Hermann Rorschach

Hermann_Rorschach_c.1910

Hermann Rorschach (German: [ˌhɛʁman ˈʁoːʁʃax] or [ˈʁoːɐ̯ʃax]; 8 November 1884 – 1 April 1922) was a Swiss Freudian psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, best known for developing a projective test known as the Rorschach inkblot test. This test was reportedly designed to reflect unconscious parts of the personality that “project” onto the stimuli. In the test, individuals are shown 10 inkblots – one at a time – and asked to report what objects or figures they see in each of them.[1]

Rorschach was born in Zürich and spent his childhood and youth in Schaffhausen, in northern Switzerland. He was known to his school friends as Klecks, or “inkblot” since he enjoyed klecksography, the making of fanciful inkblot “pictures”. Unlike his classmates, however, Rorschach went on to make inkblots his life’s work.

Rorschach’s father, an art teacher, encouraged him to express himself creatively through painting and drawing conventional pictures[2] . As the time of his high school graduation approached, he could not decide between a career in art and one in science. He wrote a letter to the famous German biologist Ernst Haeckel asking his advice. The scientist suggested science, and Rorschach enrolled in medical school at the University of Zurich. Rorschach began learning Russian, and in 1906, while studying in Berlin, he went for a holiday in Russia. Rorschach graduated in medicine at Zurich in 1909 and at the same time became engaged to Olga Stempelin, a girl from Kazan in the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. At the end of 1913, after graduation, he married Stempelin, and the couple moved to live in Russia.[3] A son was born in 1917, and a daughter in 1919.

Rorschach studied under the eminent psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler, who had taught Carl Jung. The excitement in intellectual circles over psychoanalysis constantly reminded Rorschach of his childhood inkblots. Wondering why different people often saw entirely different things in the same inkblots, he began, while still a medical student, showing inkblots to schoolchildren and analyzing their responses.

In 1857 German doctor Justinus Kerner had published a popular book of poems, each of which was inspired by an accidental inkblot, and it has been speculated that the book was known to Rorschach.[4] French psychologist Alfred Binet had also experimented with inkblots as a creativity test.[3]

By July 1914 Rorschach had returned to Switzerland, where he served as an Assistant Director at the regional psychiatric hospital at Herisau,[3] and in 1921 he wrote his book Psychodiagnostik, which was to form the basis of the inkblot test. The Inkblots were an overnight success due to the seemingly miraculous behavior readings they provided.[5] However, they were considered scientifically worthless by several Psychologists.

Only one year after writing his book, however, Rorschach died of peritonitis, probably resulting from a ruptured appendix.[6] He was still Associate Director of the Herisau Hospital when he died at the age of 37, on 1 April 1922.[7]

Courtesy : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermann_Rorschach

10 Reasons Not to Write a Business Plan

If you are one of the new age of entrepreneurs who hates the thought of doing a business plan as a first step in starting your new venture, you will love this message. More and more professionals agree that a better strategy is to explore and fine tune your assumptions before declaring a specific plan with financial projections based only on your dream and passion.

In the process, you may save yourself considerable re-work and money, or even decide that your dream needs more time to mature, before you commit your limited resources, or sign up with investors to a painful and unsatisfying plan.

I just finished a new book on this approach, Beyond the Business Plan, by Simon Bridge and Cecilia Hegarty, which outlines tradeoffs and recommends ten principles for every new venture explorer. Here is my edited summary of their ten principles, which might just convince you that you don’t need a business plan at all, or at the very least, will help you write a better one later:

1. A new venture is a means, not an end. A new enterprise should be pursued primarily to help you achieve your goals, like providing a better life for others, satisfying a passion of yours, or enjoying the benefits of a technology you have invented. In that context, it could be a social enterprise, or even a hobby, in which case a business plan may not be beneficial.

2. Don’t start by committing more than you can afford to lose. New ventures are usually exploratory and risky by nature, so don’t let any business plan process convince you to commit more than you can risk as a person, should your exploration fail. Start with an effectual approach, which evaluates risk tolerance, and suggests a more affordable means to an end.

3. Pick a domain where you have some experience and expertise. Don’t handicap yourself by starting something for which you have to build or acquire knowledge, skills and connections from scratch. No business plan will save you if you are just picking ideas at random or copying others, just because the story sounds attractive.

4. Carry out reality checks and make appropriate plans. Before a business plan has any validity, some work is required to validate that your technology works, a real market exists and your assumptions for cost and price are reasonable. Don’t be totally driven by your own passions, the emotional enthusiasm of friends or even third-party research.

5. The only reliable test is a real one. Market research techniques for trying to predict the market’s response to a new venture can be costly and are often unreliable. Testing for real is the assumption behind approaches such as Lean Startup. It is also what explorers do — they go and look, instead of trying to predict from a distance what they will find.

6. Get started and build momentum. Too much hesitation will kill any new venture, as markets move quickly and difficulties mount. Getting started helps generate momentum and creates a sense of accomplishment, which can carry your startup through many obstacles. Early perseverance pays off.

7. Accept uncertainty as the norm. You will never remove all uncertainties, so accept them, and plan your activities in an incremental fashion. Too often, a business plan is seen as a mechanism for eliminating uncertainty, lulling the founder into complacency. Eliminate major uncertainties before the plan and update any plan as you learn.

8. Look for new opportunities. Many useful opportunities are either created by what you do early, or are only revealed once you have started and can see out there. So keep your eyes open and respond to new customers, markets and partnerships. You will also find that looking hard helps eliminate opportunities that are not right for you.

9. Build and use social capital. Social capital is people and connections. No entrepreneur can survive as an island. Social capital is as important as financial capital for all ventures. As with all capital, you can use only as much as you have acquired to-date. If you have no social capital, no business plan will likely get you the financial capital you need.

10. Acquire the relevant skills. Three basic skill sets are required for successful delivery of almost every venture. These are financial management, production capabilities and marketing and sales. If you don’t have the relevant skills and knowledge, take time to build them or find someone to partner with, before you attempt any business plan.

If you decide to continue building a conventional business after exploring these principles, especially with investors and employees other than yourself, I’m still convinced a business plan is a valuable exercise. You should do it yourself to make sure you understand all the elements of the plan and facilitate communication of the specifics to your team and investors.

In essence, building a complete and credible plan is the final test of whether your venture has legs. The entrepreneur lifestyle is all about doing something you enjoy without undue stress, uncertainty and risk. Are you having fun in your venture yet?

The Entrepreneur Who Will Change Your Mobile Phone Bill

The Entrepreneur Who Will Change Your Mobile Phone Bill

David Morken admits that the promise he made to reward his kids with iPhones if they brought home straight A’s was no stroke of genius. But the business concept inspired by the ensuing $1,000-plus phone bills may well turn out to be.

Launched nationally in December 2012, Morken’s brainchild, Republic Wireless, is a $19-per-month voice, text and data service that relies on Wi-Fi as its primary network. When Wi-Fi isn’t accessible–roughly 40 percent of the time for Republic customers, according to Morken–calls automatically bounce to Sprint’s 3G cellular network.

The pillar of the low-cost Republic model is a solid but no-frills Android handset, the Motorola Defy XT, which allows Republic to offer a low-cost, contract-free wireless service package with unlimited voice, data and texting after paying an initial $249 for the phone.

In taking on the $178 billion wireless industry, Morken is counting on customers to flock because they already rely on Wi-Fi at home, at the office and in an increasing number of public and private spaces. “The future of mobile technology and the essence of the smartphone, I believe, is Wi-Fi,” he says. “It will continue to eat the world because it’s so much cheaper.”

Turns out Morken’s vision of Wi-Fi dominance may be closer than you think. The Wireless Broadband Alliance predicts that the number of hotspot deployments globally will nearly triple between 2012 and 2015–fortifying a reach that Morken says is broad enough to make the Republic model viable. Already, Republic customers can be linked in automatically to 11 million public hotspots using the company’s Wi-Fi+ app.

Republic’s model, observes technology industry analyst Jeff Kagan, “is innovative, but there are trade-offs for the customer because all the kinks haven’t been worked out yet.” Indeed, Republic’s unique value proposition also happens to be its weakest link, at least for now: At times users must contend with interrupted calls stemming from a less-than-seamless Wi-Fi-to-cellular handoff.

But that hasn’t stopped Republic Wireless from signing up “tens of thousands” of new customers each month, according to Morken, suggesting that mobile phone users are willing to live with those shortcomings. And he vows that they won’t have to for much longer; by early fall, the company plans to unveil updated software that he expects will largely resolve the handover issue. Republic will also add two more Android handset options.

Morken says he expects those improvements to attract more first-time smartphone users–the college students, cost-conscious Millennials, bargain hunters and land-line cord-cutters who comprise the bulk of Republic’s customer base. But what he really wants is for Republic to be the carrier that breaks the stranglehold on the wireless market held by Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint.

“We can’t outspend the major carriers,” he acknowledges, “so this is going to have to stand on value.” And that’s a concept we can all agree is most welcome in today’s mobile world

Read more: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/227069#ixzz2izpLVhAY

 

10 Questions to ask before Determining Your Target Market

10-questions-ask-target-audience

10 Questions to Ask Before Determining Your Target Market

The better you understand your customer, the faster your business will grow. But new ventures often struggle to define their target market and set their sights too broadly.

“We often overestimate the market size, and in many cases there may not be one at all,” says Robert Hisrich, director of the Walker Center for Global Entrepreneurship at the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Ariz.

Here are 10 questions that can help you determine whether you have a target market and what it is:

Who would pay for my product or service?
First, try to understand the problem that your product or service can solve, says Greg Habstritt, founder of SimpleWealth.com, an Alberta, Canada-based advice website for small-business owners. Then, use that information to help determine who would be willing to pay for a solution. “Not only do [your potential customers] need to have the problem, but they need to be aware they have the problem,” Habstritt says. He recommends using Google’s keyword tool to see how many people are searching for words related to your business idea.

Who has already bought from me?
To refine both your target marketing and your pricing strategy, see who has already bought your product or service, says Amos Adler, president of Memotext, a medication compliance app maker in Bethesda, Md. You can gain valuable insights by releasing the product in a test phase and letting potential consumers speak with their wallets.

Am I overestimating my reach?
It’s easy to assume that most people will need your service or product. But rather than make assumptions, reach out to groups of potential customers to get a more realistic picture of your audience and narrow your marketing efforts. You can conduct surveys, do man-on-the-street type interviews in stores, or organize small focus groups. “We get so passionate about the idea and how good it is that we overestimate the market size,” Hisrich says.

What does my network think?
As you try to understand your target market, it may be challenging — and expensive — to seek feedback from potential consumers through surveys, focus groups and other means. But you can tap into your social networks to get free feedback. Many people in your extended network will likely be willing to take the time to give you opinions and advice, says Bryan Darr, founder of Mosaik Solutions, a data analytics company in Memphis, Tenn.

Am I making assumptions based on my personal knowledge and experience?
Your own personal experience and knowledge can make you believe that you understand your target market even before you conduct any research, Habstritt says. For example, if you’re a fitness buff and want to start a business related to personal health, you may assume you know your customer. “Don’t assume that you can think like your target market,” Habstritt says. “You have to ask them and talk to them to really understand them.”

What’s my revenue model?
Figuring out how you’ll reap revenue can help you find your target market, Hisrich says. Social ventures can be particularly tricky, he says, because without a specific plan for getting revenue it’s easy to overestimate the size of the customer base. But if you’re revenue model is simply selling a product online, it can be easier to figure out a target customer.

How will I sell my product or service?
Your retailing strategy can help determine your target market, Hisrich says. Will you have a store, a website or both? Will you be marketing only in your home country or globally? For example, an online-only business may have a younger customer than one with stores. A brick-and-mortar business may narrow your target market to people in the neighborhood.

How did my competitors get started?
Evaluating the competition’s marketing strategy can help you define your own target customer, says Darr. But of course, don’t simply copy the marketing approach of your biggest competitors once you define your target consumers. “You must have a way of differentiating what you are doing from what the other guys offer,” he says.

How will I find my customers?
As you start defining your target customers, try to determine whether you can efficiently market to them. You’ll need to do some market research and study your target audience’s demographic, geographic and purchasing patterns. If you’re selling from a storefront, you need to know how many people in your target market live nearby. If you’re selling from a website, you need to learn about your prospective customers’ online behavior. Understanding how to locate your customers early on can help you establish a game plan once you start building a marketing strategy, Hisrich says.

Is there room to expand my target market?
Be prepared to redefine your target market or to expand it over time, Darr says. For example, figuring out whether you’re targeting a domestic consumer or customers throughout the world can be a good start. As the power of mobile mapping has grown in the last decade, he’s seen the number of target markets grow at his own firm. In the beginning, Mosaik dealt mostly with wireless operators, but now he also counts cable providers and broadcasters as clients, Darr says.

A Refreshing Take on User Experience Design

UX Design

I recently came across a blog-post by Susan Weinschenk which provides a quick overview of ideal user experience guidelines from a psychologist’s point of view.

The article addresses a diverse set of user experience guidelines and standards and consists of some really practical and useful tips which can and ought to be implemented right away.

Here’s a quick summary of the points which I found to be relevant to eLearning andInstructional Design.

  • It is better to show people a little bit of information and let them choose if they want more details. (Progressive Disclosure)
  • Instead of just describing things, show an example.
  • If something is clickable make sure it looks like it is clickable.
  • If a task is error-prone, break it up into smaller chunks.
  • Don’t make people remember things from one task to another or one page to another.
  • People can only remember about 3-4 items at a time. The “7 plus or minus 2” rule is an urban legend. Research shows the real number is 3-4.
  • People need feedback. The computer doesn’t need to tell the human that it is loading the file. The human needs to know what is going on.
  • If pages are cluttered people can’t find information. Use grouping to help focus where the eye should look.
  • Things that are close together are believed to “go” together.
  • The hardest colors to look at together are red and blue. Try to avoid red text on a blue background or vice versa.

Social Networking – A Contrarian View

Social Networking – A Contrarian View

Today, I’m going to adopt a contrarian view. We all know social networks promote learning; while the mechanisms aren’t documented or well-understood, that it works isn’t in doubt anymore. But we must ask, are the ‘social media/networking systems’ out there promoting this learning? Or does it happen in spite of these systems?

Sure, lots of companies want to replicate ‘Facebook’ behind the firewall; safe from prying eyes, but open enough for employees to freely express themselves. They hope that by just implementing such a system learning will ‘happen’; does it?

I have seen that early attempts to bring social networking inside companies as a work tool have failed. They probably failed because they didn’t really have a focus on the companies’ true ethos – making money. Perhaps they lacked the required understanding of business processes, the systems used to enable these and the ‘culture’ that each company develops over time. Social networks are about connecting people, about creating an ‘ambient awareness’ of what’s happening and where with reference to the people around us. Such networks come into their own when you want to find people who can help you solve problems, provide insights, or provide expertise you may not have.

Given the way social networking tools are at this time, connecting people is the easy part – the systems facilitate the connections easily and effectively. But how does one track the data exchange and activity on these systems to glean usable knowledge (further solves problem, provides an insight or expertise) – it is only this knowledge that people are interested in – knowledge that affects business process execution, social networking tools as we know it fail miserably in this area. People need to be motivated to change, and that isn’t going to happen overnight. Social technologies are going to take time to be adopted, just like it too years before people thought email.

Till that time, I wouldn’t be relying on them for much more than connecting and communicating, another tool like IM, video chat, VoIP etc. This of course, does not mean that you ignore the potential of such tools/platforms/systems. In the years to come, as people change their attitude and mind-sets about the tools, they are sure to have an impact. Has your organization implemented a social networking platform? What’s been your experience?

Courtesy : Abhijit Kadle  |  Social Learning 

Pervasive Learning

Pervasive LearningIn his book, Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization (Wiley, 2013), Dan Pontefract defines ‘Pervasive Learning’ as:

“learning at the speed of need through formal, informal and social learning modalities”

(I got the above definition from Dan’s blog, the book is still on my ‘to read’ list.)

A powerful thought indeed. The idea of pervasive learning has been around for sometime and makes perfect sense as more and more of us become concept workers and work and learning merge. I believe emerging technology is helping pervasive learning to happen more effectively and will continue to impact positively. I have noted this in an earlier post on how mobile enables informal learning.

 

Dan likens his idea of Pervasive Learning with Charles Jennings’ 70-20-10 Forummission. To me the two look well aligned until you take the ratios in the 70-20-10 method too seriously. As Donald Clark points out in this article, the 70-20-10 model may not be universally applicable to all staff and there’s not enough research to back the exact percentages. He talks of the ‘10% amplifier effect’, emphasizing the importance of formal training.

“This amplifier effect works because each hour of formal learning spills over to four-hours of informal learning for a 4:1 ratio (Cofer, 2000). Bell (1977) used the metaphor of brick and mortar to describe this relationship of formal and informal learning—formal learning acts as bricks fused into the emerging bridge of personal growth, while informal learning acts as the mortar, facilitating the acceptance and development of the formal learning.”

Not surprisingly Donald and I prefer Dan Pontefracts’ 3-33 Pervasive Learning modelover the 70-20-10 model. Donald writes –

“…3-33, which stands for 33% of the learning is formal, 33% is informal, and 33% is social. What is most interesting is that the research behind his model revealed that when the learners were asked to give the percentages on how they thought they learned, the numbers were very different than when the researchers actually discovered how the learners did indeed learn. This coincides with other research that indicates what learners are able to judge about their learning experiences (see Learner Self-Assessment Ratings). Pontefract 3-33 approximation is a Pervasive Learning model – learning is a collaborative, continuous, connected, and community-based growth mindset:”

Pervasive Learning

Courtesy : Amit Garg Amit Garg  |  eLearningeLearning Development