The desire to improve our cognitive ability through brain-training games has turned into what is said to be a trillion-dollar industry. Such games are based on the idea that testing our memory, attention and other types of brain processing will improve our overall intelligence and brain function. Companies like Lumosity, Cogmed and Nintendo are all cashing in hugely on this idea. But many scientists and experts in brain research feel the theory has serious flaws. There has yet to be concrete evidence proving anything close to what such companies claim to be able to do.

In fact, David Z. Hambrick, associate professor of psychology at Michigan State University, and his colleagues Tom Redick (lead researcher) and Randy Engle will soon be publishing new evidence that fails to replicate the very study that so much of the commercial industry rests upon. SmartPlanet spoke with Hambrick about the limits of intelligence and the findings from this new and potentially ground-breaking study.

See on www.smartplanet.com


Do earbuds and noise-canceling headphones make workers in crowded offices more productive?

Marissa Yu works in a busy office, surrounded by 120 co-workers in a mostly open space. Yet when she has a question, needs an update or tries to reach some of her colleagues, she might as well talk to the wall.

“You call their name one, two, three, four times, and they’re not responding,” says Ms. Yu, director of interiors in Houston for PageSoutherlandPage, an architecture and engineering firm. “You dial their extension and they’re not picking up. Pretty soon you’re throwing rubber bands across the wall.”

See on online.wsj.com

A THIRD of Australian workers waste almost a quarter of their day at work, a survey shows. The Ernst and Young Australian Productivity Pulse survey found the lack of productivity costs businesses more than $41 billion each year in wages alone.

The survey of 11,500 people showed the current economic slowdown particularly affects the productivity of workers who felt insecure about their jobs.

“Workers that feel insecure about their roles or are unsatisfied with their workplace have fallen further down the productivity scale as a result of the current slowdown,” Ernst and Young Oceania Advisory leader Neil Plumridge said.

See on www.news.com.au

Each day, the data onslaught that hits markets has an outsized impact on how stocks around the world move.While it’s easy to get caught up in this noise, investors trying to get ahead of the curve need to focus on the big trends.

We have identified these big trends in The Global 20.

The list includes the rapidly growing field of genomics, a group of emerging countries that are outpacing the BRICs, and the revolutionary new way that retailers sell goods.

See on www.businessinsider.com

Every year, Booz & Company takes an intensive look at CEO turnover among the world’s top 2,500 public companies. Our research now reaches back to 2000, giving us over a decade of perspective on the tenure and job functions of these global business leaders. Annually, we consider a new dimension of transition and change, looking deeply into such topics as the evolution of corporate governance practices, the special pressures on new CEOs, or the role of the corporate core and its effect on tenure and turnover.

Since its inception, the study has included an analysis by both geography and industry. It also looks at major trends with respect to CEO succession over time: the predominance of company insiders taking the top job, the split of the CEO and chairman roles, and the growth of the apprentice model, in which the new CEO’s predecessor assumes the job of board chairman.

The study looks at the world’s 2,500 largest public companies as measured by their market capitalization. The analysis of this data set — as a byproduct — illustrates the gradual migration of the largest companies from the mature economies of the United States, Canada, Western Europe, and Japan to emerging economies. If this pattern continues, within a few years the companies in the world’s mature Western economies could represent a minority of our sample.

See on www.booz.com

It’s hard to believe, but true: Still today, many everyday products from around the globe are the result of child and slave labor, according to a 2011 report from the U.S. Department of Labor.
See on www.huffingtonpost.com

Hay Group, the global management consulting firm, today released its seventh annual Best Companies for Leadership Study and Top 20 list. The study ranks the best companies for leadership around the globe and examines how those companies nurture talent and foster innovation in their ranks. This year, General Electric topped the list, followed by Procter & Gamble, IBM, Microsoft and Coca-Cola.According to Hay Group’s study, the Best Companies for Leadership create workplace environments and processes that enable innovation to thrive. In fact, all of the Top 20 companies reported that their leaders regularly celebrate innovation, compared to just 49 percent of other companies. In addition, 90 percent of the Top 20 companies reported that if individuals have an excellent idea, they can bypass the chain of command without the threat of negative consequences, compared to only 63 percent of other companies.

“The Best Companies for Leadership recognize innovation is key to their future growth and ability to survive in a fiercely competitive global market,” said Rick Lash, director in Hay Group’s Leadership and Talent practice and co-leader of the Best Companies for Leadership Study. “Many companies prize innovation, but the Best Companies for Leadership approach it in a disciplined way by building agile organizations, promoting collaboration, celebrating successes, learning from setbacks and fostering a culture that encourages a passion for innovation throughout the organization.”

Hay Group’s study also found that the Best Companies for Leadership cast a wide net for ideas and develop their people to think more broadly. All of the Top 20 companies said they provide structured opportunities for younger employees to promote innovative ideas, compared to 68 percent of other companies. Similarly, 95 percent of the Top 20 companies reported that senior leaders personally spend time actively developing others and 90 percent said their leaders effectively help front-line employees understand their company’s long-term strategy. That is compared to only 48 percent and 53 percent, respectively, of all other companies who reported the same.

In fact, the Best Companies for Leadership consistently outperform their peers. Over a 10 year period, the Top 20 companies produced a 5.39 percent shareholder return, compared to a 2.92 percent shareholder return generated by the S&P 500.

See on www.haygroup.com