Weather And Business: Insights And Ideas For Weathering The Storms

“How about this weather we’re having?” “Can you believe how cold it is?” “The weather made my commute just brutal today!” Weather dominates small talk in the United States, and there has been a lot of research done on how weather influences behavior and emotions. But, weather also has strong financial impact; it is estimated that nearly 20% of the U.S. economy is directly affected by the weather, and it impacts the profitability and revenues of many industries, including agriculture, energy, events, construction, travel and others. In a 1998 testimony to Congress, former commerce secretary William Daley stated, “Weather is not just an environmental issue, it is a major economic factor. At least $1 trillion of our economy is weather-sensitive.”

This regular column will focus on business and its relationship with weather. Our economy is dependent on weather, and increased weather volatility has forced businesses to be more proactive in including weather insights into operational planning.  As weather-forecasting technology continues to improve, businesses are finding it easier to be more proactive in making decisions related to weather.

Of the more than 10,000 practicing meteorologists in the U.S., there is strong representation in the private sector. A meteorologist may be found in a variety of positions, ranging from weather forecasting duties, to non-forecasting roles like sales, marketing and business analytics. The job outlook for meteorologists is estimated to grow by 12%, which is almost 40 percent faster than the national average.

Public safety is a very visible example of weather forecasting for business. But there are many other ways weather plays a role in business. For some companies, it’s about risk management. For retailers, meteorologists help develop strategies that address how weather impacts purchasing trends. Meteorologists can help with business planning and developing strategies for expansion geographies. The impact of weather on business is real, and as forecasting and other technology continues to evolve, the weather-based decision making within business will also evolve.

Top of mind for so many folks right now is winter and safety, particularly as yet another storm rolls into the northeast. Severe weather will impact flights, road traffic, agriculture, the delivery of energy and the general safety of the public. When thinking about the current winter conditions and the impact on traffic and road conditions, it’s expected the plows will keep the roads clear, but there’s a lot of planning needed, not only to effectively keep the roads clear, but to also effectively manage budgets. In Minnesota for example, Anoka County is responsible for keeping 1,100 lane miles of roads clear with the work of 40 full-time, and 20 on-call, maintenance workers. These crews rely on the accuracy of each weather forecast and a big benefit of leveraging those forecasts is the effective use of budgets. Anoka County weather forecasts have specific pavement forecasts, which help the team schedule crews appropriately. The county is required to give night crews a 24-hour notice, and those crews are paid a premium rate for working after hours. Having an accurate forecast helps the department avoid scheduling workers for night shifts unless it’s necessary, ultimately protecting the bottom line.

Pavement forecasts also help the department use other resources efficiently. When freezing rain is predicted, it uses this information to help determine the optimal time to salt the roads, in turn, avoiding unnecessary applications. The department also knows the best time to pretreat roads, allowing it to avoid sending out a second shift which increases safety for everyone on the road. As this story from Anoka County, Minnesota, shows, there are real economic implications to everyday weather events.

[“source=forbes”]

Suresh Prabhu Links Ideas, Business Opportunities To Cheap Goa Beverages

Suresh Prabhu Links Ideas, Business Opportunities To Cheap Goa Beverages

Suresh Prabhu’s statement did not go down well with some of the political parties.

Panaji: Union minister Suresh Prabhu has sought to link the availability of cheap beverages in Goa with “creativity and business opportunities”, a remark the Congress said was projection of the coastal state as a “liquor destination”.

Mr Prabhu, while participating in the Global Venture Summit in Goa on Friday, said the state government had reduced taxes on some beverages that help calm the mind and lead to creativity, which can be converted into business opportunities.

“Ideas are there, but to make ideas into a form that actually be converted into a business opportunity is some sort of creativity.” “And creativity comes when your mind is calm. And when it comes to Goa, mind becomes calm. And to make body calm, Goa government has reduced taxation on some of the beverages, which can make your mind soft,” the commerce minister had said.

Mr Prabhu’s statement did not go down well with some of the political parties.

Congress’ spokesperson Siddhanath Buyao condemned the statement, saying it was wrong to link the state’s culture and creativity to the availability of liquor at lower rates.

“Goa is known for its scenic beauty and warm people. Creativity is in the DNA of Goans right from the beginning. May it be in the field of science, art, culture, music and even entrepreneurship, Goans have contributed immensely to the country,” Mr Buyao said.

He said it is the same calm nature and creativity that draws Mr Prabhu to Goa often. “Does Prabhu come to Goa to enjoy cheap beverages and then get the creative ideas?” Mr Buyao taunted the minister.

“Instead of projecting Goa as a liquor destination, BJP should concentrate on restoring the governance, which has deteriorated due to the ill health of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar,” he added.

The Shiv Sena slammed the ruling party saying encouraging liquor consumption should be the last thing any government should be doing. “Prabhu should understand that liquor does not make mind soft. It is the natural beauty of Goa that inspires people,” said Sena state spokesperson Rakhi Prabhudesai Naik.

She said the BJP should stop linking Goa’s culture and tourism to liquor. “Union minister of the stature of Prabhu linking liquor to Goa is condemnable, especially when he always brags about his closeness to Goa

[“source=ndtv”]

7 ways to get more (and better) creative ideas from your credit union team

Credit unions are a unique business. However, there are certain things that all businesses share. One of these is the need for innovation. Because the credit union business is constantly changing (now there’s an understatement!), it’s vital that credit unions keep innovating to stay ahead of the curve. And all innovation begins with a single, creative idea. But how do you get those creative ideas? Here are 7 ways that you, as a credit union leader, can get more (and better) creative ideas from your credit union team.

  1. Get them out of the workplace.

A change of location helps shake the brain out of its routine. It also gets people away from the multiple distractions of the workplace, which are not conducive to creativity. So try having a lunch meeting at a local restaurant. Maybe a nearby hotel has a nice lobby area for a small, informal meeting. If it’s nice outside, go to a park! Anyplace other than your credit union’s version of “Meeting Room C.”

  1. Give them the “What”; let them give you the “How.”

Nothing kills the creative spirit more than being micromanaged. Creative people (and we are all creative people) love being challenged. As a leader, it’s your job to set the goal (the “What”). Now, ask your team to come up with the “How.” Tip: prepare to be surprised by some brilliant ideas that you would never have thought of!

  1. Ask crazy questions.

When looking for creative solutions to your next credit union challenge, ask your team “crazy” questions. Questions like: “How would we solve this problem if we had $20 million to throw at it?” “How would a professional dancer solve this problem?” “How would three cats, working together, solve this problem?” Not only will this force your team members’ brains into their naturally creative space, you may just find the germ of an actual solution in some of the answers they come up with!

  1. Make a “play space.”

Creativity needs stimulation to thrive. People are more creative when they play. If possible, furnish one of your meeting rooms with a few toys (Nerf® balls, Legos®, etc.) and interesting, colorful magazines (not credit union—or any industry-related—magazines!). And, if you’re really serious about this, paint this room a shade of green. Studies show that the color green boosts creativity!

  1. Invite an outsider.

Every now and then, invite someone from outside the credit union (and, preferably, from outside the financial services industry) to sit in on a meeting. An artist, a comedian, an art historian. Someone who sees the world through a completely different lens than you or your team. This person might see solutions, or come up with ideas, that would never occur to someone from the credit union industry.

  1. Send your team out for a walk.

According to recent research done at Stanford, people do their best creative thinking while in motion—outdoors, down a corridor, or even just a treadmill. Many leaders have discovered the multiple benefits (including, of course, health) of holding “walking” meetings.

  1. Initiate “Plagiarism Friday.”

(Full disclosure: I plagiarized this idea from someone else, but I can’t remember whom.) Every Friday, have each member of your team bring in one great idea from outside the credit union industry and share what makes the idea creative and innovative. Then ask your team how that idea could be incorporated into the credit union.

  1. (a bonus tip!) Let your team know that ideas are welcome, encouraged, even required, from everyone.

No one has a monopoly on great ideas! That next breakthrough idea—the one that takes your credit union to the next level—can come from anyone on the team.

Creativity and innovation are the keys to your credit union’s success. Every new challenge (and it seems like there’s a new one every day) requires a creative solution. It’s up to you, as a credit union leader, to encourage, support, and value creativity from everyone on your team!
[“Source-ndtv”]

Creative youth employment ideas needed – Community Chest

Graduates gather during the Hire a Graduate Day of action march on May 17, 2017 in Tshwane. (Gallo Images)

Graduates gather during the Hire a Graduate Day of action march on May 17, 2017 in Tshwane. (Gallo Images)

Cape Town – Creative ideas need to be found to decrease youth unemployment in a labour market which favours highly experienced employees, development company Community Chest has said.

“The high demand for skilled labour means that those with a post-secondary qualification are far more likely to find employment than those with only a matric certificate,” Community Chest CEO Lorenzo Davids said.

“However, while there are vacancies within the labour market for skilled people, we have to look at creative big ideas in innovative spaces such as coding, water challenges, climate regulation and urbanisation for opportunities to create new ‘big idea’ employment opportunities.”

Young people between 15 and 24 should constitute “that starry-eyed section of a society that’s eager to apply their newly-acquired skills and qualifications, embark on their careers and embrace the future by making their mark”.

“However, if they continue to hit a brick wall, they’re bound to become frustrated, discouraged and halt their job applications. To top this, there’s a real fear that they’ll join a cycle of constant unemployment and poverty. It is in this challenge that we have to find the opportunities to create a new cycle of sustainable job creation.”

Big ideas and not “random piece-meal activities” are necessary to tackle youth unemployment in South Africa – rated the fourth worst performing country in terms of unemployment, the organisation said.

‘Big ideas’ 

RSA, ranked among the worst along with Spain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece and Macedonia, has a youth unemployment rate at 52.6% according to World Atlas. With 67% of the country’s population said to be younger than 35, it is vital that government, the private sector, and NGOs “begin to talk about big ideas” to tackle unemployment, Community Chest said.

“Moreover, Stats SA’s recently released Quarterly Labour Force Survey Q1: 2017 indicated that approximately 58% of the unemployed in South Africa are younger than 35.  This has pushed up SA’s youth unemployment rate by 1.6%.”

According to the organisation, the country’s overall unemployment rate of 27.7% has increased to its highest in 14 years – with Stats SA finding that the unemployment rate remained high among those with an education level of less than matric at 33.1%.

The unemployment rate among graduates remained at 7.3%.

The organisation annually awards promising pupils from six schools in poorer Cape Town communities with study bursaries worth R100 000 each in mathematics, science, and technology.

The school also receives mathematics and science kits to facilitate learning and improve their performance in these subjects as part of a long-term project.

It also assists supports and mentors the bursary recipients while they study.

Economic recession, racial and gender inequalities, and imbalanced access to the labour market are cited for the grim youth unemployment rate. Education was cited as a key solution to the issue.

Read more on:    youth unemployment
[“Source-ndtv”]