Archive for the ‘Academia’ Category

As I continue to look for a job, I attended this morning the last virtual session of The Global Careers Fair 2014, organized by several UN organizations. Among others, I had the chance to chat with recruiters from the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), UN Women, and both the World Bank and the IMF. 

unnamed girlDespite the friendly platform and the chance to check out several organizations’ lists of openings gathered in only one site, I found out after an hour that I was basically wasting my time. At odds with its international vocation and its claimed support to migrants, women and equal opportunities, these organizations enforce specific protocols that make it impossible for me to apply to their openings. Why? Well, I was born in Cuba and I’m currently a permanent resident in the USA. In order for me to take an international officer position with one of these employers, I should relinquish my current status of permanent resident in the USA. Yes, in the hypothetical case that I was still living in Cuba I didn’t need to relinquish anything, but obviously I wouldn’t be able to access the platform there -access to Internet and then bandwidth and software compatibility would have been insurmountable obstacles.

“My best advice is for you to wait to acquire the US citizenship and then come back to apply with us” -it’s the feedback I received from a very nice, very helpful recruiter (I mean no irony nor sarcasm here). So, in order to have a shot at an international officer position at any of the UN institutions and others of similar sort, I need to wait.

This wasn’t in fact such a big surprise. During my MA studies in Europe, I applied for a summer internship at the FAO office in Rome. I was informed I wasn’t eligible as a Cuban national. No further explanations given.  The funny detail now is that I already gave up my citizenship rights in Cuba. Lawyers will understand that nationality and citizenship are actually different concepts, that I won’t explain here. But if I would relinquish my status of legal permanent resident here, I would remain in a sort of limbo, without a place to call home, where I know I could go back, no matter where in the world I get to be, doing what.

Erasmus Mundus MA Journalism (2009-2011)

Erasmus Mundus MA Journalism (2009-2011)

That’s a very peculiar situation that immigrants from other countries, asylum seekers and refugees usually don’t face. Unless your country disappears from the map -it has happened before, ask people in their 40’s from the Balkans and they tell you stories- or because of some very bizarre circumstance, migrants aren’t estranged from their citizenship rights. Ask Eritrean diaspora members and they will tell you how much they weight in their homeland’s politics.

I wonder, isn’t the UN the kind of organization that could use more people with my background? Aren’t people like myself better equipped to understand the hardships and problems of those to whom the UN organizations mean to help and support? Aren’t we prepared to assess possible solutions for diverse problems in diverse environments?

As a professional candidate born in Denmark, Italy, Australia, Canada or the USA, there is little chance to really understand and empathize with any of this. Maybe a representative from a minority, a second generation son or daughter of immigrants can grasp something and imagine a bit more, but nothing close to the actual first hand knowledge.

I think global institutions who are supposed to serve the under-served should actually revise their policies and protocols.

robert_brunerThis is the unedited, original English version of my interview to the UVA-Darden’s dean Robert Bruner, published by AmericaEconomia on 16 April 2013.

Robert Bruner, UVA-Darden’s dean, is one among the most respected academic leaders in the business schools universe. As well, he is highly influential in terms of his vision about leadership, and the role of business schools in the preparation of future business leaders.

Back in 2011, at the IESE Conference “Globalization and Leadership Development in an Integrated World”, you observed that “schools think of management training, but what they need to think of is management development, based on developing competencies and high-engagement learning”. What do you mean by that and where does Darden stand in terms of this vision?

The difference between training and development can be thought of this way: training is fit to build knowledge and some very basic skills. Training is typically one way, from the teacher to the students. It is typically regarding information that is very standard, might be reflected on lectures or tutorials you could find online. The student is trained to achieve certain level of proficiency in what could be building a spreadsheet or managing accounting or something rather mechanical.

If you think on what good education consists of, it consists of three things: knowledge, which it’s names and dates and mechanics. It consists of skills, things like selling, communicating and negotiating. It means a variety of things that are actually best learnt in a face-to-face environment. It is very difficult to learn these skills over the internet or from a distance.

The third set of characteristics of a great education consists of the development of a character. And these should be attributes such as emotional intelligence, social awareness, empathy, integrity, work ethics… A variety of virtues a good education would help to build. I believe those virtues are best built through face-to-face education than rather over the internet.

As a result, management training focuses mainly on knowledge, whereas management development really focuses on all three, knowledge, skills and attributes of character.

My criticism was not aimed at IESE Business School. I have taught at IESE and I feel a high regard for the school. Instead my criticism of business schools is that they give up too easy. They focus on training when they really should focus on building competencies of knowledge, skills and attributes of character, which is more challenging and expensive to do.

It takes time, talent, and ultimately financial resources. There are over 13.000 institutions in the world that award degrees on business of some kind. And many of these schools are really focused on training. It’s understandable considering many of them are located in developing economies and they may not have the resources to rely on. But the truth is to really create the leaders for tomorrow you must focus on building competencies across knowledge, skills and attributes. That means something very different that just training.

At Darden we are focused on all three. We are known for having a strong residential MBA of 21 months. It is a very demanding program, face-to-face education. We teach by the case method, which is active, highly engaging learning. The students who come to us for education say it’s unlike any other previous experience they had.

Darden truly emphasizes management development in the development of leadership qualities through the use of case studies, games, simulations, small seminars… that’s why I say it’s very expensive to develop and deliver.

Darden is known by its focus on leadership. How is Darden preparing future business leaders to relate or deal with emerging economies, where culture can be so different?

We have a very deep commitment to diversity and we practice diversity and inclusion in all ways. Not merely about diversity across gender and races but diversity across geography and ethnicity. We bring to our school students from all over. About a third of our students come from outside the USA. Given the size of the populations in the world, we receive many students from emerging economies.

We have an international students’ business club, which is perhaps the largest club in our school. It is very popular and hosts many cultural events. We have a diverse faculty who come from most continents, among them several Spanish speaking faculties who can speak to Chileans, Spanish students…

Our education is in English, which is the language of business globally, but it is a school of great respect for cultural diversity. We teach, and write, case studies actively –over 250 new cases per years – and many of these are set outside the USA. We actively look for cases set in the emerging economies because those present some of the most interesting managerial aspects.

And we have a global executive MBA program that visits 3 of the biggest emerging economies –India, China and Brazil– as well as Europe and the USA. This is a program for people in their mid career who decide they want to get an MBA but they don’t want to quit their jobs in order to attend. This program delivers them instruction in very intensive residencies lasting two weeks and each residency is in a different country. In between we deliver instruction online. The students’ feedback to this program is very high. They are very enthusiastic about the cross-cultural experiences and the sensitivity developed on them about the emerging economies.

I believe it’s not possible to develop the leader of the future without gaining great social awareness about the issues faced in the emerging economies, about the challenges that must be resolved.

Social media are widely assumed as a tool for self-presentation, advocacy or marketing tools, and information channel, but could social media be used for leadership purposes?

The challenge that any leader faces it’s helping his or her followers to understand what are the challenges and the opportunities that the enterprise faces. And helping the followers to understand what is in the leader’s thinking.

A leader gains authority not because authority has been conferred, not because the board of directors has appointed him or her as CEO of the company. Rather the leader gains authority by building trust in the organization. And social media helps to build awareness and empathy for the leader, and ultimately trust.

This may sound counterintuitive to some leaders, who believe they must be very distant in order to command the authority and the sentiments of the followers. But a great deal of research recently suggests the reverse is true. Followers today, especially in the environment of social media, expect to learn more about the thinking of their leader and social media help a great deal.

The term of self-presentation is very appropriate but it’s more than just expressing facts about you as leader. It is expressing values, outlook, and a critical point of view about things.

You can tell when a blog or a Twitter account is being managed by the PR department of a company as opposed to be authentically written by the leader. The difference is that the PR department simply presents facts, such as “the leader gave a speech today”, or “the leader had dinner with some government officials”, or “the leader granted this award to someone”. Those are modestly interesting. Also the PR department tends to present only the good news, the news that make people feel good, but the authentic blogs and tweets really present the dilemma that managers face, the values by which managers will work their way through the dilemma. And it’s those values that prove to be very important in building strong cultures within companies. I think social media help that process very much.

The alumni ambassadors is one strategy Darden has implemented to attract candidates from around the world. What other strategies are there in place? What level of success has been experienced in terms of Latin American candidates?

We very actively seek to engage graduates of our school in the recruiting process of new applicants. We find that applicants, when they are looking for which school to attend, show the greatest interest in really wanting to know the students’ experiences. They almost rather hear from graduates of the schools than from official representatives, either the dean, or the director of admissions, or members of the faculty. We actively send our faculty and staff around the world. But it’s the engagement of the alumni which proves to be influential.

Darden is different from many business schools. We teach by the discussion method, all taught in English. It is a challenging program, it isn’t for everybody. So it’s very important for the applicant to really get to know any business school that he or she would be interested in applying to. The rankings, and the guide book and the information on the internet are only the start of what any applicant should strive to get.

Some observers notice a decreasing number of applications to MBA programs, the higher cost of the programs as one possible reason. Is that the case of Darden?

We are experiencing an increase in applications. We are in our third year of steady increase in applications.

I think the decline is only representative in the developed economies, the USA, Europe and Japan. If you look at the trends, the USA has been in decline since 2002, a very slow decline, practically flat, but still a decline. In Japan it’s much sharper and in Europe it’s sharper as well. I think all three are reflective of the very severe global financial crisis and recession that occurred. Meanwhile, applications from other countries have been increasing worldwide.

At Darden, we have actually experienced a very healthy volume of applications from the USA, but we are experiencing a large increase in applications from outside. Generally my comment on the decline is that it’s due to the recession, but also due to the maturity of the developed economies and the questions that young people may have about the availability of jobs for them after they graduate from an MBA school.

In reality the economy, the employment numbers are continually to grow in the USA. It looks like these restrictions would be relaxed, although that’s still very much in discussion in the USA congress right now. But there’s a very new mood in the USA which is characterized by increased growth, faster growth, greater interest in business expansion, all of those mean that ultimately there will be a more buoyant job market.

I’m optimistic. I think there is virtually an infinite need for management development in the world today. We haven’t found the bottom, we haven’t found the limit of demand for management development, it’s crucial. In economies as large as Chile, Brazil, India or China there are enormous needs for learning and implementing the best practices. I’m an optimist about the future of business education.

Catch you? Well, let’s clarify: I don’t believe animated news is the only future of all journalism, but I do believe it’ll grow as a trend and will be pervasive in the next decades.

(NMA.tv) Jen-Jen and Vanessa, the anchors

(NMA.tv) Jen-Jen and Vanessa, the anchors

So, I received a few days ago a cheery mail from a friend who told me that he had been granted an offer to work with the animated news, after a careful selection process. He reminded me of an occasion, a few years ago, when we were studying our masters in Germany together, and we gathered for a lunch or a coffee and I asked him what his plans for the future were in terms of work. I now remember vaguely that I found quite interesting his idea of working for an organization with animated news, although he was still thinking about “traditional” journalism. I encouraged him to pursue the dream anyway, because the guy is basically a genius, wasted in journalism, so able to conquer any job he wants, even though he doesn’t believe it himself.

I am not sure when he gave his presentation on this channel, it was for a class, whether before or after this meeting, it’s blurry in my mind. But apparently, I said then that I considered these project kind of the future of journalism. And he said he quoted me saying this during a couple of his job interviews.

Needless to say, I’m super happy he got the job, and my ego is bursting after such clever guy described me as “a visionary journalist from Cuba”. He is from Taiwan by the way, and I would dare to say that a clever guy from Taiwan is seriously clever.

This was the clip he used to show us the work of this animated news channel, NMA.tv from Taiwan.

So, why I do believe this kind of project will stick to the way we do and consume journalism?

Many reasons,

1- It uses the sabe visual resources as video games, and with time, main audiences will be precisely those who grew up with this kind of referent.

2- It doesn’t depend on the lack of images. When I was working in TV, I don’t know how many times I found on the wires an interesting and smart news item that I couldn’t use because my editor made me notice the huge inconvenience, the lack of visuals, “there’s nothing you can show and this is TV”. Instead, I had to go for a dummy recollection of boring events to complete the time that I needed to consume for the newscast. Well, with this, the reporter doesn’t need to stop because of this minor detail anymore. The animations will do the job!

Yes, right now I can hear many purists protesting and claiming that this can’t be journalism, because it’s not accurate, you can’t trust it, there’s no evidence that the image is true! Come on! Journalism is older than photography and obviously video! The newspapers show illustrations before they could include photos. And it’s the same concept. Trust doesn’t stem from an image, not at this point in history when we all know how images can be altered, and twisted and manipulated. We will trust in the honesty, efficacy, and honorability of the reporter and the network.

3- Let’s face it, media will converge, massively. What we are witnessing now, media such as The Huffington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, Reuters or Bloomberg posting text, videos, graphs and galleries is just a preview of what is coming. I was reading the other day that students have changed the way they understand professional development: they no longer believe it’s about stepping up, but about mastering multiple skills and acquiring all possible knowledge. In terms of journalism, we know if we don’t keep up with changes, learning how to handle every possible media, we’ll be out of the game in no time.

4- And with the convergence of media, animation will rise as one more option, funnier, easier to handle, very illustrative, and without the inconvenience of whether you are breaking or not the law.

Let’s be clear, this is nothing new. This just will grow bigger and widespread.

Check the report about the issue of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, ex IMF Director, about the allege attempt of rape of a hotel maid.

And this other, about Bin Laden’s death

Demoré mucho para decidirme a tener un blog, pero ahora que lo vengo haciendo, redescubro el placer que se siente de escribir y publicar lo que me viene en gana, cuando me da la gana, y sin que nadie me pueda cuestionar una palabra o calificativo por ser demasiado provocador, o en buen cubano, “busca pleito”. Y esa es básicamente la razón por la cual rescato esta entrevista para publicarla ahora, porque puedo darme el lujo de escribir la introducción que entonces quise escribir pero no era lo “políticamente correcto”.

Todo empieza en septiembre de 2011, cuando recién comenzaba a trabajar como periodista para la sección MBA & Educación Ejecutiva de AméricaEconomía. Mi primer encargo fue ir a la conferencia de alguien llamado Jurgen Klaric, para luego entrevistarlo. Este Klaric -colombiano con acento mexicano y residente en Estados Unidos, alguien con muchos problemas identitarios probablemente- llegaba a Chile vendiéndose como experto en Neuromarketing. Yo nunca había ni oído ese término, pero tras una consulta a San Google me enteré que algunas entre las principales universidades estadounidenses estaban metidas investigando seriamente el asunto, y además había un nombre significativo – el de Eric R. Kandel– con un Nobel otorgado por su trabajo en esa área.

Sin embargo, Klaric resultó ser una decepción tan profunda que enterré la entrevista. Al parecer mis argumentos eran bastante sólidos cuando mi editor ni siquiera lo cuestionó. La conferencia de aquel Klaric estuvo llena de chistes machistas de mal gusto, lugares comunes, y poco o nada de rigor científico. Algo, sin dudas, para olvidar. Con todo, aquello se me quedó en la mente, y luego de unas semanas le seguí la pista a Kandel, di con Neurofocus, y a través de este, con Neurofocus Colombia a cuyo gerente Felipe Jaramillo finalmente entrevisté.

Este es entonces la entrevista a Jaramillo que publiqué en AméricaEconomía el 23 de diciembre de 2011.

Felipe Jaramillo

El término Neuromárketing viene resonando cada vez más en el escenario internacional de los negocios, la publicidad y el márketing. Como casi todo descubrimiento, su sola mención despierta pasiones, críticas, recelos, confianzas y hasta fe. Como si de una religión se tratara, nuevos gurús surgen desde los cuatro puntos cardinales prometiendo que el neuromárketing es la piedra filosofal que los vendedores han esperado tanto.

Sin embargo, pocos entienden a profundidad de qué se trata el neuromárketing, cuáles son sus objetivos, potencialidades y limitaciones. Quizás por estas mismas razones muchos esparcenversiones equivocadas, o exageradas, de las posibilidades reales que brinda esta metodología.

Por lo mismo, AméricaEconomía decidió acudir a fuentes autorizadas y pedirles que dibujaran un cuadro más fiel de lo que es el neuromárketing. Felipe Jaramillo, gerente de NeuroFocus Colombia, el grupo líder mundialmente en la aplicación de los conocimientos de la neurociencia a las prácticas del neuromárketing, accedió a respondernos.

¿Cuáles son los fundamentos científicos del neuromárketing? ¿Es una ciencia, una técnica, una metodología?

Entender el neuromárketing como ciencia o metodología depende más de qué perspectiva se considera. Pero funciona de las dos formas. Se puede entender como ciencia, si se observa la tendencia que vienen mostrando las universidades de implementar programas de neuromárketing, y el trabajo que realizan muchos neurocientíficos.

Por otra parte, quizás no quepa aún dentro del concepto estricto de ciencia, pero sí tiene un componente científico muy fuerte.

Es metodología, en tanto emplea un conjunto de pruebas que provienen de la neurociencia.

En cuanto a los fundamentos teóricos o científicos, en NeuroFocus utilizamos el conocimiento neurocientífico que ya existe sobre cómo funciona el cerebro humano y lo incorporamos a las necesidades que tienen las compañías y los equipos de mercadeo hoy. Y hacemos tests neurológicos como forma de investigaciones de mercado.

Este tipo de investigaciones es claramente una forma distinta a las tradicionales. Por ejemplo, si se quiere probar un nuevo producto o marca, o una campaña publicitaria, el neuromárketing permite identificar si un estímulo va a generar una buena o mala respuesta en los consumidores una vez lanzado al mercado.

¿Y cuáles son los orígenes teóricos, o las corrientes de pensamiento que lo inspiraron?

Los fundamentos pueden ser muchos. Es toda la investigación neurocientífica hecha en los últimos 50 años. Todas las investigaciones realizadas en las universidades alrededor del mundo y en los centros de investigación neorológica que han aportado a la comprensión de cómo funciona el cerebro humano.

Si hablamos de nombres, por ejemplo resalta el de Eric R. Kandel, quien recibió el premio Nobel en el año 2000 por sus aportes a la medicina y la psicología, y que hoy integra la junta directiva de NeuroFocus. Además, nuestro director científico es Robert Knight, decano de Neurociencia en laUniversidad de Berkeley. En casi todas las grandes universidades se pueden mencionar nombres de investigadores que aportan a la neurociencia.

De nuevo, en el caso de NeuroFocus, contamos con personas encargadas de desarrollar las metodologías que se implementan en los estudios de mercado. Estos destacados investigadores son los que nos nutren de este conocimiento. Y este conocimiento nos permite hacer las mediciones de una forma adecuada.

Algunas descripciones del neuromárketing refieren que es una ciencia dedicada al estudio de las respuestas del subconsciente. Otras, lo critican por sus supuestas potencialidades para generar publicidad subliminal. ¿Qué hay de cierto en estas afirmaciones?

Efectivamente, mucho de lo que hace el neuromárketing tiene que ver con identificar las respuestas del subconsciente de las personas. Pero hay que hacer notar que es muy distinto el concepto de “subconsciente” a lo que es “subliminal”.

El hecho de que nosotros midamos las respuestas del subconsciente se refiere a que mucho de lo que el cerebro recibe del medio ambiente es de forma subconsciente. Es una capacidad adaptativa del cerebro humano para evitar la sobrecarga de información. Imagina qué sucedería si fuéramos conscientes de todo el input que recibimos del entorno, uno se volvería loco.

Pero, ¿de qué definición de subconsciente hablamos, de aquella noción freudiana o de algo mucho más fisiológico?

También es fundamental entender las diferencias entre distintas definiciones del término subconsciente. Uno de los contextos en que se ha utilizado muchísimo el término es dentro del psicoanálisis. En este caso el origen se remite a Freud, y todo lo relacionado con la influencia de las experiencias de la infancia en la adultez, etc.

Pero cuando nosotros hablamos de “subconsciente” nos referimos a algo radicalmente distinto. Para nosotros es la capacidad que tiene el cerebro humano de interiorizar mucha de la información recibida del medio ambiente de forma subconsciente. Es simplemente eso.

Y decir “simplemente” no es restarle importancia, porque tiene mucha. Por ejemplo, en un supermercado se recibe mucha información. Hay marcas, productos, empaques, es una sobrecarga de información. Mucha de esa información se procesa subconscientemente, lo cual tiene un impacto sobre cómo se reacciona ante estas marcas.

Eso es lo que medimos, qué pasa a nivel subconsciente una vez que el consumidor está frente a esa información, nada que ver con el concepto de subconsciente que se ha manejado en la psicología.

En relación a la comparación o a los temores de que el neuromárketing genere un tipo de publicidad subliminal, fue un debate que se generó hace 10 años. Son rezagos de aquellas percepciones que hubo entorno al neuromárketing, de cuando se conceptualizó la ciencia en Estados Unidos.

Hoy ya ese debate cedió, la gente ya entiende que el neuromárketing se concentra en entender o medir la respuesta del consumidor de una forma mucho más precisa y objetiva. No se plantea hacer ningún tipo de desarrollo de mensajes subliminales ni trata de afectar de forma subliminal la mente del consumidor. Entre otras cosas, porque eso no es posible. No se le puede meter cosas en el cerebro a las personas para que compren productos que no necesitan. Lo único que hacemos es monitorear sus respuestas para entender si, por ejemplo, el comercial A les gusta más que el comercial B, y por qué.

Entonces, ¿qué base tienen quiénes acusan al neuromárketing de técnica anti-ética, porque “actúa invasivamente sobre el consumidor”?

Es total y absolutamente falso. El neuromárketing identifica preferencias frente a uno y otro producto, marca, campaña publicitaria, mensajes. No puede influir en el funcionamiento cerebral de las personas. Los equipos que utilizamos son equipos de lectura. Leemos qué pasa a nivel neurológico en el cerebro de la persona, qué circuitos neuronales se activan, y así sabemos qué piensa y siente la persona, pero no hay ninguna forma en que se pueda influir sobre ese funcionamiento cerebral.

Lo único que distingue al neuromárketing de otras técnicas de investigación de mercado como las entrevistas o los focus group, es que muchas veces las personas entrevistadas, o dentro de los grupos, mienten. O incluso, es difícil en materia de emociones que la persona sea capaz de articular una respuesta objetiva sobre sus propias reacciones emocionales, sin embargo, las ondas cerebrales no pueden engañar. No va nada más allá de eso.

Se prueba la efectividad de un anuncio ya hecho, pero no se puede generar o crear el tipo de mensaje con efectividad garantizada.

¿Cómo debe conformarse una muestra para un estudio de neuromárketing? ¿Se toman en cuenta las diferencias culturales, o las influencias que pueden generar hábitos culturales sobre las actitudes?

Sin dudas, se toman en cuenta.

En relación a la composición de una muestra hay un tema fundamental a tener en cuenta. En muestras de neuromárketing las diferencias entre individuos se trata que sean mucho menores. Nosotros trabajamos con muestras mucho más pequeñas que las que se manejan en investigaciones tradicionales. Alcanzamos –y hablo en particular de NeuroFocus– índices de confiabilidad del 95% como muestras tan pequeñas como 25 o 30 sujetos por target. Eso las investigaciones tradicionales lo alcanzan con muestras de cientos de personas.

La gran diferencia está en que estamos discutiendo la respuesta cerebral en contraposición a la respuesta verbal de las personas. Eso no significa que no haya diferencias individuales, sino se harían estudios de mercado a través de neuromárketing con una sola o dos personas y podrían tener la misma validez y ese no es el caso.

Eso aplica un poco para las diferencias que se pueden dar a nivel cultural, regional y demás. Cuando la medición se hace a través de pruebas neurológicas y de neuromárketing, las diferencias a nivel regional son mucho menores que cuando se hacen estudios tradicionales. Pero se dan. No se puede hacer un estudio en Chile para un producto japonés que se comercializará en el mercado japonés, porque obviamente las mediciones no serán óptimas. Entre otras cosas porque una de las variables que se han identificado como que influyen en las respuestas de las personas a nivel neurológico frente a un producto o una marca es la relación que tienen con la marca. Tiene que ver con cuán familiarizado están con la marca. Alguien que conoce una marca va a reaccionar distinto a quien jamás a tenido contacto alguno con esta. Por ejemplo, en el caso de un comercial de la Coca Cola, por básico que sea, quizás uno podría aplicar los estudios y mediciones en varios países, despreciando las variaciones entre estos, pero no ocurre lo mismo con un snack típico del Japón, porque se conoce en un mercado más reducido.

¿Es válido como técnica de estudio, dentro del neuromárketing, la utilización como muestra de las redes sociales, excluyendo por tanto la aplicación de estas pruebas que obtienen lecturas neurológicas? 

Digamos que esa es una de las concepciones erradas que hay alrededor del neuromárketing. El neuromarketing sí precisa obligatoriamente de este tipo de pruebas neurológicas como una resonancia magnética o un electroencefalograma. En ese sentido, hay mucho que se vende como neuromárketing que no lo es.

Joseph Turow, profesor de comunicaciones de la Universidad de Pennsylvania, expresó sobre el neuromárketing que “es uno más entre los mitos de la publicidad, otra técnica que promete alcanzar a la gente de una forma “hipodérmica”, y que las grandes corporaciones y firmas la asumen y ponen en práctica en su “desesperación” por encontrar una respuesta nueva entre las tantas fallidas. El auge del neuromárketing se debe más a la naturaleza de la industria y su ansiedad que a la solidez de sus bases”. ¿Cuál sería su respuesta?

Creo que frente al neuromárketing hay una cantidad de mitos y concepciones equivocadas. Frente a afirmaciones como la anterior, lo que respondería es precisamente el contenido de lo que hacemos y los resultados. Sí trabajamos con una cantidad de marcas a nivel global, y sí tenemos muchas personas de gran relevancia validando y generando nuestras metodologías desde el mundo de lo neurocientífico.

Lo que yo invitaría a pensar es si esas personas que son parte del sistema ejecutivo de esta misma empresa, prestarían su nombre para algo que ellos no estuvieran seguros que funciona.

Está muy comprobado científicamente que uno puede medir la respuesta neurológica de las personas frente a distintos estímulos y esto se hace en los laboratorios de neurociencias de todas las universidades reconocidas internacionalmente. La única diferencia cuando uno habla de neuromárketing es que estos estímulos que se le presentan a las personas que se someten al estudio,no tienen un componente académico sino comercial. Pero no hay forma de rebatir el hecho de que se puede monitorear la respuesta del consumidor ante el estímulo.

Cuando esta realidad se desconoce, creo que es más producto a un desconocimiento de la neurociencia y de las capacidades de la neurociencia de hoy.

Claro, es cierto que no podemos hacer todo con neuromárketing. Hay compañías y personas que usan el término de forma indiscriminada, cuando prometen cosas que no son posibles, que seguramente generan ciertas dudas frente a la metodología.

 

 

Dan Ariely, researcher and professor, Duke University

This is the unedited English version of my interview to Dan Ariely drawing on the relationship between creativity and dishonest behavior. The Spanish version was published by AmericaEconomia, on 27 March 2012.

Duke’s Prof. Dan Ariely and Francesca Gino conducted a research to find out links among creativity and people’s tendency to cheat, lie or dishonestly behave in general. The found correlation was a direct one: creative people have more chances to behave dishonestly. Personal benefits and a keen flexible environment where rules are not so clear encourage dishonest behavior.

How would you describe the findings?

What we found it’s that in general lots of people cheat and lots of people can be dishonest, just a little bit. We found that people basically try to balance two things: while trying to feel that they are honest and wonderful people, they are trying to cheat. It’s all about racionalization. All about the ability to, in retrospect, racionalize what we are doing and telling us that what we’re doing it’s actually ok.

We found that creative people can just do it to a better degree. The more creative you are, you can basically tell yourself better stories about why what you’re doing it’s actually ok.

What are the implications of your findings for commercial and public administration organizations?

Everytime that a system has flexibility, when people can decide what they want to do, when the rules are not very clear, when there’s all kinds of uncertainty and fluidity, people sadly will use that uncertainty to pursue their selfish goals while at the same time thinking they are doing what is good, moral and honest.

If you think about public administrators working for the government, if it’s not very clear what they can and can’t do with the contributions from business people, or if it’s not very clear who can donate and not donate money to their causes, like it is in the US, these politicians are very likely to take the wrong path, use the money in wrong ways, with some very negative consequences and outcomes.

What it basically says is that we are our own worst enemies. The real challenge is that we would trick ourselves into believing that what we are doing it’s actually a good idea. I think it means we need stricter ethical boundaries and clearer standards of moral behavior about what it’s ok and what it’s not ok.

How can management harmonize the need to foster creativity -given the increasing need to support innovation- with the requirement of stricter ethical boundaries, rules and standards of moral behavior?

That’s the main problem. Creativity like everything else is a trade off, a wonderful thing. Where would we be without creative individuals? But we must also understand that creativity can lead to all kinds of dangerous behaviors. I think what we need to do is not cancelling creativity, or hiring non-creative people, or implementing some anti-creativity training. Instead I think we need to consider the cases when creativity is going to be incredibly dangerous. For example, if you are running a bank, and you have very creative people in your division in charge of designing new financial instruments, maybe it’s not the best idea.

Like many other things in life, there’s cost and benefit in creativity. I think that overall the benefit dramatically outweights the cost, but there still is a cost. When it comes to things that are dangerous, and potentially harming, I think we should enhance control. For instance, an advertising agency can hire, and should, as many creative people as they can, but when it comes to the expense report, be very clear about it.

Regarding your point drawing on the need to hold very clear ethical boundaries, aren’t these ethical boundaries related to the system of ethics and beliefs immersed in the specific society where the individual is raised? Could the experiment have provided different results if conducted within a different society, with different values and ethical codes?

Let’s separate two things. Let’s ask one question: are people in South America more or less morals than in North America? It could be that they are different. The question is not so much how are they different in the overall, but the result that the more creative people in South America are not also more able to cheat?

So, I don’t want to say anything about the overall moral in South America, because I just don’t know, I haven’t tested it. But I suspect, even if we assume that the overall morality in the US is 7, and the overall morality in South America is 8, I still think that in the US more creative people cheat more, and in South America, as well, more creative people will cheat more. It doesn’t mean that they are more or less creative, but that the effect of creativity would be the same.

So, it’s wise to conclude that despite whatever your religion is, the way your parents raised you, or how are shaped the ethical codes of your society, in every place, the more creative people are, the more likely they are to avoid the limits, or extend the limit of permissibility.

That’s right. Imagine there’re all these rules and they’re not very well defined. If you are a creative person you can say, “oh, they really didn’t mean that!”, or “this is actually good for people if I do that”. You can come out with a lot of stories about why this is actually ok. Imagine you are a very creative architect and you are building a new building and you’re trying to do something new that doesn’t fit with the code. What happens if that if you are a creative person you can say, “oh, yes, in reality they would want this to happen, they would want me to do this”. If I had to explain it, this is how I would explain it to them. Creative people can tell better stories, they can find more connections and give better explanations.

In your discussion of the findings from the experiments, you mentioned that cheating for the best personal interests was among the common characteristics of all the experiments’ results. So, it’s connected to what the individual can earn from dishonesty. The question is if you considered how this would come out working in teams, when they have not only a personal interest but a shared interest? Could teams reduce dishonesty while fostering creativity in the individual?

Actually, we also had that idea. We wanted to see what happens with people working in groups. Basically we find two things happening in groups. First, there’s supervision. With supervision, individuals might cheat less. But we also find evidence that after a while when people work together, they find it more easy to cheat because they are actually helping other people. All of the sudden I’m cheating to actually help you out. If you get to benefit from my cheating, this is good for you, and then I feel like a good person.

We found that when we do these things together, when we bring people to sit in the same room and we get them to become friends, then everytime they cheat, the other person gets benefited as well, then cheating goes up, not down. So, when I cheat and you benefit, I have another story to explain myself why I’m doing this.

What would be your educated guess about the outcome of that experiment, if the group would have been formed by international members? Would the different ethical codes of their cultures, and the fact that they don’t belong to the same social group, and identity, reduce somehow the tendency to allow dishonesty?

In fact, what we found is that as people become more friendly with each other, the effect of feeling other individual as outsiders, or different from you, goes away. If they didn’t personally like each other, that would probably eliminate the cheating, but frankly who wants to work in these groups, that that wouldn’t be a solution to implement in a workplace.

There are of course a lot of scenarios and possibilities we haven’t explored yet. There are many ideas of experiments we haven’t carried out so far. But from what we studied, I can tell that as people become more friendly with each other, they care more about the welfare of the other person. And if they care about the welfare of the other person, they are more likely to cheat because the other person also benefits from it.

The reason we conduct experiments is to see how things work out within very simple environment. But in reality, lots of things happen, and influeces, and it’s hard to say what would happen when you mix all of those things together.

Do you have any future plans to keep researching on this topic?

I’m very interested in cultural differences and I’m about to start exploring them in South America. That’s one direction. The other direction, it’s that we are exploring very different populations, I’m trying to go to people that just got out of prison, meaning people who clearly have behaved badly in the past, so we are trying to understand how those people behave and what it’s their tendencies to act. So the main research interests point to cultural differences across different countries as well as looking at personality and individual differences within a culture.

Roosevelt’s dream

Posted: July 17, 2012 by jennroig in Academia, English
Tags: , ,

(Essay delivered as final paper for “Reporting Global Change”, first module of the Erasmus Mundus Journalism Master. Prof. Hans Henrik Holm)

“The structure of the world peace cannot be the work of one man, or one party, or one nation. It cannot be a peace of large nations –or small nations. It must be a peace which rests on the cooperative effort of the whole world.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt.

By the morning of 25 September 2009, CNBC broadcasted an interview with Jacqueline Cramer, the Dutch environment minister. The subject of analysis between the functionary and the journalists was climate change and what to wait on the matter from the current G20 Summit in Pittsburg, US. Through the American news channel, Cramer urged businessmen to take stand on the global threat that is climate change, and stressed the importance of US commitment to a shared contribution and responsibility. Both the minister and journalists agreed on the great expectations raised by this meeting towards the next United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

Meanwhile, CNBC online version was covering the G20 Summit as well, but the approach was different. The focus was on the international economic crisis and the efforts to promote global recovery. Other news websites, such as the Spanish newspaper El País, the Argentinean El Clarín or BBC were reporting also the meeting in Pittsburg, but on dissimilar angles. Some of the headlines were Tobin Tax, police repression against protesters in Pittsburg, IMF necessary reforms and a new role of emerging economies. Climate change issue was represented only through brief lines at the end of each story.

How to explain the difference on the coverage of the same event from the same news media? Why climate change is receiving an inconsistent attention if it is an important issue and all media are immersed in the so called ‘Globalization’? How are interrelated the globalization process and the reporting of environment?

In order to understand media production on global crisis, the context should be considered and some influential facts must be recognized and clarified.

Since the boom of digital technologies, the world changed and so did media. Satellites and fiberglass exponentially increased their outreach. CNBC was a North American low-budget satellite program network when started in 1989, but now it is a conglomerate of channels which provide live coverage of financial markets to its 390 million viewers. Audiences in New York could immediately hear about stock fluctuations in Hong Kong. As Holm relates, «we see, thus, the slow birth of a global public»[1]. Such effect, among similar others in many aspects of life, had powerful influence in economy, therefore in politics, and society as a whole was transformed. That transformation is what social scientists, media and scholars named as Globalization, which has become a force that shapes social interactions beyond boundaries.

Even though, a clear definition of globalization is still center of debate. Some scholars argue that there is nothing new; America’s colonization was only part of this ancient process. Others bring in theories about a development of a «global consciousness»[2]. A third view refers that something really new happened in the way social connections relate people despite their distant locations. «The spread of transplanetary –and in recent times also more particularly supraterritorial– connections between people»[3] is how Scholte identifies globalization.

CNBC embodies Scholte’s definition. Such universal broadcasting corporation enables an alteration of space and time. When audiences watch simultaneously an event despite their distant geographies, space and time seem not matter anymore.

Thus, transworld connections allowed East Timorese people to witness “live transmission” of the devastating strike of Hurricane Gustav to Cuba. As immediate response, financial aid was sent to the remote Caribbean Island[4]. East Timor inhabitants were acting like world citizens then.

However, space matters, as all the branches of CNBC prove. That is how they broadcast for 390 million viewers. The North American Business News Corporation is omnipresent throughout the world via more than ten local channels. Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America receive distinct approaches and there are even subdivisions in the bigger and culturally complex regions. Space matters as long as languages, economical interests, resources, markets, cultural patterns and even religions are not the same. At some levels, this supraterritorial understanding of space is hard to achieve given the great national distinctions influencing on social connections.

Another theory focuses on the consequences. Bisley highlights «a set of related social, political and economic consequences of a series of transformations in the social world»[5]. The discussion claims here for something that is missing. From an environmental perspective, this gap can be visualized.

Climate change is an ongoing process, both a cause and a consequence. Human action provoked it and now it is a menace hanging over humanity. Its scope, manifestations and repercussions worldwide are experienced differently. Still, there is another definition which seems more suitable. According Held, «contemporary globalization is distinguished by unique spatio-temporal and organizational features, creating a world in which the extensive reach of global relations and networks is matched by their relative high intensity, high velocity and high impact propensity across many facets of social life, from economic to the environmental»[6].  In his analysis economical, environmental and political globalizations are enumerated and characterized.

Such scenario, where globalization acts in complex ways, pushed Media to reconfigure their production routines and structure. Information became immediate and numerous; competition is harder; and traditional roles of addresser and addressee have mutated. Undoubtedly, it is a more conflictive arena for an analysis of trends that configures the reporting of global crisis.

Cottle’s research establishes two trends that shape media coverage of global crisis. These are the “pull of the national” and the “cosmopolitan vision” [7]. First, he set the relation of global crisis «to the interconnectedness, interdependent and inegalitarian nature of the global age»[8] and immediately he remarks the role of the journalism «in constituting them as such on the news media word stage. (…) [It is] through the news media where most of us get to know about them and where they are visualized, narrativized, publicly defined and sometimes challenged and contested»[9].

Nowadays the belief that climate change is global threat is recognized. While the United Nations Environment Program just warned about an even worse panorama than previously IPCC reports showed[10], Barack Obama was trying to modify the image of his country in the UN General Assembly on 23 September 2009, stating the actions that US has carried out to confront climate change[11].

Both the concept of environmental globalization assessed by Held, and media coverage of climate change, make a perfect platform for Beck’s perception of global threats. Accordingly, «it is the common and increasingly mediated perception of global threats, not universalizing statements about shared humanity, that serves to underpin and mobilize ideas about global cosmopolitan citizenship and an emergent global public sphere»[12]. Environmental threat is tangible for all living specie on Earth, much more than fears to pandemics, terrorist attacks or a nuclear blast.

A cosmopolitan vision of a global crisis should result from establishing links among nations. On 18 June 2009, the Cuban newspaper Juventud Rebelde published an article about climate change impacts on Asian agricultural production, because of persistent droughts[13]. The journalist summarized and related the scope of the crisis in that region with possible effects in other countries dependent on Asian trade. This was combined with a variety of sources, international organizations and experts from several nationalities. The article exposed as well the responsibility of developed countries on the climate change issue.

Even more, a cosmopolitan vision should encourage a sense of globality. It should support the certainty that landslides in Haiti, caused by massive deforestation, are closely related to all individual in the world as much as the peril on Amazonas rainforests.

But media coverage rarely shows such approaches. On the one hand, stories still show consistency on national angles. As Cottle expresses, «this global outlook and sensibility too often remain confined behind national borders and geopolitical interests. Journalism is not exempt from national parochialisms»[14]. On the other hand, traditional news values keep ruling the selection of stories. As Holm reflects, «classical news criteria are still by far the most influential arguments used in the selection of news»[15]. These two elements conform what Cottle named the “pull of the national”.

That trend could explain why the same Cuban newspaper which provided an article with such cosmopolitan angle, on 25 September did not include any headline referred to G20 Summit, but just a brief note in a secondary section. In Cuba, international meetings where liberal economy is the main subject are not among editorial lineups.

US media behave not so differently. Political disagreements ballast each country’s coverage on common problems, such as the path of wreck that hurricanes left behind in both nations. Last year, after Hurricane Ike when Cuban government refused United States financial aid offer, the New York Times criticized the “communist” decision, stressing ideological discrepancy, instead of calling to dialogue for assistance to victims[16]. No association of nations, no linkage between people.

According several case studies[17], production routines and news values remain steady despite all the technological impact. Therefore, selection of stories and sources also continue similarly. Media keep relying on elite sources; influence from states or economical actors is still vast; critical perspective appears in stretch margins; and political and cultural sympathies and rivalries pervade the coverage.  Media are usually anchored in their immediate geographical location and national angles. There is no global spread or consensus on news values.

Finally, regarding climate change, the “objective style”, the “necessary” coldness of journalism, its urge of balancing facts and opinion, are not helping to shape a social consciousness that lead to actions.

That way, CNBC reporting or coverage of any other media, on G20 Summit had to be different. Not because of any inconsistency but due to its role as mediator between facts and audiences. Truly, alternative citizen journalism is influencing the panorama, but as an ongoing process, the final outcome is in still in the future. About current status, Holm conclusions states: «globalization is changing how foreign news production is structured. It has also had a strong impact on media policy. But the fundamental norms that editors and journalists express still reflect traditional news values»[18].

Big decisions must be made. G20 leaders recognized it in the previous London summit, «a global crisis requires a global solution»[19]. Recently, president Obama confirmed it in front of world leaders gathered at UN Assembly: «more than at any point in human history- the interests of nations and peoples are shared».

However, this turning point oblige to much more than rhetoric from press. It takes practical actions, yet societies work as systems. Therefore, a real change could only be achieved if all forces aim together at the same direction. Media will be inefficient and insufficient without supports of education systems, civil societies, governments and public spheres. States cannot do it by separate, although actions must be implemented in each particular context. There will be no solution without a political will that overcomes boundaries and states.

 

(2048 words)


[1] Hans-Herrik Holm, News in a Globalized Society, p. 115.

[2] Robertson in Hans-Herrik Holm, p. 115.

[3] Jan Aart Scholte, Defining Globalization, p.59.

[4] Material and Spiritual Aid Continues to Grow for Victims of Hurricane Gustav, Periódico 26 online website, available on http://www.periodico26.cu/english/news_cuba/september2008/hurricane-aid090508.html

[5] Nick Bisley, Rethinking Globalization, p.30.

[6] David Held and Anthony McGrew, Governing Globalization: power, authority and Global Governance, Introduction, p.2. Available on http://www.polity.co-uk/global/pdf/02Intro.pdf

[7] Simon Cottle, Global Crisis Reporting, Journalism in the Global Age. Conclusions. Pp.164-171.

[8] Simon Cottle, p. 164.

[9] Simon Cottle, p. 165.

[10] Impacts of Climate Change Coming Faster and Sooner: New Science Report Underlines Urgency for Governments to Seal the Deal in Copenhagen. News Center of the United Nations Environment Program, available on http://www.unep.org/newscentre/default.asp

[11] Barack Obama, 23/09/2009, full speech available on

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/23/barack-obama-un-speech

[12] Ulrich Beck in Simon Cottle, p.169.

[13] Nyliam Vázquez, El pretexto perfecto, (The perfect pretext), available on http://www.juventudrebelde.cu/opinion/2009-06-18/el-pretexto-perfecto

[14] Simon Cottle, p.72.

[15] Hans-Henrik Holm, p.122.

[16] Marc Lacey, Battered by storms, Cuba Uses Ideological Zeal to lift Spirits and Direct Anger, available on http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/28/world/americas/28cuba.html?scp=7&sq=cuba++US=financial&st=nyt

[17] Paul R. Brewer, National Interests Frames and Public Opinion about World Affaires; Zixue Tai and Tsan-Kuo Chang, The Global News and the Pictures in their Heads; Zixue Tai, Media of the World and World of the Media.

[18] Hans-Henrik Holm, p.126.

[19] Leaders statement from the G20 summit in London, available on http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7979606.stm

 

Bibliography:

–      Bisley, Nick, Rethinking Globalization, Palgrave, New York, 2007.

–      Brewer, Paul R., “National Interests Frames and Public Opinion about World Affairs”, Press/Politics, 2006.

–      Cottle, Simon, Global Crisis Reporting, Journalism in the Global Age, McGraw Hill/Open University Press, 2009.

–      Held, David and Anthony McGrew, “Introduction”, Governing Globalization: power, authority and Global Governance, 2002, online copy available on: http://wwwpolity.co.uk/global/pdf/02Intro/pdf

–      Holm, Hans-Henrik, “The Effect of Globalization on Media Structures and Norms”, in Stig Hjarvard (ed) News in a Globalized Society, Nordicom, 2001.

–      Naim, Moises, Think Again Globalization, Foreign Policy, April 2009.

–      Scholte, Jan Aart, “Defining Globalization”, Globalization: A Critical Introduction, Palgrave 2 ed. New York, 2005.

–      Tai, Zixue, “Media of the world or the world of the media, a Cross-National Study of the Rankings of the ‘Top 10 World Events’ from 1988 to 1998”, Gazette Vol. 62, Sage Publications, London, 2000.

–      Tai, Zixue and Tsan-Kuo Chang, “The Global News and The Pictures in Their Heads”, Gazette: The International Journal For Communication Studies, Sage Publications, London, 2002.