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Entrepreneurship, EveningMBA, Events, Newsroom, OCB Alumni

Master’s Pub Highlights – Story of Blu Dot Marketing in NYC

IMG_1114.JPG (2)Last month the Opus College of Business hosted Medora Danz, vice president of Blu Dot brand at the Master’s Pub. Danz shared some interesting insights on Blu Dot’s history and mission. The company’s goal is “to bring good design to as many people as possible.” To them, that means “creating products that are useful, affordable, and desirable.”

The modern design of Blu Dot in some ways combines the efficiency and economy of Ikea with the style and look of much more expensive brands. “B

lu Dot has created a brand that is humble, inclusive, democratic and humorous,” said Danz, noting that the company is trying to go after the middle.

One particular story Danz told was of a marketing campaign in New York City, timed with the first anniversary of the opening of their first retail location there. Fast Company detailed the story in 2009:

Mono, an advertising firm based in Minneapolis, dropped off 25 Real Good Chairs, a $129 item designed and manufactured by Blu Dot. Whoever found the chairs was free to take them. The chairs were left outside the Apollo Theater on 125 Street (below), at the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and atop the Highline, elevated park on the West Side, among other New York locations.

The recipients did not know that [a] video crew documented their snatch and get-away, sometimes trailing them for blocks.

Watch the video of the “Real Good ExperimentContinue Reading

Entrepreneurship, Executive MBA, Newsroom, OCB Alumni

Fast Company Names ReconRobotics One of the 50 Most Innovative Companies

Edina-based ReconRobotics announced last week that it has been recognized as one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company magazine. Inventor of the tactical micro-robot and a major supplier of robotic technologies to military units and law enforcement agencies, worldwide, ReconRobotics was ranked 44th on the list of honorees, which also included Nike (ranked #1), Amazon, Samsung, and Google.

“This is a great honor for our young company and each one of our 58 employees,” said Alan Bignall, ’85 M.B.A., President and CEO of ReconRobotics. “Our world-class design and engineering teams develop ultra-lightweight robots that save lives, and I am ecstatic that their creativity and problem solving have been recognized by Fast Company.”

Bignall was named “Entrepreneur Alumnus of the Year” at the University of St. Thomas’ 22nd Annual Entrepreneur Awards Ceremony in 2011. (The video above was made for that recognition.) ReconRobotics is also one of the Norris Institute’s portfolio companies. Continue Reading

Entrepreneurship, Media, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

The value of vacation: (Opus Magnum needs one too)

One facet to increasing productivity is taking time off–real time off, not a vacation spent with one thumb on the iPhone at all times, said Carson Tate, the managing partner of Working Simply in Fast Company last month. One commenter on the article put it succinctly: “Vacation time is just as important as work time and it deserves the same respect.”

“In the workplace, I think we are just assaulted by information, commitments, timelines, deadlines and what happens is our thinking is scattered and disconnected,” she observes. “Think about when you have your eureka moments. Some of the best ideas come when you are in the shower with bubbles in your hair.” Vacations not only offer a respite from the daily grind but the downtime offers opportunities to allow new concepts and strategies to marinate. “When you come back you are rested, you able to innovate, your passion is back,” Tate says.

In that light, I’m taking a vacation – as is Opus Magnum. Posts will resume on August 13. Happy summer!

Ethics, Media, Newsroom

Fast Company asks: Are B-School Graduates More Ethical? Yes, at UST.

bgp_home[2]Last week Fast Company posted an article on the results of the Aspen Institute’s Beyond Grey Pinstripes survey of how schools are teaching social, environmental, and ethical topics:

Many industry watchers saw business schools as contributing factors in the financial crisis, arguing that, by failing to challenge orthodoxies, and overlooking “socially useless” activities, they helped create conditions for collapse. That nearly every relevant banker, regulator, and politician was an MBA graduate helped make the case.

But what about now? Have b-schools changed? Yes, and no, according to [the] survey. On the one hand, MBA programs are teaching more social, environmental, and ethical content than ever. Four-fifths now require students to take a business and society course, compared to just 34% in 2001. …On the other hand, schools have yet to significantly reform “core” subjects like finance and accounting.

Dawn R. Elm, Ph.D., Chair of UST’s Department of Ethics and Business Law notes that in the Opus College of Business “we do have a required business ethics course in all of our programs, and we supplement our ethical focus with integration of the emphasis on ethics and values as the whole proposition across all the courses in our curricula.” Continue Reading