Publications by

Lenny

Leonard Merkin

Leonard Merkin is a digital marketing intern at SIT. He is currently enrolled in Princeton University and is studying Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is also a food lover, traveler, and wrestler with 2020 vision.

Top 5 Creative Workshop Icebreakers

Published on: July 16, 2018 в 12:39 pm

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Leading a workshop, and participating in one, can be a rewarding experience for both the facilitator and the participants. It is no secret that knowing who your audience is, and catering your ice-breaker to your audience, can make the workshop/facilitation that much more engaging and meaningful. Icebreakers are a great way to get the energy of the group going or to engage with your group at the beginning of the day or after a break.

These 5 activities will surely help you break the ice in your next workshop, facilitation, or meeting.

Workshop Icebreaker #1. One Word Relay

1. Pick a relevant workshop topic collectively or have one ready to go.

2. Choose an object/ball (relevant to topic and/or funny) and prepare it to pass around.

3. Begin by getting everyone in a circle and explain that you will collectively construct a story. This will be done by each choosing one word. The words will string together to form a story.

4. Ideally, the word should fit into the sentence structure and story topic, but be fairly random. With every pass of the object and new word addition, the story should get more and more interesting.

5. Have someone document the story and send to workshop participants. Everyone can laugh and share!

Workshop Icebreaker #2. Snowball Fight

1. Gather your group in a circle and hand each participant a piece of paper.

2. Ask each participant to write a funny fact about themselves on the piece of paper. 

3. After they finish writing, tell participants to crumple up their papers and start throwing their ‘snowballs’.

4. For a whole minute, everyone can continue to throw ‘snowballs’, but when the time is up, everyone should end up with a ‘snowball’.

5. After one minute, everyone gets in a circle, reads the funny facts aloud, and tries to guess who each snowball belongs to.

Workshop Icebreaker #3. Pass the Toilet Paper

1. Start by handing out a roll of toilet paper and tell each participant to rip off as many pieces as they want. 

2. After everyone has their toilet paper sheets, ask them to share a fun fact or story about themselves for each sheet of paper they are holding.

Workshop Icebreaker #4. Doodle Portraits

Everyone gets a sheet of paper, sits down and draws someone in the room. The weirder/ funnier/worse the drawing the more exciting the icebreaker.

 

After everyone is done drawing or time is up, everyone would take turns showing the picture to the group with the group coming to a vote on who this is a drawing of.

If the group gets it right, they get a reward….etc

Workshop Icebreaker #5. M&M Questionnaire

1.  Pour M&M’s into a bowl and pass them around, asking participants to take a handful and hold onto them until everyone has their share.

2. For each color, have a question prepared and write them all down on a whiteboard after the M&M’s are handed out.

Here are examples:

Red: Why you love your agency/organization/company

Orange: Best childhood memory

Blue: Favorite vacation spot

Green: Favorite food

Brown: Favorite movie

Yellow: Why they are participating in this workshop/facilitation

3. Based on the colors of the M&Ms that the participants collected have them answer the questions in front of the group.

 

These workshop icebreakers will help you get a solid start at any event.

Let us know your experiences with icebreakers or any other thoughts in the comments below.

Innovative Ideas in Smart City Culture

Published on: July 10, 2018 в 2:38 pm

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Smart Cities on the Rise

The market for smart-city innovative ideas could be worth more than $1.5 trillion by 2020, according to a study by business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. With such huge growth potential, do you think your city has what it takes to be The World’s Smartest City?

Israel’s cultural center and 2014 World Smart City award winner, Tel Aviv, is making huge strides in Smart City tech and design. This coastal city is breaking ground by thinking inside the box and using Israeli culture to its advantage.

 

But how exactly did Tel Aviv acquire such a status?

As opposed to focusing solely on new technology, Tel Aviv uses its active and tight-knit community. The Tel Aviv municipality’s utilization of internal resources can be likened to SIT’s Closed World Principle—where the focus is not on resources that lay outside, such as new technology, but on the internal resources that can be utilized inside, such as its tight-knit culture.

In addition, with a high population of young people, Tel Avivians are both more open to trying new innovative ideas and incorporating them into their daily lives.  As Claus Tully from the German Institute puts it: “Young people take up modern technology and incorporate it into their everyday lives more rapidly and more unceremoniously than others.”

innovative ideas

Have you heard about SIT’s transformative work in municipalities?

Bat Yam Municipality

Together, SIT and Bat Yam launched The Center for Entrepreneurship in Education.  The center is made up of a community of 400+ entrepreneurs who meet socially and participate in both courses and one-on-one mentoring with SIT and center staff to help them realize their dreams. The Center recently launched an open innovation competition for new ventures, which received 300 entries. Through educational programs and activities for entrepreneurs, the Center seeks to make entrepreneurship a regular part of the daily educational experience.

SIT’s work with Municipalities in Colombia

SIT’s work with Colombia proved it is possible to change the interaction between local government and citizens without spending vast sums of money or engaging in extensive regulatory change. But how was this accomplished?

SIT trained 26 innovation coaches from various treasury positions who then ran 26 innovation projects in various departments. Initially, the focus was in the area of taxes. However, due to the project’s success and the substantial savings incurred, the participants have decided to extend the process to support other government departments in the future.

The Minneapolis Municipality

Before opening Target Field, The City of Minneapolis asked SIT to help find innovative solutions to traffic challenges the new ballpark would create. Specifically, SIT created an ideation project to address traffic, parking, and challenges to accessing events in the new ballpark. During the project, participants learned and applied SIT’s Task Unification thinking tool. They addressed physical elements (e.g. taxies, cars, traffic lights, skyways) alongside non-tangible elements (e.g. various types of data and information). The process generated several concrete ideas based on collecting, sharing, and communicating real-time information from multiple sources to streamline traffic, parking, public transportation, and pedestrian movement.

The question is: Does it take more than just innovative ideas and technology to create a smart city?

 

By examining Tel Aviv, it seems a smart city’s foundation is not only in new technological development but also in its culture. Similar to start-ups, where company founders refer to company culture as being the key to success, the Tel Aviv municipality also believes Israeli culture is key to their smart city success.

Tel Aviv, the 2014 World Smart Cities Award winner, employed the necessary technology, which took time, participation, and a strong culture. Some of the crucial elements of Tel Aviv’s appointment was the cohesiveness of the people, their curiosity, confidence, and their involvement with their communities. To harness this cohesiveness, Tel Aviv made sure to connect people to news, traffic, and other information, but in a way more personalized than radio or television.

     

Tel Aviv Smart City Pillars  

  • Eco: Including composting programs, community gardens, and water conservation methods.
  • Community and entrepreneurship: Tel Aviv created centers for entrepreneurship, youth centers, and affordable municipal housing, etc.
  • Traffic and parking: Bike paths (however, this still needs some work), paying for parking with one’s smartphone.
  • Smart Food Policies: Policies to increase production and sustainable food consumption.
  • Education: Emphasizing practical education, student initiatives are supported if they provide value. 

Revolutionizing Municipal Technology

 

To put itself in front of the pack, the Tel Aviv municipality installed free public WiFi in almost all public areas, including the beach, while simultaneously leading a digital revolution for municipal services and information dispersal. Implementing a digitalized revolution called DigiTel, they gave each resident the ability to register at a checkpoint and create a personalized digital profile. This innovative idea worked wonders by providing Tel Avivians with “customized information and remote city services,” such as city events, information about roadblocks, or recommendations and discounts for restaurants. With this digital database, the municipality is now better able to facilitate communication between residents and leaders.

The Tel Aviv municipality claims that …

“City-making makes the difference between a space and a place – a space is a physical demarcation, while a real place draws people, tells a story, reflects a community’s values, and is embedded with meaning. A smart city strategy which uses technology in the service of people – is, in short, smart city-making.”

Tech developments and the cohesive Israeli start-up culture helped transform Tel Aviv into the smart city hub that it is today. Equipped with this information – what do you think your city can do to get ‘smarter’?

Share your innovative ideas with us in the comments below!

FIFA World Cup’s Top 5 Innovative Technologies

Published on: June 25, 2018 в 11:02 am

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It is safe to say that everyone is excited about the games, but have you heard about the new technological advancements on and off the field?

Each of the following technologies are potential revenue boosters and, with proper implementation, have the potential to revolutionize both the event and the athlete training process.

Below, you will find a full cup worth of world-changing tech for you to marvel at while you watch your favorite teams battle it out on the field!

Did you know SIT has more in common with the World Cup than you might think? In 2010, SIT worked with Davivienda, a large financial leader in South America, on their digital marketing strategy. The project resulted in “The Correspondent Campaign,” which included the invention of a unique character who connected with the public through humor. During the 2010 World Cup, it was the most talked about marketing campaign and increased Davivienda’s revenue by over $3M!

Innovative Technology #1: Adidas miCoach Smartball

Adidas, the sponsoring company for the World Cup, recently made some noise with its newly released smart ball. The innovative smart ball, coined the “Adidas Telestar,” comes preinstalled with an NFC chip that is connected to a mobile application. Connecting to the app allows users to monitor game results, view ball movement, and share with other users. This smart ball also measures kick power, speed, ball height reached, and more.

The battery life is one week or 2,000 kicks. It also comes with its own charging station.

With Adidas constantly exploring new innovative technologies, we can expect further product developments in the athletic department and fan experience in the years to come.

innovative technology

Source credit: Adidas

Innovative Technology #2: Training Apparatus – SKLZ (Skylz) STARKICK

innovative technology

Source credit: Skylz

Want to practice your shots but are missing a training partner? Luckily, this training apparatus allows players to practice all shot types, including passes, free kicks, corner shots, and penalty kicks. The elastic band and rope can be attached to sandbags for longer range kicks, or to the player’s body for ball-control practice. This device can also improve creative dribbling and juggling skills.

 

Innovative Technology #3: ZEPP Play Soccer

The ZEPP Play System measures player data during gameplay to generate statistics. This tiny 7-gram sensor is attached to the player’s shoe or shin guard and connects to a mobile app. The innovative sensor measures distance, speed, sprints, and success rate in scoring goals (as opposed to attempts). After completing the activity, you can review all your past and current stats in an organized database on the app.

innovative technology

Source credit: Zepp

Innovative Technology #4: PlayerTek Soccer Tracker – Vest / GPS

Source credit: Playertek

A new gadget stemming from an Indiegogo campaign and very similar to the ZEPP Play Sensor is the PlayerTek Vest.

This product works in a similar fashion to the ZEPP, but in a comfortable vest form! It can collect maximum speeds and location data, but it does not yet measure a player’s cardiovascular rate.

For easy review post-training or post game, the app includes training tips and organized data. The device lasts seven hours per charge, which is perfect for a training day or several games back-to-back.

With new product development strategies, the PlayerTek Vest will surely continue to advance and transform from a classic innovation into an extraordinary one.

Innovative Technology #5: Norrlands Guld – “Social Beer”

This one is for those that love a good pub-based soccer viewing!

The creative masters at Norrlands Guld implemented an inventive solution that discourages phone use at bars. Instead of viewing live tweets on your phone, this innovative tech prints them directly on your beer’s foam in the most pretentious color possible… gold.

The last World Cup was one of the world’s highest tweeted events. This time, instead of hearing the phone buzzing (and potentially missing the action), why not keep the taps flowing and check out this innovative bartending technique?

innovative technology

Source credit: Norrland’s Guld

*Disclaimer: This remarkable engineering feat is only available in Sweden. Hopefully, one day soon, we can all experience the joy of drinking a tweet.

What’s Next?

 

New technological advancement means players and viewers can get even more out of their World Cup experience! Keep a look out during the next World Cup to see all this world-changing tech in action!

In the meantime, read about the coolest fashion tech wearables and let us know which one you would sport.

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