Analytics and Insights, Change Management, Corporate Culture

What Data Really Is

It took a while to come to this conclusion. When I first started consulting some years back, I thought it was about insights and social data. Now people are onto “insights”, “social media” and “big data” (ad nauseam). What consultants and practitioners should really be trying to do is help organizations make more contextual decisions, faster.

You may note that I used to call this blog Intelligence, Communications, Change. The order is not coincidental.

Its reasoning goes as such:

  1. Unfortunately organizations are not setup to handle the majority of intelligence or “insights” that we may find when mining the web or other data sources.
  2. I gather intelligence, communicate and then try to change a given instance or situation. Always changing and making decision more accurately and faster.
  3. To have the most benefit from analytics and data means turning the insights or analytics unit into an ongoing change management program. With the ultimate goal being to setup the organization to think contextually, as well as be ever cognizant of the “perfect is the enemy of good” principle – an “ok decision” that is fast typically has more value than a perfect one down the line.

Never before has there been so much information available to us. Every day there are 3.6 trillion words created on email and social media — the equivalent of 36 million books. Today more data crosses the internet every second then was stored in the entire internet just 20 years ago. The bigger risk is being tame and will put you in the doghouse faster than any sort fallout a thoughtful experiment would have. Over a long enough time, eventually people and companies can piece together what ever competitive advantage a person or company may have. Those concerned with protecting IP or “trade secrets” will be irrelevant and miss opportunities simply because of the rapidly deteriorating value they perceive in their IP.

As the great basketball coach John Wooden said:

“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”

CT

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Analytics and Insights, Brussels, Change Management, Data Science, European Parliament, European Union, Global Politics, Public Affairs and Communications, Social Media

Barroso and Kerry Analysis

I decided to break down the events of John Kerry visit to Jose Barroso. The reactions are not drastic as I would have thought considering GMO’s and IP are two issues that people care about on both continents, and the Free Trade Agreement is making some actual headway. We will have more on this in the future, but here are small bits of data for starters

map barroso&kerry
We see that the reporting on the John Kerry and Baroso event is reported on in Brussels 33 times – much more than any other area except for the entire US. Below we see events with organizations and people that both of them together are tied to.
Social Network Barroso & Kerry

Cross referencing what each leader said within the context above is where it gets interesting. Questions to ask: Who were their targets? Did they attain any impact?

Twitter overlap Kerry Barroso

When I first arrived to Brussels I was always amazed at how disconnected D.C was from Brussels with that I decided to look at who was following who. We see that only 1.1% follow both. In short they are disconnected networks. For Comparison sake I also did Obama V Barroso but since Obama has over 30 million follower, the tools I was using at the moment couldn’t process such large amounts of data.

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Analytics and Insights, Brussels, Change Management, Corporate Culture, European Parliament, European Union

The EU: Hooking up with Technology

Jose is trying to learn how to get a date . There’s a conference at a local hotel on how to pick up women. On his way to the room, Jose’ encounters two doors. One  leads to the conference taught by men on how to pick up girls. The other door has a  sign that says “Successful single women’s conference. Please join us for a drink,  anyone is welcome”.  Jose chooses the first door as he had planned, and continues learning about how to pick up women. The EU relationship with using technology is  like Jose’s approach to trying to pick up women, hesitation and unwillingness to  adapt in real-time, to the peril of the end goal – i.e. institutional.

One day I was talking about online media monitoring to the  institutions “social media expert”.  I was asked  “why do we need to understand what people are saying about us?” I was shocked and had no answer except to point out Interest in the EU has gone down every year since 2004 http://ow.ly/8w2Gs. Specifically alarming was that the Parliament, which is supposed to be the extension of the people, had the lowest interest rate.

googletrends

Blue – European Union
Red – European Commission
Yellow – European Parliament

Now having worked in US politics,  a good place to start making a more legitimate government, is being more representative of constituents..and understanding what people are saying about you allows you to create better policies and messages that can help engage people, and perhaps increase the voting rates.

Both EU firms and institutions spend way too much time discussing what technology such as social media is, or what it means, but never act. For example Friends of Europe just released a paper about social media . Frankly I found it pointless, uninteresting, and six years too late.

In the globalized future hesitation is dead, improvisation is king, and competition will be fierce…

Thinking about the “social media experts” statement further, I concluded it wasn’t that  online monitoring wasn’t useful for their situation, but it’s use would have created a real-time approach. This is  the antithesis of institutional process Europe is way too familiar and comfortable with.  And incentive for the people working in the institutions wasn’t there either.

In the USA, competition has led to campaigns and politics becoming a  science. And voting rates + political involvement have gone up. 

The 2012 campaigns featured natural language processing, text mining, sentiment analysis, and data scientists. These technologies will marginalize every medium and word. There was  no room for “educated guessing”. This is efficient, saves time and  money, plus leaves the politicians to focus on empathizing more with the electorate. Forward to the EU. The system is not competitive. The money is provided by the public, and the European Commission is in charge of mobilizing people in a non-political way, which is inherently very, very difficult.

The future will embrace non-understanding, chaos and real-time data, you don’t get the luxury of writing a 10,000 word strategy paper. At present the EU mindset is not equipped to handle this transition. It  must remember if it wants to  hang out with future technology, it has to first quit talking, and ask it out on a date.

Ciao, CT

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Change Management, Corporate Culture, Insights, Public Affairs and Communications

Making “Corporate Culture” without the parentheses.

Much of this post was taken from a comment I wrote on LinkedIn in which I talked about vision and corporate culture (http://goo.gl/UIwUv). While a lot has been said of “corporate culture”, most of the time this is under the guise of  CSR reforms and other similar bullshit jargon. Being a data man who relies on sound principles, I fully agree that an internal focus from leadership is essential. For change that “takes” there needs to be an internal process and protocol set that reinforces the change in addition to clear incentives and goals. In other words, make it so you can’t get out of it. It’s also important to remember that setting out and visualizing a corporate culture is often times different than building a sustainable and profitable culture that makes bleeding edge solutions and products that people and companies want to buy.

What I find painfully obvious, and a huge risk to building a sustainable corporate culture that breeds future relevance, is that lack of perspective and group thinking tend to build off one another. These are the banes of any culture seeking to be relevant and innovative in the highly competitive, interconnected, but often times different enough world.

Think about this: The majority of leaders and directors come from the same schools, have the same frame of mind and generally have had an upward linear career path that was safe. They went to the best schools, got good grades and were very smart. While intelligence and capability are no doubt quality prerequisites and parts of the solution, companies will  inherently lack “grit” and suffer opportunity loss for the intellectual capital gained from it (Good article on grit http://goo.gl/W8Dxj) . Ultimately, the perspective that is essential for good decision making is affected (McKinsey; Kahneman and Klein article on this http://goo.gl/0bFcC).  I find grit and perspective to be the main bottle necks in building a company culture that embraces disruption and leverages it fast, the holy grail of most of this research.  So with that I challenge leaders to step up and get real with developing “corporate culture” legitimately (diverse/non group think environment) so it isn’t in parentheses as it often is.

Bring in fuck-ups so you don’t fuck up. People you might not be comfortable with and you don’t get right away. They might not have gone to the right schools, and might be a bit crazy, but have succeeded in unique ways that make you question your job, skills and thinking. You might find you are not relevant. This is obviously scary to people, but it’s necessary to motivate them into learning new skills, in addition to creating a “check down” in the corporate process that maintains innovation and relevance.

Thoughts – SWOT away.. CT

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Analytics and Insights, Brussels, Change Management, Corporate Culture, Data Science, European Parliament, European Union, Insights, Public Affairs and Communications

Communications as Productivity

By looking at Communications in terms of production and variables, you will save millions. By not understanding variables in communications, you will loose millions and time. Gone where communication firms can pass  Bullshit. Now it’s far from an art form with metrics. Clients should expect decision making based on sound research, in addition to  web analytics and online monitoring data.

The goal: Create the most productive syntax, which could be words, photos,video or interactive digital content. Not the most view and clicks

Resonance: 

Output time/date to channel dissemination, and how much time  that takes. It shows language adoption, which is how you win. There’s a saying politics, “Win the language battle, win the war”.  Resonance is a good KPI for knowing if the framing has retention, thus productivity.

Its can also be useful to reverse engineer a past event’s content and framing with machine learning to compare and contrast. Again don’t focus too much on “click and looks”. You might see exponential gain which perhaps are linked to offline events. That way you can also map correlation. I tend to see this pattern a lot working in politics. This reiterates the massive amount of information available on-line by listening.

More Tricks:

Use best practices in cognitive ICT, psychology,linguistics and behavior economics. A real expert will know captology, sentiment analysis and gamification, and not neglect fundamental and technical analysis.

When you understand the basic variables, you see that  each enhances or destroys productivity.

If the person you hired  doesn’t understand what I’m talking about, the strategy will loose productivity. Ask yourself, why we are paying 200-300 plus per hour? Educated guessing is over. The data doesn’t lie.

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