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Teams from the Unilab Ideas Positive Finals 2011

The Unilab Ideas Positve Finals held last September 17, 2011 at the Unilab Bayanihan Center featured five teams from five schools who presented their social marketing plan which aims to bring positive transformation into Filipino communities. The Team High Five from UP Diliman bagged the top price and received P100,000 as seed money for the implantation of their their 3B Laban Sa TB plan. The second place went to Team AweEights also from UP Diliman and last place went to Team Kabalikat from STI Global City.

The Unilab Ideas Positive Finals hosted by DJ Crystal of Magic 89.9 started with opening remarks from Ms. Rhodora Palomar, the senior vice-president for corporate affairs and executive director for Unilab Foundation. She discussed briefly the beginnings of Unilab and how its founders wanted change for the community. The judges for finals were Amparo Fabe, economist, sociologist and social marketing consultant, Dr. Angelito Manalili, UP professor and a former dean of the UP College of Social Work and Community Development, Commisioner Gino Tingson from the National Youth Commission, Anna Alejo, the coach of the 2010 Ideas Positive winner, Coach Randy Aquino, Country Head of Ogilvy Philippines and Rhodora Palomar the senior vice-president for corporate affairs and executive director for Unilab Foundation.

The first team to present their social marketing plan was Phata Team from UP Manila with their Kalat, Kapaligiran, Kalusugan  plan, followed by Team AweEights from UP Diliman and their Project Cloud ++. The third team to present was Team Send from the University of Batangas with their proposed Deofer Solution followed by the first place winner Team High 5 and their plan 3B Laban Sa TB. The last presenter was Team Kabalikat from STI Global with their Hitong Buhay, Hitong Buhay plan.

Other awards like the Best Video Production was given to Team High Five and the People’s Choice was given to Team Send. All of the proposed plans have real potential. In the end, Unilab decided to give seed money not only to the teams who placed but also to the two remaining teams. The first place received P100,000 seed money to implement their plan and P50,000 for the team. The second place and third place was given P75,000 as seed money and P30,000 for the team. The remaining two teams each receivef P50,000 as seed money and P15, 000 for the team.

In the end, what’s important is to be able to involve the youth in transforming communities through positive ideas.



In 2009, colorful silicone rubber bands in different shapes dominated the world of children. These colorful bands called ‘Silly Bandz’ received several toy of the year awards and other recognitions. Not only do kids love the product but the parents as well. It became so successful that the product is sold until today along with other new products they created. This is an achievement for such an industry like the toy industry where a toy becomes a hit for only a short amount of time.  But how did they manage to do this?

Robert Croak got the concept of Silly Bandz from a trade show visit in China. He saw small animal shaped silicone bands which are used in Japanese offices instead of the traditional rubber bands. From there, he decided to develop the idea and create larger silicone bands in different shapes and colors. The company first started selling Silly Bands online in 2008. In 2009, a retail store called Learning Express in Alabama became the first to stock Silly Band in their shelves. That move made Silly Bands a success in the East Coast and eventually in other cities all over America.  Silly Bandz became an in demand toy and was included in many top seller lists like in Amazon. So what is the magic behind its success?

The thing that contributed the most in the success of Silly Bandz is the conversations customers had about it. The book Anatomy of the Buzz Revisited by Emanuel Rosen discussed how buzz can be powerful in marketing a product. A buzz is generated when people talk about a person, event, or a product. In this case, buzz was first created when a mother who bought Silly Bandz in the Learning Express store told her friends online how she thinks that it is the best toy out there right now. People who saw her post decided to also buy Silly Bandz and they also shared it to their networks. Because of this, many people learned about Silly Bandz and it eventually reached other cities. The kids who also use the Silly Bands greatly contributed to the company’s success. Children usually have the same toys because they want toys that their friends or classmates have. In the case of Silly Bandz, when one boy came to school wearing several Silly Bandz, his classmates also wanted to have one and later asked their parents to buy them. This occurred many times until the whole student body have Silly Bandz.

The word of mouth about Silly Bandz contributed a lot, but success will not be possible if the product is not good itself. According to Rosen, the best conversation triggers are the product itself. Despite the simplicity of Silly Bandz, it is still appealing to children because it is collectible and offers a lot of new designs. For the parents, they find it cheap compared to other toys in the market.

Although they achieved great commercial success, Silly Bandz did not stop in surprising its customers. The company always come up with new designs and offered new products. The success story of Silly Bandz wouldn’t have been published without buzz. Many good products exist, but only a few really become big or mainstream. Without buzz, you can’t say that a brand is successful.  When people are talking about your brand that is when you know you reached the right destination.  Sometimes, companies don’t even have to do anything to create buzz. Information about a product will spread when customers find it really good and when they start sharing it to others.

Japan experienced a very big crisis last March 2011. The earthquake which hit them produced a tsunami which in return caused a meltdown in the Fukushima nuclear power plant. It became a crisis not only to Japan but to the whole world as well because Japan is considered as one of the strongest countries in terms of economy and technology. Japan was under a dark cloud for a long time and one industry that was greatly affected was their tourism industry.

The tourism industry of Japan dropped more than 50% compared to the previous years. In order to salvage the situation, the Japan Tourism Agency publicized their plan to give 10,000 plane tickets for foreigners to visit Japan. Applicants can submit their applications in a site that will be established by the agency. Applicants will be asked what part of Japan they would like to visit and why. The agency will choose the best entries and give them free plane tickets to visit Japan in 2012. The chosen people will be asked to write about their experience in their blogs and social networking sites. Currently, the plan is waiting for the approval of the Japanese government.

I believe that this plan of Japan to regain its tourism industry is good. By providing the means for foreigners to experience Japan, many will be convinced that Japan is actually safe for visitors. The actual experiences of people can create conversation about Japan. Their plan to also require the visitors to blog and share about their stay in Japan online is good because posts about Japan from 10,000 people from different places will increase the chance for the information about Japan’s status to spread to others.  People may say that giving 10,000 people free plane tickets is too much, but if successful, Japan’s image can be changed and the tourism industry can be revived.

Most women dream to have a unique and memorable wedding. That’s why these days, women allot a great deal of time conceptualizing the theme for their entire wedding day. But nowadays, a popular trend for weddings is not about the color or the cake. Weddings which incorporate technology are now the latest trend.

One couple in the United States whose bridesmaid cannot attend the wedding still walked down the aisle through an iPad. Another couple put an iPad at the bottom of their cake where a slideshow of their pictures can be viewed by guests. One couple in New York walked down the aisle with an iPhone in their outfits. When the priest proclaimed their marriage, they immediately changed their relationship status in Facebook.

While others use technology for creative reasons, some utilizes technology for practical purposes. Electronic wedding invites are becoming more popular these days not only because it isn’t costly but it’s also environment friendly. Some couples even tell their guests to give their gifts online. Although technology can be used to save money, most of the time, weddings are broadcasted online to share the moment with friends and relatives who cannot attend the event.

We now know that it is possible to use technology in an actual wedding, but, is it possible to have a virtual marriage?

Virtual marriage is an unofficial marriage of two people online. This means that being married online will not be automatically considered true in real life. All the things that happen in an online couple like marriage and divorce does not necessarily reflect the relationship of the two individual offline. A lot of sites like Virtualvow.com and Please-marry.me offer online marriage to couples. The growing number of these sites just shows that online marriage is becoming more in demand by a lot of couples.

Technology has become such an integral part of our daily lives that many couples find it only proper to also include them in their big day. With the growing advances in technology, weddings can be transformed into something unique and memorable. We just have to use our creativity and utilize all available resources to our advantage. Who knows, maybe in the future, all aspects of a wedding can now be conducted online.

May we all have a wonderful wedding in the future. 🙂

Before accepting a job or even before applying, it is important that a person is aware about the role he will take once he works in the organization. Knowing your future tasks and responsibilities will give you time to contemplate whether you are capable of fulfilling the expectations for the job. Also, knowing that your role is important in keeping the organization working gives you a sense of fulfillment. That’s why,  it is crucial for organizations to be able to divide work properly and assign roles to tight people in order to function well and reach their desired goals.

But let’s be realistic here. Many people have a hard time doing their job even though they fully understand their roles. Why? It’s because their roles do not only include the jobs they really want to do but also other tasks that comes with it. One great example will be nurses. Some people take up nursing because they like taking care of patients, injecting medicines, and other more. But many are not aware that besides doing your daily shifts, nurses are also required to do paperworks.  This also applies to other jobs, and because of this, there are times when the quality of work suffers.To solve this problems,  companies already resorted to hyperspecialization.

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Most people nowadays own a credit card. Some even have more than one card in their wallets. Credit cards can actually be convenient to a lot of people. No need to bring cash all the time and it can be used as emergency money.  But we are all aware that not all shops or stores can accept credit cards. Only those big and established businesses have the capacity to accept them. But what if small businesses can now start accepting credit cards through their mobile phone? Isn’t that convenient and an opportunity to improve business?  This can be true with the use of Square, a small device that can accept all kinds of credit cards once attached to a mobile phone.

Remember Jack Dorsey from my ‘Twitter: Where It All Began’ blog post? Well, it turns out Twitter was not the only creation he is famous for. Right now, he is becoming well known not only as the originator of Twitter but also as one of the developers of Square.

With the use of Square, establishments will be able to accept a customer’s credit card using a smart phone. Jack Dorsey realized that what most phones have in common is the universal 8mm headphone jack. With this realization, the Square was designed to be attached in the headphone jack of a mobile phone. Once the device was attached and the application was installed, a customer can now swipe his credit card in the Square device. As for the receipt, a digital receipt will be sent to the customer once the transaction occurred. Square charges 2.75% of the total amount of all transactions made. Some find this cheaper than other offers while other businesses think it actually costs more.

 Another feature of Square is that it also allows the customers to pay using their smart phone. It’s like your smart phone is your credit card. People can download an application called ‘Card Case’ in their smart phones. Once installed, people will have to save their credit card information using the application. Whenever they visit an establishment, customers will only have to open a tab in their phone and say their name. Once they do this, information will be sent to the register and a transaction is complete. Now, you don’t really have to swipe your card at all!

I cannot deny that the idea of Square is really beneficial to a lot of businesses. But, I also saw some aspects that can be a problem for many. For the system to work, internet connection is required. Maybe in the United States, most places have internet connection and a lot of people have internet subscription in their mobile phones. But in our country, this technology can only be used by a limited number of people because not all have internet access in their mobile phones. Furthermore, the technology is only applicable to the smart phone family. Another concern is the surrendering of card information in the applications. Just last week, my friend’s mobile phone was snatched. What if your phone, containing your credit card information, was used by people with bad intentions? That will be a big problem. Users have to be responsible once they put important information in their mobile phones. But, putting aside all these concerns, I applaud Square for coming up with a simple yet useful service. I believe that in the months to come, it will be further improved to cater to more customer needs.

Remember, think before you swipe! 🙂 $

Jack Dorsey – Square Demo