Jamaica’s biggest problems are opportunities

Recently I read a post on LinkedIn titled "We need our brightest people working on our biggest problem ". The post was written by Bill Gates, who made reference to his foundation and their fight to eradicate polio and other global diseases . Problems are opportunities disguised! Living in Jamaica, we can all relate to…

Jamaica SMEs Survey 2013

Balcostics Ltd in partnership with the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) conducted a survey of Jamaican SMEs who were in attendance at the recently held "NCB/ IDB SME Conference" sponsored by the National Commercial Bank of Jamaica (NCB), and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).  The conference was held over a three day weekend (June 21st -23rd,2013),…

Codes & Reproducible Analysis

Data analysis should be reproducible! That is, a colleague should be able to look at your codes (yes codes) and clearly understand each step that was taken to produce your results. This is not as difficult as it sounds, since all the popular statistical software (e.g. SPSS, RATS, STATA and R-stats) all allow the analysts…

Financial advice on starting a business in Jamaica

As we work ourselves out of our economic problems, Jamaicans who know how to "tek dem hand and mek fashion" will start new business ventures. Enterprising gardeners will provide services for lawn care on a more structured basis; electronic gurus will ply their trade on a greater structured basis by providing follow up service to…

Increased liability of Directors for the actions of their companies

The sacrosanct principle of limited liability is explicitly stated in the House of Lords decision Salomon v Salomon[1]. The learned judges in this case held that the company and its shareholders have separate and distinct legal personalities, hence the shareholder is not liable to indemnify the company against debt it incurs. This fundamental principle is…

Independent Contractor vs Employee: The Tax Question

Should you hire an Independent Contractor or Employee?  One is not an alternative to the other by the standards laid out by the revenue department. It is therefore crucial that business owners correctly determine whether an individual providing services is an independent contractor or an employee. The general rule is that someone is an independent…

Understanding Dependent & Independent Variables #Animation

In doing research and data analysis, many have struggled with differentiating between the dependent and independent variables when running statistical tests and/or experiments. A clear understanding of these two concepts will play a major role in an individual's thinking as a researcher/ experimenter. This animation seeks to address this common challenge of differentiating between the independent & dependent variables…

Are You Satisfied?

What is satisfaction? How do we ask questions about satisfaction? Is there a best approach? Here we present some tips and best practices for asking satisfaction questions in a survey. At Balcostics our mission is to empower leaders with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research…

Qualitative & Quantitative Sampling Methods

Research is a systematic approach to collecting, entering and analyzing data. The process of data collection begins with determining which 'sampling method(s)' one will use - qualitative or quantitative. This slideshow provides a practical 'how-to guide' in sampling techniques, looking at the qualitative versus the quantitative approaches. At Balcostics our mission is to empower leaders…

The Art of Survey Design

Surveys like products work best when we have a well thought out design. More researchers need to pay attention to how they design their surveys. We found this insightful slideshow which highlight some tips and best practices.   At Balcostics our mission is to empower leaders with the required data and information to make better…

Market Research & Emerging Markets

Another thoughtful answer to a question many have asked: How do we approach market research in an emerging market like Jamaica?   We found this insightful, yet simple answer on Quora: "Market research is a very important part of a business and when you are entering into an emerging market it is of utmost importance…

Market Research Basics

The following question was asked on Quora: "How do you conduct market research?" This answer by Cate Riegner, was as simple and concise as we could do, so here is it: "Think in terms of different methodologies and consider which ones are right for your needs at various stages of business development, product development and marketing:…

Yes, there are opportunities in a depreciated Jamaican Dollar!

Public discussion surrounding the depreciating dollar have been one sided, looking only at the negatives associated with the decline. With the exception of Dr. Damian King (Senior Economist, UWI), I'm yet to see a different perspective on the implications. Dr King views in summary: Some Jamaicans (companies, individuals etc.) will lose from the depreciation in the…

The Five Hottest Occupations in Jamaica

Where are you mostly likely to be employed in Jamaica? Which occupations do employers seek most? The following infographics highlight the five hottest occupations in Jamaica, based on demand (advertisement in the Jamaica Observer & Gleaner) from employers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=WwQ5f5h_owY

Another look at Questionnaire Design

"It is not every question that deserves an answer." - Pubius Syrus Questionnaire design is  imperative to the success of a research project. When all is said and done, the results of your research reflect the questions that were asked. This slide will highlight the following: What questions should be asked Best approaches in phrasing a…

Planning your research: The simple yet effective whiteboard

Before embarking on a new research project, the following are considered extremely important to the successful execution of same: Brainstorming: Planning should begin with the brainstorming phase, where the problems/ questions that need answering is verbally aired, reviewed and discussed. A white board is an excellent tool that can be used to capture the information…

The Jamaica & IMF Equation

The Equation: The following outline what I believe to be the most likely economic outcome if an agreement is not reached (soon), between Jamaica and the International Monetary Fund (IMF): Further exchange rate depreciation If the Government of Jamaica is unable to secure a deal - in short order - continued domestic concerns, weakening markets…

Is there a methodology for collecting and analyzing big data?

Jahangir Mohammed provided the most detailed response to our question on Quora - September 2, 2012. We wanted to find out if there was a systematic process/ method involved in the analysis, collection and presentation of big data. Here is Jahangir's answer: "I am inclined to say the approach is definitely systematic, but there are lots of options and one…

Jamaica and ‘Big Data’: The Future of Research

The emergence of 'big data' - the wealth of information being collected daily on customer behaviour and attitude via websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin etc - will cause a change in research as we know it. Internationally, the 'big data' discourse have gone a far way, however no mention has been made regarding its…

Drugs Free Olympics

This article seeks to examine the measures that have been put in place to identify and disqualify drug users at the Olympics in London 2012.  Hugh Robertson - the UK Minister of Sports and Olympics - stated that "We cannot absolutely guarantee that these will be drug-free games, but we can guarantee that we have…

Conducting Online Surveys: Pros & Cons

With the explosion of internet usage globally, it was inevitable that surveys would eventually utilize the online medium to capture required data. The advent of Facebook and Twitter, has further resulted in a paradigm shift - it is now easier to find people on Facebook/ twitter than at a park (base on our informal observations).…

The Research Behind Eating Caribbean Fruits

We are often encouraged to eat foods with less fat and sodium, more fiber, more complex carbohydrates and lower in calories. [You can watch the animated video if you don't want to read] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xd47lton8OU The foods that are most promoted are usually the imported ones since more is known about them than about our local…

Conducting your own survey? Here is a quick guide

What is a survey? It is  the systematic/structured gathering of information from a sample/ proportion of individuals for the main purpose of making conclusions/predictions about a larger population/group. Prior to starting a survey, one should... Define a clear purpose for the survey Create research objectives/research questions you intend to answer Decide on a methodology to…

Economics and the Caribbean Integration problem

There are four fundamental principles that governs the economics discipline. They are as follows: All economic behaviours can be grouped under one or more of these principles. In the case of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), it could be viewed that opening one’s borders to free movement of people, goods and services should make…

Exploiting Jamaica’s Hydroelectric Potential

Jamaica, the paradise island that is sometimes referred to as “the land of wood and water,” has great hydroelectric potential due to its topography and climate. Out of 120 rivers, the Island has several that are suitable for hydroelectricity power generation. Prime among them are: 1. Back Rio Grande - located in the parish of…