If the flow of new ideas- interaction- is better, then the organizations work better.
Look at patterns of communication; what we found was that the habits of a work group came from this engagement.
Engagement within group: accounts for 30%, sometimes 40% of the variation between groups that really work well and groups that work poorly.
Another 10% to 20%- and particularly for creative groups- comes from exploration outside the work group.
New way using big data communication to better understand organizations.
Another example: a big contest at the 40th anniversary to find 10 red balloons somewhere in the United States.
And all the traditional intelligence and an emergency people thought it would be impossible to find 10 balloons anywhere in the U.S. in a period of eight hours; 4000 teams signed up.
These teams used economic incentives, except for our team, which used a social network incentive: so instead of just paying people for finding the balloon, we paid people for recruiting people to find balloons.
What we were able to do in a period of about 24 hours is recruit almost two million people, and we won the award.
Different way of thinking; not the normal way, but it works tremendously well.
What matters in organizations:how people are interacting and collaborating.
Studied a call center e.g. how long does it take people to complete calls?
The most predictive feature was how tightly knit the social network was; those with the most tightly knit networks were completing calls in about half the time as people with the least tightly knit networks.
How can you actually create these interactions?
A simple idea: let people take breaks together instead of individually.
There was a decrease in stress levels, increase in cohesion, and productivity went up.
Another simple idea: centralising coffee area.
Everyone comes to one place, bump into people, meet new people, and those interactions have real economic value.
Are there any type of interactions that the social signals are impaired in some ways e.g. over the phone, chatting over text, video conference etc, where some social signals are not communicated (compared to face to face conversations).
Example: conversations in a co-located team are more balanced amongst the team members than in a distributed team where someone might dominate the conversation (and another might not participate at all) because the social signals are lacking.
Especially interested in looking at the performance of distributed teams because research suggest these usually have much lower trust, lower cooperation, and lower information sharing efficiency.
Using the data and giving it as feedback (e.g. visualised in real time) to the distributed team to ensure for example the conversations were more balanced between team members; conversations did in turn become more balanced (on-par with co-located groups), and cooperation and performance went up too.
How social media and technology is changing the way we mobilize society to deal with global-scale challenges and time critical challenges e.g political action, respond to natural disasters etc.
Is there a limit in what social media can help us with – the Defense Advanced
Research Project Agency, launched a challenge in 2009 to test this.
The challenge required different teams to find 10 weather balloons at ten random and undisclosed locations in the United States.
Humans were be default the sensors, looking for the balloons (which could be generalised to looking for anything e.g. a lost child) i.e. a needle in the haystack.
MIT team won the challenge by devising an incentive mechanism that ensures people are motivated both to look for the balloon and also to encourage their friends to participate (conversely, if the incentive/reward given to an individual to find the balloon, then the individual is unlikely to share information).
This incentive structure creates a conversation and allows people to make each other a favor.
Over 4,000 people signed up, and an estimated 2 million people looked for the balloons: an incredible feat as they had little time to mobilize people.
This is not the same as say having many followers on Twitter or any social media; broadcasting information to many followers can die out quickly unless there is a social incentive to participate and help others.