible to find online in the dark circles of the web — the idea being that once something is available online, it is distributed and marketed in numerous and untraceable ways. What this means is that anyone in the world can, theoretically, print their own gun, and we won’t know who is doing so, or where this is taking place. The man behind the sharing of the blueprints, Cody Wilson — who was once considered one of the world’s most ‘hated people’, believes the sharing of files will end the problem of gun control. It seems timely that the 3D printed gun law has passed in-line with the Showtime release of the latest Sacha Baron Cohen show, ‘Who is America?‘, where he pranks politicians who in turn, terrifyingly, end up supporting Cohen’s made-up program that would see children as young as four being armed. One must ask though, is ending gun control the right focus, when what we really should be questioning is why we as humans continue to design and create new forms of weaponry that enable us to kill each other!?
Given that guns can now be printed, the article asks… what’s next? A lot of press is (rightfully so) screaming doom and gloom at the possibility that we could all become gun-toting citizens, but we do not yet know how this new possibility will, in fact, play out. Some are claiming, much like the Chris Rock stand-up from years ago, that attention will now turn towards bullet control. Regardless of what might happen, it seems clear that our ability to theoretically arm everyone in the world says a lot about ourselves as humans. To quote Aldous Huxley, “Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.”
Passive radar to track space junk above Australian skies
Australia has invented an ingeniously simple way to detect and track deadly projectiles in orbit above us. And it could give us an edge in the growing war on space junk.
Joel says: “The Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) is working with Adelaide’s Silentium Defence to turn existing assets into a form of ‘passive’ space radar. This means it doesn’t require an array of high-power radar transmitters as military and commercial radars to work.”
It uses our FM-band radio waves already being beamed around the country that carries our news and music for radio stations.
“The reflected signals are received by the MWA, and we use them to track the objects,” John Curtin Professor Steven Tingay says.
“We can use the radio waves during both day and night, and when it is cloudy, so it can provide 24/7 surveillance in a way that other systems based on optical telescopes cannot.”
“As space becomes more and more crowded, it’s becoming vital to track what’s going on up there.” Making sure the rest of us here on the ground are safe from potential space debris and also logging what is going on above our heads such as positions of some of our most critical satellites.
One wayward scrap, one dead satellite can smash into a multi-billion dollar communications satellite and leave much of the country in the dark. The resulting debris would then cannon about above our skies, further adding to the increasingly deadly game of orbital pinball
Can introverts make great leaders?
Helen says: This article compares the traits of both the introvert and the extrovert in the context of leadership. Contrary to popular perception, it concludes that introverts can make better leaders and this rang true to me based on my own experiences in the workplace.
Effective leaders are more commonly associated with outgoing, dominant personalities than they are with introspective, reserved personalities. and the article shows how there is a strong bias towards extroverts when hiring leaders. However, in a study where 300,000 business leaders were asked to rank the top four competencies from a list of 16 key leadership skills, the introvert ticked every skill in the final top 10. (You’ll have to check out the article for this list!)
It goes on to dispel some common misconceptions that seem to prevent introverts from getting leadership roles, such as lack of people, communication, and collaboration skills. It provides examples of some very successful introverts and finishes up with some tips for introverts aspiring to be a leader – don’t hold back!
Why GOV.UK content should be published in HTML and not PDF
Jakkii says: Why am I sharing an article about GOV.UK this week, you may ask? Unnecessary use of PDFs on websites is one of my pet peeves, and anything I can find that supports my position and aims to re-educate people away from their use is something worth sharing!
Although focused on government publishing, the insights in this blog piece from the Head of GOV.UK, Neil Williams, are relevant and useful for all types of web content publishing.
The default should be to create all content in HTML. If you can’t avoid publishing a PDF, ideally it should be in addition to an HTML version and the PDF must meet accessibility standards and archiving standards. We hope this post will help publishers explain the problems with PDFs to their colleagues and support moving towards an HTML-first culture.
The overarching reason PDFs are poor practice relates to accessibility. The blog goes into detail about a number of problems with PDFs, which are:
- They do not change size to fit the browser
- They’re not designed for reading on screens
- It’s harder to track their use
- They cause difficulties for navigation and orientation
- They can be hard for some users to access
- They’re less likely to be kept up to date
- They’re hard to reuse
He also touches on some of the reasons people use PDFs, addressing these and referring back to accessibility as a key principle in publishing any content. Some reasons people use PDFs are:
- They’re quick and easy to create
- Control over the design
- They’re easy for people to download and print
- They have the feel of a stand-alone product
These are understandable reasons, but they’re an outcome of an ingrained print culture and outdated content production processes. Government is transitioning towards a digital first culture, but old habits and ways of working take time to change.
If you’re interested in understanding more about why PDFs are poor practice, whether to change your own publishing behaviours or to provide support in trying to change colleagues’ or clients’ behaviours, read, absorb and bookmark this piece today!
Sydney Business Insights – The Future This Week Podcast
This week: a special edition with mathematician and data scientist Dr. Cathy O’Neil. Sandra Peter (Sydney Business Insights) and Kai Riemer (Digital Disruption Research Group) meet once a week to put their own spin on news that is impacting the future of business in The Future, This Week.