Thought leaders worth following, and the best translation apps for navigating foreign languages in a pinch.
FOLLOW THE (THOUGHT) LEADER
Thought leaders can feel a dime a dozen on LinkedIn. But some are the real deal. These three people, whose specialties range from product design to credit cards, are worth paying attention to.
Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO
As head of an internationally revered design and innovation company, Mr. Brown is a prime source for knowledge about design thinking and human-centered design. (IDEO popularized the concept of human-centered design.) His 18 years in the C-suite have led him to insights relevant to executives in any industry.
Start with: “Why is design a CEO matter?”
Jim Kim, president of the World Bank
Follow Mr. Kim for top-line updates on the organization’s World Development Report. The 2019 edition, The Changing Nature of Work, addresses the shift away from middle-skilled occupations in advanced economies, the scope of the informal economy in emerging markets and the role of “superstar” firms in the global economy.
Start with: “What will be the future of work?”
Katya Andresen, senior vice president of card customer experience at Capital One
Ms. Andresen’s articles are colored by her unique background: Once a foreign correspondent in Madagascar and Cambodia, she later advised civil society organizations in Ukraine. On LinkedIn, she often writes about pushing for bold change and bravery, and focuses on female empowerment, especially in the workforce.
Start with: “Now, voyager: Why cultural encounters matter so much”
THIS IS YOUR LIFE: NOTES FROM ABROAD
To win in today’s world, businesses must be global. And multilingualism is table stakes for competing. Knowing the language where your organization has a presence abroad or is scoping out opportunities offers distinct advantages. But fluency takes time—in the meantime, turn to translation apps for a quick assist. These are the best on the market currently, all free on iTunes and Google Play.
All translation apps can read entered text, but Google Translate can also instantly interpret characters hand-drawn on a screen and photos of text. The app works offline, though capabilities are broader when connected to the internet.
Number of languages offered: 103
This app is a solid alternative to Google Translate. Both offer the ability to translate dictation. Only the basic version of this app is free, however, with benefits like offline capability and verb conjugations unlocked with a subscription.
Number of languages offered: over 100
While this app is lesser known, its capabilities are entirely available offline, which gives peace of mind while traveling. Like Google Translate, it can instantly translate a photo—and if that photo is a food menu, it will even offer images of the items so you know what you are ordering. But beware the app’s downside: It translates only English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
Number of languages offered: 4
JUMP-START YOUR CREATIVE ENGINE
Letting creativity atrophy is a surefire way to slow innovation. Keep new ideas coming with TED’s playlist titled “Simple ways to spark your creativity.” Yes, there have been countless TED Talks on creativity—what at this point has not been the topic of a TED Talk? But this playlist cuts through the noise to offer only the organization’s seven favorite videos on the subject.
Start with behavioral and learning scientist Marily Oppezzo, who advocates the simple act of going on a walk to spark ideas (it works for Bill Gates!), and end with what entrepreneur and author Jia Jiang learned from seeking rejection for 100 days. The playlist is on the TED mobile app for when you need inspiration on the go.