Morning Advantage: Take Your Work Solutions Home

Fed up with the chaos that was dominating their household, the Starr family of Hidden Springs, Idaho, decided to start running their family like a business. They turned to a program called agile development, a system of group dynamics where workers are organized into small teams, and hold daily progress sessions and weekly reviews. According to The Wall Street Journal's Saturday Essay Family Inc, it’s a growing trend among a new generation of parents who are taking workplace solutions — like accountability checklists, branding sessions, mission statements, core values statements, and conflict resolution techniques — home to their families.

Some of the take-home advice? 1.) The most effective teams (and families) aren’t dominated by a single top-down leader; all members must contribute. 2.) Employees (and children) are more self-motivated when they can set weekly goals, plan their own time, and evaluate their own work. 3.) You need to build flexibility into a business, or a family. You can’t anticipate every problem, so you need systems that allow you to adapt to change quickly. Accountability, one of the central tenets of agile development, is also key, making “information radiators” — large, public boards where people mark their progress — essential.


Innovation Lessons from the Newspaper Industry (

A new report from the Pew Research Center shows that in the embattled newspaper industry, some papers are finding ways to turn business innovations into real revenue. A year-long report analyzed four daily newspapers’ experiments, which ranged from sales force restructuring to rebranding to digital experiments and outsourcing of services. Some of the common factors among the more successful newspapers? Leaders with a clear vision and a willingness to take risks, a commitment to reshaping the internal culture, and a focus on improving the quality of the product, even with reduced resources.


Number of Users Spending Less Time on Facebook Outweighs Number Spending More Time (Pew Research Center)

Some 34% of Facebook users say they spend less time on the site now than last year, while just 13% say they spend more time on it, and decreases in engagement seem to be most prevalent among the young, says a Pew survey: Among users ages 18-29, the proportion who report spending less time on the site is 42%. Additionally, 28% of total users say the site is less important to them than it was last year (only 12% say it's more important). What does it all mean? Pew says simply that there's a lot of fluidity among Facebook visitors. And bear in mind that it's still a monster site: Two-thirds of all online American adults are Facebook users. — Andy O’Connell


Out of Balance

Raw Data: 401(k) Account Balances for Workers Near Retirement (Mother Jones)
Surnames Offer Depressing Clues to the Extent of Social Mobility Over Generations (The Economist)
China’s New Bachelor Class (The Atlantic)

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