Why You Will Want To Pay More Income Tax To Fund Education!

Wait, …. What, …. I will WANT to pay more in taxes?

That is what you are going to hear in the next several months, signing petitions to launch an initiative to rise the Utah income tax rate from 5% to maybe 5.75% or more to support a poorly funded education system.

The initiative will not come from educators, it will not come from politicians, it will not come from students or even parents – it will come from some of the most powerful, influential and successful business leaders in the State of Utah. It will come from a sector of our population that understands that education is not the end but the means to social and economic development. It will come from those who realize that, if Utah does not do something, something significant, our vision of NATIONAL and GLOBAL leadership might be nothing more than a fairy tale.

While I applaud the effort, we must be aware that there is so much more to achievement of the desired outcome than “just” putting more (?) money into the current “system”.  First of all, we must hold our legislators accountable to apply incremental funds into the education “system”. Let’s be real here, just because we vote to raise taxes to fund education, that does not mean that the added revenues will be INCREMENTAL funding.

Sound incredible? Well there are many instances where, with the best of intentions, things went awry. We can look at our neighbors in Idaho who voted for a State Lottery to fund education only to have their elected officials redirect some of the overall funding to projects other than education. If our neighbors knew what their legislators were going to do with the new money they might not have voted to create the lottery.

The time to get onboard the initiative to assure education-targeted funds actually go to education is NOW.  We are so much more aware of the power of social media and how it can influence, favorably or unfavorably, actions, opinions and outcomes.  If this resonates with you and you want to be an agent of change, Tweet about this @In2Outcomes, Post to Facebook and stay engaged as this  #In2Outcomes and #Funds4Education movement gets some traction.

I love my work but there is truly so much more for me to do!

Working to develop, launch and manage medical technologies, products and companies all over the world has brought me unmeasurable satisfaction. The learning experiences and personal relationships built in the United States, Europe and Asia have been nothing other than a true blessing. Now I am living a dream in working to impact social and economic challenges with a specific focus on education.

When all of the dust settles in Washington and @BetsyDeVos is no longer in the headlines, the passion and performance of our educators, in traditional and charter schools throughout the country will endure – if WE, The People engage and contribute.

To be very transparent here, I am a STRONG advocate for charter schools, not as the panacea for an ailing education system but to complement and supplement “district” schools. Adding performance, quality and other metrics is of course a prerequisite for all schools so, as I look at it, charter schools are not to be considered better, just different and serving unmet needs in our communities.

We are @In2Outcomes and believe that change in our current education system is absolutely necessary for America. Working today on charter schools in Utah I like to refer to the current Utah State Stature 53A-1a-503 which states:

The purposes of the state’s charter schools as a whole are to:

(1)   continue to improve student learning;

(2)   encourage the use of different and innovative teaching methods;

(3)   create new professional opportunities for educators that will allow them to actively participate in designing and implementing the learning program at the school;

(4)   increase choice of learning opportunities for students;

(5)   establish new models of public schools and a new form of accountability for schools that emphasizes the measurement of learning outcomes and the creation of innovative measurement tools;

(6)   provide opportunities for greater parental involvement in management decisions at the school level; and

(7)   expand public school choice in areas where schools have been identified for school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, 20 U.S.C. Sec. 6301 et seq. Amended by Chapter 319, 2008 General Session

Some of the work we are doing in areas of “Flip Education”, “Remote-based Learning”, “Project-based Learning”, “STEAM”, “EnterEducation” (I’m not sure that I like to use the word “gamification” in education so we look at Entertainment as a method of delivery) and even “Virtual Reality” speak to innovation in education. In our approach, we believe if far more effective and efficient to engage with charter schools before we approach the broader (and much more bureaucratic) district school systems. This is not the only way to make a difference but it is the way we have chosen to make a positive impact in education. What are you doing in your community to make a difference?

We are so much more aware of the power of social media and how it can influence, favorably or unfavorably, actions, opinions and outcomes. If this resonates with you and you want to be an agent of change, Tweet about this @In2Outcomes, Post to Facebook and stay engaged as this #In2Outcomes  movement gets some traction.

Teach more than just fishing to the underserved and reap the rewards!

Whether taken from an old Chinese proverb or something that evolved from an adage credited to Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie, we have all heard the phrase “…give a hungry man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime”. I would like to take it a few steps farther and talk about a socio-economic business model you might want to consider in your next entrepreneurial venture or maybe even a new structure for your current business.

While there are so many non-profit organizations feeding those who would otherwise not survive, my passion is more to help develop what is often referred to as “Social Enterprises” which I like to define as “…revenue generation organizations that have a give-back mentality”. They may be structured as Benefit Corporations or as Low-profit Limited Liability Companies (L3C’s) but operate similarly as businesses that allocate a portion of their profits to a specific or general social benefit and not exclusively for the benefit of their shareholders. Under these structures for-profit organizations can make a conscious and public decision to invest a portion of their profits into impact-driven initiatives which themselves might be non- or for-profit companies. In “giving back” we can also support initiatives that directly support our company values and convert generic giving into something so much more meaningful, beneficial and rewarding – personally and financially.

Building on the theories of Maslow and others we can fulfill immediate needs of survival, provide assistance for subsistance and engage in a process of sustainability with measurable and significant results and benefits. For those of us who are so tired of a culture of exclusively maximizing profits for financial investors, the results of such behaviors in driving jobs and opportunities overseas and overall displeasure in social and economic opportunity for ALL Americans are issues we must and can address. This is not just some simple dream or fantasy, it is something we can do today and achieve social and economic benefit right away!! We the business community have a vested stake in all aspects of our communities.

Yes, there will always be those who will need a fish to survive but the hope is for this to be the exception, not the rule – and only to meet the immediate need. Yes, the next step would be to teach that person to fish but we can do even more. Let’s teach another to make the fishing poles, another to make ice, others to drive trucks to sell the fish in another market – and let’s not forget those who can teach us not to overfish or destroy the ecosystem! So, maybe too simply stated, we like to develop the rod making, ice making, trucking, …. businesses that will be the backbone for the communities and help those who have been given the fish, get on a path of self-sustainability.

Just a social perspective? Not at all, it’s (good) business (for good).

There are many companies who have learned how important these topics are to their Customers and the marketplace. With appropriate performance in these areas and a good marketing approach these investments can become a very effective marketing campaign and increase the top line. I’m not talking about selling social engagement just to drive up profits but there is nothing wrong with driving social and economic growth and being very transparent about the business side of things. can’t we drive revenue AND do good at the same time?

A Benefit Corporation or L3C structure might not be right for you or your business or by your suppliers or other partners either but I would hope you would think about it.

If you would like to talk more, just drop me a line.

Forty Percent of Students Seen Ill-Prepared to Enter Work Force

The preparedness is 60% full – but 40% empty.

A recent Wall Street Journal article reports that we are not delivering “qualified” candidates to the “White Collar” work force.  Is this hype or reality?

From my experience I would say this is a conservative estimate but it does highlight a real problem for academics.  When looking into it a bit deeper we have to say that our colleges and universities are doing a great job – with what they have.  Look at the material at their disposal.  How much of it is outdated before it is even printed let alone in the classroom?  How can our professional educators ever be expected to improve the outcomes for the students?  I don’t think they can – not alone, anyway.  WE need more and greater open collaboration among academiacs and business professionals, bringing more practical and tactical into the “education experience” if not into the classroom itself.

I would also suggest that we take a step back and look at the students entering the higher education theater.  Readiness of our high school students, into college or the workforce is lacking essential requirements as well.  Let’s be clear, I don’t believe for a moment that the problem resides with our professional educators, the vast majority being highly qualified and motivated themselves.  I do however believe that we must identify and execute on opportunities to improve the “outputs” of our educational institutions.  How?

The beneficiaries of a higher caliber workforce are our businesses and I think we, as business leaders, need to take a level of ownership (and yes, direct investment) in the process of human resource development.  Getting more engaged at an earlier stage of education will increase the results – and benefits for all!

 

If you are interested in engaging in this initiative please contact me directly.

Why We Support Organizations Like Choice Humanitarian

We have seen the headlines and heard the stories:  “The death toll from last week’s massive earthquake in Nepal has surpassed 7,000, Nepal’s National Emergency Operation Centre said Saturday”.  Organizations like the American Red Cross are instrumental in helping to provide the people of Nepal survive in the critical times following the catastrophic event.  The people in Nepal certainly need immediate assistance but what happens after this tragedy is no longer front page news?  It will take years to “recover” and the weight will fall heavily on those who can least afford it.

Organizations such as Choice Humanitarian work tirelessly to not only support the immediate disaster relief efforts  but also then work to help with recovery and  long-term sustainability.     As stated on their website, they believe that “Lasting change comes not from outside or when implemented by others, but when it comes from within – within a person, within a community, within a culture.”

We encourage you to consider donating to an organization that will help these people help themselves in overcoming the challenges they will face tomorrow and beyond. Your donations are more than a gift, they are an investment in mankind!

CHOICE HumanitarianThe CHOICE Leadership Model is what makes CHOICE different. It empowers villagers to determine their own path to self-reliance. It focuses on building leadership, assessing and meeting needs, and developing economic opportunity.

Learn more about Choice Humanitarian at http://choicehumanitarian.org

Mission IN-Possible – Cyber Security and Medical Devices

IN UCSA Small 1Impact Navigators has joined forces with the Utah Cyber Security Alliance (UCSA) to help our clients in the Medical Device Industry address the threats, opportunities and compliance requirements that are present today and just beyond the horizon.UCSA Shield TM

Much of the focus to date has been on the HIPAA Privacy Rule, which is enforced by The Office for Civil Rights and is intended to protect the privacy of individually identifiable health information.  The HIPAA Security Rule sets national standards for the security of electronic protected health information and addresses issues including breech notification.  Most businesses, professionals, compliance officers and consultant are well aware of HIPAA requirements and impact on the medical device industry.

Now, with the advances in technology and our dependence on information exchange and management, Cyber Security is emerging as a new threat to public and patient safety and the FDA is entering the arena with (currently) recommendations on “Management of Cybersecurity in Medical Devices”.  While the scope of the guidance provides “recommendations to consider” it also outlines information to include in FDA medical device premarket submissions. The guidance is applicable to premarket submissions for devices that contain software (including firmware) or programmable logic as well as software that is a medical device, specifically:

  • Premarket Notification (510(k)) including Traditional, Special, and Abbreviated
  • De novo submissions
  • Premarket Approval Applications (PMA)
  • Product Development Protocols (PDP)
  • Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE) submissions

There is a full expectation that these “recommendations” will in full or in part become a part of the FDA compliance requirements and will also be applicable in expected ISO regulations.

Impact Navigators is working with the UCSA, our Medical Device clients, Subject Matter Experts and regulatory representatives to fully understand the requirements, inclusion in Design Controls as well as other key regulatory systems components of emerging cyber security requirements and expectations.  Enhancements of processes, procedures and protocols are the areas of immediate attention in addition to those under formal Design Control Procedures.

If you are in the Medical Device industry you need to be prepared for the inclusion of cyber security in your business and we would enjoy applying our knowledge and expertise to help.  For more information please contact us at Medical Devices@ImpactNavigators.com

 

We are proud to support the Westminster College 2015 “Lectures in Entrepreneurship” series

We will post events on our calendar!

Lectures in Entrepreneurship is coordinated by the Center of Entrepreneruship at Westminster College and has been an extremely successful series event over the past 5 years. The Center brings in a wide variety of prominent entrepreneurs to speak, tell their stories, and share their experiences and keys to success. All of the lectures are free to the public in the BIll and Vieve Gore School of Business (click for campus map). It is also offered as an optional course for credit for all Westminster student. Everyone is invited to share in this invaluable experience.

 

March – April 2015:  Every Wednesday, 6:00 pm & 8:20 pm, in the Gore Auditorium.

March 18, March 25, April 1, April 8, April 15, April 22, April 29

For more information follow this link:

https://www.westminstercollege.edu/center_for_entrepreneurship/?parent=8020&detail=9745

President Obama promotes private sector cyber security sharing

Is it possible that President Obama is following the Utah Cyber Security Alliance?

Not likely but take a look at this Fact Sheet From The Whitehouse where it reports that the President “… will sign an Executive Order to encourage and promote sharing of cybersecurity threat information within the private sector and between the private sector and government …”.

If you are not heavily engaged in the Cyber Security initiative, you are already behind the curve and may be placing your business, clients, customers and employees at risk!

1 in 3 Utah homes has cancer-causing radon at potentially harmful levels

This holiday season give your family, friends and neighbors one of the best $10 presents in the world!

Here is an article that is three years old yet maybe more significant now than ever.

http://www.ksl.com/?sid=18373214

http://geology.utah.gov/utahgeo/hazards/radon.htm

Corporate Citizenship – Revitalizing Manufacturing in the U.S.

Our Impact Navigators messages often refer to the Corporate Citizenship (CS) movement as the replacement for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).  You will also often us promote a movement tag line of “economy with purpose” rather than a “purpose economy”.  While our fundamental principles mandate “giving back” we carry a banner of Socio-Economic Entrepreneurism and do not call ourselves Social Entrepreneurs.   What is the difference?  Is this some simple re-branding gimmick?  How does this relate to the issue of revitalizing manufacturing in the U.S.?

If you are a subscriber to our newsletter or a member of our IN Community you probably know more about our Corporate Citizenship model (if not, ask us for more information) so we will only touch on it briefly here.  The movement is based upon the simple premise that if you have nothing, you have nothing to give back and the time to give back is today, not when you have achieved extraordinary success and to then engage in personal or foundation philanthropy.  Primarily, this is a small to mid-size business movement, those wishing to be good Corporate Citizens but also striving to build and protect their business or organization.  Here is where the CS and the CSR models start to establish their own unique identity.

A common perception of CSR is that it is a socially-driven, cost center challenged, a tossing of profits into a “black hole” – because “we” have an obligation to “them”.  CSR programs are often challenged by internal financial managers, investors, stakeholders and shareholders.  Often even the employees see CSR “giving” as some  program led by the owner who  wants to been as a philanthropist and building a personal image or brand – using profits that the employees contributed to!

A common misconception of CS is that it is simply CSR with a different label.  Here are some of the major differences:

  • CS, rather than being a “black hole” is a program to improve overall business performance and measurably contribute to the bottom line.
  • CS is driven by the customer, employee, stakeholder, shareholder and investor rather than something that has to be sold or dictated.
  • CS does not require  a major investment.
  • CS takes the position that we are a part of the community, the “we” and “they” are really all “us”.

Yes, there is much more to CS but let’s move on to how this applies to the revitalizing of manufacturing in the U.S.

For many designers and developers manufacturing has become a “commodity” item and the thought of manufacturing locally is not of concern.  Former principles of “design for manufacture” are now replaced by a mentality of “design for China” where cost is considered only in the context of material and supply.  Economic development is nothing more than P&L and dividends to shareholders.  If I were to take this to the extreme, this mentality supports a CSR model  where “we” are giving money to the Food Bank so that “they”, our former employees don’t starve because their jobs have been sent overseas.

Corporate Citizenship takes a broader look at cost and benefit and takes into consideration the direct and indirect benefit of allocation of profits to our communities by utilizing local manufacturers.  Yes, it impacts local employment – which then in turn impacts community development (schools, roads, services, parks, recreation, …), attracts or retains a quality work force, reduces the dependency on government  sponsored services and supports self-sustaining families.  Benefits might also include the attraction of investment into our businesses, reduction in the cost of living and support for environmental sustainability.

This is not just a “feeling good” movement, there are significant and growing market demands and opportunities that are addressed in the CS model.  The hockey stick growth of a consumer base DEMANDING a “giving back” component for all businesses makes the CS methods of presenting – and promoting measurable positive impact cannot be ignored.  Those not following a CS approach are already behind the curve and risk being the next casualties in the battle for sustainability.

The true bottom line here is that instilling “good” in business is one of the best investments a business can make.  Including local manufacturing opportunities in the concept, design and development stages of business planning can achieve a significant return on investment.  This is not the only answer to our economic and social challenges but is one of significant and measurable impact!