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Smart Cities Attain Urban Development Vision

Smart Cities Attain Urban Development Vision

2017 and 2018 are characterized by an explosion of urbanization with as IoT enables smart cities to optimize services to their residents. According to the recent World Cities report of the United Nations over 3.7 billion people are now living in urban areas, while this number is expected to double by 2050. Urbanization trends are accompanied by a rise of the aging population and the emergence of entirely new lifestyle work patterns (e.g., telecommuting).

All these changes are putting extreme pressures on modern cities, which have to cope with the depletion of natural resources (e.g., water, energy) and the support of new lifestyles in a way that ensures sustainable development. In this context, the concept that IoT enables smart cities is a reality, such as vendors such as SIGFOX covers more than 10 million objects registered on its network which currently spans 26 countries.

IoT networks are able to leverage both advanced technologies and a city’s human capital in order to optimize urban operations, improve environment performance, create new sustainable business opportunities and improve the citizens’ quality of life. Smart cities are based on advanced ICT infrastructures and technologies such as high-speed broadband connectivity, multi-purpose low power sensors and actuators, as well as cloud computing infrastructures that facilitate scalable collection and processing of large volumes of data about the urban context. Most of these technologies are underpinning the Internet-of-Things (IoT) paradigm, which explains the close affiliation between smart cities and IoT.

Overall, as IoT enables smart cities becomes saturated in terms of sensors and mobile devices (e.g., smartphones used by citizens), they provide umbrella environments for the development of many different smart city applications. The latter can be classified according to two major (yet orthogonal) criteria:

  • Their application domain, which leads to a classification in categories such as smart energy, smart transport, smart healthcare, smart industry, smart water management and more. A larger number of different devices and applications are developed and deployed in each one of the above application domains.
  • Their geographical scale, which leads to a classification in applications about smart homes, smart neighborhoods, smart cities or even smart regions comprising multiple cities.

Developing a Strategy IoT Enables Smart Cities

Given the multitude of IoT technologies and applications in smart cities, policy makers need to prioritize the development of their IoT projects and infrastructures in-line with their urban development strategy. The latter strategy defines the city’s goals and substantiates them based on tangible KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), such as improvements in CO2 emissions and environment performance, reductions in urban traffic and the average time of urban trips in the city, increase in GDP (Goss Domestic Product) of the city, quality of life indexes and more.

With this strategy at hand, technology advisors and city CIOs (Chief Information Officers) can work towards preparing a comprehensive strategy for the tasks that IoT enables smart cities requires in terms of the infrastructures to be developed and the IoT projects to be implemented. The selection of projects should consider the application domains that need to be targeted in order to meet the specified performance indicators. The development of a city’s IoT strategy is usually a complex task, as it should consider multiple factors and trade-offs, including financial, business and technology factors at the same time. For instance, as most cities operate on quite constrained budgets it’s always important to define projects with realistic budgets, which could be financed either by the city’s budget or as part of public-private partnerships. The latter is a very popular paradigm for financing the usually costly IoT infrastructure development projects.

As a prominent example, the LinkNYC project, which provides New Yorkers with super-fast WiFi for free, is a result of a public private partnership between the city and the CityBridge consortium where Intersection, Qualcomm, CIVIQ Smartscapes and other companies participate.

In terms of technological factors, IoT enables smart cities a strategy that should specify key technological choices, including:

  • The networking technologies to be deployed (e.g., WiFi and LTE (Long Term Evolution) connectivity).
  • The types of sensors (e.g., smart meters, traffic cameras) needed. The software and middleware infrastructures to be used (e.g., databases, cloud and virtualization middleware).
  • Open datasets to be exploited, and the timeline for the development and deployment of these infrastructures, including relevant procurement issues.
  • Many benefits for IoT enabling smart cities using AiDespite the variety of technology choices, one must consider IoT enabling smart cities options for their financing and gradual deployment. Cities tend to follow a staged approach based on the following four phases:
  • An Infrastructure development phase, which aims at establishing the various digital infrastructures that will empower the smart city applications, including broadband networks, sensors, actuators, clouds and open data infrastructures.

What lies ahead for IoT enables Smart Cities Urban Development?

A vertical applications development phase, where applications in vertical areas (such as energy and urban mobility) are developed.  An applications integration and interoperability phases, where different vertical applications are integrated in order to monitor or achieve city wide KPIs such as sustainability KPIs based on a combination of transport, energy, mobility and water management projects.  An open innovation and citizens’ engagement phase, where citizens and innovators engage with existing infrastructures and applications in order to provide additional social and innovation capital, as a means of expanding and optimizing the operation of integrated applications.

In this landscape, we are witnessing a proliferation of smart city projects in many cities of the developed world. Nevertheless, there are also on-going efforts to improve existing smart city projects and broaden the scope and capabilities of new projects. These efforts concern both technological and non-technological developments and include:

  • Stakeholders’ engagement and the human factor: Smart city projects are increasingly seen as initiatives that have to engage all stakeholders in the city, rather than being projects that are enforced from the administration in a top-down manner. Therefore, new approaches for engaging citizens across all the phases of a service’s lifecycle (such as co-creation approaches) are emerging. We will see increasingly see co-creation based services in the near future.
  • IoT Technology evolution: Smart city needs are driving the evolution of IoT technologies in several areas. As a prominent example, the networking community is actively working towards the fifth generation of mobile communications (5G), which is designed in order to accommodate smart city features and needs, such as high speed services in densely populated (i.e. crowded) and sensor saturated environments. 5G is currently piloted by major telcos worldwide and is expected to become commercially available after 2020 in order to empower the next generation of smart city applications.
  • Recruiting the Right Executives: Cities need to make sure their CTOs and CIOs are well-versed in not just wireless networks, but the evolving IoT standards as well as mobile and cyber security.  One such IoT retained executive search firm you can rely upon is NextGen Global Executive Search, whose expertise in IoT, wireless, and connected devices has successfully placed dozens of “A Players” for internet of Things and smart cities for developing Connected Devices & Data, Industrial IIoT and Ai assisted robotics, plus IoT and Mobile Security Applications.
  • Interoperability solutions: Despite the benefits of interoperability across different smart city infrastructures and applications (e.g., in terms of a holistic approach to meet sustainability targets) most smart city applications are still fragmented independent application islands (“silos”). Therefore, technology efforts and standards are recently focused on ensure technical, semantic and organizational interoperability across different smart city applications. This will empower more interoperability in the near future.
  • The expanded use of Big Data in the urban environment: Nowadays, only a small fragment of the data that is produced by internet-connected devices is exploited in the scope of IoT applications. McKinsey & Co. estimates this fragment to be around 1%. The advent of Big Data technologies is expected to enable a new wave of data-driven applications in smart cities, including artificial intelligence (AI) applications, which will emphasize predictive functionalities beyond simple reporting and analytics functionalities that are currently available. The self-driving car falls in the scope of such data intensive applications, since it will leverage large amounts of data from other interconnect connected cars and the smart city infrastructure in order to anticipate the driving context.

Overall, the vision that IoT enables smart cities is gradually realized, but much more is yet to come. In this evolving landscape city authorities, technologies providers and other stakeholders are expected to collaborate to develop and execute effective IoT strategies for urban development.

Leadership Traits Growing the Leader From Within

Leadership Traits Growing the Leader From Within

Leadership Traits  Growing the Leader from Within Yourself

 

Leadership traits are defined by what we do, not the role we are in. Leadership is action, not a position. Some people in leadership roles are excellent leaders. But too many are bosses, “snoopervisors,” technocrats, bureaucrats, managers, commanders, chiefs, and the like. Whether in enterprise mobility, manufacturing, or consumer devices, strong leaders are well-rounded and constantly expanding their personal leadership traits across these key areas.

Leadership Traits in Functional Management Roles

To lead is to show the way by going in advance. To lead is to guide or direct a course of action. To lead is to influence the behavior or opinion of others. We all need to be leaders, regardless of our formal title or role. This starts with inner leadership traits in self-leadership and moves outward to influence, guide, support, and lead others.The process of becoming a leader is the same as the process of becoming a highly effective human being. Leadership development is personal development. Effective leadership traits ultimately shows itself in what we do “out there.” But it starts “in here.”It would be easy if we could all become leaders by following a simple set of steps. But the journey of personal growth means finding our own way. There are, however, critical areas of personal development based on timeless principles. The distance we need to grow along each of the leadership traits dimensions will differ for each of us, but defining and continually growing along each of these paths is the way of the leader.

Expanding Key Personal Leadership Traits

Strong leaders are well-rounded and constantly expanding their personal leadership traits across many areas, however these areas are key:

  • Choose Not to Lose. Whether we choose to focus on our problems or our possibilities is a key leadership issue. When we are faced with obstacles and failure, those with the leadership traits who can overcome adversity and learn from their experiences, turning them into opportunities, are the ones who will be truly successful.
  • Focus and Context. The core of my being: This is central to our growth along all the other leadership traits dimensions. Our Focus and Context is shaped by three vital questions: Where am I going? (my vision); What do I believe in? (my principles and values) and; Why do I exist? (my purpose or mission).
  • Responsibility for Choices. If it’s to be, it’s up to me: Good leadership traits means accepting responsibility for our choices in life. Leaders realize that life accumulates, that choice more than chance determines their circumstances. They refuse to succumb to the “Victimitus Virus” (“it’s all their fault” and “there’s nothing I can do”).
  • Authenticity. Getting real: Leadership isn’t just what we do, it’s something that we are, which then drives what we do.  Great leadership traits are authentic, and based on honesty, integrity, and trust. We must ring true to ourselves by exploring our inner space, gathering feedback on our personal behavior, and ensuring consistency with our stated values and principles.
  • Passion and Commitment. Beyond near-life experiences: Successful people are energized by a love for what they do because it brings them ever closer to who they are. They have the leadership traits that overcome apathy and cynicism, develop a burning commitment to their cause, and with discipline achieve their dreams and desires.
  • Spirit and Meaning. With all my heart and soul: What is the purpose of our work? Of our lives? Material success alone is not enough. Leaders seek within their leadership traits and find something more. In what is too often a mad dash from cradle to grave, we need to take time in work and life to nourish our inner selves.
  • Growing and Developing. From phase of life to way of life: The popular goals of security, stability, and predictability are deadly. The closer we get to these dangerous goals, the more our growth is stunted. Good leadership traits will reflect true and lasting security comes from constant growth and development, based on regular reflection and renewal.
  • Mobilizing and Energizing. Putting emotions in motion: Leaders don’t motivate with rewards and punishments. Whether at home or in the workplace, they energize people to motivate themselves. Highly effective leaders who possess ethical leadership traits boost the energy of others with their passion and appreciation. They engage people’s hearts as well as their minds.

Effective Leadership Traits Make a Difference

The more the world changes, the more leadership principles stay the same. And effective leadership traits apply to all of us; no matter what role we play in society or organizations.  NextGen Global Executive Search uses a proprietary Performance Based Retained Search to recruit exceptional executives with good leadership traits. Contact us today for a free consultation or demo of our proven executive recruitment process.

 

Job References Making Calls vs. Automated Software for Employment Checks

Job References Making Calls vs. Automated Software for Employment Checks

Job References – Making Calls vs. Automated Software

 

All companies expect job references, aka professional and employment references to be conducted prior to making an offer of employment or shortly thereafter. Nine times out of ten these are pre-determined references provided by the candidate. Some may well include former bosses, former or current colleagues, and industry references.

That is the real question. Many of these are in fact “personal relationships” where the person(s) providing the employment references will give a glowing reference (call it pre-defined or pre-arranged) that is neither spontaneous and often times misleading. Since I am obligated to deliver a short list of candidates, I do not wait for a pending offer to conduct employment job references and comprehensive background checks.

Most Companies Use Outdated Process for Job References

In the 21st century, we live in a constantly moving and increasingly social media world.  Employees’ reputations – both professional and personal – can impact a company’s corporate image, affect how they are viewed by customers and vendors, and can project either a positive or negative social image of the company.  With that in mind, the employment verification call that includes employment references aka job references directly from Human Resources or the supervisor of said former employee is useless fodder.    Same goes for accepting verbatim without question those provided by the candidate as they are so often former colleagues who are great friends unwilling to look past a biased lense. After identifying a target list of potential candidates through my Rolodex, networking, and referrals, I conduct one to two pre-screening interviews with the objective of understanding the motivations, skills/experience, and accomplishments of those potential candidates. If I am satisfied, they move forward to deeper interviews on my INTERNAL candidate shortlist.

Use Behavioral Analysis Prior to Making Job References Calls

I have the potential shortlisted candidates take an online 10 minute behavioral survey. This customized testing produces a Behavioral Analysis on a candidate’s motivations, values, decision making traits, aptitudes, communications style, and whether they are a Natural Fit with the team AND the role.Once armed with that analysis, I have sufficient data needed to conduct professional job references calls that are relevant to the role itself. Most search firms simply accept employment references provided solely by the candidates. What I ask from each candidate is for two each of the following current or former (within last 5 years) by name, phone, email, title, and relationship as follows:  superiors/managers they reported to, subordinates that reported to them, internal customers in their respective positions, external customers, peers or colleagues (professional references NOT like any of the above), and personal and/or communityI go one step further in validating the list of these employment job references requested of the candidates. I research, identify, and cold call former internal/external customers, colleagues, and vendors that were NOT supplied. These validate the professional references the candidate provided while at the same time reveal the best unscripted job references possible.There are a growing number of companies who save time by automating job references checks. Some are pre-defined standard Human Resources types of questions. Others allow you to add your own questions for professional references checking. Thee system sends out emails, the contacts answer the questions online, and you get the results.The problem here is that the human factor does not exist. You cannot hear and ask additional questions based upon what you actually hear and perceive, as well as lacks ability to build a relationship with these professional employment job references.  The truth is that I gain new relationships, fresh perspectives, and sometimes additional retained searches by conducting professional job reference calls the best way possible.

Avoid the Risk and Pitfalls of Hiring the Wrong Person

NextGen Global Executive Search has six practice areas that interconnect with each other.  These include artificial intelligence and augmented reality, aerospace cabin power systems and military stealth aircraft sensors, cyber security and cyber defense,  industrial automation and industrial power systems, medical devices and electronic health records, mobile networks with digital media and wireless systems.

 

Candidate Video Interviews  the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Candidate Video Interviews the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Candidate Video Interviews – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

 

Candidate video interviews in recruiting creates manageable content, and with cloud services the benefit of being able to edit, store, and convert to the appropriate information format for evaluating candidates or future consideration of a new opening.  The three types of candidate video interviews are:

  1. One-Way Video Interview: whereby the recruiter posts questions in the form of yes/no, multiple choice, or requiring a direct reply and the candidate can answer the questions.  Most often, the candidate can review the questions and rehearse/formulate their answers in practice sessions.  These are always recorded.
  2. Two-Way Video Interview: whereby there is a live interaction between the recruiter and the candidate and is often recorded.
  3. Group Video Interview:  whereby the candidate faces an interview panel and the entire interview is recorded.

Candidate Video Interviews can be Useful or Worthless

The one-way type is very basic and for lower level positions where a body or limited skills and experiences may be all that is required, this method certainly enables a pre-screening of dozens of applicants.  In the one-way video interview in recruiting, there is no live interaction between the recruiter/interviewer and the candidate/interviewee.  While many believe the one way video interview offers unique advantage of enabling the candidate to likely provide honest answers without panicking or being under undue stress, this is folly.

The problem is not dishonesty, rather skewered embellishments.  Secondly while the idea is that by not seeing the candidate first, this preempts some type of discrimination or bias, those subconscious biases will come into play once the recruiter views the recorded video interview.  Finally, a major disadvantage is that the recruiter cannot challenge the candidate’s answers nor visually see eye/mouth/facial and body movements and tonal differentiation in the challenges that recruiters trained in behavioral interviewing techniques could make a proper assessment of.

The two-way candidate video interviews in recruiting has the advantage of the recruiter witnessing changes in body movements/expressions (hands, eyes, mouth, sweating) and tonal changes. The ability to challenge answers and delve deeper into particular areas of the interview is a huge benefit over one-way interviews.  There are two disadvantages:  one is the limited time that recruiters have  to conduct an X number of two-way video interviews each week; the second is more difficult to measure as it is preferable to have more than one interviewer whose style, technical or behavioral assessment skills may be better suited for certain types of questions and interaction.

The group candidate video interviews in recruiting is the most difficult to schedule and if not planned properly can result in a disastrous outcome.  A group video interview is similar to a panel interview in-person.  In my 25 years in executive search, sadly 70% of all panel interviews are poorly structured and result in sometimes unfair evaluations.

Time  and time again I had clients fail to collaborate to give me the foundation and structure of the panel interview and the personalities involved leaving me in the sad situation of not being able to fully prepare the candidate for the panel interview or relying solely upon the client’s group decision about which candidate to hire.

Properly Plan the Candidate Video Interviews in Recruiting

It took me several years to come up with the right solution.  Before a candidate is presented on the shortlist, we have already conducted psychometric testing and weighted against the team profile the candidate hired will be working with, having surveyed those internal customers at the beginning of the search.  By formulating a composite team profile which measures the cultural values, relational communications skills, and decision-making traits, we are certain the candidates who best fit the team are presented.

The added benefit is because we know the individual client members traits, as recruiters we are in a unique position to advise on the structure and responsibilities of the individual panel members as well as the overall group concerning candidate video interviews.  What we find is that the panel video job interview in recruiting structures are often hastily organized or dominated by one person.  A senior recruiter’s expert advice in group/panel interviews is greatly appreciated by clients.

Solutions for Effective Candidate Video Interviews in Recruiting

The benefits and disadvantages of the candidate video interviews in recruiting that are outlined above do showcase that these are evolving tools which confer a company or business entity with the advantages of cost-efficiency and excellent time management which in turn reduce the losses (and some overhead costs) thereby optimizing the overall value of the company.

Retained search firm are diligent in not just unmasking and assessing the best candidates, but they present a shortlist of candidates with complete dossiers including analysis of skills/expertise, relevant accomplishments and problem solving methods, documented contacts and relationships, behavioral and team fit analysis completed, social media reputation report and comprehensive background checks. This means that the in-person interviews are more forward-looking rather than wasting time to attain information a contingency recruiter failed to acquire.

Since the Hiring Manager now knows everything about the selected candidates presented, the lead recruiter develops a short set of hypothetical and situational questions for those candidates.  These are designed to bear witness the candidates’ reasoning and thought processing skills in how they would handle a known situation or a possible issue/trend.  Those finalists’ candidate video interviews and assessments are delivered to the client.

This also best prepares the Hiring Team to properly structure a group panel video interview for recruiting when scheduling conflicts and time differences preclude a 1st round of face-to-face interviews.   In this digital age, new challenges in utilizing candidate video interviews in recruiting will arise, but this will never eliminate the need and human touch of forward-looking face-to-face interviews.

Award-winning Recruitment Search Processect

Leadership Vault, the award-winning recruitment search methodology created by the managing partners of NextGen Global Executive Search, has consistently proven to result in what clients often describe as the best hire they have ever made and that the candidates brought forward met or exceeded their expectations.  Click the image below to discover our unique search process.

 

Screening Candidates for Team Fit is BETTER than Corporate Culture Match

Screening Candidates for Team Fit is BETTER than Corporate Culture Match

Screening Candidates for Team Fit 

Screening candidates for team fit is more fruitful and accurate than corporate culture match. Work is a lot like life in general in that screening candidates cultural fit is what many strive for.  While it is a lofty goal, it is also a bit of star Trek wishful thinking that all will be well in the universe and a perfect hire will happen.

 In life, we tend to mingle with people who are quite like ourselves. As an individual, a person would usually be drawn to another who expresses similarities, in language, music, and style are among the things. In a few words: we are attracted to the same culture. The same goes for the business world.

Companies have a selection process where they usually look for candidates who share the same values and methods of their organization, i.e corporate culture. Screening candidates for team fit takes more work but in the end it is about the performance of the team and the impact the individuals being considered for hire will impact team dynamics.  Each team has their own culture.  And teams are made up of individuals.  If everyone thinks the  same and has the same corporate culture and process methods philosophy, their is no innovation, no challenge to different thoughts as everyone is robotic in their thinking.

And cultural fit should not be mistaken for one’s own prejudice. A candidate should be hired based on how they would make a positive impact on the team he/she will work within and how that in the end would be beneficial for the company without clashing with other employees and while at the same time maintain demeanor. If these are met  y assessing team fit instead of culture fit,  then that new hire is likely to fail.

Screening Candidates for Team Fit is Essential to Team Success

While cultural fit can be discerned in the screening process, whether the candidates fit the team he/she will work within is one of the main purposes of utilizing psychometrics to asses a candidate’s impact on team dynamics.  The major problem is the reliance upon one-way behavioral testing that partially measures a potential candidate’s potential behavioral patters, values, and motivations, but fails to take into account the team composite regarding relational communications style, decision maing and conflict resolution skills, and leadership/management style.

Many feel that in  a panel interview they can discern within a few hours how a candidate will impact team dynamics and weigh heavily on Human Resources to provide the behavioral assessment.  the interaction established in the interview exhibits the candidate’s credentials to accomplish the job and an essential fit needed to perform efficiently within the role, but cannot measure team fit.

Behavioral interviews are often used; unfortunately, the standard practice does not work well. Organizations need to measure a candidate’s behavioral profile against the composite reading of the team’s behavioral profile. This type of psychometric measurement combined with the in-person interviews can accurately tell how the candidate’s approach and conduct are compatible with the ones practiced within the team, as well as within the company.

According to Entrepreneur, Corporate culture is “a blend of values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths companies develop over time.” In itself, a company has their own identity within its workforce and it greatly varies from one organization to another. Within a company, it is common that different people are working together.

Screening Candidates for Team Fit Means a Good Hire

Screening candidates for team fit assures that teamwork is common and important in a corporate setting. Employees who value working with peers and acknowledge the input of various ideas is most likely to work well in an organization that puts emphasis working in teams. Working with others is an important part in business organizations. However, when an employee prefers to work alone, he or she might be a good cultural fit in an organization that is more inclined in working in teams.Screening candidates for cultural fit and team fit also measures the capability of an employee to embrace diversity and exhibits no qualms in working in an organization that is compatible to their own set of principles and ideals. Companies need to recognize and employ candidates who exhibit these traits. Employees who are happy in their work environment tend to perform better and stay longer.

Despite the diverse personalities within a workforce, a company needs to find balance in shaping their work culture that will assure its accomplishment. Working in organizations would mean meeting a lot of people with different backgrounds. Both cultural fit and team fit emphasizes an employees’ abilities in and characteristics that can contribute to the success of the company.

A Recruitment Process Unmatched

NextGen’s award-winning Leadership Vault search process begins with the Discovery step where the objectives of teh role, how a candidate will use their skills, team dynamics, and value proposition are determines.  The target candidate profile includes researched competitor and company targets followed by documenting accomplishments, relative KPIs, depth of industry / customer relationships, and scientifically based team fit analysis.  Success based recruitment fees where majority is based on acceptable deliverables and the actual hire.  Backed by a custom onboarding plan and a 24 to 36 month replacement guarantee and a retention rate of 93% of our placements are working for same client at 3.5 years of service with 72% in 5 years.  You should expect NOTHING LESS than hiring an “A player” when you pay a recruitment fee.