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Winning Australian women entrepreneurs

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Springboard Enterprises Australia (SBE Australia) announced the 10 business leaders who will take part in its fourth annual Accelerator program designed exclusively for women entrepreneurs. The 2016 program features women from a broad range of professional and industry backgrounds across the technology sector, united in their ambition to expand into international markets. Participants in the 2016 SBE Accelerator program are: Renee Welsh – Booking Boss; Catherine Resnick – Kinchip Systems; Jenny O’Neill – EpiSoft; Anne Moore – PlanDo; Julie Bray – Konnective; Kimberley Turner – Aerosafe; Tania Walter – Observr; Lucy Lloyd – Mentorloop; Tori Bowman – Social.Folio and Michelle Ridgway – Victus Health

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An accelerator program investing in entrepreneurial women

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SheStarts is a new Australian accelerator program, launched by BlueChilli, which will invest $1M into 10 women building tech startups in 2016. In addition to $100K funding and a 6 month accelerator curriculum supported by expert advisors, you can also expect: expert training on how to develop your personal brand online; the chance to work with online specialists to create videos and coach you in how to build engaged video audiences; you and your venture will be live on air to millions of potential customers through major media partners, to help promote your business during the program; you’ll get to work with a crew of highly experienced mentors, speakers and leaders who will support you on your journey and, at the end of the program, you’ll be invited to Silicon Valley for a custom-made immersion program! http://shestarts.io

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Safe transport for women and children

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SafeHer is a new transport co for women and children, started by a former Uber driver, that uses the safest practices to give the most secure transport experience in the industry. Driven by women, for women. drivers are thoroughly background checked before starting. The app is built for safety. Every time the driver starts her day, she has to answer a random security question that changes daily to ensure her identity. When the passenger requests a ride, a safe word pops up on the driver and passenger’s phone. If the driver says the correct word, the ride may begin. If the driver doesn’t have the same safe word, the passenger then knows immediately not to get into that vehicle and SafeHer will then look for the correct one www.safeher.com.

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A Custom Post-Mastectomy Bra for Cancer Survivors

Having an idea to create a custom bra for women who have had a mastectomy, Lisa Marks combined technology with the craft of handmade lace. Firstly, the AI scans the wearer to produce a pattern of a lace that is as symmetrical as possible. Then, the craftspeople use the scanning result to handcraft the lace. The bra does not use underwire, which tends to hurt post-surgery sensitive skin. http://www.lisamarks.com/work#/parametric-lace-1/

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Technology that can safely inspect assets

Every year, Australia loses billions of dollars due to infrastructure failures, spends billions of dollars on inspecting its aging assets and loses some of its bravest men and women who take the risk to do this dangerous job. Hovermap is an intelligent Unmanned Aerial Vehicle with advanced collision avoidance, non-GPS flight and accurate 3D mapping capabilities – all tailored to suit industrial inspection requirements. It is an inspection tool of the future that can be used to safely and efficiently inspect hard-to-reach assets and collect extremely high fidelity data in previously unreachable places. Hovermap has been supported by the ON Accelerate program at CSIRO. http://www.oninnovation.com.au/en/ON-teams/ON-Tribe/Accelerate2/Hovermap

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Why and how to encourage your team to take breaks at work

Taking Breaks for Better Brain Power It may be tempting to power through a big project or compress work hours in order to leave early. But the brain needs periodic downtime. When workers stay at a task for a long time, their performance suffers. The human brain is designed to move through periods of focus and unfocus. Don’t be fooled by the term unfocus. It may feel like you’re resting when you daydream or take a break from a task, but your brain is busy. It switches to a brain circuit called the Default Mode Network, which uses even more energy than when focused on a task. While in this default state, the brain activates old memories, processes emotions, recombines ideas, and seeks out big-picture strategies for the future. Unfocused time allows indiviudals to come up with creative solutions for problems and understand other people’s thinking. It also facilitates learning and may boost performance. In one study, students who took a break while studying a task performed better on a test the next day than students who studied nonstop without a break. In another study, students who were allowed to take a break every hour during a standardized test performed better than when they were only allowed to take a break every two hours. Professionals also benefit from breaks. When the Draugiem Group, a collection of companies in Latvia, tracked their employees’ time and productivity, they discovered that the most productive employees took the most breaks. On average, high performers took a 17-minute break for every 52 minutes they worked. Standing Up for Healthier Bodies and Brains Breaks aren’t just important for job performance; they’re imperative for human health. When you think of dangerous jobs, you probably think of logging or iron and steelworkers. But sedentary office jobs also carry health risks if workers sit for long periods without breaks. The World Health Organization lists sedentary behavior as the fourth-leading risk factor for premature death for people around the world. Sitting too much is linked to an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. It also impacts the brain in undesirable ways. In one study, inactivity was linked to thinning of the medial temporal lobe, an area of the brain linked with memory formation. Exercising in the mornings or evenings doesn’t prevent health problems caused by sitting too much. Ideally, workers should get up and move every half hour for optimal health. Even walking for two minutes at a time throughout the day is linked to greater longevity. Taking a walk at lunch reduces stress, improves mood, and boosts work performance. Social Workers are Happy Workers When you see employees chit chatting around the water cooler, it’s cause to celebrate. Work relationships have a big impact on employees’ happiness levels. In one survey, 89% of workers said positive work relationships mattered to their overall quality of life. Moreover, it may boost a company’s bottom line when employees socialize at work. In a Gallup poll, women who had a best friend at work were 63% more likely to be engaged at work compared to those who didn’t. That’s important because companies with high employee engagement report 22% higher productivity. Employees who have friends at work are more likely to love their companies, to trust the leadership of their companies, and to stay at their jobs. When a major bank began scheduling call-center employees’ breaks together so they could socialize, the workers’ productivity jumped by 25%. Even socializing online during breaks may improve employees’ job performance. In one study, when workers were allowed to use social media during a 10-minute break, they were 40% more productive for the rest of the day than workers who were not given a break, and 16% more productive than those who were given a break without access to the internet. Refuelling for Better Concentration Breaks not only give workers a chance to catch up with each other, they provide an opportunity for workers to nourish their bodies and brains. Unfortunately, most Americans don’t eat a nutritious lunch every day. Only 19% of American workers take a regular lunch break. And more than half (62%) of professionals typically eat at their desks. Skipping lunch can lead to fatigue, drowsiness, shortened attention span, and a slower speed of processing information. Proper nutrition can have a huge impact on productivity, especially if workers are undernourished. When San Pedro Diseños, a textile company in Guatemala City, provided their employees with breakfast and lunch, production jumped 70% and their annual earnings went up 20%. Even in the U.S., where most workers eat adequate calories every day, encouraging workers to eat healthy meals may improve performance. In one study, physicians, who often skip breakfast and lunch, were provided with healthy meals as part of a wellness program. The doctors reported they were less irritable with patients and more alert when they ate during the day. How to Encourage Your Employees to Take Breaks Now that you understand the benefits of breaks, it’s time to encourage your employees to actually take them. More than a quarter (28%) of employees say they seldom, if ever, take any breaks at work. Here’s how to convince your employees to get up from their desks. Discuss the benefits of breaks If most of your employees are skipping breaks, chances are your company culture is not break-friendly. In one survey, 20% of employees said they feel guilty leaving their workstations. At your next meeting, discuss the benefits of breaks with your team and that they’re encouraged at your workplace. Urge your team to use break-friendly apps Pomodoro apps remind employees to take short breaks at regular intervalsto improve health and boost productivity. The Donut app pairs employees that don’t know each other well and prompts them to meet for coffee, lunch, or a donut. Lead by example Workplace behavior is contagious. In one survey, 49% of workers said they’ve imitated someone’s behavior at work. If your team sees leadership taking breaks during the day, they’ll be more likely to follow suit. Provide a quiet break area The sad state of American workers’ breaks may reflect the sad state of office break rooms. In one survey, half of employees in one survey said they didn’t have a properly furnished breakroom. And three-quarters (76%) said they’d unwind more at work if they had access to well-stocked snacks and a comfortable breakroom. Stock the kitchen with healthy snacks If you provide free food, they will come. More than half (63%) of employees say complimentary snacks and […]

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Survey finds employees believe they are the best source of innovation

Over 90% of employees believe they are the best source of innovation Over 90% of employees would be more likely to stay with their organisations if they could contribute more ideas Sydney, 15 November 2018 – IdeaSpies Enterprise, a platform for ideas that will improve business performance, today revealed the results of an Employee Innovation Survey. The purpose of the survey was to determine if employees have a voice in helping their organisations succeed. Innovation was defined simply in the survey as “implementation of ideas that add value”. There are many employee engagement surveys but not employee innovation surveys. Lynn Wood, founder of IdeaSpies, said “This survey demonstrates the importance of harnessing employees’ ideas through a simple tool that gives them a voice. A key finding is that over 90% of employees believe they are the best source of innovation, with 57% strongly agreeing and 34% agreeing. The IdeaSpies Enterprise platform provides businesses with the opportunity to encourage their employees to contribute and implement ideas that may increase productivity and staff engagement.” David Thodey AO, Chair of CSIRO and Jobs for NSW, said “I really like the IdeaSpies Enterprise solution. I have a strong view that the best source of innovation is your staff. They know the business and how to improve it better than consultants. The issue has always been how do you provide an open forum for those ideas?” When respondents were asked how they contributed ideas in their organisations 76% said direct to their boss and 62% said through a team. Teams that are diverse and inclusive drive and support innovation. They can implement quick wins. 90% of employees have had their ideas adopted and 76% said they could contribute more useful ideas than they do now, especially those who are 26-35 years old (89%). When asked what would make it easier for them to contribute ideas the top response was 45% wanting a software tool/digital platform that’s easy to use, with lower management particularly in favour at 59% as well as organisations with 5,000 plus employees at 64%. Only 26% of employees said that their organisations offer a software tool/digital platform to contribute ideas, including 41% of organisations with 5,000 plus employees. When an innovation tool is provided, 75% of employees use it, males 81% and females 68%. Perhaps women need more encouragement in some organisations though they have been well represented as winners in programs run by KPMG with IdeaSpies Enterprise. Tony Nimac Partner in charge of KPMG Enterprise NSW said “We trialed IdeaSpies Enterprise last year and have continued to use it. It was very well received by staff. It’s thought provoking, fun and easy to use, with no training needed. People see the tool as an opportunity to suggest ideas that could improve the way they work. In addition to specific ideas, we’ve seen themes coming from the ideas that have led to improvements. We give selected staff the opportunity to implement ideas they suggest and have benefited from improving staff engagement.” Employees want more power to implement ideas they suggest. They also want management to be more supportive in testing ideas. 23% said nothing happened with their ideas and many were annoyed when time was spent developing an idea and either they weren’t empowered to test it, or they received no feedback on why it wouldn’t be accepted. Feedback was shown to be important in building employee engagement. Another key finding is that over 90% of employees would be more likely to stay with their organisations if they could contribute more ideas. Significantly, 98% of lower management would be more likely to stay. Losing employees who want to contribute more would be a significant cost to these organisations. Progressive organisations are getting rid of 20th century silo thinking and need managers who have vision, imagination and drive (VID) Those who have VID are quick to see the value of ideas and proposals and have the drive to implement them. Lynn Wood said “It’s a good sign that 73% of employees are offering ideas without an incentive to do so. Recognition of ideas is a strong motivator. It’s one thing to contribute ideas to an organisation, but it is even more important to know that you have been heard. “Only 27% of organisations provide an incentive to contribute ideas; however, 58% of respondents (65% male and 53% female) said they would provide more ideas if there was an incentive to do so. Significantly, 87% of 18-35 year-olds said they would contribute more ideas if an incentive was offered. “It’s good to see that 84% of leaders are talking about the need for innovation, but only 69% of employees believe the culture of their organisation actually welcomes new ideas. This result indicates there is a significant gap in organisations ‘walking the talk’ on innovation. Organisation that offer a tool for employees to contribute ideas have much better scores. “Frustration was expressed when organisations said they wanted innovation but were not resourcing it. Management often give the illusion of wanting ideas, but then lack the skills to capture ideas in a simple way, give feedback and implement good ideas. “Management need to stop feeling comfortable about the way they do things – for example by saying ‘that’s the way we have always done things’. In organisations like this, employees who suggest new ideas can be seen as a threat. In more progressive organisations, innovation is part of the culture- a continuous process where employees are encouraged to suggest ideas.” The Employee Innovation Survey was sent to about 2,000 employees, with 18% responding and volunteering extensive comments- see below. Having established a benchmark, it’s now possible for individual organisations to use the survey to compare their results with the benchmark. A full report on the results with charts and comments is now being prepared. Please contact Lynn Wood if you’d like to receive it. Media Contacts: Antonino Blancato Financial & Corporate Relations (FCR), ph 02 8264 1009 a.blancato@fcr.com.au Lynn Wood IdeaSpies Enterprise, ph 0418 966 625 lynn.wood@IdeaSpies.com Employee Innovation Survey comments at the end (excluding many that were very complimentary of the survey) My organisation’s leader is fixated on innovation however doesn’t have the resources to fund it. It’s extremely frustrating as the health of the business is crumbling. It’s one thing to contribute ideas to an organization but it is even more […]

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A heritage art collection that encourages creative entrepreneurship

Art that was created during the 1970’s and 1980’s by South Africa’s Black artists, has been returned to South Africa by benefactors who had taken it overseas. It now forms a significant part of the Ifa Lethu Heritage Collection. The repatriation of art created by the struggle-era artists, now numbers 670 and required the involvement of 16 countries. Through its work over the last few years, the Foundation has successfully assisted 2,300 poverty stricken youth and women, delivering on benefits such as income generation through job creation and enterprise development. https://www.ifalethu.org.za/

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