Around the Institute

From Ice Buckets to…?

September 5, 2014

R-E-S-P-E-C-T — Find Out What It Means to Democracy

Oh, ubiquitous “Like” button: how hard people work to wring insights from your little icon. What if there were an alternative — say, a “Respect” button? The Engaging News Project, led by Dr. Talia Stroud with funding from the Democracy Fund, asked just this question in a clever experiment comparing different button word choices. Turns out that the Respect button has both business and democratic benefits – we think that’s worthy of (yep, you guessed it) respect!

A Labor of Love… for a CEO?

In honor of Labor Day this past Monday, we thought it fitting to note the euphoric finale of the “Save Market Basket” campaign, a protest bringing together employees and shoppers alike in support of “Artie T.,” the supermarket’s beloved ousted CEO. (Yes, you read that right — the words “beloved” and “CEO” were just used together.) The surprising success of this campaign may be hard to replicate, but thanks to our smart colleague Judith Samuelson, executive director of the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program, we did learn a thing or two about the business lessons to be drawn from this rather unusual upending of the shareholder-is-always-right mantra.

Summer Wrap-Up

Well, summer is drawing to a close. So what have we learned from “the” campaign of the season? Nope, we’re not talking about Dave Brat’s dethroning of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Nor the #BringBackOurGirls campaign that made international headlines in the spring, and has continued throughout the summer despite dwindling media attention. No, we mean the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, of course.  In this silliest of seasons, we are pleased to see that this campaign and its backlash have generated at least some potentially useful knowledge and awareness, along with some food for thought about public mobilization. But we wonder… what are the actual outcomes of this campaign, and will they outlast the summer?