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Paper: Improving Data Visualization for High-Density Information Transfer in Social Network Analysis Tools

Chris Rivinus (Parsons Brinckerhoff), Peter Baloh (University of Ljubljana) and I have authored a paper for the itAIS VI Conference -  Toward Fusion in the Interconnected World: Exploring the Connection between Organizations and Technology (October 2-3, 2009). The paper titled, “Improving Data Visualization for High-Density Information Transfer in Social Network Analysis Tools”,  examines highlights from the last 30 years of dialogue about visualization as a basis for decision making in urban design, and suggests three areas in which SNA software designers should focus efforts to evolve more effective tools for organizational and IS design: realism, detail and changes over time.

One of the core issues in data and knowledge transfer is the appropriateness of transfer mechanisms. Often, understanding of problems and decision making by knowledge workers, can be improved by appropriate information and knowledge visualization. As businesses turn towards collaboration and innovation for competitive advantage, Social Network Analysis (SNA) tools have provided means of understanding existing employee network dynamics including the pathway of information shared between individual members. However, these tools have not been widely adopted for the purposes of organizational and information systems (IS) design. Possible explanations as to why SNA has not been more widely adopted as a design tool can be found in literature focusing on visualization as a modeling and decision making tool for urban design. This paper examines highlights from the last 30 years of dialogue about visualization as a basis for decision making in urban design, and suggests three areas in which SNA software designers should focus efforts to evolve more effective tools for organizational and IS design: realism, detail and changes over time. This discourse not only furthers applicability of SNA as a tool on its own by proposing how to design improved technological solutions, but it also suggests areas of exploration for IS product development generally

Upcoming Speaking Engagements: Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, May 2009

I will be delivering two invited lectures at the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana in May. logo_eng

The first talk, Challenges in Inter-Disciplinary Research: Strategies from Crafting Research Ideas to Publishing, will take place on May 11, 2009. In this presentation, I will share my experiences in executing inter-disciplinary research projects. Studying complex phenomenon requires us to undertake research that (1) draws on multiple disciplines, (2) engages a diverse group of stakeholders, (3) appreciates a plurality of research approaches, and (4) communicates to a diverse set of audiences. Executing inter-disciplinary research is no easy feat to accomplish. Researchers face daunting challenges from the onset, beginning with the very inception of ideas, crafting of problem statements, executing the research process, and communicating the results via publications in academic and practitioner outlets. However, these challenges should not be viewed as an excuse to abandon inter-disciplinary research in favor of narrow-minded and singular research exercises, which reduce complex phenomenon in deterministic fashions so as to arrive at simplistic problems that lack relevance. I will present a method (process) for executing inter-disciplinary research that has served me well. Illustrative examples of research projects will be used to exemplify this process and outline strategies for researchers to consider when conducting inter-disciplinary research projects.

The second talk, Designing the Innovation Process: Building, Managing, Communicating and Measuring, will take place on May 13, 2009. In this presentation, I will describe the process of innovation and propose mechanisms to measure the value of innovation. The innovation process will be broken down into the discrete stages of idea generation and mobilization, screening and advocacy, experimentation, commercialization, diffusion and implementation. For each stage, context, outputs and critical ingredients are discussed. Findings are based on extensive study of over 30 top US and European companies with mature innovation processes.