Data points

Published October 3, 2022
People prepare to ride shared bicycles during the launch of Bogota’s first shared bike system. The mayor of Bogota, Claudia Lopez, inaugurated a new self-service bicycle system in the Colombian capital last week, a megalopolis of nearly 8m inhabitants without a subway and saturated by car traffic and pollution.—AFP
People prepare to ride shared bicycles during the launch of Bogota’s first shared bike system. The mayor of Bogota, Claudia Lopez, inaugurated a new self-service bicycle system in the Colombian capital last week, a megalopolis of nearly 8m inhabitants without a subway and saturated by car traffic and pollution.—AFP

Brain-friendly inclusivity

Neurosignatures are the unique properties that makeup how our brains are wired. Each of us has four brain systems: the dopamine system, the serotonin system, the estrogen system and the testosterone system. The amount of activity within each system varies from person to person. Your neurosignature influences everything: your personality, how you process stress, how you like to work, whether you are an extrovert, introvert, or ambivert, the types of roles in which you thrive, the tasks that bring you joy (or headaches), and how and when you work best. Neurosignature diversity, which is different from neurodiversity, focuses on these behaviours. It studies our collective tendencies, habits, and capabilities and is not centered on any single condition. The truth is, most work environments are geared toward just one thin slice of the large personality pie: testosterone- or dopamine-dominant extroverts who thrive on uncertainty, high stress, and long hours and are energised by interacting with others. An inclusive, brain-friendly workplace should nurture and attract all neurosignatures and empower everyone.

(Adapted from “5 Ways Managers Can Support Neurosignature Diversity At Work,” by Friederike Fabritius, published on September 5, 2022, by HBR Ascend)

The rise of the closed captions

More viewers, especially younger ones, are using tools that transcribe dialogue in their online content, from Netflix movies to TikTok videos. This isn’t just about watching “Squid Game” in Korean with English subtitles. Closed captions have been crucial for many people with hearing loss for a long time. They’re now a must-have for many people without hearing loss. In a May survey of about 1,200 Americans, 70pc of adult Gen Z respondents (ages 18 to 25) and 53pc of millennial respondents (up to age 41) said they watch content with text most of the time. That’s compared with slightly more than a third of older respondents, according to a report commissioned by language-teaching app Preply. In recent years, Apple, Google and other tech companies expanded on-device auto-captioning options, while Netflix found creative ways to describe audio (not just dialogue) to viewers who are deaf and hard of hearing. A Netflix spokeswoman says that the number of people accessing captions and subtitles has more than doubled since 2017.

(Adapted from “Why Do All These 20-Somethings Have Closed Captions Turned On,” by Cordilia James, published on September 17, 2022, by The Wall Street Journal)

Flirting your way to the top

Individuals — mostly men — who see themselves as flirts were more likely to engage in “social sexual behavior” at work. Across six lab experiments and over 2,000 participants who were largely heterosexual and lived in the US, the study aimed to examine how social sexual identity — how people see their own sex appeal — could predict social sexual behaviour in the workplace. In the study, published in the journal Organisational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes in September, men consistently identified sexual characteristics like being a “big flirt” or “charming” as positive and internalised them. In particular, men were more likely to engage in flirtatious behaviour when pursuing personal goals in interactions with female bosses. The findings counteract long-held stereotypes that it’s junior women who use sexual wiles with male bosses to get ahead.

(Adapted from “It’s actually subordinate men who are more likely to flirt to get ahead at work according to a new paper,” by Sawdah Bhaimiya, published on September 26, 2022, by Business Insider)

Oops — wrong Hyundai

India announced in March a list of battery makers that would receive a coveted state subsidy. Locally manufactured cells for electric vehicles would trigger almost $6bn in investments, build a supply chain at home, cut $30bn in energy imports and be a “major boost” to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India project. There was only one problem with the $2.2bn handout: among the four winners selected from what its press release described as an “overwhelming response” by investors, New Delhi had picked the wrong Hyundai. It took a public notice from Hyundai for bureaucrats to realise that they had backed the wrong horse. Of the overall 50 gigawatt-hours of subsidised capacity, 20 gigawatt-hours had been earmarked for the South Korean firm. That allocation would likely be redistributed now between the Indian conglomerate Reliance and the local automaker Mahindra & Mahindra. The goof-up didn’t cast a kindly light on Modi’s Production-Linked Incentives.

(Adapted from “Oops, Wrong Hyundai. India’s Industrial Policy Misfires — Again,” by Andy Mukherjee, published on September 28, 2022, by Bloomberg)

Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, October 3rd, 2022

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