First U.S. Offshore Wind Project Gains DEP Approval

Sarah Lozanova | Friday December 26th, 2008 | 13 Comments

cape%20wind%20nantucket.jpgThe U.S. wind industry has been a world leader, installing an impressive 5,244 megawatts in 2007. The U.S. offshore wind industry is another story, with no offshore wind farms yet developed. The tides may be changing however 4.7 miles off the coast of Cape Cod in Nantucket Bay.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) helped moved this proposed wind farm forward by approving the undersea cable that would transmit the generated power from 130 turbines to land.
In a letter notifying Cape Wind of their decision, a DEP official wrote, “the Department determines that the proposed project serves a proper public interest which provides greater public benefit than detriment to the public’s rights in said tidelands”.

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Team or Collaborative Player?

CCA LiveE | Friday December 26th, 2008 | 0 Comments

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apples-oranges.jpgby Ingrid Dragotta:
To many, the words “teamwork” and “collaboration” seem to be synonyms but, in my experience, these formations play out differently in several meaningful ways.
Let’s start with how a team functions or dysfunctions. The Webster definition of “teamwork” is “work done by several associates with each doing a part but all subordinating personal prominence to the efficiency of the whole.” That may be what teamwork is supposed to be, but it rarely works out that way.

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What Can Brainstorming Do for Your Team?

CCA LiveE | Thursday December 25th, 2008 | 0 Comments

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the-a-team.jpgbu Jason Hui
I once took a class that began every day with a 15 minute brainstorming session. We used two different methodologies. The first was object oriented brainstorming: take any random object, like a spoon, and come up with as many different uses in three minutes as possible…a signaling mirror, a disciplinary tool, a shovel for gnomes. The second was word oriented brainstorming: take any word, like “cop,” and come up with as many different words as possible…like copy, cope, Copernicus, copa cabana.
Brainstorming is well known as a technique for generating creative ideas.* However, through the DMBA program at CCA, I’ve realized that brainstorming is not only a creative process but is also a tool that can be used to reinforce effective communication techniques in any team. The rules of brainstorming require participants to suspend judgment and separate the critical process from the creative. The true power of teams does not revolve around varied skill sets, but rather in effective communication and the ability to share ideas openly. Beyond ideation, the brainstorming process builds trust, the foundation of good teamwork.

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One Way to Kick-Start the Economy

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Thursday December 25th, 2008 | 0 Comments

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Green jobs were dead last on Common Current’s Top Ten Sustainability Stories of 2008, but it is certainly not least in its potential to give the economy the boost it so desperately needs.
The United States Conference of Mayors released a study in October that detailed the economic advantages of a “green economy.” The advantages listed include “investments in new technologies, greater productivity, improvements in the US balance of trade, increased real disposable income across the nation…lower costs of doing business, and reduced household energy expenditures.” The advantages result in job and income growth.

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Obama’s Energy Plan Must Not Be A Sound Bite

Jeff Siegel | Thursday December 25th, 2008 | 8 Comments

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So it looks like a copy of Barack Obama’s inauguration speech has been leaked.
Here’s an excerpt…

“Energy will be the immediate test of our ability to unite this nation, and it can also be the standard around which we rally. On the battlefield of energy we can win for our nation a new confidence, and we can seize control again of our common destiny. Our excessive dependence on OPEC has already taken a tremendous toll on our economy and our people. It’s a cause of the increased inflation and unemployment that we now face. This intolerable dependence on foreign oil threatens our economic independence and the very security of our nation.
The energy crisis is real. It is worldwide. It is a clear and present danger to our nation. These are facts and we simply must face them.”

Now for the truth…

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The Functional and Empathic Voices: The Battle in My Head

CCA LiveE | Wednesday December 24th, 2008 | 0 Comments

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by Nicole Chen
I discovered this semester that a two-headed monster lives within me. I always thought that only one did – the one that has pushed me to become a great executer and project manager, and has led me to relative success in my career. After all, I studied at a prestigious private university, worked at a now successful startup right out of school, lived overseas for several years and managed projects with high-profile clients. But a second one is starting to make itself heard, and seems to be increasing in volume lately.
The first voice is the one that says to me, “Ok, so what do I need to do today? We’ve got two weeks left before the due date, so let’s set an agenda, outline the goals, and end each meeting with clear next steps. Let’s make it happen!” This voice is quite loud and in a constant state of activity and brain whirl. This new emerging voice, however, is a little softer, more and is constantly trying to interject among the business of the first. It says to me, “Let’s sit back, take a breath and feel. Stop and look around. Does everyone in the team seem engaged and vested into this project? Are we all happy?” But then the first voice pipes back up and says, “Hey, back to work! We’ve got to get this done!” So back and forth the two voices went.

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How to raise VC funding: Tips from a professional VC negotiator

| Wednesday December 24th, 2008 | 2 Comments

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Venture capital funding is capable of super-charging innovation, financing high-potential start-ups at their most risky stage. Of course there are clear pros and cons to seeking venture funding. How do you know if the venture capital (VC) route is the right one? What does it take to raise VC funding for your start-up? Especially today, raising money is not an easy feat, nor is venture funding always the best answer. I had lunch with J-F Gauthier, founder and managing partner of VC Negotiators to get answers to these and related questions. In 1995, at the start of his successful career, Gauthier ranked #1 negotiator out of 810 in his Harvard Negotiation program. Since then he has worked many angles of the business world, as CEO, consultant, banker and more. Today, he works with entrepreneurs to raise money and negotiate favorable terms with VCs. Gauthier contends that unless you are an experienced financier and negotiator, all entrepreneurs can benefit from guidance when seeking funding. He shared with me some guidelines that can ease the process.
Echoing a sentiment I’ve heard from many, including Wired’s Daniel Roth, Gauthier posits that while there are very tough times ahead for all businesses, now can be a good time for a business to get started and for innovation to happen. Start-ups who “make it through (the recession) will be rewarded with reduced competition. Starting a business now is smart if you can survive through the recession as there will be funding available in a year and a half or so and little competition.”

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A Brilliantly Simple Green Business Idea

| Wednesday December 24th, 2008 | 6 Comments

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As a green business blogger on three sites, I hear about a lot of green business ideas. Today I heard about a near perfect one. Green Any Site. The idea is simple: Before you make a purchase online, you hit the “Green This!” button, and then make your purchase as usual, coupon codes and all. A portion of that sale will go to Green Any Site, 100% of which will be donated to a green nonprofit organization. End of story.
There is, of course, more. And Green Any Site does a great job explaining it, complete with rollover text popping up on the FAQs on the front page, getting all the big questions answered quickly, without fuss.
Basically, merchants have what they call affiliate programs – you send me business, I send you a percentage for having done so. Miro, an arts non profit, has done this, with purchases on Amazon. Green Any Site, as the name says, does (or will soon) with any shopping site. They’re working within an existing system that merchants are familiar with, so no need to convince sites to “go green.” They just get the green, and give some to Green My Site.
So how does Green Any Site make money, since they give 100% of affiliate money away, in an auditable trail?

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Alternative Fuel Development Depends On Government Investment

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Wednesday December 24th, 2008 | 0 Comments

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The lowest (relative) gas and oil prices ever made the number four spot on Common Current’s “Top Ten 2008 Sustainability Stories.” In 2008 the prices at the pump jumped to the highest on record, and then during the past month dipped to below $2 a gallon. Even with the low prices the global demand for oil has decreased due to the economy.
According to a December 15 New York Times piece, oil, and gas projects have been either canceled or suspended recently. If prices stay low, invest in alternative fuels could decrease.

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World’s First Solar Cargo Ship Sets Sail

Thomas Schueneman | Tuesday December 23rd, 2008 | 1 Comment

Back in September we reported plans for Japanese shipping line Nippon Yusen KK and Nippon Oil Corporation to build a ship partially propelled with solar power. On Friday those plans came to fruition with the launching of the 60,000-ton Auriga Leader, a 656-foot-long (200 meter) cargo vessel initially tasked to carry cars across the ocean for Toyota motor company.

The Auriga Leader can carry up to 6,400 cars for sale in foreign markets.

The vessel is equipped with 328 solar panel able to produce about 40 kilowatts or less than one percent of the power required to move the ship. Company officials stress that this represents only the beginning, with plans to increase the ratio of propulsion power from solar energy. Until the Auriga Leader set sail, solar energy has been used only to power crew cabins and other auxiliary power needs. You gotta start somewhere.

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Executive Excess and the Compensation Divide: Reaching Even Greater Heights

| Tuesday December 23rd, 2008 | 1 Comment

grinch-steal_tree.jpg The 116 banks receiving emergency bailout funds from the government doled out some $1.6 billion in executive compensation in 2007, even as these corporate leaders led their companies and the US financial system over the brink. The same is seen at multinational US automakers, where GM CEO Waggoner’s salary was bumped up 64% to $15.7 million even as the company progressed to the verge of bankruptcy.
Concern, commotion and outrage over the issue of executive compensation is rising to new heights, and rightly so. JP MorganChase CEO Jamie Dimon and Citigroup chairman Robert Rubin are forgoing their bonuses this year. Quite a sacrifice. Of course, they’ll still take down multiple millions in base salary and stay on to play prominent roles not only in their own companies and industry, but also in Washington D.C. policy making circles.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Studies show that the disparity between executive and worker compensation in the US has been widening sharply since at least the 1980s, breaking down the middle class and Americans’ long and dearly held notions of economic equity and upward mobility. Globalization and the opening up of the Chinese, Indian and former USSR economies has brought a tidal wave of eager, new emerging market “capitalist” workers into the global labor pool. That’s tilted the balance of power even more in favor of those who have the capital versus those who provide the labor.

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On Visual Documentation…

CCA LiveE | Tuesday December 23rd, 2008 | 0 Comments

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by Tim Bishop

During the first week of class this semester, a fellow student showed us a project she had been working on. For the past few years, she had taken at least one photo per day, and she shared with us a month in her life. I was immediately struck by the effect of this project, how a single image could transport one back to a time and place. I had always taken photos while traveling, but here was a visual journal of the everyday and potentially mundane. Here, a trip to the park or the movies was now an event stamped with a date, and even though I wasn’t there, I could see how the people and places could immediately spark the memory to recollect all kinds of other details about the day.

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Working Mothers in the Design Strategy MBA Program

CCA LiveE | Tuesday December 23rd, 2008 | 0 Comments

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by Ayano Hattori, Beth Berrean, Heike Rapp-Wurm:
The following are a series of posts between Heike, Ayano and Beth. We’re three working mothers in the Design Strategy MBA program at CCA. The posts below reflect our conversations as the semester progressed around what it means to be mothers, dMBA students and managers in professional practice all at the same time.
We have been lucky enough to have our professor Linda Yaven take some time with us each residency to discuss these issues in more depth. The conversations below reflect just a bit of what has been on our minds as we transition to this new phase of including dMBA in our lives along with working and being moms.
Transitioning between parent, business student, employee and manager has allowed each of us to try on different ideas and come to new conclusions. Ultimately, each of us needs to make choices based on ALL the roles we play. Our hope is that by revealing the details of some of our conversations we can provoke or invite your WHOLE person to respond

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Reason Will Not Lead Us To the Future

CCA LiveE | Tuesday December 23rd, 2008 | 0 Comments

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money-guys.jpgby Paul Colando:
When it comes to business the most talked about and apparent emotion is fear. Today, as we watch the unfolding of an economic crisis this emotion has never been more prevalent. Corporations and consumers alike are now trained to proceed in whatever they do with caution. In the past few weeks we observed top executives dressed in their buttoned up suits and stone cold faces present to authorities on the collapse and potential collapses of historic companies, driving the fear factor to record highs. We attempt to find comfort through reasoning but during these tough times it is equally important to be aware of your emotional side.

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“Left Out Alert”: A Virtual Team Member Reflects on Her Experience

CCA LiveE | Tuesday December 23rd, 2008 | 2 Comments

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circle-o.gifby Gwen Armbruster
The CCA dMBA promotes the opportunity for those of us (ME!) who do not live in the Bay Area to participate in their new business program. And I accepted admission into this program knowing that I would not be relocating to the Bay Area from my current physical location in Baltimore, MD. As a result, I had the pleasure of being a “virtual” team member on various projects throughout the semester. [NOTE: While I am not the only person in the dMBA program who is a commuter, all persons I worked with this semester were physically located in the Bay Area.]

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