In the Loop: The HDO Blog

The Face of Technical Implementation

March 10, 2016
Paige Vurpillat, Certification Specialist at PointClickCare, HDO Class of 2015

The Face of Technical Implementation: Why humans are still key, even in a tech-centric economy

If you’ve ever purchased a new smartphone or installed a software update on your computer, you know that the initial moments of using these new tools can be filled with panic, confusion, or some trial and error. Now, multiply that feeling by 100 or 10,000. This is the challenge facing technical implementation teams in organizations.

When dealing with 100 to 10,000 software users, understanding individual habits, behaviors, confidence, and beliefs are essential if you’re going to reach a positive result. Promoting a greater understanding of people is what I’ve built my career on and what I focused on as a student in the HDO Master’s program.

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Congratulations HDO Class of 2015!

January 12, 2016
Lewis Miller, HDO Marketing Coordinator

The Human Dimensions of Organizations (HDO) Class of 2015 graduated on Friday, December 4, 2015. HDO’s faculty, staff, and advisors are incredibly proud of the hard work these graduates have put in over the past 15 months!

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HDO Spotlight: John O’Leary & Paul Woodruff

January 8, 2016
Lewis Miller, HDO Marketing Coordinator

Welcome to the first edition of HDO Spotlight! Every quarter we’re going to feature brief interviews with key members of the HDO team, including alumni, current students, faculty, and External Advisors.

For this inaugural edition, we spoke with John O’Leary, who recently graduated as part of HDO’s Class of 2015, and Dr. Paul Woodruff, who teaches HDO 382: Approaches to Leadership.

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Unlocking the Mysteries of Motivation

December 10, 2015
Teresa de Onis, HDO Professional Seminar Participant & Strategic Marketer at Dell

It’s that time of year again. You want to lose weight in 2016, or maybe exercise more. You want to save more money. You want to paint more, grow your blog, and start writing your book based on the outline you developed six months ago. I know I do. But where’s the motivation? In fact, only 8% of us will succeed in achieving our resolutions. Why? Because of how our brains work. Creating new habits and sustainable change is hard.

As you may have guessed, I was in a personal funk when I registered for the latest seminar offered by UT Austin’s Human Dimensions of Organizations (HDO) program, Behavior Change and Influence. I was excelling at my strategic marketing job at Dell, but my art of oil painting and my blog were stagnating and the outline for the book I’m co-authoring had remained untouched for months. I had no motivation to change this situation, and I had developed some bad habits. Mindless Pinterest and Houzz surfing on my comfy new couch took up time I should have been spending in the studio painting and writing.

The premise of the seminar is that something needs to be done about the fact that we are sent out into the world to think and motivate without knowing a thing about psychology – how minds work and how people think. This seminar is taught by Dr. Art Markman and is based on his latest cognitive science research and insightful and accessible book Smart Change.

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Innovation Comes Standard

UT Grad Students Present Practical Applications of the Humanities for the Modern Workplace

Lewis Miller, HDO Marketing Coordinator
November 19, 2015

Business and nonprofit leaders are increasingly placing a high value on the skills and understanding that people with a humanities education bring to the workplace.

As more and more technical aspects of work become automated, people with critical thinking acumen, problem-solving expertise, an ethical decision-making mindset, and effective communication skills have a competitive advantage across a variety of sectors.

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Promoting the Modern Lingua Franca among Austin’s Low-Income Residents

October 19, 2015
Lewis Miller, HDO Marketing Coordinator

Catherine Crago, HDO External Advisory Board member, leads a charge to promote digital inclusion and empowerment in Austin.

Imagine, for a moment, that you’ve been dropped into a foreign country with absolutely no grasp of the local language or customs. You look around, cautiously observing the unusual. You want to take advantage of this unexpected situation, but you don’t have the tools or knowledge to make the most of the experience.

Now, imagine being surrounded by a progressively tech-dominated society, but feeling isolated and excluded because of your lack of digital know-how. Technology may be ubiquitous, nevertheless, it all sounds like Greek to you.

Digital literacy is the lingua franca of the modern global economy. In a city like Austin, with a thriving tech scene, this can seem like a bit of an afterthought. However, for many Austinites, limited access to technology and digital illiteracy remain hurdles to participation in this increasingly important sector of the economy.

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Do you want to advance your career? UT Austin is home to several innovative programs designed for working professionals.

June 29, 2015
Lewis Miller, HDO Marketing Coordinator

Open House this fall highlights Master’s degree programs at The University of Texas at Austin designed for working professionals.

Recent figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate that folks with a Master’s degree earn, on average, 20% more than their counterparts with a Bachelor’s degree. In addition, BLS data shows that people with Master’s degrees are less likely to be unemployed than people holding a Bachelor’s degree.

With those two points in mind, if you’ve ever considered pursuing your Master’s degree but thought it would be too time-consuming or impractical given your busy work schedule, now may be a good time to reconsider.

HDO has teamed up with several other programs at UT Austin to organize Career Forward, an open house featuring innovative graduate programs designed specifically for working professionals.

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Competence, Passion, and Control: Keys to Happiness at Work

June 23, 2015
Lewis Miller, HDO Marketing Coordinator

HDO Faculty Member Raj Raghunathan provides perspective on what really drives happiness and fulfillment in the workplace.

In a commentary for The Economic Times, a major English-language newspaper in India, HDO Faculty Member Raj Raghunathan argues that intelligence and success are not the key drivers of happiness in one’s job.

Raghunathan posits that the real factors associated with happiness are competence in one’s post, passion for one’s work, and control over decisions associated with one’s role.

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Train with Top UT Austin Professors This Fall!

May 20, 2015
Lewis Miller, HDO Marketing Coordinator

The schedule for the fall 2015 season of one-day Professional Seminars from Human Dimensions of Organizations (HDO) is now live. Registration is open and early bird discounts are in place for all fall seminars!

The courses featured in this upcoming season (listed below) are led by some of UT Austin’s most distinguished professors. Enroll today and be ready to walk away from the courses equipped with innovative and applicable tools that you can immediately implement in your personal and professional lives.

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Diversity Increases Innovation

May 12, 2015
Christine Burdell, HDO Master of Arts, Class of 2014

Type “innovate or die” into Google and you receive more than 3.4 million results. Attend a session at SXSW Interactive and you hear tech gurus who are “disrupting” their industries and making millions in the process. Gather colleagues at my organization to plan a project and follow a predictable path because “that is the way it has always been done.”

I will never forget the Human Dimensions of Organizations (HDO) class when we discussed the benefits of building diverse work teams. I had a “light bulb moment” when we talked about the innovation that springs up from encouraging divergent points of view. “Diverse teams are a better brain” and mixed groups comprised of women and men from a variety of cultural backgrounds are very successful at creative problem solving.

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