Author archives

2040 Digital Founder and CEO Kevin Novak has spent nearly two decades helping organizations find their place in the digital world. He’s a four-time winner of the prestigious Webby Award from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS). A seasoned association, business and government executive, he’s the former vice president of new business development and digital strategies for the American Institute of Architects. He built the association’s digital strategy, and led product and partnership development to maximize existing revenue streams and build new ones. Previously, as chief digital officer and director education outreach at the Library of Congress, Novak built a centralized digital division to bring the Library’s many disparate websites into a cohesive experience and serve more than 22 million digitized items from its collections. He led several key Library initiatives, including the World Digital Library and the Library of Congress Experience, and built the Library’s partnerships with Google, Flickr, Microsoft, Stanford University, and One Laptop Per Child. He serves on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors for the Business Information Association (BIA-Connectiv), the Software Information Industry Association (SIIA) and the Specialty Information Publishers Association (SIPA), and has chaired working groups for the W3C Electronic Government work group, the U.S. National Research Council/National Academies, and the MOBI Foundation. Kevin holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA and a MS in Technology Management from the University of Maryland where he is currently an Adjunct Professor teaching Digital Society and Marketing courses.

Are You a Renaissance Leader?

Kevin Novak continues his discussion on critical strategies and managing people in workplaces which have increasingly shifted to indirect, digitized operations and communications. The basic toolkit for successful leaders has changed and will continue to evolve as the work environment shifts. Leaders still need the basics to run the business, but the role has changed from a top-down decision-maker to an empathetic and facilitative colleague. We know it’s a lot to ask leaders to be group dynamics pros, but person-to-person skills as a wise mentor is invaluable with younger workers. It is and always will be important to “read the room” or in today’s terms “read the screen.”

Subjects: KM, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management

Mindful Management: The Power of Gratitude and Building Trust

The post-Covid workplace is one in which the issue of trust, mindfulness and gratitude are increasingly hot button issues. Being grateful is an expectation in our personal lives, yet “gratitude in the workplace is especially critical because it satisfies the higher psychological need to feel a sense of belonging to something greater than ourselves – to feel a sense of meaning at work. Gratitude is seeing and hearing a workforce as a group of individuals. Trust is the foundation that builds a healthy organization. As Kevin Novak explains the combination of the two should be the North Star for retaining a workforce and cultivating its potential.

Subjects: KM

What We Know About You: Welcome to the Surveillance State

Kevin Novak begins his article with a reference to a report in The Wall Street Journal that caught his attention. Commercial data brokers are selling their third-party data to the government. If you’re an optimist, you would think this could be a good thing. Our intelligence agencies and the defense department may be able to identify patterns that could predict and prevent an unfortunate event – terrorism, for example. But honestly, how would you feel if all the conversations in your house that Siri and Alexa are silently listening in on are sold in the aggregate to the government…or something else?

Subjects: Civil Liberties, Computer Security, Congress, Cybercrime, Cyberlaw Legislation, Cybersecurity, Data Mining, Economy, Gadgets/Gizmos, Legal Research, Social Media

The Motivation of Manipulating Data and Information to a Desired Outcome

Some recent headlines have reported disturbing news about respected and respectable scholars falsifying or just ignoring data conclusions in scholarly papers. This is another example of the skepticism many of us have with the shifts in misinformation flooding our inboxes and newsfeeds, compelling each of us to exercise our critical thinking skills. And the examples we’re referring to aren’t even results of AI. It is human error, strong bias at play, or manipulative intention for one purpose or another. This leads us to another topic in our continuing explorations of human motivation. Why do we lie? Why do we cheat? Kevin Novak takes a deeper dive on this discussion about the issues and the people and actions that have been in the news recently.

Subjects: Business Research, Communication Skills, Competitive Intelligence, Cybercrime, Cybersecurity, KM, Leadership, Social Media

The Case for AI Guardrails

Kevin Novak sets the table with his opening statement: Whatever you think about the U.S. government or our elected officials, it does have guardrails in place to protect its citizens. For pharma and food products, it’s the FDA. For workplace safety there’s OSHA. For mobility safety, it’s the Department of Transportation. For safe investments, there’s the SEC. For consumer protection, there’s the Federal Trade Commission. For AI and emerging tech, there’s nothing.

Subjects: AI, Climate Change, Congress, Legal Research, Legislative, Social Media

The Digital Psychology of Persuasion

Kevin Novack, digital strategist and CEO with extensive experience digitizing disparate collections at the Library of Congress, discusses the increasing importance of acknowledging and incorporating social proof into your marketing strategies to showcase the power of your brands and services. The recent wave of digital tools that are built to influence decisions have come under increasing scrutiny as we have learned, they may not be all that trustworthy. Examples include TikTok and its power to influence and even change the behaviors of impressionable next gens. Or Instagram’s role in enabling body shaming and mocking others. And more recently the overwhelming impact of ChatGPT, and the fascination with and growing use of thousands of apps and services built on OpenAI. Novack asks – but can you trust it? And responds – probably about as much as you can trust all online listings and crowdsourced input, which are the sources of GPT’s recommendations. From the user perspective, discerning fact from fiction, when interacting with your organization, is only becoming more critical.

Subjects: Communication Skills, Ethics, Internet Trends, KM, Social Media