The Girl Scout Cookies Have Gone Digital

The Girl Scout Cookies Have Gone Digital

It’s that time of year. The time when you reach into the freezer only to find that you have run out of Thin Mints (gasp!). Well have no fear, the Digital Girl Scout cookie is here! As I walked the show floor at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in a hunt for the most exciting advances in technology for the family, I came across the youngest and cutest exhibitors the show has ever seen. They were at the Girl Scouts booth, and once I got talking with the Girl Scouts I learned that they weren’t just cute, they were articulate, enthusiastic, and on the cutting edge of tech initiatives for kids, or in this case, for girls.

What were the Girl Scouts doing at the CES show you ask? They were launching the “Digital Cookie” – a brand new way for Girl Scouts to sell cookies, you guessed it – online! Several things struck me about this new program both technically and in terms of the Girl Scout mission. For the Digital Cookie campaign, the Girl Scouts have been equipped with their own websites which they run and customize (with parent approval) and with mobile apps to streamline the cookie buying experience when they sell in person.  The website allows Girl Scouts to send a link to friends and family who don’t live in their immediate geographic location to invite them to buy cookies online.  And, since they will still be doing their trademark selling door-to-door and at your local supermarket, they can use the app to walk you through the experience on their iPad or mobile device which will allow you to pay by credit card and then receive the cookies in the mail within a week!

What this all means is that you indeed do still have to know a Girl Scout (or know someone who knows one). But they’ve thrown you a bone with the Android and iOS apps to find the closest council or cookie sale location or even use this handy cookie locator link. What’s interesting about this initiative is that they didn’t just put the cookies online for you to buy online just like anything else, which would have risked nearly taking the Girl Scouts out of the equation which would lose the magic of the nearly 100-year Girl Scout cookie history. To the contrary – they have given the girls the modern tools to maximize the skills they can learn and impact they can have in their cookie sales of which all proceeds go back into their local council and to the causes that the girls themselves choose.

Here lies the beauty of this campaign. The Digital Cookie campaign has both gone high-tech and maintained its personal touch and girl-empowering mission. Often when things turn digital the personal touch and charm of the whole experience can dissolve. What’s unique here is the fact that tech is being plugged in to make both the learning experience for the girls and buying experience for the consumers quicker and easier, but the interaction between Girl Scouts and cookie lovers everywhere remains in tact.

In fact, this initiative is allowing Girl Scouts to learn more skills than ever. When I spoke with Kelly Parisi of the Girl Scouts, she told me that the Girl Scouts runs the largest financial literacy program for girls in the world. And with that ideal of empowering girls with life skills in mind, they used this initiative to incorporate even more skill building. Girl Scouts can now add to their tool kit experience in money management, business ethics, decision making and more. Indeed when I talked to the charming Girl Scout Malaysia, she told me she felt she was learning both money management and people skills. She said this was definitely helping her to feel comfortable talking with people and reaching out to new people and I can vouch that she did a great job at that! Listen to my conversation with Malaysia here:

Kelly elaborated and said that the older Girl Scouts (Brownies and above) are even learning more advanced skills such as e-marketing, online customer relations, and even use of a dashboard where they track their goals against their orders. These are undoubtedly important life skills the girls are getting hands-on experience with. Listen to my conversation with Kelly here:

I think it’s safe to say that this is certifiably the most exciting thing to ever happen to the Thin Mint.  So with that, I wish you all a Happy Girl Scout Cookie Season!

10 Interesting Stats about the “Sandwich Generation”

10 Interesting Stats about the “Sandwich Generation”

The so-called “sandwich generation”, referring to those adults who are sandwiched between aging parents and young or grown children – both of which they may support in some fashion – is a term that was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2006, pointing to its increasing relevance. Last year, the Pew Research Center published a report about the growing sandwich generation, which is saddled with various challenges and new realities about intergenerational ties and living.

Here are a few nuggets of info we gleaned from the Pew Report:

1) Middle-aged adults are providing more financial assistance to their grown children now than in the past (48% say they have provided some or primary support for their child over the age of 18 in the past year). [Tweet this]

2) When asked if they were “very happy these days” sandwich generationers answered yes slightly more often than “other adults” (31% versus 28%, but still) and 52% described themselves as “pretty happy”, similar to 51% of other adults.

3) 31% of sandwich generationers said that they “always feel rushed” versus 23% of other adults.

4) As of 2012, Generation X-ers are more likely to find themselves in the sandwich generation than Baby Boomers who have been aging out of the sandwich (42% of Gen X-ers now have both a parent over the age of 65 and a dependent child, versus 33% of Baby Boomers). [Tweet This]

click here for facts #5-10

The Social Director of the Animal Kingdom – Elephants and Memory

The Social Director of the Animal Kingdom – Elephants and Memory

Have you ever been told that you have a memory like an elephant? In case you weren’t sure if it was an insult or a compliment, I have come to clear that right up – it is indeed a compliment [Tweet this!]. Elephants are considered to be among the most intelligent mammals in the animal kingdom, and one of their most unique features is their ability to recall – specific elephants, people, events, and places.

The Scientific American explains that elephant herds are usually led by the matriarch of the family who retains a great deal of social information about the herd. She knows exactly who the members of the herd are – who is present and who is missing. She can retain memory on up to 30 of these comrades and is immediately suspicious of unfamiliar new elephants who come along.

But wait, there’s more!

By 5pm today spend this money on somebody else

This was the assignment given to participants in a study conducted by the Harvard Business School, while others were also given money except they were told to spend it on themselves. What did they find? That “people who spent money on other people got happier,” while for “people who spent money on themselves, nothing happened.”

Michael Norton presents the findings in this eleven minute Ted Talk. Interestingly, from buying someone else a cup of coffee to giving the money to a homeless person, they found that the exercise had the same effect – it didn’t matter how the person spent the money, it only mattered that they spent it on someone else in order for it to have a positive effect on their happiness.

Read on!