recession

When Service means survival

Business Week discusses how service is being effected by the recession. Listen to the podcast here. 0219_mz_service

They talk about how the best companies are keeping customers happy despite tightening budgets. Amazon came up tops as this is a year where "people are looking for simplicity and value".

This is not the time to be going after new customers, businesses should be doing everything they can by shifting their resources to existing customers. I was particularly interested in the 'happiness theory' that motivates employees as well as keeping customers satisfied.

we20 introduction

Paul Massey from  we20 has released an introduction video.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uN-mPz-O-Rc]

we20 is a collaborative neutral platform aimed at creating ideas to assist individuals, companies and communities in the recession. They will help you run your own we20 meeting to untangle issues that effect you and your family. All of us can hold meetings; designers, bankers, charity workers, farmers...

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we20.org will be up and running soon. Really looking forward to following this....how has the crisis affected you and how would you change things?

Who will help the unemployed?

Job Centre It seems fitting to express my views on a service that is on all of our minds: The Job Centre.

A family friend, who has been a financial manager for over twenty years, has recently had to "sign on". For my friend, this can only be described as a demoralizing experience. Like many people, he has found himself abruptly faced with the reality of being unemployed and in the current economic climate, could be for some time. The problem is, this has been such a struggle for a tax-paying citizen,  because he has been working for over thirty five years.

When my friend was first made redundant he was informed he was not eligible to 'sign on' because of the nature of his redundancy package. Since then, we have discovered that he should infact have been registered immediately. After several phone calls he eventually got an appointment. He has now had to deal with over six misinformed individuals who each (reluctantly) give contradictory advice and information. For example, he was given the wrong phone number, and after several failed attempts eventually managed to speak to a human-being. The employee he then spoke to then stated he did not qualify because his wife works less than sixteen hours a week.

My friend has visited the Job Centre every single week to show evidence of jobs applications. During these visits he has received no help or advice from any of the employees. In the time before his appointment he waits in a waiting room with individuals who have never worked and qualify for more money than him as they are not married to their partners.

I wanted to share this personal story, as I am sure it will resonate with many readers. This is a service our government provides and from where I am standing it is in a diabolical state.  Is this excuse for a service what our government is doing to help the unemployed?

Public Services are the safest

James Andrews recommends the Safest Places to work during the recession. "To find out which careers and sectors are offering the safest jobs right now, MSN Money spoke with Tim Cook, managing director of the UK's largest recruitment firm - Hays. Of course, no job is guaranteed, but these are his choices for finding the most resilient roles and sectors in a downturn, along with his reasons for these selections."

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1. Public services

Teachers, doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals can all benefit from a more secure job environment, which is affected by government expenditure rather than the economy at large. Skill shortages in the public services sector will always fuel demand for high-calibre professionals.

Thanks to Kat for sharing this link.

Outlook

In the current issue of Design Week, Tim Malloy, creative director of the Science Museum shares his opinion...194619022_8c4668a9b4

"This will be my third recession and they're beginning to feel like naturally recurring, cyclical events, their job being to stop us in our tracks and think again about direction, attitude and so on. In this way, does a recession provide a healthy context for the encouragement of a new thinking - a kind of cultural detox?

How about art schools developing courses that produce visually intelligent thinkers, rather than practising artists and designers and so on. A post-graduate foundation course aligned to a business management institution, creating visually intelligent and inspiring business managers/clients."

Malloy's thoughts echo the perspective of positivity I am aiming to get across to the first year students...I strongly agree with the idea of art school focusing on thinking and theory as well as practice!