Our Blog

Our Blog

elannert's picture

B2B Start-up Tip on Online Presence Building

For businesses looking to enter the online world, how would you rate the importance of: A) a website, B) a blog, C) email marketing, and D) social stream interaction?

csmith's picture

Poll Everywhere: Using Technology to Engage Your Audience

The bottom line is that public speaking is intimidating. I remember hearing from one of my mentors that the day my stomach isn’t all tied up in knots is the day I need to quit what I’m doing, because I have lost my passion.

That’s why it’s funny that a “speak-a-phobe” like me decided to step public speaking up a notch by adding audience participation at our last innovation conference. I’ve always thought it would be cool to poll the audience and figure out the makeup of the room before you start speaking. You know, tailor your talk to the interests of the room. This makes the speaker over prepare as they never know what turn the talk will take once the audience has a say.

skastrul's picture

Commencement at i.c.stars: Witnessing Transformation

Cycle 26 is the first cycle to commence at our new location. If you’ve never been to an i.c.stars commencement, then you definitely want to get yourself on the invitation list, because it is a profound, moving and humbling event. Commencement means the beginning of something new, and in every new beginning we reflect on where we’ve come from.

csmith's picture

Three Books to Add to Your List!

I’d like to share three very important books for professional development today. I’m recommending these books because I believe all three will help you make the most of your time, your talent and your professional relationships.

skastrul's picture

Civic Responsibility and Innovation

I read an article in The New York Times entitled, “Why Our Elite Stink,” by David Brooks, about the old-boy, WASP elites. These people were behind the times on equality, but they had a real sense of responsibility for the larger institutions, and for people, and they owned their “stewardship mentality.” As Brooks says, “They were the temporary caretakers of institutions that would span generations.” The rules were such that if you didn’t live up to those things and didn’t adhere to the stewardship, you were kicked out.

elannert's picture

The Next Level in Digital Marketing: Building Engagement

When clients start working with us, they really want to know how to become consistent about publishing content. We’ve implemented a lot of great tools, techniques and processes and we’ve found a way to help our clients find their voice. And once you’ve got the beginnings of an audience, you enter the next phase, where the challenge is: how do you engage them, or provide interactive content for that audience?

elannert's picture

The E-mail Marketing Hype Cycle

We have been doing e-mail newsletters for clients since 2005. In the last few years, we’ve had 25 different clients across a variety of industries focused on B2B marketing. Recently, we started to build a highly interactive calculator that would allow clients to project their traffic and the results they’re likely to get from investing in content-driven marketing - e.g. blogs and newsletters. In the process of building that model, we went back and looked at our real data to figure out how long it takes to build different audiences and a following of subscribers and blog visitors.

DebsCane's picture

The Wrong Skills Gap

Much has been made during this latest Presidential election cycle about whether America’s work force has the skills needed for 21st century job opportunities. More so, national, state and local candidates on both sides of the aisle all seem to want strategies for retraining workers, whether it comes from big government or private enterprise.

skastrul's picture

i.c.stars Annual Report 2012

Social Enterprise and Workforce Development Organization - This year we opted to produce our annual report in a video.

skastrul's picture

Don't be invisible

Recently, I took a wonderful trip to Denver to talk about expansion. I met with some local technology leaders, some folks in IT staffing, and some people in the government sector. The topic was i.c.stars Denver. Our hosts were Zia Consulting and Harvey Nash.

csmith's picture

Two Tools to Stay in Touch

It’s an exciting time for i.c.stars. After twelve years at our original location, we moved to a larger place where we can all be on one floor. In the midst of all this excitement, some challenges also came up. There were some work-from-home days, as well as, days when I did not have a phone line in the new office. It usually takes a couple of weeks to get all the kinks figured out when moving to a new location. For example, my office phone, for whatever reason, just keeps dropping calls.

elannert's picture

Social Media ROI Calculator

The purpose of my blog is to share learning and insight that our team accumulates through experience. This information tends to be in the form of quantitative or framework outcomes.

csmith's picture

Social Media is more than what meets the eye

I have to admit it. I enjoy a good Tweet.

Obviously, I have a blog and a newsletter. I would like to sincerely thank you for reading.

skastrul's picture

Love, Fear, and Technology

Recently we had the pleasure of having Adrian R. Gardner, the CIO of NASA, over for high tea, which was quite enjoyable. I was invited to a reception in his honor later that day. Adrian made some wonderful and inspiring remarks about the future of technology and technology education.

skastrul's picture

What is tangled in your web?

Recently one of our residents, Ruben Alvarado, came into my office and schooled me on something that we talk about quite often: oppression. Ruben told me about what he calls the spider web. We all have a spider web, and it connects us to those things that make us who we are. Our family, community, jobs, lifestyle, habits, and clubs are some of the things that make up our spider webs. We take these things with us everywhere we go, and sometimes we happily share what we have on our web with others. Other times we may want to hide our webs because they are a reflection of a past that we may need to separate ourselves from.

csmith's picture

What sparked my passion

When I was young, my parents instilled a great sense of community in me. I marched alongside my uncle as he was protesting when I was a kid. He worked at a factory in Decatur, IL. They all walked off the job because they were a union, and they wanted better benefits. He was out of work for a long time protesting. I walked alongside him and really understood the manufacturing community. I participated in Earth Day protests and other things along those lines when I was young. I knew that community was something I was interested in, and growing up I would volunteer a lot, but I never knew it could turn into a job.

csmith's picture

i.c.stars Announces Relocation to a Larger Chicago Office Space

On July 23, 2012, i.c.stars announced that it will be relocating to a larger office space in Chicago’s River North neighborhood.
skastrul's picture

From Russia to i.c.stars and back

Ten women from Belarus, Russia visited i.c.stars through the Heartline International Community Connections Program.

brownp17's picture

Pooling Cars and Pooling Applications in the Course of a Month

The studio was a mix of nerves and confidence today. Over the course of a month, the interns have been preparing their response to an RFP issued by train car pooling company, TTX.
csmith's picture

Build a business case to add value and keep sponsors coming back

Recently, I was lucky enough to meet up with some friends who are also non-profit fundraisers.

elannert's picture

The Mobility Movement: Transaction vs Consumption

Last month we held our annual Capitalize on Illinois conference. Consumption versus Transactions is the big idea that I capitalized on at Capitalize 2012.

csmith's picture

Are You Leading the Resistance?

This video was made in 2007. It has had 1,057,844 hits and 1,607 likes. Obviously, it resonated with the audience.

skastrul's picture

Be True, Not Truman

Dear i.c.stars Alumni,

elannert's picture

The First Follower is What Turns a Lone Nut into a Leader

In the video footage below Derek Sivers explains how movements really get started.

skastrul's picture

The Hope Needs You / Life Lessons From a Seven-Year-Old

Dear Cycle 25,

I am so proud of all of you and filled with hope as you commence from your i.c.stars internship. As you begin your next journey, I am reminded of Tracy Grahm’s powerful words at tea last week: “When we lose our sense of hope, we’ve lost everything. If we don’t have faith in something, we cannot do anything.”

csmith's picture

An Accidental Techie in Cali

The first night I got to San Francisco, I had a great dinner with some people who have been going to the conference since it started.

brownp17's picture

Cycle 25 presents their final recommendations to Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics team

Today, the Cycle 25 interns presented their recommendations to Craig Ross and Tony Stephan of Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics.
elannert's picture

Metrics for measuring engagement

Two must read articles on social business vs. social marketing:

brownp17's picture

Forté Knowledge and TrainSignal make opportunities for current and future cycles

“I’m super excited and honored to be working with i.c.stars,” said Scott Skinger, president and founder of TrainSignal. “They are doing wonderful things for their students and the tech community.
csmith's picture

3 Tips to Take the Lead at Conferences

I attended a three-day conference in San Francisco called the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC), better known as NTC to us techies.

A Measurable Impact

Initial placement rate:
95%
Industry retention rate:
81%
College attendance rate:
44%
Alumni actively engaged in their communities:
70%
Average 12-month earnings before program:
$9,000
Average 12-month earnings after program:
$31,000