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December 17, 2012
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  Top Story 
10 ways to inspire creativity in your staff.
Fostering creative business practices isn't as hard as it seems and can lead to smart solutions. Use these ten techniques to help inspire and encourage creativity in your staff. Read the article and learn 10 ways to get the creative juices flowing.

  Industry Buzz 
  • Rain gardens help improve water quality in Los Angeles
    Rain gardens are becoming more common in Los Angeles because they help remove contaminants from rainwater and reduce water pollution. These shallow cavities in the ground contain native species that can add low-maintenance beauty. Two nonprofits and the city's water department launched a pilot program that helped install 185 rain gardens for free at yards in San Fernando Valley as a way to encourage others to add the catchments to their property. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (12/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Rooftop farm to promote wellness and sustainability in Mo.
    A farm will take over the roof of an 8,000-square-foot warehouse in St. Louis as local group Urban Harvest STL aims to promote well-being and a sense of community in the area. The "Food Roof" will consist of garden beds and built-in irrigation systems, and will provide energy-efficiency benefits and stormwater management to the owner of the warehouse. St. Louis Post-Dispatch (12/16) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Economic Indicators 
  • Economists see a pickup in U.S. consumer spending
    With Americans' worries over housing values and the labor market at least temporarily at bay, economists say they expect a 0.4% increase in consumer spending for November from a year before -- reversing a 0.2% decline in October. The increase would indicate consumers are setting aside any worries they might have about the potential for automatic tax increases being ushered in with the new year. Bloomberg Businessweek (12/16) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Hot Topics 

Top five news stories selected by OPEI SmartBrief readers in the past week.

  • Results based on number of times each story was clicked by readers.
  Inside & Out 
  • How to build your business through content and social media
    When producing content to power your content and social media marketing efforts, you should concentrate on addressing your customers' needs, writes Madison Jacobs of Infusionsoft. "When you think about the forms of content you want to create and the message you want it to deliver, you have to focus on answering practical questions that are on the minds of your prospects and customers." Most of your content should be designed to educate your consumers rather than to promote your products, she advises. SmallBizTechnology.com (12/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • 12 steps to stress-free leadership
    Too many CEOs are stress-bunnies, writes Carole Spiers. To avoid burning out, it's important to stay focused, to make time for yourself and to learn to switch off whenever you get the chance. "Remaining disciplined, by managing both time and productivity well, is the key to good stress management," Spiers notes. Management-Issues (U.K.) (12/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Policy Update 
  • "Fiscal cliff" talks reportedly produce some progress
    President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, remain far apart, but there are signs of movement in their "fiscal cliff" talks. Boehner indicated support for a tax increase on people with incomes of more than $1 million and a total of $1 trillion in new revenue over the next decade. In return for $1 trillion of spending cuts, Boehner backed an increase in the debt limit that would put the issue on the back burner for a year. Google/The Associated Press (12/16), Reuters (12/17), Bloomberg (12/16) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Tax-refund delays could be enough to send U.S. into recession
    If it takes too long to head off the "fiscal cliff," the Internal Revenue Service may be forced to push tax refunds into the second quarter as taxpayers hold off filing their returns, potentially taking more than $200 million out of the pockets of consumers in the second quarter. If even $100 million of refunds are delayed, that could cut retail spending and send the U.S. economy into recession. Barron's (subscription required) (12/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  SmartQuote 
Action is the antidote to despair."
--Joan Baez,
American singer


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