How big data can transform society for the better

Scientific American cover Oct 2013Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland directs MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program, and co-leads the World Economic Forum Big Data and Personal Data initiatives. We’ve just found his October 2013 article published in Scientific American, How Big Data Can Transform Society for the Better.

It’s a fascinating read, and the following four quotes leapt out at us given our focus here at Euler on the Six Influence Flows and the Influence Scorecard as a way to redesign organizations for social business.

patterns of idea flow … are directly related to productivity growth and creative output

… The relationship between engagement and productivity is simple: high levels of engagement predict high group productivity, almost no matter what that group is working on or what kinds of personalities its members have.

… exploration – a mathematical measure of the extent to which the members of a group bring in new ideas from outside. Exploration is a good predictor of both innovation and creative output.

… Increasing engagement is not a magic bullet. … we found that at a certain point people become so interconnected that the flow of ideas is dominated by feedback loops. Sure, everyone is trading ideas—but they are the same ideas over and over.


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