Saturday, 27 May 2017

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    05.26.17 most creative people

What’s Driving The Billion-Dollar Natural Beauty Movement?

By Rina Raphael 9 minute Read

A growing number of consumers are rejecting chemical-filled cosmetics for pricey, plant-based alternatives. It’s a thriving sector—one that some experts think could change the beauty industry for good.

When Tata Harper’s stepfather was diagnosed with cancer, his doctors told him to remove all products containing synthetic materials, such as body washes and shampoos, from his home. In solidarity, Harper got rid of hers too. But she found the switch surprisingly difficult.
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“I have always been a serious skin care customer, using the most effective, high-end, high-tech skin care available,” says Harper, who is originally from Colombia and studied industrial engineering in Mexico. “So when it came time to switch to natural skin care, I was really disappointed with the existing offerings. There wasn’t anything out there for women like me, who wanted serious skin care but didn’t want to use industrial chemicals on their skin.”

The most common chemicals in skin care products are parabens, synthetic colors, and phthalates. Harper spent the next few years researching alternatives with scientists in Europe who believed that effective, chemical-free skin care products were possible. In 2007, she founded Tata Harper, an all-natural luxury skin care line that uses multiple high-performance ingredients including Spanish lavender extract to help reduce wrinkle formation and retinoic acid from rosehip seed oil (instead of Retinol) to reduce the appearance of fine lines. Headquartered at Harper’s 1,200-acre farm in Vermont, the brand is now a best-seller at Sephora and hailed as a pioneer in the land-to-face movement. The famously chemical-averse Gwyneth Paltrow is among the company’s robust celebrity clientele.
Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence, featured on Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop.

Tata Harper is just one of many success stories in the booming organic and natural beauty market, whose value is expected to reach $13.2 billion by 2018. Brands with a natural and/or botanically derived clinical orientation now represent the largest combined share of prestige skin care sales. Last year, they accounted for all gains in the category. “The space for cleaner, safer, better beauty has grown and is only continuing to grow,” says Gregg Renfrew, founder of Beautycounter, a cosmetics and skin care e-retailer that tries to educate consumers about the potential toxicity of some makeup. “In fact, natural and safer brands are outselling their traditional competitors by two to threefold.” Late last year, the research firm Kline & Company reached a similar conclusion, predicting that the synthetic cosmetics sector will decline in the next two years, while the natural skin care segment will grow. Already, the firm found, naturals have grown by 7% in the U.S., compared to a 2% rise in the overall beauty market in 2015.

And now that these products have become so mainstream, you don’t have to go rummaging through your local health food store to find your organic jasmine-infused eyeshadow. Sephora has sold botanical, chemical-free cosmetics for years and now offers a “Naturals” landing page showcasing hundreds of items. Nordstrom is opening dedicated natural beauty sections in 46 of its locations. Target announced plans to expands its natural beauty selection, thanks to a double-digit percentage lift in sales last year. And, reacting to customer feedback, CVS recently promised to remove chemical ingredients such as parabens and phthalates from approximately 600 of its in-house brands’ personal care products. Natural is available everywhere.

It all makes perfect sense to Harper. “People often think that natural means simple or untested, but natural ingredients are actually [some of] the most powerful ingredients in the world,” she says via email. “Synthetic ingredients are, in many cases, cheaper, more predictable versions of natural ingredients created in labs to simplify the manufacturing process.”
Tata Harper products pack between nine and 29 active ingredients in every bottle, whereas most cosmetic formulas contain between one and three active ingredients.
The Safer Ingredients Boom

The organic beauty boom is part of the larger shift in consumer awareness about health and wellness. Thanks to a growing number of beauty blogs and social media accounts dedicated to the benefits of going chemical-free, consumers have access to more information than ever before. Late last year, Dianne Feinstein, a Democratic senator from California, introduced the Personal Care Products Safety Act, a bill to strengthen regulation of ingredients in personal care products. “Our skin is our largest organ, and many ingredients contained in these products–whether it be lotion, shampoo, or deodorant–are quickly absorbed by the skin,” Feinstein said in her testimony to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “There is increasing evidence that certain ingredients in personal care products are linked to a range of health concerns, ranging from reproductive issues, such as fertility problems and miscarriage, to cancer.”

Parabens and phthalates, for instance, have been found to be endocrine disruptors linked to increased risk of breast cancer. A recent study led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, revealed how a short break from certain shampoos and lotions made with chemical ingredients can result in a significant drop in levels of people’s hormone-disrupting chemicals.
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Startling findings like these are what inspired Beautycounter’s Renfrew to start her own company. Launched in 2013, the California-based startup aims to increase awareness about the predominantly unregulated U.S. beauty market through blog and social media campaigns. Beautycounter’s own line of products range from makeup basics like lipstick and blush to sunscreen and body scrubs. Last March, Renfrew’s company raised a $13 million round from 33 undisclosed investors, bringing its total funds raised to nearly $42 million.

So what constitutes “clean beauty”? Is it organic? Paraben- and sulfate-free? Goop-endorsed? What does “all-natural” even mean? Renfrew points out that “natural” and “organic” have no legal definition in this category, and even a non-synthetic ingredient found in nature can be harmful. Lead, for example, should not exist in any beauty products.

“We focus on the safety profile of an ingredient, rather than the source,” Renfrew says. “In other words, just because something is naturally derived doesn’t mean it’s automatically safe.” To that end, Beautycounter developed a rigorous ingredient selection process, listing 1,500 questionable or harmful ingredients it vows never to include in its formulations. Roughly 1,400 of those chemical ingredients are already banned or restricted in personal care products by the European Union.
The Detox Market, a beauty supply store, has four locations. Two are in Los Angeles.

Educating consumers is a key piece of this movement, and one in which the e-commerce beauty site and subscription service Birchbox is heavily investing. The New York-based startup debuted an “Ingredient Conscious” shop category in 2014 as a way to differentiate between “natural” (i.e., using primarily ingredients found in nature) and “clean beauty” products (entirely free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and petrochemicals).

“We’ve noticed that our subscribers have a real desire to learn about ingredients,” says Jamie Johns, the senior merchant manager of Birchbox’s skin care division, via email. “Our approach at Birchbox is to demystify ingredients and provide an approachable way to try and learn about them.”

The company offers natural beauty products both online and in subscription boxes, with prices ranging from $7 to $105. Birchbox saw between 10%-50% growth in the overall category over the last year, driven by more customers trying and sticking with the natural brands.

“It’s definitely something that will become more mainstream,” says Artemis Patrick, Sephora’s SVP of merchandising. Sephora currently offers a wide range of natural products–coconut cleansing oil, kale and spinach age prevention cream, and oat milk dry shampoo among them–and is pursuing more brands to expand the category even further. One of its latest additions is the biotechnology-backed Biossance, a 100% plant-based skin care line that relies on squalane, a mega-moisture molecule that helps hydrate skin.

"Natural skin care is growing fast, almost eight times as much as compared to last year in terms of searches,” Patrick reports, adding that popular keywords include “organic,” “paraben-free,” and “vegan.” Sephora has also witnessed established brands like Estée Lauder go back and add natural ingredients or remove certain potentially harmful ones. “Big brands are becoming more conscious,” Patrick says.
Or at least keenly aware of what sells. Last year, after witnessing consumer interest in natural ingredients soar, Ulta, the largest beauty retailer in the U.S. with 950 stores, launched its own line of natural products that includes a top-selling lip oil infused with green tea and avocado extracts. According to Ulta SVP of merchandising Julie Tomasi, it’s good business: Ulta natural buyers spend 80% more in total beauty than the average customer. “We anticipate additional growth from this category,” she says.

Romain Gaillard has experienced the rise of organic beauty firsthand. The Detox Market, the green beauty e-commerce shop that he founded in 2010, didn’t take off until 2012, when a rush of new brands hit the scene and brought attention to the niche sector. Now his company has four brick-and-mortar retail locations and an online store that has been doubling in size for the last four years. In the coming year, Gaillard wants to open more shops, partner with restaurants and lifestyle brands, and launch an ambassador program.
Drunk Elephant is a clean skin care line that has become a top performer for Sephora.

Gaillaird’s approach is to make natural cosmetics carefree and fun, versus focusing on why chemical alternatives are dangerous. Natural products, he is known to repeat to sell the concept, “feel better.”

Drunk Elephant founder Tiffany Masterson, meanwhile, wants to simplify what constitutes “clean.” Her company uses a mix of natural and “low-hazard” synthetic ingredients, and each product comes with a simply worded explanation of how and why ingredients were sourced. Customers, Masterson believes, are growing weary of healthy living buzzwords like “non-toxic” and “organic.”

“It is so overwhelming out there,” she says. “Consumers are fed up with marketing, gimmicky phrases that have been diluted over time. They want transparency. The future of skin care is going to be more straightforward.”
Is A Pricey Privilege Sustainable?

Going “clean” is costly. Sourcing fresh botanical ingredients, like exotic marula oil from overseas, does not come cheap. Organic farms tend to produce smaller batches because they don’t rely on growth hormones, so each ingredient is at a premium. Goods made without chemical preservatives also have a shorter shelf life. Tata Harper, for example, recommends using its products within six months. Compare that to conventional drugstore brands, which give a window of two to three years. The longer shelf life allows big box retailers to buy in bulk without worrying about expiration dates.


“Our ingredients are perishable and delicate, so our manufacturing processes are more like food production than an industrial factory,” Harper says. Synthetic ingredients can be made much faster and more cheaply than natural sourcing. “The fact that the industry has spent the last 20 to 30 years focused on synthetic ingredients also keeps their costs low, as large companies often use the most cost-effective ingredients available to be able to produce as much as possible,” she says.

But with naturals’ shorter shelf lives, how realistic is it that mass market companies will adopt them in greater numbers? Most consumers still rely on drugstore brands, such as Maybelline and Revlon, which keep their costs and ingredient prices low—sometimes one-third the price of premium organic brands. A Revlon lipstick sells for as little as $4.99, while an Honest Beauty alternative, an antioxidant blend of coconut oil, murumuru butter, and shea butter, goes for $18. A similar lipstick by Hemp Organics uses 95% certified organic ingredients and is priced at $15.80.

Karen Grant, global beauty industry analyst for the market research firm the NPD Group, isn’t sure the natural movement will catch on with the majority of Americans who don’t have the means to spend $40 on blush.  Still, she isn’t ready to say it’s a passing fad. “It’s still early, still a bit niche,” she says. “But I don’t think this is something that will disappear. It’s a way of life.”

Grant identifies two demographics that make up the strongest part of the clean beauty base: younger millennials (18-25) who are concerned primarily with environmental impact (and are already familiar with the principles of natural ingredients, thanks to the ongoing Korean beauty phenomenon), and an older generation (40 and up) focused on health benefits.

Gaillard predicts this group of conscious consumers will remain faithful to the cause, like newly health-conscious eaters who never return to McDonald’s. “Once the curtain is pulled away and consumers know the truth, they won’t revert back to ‘unhealthy’ behavior,” he says.

Tata Harper agrees that consumers aren’t likely to revert to slathering unknown chemicals on their face. They want to know what’s in their moisturizer, just as they want to know what’s in their snack crackers.

“It’s a movement happening around the world,” Harper says. “A movement toward better health, an evolution in consumer products where we’re realizing that a lot of things we thought were good are not.”


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    05.26.17 out of office with

This is What Makes A Vacation Restorative
Here’s how to make sure you return to work fully recharged after your vacation.
This is What Makes A Vacation Restorative
[Photo: Urban Sanden via Unsplash]

By Jill Duffy4 minute Read

Time off helps us recover. When we’re not working, we’re able to rebuild internal resources that we depleted while dealing with the stress of work. But not all time off recharges us equally.
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What is it about some vacations that make them great so that we return to work feeling fully restored and ready to be our most productive selves again?

Related: The Secret Economic And Career Benefits Of Taking Vacation
Detachment

I separately asked three experts on work recovery what the properties are of a really good vacation, in terms of returning to the office rejuvenated, and they all jumped on the same word first: detachment.

“The most important thing is detachment,” says Mina Westman, a professor of organizational behavior at Coller School of Management, Tel Aviv University. Detachment means letting go of work psychologically and not thinking about it, or at least not thinking about it negatively.

Detachment seems to work across the board. In studies, detachment was positively associated with employee well-being in both white- and blue-collar jobs and in many countries around the world, according to Charlotte Fritz, associate professor in industrial and organizational psychology at Portland State University.

But for many knowledge workers, detachment is easier said than done. In an era when staying in touch with work colleagues is easier than ever via apps like Slack and HipChat, some employees end up keeping in touch with the office even while on vacation. Checking in throughout a vacation lets employees manage unexpected problems and not get slammed with work upon return, which they may believe will make their return less stressful.

Sabine Sonnentag, professor of work and organizational psychology at the University of Mannheim, Germany, says that “mentally detaching from work is crucial,” but added, “detachment is a means to recover and to restore.” She understands why people feel the need not to detach. “It might be better to check email once a day than constantly ruminate and worry about the emails that might have come in,” she explains.
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Nevertheless, she still recommends limiting the amount of time during a vacation that one spends working or even thinking about work. “Feeling guilty because one is not working at the moment is detrimental, maybe more detrimental than working itself,” she said.
Relaxation, However You Interpret It

Another attribute of time off that leaves workers feeling more fully recovered is relaxation. It may sound like common sense, but in the moment of planning a vacation, people don’t always prioritize relaxation. Family obligations, like visiting relatives, or designing a vacation that’ll be fun for the whole family, could leave you without any time to unwind. Don’t sacrifice everything you find relaxing about a vacation to please others.

Relaxation is a pretty subjective word, and Sonnentag said we need not interpret it as passive activity. “Physical exercise can be highly beneficial for recovery,” she said. Sonnentag also pointed out that because vacations are longer than other kinds of time off, such as weekends and evenings, they afford people the opportunity to do “more extensive outdoor activities.”

Westman gave a nod to physical activity being beneficial for recovery, too. If you find it relaxing to go on a six-mile run while on vacation, don’t let anyone else talk you out of it.
Mastering A Hobby

An unusual way you can increase your chances of having a rejuvenating vacation is to work on a hobby or activity that you’ve been trying to master. Mastery, which Fritz described in a paper she published with coauthors as “engaging in experiences that involved learning or broadening one’s horizons,” can be anything from painting to practicing jiu-jitsu.

Mastery has to do with building skills that are unrelated to our primary jobs, and while they’re sometimes assumed to be creative, they don’t have to be. Playing a musical instrument is just as valid as taking a language-learning class. Time off spent on a hobby or personal activity that improves with long-term and sustained practice helps us recover from work and may increase our ability to think outside the box and creatively solve problems at work, according to one study. So spending your vacation on a yoga retreat or going to adult archery camp could have more benefits than you expected.
What Not To Do On Vacation

In addition to not working, Fritz has discovered that “thinking about the negative aspects of your job during vacation has been associated with greater burnout, more health complaints, and lower job performance after vacation.”
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Likewise dealing with “non-work hassles,” like getting a flat tire or arguing with family, has been shown to impede recovery during time off. While some non-work hassles are unavoidable, try to steer clear of locations and situations that you know might result in frustration, anger, or annoyance. If driving is a typical source of stress, for example, it might be better to plan your vacation around taxis, car services, and other forms of transportation.
The Ideal Vacation?

While exactly what makes a vacation restorative varies from person to person, many experts do recommend taking more than one vacation a year. The reason has to do with a problem called vacation effect fade out. When we go on vacation, we rejuvenate, but the effects only last so long. Within three weeks of returning to work, employees are likely to be back to their normal levels of stress and burnout, according to a paper by Westman and a coauthor. The more vacations we take, the more total days of recovery effects we’ll feel, right?

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    05.23.17 pov

IBM’s Remote Work Reversal Is A Losing Battle Against The New Normal
One CEO explains why IBM’s latest directive is retrograde and likely to backfire.
IBM’s Remote Work Reversal Is A Losing Battle Against The New Normal
[Photo: Flickr user giesing]

By Stephane Kasriel4 minute Read

This story reflects the views of this author, but not necessarily the editorial position of Fast Company.
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Until recently, IBM was one of the first and biggest proponents of remote work. But no longer. In March, the company began directing thousands of employees to work from set locations or else look for another job, an ultimatum it extended more widely last week. The move is an alarming policy reversal that neither current trends nor recent history suggest is wise.
History Isn’t On IBM’s Side

IBM’s curtailment of remote work echoes Yahoo’s reversal more than four yeas ago, when CEO Marissa Mayer began requiring workers to come back to a traditional office so they could start “physically being together,” as then-HR chief Jackie Reses put it at the time.

To all appearances, all that physical togetherness hasn’t worked out so well. After weathering a firestorm, Yahoo initially stood by the policy change. But in the years that followed, it failed to regain its position as a leading internet company, suffered a series of devastating hacks, and finally agreed last year to sell itself to Verizon for about $4.4 billion–far less than the $100 billion market cap it had had at its peak.

Like Mayer in 2013, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty is under pressure to turn her company around. And like Yahoo, IBM claims that the policy change is meant to improve collaboration and accelerate innovation.

It won’t work. Attempting to force workers back to IBM offices is a terrible idea for at least three reasons.
Why Mandatory Office Work Will Backfire

First, IBM will diminish the quality of its team. As much as 40% of the company’s workforce was already remote as of a decade ago, so it’s easy to see the new mandate as a way to trim staff without having to actually make layoffs. But if IBM is trying to get rid of people it deems extraneous, it’s pretty short-sighted. In all likelihood, what happened to Yahoo will also happen to IBM: The best talent will easily find new jobs with companies that are more open to remote work.

Not only do flexible work arrangements top job seekers’ lists of priorities, but making successful hires depends much more on relevant skills than on physical location. So if, months from now, IBM points to the number of employees choosing to relocate in order to keep their jobs as evidence of success, don’t buy it. Many will do just that because they have no other options, while the most high-performing, in-demand talent flies the coop. In the end, IBM will reduce the quality of its workforce while its competitors reap the benefits.
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Second, requiring employees to work in an office will hurt productivity, not improve it. In a study published in Harvard Business Review in 2014, remote workers proved both more productive and more loyal than their peers onsite. In fact, IBM’s recent policy switch goes against its own research. In both a 2014 white paper by IBM’s Smarter Workplace Institute and in a conference panel the company hosted just weeks ago, its own experts suggested that remote workers tend to be happier, less stressed, more productive, more engaged with their jobs and teams, and believe that their companies are more innovative as a result of flexible work arrangements.

Third, this is the wrong thing to do and the wrong time to do it–not only for the company but for the U.S. economy. A big employer like IBM, which employs over 380,000 people worldwide, has a social responsibility it simply can’t overlook. At a time when smaller cities and rural areas are struggling, it’s backward-looking for a major corporation–especially one with such deep experience in remote work–to implement a policy that could take jobs away from regions that need them most. By demanding its employees flock to IBM’s urban headquarters, the company isn’t just sapping everyplace else of highly skilled talent, it’s also contributing to depopulating the communities where those remote workers live, and depressing local economies as a result.

There’s a sad irony to that. Thanks to the technologies and pioneering examples of many tech companies–including Microsoft, Google, Apple, and, yes, IBM itself–work is now far less time- and location-dependent than ever before. That means companies now have the ability to conceive of themselves as “results-only work environments,” where what really matters is what someone produces, not how many hours they work or where they sit in order to do it. Some, like the automation platform Zapier, are even offering bonuses to employees so they can move away to places where the cost of living is lower. Meanwhile, IBM will keep selling cloud-based software and services that support an “anytime, anywhere workforce” it’s no longer a part of. Good luck making that sales pitch.

Flexible work isn’t just the future of work–it’s already here. Forcing people back into offices is like handing them all paper time cards and telling them to start punching in and out. It’s not just retrograde and absurd, it’s also a surefire way to lose the best people you’ve got already and to turn away tomorrow’s top hires. Just ask Yahoo.

Stephane Kasriel is the chief executive of Upwork, where he built and led a distributed team of more than 300 engineers located around the world as SVP of engineering before becoming CEO. Stephane holds an MBA from INSEAD, an MSc in computer science from Stanford, and a BS from École Polytechnique in France. Follow him on Twitter at @skasriel.

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    05.15.17

12 Lessons From The 100 Most Creative People Of 2017
These innovative leaders are changing the world through their work in tech, fashion, food, entertainment, and more.
1/35 No. 8: Atlanta creator Donald Glover. “You’re playing off the vibes, the wavelengths, the algorithms that your audience is giving you,” he says. [Photo: ioulex; Stylist: Way Perry at The Wall Group; Groomer: Ben Talbott at The Wall Group.]

By Robert Safian5 minute Read

As a journalist, maintaining a healthy level of skepticism is a requirement. Sources routinely put their own actions in the best possible light, while undercutting the activities of rivals. I just can’t take everything people say to me at face value.
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SEE THE FULL LIST: The 100 Most Creative People Of 2017

But every now and then, I get to engage in a project that is so inspiring, my wall of cynicism melts. That’s the way I feel about our annual coverage of the Most Creative People in Business. Each year, our editorial team scours the globe to identify 100 all-new honorees whom we have not significantly covered in print before. This is how we initially introduced readers to Instagram founder Kevin Systrom–before his business was acquired by Facebook. It’s where we first talked about Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia, Amazon Studios chief Roy Price, and Warby Parker cofounder Neil Blumenthal. And where we made the business case for Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s amazing accomplishments with Hamilton.

Since appearing on last year’s Most Creative People cover, Lin-Manuel Miranda has been nominated for an Oscar and a Peabody Award. [Photo: ioulex; Stylist: Michael Fisher at Starworks Artists; groomer: Asia Geiger at Art Department]
This year’s pool of honorees is every bit as extraordinary.

I dare you not to be stirred (and maybe a little intimidated) by all that this group is making happen. What our Most Creative People coverage reveals each year is just how broad and rich an impact business can have, regardless of any external economic and political conditions. There are always amazing things going on, if you pick your head up to notice them.

What follows is my list of creativity lessons for 2017, drawn from our honorees’ achievements. The tangible outcomes defy expectations and limitations. You can’t make this stuff up.

Related: Why “Atlanta” Creator Donald Glover Is One The Most Creative People In Business 2017
1. Leaders Find A Way

As geopolitics and nationalist agendas put more pressure on cities, mayors find themselves at the epicenter of both conflict and opportunity. Which is why we highlighted James Anderson (No. 1) of Bloomberg Philanthropies, who is using technology, data, and a focus on sharing to spread best practices from Stockholm to Santa Monica. Rodney Hines (No. 16), director of U.S. social impact at Starbucks, is using a corporate perch to address the gnarliest problems of modern society, making good on a pledge to hire 10,000 refugees and bringing economic development to depressed U.S. communities.
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2. Surprise And Delight Can Be Designed

Today’s new-product landscape mixes the high-tech and the tactile, generating a gee-whiz feel of the future. Apple’s Isabel Mahe (No. 6) developed features (like syncing with two devices at once) that have made AirPods a back-ordered hit. Snap’s Lauryn Morris (No. 37) gave us video-enabled Spectacles that are intuitive, easy to use, and stylish. ThirdLove’s Heidi Zak (No. 89) used data and computer-vision algorithms to rethink the way bras are built and sized, creating a buzzed-about brand.
3. AI Is Driving Conversation

Amazon’s Alexa has become a ubiquitous voice, thanks to Rohit Prasad (No. 9) and Toni Reid (No. 10). IBM’s Harriet Green (No. 73), who talks about “augmented intelligence,” is helping companies including BMW and North Face incorporate language-processing capabilities and other smart-services technology into their operations.
4. Positioning Can Make A Difference

When Tali Gumbiner (No. 76) and Lizzie Wilson (No. 77) were hired to come up with a message for State Street Global Advisors on International Women’s Day, they created the Fearless Girl statue on Wall Street, which has become a symbol of empowerment. Phillip Picardi (No. 36) chose to try boosting traffic on TeenVogue.com by aligning with young readers’ social consciousness–and politics now beats entertainment as the site’s most popular channel.
5. Compassion Has No Boundaries

Ahmad Denno (No. 40) is guiding Syrian refugees in Germany through the cultural transition to a new home. Chef Massimo Bottura (No. 24) is feeding the hungry from Brazil to the Bronx by tapping surplus ingredients from supermarkets and networks of suppliers.
6. Learning Is Never Finished

Anant Agarwal‘s (No. 68) nonprofit digital university edX has served 11 million students, and is now offering graduate-level programs that can count toward a traditional university degree. Meanwhile, Justin Hall (No. 56) is teaching former coal miners in Kentucky how to code, allowing them a vibrant new start in a changed economy. Sesame Workshop’s Sherrie Westin (No. 71) is using a hijab-wearing Muppet to champion female literacy in Afghanistan.
7. Moonshots Are More Than Dreams

Made for just $1.5 million, director Barry Jenkins‘s (No. 18) Oscar-winning Moonlight has earned 40 times that at the box office–proving that nontraditional story lines can have outsize impact and can break down stereotypes. David Stack (No. 43) of Pacira Pharmaceuticals is commercializing a non-opioid pain treatment that can help reduce recovery times and addiction risks. Naveen Jain (No. 27) has raised $45 million for his aptly named Moon Express, a startup that will begin test flights this fall with a goal of making space travel possible for all.
8. Fintech Is Charging Ahead

Square’s Jacqueline Reses (No. 14) is providing $1 billion in customized, automated real-time loans to merchants, as a low-cost, low-risk cure for liquidity crunches. Vijay Shekhar Sharma‘s (No. 28) Paytm is displacing India’s traditionally cash-centric business culture with digital payment platforms. Wayne Xu (No. 49) of Zhong An has built that Shanghai-based online insurer into China’s largest with a customer base of 535 million.
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9. Power Is Shifting

Ganesh Bell (No. 11) is using GE’s Predix data-analysis software to improve the efficiency of utilities–from nuclear to natural gas–and businesses, helping GE Digital generate $3.6 billion in revenue. Jeffrey Grybowski‘s (No. 99) Deepwater Wind is pulling clean energy from offshore farms in the northeast Atlantic Ocean.
10. Healthy Living Is Getting Easier

Dana Lewis (No. 78) hacked together code for an “artificial pancreas” online for anyone to use. Harvard Medical School professor Tom Delbanco (No. 88) launched an OpenNotes movement that has given 13 million patients easy access to their own records. CVS executive Helena Foulkes (No. 5) is moving people “from sick care to self-care” with wellness products, CVS Curbside, and a pharmacy app that improves speed, safety, and customer service.
11. Openness Should Be Embraced

Former Goldman Sachs employees Porter Braswell (No. 52) and Ryan Williams (No. 53) are connecting underrepresented communities across the country to companies via their recruiting site Jopwell. “We’re going to help you climb the ladder,” says Braswell. Massachusetts state senator Patricia Jehlen (No. 44) is making equal pay for women a legal requirement.
12. Unlocking Human Potential Is An Art

From cover subject Donald Glover (No. 8) to writer-director Phoebe Waller-Bridge (No. 48), artists are infusing entertainment with social impact. In the corporate world too, the human factor is at the core of our advancements, even as technology and science provide a swath of dynamic new tools. As Facebook’s Fidji Simo (No. 2) puts it, “Feelings are universal.”
A version of this article appeared in the June 2017 issue of Fast Company magazine.
About the author

Robert Safian is editor and managing director of the award-winning monthly business magazine Fast Company. He oversees all editorial operations, in print and online, and plays a key role in guiding the magazine's advertising, marketing, and circulation efforts.

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    05.12.17 hit the ground running

New Graduates: These Are The Unspoken Rules Of The Workplace No One Tells You
Entering the workforce for the first time can be a shock to the system. Here’s what you need to know.
New Graduates: These Are The Unspoken Rules Of The Workplace No One Tells You
[Photo: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty]

By Anisa Purbasari Horton6 minute Read

Graduation is an exciting (and scary) time; you’re leaving a world where you know all the rules and entering into a world where what’s expected of you often isn’t so clear cut. The rules that truly matter in the workplace are often not written anywhere–they’re simply things that those who have been in it for a while consider to be obvious.
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Many learn these unspoken rules through trial and error, and some do it by observing others’ mistakes. But if you’re a recent graduate, there’s no reason why you can’t get a head start on day one of your entry-level job.
Rule No. 1: You Are There To Do Your Job

This might seem very obvious, but according to Lauren Berger, founder and CEO of InternQueen.com, graduates’ desire to go “above and beyond” can sometimes result in them being spread too thin and compromising the work that they were hired to do in the first place.

Related: The Skills It Takes To Get Hired At Google, Facebook, Amazon And More

Berger tells Fast Company, “You might be good at everything, but when you’re hired for the job, you have to focus on the task at hand.” She recalls a conversation she had with a talented graduate who recently landed a sales job. He eagerly took on extra responsibilities, only to be told by his boss some time later that he was on the verge of being let go.

He wasn’t meeting expectations when it came to his primary responsibilities. “Sometimes as a young employee, you have to hold back,” Berger asserts.
Rule No. 2: It’s Up To You To Figure Things Out

When you’re in college, you’re given a syllabus of readings, assignments, and exam dates. You know exactly what you are supposed to do by which date, and you have a person who tells you what you need to learn, and who points you in the right direction when you’re completely lost.

This is not the case in the workplace, says Porter Braswell, CEO and cofounder of Jopwell, a recruitment platform that serves Black, Latino/Hispanic and Native American professionals. Braswell, who started his post-collegiate career as an analyst for Goldman Sachs, tells Fast Company that one of the things he wishes he’d done earlier on was to figure out what skill sets he needed to learn, and build relationships with those who can teach him those skills. “Learning doesn’t happen like it does in the classroom,” Braswell says. “Nobody is going to sit down and teach you.”
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Rule No. 3: Feedback Will Not Come Automatically

Braswell also points out that school is structured in a way where immediate feedback is built into the grading system. But in the workplace, he says, “You’re not getting graded on every single task that you do. You might not know where you stand every single week.” This uncertainty, Braswell says, can come to a shock to many.

In many cases, it’s up to you to ask for feedback, but it’s also important that you pick the right circumstances and ask the right questions. Asking your manager “how I’m doing,” for example, might not elicit the most helpful response. It’s better to be specific and give your manager the opportunity to tell you what you’ve done well and what you could improve.
Rule No. 4: Attention To Detail Is Extremely Important

For Berger, who started her career as an assistant at an entertainment and sports agency, one of her biggest struggles was thinking about everything on a micro level. “The hardest thing for me was being able to think in a detailed-oriented manner. My brain just wasn’t set up to think like that.” She gives the example of booking a lunch meeting for her boss, and failing to consider the possibility that there might be seven different locations for the restaurant, or to check for parking spots.

As a junior employee, it’s highly likely that you’ll be tasked with administrative duties at some point, which might seem mundane but also equally easy to mess up. At times, the cost of these mistakes might be small, but there will be times where not paying attention to detail can hurt the company, and perhaps even put your job in jeopardy.
Rule No. 5: Understanding How You Fit In The Bigger Picture Goes A Long Way

When graduates are hired into an organization, they’re not always exposed to how their specific role helps the company as a whole. Braswell says, “When you come in as a new person, you’re very focused and you become specialized in what you do, and because you’re learning it for the first time, it’s hard to see a bigger picture.” Had he understood this earlier in his career, Braswell believed that he could have been more creative and effective in his job.

Related: Gen Z Is Starting To Graduate College This Year, With Lots Of Debt And Optimism

Understanding how your role fits into the bigger picture will also help you find more meaning in your work, because you know why what you do matters, even if it seems like a very tiny slice of the pie. Not only will you be better served to come up with solutions and initiatives that move the company forward (without compromising your main responsibilities), you’re more likely to be satisfied and engaged in your job. Given the amount of time you’ll spend at work in your lifetime, a happy work life is a crucial ingredient to a happy life.
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Rule No. 6: Companies Are Not Obliged To Consider Your Needs And Interests

This one is perhaps the hardest to swallow, but other than what they’re required to do by law and what’s stated on your employment agreement, in most instances, companies don’t owe you anything. As an employee, your job is to bring value to the company, and at times, that might mean putting their needs ahead of yours.

Frida Polli, CEO and cofounder of predictive hiring startup Pymetrics, tells Fast Company that one of the biggest shocks she experienced as a new graduate was “going from an environment like school where you are the consumer and everyone is catering to you, to a place where you are a worker and people expect that you cater to them. It’s an important transition to learn how to manage well, because it’s a big change in how one is treated.”
Rule No. 7: No One Will Care About Your Career As Much As You

At the end of the day, organizations exist to make money or serve a specific mission, not to think about how they can best serve an employee’s career. Sometimes, that could mean figuring out how you want to grow, and designing that framework yourself if there is none in your job or your company.

Maria Ocampo, manager at talent management platform CornerstoneOnDemand, says that she sees a lot of graduates paralyzed and lost without a specific structure and instructions to succeed. “For the first time in your life, you don’t have a framework that somebody put together for you to grow.”

As a graduate, it’s important to decide early on what success in the workplace looks like for you, and understand that no one will be as invested in the results as much as you will. It’s very rare that you’ll have someone looking over your shoulder every day to check on your career progress.

Both Berger and Braswell also stress the importance of asking questions during the interview process and talking to other employees to find out what it’s really like to work at the company before you start. If not, you might miss out on discovering “the unspoken truth about what it takes to succeed” at that company, Braswell says.

For Berger, it’s about really understanding your role, what that entails, and whether they align with your priorities in life. She sees a lot of graduates land jobs with certain expectations, only to be disappointed by the reality.
About the author

Anisa is the Editorial Assistant for Fast Company's Leadership section. She covers everything from personal development, entrepreneurship and the future of work.

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