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A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

Why New Ideas Fail

In 2007, Steve Ballmer, then-CEO of Microsoft, emphatically predicted that Apple's new phone would fail. "There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share," he said. "No chance."

The volume of Ballmer's voice makes him a popular target in technology, but he wasn't an outlier, just the loudest guy in crowd of skeptical experts. RIM CEO Jim Balsillie said the iPhone would never represent "a sort of sea-change for BlackBerry." Cellphone experts writing in BloombergPC Magazine, andMarketwatch all said it would flop.

No one had seen something like the iPhone before. One large screen? With no keypad? That tries to be everything at once, but actually offers a poor call service, slow Internet speeds, and worse camera quality than your existing devices? The experts were certain: This will not work.

Everybody knows the end of that story. The failure forecasts failed.

To be fair, predicting the future is hard. But what if the industry experts here were wrong about the iPhone, not just because of the uncertainty of predictions, but also because they were experts?  What if they were blinded by their own knowledge, so confident in what was ...

6 Legit Ways to Move More During Work

Say goodbye to coffee shops or conference rooms and hello to the pavement. Moving while working? Now that’s the way to get things done.

Ditch Your Chair

Unbroken hours spent seated in a chair hurt our bodies in a way that even regular visits to the gym or a 5K weekend run can’t fix. One of the earliest studies to investigate the risks of “sitting disease” occurred in the 1940s, when a Scottish epidemiologist discovered conductors were at lower risk for coronary heart disease than their bus-driving colleagues. Morris and his team found similar results when they expanded the study and compared postal delivery workers to sedentary postal clerks.

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Since Morris’ time, more and more research links sitting for uninterrupted periods of time—the kind of sitting we experience at work and while commuting—with two times greater risk of diabetes, a 90 percent greater risk of cardiovascular disease, and a 49 percent greater risk of death, among other conditions and diseases. It’s this research that drives the media buzz about how our jobs are killing us.

The good ...

3 Tips for Building a Government Content Strategy

The federal government is on the verge of a revolution in the way it communicates with citizens. Today, successful agencies and programs are embracing the content marketing approach that has taken the private sector by storm. However, many government leaders are struggling with how to implement a content strategy.  Corner Alliance has developed an approach called FedInbound as a way to guide agencies and programs in their content strategies.

FedInbound has three main principles for developing a federal content strategy:

  1. Do the easy things first. Many leaders want to make a big splash. They want an app that they can download on a smartphone. It’s a status item. The reality is that most stakeholders aren’t going to be interested in your app. If you are just beginning your content strategy, you haven’t learned what works and what doesn’t work. Take some time to build your audience through the more basic and often more effective approaches like blogging and social media posting. Work your way from the bottom of the content pyramid to the top, and learn as you go before making large investments.
  2. Your people are your content creators. Most of the knowledge needed to create ...

Cool Videos: Rapping for Research

Many entries in the NIH Common Fund video competition highlight particular research projects. But in the original rap video that I’m featuring today, a group of New York researchers deliver a message about the central importance of collaboration for moving scientific breakthroughs from the bench to the bedside.

Or, as the researchers themselves put it, “This video describes, in rap, the Weill Cornell Clinical and Translational Science Center, a partnership of world-class academic institutions and health centers in New York City. The CTSC supports the translation of basic science research into better patient care that will improve our nation’s health. It fosters high-risk/high-reward research, enabling the development of transformative tools and methodologies, and filling fundamental knowledge gaps. The CTSC seeks to change academic culture to foster collaboration and was made possible by a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the NIH Common Fund, administered by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.”


Weill Cornell Clinical and Translational Science Center

Clinical and Translational Science Awards (NCATS)

NIH Common Fund Video Competition

NIH support: Common Fund; National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

(Image via Monika Wisniewska/

The World's Second-Richest Man Thinks Everybody Should Work Less

The ideal work-life balance is to work three days a week, 11 hours a day, until you’re 75.  That’s what Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim told CNN in a recent interview.

“I think machines will work 24 hours, service should work as much as possible, everything should work more, but you should have more time for you during all your life,” Slim told CNN’s Christine Romans. “You will have more time for entertainment, for family, for quality of your life, and also to train, to find a better job. … And you will make stronger the economy, stronger the markets, and the stronger everything.”

Slim, who amassed his $82 billion fortune in telecom—and, at age 74, has shown no signs of slowing—has been pushing for a shorter work week for a while now. In July, he preached the same idea at a business conference in Paraguay.

Workers in Mexico work far more hours per year than their counterparts in other OECD countries—and they have for quite a while.