Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Wealth Management/Stacey Robinson: Cyber Attacks May Make Financial Industry "WannaCry"

Wealth Management

May 02, 2017


Cyber Attacks May Make Financial Industry "WannaCry"

The financial services industry is a huge target for cyber criminals — more than any other industry.

 By Stacey Robinson | May 24, 2017

Large-scale cybersecurity breaches are in the news on a weekly and even daily basis in 2017. The WannaCry ransomware attack that sent millions of malicious emails and infected hundreds of thousands of computers globally, the Google Docs phishing scheme that spread rapidly, granting access to a malicious third party under the guise of a shared document and dozens of other smaller attacks have affected organizations across industries and put cybersecurity on everyone’s minds.

The financial services industry is a huge target for cybercriminals — more than any other industry — and the risk has evolved from financial theft and fraud to more complex and serious consequences like theft of intellectual property, business disruption and reputation damage (Deloitte).

In other words, hackers are not just stealing lists of Social Security numbers anymore, but rather executing serious breaches with more far-reaching consequences. Even large firms may struggle to keep up with the evolving cybersecurity threats and the situation is particularly challenging for mid- and small-tier firms. As recent events like WannaCry show, malicious cybercriminals are only getting quicker and more sophisticated.

Cybercriminals Exploit Financial Services Firms’ Vulnerabilities

At financial services firms, cyberattacks exploit flaws in security programs that allow threat actors to gain access. Among the most common attack targets are endpoints, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones. Endpoints are particularly vulnerable because they require both robust security protocols and effective education for the firms’ employees, who act as the last line of defense.

Attackers use weaponized email attachments and links to attack sites in order to compromise credentials and establish a foothold on the endpoint. The 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) from Verizon points out that it only takes minutes to compromise a host and collect a set of valid credentials, and in most cases, data exfiltration is underway just days after compromise.

Additionally, the DBIR uncovers some surprising figures about common security vulnerabilities. In 2015, the top 10 unpatched vulnerabilities accounted for 85 percent of successful exploit traffic. Furthermore, of those top 10 unpatched vulnerabilities that were exploited, only two of the patches were from 2015, and all of the remaining eight patches were published in or before 2003. The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations found recently that while nearly all firms surveyed had regular system maintenance processes in place, including the installation of patches to address vulnerabilities, 10 percent of broker/dealers and 4 percent of investment management firms had not updated a significant number of critical, high-risk security patches. Given these statistics, it’s unsurprising that attackers find success.

The WannaCry attacks that started on May 12, 2017 exploited the EternalBlue vulnerability. Microsoft had released a critical patch for EternalBlue on March 14 — almost two full months prior to the attacks. “Frankly, if you wait two months to apply a critical Microsoft patch, you’re doing something wrong,” said Kasper Lindgaard of Flexera Software. “This time, we even had a warning in April that this could very likely happen, so businesses need to wake up and start taking these types of threats and risks seriously. There is simply no excuse.”

Why Are Endpoints Especially Vulnerable

Endpoints are a primary target for several reasons: 1) they are not being patched consistently or fully, 2) policy configuration may be ineffective, 3) they directly interact with attack sites and are often exposed to untrusted networks such as public hotspots and ineffectively secured home/home-office networks and 4) a portion of end users will inevitably open malicious attachments and click links to attack sites.

Compromising an endpoint gives the attacker a lot of bang for their buck, since they provide easy access to additional data and systems. One of the most effective ways to exploit endpoint security vulnerability is via phishing, a form of social engineering that commonly targets financial services companies. Per the DBIR, 30 percent of phishing emails were opened and 12 percent clicked on the malicious attachment or link, thereby enabling the attack. Clearly, we still have a long way to go in educating employees on security risks associated with emails and social engineering.

Successful endpoint security is a complex endeavor, requiring an extensive framework and consistent attention. It requires quality and maturity in areas such as OS hardening, the principle of least privilege and patching. Particular consideration should be paid to advanced security solutions around application whitelisting, exploit detection and prevention, device blocking, firewalls, web filtering and malware prevention.

While attackers will continue to use phishing as an attack vector in order to capitalize on human error, it’s certainly possible — and these days, essential — to develop and implement a robust security framework that accounts for all vulnerabilities.

From simple patch maintenance programs to in-depth user awareness and education, the best approach to preventing a breach involves difficult and too expensive for criminals to infiltrate your organization. Consistently adapting and improving security controls and countermeasures drives up the cost and risk for cybercriminals, while in turn makes companies better and more effective at spotting and stopping attacks sooner.

While recent global attacks are unfortunate, they may be the wakeup call that some financial services firms need in order to put stricter protocols in place.

Stacey Robinson, CISSP, is Chief Technology Officer at Mediant.

TAGS: Industry

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Morgan Stanley's 16,000 Human Brokers Get Algorithmic Makeover
The best hope human advisers have against robots is to harness the same technologies that threaten their disruption: algorithms combined with big data and machine learning.

May 31, 2017

By Hugh Son

(Bloomberg) --Call them cyborgs. Morgan Stanley is about to augment its 16,000 financial advisers with machine-learning algorithms that suggest trades, take over routine tasks and send reminders when your birthday is near.

The project, known internally as “next best action,” shows how one of the world’s biggest brokerages aims to upgrade its workforce while a growing number of firms roll out fully automated platforms called robo-advisers. The thinking is that humans with algorithmic assistants will be a better solution for wealthy families than mere software allocating assets for the masses.

At Morgan Stanley, algorithms will send employees multiple-choice recommendations based on things like market changes and events in a client’s life, according to Jeff McMillan, chief analytics and data officer for the bank’s wealth-management division. Phone, email and website interactions will be cataloged so machine-learning programs can track and improve their suggestions over time to generate more business with customers, he said.

“We’re desperately trying to pattern you and your behavior to delight you with something you may not have even been asking for, but based on what you have been doing, that you might find of value,” McMillan said in an interview. “We’re not trying to sell you, we’re trying to find the things you want and need.”

Faced with competition from cheaper automated wealth-management services and higher expectations set by pioneering firms like Uber Technologies Inc. and Inc., traditional brokerages are starting to chart out their digital future. It turns out that the best hope human advisers have against robots is to harness the same technologies that threaten their disruption: algorithms combined with big data and machine learning.

The idea is that advisers, who typically build relationships with hundreds of clients over decades, face an overwhelming amount of information about markets and the lives of their wealthy wards. New York-based Morgan Stanley is seeking to give humans an edge by prodding them to engage at just the right moments.

"Technology can help them understand what’s happening in their book of business and what’s happening with their clients, whether it be considering a mortgage, to dealing with the death of a parent, to buying IBM,” McMillan said. “We take all of that and score them on the benefit that will accrue to the client and the likelihood they will transact.”

Morgan Stanley will pilot the program with 500 advisers in July and expects to roll it out to all of them by year-end.

Additional high-tech tools are coming: McMillan and others are working on an artificial intelligence assistant -- think Siri for brokers -- that can answer questions by sifting the firm’s mountain of research. (The bank produces 80,000 research reports a year.) The brokerage also is automating paper-heavy processes like wire transfers and creating a digital repository of client documents, such as wills and tax returns. Established advisers tend to be older, so Morgan Stanley is hiring associates to train those who need help.

The technology means that for the first time in decades, the balance of power between financial advisers and their employers may shift. For years, top advisers could command multimillion-dollar bonuses by jumping to a competitor. That slowed to a crawl this year because of regulatory changes, and now the technological push will further the trend, according to Kendra Thompson, a managing director at Accenture Plc.

Bonuses Obsolete

Backed by a firm’s algorithms, “advisers are going to be part of a value proposition, rather than the service conduit for the industry,” Thompson said. “The cutting of the bonus check, it’s nearly over.”

Morgan Stanley isn’t swearing off robo-advisers, either. It plans to release one in coming months, along with rivals Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. The technology was pioneered by startups Wealthfront Inc. and Betterment LLC and went mainstream at discount brokers Charles Schwab Corp. and Vanguard Group Inc. Robos could have $6.5 trillion under management by 2025, from about $100 billion in 2016, according to Morgan Stanley analysts.

An in-house robo-adviser and a learning machine that acquaints itself with rich clients might alarm advisers who plan to keep working for decades. McMillan is adamant that the flesh-and-blood broker will be needed for years to come because the wealthy have complicated financial planning needs that are best met by human experts.

“When I talk to financial advisers, they’re always like, ‘Is this going to put me out of business?’” he said. “That’s always the big elephant in the room. I can tell you factually that we are a long ways away from that.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Hugh Son in New York at To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Eichenbaum at David Scheer, Dan Reichl
TAGS: Advisor Channels
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Cyber Attacks May Make Financial Industry "WannaCry"
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Copyright © 2017 Penton

FastCompany/Adele Peters: This Machine Just Started Sucking CO2 Out Of The Air To Save Us From Climate Change

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    05.31.17 6:00 am

This Machine Just Started Sucking CO2 Out Of The Air To Save Us From Climate Change
Climeworks carbon capture device will take the gas from the air and sell it or store it in the ground. Now we just need a few hundred thousand more–as quickly as possible.
1/6 At the new Swiss plant, three stacked shipping containers each hold six of Climeworks’ CO2 collectors. [Photo: Julia Dunlop]

By Adele Peters 7 minute Read

Sitting on top of a waste incineration facility near Zurich, a new carbon capture plant is now sucking CO2 out of the air to sell to its first customer. The plant, which opened on May 31, is the first commercial enterprise of its kind. By midcentury, the startup behind it–Climeworks–believes we will need hundreds of thousands more.

To have a chance of keeping the global temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius, the limit set by the Paris agreement, it’s likely that shifting to a low-carbon economy won’t be enough.

“If we say that by the middle of the century we want to do 10 billion tons per year, that’s probably something where we need to start today.” [Photo: Julia Dunlop]
“We really only have less than 20 years left at current emission rates to have a good chance of limiting emissions to less than 2°C,” says Chris Field, director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and coauthor of a recent paper discussing carbon removal. “So it’s a big challenge to do it simply by decreasing emissions from energy, transportation, and agriculture.” Removing carbon–whether through planting more forests or more advanced technology like direct carbon capture–will probably also be necessary to reach the goal.

At the new Swiss plant, three stacked shipping containers each hold six of Climeworks’ CO2 collectors. Small fans pull air into the collectors, where a sponge-like filter soaks up carbon dioxide. It takes two or three hours to fully saturate a filter, and then the process reverses: The box closes, and the collector is heated to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, which releases the CO2 in a pure form that can be sold, made into other products, or buried underground.

“It’s a big challenge to do it simply by decreasing emissions from energy, transportation, and agriculture.” [Photo: Julia Dunlop]
“You can do this over and over again,” says Jan Wurzbacher, cofounder and director of Climeworks. “It’s a cyclic process. You saturate with CO2, then you regenerate, saturate, regenerate. You have multiple of these units, and not all of them go in parallel. Some are taking in CO2, some are releasing CO2. That means that overall the plant has continuous CO2 production, which is also important for the customer.”

In the case of the first plant, the customer is a neighboring greenhouse, which uses the CO2 to make its tomatoes and cucumbers grow faster (plants build tissue by pulling carbon from the air, and more carbon dioxide means more growth, at least to a degree). Climeworks is also in talks with beverage companies that use CO2 in sparkling water or soda–particularly in production plants that are in remote areas, where trucking in a conventional source of CO2 would be expensive.

“There, Climeworks’ plan–taking it out of the air directly on site, is very advantageous and also commercially attractive already as of today,” says Wurzbacher. “We still have to go down a couple of steps on the cost curve, but in these niche applications already today, we can offer competitive CO2.”

“If a company pays us to remove 10,000 tons of CO2 from the air, we’re actually putting a plant in place that extracts these 10,000 tons of CO2.” [Photo: Julia Dunlop]
In both cases, the captured CO2 would eventually be released back into the atmosphere. But the company also plans to use CO2 to make carbon-neutral products. Using renewable energy, it can split water (which is created as a by-product of its process) to create hydrogen, and then combine that with the carbon dioxide in various processes to create plastics (for example, for recycled CO2 sneakers) or fuel.

Ultimately, the company wants to sell its ability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it underground, and it thinks that the market may be ready to pay sooner than the startup initially expected. The IPCC, the international body that issues massive, comprehensive reports on climate change, has estimated that the world will need to be removing an average of 10 gigatons of CO2–10 billion tons–a year from the atmosphere by midcentury.

“If we say that by the middle of the century we want to do 10 billion tons per year, that’s probably something where we need to start today,” says Wurzbacher. “Based on our experiences now on the market, we are very confident that we will be able to develop a market in the very near future, maybe next year or in two or three years, to sell these negative emissions.”

Because there isn’t yet a global price on carbon, the company imagines that the first customers might be corporations that need help reaching ambitious climate goals. After adopting more obvious solutions, like renewable energy, increased efficiency, and changes in materials or transportation, a company might turn to negative emissions to help it offset the remainder of its footprint.

[Photo: Julia Dunlop]
Wurzbacher contrasts it with other carbon trading or certificate schemes, such as paying to have trees planted somewhere. “It’s always hard to grasp what’s really happening if you do these schemes,” he says. “Unlike that, if a company pays us to remove 10,000 tons of CO2 from the air, we’re actually putting a plant in place that extracts these 10,000 tons of CO2.”

Planting trees or preserving existing forests is likely to also be a critical way to absorb CO2. “The best example of carbon dioxide removal technology that we know how to do now is grow more forest and to protect the carbon content of soils,” says Field. “And those are technologies that we know how to do now that provide extensive co-benefits and are ripe for taking advantage of.”

But direct air capture plants have some advantages that could make them an important part of the solution as well: The CO2 capture plant is roughly a thousand times more efficient than photosynthesis.

“Air capture costs money, so anything we can do which is cheaper than air capture, we should do it, definitely.” [Photo: Julia Dunlop]
“One CO2 collector has the same footprint as a tree,” says Wurzbacher. “It takes 50 tons of CO2 out of the air every year. A corresponding tree would take 50 kilograms of the air every year. It’s a factor of a thousand. So in order to achieve the same, you would need 1,000 times less area than you would require for plants growing.” The CO2 collectors can also be used in areas that wouldn’t be suitable for agriculture, helping preserve land needed for farming, and they don’t require a water source, unlike some afforestation efforts. They can also run on renewable energy.


Still, to have the impact needed, the CO2 capture plants would need to be built at a massive scale. The first plant in Switzerland can capture 900 tons of carbon dioxide in a year, roughly the same amount of emissions as 200 cars. The company calculated how many shipping container-sized units would be needed to capture 1% of global emissions; the answer was 750,000.

In one sense, Wurzbacher says that this is less enormous than it might seem. The same number of shipping containers pass through the Port of Shanghai every two weeks. But to capture the 10 gigatons of emissions needed, between 10 and 20 other carbon capture companies would have to have equally large operations. (As of today, a handful of others, such as Carbon Engineering and Global Thermostat, are working on similar technology.)

Field, the Stanford scientist, argues that it’s important to remember that the technologies, while promising, are early-stage and unproven, and will face challenges in scaling up, especially if there isn’t a price on carbon. He also says it’s critical that people don’t get the wrong idea about the potential–the possibility of carbon capture isn’t a license to pollute more now.

“We need to start scaling it today if we want to be able to put away these 10 gigatons every year by 2040 or 2050.” [Photo: Julia Dunlop]
“What we should not be doing is ethically kicking the can down the road and then say, ‘Oh, we’ll probably figure out something later that we can then utilize,'” he says. “Many of the scenarios that come forward in the models that are cost effective do exactly that: They say we’ll come up with this technology, based on incomplete information it will be cheap and effective, the land will be available, and people will embrace this. That might be right. But there’s almost no evidence confirming that it’s right.”

But that note of caution doesn’t mean the technology isn’t necessary. “CO2 removal is a really good idea,” he says. “And a lot of the technologies ought to be deployed today. A lot of technologies ought to be explored.”

“Air capture costs money, so anything we can do which is cheaper than air capture, we should do it, definitely,” says Wurzbacher. “But we’ll need this on top of that. And we’ll not only need to develop it today, but we need to start scaling it today if we want to be able to put away these 10 gigatons every year by 2040 or 2050.”

Capturing carbon, he says, is as important as the massive shift to a low-carbon economy. “It’s not either/or,” he says. “It’s both.”
About the author

Adele Peters is a staff writer at Fast Company who focuses on solutions to some of the world's largest problems, from climate change to homelessness. Previously, she worked with GOOD, BioLite, and the Sustainable Products and Solutions program at UC Berkeley.


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    05.26.17 career evolution

This Is The Part Of Your Resume That Recruiters Look At First
If you don’t have their attention in the first 10 lines, you probably never will.
This Is The Part Of Your Resume That Recruiters Look At First
[Photo: KittisakJirasittichai/iStock]

By Andrew Fennell4 minute Read

If you want to land job interviews, your entire resume needs to be great, but only one part of it has to be really great. Think of it this way: recruiters and hiring managers are most likely to encounter your resume as an email attachment or a PDF you submit through a company’s online submission form, right? When they open the file, only the top half—at most—is going to fill their screen. That’s the part you need to lavish the most attention on. If you don’t give them a reason to scroll down and read more, it’s all over for you.

Here’s what it takes to make the best use of that high-value real estate.
Use Limited Space Wisely

In web design, this section is referred to “above the fold”–an expression that originated in the newspaper industry, where the most important headlines were printed literally above the part where the paper folded in half. For designers today, the same principle holds true: What’s visible to a reader when they open a webpage or document is the part where those crucial first impressions take place.

On your resume, the area above the fold sits within the red-dotted line in this example.

Since you can only fit so much into this amount of space, you’ve got to choose wisely what goes in there. Keep your page margins to a minimum and your contact details brief, this way you can squeeze the most critical info into that area.

Related: Three Ways To Add Personality To Your Resume (And Three Ways Not To

But don’t just cram in as much as you can. Think of your resume’s top quarter as your shop window. You want to place the most attractive items inside it, to entice more visitors into your store. That means you want to use this space to introduce yourself in the most compelling–though not necessarily the most comprehensive–terms possible, bullet out your core skills, and still have some space left to show off your most recent role.
Sell Yourself With A Punchy Profile

Your resume is essentially a marketing document for your services as an employee, so starting with an elevator-style pitch is a great way to reel people in.

A profile section of around five to eight lines that gives a high-level summary of your abilities in a well-written, persuasive manner, can set the tone for your resume.

Just make sure that your profile doesn’t read like an objective statement–employers don’t want to know about what you want (presumably, that’s the job you’re applying for). Your resume should be written purely to sell your talents and get your foot in the door. A profile, on the other hand, while a little unorthodox, lets you summarize your experience and skills persuasively and tells the employer the benefits that you can provide to the role.

Related: The Most Common Resume Lies (And Who Is Most Likely To Tell Them)

If you decide to write a profile section, avoid tired clichés like, “hardworking team player, dedicated to achieving results.” Although impressive-sounding, this overused, generic expression doesn’t describe what you’ll actually do in the workplace. You may well be a hardworking team player, but it’s better to demonstrate this point with evidence, rather than simply stating it. Instead, try something like: “established IT sales consultant with five years of experience providing multimillion-dollar database solutions to global retail organizations.”

The key is to offer a concise snippet of context, factual evidence, and even metrics, while giving the impression that you’re a results-driven hard worker—all before getting to your work experience section.
Add A Core Skills Section

A core skills section is a simple bulleted list that sits underneath your profile and highlights your most in-demand skills and knowledge. This section should give recruiters an instant snapshot of your skillset at a glance.

Make sure you do your research to determine which skills to promote here. This section should be reserved for essential talents only, and each point should be kept short and punchy–at three words or less.

Highlight Your Most Recent Role

If your most recent role is the most relevant one to the vacancy you’re applying for, then you should make sure a good chunk of it is visible when someone opens your resume.

Head the role up with an outline giving a description of the organization you work for, where you sit within the hierarchy, and an overall summary of your accomplishments on the job. The key here is to demonstrate as many sought-after talents above the fold as you can.

If possible, try to add some impressive achievements with quantifiable results to prove the impact you’ve made. Any instances where you saved costs, generated revenue, or improved efficiency are always worth noting. For example: “negotiated new supplier deals resulting in a 10% decrease in budget spend annually” or, “delivered all project deliverables three months ahead of scheduled deadline.”

Statements like these allow recruiters to see the true scale of your work and benchmark you against their own standards.

If you can create a well-structured resume that highlights the best you’ve got to offer all within the first third or so of the document, you’ll increase your chances of landing interviews. Remember, if you can’t get recruiters interested in the first few lines of your resume, they’ll have no reason to read the last few.

Andrew Fennell is an experienced recruiter, founder of London CV writing service StandOut CV, and author of The Ultimate CV Writing Guide.

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    05.22.17 future of philanthropy

The 5 Books On Bill Gates’s Summer Reading List–From Jimmy Carter To Trevor Noah
If you are worried your beach reads might be a little too easy this summer, Gates has some more heady suggestions for you.
The 5 Books On Bill Gates’s Summer Reading List–From Jimmy Carter To Trevor Noah
The list, Gates says, “pushed me out of my own experiences, and I learned some things that made me question my own thinking about how the world works.”[Photo: courtesy GatesNotes]

By Ben Paynter3 minute Read

As one of the world’s top philanthropists, perhaps it makes sense that Bill Gates is treating beach reading like an intellectual cause: Each year, he offers up his list of the most important beach reads, none of which have ever featured Fabio on the cover.

Most tackle headier world topics including 2016 choices like The Vital Question, a scientific investigation by into how energy transfers between cells, to How to Not to Be Wrong, which offered plenty of life-improving equations built on math principles.

This year’s list is different, though, because it has a slightly more philosophical bent. As Gates writes on his personal blog, GatesNotes, the list “pushed me out of my own experiences, and I learned some things that made me question my own thinking about how the world works.” His five book lineup includes musing from a well-known talk show host, former president, and a few lesser-known people whose perspectives will definitely be better known now, which is sort of the point. As Gates puts it “I hope you’ll find that others make you think deeper about what it means to truly connect with other people and to have purpose in your life.” It’s a message that seems particularly on-point in these divisive political times.
[Cover: Random House]
Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah

In his memoir, The Daily Show host riffs on what it was like to grow up biracial in apartheid South Africa, and how it propelled his particularly pointed albeit humor-seeking worldview. “As a longtime fan of The Daily Show, I loved reading this memoir about how its host honed his outsider approach to comedy over a lifetime of never quite fitting in,” Gates writes.
[Cover: Farrar, Straus & Giroux]
The Heart, by Maylis de Kerangal

This novel chronicles the journey of a man’s heart from his accidental death to its eventual transplant and all who encounter it along the way. Gates calls it “an exploration of grief” that is “closer to poetry than anything else.” As in, even super cerebral thinkers should step back to meditate the fragility of life and our human condition.
Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance

This memoir explores what it takes to overcome rural poverty in Appalachia. There isn’t really a simple solution for places with deeply systemic problems (and Vance’s book has come under quite a bit of criticism for its views on those systemic problems). Gates calls this an “against all odds” tale that offers “insights into some of the complex cultural and family issues behind poverty.” Spoiler alert: Vance is now a successful venture capitalist in San Francisco.
[Cover: Harper]
Homo Deus, by Yuval Noah Harari

This is another big question book, a philosophical look at the potential future of humanity, powered by advances in technology and human potential. “So far, the things that have shaped society–what we measure ourselves by–have been either religious rules about how to live a good life, or more earthly goals like getting rid of sickness, hunger, and war,” Gates writes. “What would the world be like if we actually achieved those things? I don’t agree with everything Harari has to say, but he has written a smart look at what may be ahead for humanity.”
[Cover: Simon & Schuster]
A Full Life, by Jimmy Carter

The peanut farmer’s son who went on to became president offers up anecdotes about what it takes to become successful. For Gates, the real power of the book is that it shows what happens “for better and for worse” when a Have Not eventually takes high office. As he puts it, “A Full Life feels timely in an era when the public’s confidence in national political figures and institutions is low.”
About the author

Ben Paynter is a senior writer at Fast Company covering social impact, the future of philanthropy, and innovative food companies. His work has appeared in Wired, Bloomberg Businessweek, and the New York Times, among other places.


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    05.18.17 the future of work

Five Skills You’ll Need To Lead The Company Of The Future
What worked in the past doesn’t work now.
Five Skills You’ll Need To Lead The Company Of The Future
[Photo: Kelvin Murray/Getty Images]

By Jared Lindzon4 minute Read

In the traditional corporate model, strong leaders pursued a singular vision through the strong command of an organization. Today, we live in a time of rapid change, when products and services often become obsolete overnight, and competition includes startups and companies in adjacent industries–the traditional leadership archetypes need not apply.

Instead an entirely new value system is beginning to emerge for the leaders of the future, one that will continue to grow with the rise of new tools like artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation.

“There’s been a transition from thinking about corporations solely as revenues and profits, and thinking about the organization in a more inclusive way,” says Ernst & Young’s (EY) global chief innovation officer, Jeff Wong. “Clearly revenue and profits are still important, but the leading companies are starting to think beyond that.”

Wong adds that while organizations used to select leaders based on relevant management experience, there is now a premium on leaders who demonstrate drastically different skill sets; the ones that experts believe will help organizations navigate a rapidly changing business environment.
1. The Ability To Think Of New Solutions

While leaders of the past were often tasked with executing predetermined strategies, increasing efficiency, and improving preexisting processes, one of the most valuable assets of future leaders is their willingness and ability to create something entirely new.

“We know the world is changing rapidly, we know that change is accelerating, we know that when you look at companies and industries that are evolving rapidly that there will be a series of new opportunities to go after, which will also be a chance to help define the evolution of their industry,” explains Wong.

Wong explains that as industries, processes, and business models are reinvented by disruptive technologies, the most valuable leaders of tomorrow are those that can shape the impact of those changes, rather than react to them.

“They’re leaders who can seek out new opportunities, who can deliver those new opportunities, but can also help redefine their own business into what it needs to be for the future,” he says.
2. Being Comfortable With Chaos

In an increasingly chaotic business landscape, the leaders who thrive are those who work well in unknown conditions.

“There are systems and processes that have been built up from the past that were fantastic for that era, but they aren’t fast or nimble enough to match this pace of change,”says Wong.

Leaders who can demonstrate a level of comfort with the chaos that results from reinventing long-standing processes are better prepared for the challenges that await them in the future, he says.
3. An Understanding Of Technology

While the leaders of the future won’t necessarily need to be the ones writing code, experts suggest that they will at least be required to demonstrate a robust understanding of the capabilities, applications, and future potential of emerging technologies.

“Information technology is moving from more of a supporting role that creates efficiency to a differentiating role that will increase effectiveness,” says Guo Xiao, the president and CEO of ThoughtWorks, a global technology consultancy. “Corporations are taking tech more and more seriously, regardless of what industry they’re working in.”

Xiao explains that industries as diverse as retail, agriculture, and manufacturing are increasingly naming technology experts to their advisory boards, while adding more C-level positions in the information and technology space. These efforts, he explains, are in recognition of the fact that technology needs to drive core business functions in order for companies to remain competitive.

“IT staff are now sitting in the center of innovation teams, because the company understands that with ever-changing technologies their business models are facing opportunities to be disrupted or evolved,” he says.
4. High Emotional Intelligence

In a future that incorporates more artificial intelligence in the workplace, leaders who are emotionally intelligent will ultimately thrive.

“If you think about the assembly line in a very hierarchal organization, it was about measurement and control,” explains Accenture’s chief technology and innovation officer, Paul Daugherty. “Then we moved to the second generation of management, which was still about control over sequential processes.”

As part of management’s ongoing evolution that military-like control over subordinates has gone from a key leadership value to a competitive disadvantage, suggests Daugherty.

As technology becomes more ubiquitous in business processes, organizations have become flatter and less hierarchal, he explains. “As you have work processes evolving more organically, it’s going to be driven by leaders that understand and invest in people.”

Daugherty points to five traits of successful future business leaders, each emphasizing traits that cannot be replicated by artificial intelligence anytime soon. They include accountability, transparency, fairness, honesty, and an ability to design systems and processes for humans.
5. The Ability To Work With People and Technology Together

With the increasing influence of technology on businesses both within and beyond the tech industry, the most effective leaders of tomorrow will understand how to delegate between humans and machines in a way that maximizes the capabilities of both.

“The obligation of leaders is to step back and look at not just how you apply AI to the business, but how you change a process,” says Daugherty. “Look at the roles that people play in that process and apply technology that optimizes the value of the people in those roles.”

While some look at emerging technologies with fear and anxiety, the most future-ready leaders are excited to integrate them into their workforce, explains Wong.

“The best leaders love the benefits of the two working together,” he says. “They love AI, they love bots, they love anything that makes them better, helps them make better decisions, and helps them see things more clearly.”
About the author

Jared Lindzon is a freelance journalist born, raised and residing in Toronto, covering technology, entrepreneurship, entertainment and more for a wide variety of publications in Canada, the United States and around the world. When he's not playing with gadgets, interviewing entrepreneurs or traveling to music festivals and tech conferences you can usually find him diligently practicing his third-person bio writing skills.


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What’s Your American Dream Score? This Quiz Will Tell You
The results might disabuse you of the idea that everything you achieved was just because of your hard work.
What’s Your American Dream Score? This Quiz Will Tell You
The roles of luck, or circumstance, or the invisible marionette strings of the job market and the economy are never considered. [Photo: Willard/iStock]

By Eillie Anzilotti5 minute Read

Though he didn’t understand the significance of it during his childhood, Bob McKinnon’s hometown of Chelsea, Massachusetts was also where Horatio Alger–19th-century spinner of the rags-to-riches tales that built the sentimental backbone of the American Dream–was born. McKinnon grew up the son of a single mother, a bartender who relocated the family to a rural Pennsylvania trailer park after meeting and marrying a truck driver. His family was on food stamps and Medicaid. His brother became a factory worker; his sister a truck driver. McKinnon was the only one of his family to go to college. After a successful career in marketing, he founded GALEWiLL, a nonprofit organization that focuses on creating solutions to social issues and inequities.

That his own life story should closely ascribe to the structure of a modern-day Horatio Alger story is not lost on McKinnon. “I went through urban poverty and rural poverty, but I was really fortunate and worked hard and was met with success on a whole lot of levels,” McKinnon tells Fast Company. “And of course, going through this, you’re confronted with all these stories about the American Dream and how nothing holds anyone back. But you also stop and reflect and think: Numerically, I’m not supposed to be where I am right now.”

Cresting the heights of the American Dream is, in the popular imagination, often seen as a matter of brute-force bootstrapping: Who can work the hardest to overcome their odds? Who can persevere in the face of the harshest adversity? The roles of luck, or circumstance, or the invisible marionette strings of the job market and the economy are never considered, McKinnon says. Success in America is a marketed as a man-made phenomenon.

“You have this idea of the American Dream, and that’s important to have in a way because it gives people hope. But then I started wondering: Is it actually limiting?” [Photo: sergey02/iStock]
A new project from GALEWiLL and funded by the Ford Foundation, called the Your American Dream Score, deflates that idea that success–or lack thereof–is purely one’s own doing. The calculator is a part of a larger initiative, Moving Up: The Truth About Getting Ahead In America, which comprehensively examines the factors that contribute to mobility in America, and why changing one’s circumstances is far more difficult than the folklore leads up to believe (Fast Company has syndicated some of Moving Up’s articles). The reasons are myriad: wide disparities in educational quality, access to resources like healthy food, and social and familial support are just a slice. But too often, McKinnon says, when someone “makes it out”–like him–the only reason offered up is: “He worked hard.” When someone doesn’t make it out, the reason is: “He didn’t work hard enough.”

Using the Your American Dream Score, you see how many factors beyond the self play into one’s outcomes. The five-minute-long quiz, developed by the firm Sol Design, first asks you to enter your demographic information, then moves into more personal questions: What personality traits would your friends ascribe to you? What was your family situation growing up? How has your health been your whole life? How about your friendships? Have you received government benefits?

You’re then given a score out of 100, with scores starting at 45 to reflect a baseline of individual effort. “We realized if we did not have that floor some might feel as if their own efforts were being discounted,” McKinnon says. If you score less than 53, that means you have all factors working in your favor and have less to overcome; 54-65, the majority of factors have been on your side; 66-79, you’ve had more working against than for you; 80 and above, you’ve been dealt a tough hand.

By getting people to think more holistically about the factors that contribute to success, McKinnon wants to break down what he sees as the two most harmful fallouts of the self-made-person mythology that still persists in America. “On the one hand, you have this idea of the American Dream, and that’s important to have in a way because it gives people hope,” McKinnon says. “But then I started wondering: Is it actually limiting?” Take a school that’s clearly underperforming, McKinnon says. “Instead of fixing the school, people can point to the two kids that made it out and say: Why doesn’t everyone work as hard as they do?”

And then there’s the fact often, people who “make it” forget the path they took to arrive where they are now. This phenomenon is called fundamental attribution bias, and it’s perhaps best explained by a 2012 study done by Paul Piff, a researcher at UC Berkeley who set up a rigged game of Monopoly, in which one player–determined by a coin flip–started out with twice the money as the other, and got to drive a model Rolls Royce around the board, while the opponent was relegated to an old shoe. While the player who started out with the most money invariably won the game, they never, Piff found, attributed their victory to their initial advantage–instead, they pointed to their superior strategy or skill.

This type of reasoning infects the American understanding of success, and McKinnon wants to put an end to it. “There’s a growing body of research that suggests that when people reflect in a more nuanced way on their own journey or other people’s, they become more grateful for the things that have helped them, they become more supportive of those who are struggling, and they more actively engage in ways to help people,” McKinnon says. By being more upfront about the substantial difference external factors make–especially those like food stamps and housing assistance, which people often avoid discussion out of fear of stigma–we can, McKinnon says, begin to turn more attention to supporting those very systems that make mobility possible.

Part of the Your American Dream Score’s efficacy, McKinnon says, will lie in its reach–Moving Up partnered with WNET, the flagship station of PBS which will host Your American Dream Score through its Chasing the Dream initiative, and is engaging celebrities and business leaders to ensure the web platform is publicized in all communities in America, where the tool can offer perspective on people’s circumstances. But the calculator also tells users what they can do with that perspective: At the end of the quiz, users are directed to a number of resources for support and further information, as well as volunteer opportunities and prompts to thank people in their lives. The Moving Up team will also be releasing a discussion guide for schools and other organizations to discuss the factors in a structured way.

Through getting that conversation going, McKinnon hopes to “begin to figure out how we can make more investments in these tailwinds–these things that we know do help people move forward,” he says. “But it has to start with figuring out how we can tell the story better.”
About the author

Eillie Anzilotti is an assistant editor for Fast Company's Ideas section, covering sustainability, social good, and alternative economies. Previously, she wrote for CityLab.


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Tearsheet/Tanaya Macheel: ‘If you don’t fix your diversity problem, I’ve got no time for you’: VC Amy Nauiokas

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VCs and PEs
‘If you don’t fix your diversity problem, I’ve got no time for you’: VC Amy Nauiokas

    So many early stage companies fail, it's important to focus on people's ability to lead a company and idea -- not the idea itself.

    There isn't a problem with female founders' access to funding, but there certainly aren't enough female founders, Nauiokas said.

Tanaya Macheel | MAY 30, 2017

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This is Ask a VC, where we quiz venture capitalists on the latest trends in the finance space.

Like many investors, Amy Nauiokas invests in people, not ideas.

“Companies are more than just an LLC and a pile of cash,” said Nauiokas, founder and president of Anthemis, a financial technology investor. “They’re made up of founders and from there they grow. And when you look at a company’s culture you don’t have to look much past the founders to figure out where they need to go.”

Anthemis invests in early stage technology companies focused across the industry — retail banking and consumer finance, business and corporate banking, payments, wealth management, capital markets, insurance and funds. It’s currently invested in Betterment, Trov, Payoff, SeedInvest and Currency Cloud; her exits include Fidor Bank, which BPCE acquired last year, and Simple, which BBVA acquired in 2014.

Nauiokas, the former CEO and managing director of Barclays Stockbrokers, also founded Archer Gray, a media production, finance and investment company, in 2010. Anthemis launched that year too, though it had begun investing in 2008, as its digital financial services investment and advisory firm. Tearsheet caught up with her to talk about the importance of investing in people instead of products and the need for VCs to work harder for achieve gender equality.

There’s a lot of noise in “fintech.” How does that affect you as an investor?
If someone claims to be the next Uber or Airbnb for financial services, we tend to take that at face value but really challenge that assumption. It’s the one industry where it’s very difficult to simply create a business, dump it on top of technology and call it done. There’s a lot more complexity, market structure and risk.

How much of the decision to invest has to do with people and skills that perhaps can’t be taught?
We do look for that level of ambition, but in our weeding process and getting rid of the noise — whether it’s fintech noise or investor noise — it almost always comes down to people. Early stage is a tricky, tricky business. So many early stage companies fail. And so many people need their biggest capital infusion before they have any revenue. You have to be able to appreciate that the product might not be the name of the game here.

But the product is important. How do you couple that with the people factor?
First we focus on the people, and then if they have a solvable problem, a problem they want to solve that’s big enough to create a business — and then we figure out the problem. And we’re finally starting to see that people are thinking outside of the box. That’s extremely refreshing to me.

What’s driving that change?
I hope part of the reason is that investors like us are pushing people to challenge themselves, to appreciate that if you’re one man — and I’ll say man because it’s almost always a man, right? — with an idea, the chances of you succeeding without a different opinion, a different set of skills, is pretty low.

There’s a conversation about a lack of funding for women-owned startups due to the lack of women in venture capital. Where do you stand on that?
You’re going to go long and hard to find that many senior VCs that are female. I dont think there is an issue with female founders getting funding per se. I don’t think VCs are pound for pound biased against female founders. We aren’t seeing enough female founders, we aren’t encouraging, finding, demanding enough to be able to make an honest opinion about who is going to be giving that that funding.

Do you ask your companies about their plans for diversity?
All of them. If you started yesterday, you’ve got big employees, you’re one of them, you’re a founder, if you don’t fix your problem I’ve got no time for you. Goldman Sachs has done probably better than anyone at trying to encourage bring more women to the table but it is a multi-hundred-year-old organization from a time women weren’t in the workforce. We’re living in a different world and there’s no excuse for it, for selling a product to a population that holds more than 50 percent of purchasing power and not having a female voice on your board or in your C-suite.
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Tanaya Macheel | MARCH 28, 2017
© 2017 Tearsheet. All rights reserved.
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UN study: Digitization of Kenyan farmer payments helps tackle poverty

 NAIROBI, Kenya, May 31, 2017/ -- A new case study ( by the United Nations-based Better Than Cash Alliance ( shows how agriculture nonprofit organization One Acre Fund (, in partnership with Citi Inclusive Finance (, successfully digitized loan repayments for farmers in Kenya. This move significantly boosted transparency and efficiency, driving economic opportunity and financial inclusion for thousands of smallholder farmers and their families.

One Acre Fund, supported by Citi, enabled farmers to easily make loan repayments via mobile money instead of cash, reducing the uncertainty, inefficiency, insecurity and high costs previously caused by cash transactions.

One Acre Fund can now reach more farmers with greater reliability, and staff can spend almost half as much time collecting payments in cash, using that extra time to help farmers increase their incomes through training and educational programs. With One Acre Fund’s package of services, including training and inputs like seed and fertilizer, the average farmer participating in the program earned nearly 50 percent more than peer farmers who do not participate.

Study findings include:

    Increased participant satisfaction due to transparency and convenience.
    Eighty-five percent decreased instances of repayment fraud.
    Reduced processing time for each repayment from 12-16 days to 2-4 days; farmers now know immediately when their payment is received, eliminating the worry about whether it arrived.
    Eighty percent decrease in repayment processing costs.
    Forty-six percent of time reduced for staff working on collections, allowing for more time helping farmers improve agricultural practices.
    Women farmers benefited especially, feeling safer about payment deliveries.

“Mobile repayments have allowed us to increase our efficiency and provide better service to farmers,” said Mike Warmington, the Director of Microfinance Partnerships at One Acre Fund. “We’re excited to be working at the forefront of this technology in the smallholder agriculture lending sector. In our experience, farmers were empowered to thrive in these communities. Clients receive immediate confirmation of payments as they happen, enabling them to better manage their businesses and family finances.”

“Citi’s footprint, track record in inclusive finance and transaction banking capabilities enable us to provide global support to leading social enterprises like One Acre Fund,” said Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Inclusive Finance. “Among other benefits, digitization enables efficiency and security, and drives innovative and inclusive business models. Citi is proud to play a part in enabling One Acre Fund and other organizations like them to improve the livelihoods of farming communities.”

One Acre Fund is an example of the significant benefits and impact that digital payments and inclusive digital financial infrastructure, as developed in Kenya, can bring to agricultural value chains, contributing to a more sustainable and productive agriculture sector, a cornerstone of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). These learnings can easily translate to poor farming communities in other countries and One Acre Fund is working on plans to expand in Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia in the future.

“For companies and nonprofit organizations who want to work in rural Africa, this success story is a must-read,” said Oswell Kahonde, Africa Regional Lead at the Better Than Cash Alliance. “Digital payments are essential to building sustainable business models and creating long-term impact. By enabling smallholder farmers to make and receive payments digitally, we are creating transparency and accountability which translates to numerous benefits and empowers people to take control of their finances.” 

*** Please click here ( to download the study.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Better Than Cash.

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For information & media interviews, please contact: 
• Better Than Cash Alliance: Angela Corbalan, Head of Communications,, (+1) 917 224 9109
• One Acre Fund: Whitney McFerron, Global Media Relations Lead,
• Citi: Patricia Tuma, Corporate Communications,

About Better Than Cash Alliance:
The Better Than Cash Alliance is a United Nations-based partnership of governments, companies, and international organizations that accelerate the transition from cash to digital payments in order to reduce poverty and drive inclusive growth. To learn more, visit, follow @BetterThan_Cash.

Better Than Cash

Internet Society and Commission of the African Union launch Internet Infrastructure Security Guidelines for Africa

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 31, 2017/ -- The Internet Society ( and the African Union Commission unveiled a new set of Internet Infrastructure Security Guidelines for Africa during the African Internet Summit, taking place in Nairobi 30 May-2 June. The guidelines will help Africa create a more secure Internet infrastructure and are set to change the way African Union States approach cyber security preparedness.

The guidelines - the first of their kind in Africa - were developed by a multi-stakeholder group of African and global internet infrastructure security experts, and are the first step towards building a more secure Internet in Africa. They will help AU member states strengthen the security of their local Internet infrastructure through actions at a regional, national, ISP/operator and organizational level.

Africa’s cyber security environment faces a unique combination of challenges, including a lack of awareness of the risks involved in using technology. Kenya was ranked the 69th most vulnerable country (out of 127) in the 2015 Deloitte Global Threat Index. Some of the main reasons are: low awareness, underinvestment, talent shortage and overload of data. [1] Deloitte further estimates that Kenya lost $171 million to cybercrime in 2016.

“Africa has achieved major strides in developing its Internet Infrastructure in the past decade. However, the Internet won’t provide the aspired benefits unless we can trust it. We have seen from recent experiences that Africa is not immune from cyber-attacks and other security threats. These guidelines, developed in collaboration with the African Union Commission, will help African countries put in place the necessary measures to increase the security of their Internet infrastructure,” explained Dawit Bekele, Africa Regional Bureau Director for the Internet Society.

This document is launched at a time when the world feels the real and urgent need to build and reinforce structures aimed at tackling the growing cyber threat to the global digital economy. Governments, companies, network operators, universities and organizations across African Union member states are encouraged to take action to implement the Internet Infrastructure Security Guidelines.

“This is another timely milestone achievement given the new security challenges in cyberspace,” said Moctar Yeday, Head, Information Society Division, African Union. “The Commission of the African Union will continue its partnership with the Internet Society on a second set of guidelines addressing personal data protection in Africa,” he added.

According to ITU ICT Facts and Figures 2016, it is estimated that 25.1% of Africans are now online and despite lower Internet access rates vs. other regions in the world, there has been a sustained double-digit growth in Internet penetration over the past 10 years. This is due in large part to an increase of mobile Internet and in more affordable smart phones in the market and Africa’s young, technology-savvy population. However, to continue to improve access and connect the unconnected, people need to trust the Internet.

Symantec, a global leader in cyber security, observed 24 million malware incidents targeting Africa in 2016. As some malware incidents probably go unobserved, the real number of incidents may be much higher. In a 2013 report from Symantec, cybercrime was increasing at a faster rate in Africa than any other region. [2]

As Internet penetration grows in Africa and more business takes place online, implementing security measures against malware incidents to protect Internet users becomes increasingly important.

Offering actions that are tailored to the African cyber security environment and solutions for an ever changing online landscape, the recommendations in the document launched today can play a key role in helping Africa respond to the kind of Internet attacks that recently paralyzed critical public and government services.

A copy of the Africa Internet Infrastructure Security Guidelines can be found at:

[1] See TMT Predictions 2017 final presentation by Deloitte Limited.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Internet Society (ISOC).

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For Media Queries:
Michelle Anekeya
Hill+Knowlton Strategies

Allesandra de Santillana
Internet Society

About the Internet Society:
Founded by Internet pioneers, the Internet Society (ISOC) ( is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet. Working through a global community of chapters and members, the Internet Society collaborates with a broad range of groups to promote the technologies that keep the Internet safe and secure, and advocates for policies that enable universal access. The Internet Society is also the organizational home of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

Internet Society (ISOC)

ZenRobotics: Wind-Powered Recycling Robots Powered Up At Carl F

April 3, 2017

ZenRobotics Ltd. has delivered a ZenRobotics Recycler waste sorting system to its customer Carl F in Malmoe, Sweden. The wind-powered robotic sorting line has been operational since February and is the first of its kind in Sweden. The investment in robotic sorting technology is expected to increase the recovery with 12 000 tons annually.

Carl F, based in Malmö, is a visionary family-owned waste management company with an over 129 yearlong history. Dedicated to developing more sustainable practices, Carl F aims to minimize the footprint of its waste sorting processes. In 2013 the company mounted a wind turbine that generates power for the recycling station.

“We are constantly looking for more efficient practices and the ZenRobotics waste sorting system fits that scope perfectly. The standalone process allows us very efficient waste separation and the robots have been doing the night shift, too,” Carl Fredrik Jönsson, fourth generation in the family company, explains.

According to Carl Fredrik the development has been slow in the waste industry and many seem to be content with the status quo. The company feels that there’s way too much incineration of waste in Sweden and they want to recover more recyclables that would otherwise go to waste.

    “Vi aim to recover up to 25% more of the waste that we process. That’s annually 12 000 extra tons of material that can be used for recycling”, Carl Fredrik clarifies.

Designed to operate day and night

The Malmö installation is unique as it’s powered with the company’s own wind power for reduced environmental impact. It’s a perfect example of a simple yet efficient sorting process for mixed C&D and C&I waste. The line has been running also during nights, adding more capacity to the process.

“An installation like this is a great example of how you can set up an automated waste sorting process for a minimum investment. You instantly get the benefits of scale with a minimal operating cost. The technology allows even solar or wind-powered waste sorting”, Rainer Rehn, ZenRobotics CCO explains.

ZenRobotics Recycler is the world’s first robotic waste sorting system. It enables flexible and automated waste sorting even for smaller scale operation. The unique system can be trained to recognize new fractions and therefore allows more optimized waste sorting as it can sort multiple fractions at the same time. This kind of flexibility has not been available in waste sorting before.

More about Carl F and the robotic sorting line in Swedish in Dagens Industri.
Article: “Robot gör världen renare”

In Sweden, ZenRobotics Recycler is distributed by Ingenjörsfirman J Mared AB. For more information in Sweden contact Mared AB, Christoffer Halldin or Thomas Magnusson 036-387800.

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ZenRobotics Ltd. | Vilhonkatu 5 A, 00100 Helsinki.


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RenewEconomy/Giles Parkinson: Queensland solar farm is just start of Telstra’s big solar plans


Queensland solar farm is just start of Telstra’s big solar plans

By Giles Parkinson on 31 May 2017

The 70MW solar farm that telecommunications giant Telstra has contracted to build in north Queensland is just the start of its big solar plans, although it appears to have backed off any entry into the household electricity market anytime soon.

Telstra announced on Wednesday that it had signed a deal with RES Australia to take all the output – and the renewable energy certificates – from a new 70MW to be built near the Queensland town of Emerald. It should be complete in 2018.

The company is coy about whether it will contact any more solar (or wind) farms, saying it wants to bed down this deal first. But it seems inevitable, given the falling cost of wind and solar and the rising cost of wholesale electricity.

In the meantime, Telstra says it is going to focus on adding solar to its grid connected exchanges – a fit out that could amount to hundreds of megawatts – and it has already obtained a licence to act as an aggregator to sell the output of its existing back-up power (mostly diesel) into the National Electricity Market.

James Gerraty tesltraJames Gerraty, the head of strategy for the newly formed Telstra Energy division, (pictured right) says he won’t be drawn on the savings to be obtained for the company through the deal with RES.

But clearly the savings are real. Wholesale electricity prices in Queensland are averaging more than $100/MWh so far this financial year, and industry analysts say the cost of solar farms in Queensland is probably around $70/MWh.

And Telstra will also be obtaining renewable energy certificates (LGCs), which are currently trading at around $80/MWh and will offset the cost of that solar.

“When you look at the delta between the bundled cost of electricity an the LGC price – and the cost of electricity, there is a clear value opportunity,” Gerraty told RenewEconomy in an interview on Wednesday morning. “This is about risk management. It makes a lot of sense for us.”

Gerraty works alongside Telstra Energy boss Ben Burge, and both worked together at Powershot, the upstart clean energy retailer owned by New Zealand’s Meridian Energy, and which has led the charge of new, smaller retailers contesting the energy market.

Asked if Telstra planned to contract more wind and solar farms, Gerraty said: “We will let the dust settle on this one for the moment, and make sure it is bedded properly. Whether or not it forms the basis for similar contracts or not is not something that we can say.”

But the opportunity, and the ability to manage its energy risk is obvious. Telstra accounts for around 1 per cent of Australia’s total electricity demand, or nearly 2TWh (terawatt hours, or 2,000 gigawatt hours, or 2 million megawatt hours).

The Emerald solar farm, which will have single axis tracking technology, will provide around 120-150GWh, or a little more than 5 per cent of its total usage.

Telstra does not have a specific renewable energy target, but it is important to note that companies such as Unilever UK, Ikea, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple have either reached or are targeting 100 per cent renewable energy.

The corporate PPA market for renewable energy in Australia, however, is little developed. Only Sun Metals, with a 116MW solar farm in Queensland now under construction, and Monash University, with a tender for a new 40MW wind or solar farm, have entered it in a meaningful way.

Gerraty, however, thinks that will change soon.

“It is a novel concept in australia, even if it is well-trodden ground overseas, Gerraty says. “We would like to see it (the PPA market) take off ….  it makes sense for it to take off,” he added, noting the falling cost of renewables and the rising cost of wholesale prices.

“The difference in prices means it an opportunity for businesses to take the same steps we are taking to manage that risk. This is the start of trend of corporates putting their name behind grid connected facilities, and it will help drive down prices in the (wholesale) market.”

Hopefully, big mining groups such as Glencore will take that advice.

telstra solar exchange

Telstra’s immediate focus is to further reduce electricity costs by adding solar at its changes around the country, and battery storage in some instances.

These exchanges are already equipped with back-up generators for when the grid goes down, or there are localised back-ups, but Telstra now wants to use this capacity to trade into the wholesale market and help keen the grid stable.

Rather than switching them on only when the lights go out, it now plans to switch them on to prevent the lights going out.

“We have a lot of programs deploying solar on our facilities – on Telstra exchanges and buildings and we are aiming to ramp that up over the next couple of years,” Gerraty says.

“We have a large fleet of stand by generators – and we already registered with AEMO as a small generation aggregator – so we can participate in the wholesale market with our standby fleet.”

Telstra has hundreds of megawatts of grid-connected standby capacity, primarily diesel, with some locations having “tens of megawatts” in capacity which could be used to strengthen the grid.

Telstra also has a multitude of off-grid sites, such as towers, which are equipped with solar and storage. “It’s funny, with all the talk of people going off grid, we have been doing it for quite a while, but the program we have got now is to put solar on grid connected facilities.”

And what about Telstra’s push into the home solar and storage market, flagged early last year about the time that Burge and Gerraty were hired to head up the new division?

That appears to be waiting for another day. It’s a crowded business, Gerraty says, and “this is not the sort of business that rushes into things.”  

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May 30, 2017
South Africa-based Free Market Foundation team accepting the 2017 Africa Liberty Award

During Africa Liberty Forum 2017, more than 125 influencers and think tank professionals from 16 countries gathered to discuss the best and the brightest work breaking down the barriers to prosperity and opportunity on the continent. Sponsored by Atlas Network with organizing host the South Africa-based Free Market Foundation (FMF), the conference took place May 23-25 in Johannesburg and presented an opportunity to discuss and exchange solutions that promote liberty and free-market reforms in the region. Major sponsorship was generously provided by the John Templeton Foundation and the Smith Family Foundation. Highlights of the event included the presentation of the Africa Liberty Award, the Regional Think Tank Shark Tank Competition, several inspirational and insightful speakers, and a special pre-event training session on effective fundraising in Africa.

The winner of the 2017 Africa Liberty Award was the FMF for its Khaya Lam Land Reform Project. The aim of this ongoing project is to convert state-owned rental properties into unambiguous freehold title, giving property rights to Africans previously denied this fundamental right. So far, more than 3,000 title deeds have been transferred.

According to the FMF team, when one beneficiary of the project, Mrs Maria Mothupi, received her title, she said she could finally say that for her, apartheid truly came to an end.

“Upon receiving title to her property, Mrs. Mothupi said she could now sleep peacefully and could stop worrying knowing that her children and grandchildren have a secure home. And her story is not unique,” explained Jasson Urbach, director of the FMF. “She is one of several thousand government tenants to benefit from the project; most, like Maria, have been waiting their entire lives for the day to be able to say they own the home they live in. The Khaya Lam project is a living example of a fundamental truth expressed by Sir John Templeton who said that property rights are essential for human rights. This project is about unlocking freedom that has been denied to black South Africans for over a century.”

Jasson Urbach, director of the FMF, discusses the Khaya Lam Land Reform Project

The two other 2017 Africa Liberty award finalists were the South African Institute of Race Relations for its Free Society Project and Audace Institut Afrique for its Rural Lands Project in Côte d’Ivoire.

Atlas Network’s CEO Brad Lips (right) presents the finalist and runners up awards to this year’s Africa Liberty Award finalists.

The much-anticipated Regional Think Tank Shark Tank Competition took place on the final day of the conference. Peter Bismark Kwofie of the Institute for Liberty and Policy Innovation (ILAPI-Ghana), won the competition for his pitch of the “National Undergraduate Debate and Essay Competitions.”

Peter Bismark Kwofie of ILAPI-Ghana presents his winning Regional Think Tank Shark Tank Competition pitch of the “National Undergraduate Debate and Essay Competitions.”

“Too many students in Ghana have a misguided role of government. They think government’s role is to create jobs, but we know that isn’t the case,” said Bismark Kwofie. “So these debate and essay competitions will help them learn, for the first time in many cases, the basic principles of freedom and classical liberalism as a fulcrum to creating prosperity for a free society.” The runners up were Michael Howe-Ely, of the Cape Town-based Independent Entrepreneurship Group (Ineng) and Jasson Urbach of the FMF.

Runners up of the Regional Think Tank Shark Tank Competition Jasson Urbach of the FMF (left) and Michael Howe-Ely of the Cape Town-based Ineng (right) along with winner Peter Bismark Kwofie of ILAPI-Ghana (center)

Open only to graduates of Atlas Network’s training program, Atlas Leadership Academy, three contestants were chosen for the Regional Think Tank Shark Tank Competition, in which they pitched their innovative projects before a panel of local and international judges for the chance to win $5,000 in project funding. A special thank you to our panel of expert judges: Chris Becker, Wally Gardiner, Terry Kibbe, and Johanna McDowell; and to Atlas Network's very own Brad Lips as moderator of the program. “It's exciting to see Africa's pro-liberty voices getting more ambitious and sophisticated,” said Lips. The Regional Think Tank Shark Tank Competition is generously sponsored by the Smith Family Foundation.

Another one of the conference highlights was the inspirational closing talk by Temba Nolutshungu, of FMF, titled "Apartheid, Mandela, and Socialism: Time for Change." He told the story of his family's struggle through Apartheid, his relationships with Nelson Mandela and Milton Friedman, and his vision for a more free and prosperous South Africa. “In South Africa today there’s a betrayal of Mandela and what he stood for,” said Nolutshungu. “You cannot adopt policies that are like the policies that had been adopted during the time of Apartheid. And so what do we do now...we engage the challenges head on.” The entire talk is available here.

Tim Modise, South African journalist, (left) with Temba Nolutshungu, of FMF (right)

The pre-conference training "Lessons in Effective Fundraising in Africa" included hands-on activities like fundraising audits, messaging training, SWOT analyses, and practicing pitching. The training course was customized for a group of 16 participants and was about helping them “think big, think long term, and think smart,” said Manali Shah, independent facilitator and lead trainer of the session. “It pushed them to pull their existing efforts and new ways into a systematic plan to generate resources they need to get to their goals and long term vision.”

Manali Shah, independent facilitator and lead trainer of the pre-conference training session, (center standing), coaches José Ivo Correia of Mozambique-based CEMO on his fundraising strategy.

The participants of the training came from 12 countries around Africa. “I love hearing from and learning about the other think tanks on our continent,” said José Ivo Correia, chairman, CEMO, Mozambique. “It challenged me to think out of the box, not only in the area of fundraising, but also in the area of networking and relationship building.”

Africa Liberty Forum 2017 was part of Atlas Network’s Regional Liberty Forums, held annually in Latin America, Asia, Europe, and Africa. “This week of training has helped me immensely,” said Linda Kavuka Kiguhi, co-founder of Students for Liberty – Eastern Africa. “It has helped me come up with strategies and messaging that can help us attract more support and ultimately create a greater impact throughout all of Eastern Africa.”

Linda Kavuka Kiguhi, co-founder of Students for Liberty – Eastern Africa gets ideas and project feedback from Temba Nolutshungu during the Crowdsourcing for Liberty session.

Check out the full album of conference and training photos on Facebook here. And to see some of the social media conversation, check out hashtag #AfricaLF17 on Twitter and Instagram.

Find out more about: Free Market Foundation

Find out more about: Audace Institut Afrique (Dare Africa Institute)

Find out more about: Institute for Policy Innovation

Find out more about: Ineng

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Ozy Magazine/Adrian Brine: Can He Help the UN Keep the World in One Piece?

 Ozy Rising Stars

Can He Help the UN Keep the World in One Piece?

Rising Stars
Why you should care

Because we need the Blue Helmets in the world’s red zones.

By Adrian Brune

The Daily Dose MAY 30 2017

In January 2014, Ken Payumo, head of the United Nations Peacekeeping compound in Bor, South Sudan, a city on the frontlines of an emerging civil war, sat in his cramped shipping container office. The previous week, thousands of people had filtered past the UN’s walls seeking safety, as government forces fought to retake the city from rebel militias. The Sudan People’s Liberation Army succeeded, and a key government official approached Payumo about surveying the camp — accompanied by 80 heavily armed soldiers looking to kill rebel sympathizers.

“As they approached, it was clear their intentions were not good,” Payumo recalls. “When I told them to lay down their weapons and their cameras and they tried to make their way past me, saying, ‘This is our country, our government; you can’t tell us where to go,’ I gave the command to close the compound.” He pauses, fidgeting with a blue peacekeeper’s helmet on a desk littered with situation reports and operation manuals from various missions. “The gates slamming shut was probably the loudest sound I’d ever heard … then the soldiers cocked their weapons at me.” Payumo can’t recall if the standoff “lasted hours or minutes,” but as soon as the military left, he called headquarters to request reinforcements at the Bor compound — and was evacuated for his own safety.

As the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) prepares to close its mission in Haiti — the first of three scheduled for 2017 — while facing a new, reformist UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, and questions surrounding the murder in May of two peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the reputation of the Blue Helmets is at stake. Lurid tales of sexual abuse, including a sex ring exploiting Haitian children, have surfaced, along with accusations of peacekeepers causing cholera outbreaks or standing idly by during attacks, according to an internal UN report.
Ken Payumo

Payumo, 48, chief of the Peacekeeping Operations Support Section, will not only play a hand in drawing down operations in Haiti, Liberia and the Ivory Coast, but he’ll also continue to help oversee the safety of the 86,000 UN peacekeeping troops and 20,000 civilian personnel deployed worldwide. In addition, the former New York police officer and Justice Department attorney will likely be called to assist the United Nations in rethinking its peacekeeping agenda, as Guterres considers an overhaul amid criticism and threatened U.S. funding cuts.

American taxpayers are responsible for about 28 percent of the UN DPKO budget — or $2.2 billion of the $7.87 billion department. The new U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, wants more than across-the-board prioritizing, however; she has demanded a mission-by-mission review of peacekeeping.

    Without us, who tells the world what is going on?

    Ken Payumo, UN Peacekeeping Operations Support Section Chief

For Payumo, the cuts will mean doing more with even less. Based in New York, he oversees security assistance, particularly crisis support management, to all UN peacekeeping missions. The UN currently has 16 operations deployed on four continents, which, Payumo estimates, is the highest number of substantial missions in the organization’s history. When any of them encounters trouble, Payumo gets the call, fielding upward of 7,500 emails per day. “[The things] that come into my inbox or [the people who] call at 2 a.m., at times they can be daunting and include major crises involving whole countries, such as South Sudan [or] the hostage-taking of UN personnel,” he says. A career that demands travel to the furthest reaches of the world and a mind capable of imagining every possible emergency scenario would exhaust many, but for Payumo, it’s “addictive.”

The son of an Iranian doctor and a Filipino nurse, Payumo arrived at the UN 17 years ago and was immediately dispatched to East Timor — one of the bloodiest peacekeeping sites at the time — to provide guidance after the colony declared independence from Indonesia. Once on the ground, he helped pick up the pieces after militias had moved village to village, burning houses to the ground, killing more than 20,000 and forcibly displacing hundreds of thousands of East Timorese.

After his stint in East Asia, the UN sent the battle-tested Payumo to South Sudan to become head of office for the oil-rich Unity State before settling Jonglei State, a region hit with some of the heaviest fighting and casualties since South Sudan became a country in 2011. “Bor’s duty station was characterized as a red state — the most hazardous and dangerous condition in peacekeeping,” says Alfred Zulu, a human rights officer stationed in South Sudan. “Yet, at any time, Ken would readily join human rights investigations in the field, something that was highly unusual for someone at his level.”

Recent research supports Payumo’s insistence that the UN DPKO does indeed help and is an important mechanism for maintaining harmony in the countries that request it. According to a study published in Peace Operations Review, the presence of a UN peacekeeping mission can reduce the risk of relapse into conflict by 75 to 85 percent. But the same study found that, despite a number of reforms, the resulting structure is no longer fit to fulfill the functions needed. Instead, the organization has become hobbled by new problems, such as fragmentation that undermines coherent action on peace-building and peacekeeping, competition between the political affairs and peacekeeping departments, and delays in mission startup.

But Payumo remains steadfast. “I can’t picture a world without the UN. All the locations where we work are bad. And without us, who tells the world what is going on?” His commitment is to a UN facing its worst crisis since 1946, with more than 20 million people threatened with starvation due to warfare in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria, and five million Syrians fleeing their country’s protracted civil war. Payumo, who is married to a fellow UN worker, recently returned from Syria and described the circumstances as “surreal.”

Still, he’s quick to bring up East Timor to illustrate the UN’s capacity to rebuild countries. “We had to pick up the pieces and start a new country literally from ashes,” Payumo says. That was when he decided to remain with the organization.

Colleagues like Alfred Zulu say Payumo represents the new UN leader — a person with both diplomatic and “field experience” heading to the executive office. For his part, Payumo can’t predict the next 24 hours, let alone the next several years. “I could have never known that when I started in the UN I would go from legal adviser to security coordination for all peacekeeping,” he says.

Nor does he have a crystal ball to foresee what lies ahead: “I can’t say if the world is getting safer, but I can definitely say that the world is more complex in its issues, threats and solutions.”

    Adrian Brune, OZY Author
    Contact Adrian Brune

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