In the Loop: The HDO Blog

Play to Your Strengths

September 27, 2016
Lewis Miller, Marketing Coordinator, HDO

In a recent post for Fast Company, social media company Buffer shared impressive results from an experiment in redefining employees roles based on individual strengths.

Buffer’s co-founders Joel and Leo were the guinea pigs in the experiment. After a series of discussions aimed at identifying each other’s strengths, they decided to adopt an editor/operator framework for approaching projects.

Leo, a big-picture project manager took on the role of editor, while Joel, a detail-oriented implementer, took on the role of operator.

In addition to redefining individual roles, this new model promoted productive teamwork by pairing employees with complementary styles together.

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Humanities Education and The Digital Economy

June 14, 2016
Lewis Miller, Marketing Coordinator, HDO

As the economy continues to evolve, skills derived from a humanities-based education will only grow in relevance.

Critical thinking, creativity, communication. These three skills were highlighted by a new Brookings Institution report, Skills for a Changing World, as key to success in the modern workplace, alongside technological expertise.

“In the age of information, a focus on breadth of skills can complement technology. The new digital economy requires individuals to be able to filter, analyze, and create meaning from the vast amounts of information. Skills like complex reasoning and creative thinking can empower individuals to take full advantage of opportunities in the digital world.”

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History and Leadership

June 1, 2016
Lewis Miller, Marketing Coordinator, HDO

Studying history – and the humanities in general – provides valuable skills and long-term earning potential.

As a kid who thoroughly enjoyed history class, I was always annoyed when I heard my fellow students casually throw out the question “Why do we have to learn history? I mean, it’s all about stuff in the past!” No doubt, such comments were uttered more frequently prior to a big test or following a pop quiz.

If they were in earshot, teachers would quickly respond with some version of “those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat mistakes of the past.” I’m pretty sure this would be followed by rolled eyes, the response having failed to change the minds of my complaining classmates.

Even as my interest in history was offended, I could easily brush off such questions, given that they were coming from my pre-teen classmates. As an adult, hearing very similar arguments being offered by serious people is much more worrisome.

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Creating a Happier Society by Focusing on Ourselves

April 26, 2016
Lewis Miller, Marketing Coordinator, HDO

Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness. So How Do We Create Happier Individuals and a Happier Society?

Money doesn’t buy happiness. It turns out a long list of accomplishments doesn’t necessarily, either.

The puzzling question of why achieving traditional measures of success doesn’t inevitably translate into happiness is the subject of a new book by Dr. Raj Raghunathan, a professor at UT Austin’s McCombs School of Business and HDO’s One-Day Seminars program.

In a recent interview with The Atlantic, Dr. Raghunathan discussed his research and his new book, If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy? One of his key points is that our principal mode of gauging success – measuring how much more we’ve done, earned, or achieved relative to others – is destined to create personal discontent.

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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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