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Friday, December 01, 2006

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Lunar Logic, maker of websites and electronic supplements to textbooks, lost 120 workers over the past year to outsourcing. The company began in 1997 and counts Thomson, a college textbook publisher based in Toronto, Ontario, as its one major client. Lately, Lunar Logic owner Mark Lipson says there is pressure for companies to move work offshore. “There’s less that the customers want us to do,” he says. However, Lipson added that while most of the offshore work has been data processing, quality assurance and technical support jobs, companies “still need experts in their time zone.” The effects of the layoffs can be felt in some of the downtown businesses, especially at cafes and coffee shops. The company employs about 60 people in Eugene and is looking to diversify by taking on smaller projects.


At every university there are outstanding faculty members who achieve acclaim in their field, win grants for their research and gain national attention. At the University of Oregon, more than $10 million in gifts will help the university recruit and retain more of these stellar professors over the next 10 years. The gifts include an endowed chair in the journalism school, a distinguished scholar award and two faculty fellowships in the business college, and an anonymous donation to create a fund for faculty excellence.

 

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There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

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New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

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