The Lead: Services for AirBnB, Deep Work in a Distracted World, Smart Home of the Future

The Lead, AchieveForum’s weekly brief of leadership news and insights, provides quick clarity into relevant headlines and straight-forward analysis for applying effective leadership tools and techniques.

Improved Services for Airbnb Users

Celebrating its ten-year anniversary, the homesharing platform Airbnb announced its plan to reach more than 1 billion guests per year by 2028. It plans to increase its customer base with several new improved services for hosts and guests that use their platform. Several hosts will be eligible for 14 new and updated benefits including annual credit toward travel or a professional photography session, exclusive pricing on select Nest connected home products in available countries, and access to tax preparation support.

Our View: Growing rapidly, the sharing economy is expected to reach $355 billion by 2025 and is creating new spaces for leadership across industries. For example, the insurance industry is discovering that they must adapt and change to accommodate the consumer demand for sharing economy-centric policies. Agile leaders and organizations stay alert to how disruptions in other industries could affect your industry. Further Reading

The Competitive Advantage of Deep Work in a Distracted World

There are specific products and tools that can be used to help you stay focused. Apps like RescueTime and Escape can help you track your productivity and time spent on email and social media. Apps like Proud and One Big Thing can help you set reminders to focus your day.

Our View: In his book Deep Work, Cal Newport describes how work that requires singular focus is both increasingly important and increasingly rare in the modern workplace. Leaders can do a lot at the organizational level to foster workplaces for deep work. Some action items include: setting a max quota for total meeting time company-wide, having your team mark off time for deep work on their calendars, and having teams list the single most important thing they want to complete each day. Further Reading

The Smart Home of the Future

Homes continue to evolve with smart devices that provide real utility. Smart speakers will likely be a central feature of the smart home of the future where they connect to every element from lightbulbs to thermostats to door locks. The smart kitchen will see developments like 3D printers that make intricately designed pasta, refrigerators that predict when food items will spoil, and smart skillets that connect to apps that determine the precise temperatures needed to heat specific food. Bedrooms in the smart homes of the future will have alarm clocks that alert by scent instead of sound, mirrors that allow you to virtually try on clothes, and closets that track your habits.

Our View: Forward-thinking leaders are exploring how to leverage smart technology in the home and workplace to improve and even change behavior. To develop technology that can change human behavior, the designer needs to consider the psychology, user experience, and engagement pattern. The design process should select a method to incentivize the user, design a pleasing front-end user experience, and add a back-end system for controlling interaction and engagement with the user. Further Reading

National Geographic Stays Ahead of the Curve

National Geographic moved from a type of elite club in 1888 to producing a magazine and then a magazine with color images. As color photos became less novel, they moved to television and produced specials featuring conservationists like Jacques Cousteau and Jane Goodall. Then cable channels proliferated and documentaries also became less novel. National Geographic continued to evolve to all platforms and has more than 2.5 million followers on its photo sharing website today.

Our View: A culture of discovery and reinvention is often paradoxically best achieved when leaders stay true to their organization’s mission. An organization’s mission statement goes beyond defining performance standards and driving strategy for internal stakeholders and also engages external stakeholders by serving as a public relation, customer, supplier, and partner communication tool. Further Reading

New Themes for the Escape Room Business

Some Montana State University students and recent graduates are creating a new business that hosts “escape rooms” which are recreational settings that require participants to work together to solve a variety of timed puzzles. The rooms created by this new business will differentiate themselves from current escape rooms with themes such as “The Asylum,” “The Heist,” and “Apollo 13.”

Our View: Challenge-filled escape rooms are also brimming with leadership lessons. Just like in an escape room, many workplace projects require that everyone understand the goal, receive the same communication, and debrief. When leaders foster a collaborative experience in workplace, they promote collective real-time problem solving and learning. Further Reading

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