Interns – Our Disruptive Innovators

“Compared to other generations, millennials tend to be more collaborative, are accustomed to working in teams & have a passion for pressure.”
 Joanie ConnellFlying Without a Helicopter: How to Prepare Young People for Work and Life

I rememdownload (3)ber when I was younger how my dad would carry conversations with those younger than him. He always had a great deal of life in him and could easily embrace and relate to anyone. The way that he connected to college students, new graduates and those that have been out in the workforce for a few years made an impression on me – I wanted to be able to connect with them like that at his age too.

The time of the year that I look forward to most is the summer – when I get to work with interns; many of which are millennials and of the iGeneration. Some white-collar folks see internships just as obligations or society; others only give interns very specific business operational projects that have already been started for them. However, I don’t think that either is beneficial to them and they really aren’t the most beneficial for me either. What I like to get out of interns is their freshness of their minds.

Throughout life, we are encouraged to strive towards key objectives that maximize outcome and minimize waste. However, we get comfortable and learn to make decisions that ensure safety, but still progression within these valley walls. We get used to it and are left to circle in this local thought process without the idea to push outside or further.

This is why millenials are so special – they don’t feel the gravity of the same constraints that we fall accustomed to. Their minds can help to lead companies to exceptionally innovative practical solutions, a certain entrepreneurial quality. So, I try to work with them to frame the business challenge enough so they understand and then get out of their way. The end result will always be surprising, from an angle that never occurred to you before.


The best word to describe each new generation of the work force is “disruptive innovative” that was coined by Harvard Professor, Clayton Christensen. The diagram to the right demonstrates this concept. The blue line is companies with people that are experienced with status quo and work with constraints. They are the kings of sustaining innovation. The green line is companies that enter into the market without experience like the blue chips, but still manage to disrupt the market like interns in big organizations. Think about the electric utility industry. For each cash cow that goes back centuries, there are new green lines like Nest, Tendril, oPower and many more that are not traditional in any way.

Take interns seriously because in my opinion, they are a business opportunity. They have sculpted a new global view that I or you may not have dreamed of yet. Be thankful for their work they do for you and never take them for granted. A special thank you to all of the interns that I have worked with at

University, Tuition & Germany

Between England and Germany, over one million people will be enrolling in universities this fall. However, in England, students will be paying the highest tuition fees in Europe while students in Germany will be paying absolutely nothing.


Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute published an analysis called, “Keeping up with the Germans?” After taking a look at the impact of the different funding systems between England and Germany, Hillman concluded that the biggest different is that there is a much smaller amount of people that attend university in Germany. Only about 27% of Germany’s young people complete university, compared to 48% in England.

Funding is a little different as well. Germany spends a little more of their GDP on higher education – they have more academic staff and are ahead in spending on research and development. While they receive public and private investing of 3% of GDP, the UK only has 1.7%.

UK universities may rank in the top of international league tables, but this is mainly because league tables do not include research institutes. In Germany, there is much more of a distinct separation between their teaching and research universities. Hillman claims that if Germany’s elite science institute, the Max Planck Society was included in global rankings, then it would beat out both Oxford and Cambridge.

Sure, it can be expensive for Europeans to go to university, especially in the UK, but the cost of going to university is still better than not going or even getting high-level vocational skills. The Higher Education Statistics Agency showed that graduate unemployment levels are back down to pre-recession levels at 2.6%. However, there are a rising number of graduates as well so this does not mean that more graduates do not have jobs.

The OECD has actually warned that the biggest risk is that young people will be competing for a smaller and smaller pool of unskilled work. The Pew research group, located in the US said that even though graduates had a more difficult time finding jobs during the recession, the real losers were the young people without any or few qualifications.

Going to university is more important than ever with 43% more people entering higher education in England and among women, it is a stunning 51%. We are in a time that education is an expectation, that demand will not go away and neither will the value of money for university.

So, who pays for Germany student’s free higher education? It is the taxpayer. How long will this system be able to expand and produce graduates? We shall see.

No, U.S. Stocks Aren’t Going to Crash

There has been an image of the Wall Street’s iconic bull lying on its side floating around the Internet. However, this is actually far from the truth. U.S. stocks would need to diver down over 20% from peak levels and stay down for quite a while until considered a bear market. After the big stock market sell-off, the S&P 500 is only down 12.5% from its all-time high – that is not even enough for a 10% correction. It is easy for us to begin to worry when the majority of the trading screen is in red, but there is actually a strong case being made that stocks will only go up from here. Wall Street experts think that the S&P 500 will end around 2,100 – which is a lot higher from where the market currently is, but also means that stocks will have a small gain by the end of the year.


There are a few reasons why U.S. stocks will remain bullish. Let me outline them.

Right now, the U.S. economy is in pretty good shape, not close to a recession, which is when bear markets usually occur. The U.S. economy should grow almost 2% this year and unemployment numbers are down below to prior the Great Recession.

Sure, China’s economic slowdown is a little frightful and many think it will create widespread effects. True, China is the center of this global sell off, but only 2% of U.S. revenue from the entire S&P 500 come from China – a tiny amount. So, there is no need to worry about China.

Corporate earnings may be a little ugly, but this is only the first time since 2008. The only real industry that is struggling is oil. The price of a barrel of oil has fallen from over $100 last year to under $40 this year. However, healthcare and technology industries are still going strong.

One fatal mistake that could be made that would definitely tank U.S. stocks is by raising interest rates too early. However, Federal chairwoman, Janet Yellen said that there do not plan to raise interest rates until the economy is strong enough. Will the raise happen in September? December? Or even 2016? We will have to see.

Some believe that even after the pullback, stocks are still too expensive. However, the S&P 500 is trader just over 16 times forward earnings and the average for the past decade has been around 14. So, it is a little high, but not where it was at 18.

When you take a look at all of this, you’ll see that this really isn’t a trigger for a major downturn in the U.S. stock market and in the long term, this correction is a good thing.

A $15 Minimum Wage – Who Gets It?

The campaign for a $15 minimum wage in New York has gained incredible strength this year. But even supporter of the increase are wondering how high the wage can rise before it will begin to reduce employment and hurt the economy…

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A wage board in New York made a strong case that it would make sense to pay fast-food chain workers $15 an hour in New York City because of the high cost of living there. However, cities with lower costs of living are another case – of which the age board suggested that the increase would begin in 2018 for New York City and not for elsewhere in the state until 2021.

Economists are using the ratio of the minimum wage to the wage of workers in the middle of the income distribution or median wage to gauge the impact of the minimum wage increases. The higher the ratio of the minimum to the median wage gives a greater the boost to workers.

However, with that higher ratio, comes a greater risk of job losses. There are few historical examples of increases that are more than 60 percent. But, there is some evidence that cities have managed increases when the minimum wage is 50 percent of the median, even a little higher. Though, economists are worried about what a 60 percent range increase or higher could mean – possible significant job losses.

A few European countries had minimum to median ratios between 50 to 60 percent and they did not show many negative effects. Some are comparable to higher unemployment rates to the United States such as France and others, like Germany do not. What about other cities in the United States?

San Francisco and Seattle already have $15 an hour minimum wage laws. Washington may be implementing it next year, which has a median wage of $24.58, making a 65 percent difference in the wage. Other cities such as Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Detroit are around the same standing.

For a city like Detroit, the figure might be slightly incorrect. The high ratio masks the high unemployment or low labor force participation among people who want low-wage jobs, but can’t get them. If those jobs did exist, they would drive down the median wage, but they don’t. Since Detroit isn’t a prosperous city so there isn’t a demand for low-wage jobs. Thus, all the jobs that they do have pay higher.

It makes sense to single out prosperous cities like New York City or Washington where there is a demand for low-wage jobs, helping to eliminate inequality. Though, we will have to wait and see New York State’s ruling.

The Creation of the “World Bank Rival”

China’s new financial organization, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (A.I.I.B.) has simultaneously sparked tension and gained momentum and support. The opposition seems to hail primarily from the United States, citing concerns that the AIIB could undermine the World Bank, and possibly spur poor oversight and minimally governed financial practices. Just last month, the largest economies in Europe- France, Germany and Italy, announced their desire to become founding members of AIIB. This decision followed closely behind the United Kingdom, whose decision to join drew public admonishment from the White House, which is not recognized as common behavior. More than 50 countries have now signed on to join the AIIB initiative.

Launched in October 2014, the AIIB has the potential to trigger economic growth for China. Xi Jinping, China’s president and Communist Party Chief, initially proposed funding to poor Asian countries for infrastructure projects. And though this is a part of what the ADB and World Bank already provide, there is an enormous infrastructure gap. According to a 2010 report published by The Asian Development Bank Institute (ADB), Asia will need to invest as much as $8 trillion into its infrastructure in order to see a continuation in economic development over the next ten years. For China, this would mean much needed investments towards improving their environment, which impacts the country’s health conditions, as well as increasing macroeconomic stability and trade expansion. Resources available within the confines of existing international financial institutions simply aren’t enough to help bridge the gap.

World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim has welcomed the chance to collaborate with AIIB, stating, “The decisions we make this year, and the alliances we form in the years ahead, will help determine whether we have a chance to reach our goal of ending extreme poverty in just 15 years.” Kim sees great potential to be forces in economic development for emerging markets, through co-funding projects and working together towards the same financial goals for the global economy. There are also talks of a development institution, amongst the BRICS developing nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), however there is a struggle to reach a decision about how fund it and subsequently manage it.

Jim Yong Kim, the World Bank president, suggested the bank and the AIIB could co-finance infrastructure projects or work on regional integration. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty

Jim Yong Kim, the World Bank president, suggested the bank and the AIIB could co-finance infrastructure projects or work on regional integration. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty

The unwavering lobbying by the United States, against the AIIB could prove to be ineffective and even have a negative long-term impact on trade. What is becoming clear to many is that the multilateral system at work to fight against poverty, while perpetuating sustainable global economic growth is of great benefit to all nations. And while the United States, along with few others, raise questions of concern and even reason for cautious acceptance, they are losing credibility and possibly turning the eyes upon themselves.

The question still remains, is it genuine concern over safeguarding, meeting standards and regulation or is it more about the loss of power, governance and leadership?