The Lead: Indonesia’s Plan to Move its Capital, Pinterest Directs its Vaccine-Related Searches to Leading Health Org, Hudson’s Bay Selling Lord & Taylor

Welcome to The Lead, AchieveForum’s weekly brief of leadership news and insights. This curated content will provide you with quick clarity into relevant headlines and provide straight-forward analysis for applying effective leadership tools and techniques. 

Indonesia’s Plan to Move its Capital

Indonesia plans to move its capital from the megalopolis of Jakarta to Borneo, the sparsely populated island Indonesia shares with Malaysia and Brunei. The move is prompted by Jakarta’s pollution, traffic congestion, and rising sea levels that is causing it to sink. The 33 billion dollar move to relocate the sinking capital raises concerns about rainforest destruction and more pollution. The bold ambition is to create a smart, green city on state land near the existing urban centers of Balikpapan and Samarinda, but environmentalists are justifiably worried. This type of move is not without precedent either, as Brazil’s former administrative and judicial move involved clearing a mass of tropical savanna.

Our View: The lessons learned from moving a country’s capital are transferable to companies. Both governments and businesses must consider any move’s impact on its people, culture, and surrounding communities. Major re-locations involve dialogue with a plethora of third parties that must understand the implications of time, budget, overall duration of the project, and the relevance of technology involved so it’s not obsolete by the time the relocation is complete. Technology should be leveraged to maintain or improve standards, support critical systems and infrastructure, and develop sustainable alternatives. Further Reading

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Pinterest Directs its Vaccine-Related Searches to Leading Health Organizations

In an effort to promote facts, Pinterest is limiting its vaccine-related searches to only link to internationally recognized health organizations. Vaccines help children fight disease and save millions of lives every year. Vaccine hesitancy (a reluctance to get inoculated because of unfounded fears and misinformation) has been listed by the World Health Organization as one of the 10 most urgent public health challenges of this year. Digital platforms have great power to influence the masses, and Pinterest’s bold actions to eliminate misinformation should be emulated.

Our View: Look for ways your organization can protect the integrity of internal and external news and eliminate misinformation and its viral spread. Facebook is working on a strategy called “remove, reduce, and inform.”  This strategy is used to manage problematic content, and the steps include removing content that violates their policies, reducing problematic content that doesn’t violate their policies, and replacing it with correct additional information. Create and enforce policies at your organization that build trust by being clear and consistent in how you deal with content that violates your policies. Further Reading

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Hudson’s Bay is Selling Lord & Taylor

The retail company Hudson’s Bay will be selling its Lord & Taylor department store business to Le Tote Inc., a fashion rental service company, for about $100 million and will receive a 25% equity stake in Le Tote and two seats on the company’s board. Hudson’s Bay has been streamlining their growth strategy and focusing on luxury department store chain Saks Fifth Avenue and Hudson’s Bay in Canada over the past few years to adapt to customers’ online shopping trends.

Our View: It’s obvious to see how retail is impacted by the digital age as online shopping increasingly replaces in-store shopping, but all industries are significantly impacted by new technology, even though the effects are sometimes more opaque. Leaders everywhere are tasked with streamlining their strategy for growth as technology evolves the way people shop, communicate, work, and play. “How can you use digital technology to overcome barriers and capture new opportunities?” is an excellent question to ask forward-thinking leaders across your organization. The answers should form the basis of your streamlined growth strategy. Further Reading

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Chinese App ZAO Sparks Privacy Concerns

The face-swapping app ZAO has gone viral, and its privacy concerns have rocketed as well. ZAO allows users to upload images to swap their faces with celebrities in a wide selection of different video clips, and ZAO has become the most downloaded app in China’s iOS App Store in the weekend just after it was launched on Friday, August 30th. Just like the FaceApp controversy, ZAO’s privacy policy and technology causes concerns. The stack of free data made available for indiscriminate usage worries users and policy makers alike. Whenever there’s a mass deployment of a powerful deepfake application that’s easy to use, there is immediate reason for concern. Rules, regulations, and policies will likely adapt and change to address these concerns.

Our View: Business leaders have the responsibility to protect their employees’ personal information. Data breaches have been described as “not an if issue, but a when issue.” The average cost of a data breach to a company in 2018 was $3.9 million, and it’s increasing annually. Implement security measures that include encryption, firewalls, secure and updated passwords, and employee training on appropriate data security. Keep your data breach response plan updated and communicate these processes to your employees. Further Reading

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Music to Increase Productivity

Scientific studies show that in addition to brightening your mood, listening to certain music can actually increase your productivity. Listening to classical music, nature music (such as soothing sounds of flowing water, rain, or rustling leaves), ambient soundtracks, epic music, and even video game music can boost your ability to complete tasks better and quicker. However, not all types of music increase your concentration, and listening to music with lyrics or a complex musical structure is often distracting.

Our View: Researcher Brian Wansink at Cornell University explained that other than having a scientific reason to play tunes at work, happy music has the ability to make employees more cooperative and supportive overall. Refer to scientific research to choose music that increases co-operation and improves group decision making. Instead of blasting the same music through the whole office, work spaces with different music can help cater to individual preferences and personality types. Further Reading

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