The science of social

I'm honoured to be taking on a new role at Chaordix: Chief Social Scientist. I've been making the transition from Chief Marketing Officer to this new role on the team for a while now, as I've been increasingly focused on elaborating and evangelizing our unique "social sciences methodology meets crowdsourcing technology" model. The timing is great as a wave of cultural anthropology, social ethnography, and social network theory is forming in innovation and high-tech circles. For example, I spoke recently at an excellent innovation conference in Warsaw, Poland, which culminated in a lively debate between two philosophy professors on the essence of innovation in our society these are interesting times for the humanities and business!

So what does a social scientist do?  We study our society, the people in it, and the social relationships they form; academic disciplines range from anthropology, sociology, and psychology to political science and economics ... and beyond. Chaordix is a global leader in combining the methodologies of these humanities disciplines with the technologies and algorithms of the high-tech sector. Prabhakar Raghavan, Vice President of Strategic Technologies at Google, and Consulting Professor of Computer Science at Stanford, explains this emergent approach in an interview with the London School of Economics

Computer science has traditionally been the custodian of big data. When an ethnographer, sociologist or cognitive psychologist works with us, they can address questions about the essence of human behaviour, such as what drives people to interact with the artefacts we’re building with modern technology. Academics can advance our understanding of behaviour and motivation and companies are deeply interested in the commercial application of those insights.
— Prabhakar Raghavan, VP Strategic Technologies, Google

In effect, computing scientists can help organizations answer the "who, what, where, how much, when" questions and the social scientists help discover the answers to the essential "why" questions that are essential in eliciting the tacit human and societal insights that drive disruptive innovation. The socio-technical combination is very powerful duo – especially amid the rise of the social web and social enterprise, and their powerful rivers of quantitative and qualitative data in which we strive to find meaning.

 Warsaw, Poland (November 2013) - location of The Farm of Innovation (FARMA INWENCJI) conference

Warsaw, Poland (November 2013) - location of The Farm of Innovation (FARMA INWENCJI) conference