Uncovering Emergent Collaboration Through Community Sensemaking - Part 1

As social media transformed communication in our personal lives, it was not long before companies began positioning themselves to bring a similar transformation to the enterprise. Fostering adoption of enterprise social media has not been easy, especially given prevailing beliefs among many that social media provides little practical benefit. Questions continue to linger in the early stages of deployment as organizations seek to understand the platform’s value proposition for their operational context.

A New Beginning

Friday, August 2nd marked my last official day as Jive’s principal data scientist. Over 2+ years there, working closely with Dave Gutelius, I gained a deeper perspective on enterprise social collaboration and ways in which new analytic capabilities could impact the adoption of social collaboration tools. Moving forward, the time has come to pursue some ideas that have been lingering on our minds for some time.

Illuminating the Social Infrastructure

Recently I participated in The City Resilient, an event organized by PopTech and the Rockefeller Foundation to bring together individuals with diverse backgrounds and experience that share a common interest in advancing the resilience of our communities. Day one of the event consisted of presentations from leading innovators and scholars working on advancing and understanding various aspects of resilience, from the personal to the ecological scale. Day two engaged a smaller group of attendees in a design exercise to generate new concepts that might serve as meaningful responses to the challenges we heard the day prior.

Bias and Self-Interest: Timeless Constraints in the Era of Open Data

Senseless tragedies such as the recent Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut give us pause as a nation and leave us struggling to understand how these acts happen all too often. With each loss, I begin to wonder if we are learning as a society. Are we truly reflecting on the problem or are we trapped in the same patterns that prevent us from moving forward? A closer look at how we respond hints at an answer.

Cyber 2012: Crossing the Threshold

The evolution of the cyber domain is as fascinating as it is concerning. It is a perfect example of the complexity we constuct in our modern world that provides significant asymmetries in favor of those who choose to attack the system. In 2012, we witnessed the continued evolution of collection and attack capabilities to unprecedented levels. I thought it would be worthwhile to review some highlights from the past year that in my mind only bolster the case for strengthening community resilience before high consequence events occur.

Grappling with Uncertainty

This year, I’ve had the opportunity to speak on several occasions with members of the national security community about organizational resilience in an uncertain world. These presentations have mainly been a continuation of musings that I began last year, leading me to write these two earlier posts on the subject. During these presentations, my aim has always been twofold: to make the audience more cognizant of the limits we face when attempting to reason about our world and to provide a general frame for thinking about operating in an environment that is fundamentally unpredictable.

Motivating Challenges

How might we inspire and enable communities to be inherently more resilient to global shocks and adaptive to changing realities? Now, more than ever, it is imperative to search for viable answers to this question. In our globalized world, societies have become more fragile and vulnerable to cascading failures in networks. In domains such as cybersecurity, finance, energy production and distribution, the world continues to build systems whose complexities will never be fully understood.

Building Relationships for Social Good

For some time now, I’ve firmly believed that the novel opportunities for innovation lie at the boundaries between disciplines. My word choice in this statement belies the fact that I’ve spent many years up until recently in the research world. As I reflect on this now, I prefer the more general statement we obtain when replacing disciplines with communities. New opportunities become apparent when ideas and resources that are constrained in separate communities are allowed to mix. Often their mixture is the catalyst for new perspective and, in some cases, new steps forward.

Pursuing Meaningful Questions

Recently I read the description for the upcoming modeling challenge associated with the International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling, and Prediction. My initial reaction to the challenge can be summarized with one word: disappointment. I find this challenge emblematic of a significant body of research on social media that continues to pursue answers to questions that are misguided or poorly defined, leading to little practical benefit. Without the context of broader challenges, social media research will likely continue to generate results that fail to advance our understanding and deliver actionable insights.

Optimizing Organizational Performance in an Uncertain World - Part 2 - Measure and React

In a January 2011 report, the Economist Intelligence Unit published results from a survey of 300 senior executives from around the globe. The report highlighted a number of key challenges that businesses are grappling with as they face increasing complexity in the business environment. Global businesses serving diverse markets are expected to provide tailored products and more responsive customer service. Meeting these specialized needs while adapting to constraints within each marketplace has complicated decision-making. Meanwhile the timelines for comprehending the risks and making decisions have only grown shorter. How can organizations perform more effectively when faced with these challenges?